Friday, May 6, 2011

Logic Fail of the Day

is brought to you by the Main Street Christian Church in Russiaville, Indiana.

Pastor Stephen Bishop posted on his church's facebook (now either down or private):

“Well, yesterday's sermon was a big hit! We had a mass execution of feeder fish that I pulled out of a fish tank and then threw all over the floor. The kids were in shock and then started to pic[sic] them up and put them back into the fish tank. Obviously, most of them died in the effort...the point however was made that they cared more about .15 cent feeder fish then[sic] they do about their friends dying w/o Christ.”

This gets posted on Reddit, and sparks an interesting line of insane justifications from the holy man himself, including:

"The lesson was not in making things suffer or allowing things to suffer. The point of the lesson was that we shouldn't want individuals to suffer in hell for all of eternity. That we need to act quickly because none of us are promised tomorrow and that we only have this moment to make an eternal impact on the lives of those we love."

Yes, because killing things totally illustrates that.

"I got [these methods] from someone else and used them because it was a GREAT illustration that I believed would and infact[sic] did have a deep and powerfully positive impact for our youth and their relationship with Jesus. Again positive. Again, are you saying fish have souls, because that obviously is not what I believe."

Not having a soul = totally disposable and just fine to callously discard.

"First of all, I did not equate the spiritual value of the fish to their monetary value. Fish have no spiritual value, but they do have nutritional value in that fish are food. They were given to us to be eaten and to be eaten by other animals. We are to be concerned yes for all living things but more so for the souls of mankind. I read that Jesus taught this same lesson to the disciples when they just left their boats, nets, and FISH to go and follow him and become fishers of men. It was not a message of fear for Jesus nor was it a message of fear for me. It was a message of for all of mankind and the desperate need to reach everyone with his love before it is too late."


"I removed the post and opened a thread of response here because there ARE CHILDREN who view our church's FB and they don't need to see all of the hate postings and cussing that is being sent to me. I[sic] not unsure of my methods and I am not the first individual to have used this illustration. I received it from Michael Rowan, who is a world renown[sic] sought after speaker and he received it from one of his personal friends. I am sure that there are other pastors out there who have also done very similar illustrations. If it makes everyone feel better, next time I'll go and buy a bunch of already processed fish (which were also raised to be killed and eaten) fry them up and throw them on the floor. Great impact there as well since it will also show the fact that we waited too long to save the fish and they got killed and fried. Same difference as far as I can tell. Of course there are those of you who don't eat anything that was living...right??? opps[sic]...wait, the carrots might still be thinking ,"please put me back in the ground, you're hurting me." Sorry for my satire but this is getting old. Fish do not have a soul and we are "worth more than many sparrows," for those of you who have decided to just rip scripture out of context go down just one more verse and finish the thought of Jesus in Luke 12. Of course in Genesis 1:28 God gives us "rule over the fish of the sea," but sadly nobody seems to want to recognize these facts. Again, sorry for my satire."

The point is fucking red-shifting as it goes over this dude's head.

RT the Pharyngula article on this, or use #mainstreetchristianchurch. I'd love to see this spread across the internet as a big old WTF moment.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

On book publicity

I was originally going to be good and pick a book that didn't already have loads of Internet argument, commentary, publicity, and frothing reviews; this one caught my eye initially because the cover is basically a stock photo with outer-glow Zapfino slapped on top of it as if it's 2006 all over again. But I am weak, and I am also not particularly nice, so I give you


My Father's Daughter

by all-around superb human being Gwyneth Paltrow. Those of you who have better things to do than read gossip websites may not realize that Ms. Paltrow is not only an actress and a singer but also (in the words of a lifestyle guru and cleanse practitioner. She's been foodie-ing for years; back in 2005 she claimed she would rather her children die than consume Lipton Cup-A-Soup. In 2008 she and chef Mario Batali, who wrote the foreword for My Father's Daughter, came out with a companion book to Batali's series Spain...A Culinary Road Trip. Her next foray into telling people what they should be doing was the online lifestyle newsletter GOOP. Now, with her own cookbook, Paltrow continues her rise to culinary superstardom.

Naturally, with an author of this prominence, the book publicized itself pretty efficiently. I doubt Paltrow had to do much calling of bookstores and offering to do signings if they had some spare room for a book table, or hiring publicists specifically for this purpose. On the face of it, the phenomenon of celebrity-with-book-deal isn't anything new; what sets My Father's Daughter apart from any of the other celeb books out right now (see Tina Fey's Bossypants, for example) is the amount of energetic, polarized, in some cases viral commentary on the Internet.

Back in December, got hold of a preview copy of the book, and gave a precis of what we could expect. Tellingly, they offered only a little comment on the excerpts themselves, letting Paltrow's prose stand on its own:

"In the last ten years or so, cooking has become my main ancillary passion in life."

"I can still hear [my father] over my shoulder, heckling me, telling me to be careful with my knife, moaning with pleasure over a bite of something in the way only a Jew from Long Island can, his shoulders doing most of the talking."

"The stove is really the epicenter of my house — I am never far away from it and most of the time there is something atop it, simmering away for my family."

"I am constantly thinking about ways to give my children something filled with as much nutritional value as possible."

Now that the book is out, they've revisited it and are giving more of a review--while still allowing Gwyneth Paltrow to say everything about herself that they would be tempted to say about her. Here are Eater's sixteen best lines from the book. My personal favorite is

"I first had a version of this at a Japanese monastery during a silent retreat—don't ask, it's a long story."

But it's not all snark. The Atlantic offers a balanced view of the book, including commentary from an actual nutrition expert on the claims Paltrow makes. The overall impression is that My Father's Daughter has some decent recipes in it and does in fact offer useful advice in some cases, and once you strip away the hilarious permission given the reader to substitute actual pig bacon for duck bacon lest you find yourself unable to locate this latter substance, is written in good faith.

Finally, and perhaps most amusingly, features a column by Julia Turshen, who assisted Paltrow with the book. Without meaning to (I have to assume), Turshen's chat with "the wonderful, supremely talented food stylist Susie Theodorou and her assistant Rebecca Jurkevich," who worked on the book with Turshen and Paltrow, illustrates everything about the world of the foodie that drives the rest of us nuts and makes us not want to buy My Father's Daughter (note that they can't spell cappuccino):

1. How do you take your coffee?

Susie: If I'm in Italy, a cappucino. Everywhere else, black.

Rebecca: It depends on the day. Either a good cappucino or an Americano. But my favorite is a cortado at Abraço. (Ed.: I couldn't agree more.)