Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Random Thoughts Blog. . .

As if you people care what I think, but its my blog, and apparently funded by the good people of Kaiser Permanente. Actually, that's a bit ironic as my employer made his money suing. . .but I digress.

Rather that a full blog post on any particular topic, I have been so inspired that I want to do a bunch at a time. Granted, I could avoid this by posting more often, but its my blog. . .err. . .Google's blog, but they let me play here. So bite me. Anywho, without further ado. . .

Birther and Deathers = Identity Politics: Usually, Democrats have been accused of playing identity politics. That is, the Dems allegedly get people to vote for them along racial and/or ethnic lines, instead of along policy lines. In the past that might have been true, but now its pretty clear that the GOP is playing identity politics for reals.* For someone like Sarah Palin, being an American means you have to be white, conservative and from a small town. Predictably, African American, Latino, LGBT, and urban dwellers noticed this in the last election and all voted for Obama. What you're seeing now with the birthers (who deny that Obama is even a citizen) and the Deathers (who think Obama is creating a death panel**, when he's not) are people who oppose Obama because he's a black guy with a Muslim-sounding name. And they go nuts because they think that everyone should know that. Of course, everyone does know that, and most don't care. Hence, they go nuts. Oh, and to the guy who brought a LOADED WEAPON TO A PRESIDENTIAL TOWNHALL - you're an idiot and you're lucky you didn't get shot or arrested for doing it. Now, knock it off. There are about a 1000 police at these things, so trust me, no one is going to mess with you.

But in all seriousness, identity politics is kinda scary because that sort of thing is usually a harbinger of civil conflict. In Iraq, for instance, elections are about identity first, and policy second. So, the ethnic tensions are increased and people end up getting shot. And quite frankly, if no one ends up shot at one of these town halls, I'm going to be very surprised.

* Any and all misspellings, and odd pluralizations are completely intentional.

** What Palin calls a "Death Panel" is actually a process whereby the senior citizen meets with a panel of doctors to discuss end of life care - when to pull the plug, when to go to hospice, etc. So, rather than impose end of life decisions on people, this panel is supposed to empower them. And the creation of this panel was created by the Republican Senator from Georgia, Johnny Isaackson.

Polygamy in Western Culture
- So, I was watching "Clash of the Gods" last night on the History Channel (which, aside from the ridiculous notion that the myths may be true, is a pretty good show), featuring both Hercules and Zeus. In both instances, Hera's vindictive jealousy was pretty well explored. What struck me was that while I remembered that Zeus was a hornball, and had numerous affairs with everyone, I did not remember that Zeus largely took power thanks to his ability to forge relationships with powerful entities. He was, in essence, a politician. And like all politicians, the need to be liked carried over into his personal life, and hence his numerous affairs.

What's also interesting is that unlike many other cultures in that part of the world, the Greeks never really developed polygamy. Generally, a man had one wife, and then several lovers (or he just fucked the slaves). Rome too, never really developed polygamy. I think, in part, this has to do with the fact that Roman and Greek women were more equal to their men than were the women of other cultures. Thus, the Hera figure - the angry, jealous wife - becomes the God that women pray to. And in legend, wronged women like Clytemnestra kill their men (though Clytemnestra had a lot of good reasons to kill her husband). So, there was some fear by the men that if they went too far, their women would try to kill them (which Hera apparently tried).

What's also interesting about this lack of polygamy, is that when Christianity developed, it was heavily influenced by the Romans and the Greeks. So, its not surprising that Christianity, for the most part, does not allow polygamy, while Islam (which is also derived from Judiasm) does. Judiasm, interestingly enough, allowed polygamy but dropped the practice.

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