Sunday, April 18, 2010

V is for “values”


Jewish date:  4 ’Iyyar 5770 (Parashath ’Aḥare Moth-Qedhoshim).

Today’s holidays:  Day 19 of the ‘Omer (Judaism), Third Sunday of Easter (Roman Catholicism), Feast of St. Lady Macbeth (Church of the SubGenius).

Topic 1:  The last three episodes of  V, “Welcome to the War”, “Pound of Flesh”, and “John May”.  (I know I am tardy in reporting.  I got behind due to Pesaḥ, and I hope this will be a start towards catching up.)  The resistance is taking morally questionable, desperate actions.  This is to be expected in war.

More interestingly, the V leader Anna is being filled out as a disturbing character.  She has a severe lack of empathy, and she sets out to purge the Vs of anyone who fails a test for lack of empathy, lest such people have qualms about whatever the Vs are trying to accomplish on Earth.  So lacking in compassion is Anna that she orders those to fail the test to commit suicide, even if they have never shown the least sign of rebellion.  Not to mention that after mating with a V with the intention of producing soldiers, it is strongly implied (though not actually shown) that Anna eats her mate.  Coupled with the revelation that “Bliss” is a form of emotional control, there is enough evidence to believe that is any sane, functional society of sentient beings, Anna would be locked away in a mental hospital for being a psychopath with a goddess complex.

Tangent:  Given that the Vs live under a dictatorship, they may well be in a period of technological stagnation—despite all appearances of them being advanced.  Innovation requires freedom to question.  Anna wants to be obeyed without question, and she is prepared to slaughter anyone who gives the least hint that they may ever question her.  This is not a good setting for progress.

Also brought up in the question of when it is morally acceptable to lie.  Most notably, Ryan has been lying to his girlfriend Valerie—enlisting her obstetrician to lie, too—about the baby she is carrying.  Unfortunately, the writers decided to go ahead with the original series’ bad idea of human-V hybridization (the chances of which being possible are dwarfed by the probability of successfully crossing a human and a cabbage), and Ryan initially hides the fact that the baby is not normal human and sneaks a supplement into her tea so that they fetus does not kill her.  Eventually he changes his mind about lying to her, leaves her a packet of information about what is really going on, and expects to be dumped.

Topic 2:  “A Surprising Reward for Abstaining from Lashon Hara”.  This short article deals humorously with the importance of correct translation.

Translations for those who do not know Hebrew:

  • Lashon hara‘ is any needless speech which is true but which may be harmful.
  • A moreh is a teacher.
  • Gan is short for gan yeladhim, a literal translation of “kindergarten”.

I will not spoil the punchline here; you will have to read the article yourself.

Topic 3:  For today’s religious humor:  (courtesy of Mike) a Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal comic:

(Yes, you are getting a break from LOLcats today.)  This cartoon is clearly simplified, but there is a kernel of truth in it.  Often people will think only in terms of the last link in their tradition without asking about the whole chain.  At the top of the depicted chain is Jesus.  At the bottom of the chain is someone from the much loathed Westboro Baptist Church.  Why is Jesus so unhappy in the last panel?  As best as I can remember, Jesus says nothing about homosexuality in the canonical Gospels; even if I am wrong, it is not something which Jesus put much emphasis on.  “God hates fags”, virtually a slogan among the Westboro Baptist Church, simply does not reflect anything Jesus reportedly said.  Jesus complains about competing Jewish groups, but he never attacks anyone for having the wrong sexual orientation.  Even if Jesus does not approve of homosexuality, which would be normal for an observant Jew, he is very compassionate towards sinners.  Think “Do not judge, lest you be judged” and “Let he who is without sin throw the first stone”.  The Westboro Baptist Church has failed to look back towards the top of the chain to check whether their views actually derive from that of Jesus.


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