Jewish date: 2 ’Iyyar 5770 (Parashath Thazria‘-Meṣora‘).
Today’s holidays: Day 17 of the ‘Omer (Judaism), Friday of the Second Week of Easter (Roman Catholicism), St. Messalina/All Hookers’ Day (Church of the SubGenius).
Worthy causes of the day: “Help Eliminate Measles Worldwide - Take Action Today @ The Child Health Site” and “Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) | Co-sign our open letter to Republican Leader Boehner”.
Topic 1: Silly anti-Semitism: “UK Bans Western Wall from Israel Tourism Ads”. The United Kingdom’s Advertising Standards Authority has prohibited Israel from claiming or implying in tourism advertisements that eastern Jerusalem is part of Israel. This is despite Israel annexing the territory in 1967. Or Jews having being in Jerusalem for millennia. Or the fact that the Advertising Standards Authority does not have any real authority to dictate what territory belongs to which state. Note the logical fallacy of proof by assertion: anti-Semites claim enough that eastern Jerusalem (or any part of Israel) does not belong to Israel (or is not Jewish), expecting this to be taken as the truth. Of course, reality does not work this way. I could claim billions of times that the Sun is purple, and the Sun would never turn purple.
Also notable on anti-Semitism: “Not quite free” (on Europe covertly sticking its nose into Israeli politics through funding nongovernmental organizations) and “A dangerous silence” (on the hypocrisy of the US government treating Israel shabbily while coddling Muslim dictatorships, with little in the way of protest).
Topic 2: “7,500 shoppers unknowingly sold their souls” and “GameStation: "We own your soul"”. In a twist on the classic Faustian bargain, GameStation added a clause to their terms and conditions of sale asserting that they owed on-line purchasers’ souls unless they opted out. 88% of such purchasers did not opt out, strongly suggesting that few people read such contracts. (They are pretty dull and too long.) The point proved, GameStation nullified this clause.
I would like to note my puzzlement at the notion of selling one’s soul. One’s soul is not merely a part of oneself; it is oneself. Literally selling one’s soul would thus be tantamount to selling oneself into slavery. There is also the question of what the buyer would do with a soul. If the buyer is Satan (as in the classic Faust story), then one is going to Hell. However, if the buyer is mortal, like the people at GameStation, then it is unclear what he/she could do with a soul, especially if there were no body still attached with it.
Topic 3: For today’s religious humor: “Basement Cat”:
Peace and Shabbath shalom.