Thomas Galvin
Purveyor of Fine Pulp Fiction

Triquetra
Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people. -Carl Jung

This Week on the Web brings you your regular Vampire Diaries recaps, Superman giving up his US Citizenship, The Faincee’s expose on our forthcoming bundle of joy, and a whole lot more! Oh, and some NAVY SEALs have an important announcement…

Boo Yah!

Osama Bin Laden is dead: A team of Navy SEALs, in an operation conducted by the CIA, raided Bin Laden’s Pakistani compound and shot him dead. DNA confirmation is underway. Photographic evidence is unlikely to be released, because the entire Middle East would light itself on fire.

Details of the attack: “Details” in air quotes; understandably, the military is hesitant to release too many specifics.

New York City celebrates Bin Laden’s death, Celebrations outside of the White House: We’re gonna party like it’s BLAM BLAM BLAM YOU’RE DEAD.

Bin Laden raid was live-blogged, and the blogger didn’t even know it: “Go away helicopter – before I take out my giant swatter :-/”

Sorry it took so long to get you a copy of my birth certificate… LOLOBama FTW!

Vampire Diaries

The Vampire Diaries – S02E20 – The Last Day: My recap.

The Vampire Diaries: Terrible Falls: Price Peterson’s recap. (follow on Twitter)

‘The Vampire Diaries’ recap: Damon reaches his screw-up quota on ‘The Last Day’: Carina Adly MacKenzie’s recap. (follow on Twitter)

Bite me: Cindy McLennan’s recap. (follow on Twitter)

Vampire Diaries. I’m surrounded by idiots, need all the help I can get.: Off Color TV’s recap. (follow on Twitter)

‘The Vampire Diaries’: The Last Day (2.20) Review: The Voice of TV’s review. (follow on Twitter)

The Vampire Diaries Recap – The Last Day: My Entertainment OCD’s recap (Follow on Twitter)

THE VAMPIRE DIARIES: “The Last Day”: Heroine TV’s recap (Follow on Twitter)

Vampire Diaries and Supernatural renewed by the CW: @julieplec: “Yes, it’s official! Season 3 is happening. Thank you all for your love and support!”

My love letter to Stefan Salvatore: No, not my love letter, Erin’s, from My Entertainment OCD. (Follow on Twitter)

GIF of the week: Brought to us by Price Peterson, via reader Jennifer.

Pop Culture

4 stunning pics of Smallville’s Superman suit: It’s been ten years and they’re just now getting Clark into the suit. Jeeze.

Superman renounces US Citizenship: Ignoring the epic clusterfuck of nerdwank and conservative frothing this is going to cause, this story is a perfect illustration of why it’s dumb to try and tie comic books to real-world events. In-story, this whole thing started because Superman went and “silently protested” with people demanding democracy in the Middle East. If Superman was real, he wouldn’t have “silently protested”, he would have torn tanks apart with his bare hands, and the Middle East would be short several dictators. But since they want the DC Universe to reflect ours, they need to leave those dictators in place, which means Superman has to be… not very super.

More Twilight books coming: Meyer is currently writing a book about mermaids – expected to clock in at 1,000 pages – but has also hinted at revisiting the “relationship” (and by “relationship”, I mean “pedophilia”) between Jacob and Renesme.

Dinosaurs turns twenty years old: That would be the tv show, not the giant lizards. Everyone knows the giant lizards are six thousand years old.

Life

The nursery: The Fiancee’s expose on our forthcoming bundle of joy.

LOL

Stay in your lane!: I would love it if the DoT did this in my city.

Keep Clam and Carry On

Rules for Golfing during the Blitz: God, I love the British. These “temporary rules”, posted during World War II, include a warning that unexploded bombs have been marked as best as possible, but that players are ultimately responsible for their own safety.

Squee

Bunny chewing with its mouth open: Your weekly dose of squee (via AJ Wiswell)

Science and Technology

US Department of Energy fund five game-changing energy projects: You can tell that these are government projects by the force-clever acronyms. Anyway, some of these – particularly the petroleum replacements – look good. (via Slashdot)

World’s last typewriter factory shuts down: I’m honestly kind of surprised computers are so pervasive in the developing world. Progress marches on, I suppose.

Nintendo announces Wii successor, tells us nothing about it: Rumors are that this will be more powerful than the Playstation III, support 1080p, motion capture, touchscreen controls, make you coffee, and call in sick for you when the new Zelda is released. (via Slashdot)

Politics

Obama releases birth certificate: So, the birthers are going to shut up now, right? Right? Nope. They won’t. Ever.

Obama roasts Trump at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner: This was a fantastic opening salvo: “go ahead and run for President… and I will fucking destroy you.”

The Democrats’ secret budget weapon: Jesus: I’m glad that people are finally starting to call Evangelical Christianity on their hypocrisy; the platform of the Republican party has almost nothing in common with the god they claim to follow. (via Roger Ebert)

Obama is an early-90s Republican: Three of Obama’s major policies – Cap and Trade, Individual Mandate Health Care, and Tax Increases – were all advocated by the Republican party in the 90s. (via PZ Myers)

The best way to remain a superpower is to stop relying on the military so much: Choice quote: “We have to recognize that fixing America’s fiscal problems… are the best strategies to stay a superpower, not going around killing a few tribal leaders in the remote valleys and hills of Afghanistan.”

Religion

Bible Billboards: A fantastic example of how we can know that the Bible is not a divine work, and that our morality is not based on it. (via Almighty God)

William Lane Craig: Killing babies for God is a perfectly reasonable, justified action: This is one of the reasons religion is terrifying; not just because its based on myth, but because those myths can be used to justify terrible atrocities.

New, improved American Jesus: Looks kinda like Chuck Norris. (via Ben Siegel, commenting on Topless Robot)

0 responses to “This Week on the Web – 2 May 2011”

  1. Keith says:

    May that son of a bitch bin Laden burn in Hell. God bless Seal Team Six.

  2. Thomas says:

    This is one of those times when I wished I believed in a hell for him to burn in. But yeah, SEAL Team Six are a bunch of big damn heroes. I hope they have room on their shirts for all the medals they need to be getting.

  3. Keith says:

    As for that article about William Craig and the Caananites, if the Hebrews were able to take the kids into their ranks, I think they would, in fact God would probably tell them to. If you were God, wouldn’t you want more worshippers? Maybe the Hebrews lacked the resources to do so, i.e. they couldn’t, and the alternative was that the Caananites would have died a more agonizing death from starvation or disease. I’m just speculating here.

  4. Thomas says:

    This is one of the things that drives me absolutely insane about religion. You seem like a reasonable person, keith, but you’re trying to make an excuse for hacking hundreds of children to death with swords. I don’t know of anything else in the world with that kind of corruptive power.

  5. Keith says:

    “I don’t know of anything else in the world with that kind of corruptive power.”

    And yet atheistic Communism brought about the deaths of at least 95 million, and maybe as many as 100 million during the past century. Take the Chinese Cultural Revolution, Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge, Stalin’s famine. NO ONE is clean. Also, maybe God Himself changed.

  6. Thomas says:

    That’s fair, I suppose. There are other beliefe systems that can lead someone to slaughter children.

    That being said, I have a hard time seeing someone driven to that act by a lack of belief in gods. I know that I’ve never killed anyone because the god I don’t believe in told me to do it.

  7. Keith says:

    “That being said, I have a hard time seeing someone driven to that act by a lack of belief in gods.”

    Apparently, you’ve never heard of the Khmer Rouge.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/06/08/world/main5071979.shtml

    http://heyjude.smugmug.com/CAMBODIA/KHMER-ROUGEKILLING-FIELDS-TOUL/1304056_5L5hJ/1/63097617_dt5t7

  8. Keith says:

    Also, the whole “women and children” thing may have been just a allegory not meant to be taken literally.
    As a guy once said: “Militant Atheists take verses that refer to “men and women and “infants and sucking” killed too literally [in Ancient Near Eastern times, that was another way of saying that they won and everyone in the Ancient Near East knew that]. Also, militant Atheists make a big deal that God got Israel to carry out killing of “innocent” women and children. As I shall show later, the Canaanite elite, not the average Canaanite person, were the targets of the Israelite conquest [so while some people, who speak about Canaanite sins believe that the Canaanite babies were killed so then they wouldn’t sin and get the Israelites to sin, *the truth is that there is no evidence that Canaanite babies were killed*”

    Also as far as Canaanite “cities” were: “Archaeological evidence shows that many of these “cities” were actually fortresses and citadels. Even if Israel literally killed every single person in the “cities”, it would still not be a genocidal. For Israel still would not have killed the 90% of Canaanites living in the countryside. Also, archaeological evidence seems to indicate that non-combatants did not live in many of these “cities” For Richard Hess, in his essay “War in the Hebrew Bible an Overview“, which was published in the book “War in the Bible and Terrorism in the 21rst Century“, states that:

    To what extent are the conquests described in Joshua genocidal wars of extermination that have no place in any reasonable ethic of warfare? In my view, a description of this sort would be inaccurate and distorted. References to the destruction of non-combatants in these wars, that is to “men and women,” are scare, referring to Jericho and Ai (Josh 6:21 and 8:25). However, there is reason to suspect that these references in Joshua are stereotypical phrases that emphasize the complete destruction of everyone. On the other hand, Jericho and Ai, the initial two sites of conquest, instead of being town or cities, may have been military forts guarding the routes from the Jordan Valley up to the population centers in the hill country such as Bethel and Jerusalem. Evidence for this conclusion includes (1) the complete absense of references to specific noncombatants such as women and children with the exception of Rehab and her family, who were not killed (2) the lack of settlement at Jericho and Ai during the time of Israel’s emergence in Canaan (3) the use of the term melek ‘king’ to mean a military leader at Canaan at this time (4) the lack of indication in the biblical text that these were large cities (unlike Gibeon and Hazor, which are thus described); and (5) the meaning of the word Ai ‘ruin’, which suggests the reuse of early fortifications to serve as a temporary fort instead of a more permanent site of habitation.
    The other two major battles, which were against the northern and southern coalitions, are represented as defensive wars (Joshua 10-11).

    In both cases, they begin as the coalitions assemble against Israel or its ally and therefore force the people of God into battle (Josh 10:3-5, 11:1-5). Note, furthermore, that the eight or more references to complete destruction of cities represented by these coalitions (in which nothing was left alive) could plausibly be stereotypical descriptions for the purpose of obedience to the command to drive out the Canaanites (Josh 10:28, 30 32 35, 37, 39, 11:1, 14). It is possible that, after the defeat of the army, the populations fled rather than remaining in a relatively defenseless city. Furthermore, we know that many of these “cities” were used primarily for Government buildings, and the common people lived in the surrounding countryside. Therefore, it is not certain that there was a population remaining in these cities to be destroyed. There is no indication in the text of any specific noncombatants who were put to death. In any case, there is clear evidence that there were Canaanites remaining in the areas where Israel settled (Judg 2:10-13).
    I couldn’t have said it better myself. The truth is that these “cities” were occupied by the elite. So it was occupied by the Government, military and all those providing the Government and military with services. The idea of killing everything that breathes and of killing “men and women” is simply typical ANE language used that means victory even if it isn’t literally true. And as stated, everyone in the Ancient Near East used it. The Tenach [Old Testament], though inspired by God, was still written by humans living in the Ancient Near East. So the Tenach contains allegories that made more sense to people in the Ancient Near East than to people living in the 21rst century. So if you don’t put on the shoes of people, who lived in those days, you would certainly have a lot of trouble understanding it.”

  9. Keith says:

    I hope the whole “women and children” thing is just a allegory. Then again, parts of the Bible were allegories, not literal.

  10. Thomas says:

    The very first sentence in the first article you linked says: “Khmer Rouge guards killed babies by battering them against trees under an official policy to ensure the children of the brutal Cambodian regime’s victims could never take revenge for their parents’ deaths, the group’s chief jailer testified Monday.”

    Atheism is not the reason those kids were killed.

    The rest is just a complete retcon. As much as some theologians want to twist and bend their scriptures, the plain reading is, well, plain. Commanded genocide, including the slaughter of children. Which, as you said, was pretty common back then. God didn’t tell the Israelites to conquer the military fortifications, he told them to totally posses the land, to drive out all of the inhabitants. Because of their sin, the land will vomit them out.

    I won’t buy the whole “cultural lenses” argument. God was supposed to be teaching his people how to live, not making accommodations for their ingrained or inherited beliefs. God had no problem telling his people not to each pork or gather sticks on Saturday or sex up the livestock, but when it came to murdering an entire city’s worth of kids, he’s suddenly all concerned with speaking in existing cultural idioms? Sorry, no. A perfect deity should have at least been able to come up with something better than the Geneva conventions.

    But the historicity of those events isn’t the point: the issue is that William Lane Craig, a modern, respected theologian, is saying that slaughtering babies would A-OK, if his god so commanded. A modern, twenty-first century man, living in twenty-first century America, saying it’s okay to slaughter babies, and even explaining why that would be a good thing.

    Things like this are why I started questioning my faith, and eventually left. The scientific evidence (well, really, the lack thereof) was what pushed me over the line, but the shocking ways in which god seems to mimic the worst tendencies of his followers was what got the ball rolling.

  11. Keith says:

    “But the historicity of those events isn’t the point: the issue is that William Lane Craig, a modern, respected theologian, is saying that slaughtering babies would A-OK, if his god so commanded. A modern, twenty-first century man, living in twenty-first century America, saying it’s okay to slaughter babies, and even explaining why that would be a good thing.”

    Guy’s wrong.

    “Atheism is not the reason those kids were killed.”

    Yeah, but what about all the Buddhist, Christian and Cham Moslem clergy? what about all the clergy and religious people killed by Communists over the years?

    “As much as some theologians want to twist and bend their scriptures, the plain reading is, well, plain. Commanded genocide, including the slaughter of children. Which, as you said, was pretty common back then. God didn’t tell the Israelites to conquer the military fortifications, he told them to totally posses the land, to drive out all of the inhabitants. Because of their sin, the land will vomit them out.”

    Not a retcon. Allegories were probably not uncommon in the ancient Mid East. Even in the Bible, a fair part of it was no doubt allegories. Why not God Himself using them?

    “God was supposed to be teaching his people how to live, not making accommodations for their ingrained or inherited beliefs. God had no problem telling his people not to each pork or gather sticks on Saturday or sex up the livestock, but when it came to murdering an entire city’s worth of kids, he’s suddenly all concerned with speaking in existing cultural idioms? Sorry, no.”

    *Sometimes* God was teaching His people how to live. Who’s to say that other times He wouldn’t make accomodations for their styles, even using allegories commonly used by people throughout the region? Is God a literal being all the time? The Israelite conquest wasn’t a war on every single Caananite, but on the Canaanite culture and religion. So the war was fought mainly in the cities. And the targets were the dominant currents, that is the Government and the military. And the ones who repented were spared. For example, Rehab clearly saw the warning signs. She helped the Israelite spies and repented herself. And she and her entire family were spared. The bible makes that clear, even though it still uses common ANE language by stating that the Israelites killed all those who breathed and that they killed ”men and women”, regardless of how much truth is in that statement. Also, Caananites who fled were spared. For Israel did not hunt down every Caananite individual, who lived in the cities. The Israelites really had no beef with the rank and file Canaanites, rather with their religon (which included Moloch worship i.e. human sacrifict) and culture.

  12. Keith says:

    Let’s not have a fight. Let’s live and let live.

  13. Keith says:

    Also, in the book “The Joshua Delusion?: Rethinking Genocide in the Bible” Douglas Earl drew on insights from the early church and from modern scholarship, and claims that we have WRONGLY read Joshua as a straightforward historical account and have ended up with a genocidal God. In contrast, Earl offers a theological interpretation in which the mass killing of Canaanites is a deliberate use of MYTH to make important theological points that are still valid today. I’m going to see if I could take a look at it. It might be interesting.

  14. Thomas says:

    I also have a hard time believing the claim that we’ve been misinterpreting the bible for the last few thousand years, and are only now discovering what it “really” meant when god told his people to slaughter a bunch of children.

    But let’s say that’s what happened. Let’s say that this was an allegory, or a myth, or something else that wasn’t supposed to be taken seriously. Wouldn’t an all-knowing, infinitely wise deity be able to foresee the problems people would have interpreting those texts, and make them less ambiguous? Why is it so hard to interpret “god’s love letter to us”?

  15. Keith says:

    “But let’s say that’s what happened. Let’s say that this was an allegory, or a myth, or something else that wasn’t supposed to be taken seriously. Wouldn’t an all-knowing, infinitely wise deity be able to foresee the problems people would have interpreting those texts, and make them less ambiguous? Why is it so hard to interpret “god’s love letter to us”?”

    The Tenach [Old Testament], though inspired by God, *was still written by humans* living in the Ancient Near East. (emphasis mine).

    Anyhoo, I just saw the latest TVD episode, The Sun Also Rises, and I want to say it blew me away. Did you know that Julie Plec has said that Season 3 will be the “year of the Originals”?

  16. Jennifer says:

    I saw this and immediately thought, “Thomas WILL want this for next week’s TWOTW!” 😉

    So, here ya go! It is FULL of awesome.

    http://all-that-is-interesting.com/post/4956385434/the-first-zombie-proof-house

  17. Thomas says:

    Jennifer: Ooo… totally posting this 🙂

  18. Thomas says:

    Keith: This episode made me want to punch my television. Damon was right all along, and Bonnie needs to be fed through a wood chipper. I hate her so much.

  19. Keith says:

    “Keith: This episode made me want to punch my television. Damon was right all along, and Bonnie needs to be fed through a wood chipper. I hate her so much.”

    I presume you’re referring to the gang trusting Elijah?

  20. Thomas says:

    Yeah. And basically the entire plan where all of Mystic Falls has to die to (maybe) save Elena.