Saturday, August 18, 2007

Unleashing Personal Exuberance

monotheism, india, and "the beast with one back"

1. The crucial distinction between monotheism and polytheism is revenue flows. My parents purchased salvation with one check a year; my neighbors in Taiwan would have killed for such a streamlined financial system. The Fire God remains on a barter economy (he seems to enjoy pineapple and Coke), the Daoists will only take cash, and nobody is quite clear on what exactly the Boddhisatva wants. The medieval Catholic Church lasted so well because it integrated the two approaches -- think of Martin Luther as an advocate of a neater spreadsheet (roughly: "saints are false consciousness").

This system was bad for atheists, but they have come up with a clever new income stream. Profits now grow in proportion to Christopher Hitchens' ego.

2. Meanwhile, in India, the government may come down because it has acheived what the majority of the country wants. At issue is a nuclear deal with the United States that gives a quiet nod to India's nuclear program despite the governments failure to endorse a ban on testing.

The previous government, run by a Hindu-nationalist party (the BJP) badly wanted the agreement but never got it. Their goal is to bring down the progressive party (the UPA) of Manmohan Singh. UPA's only real transgression was to negotiate a deal, but the BJP is using its rent-a-mobs to drum up nationalist sentiment by claiming the treaty violates the country's sovereignty.

The BJP, being the minority party, couldn't achieve anything without help on the inside. Their turncoat allies? The Communists. Normally, Communists and very nationalistic religious parties do not make natural bedfellows, but it turns out the Commies hate the U.S. more than they hate the opium of the people.

So the Commies will symbolically pull out of the ruling coalition (not clear if they would actually support a no-confidence motion), and the thing that 90% of the populace wants will be jeopardized.

Moral of the story -- Communism may be good for something after all.

3. I knew Claude Scales was a funny man, but who knew he did penis jokes? Turns out the boomer knows quite a bit about being self-absorbed -- "the hot date with the Sally Five-slide." Such cool lingo they have in Brooklyn!

Claude's post remined me of a challenge set down by that dirty-minded instigator, Keifus, thrown down at John McG at Wag the Slate, the beta version of WikiFray. John rose to the occasion with the classic titles "Who's Beating the Meter?" and "Improper Self-Love." But, improbably, it was MsZilla who was the hands-down winner.

Feeling nostalgic for the old days, I thought I'd revive the tradition.