Wednesday, December 21, 2011

All Your Hitch Are Belong to Us

Christopher Hitchens is six days gone, and his corpse has decayed just enough for the ghouls to find irresistible. As they devour him, they compare him to C.S. Lewis and G.K. Bloody Chesterton, those eloquent old godders, to whom, it should be noted, no one compared Hitch when he was alive. As the hungry foragers dig their fingers into Hitchens’s desiccating body they chirp that perhaps the man who wrote God is Not Great changed his mind about the whole Jesus thing at the very last minute, and if not before death, he certainly did when he turned up in Hell, what what? God is LURVE.

Please piss on his grave. Hitchens was a notorious grave pisser. This was my favorite of his qualities. The world needs talented grave pissers to continue that tradition. Talk about how 9/11 brought out his inner warmongering douchebag. Arch your eyebrow and try to replace him*.

Please do not pretend he came around to Jesus in the very end. The only deathbed conversion having to do with Hitchens was his conversion from a living person into a cadaver. Hitch predicted the vultures would feast, not because he was clairvoyant but because the scavengers for the Holy Ghost are so fucking predictable.

Stop lying for your meat, hyenas. Hitchens was a godless Horseman, not a Christian soldier. He was neither a secret nor an honorary Christian just because his name had the word Christ in it or because militant Islam seriously freaked him out. About the resurrection of Jesus, Hitchens said the following:

“Having no reliable or consistent witnesses, in anything like the time period needed to certify such an extraordinary claim, we are finally entitled to say that we have a right, if not an obligation, to respect ourselves enough to disbelieve the whole thing.” (God is Not Great, p. 143)

Hitch was a war pig, but he was our war pig. You don’t get to claim him, Ross Douthat, now that he’s too deceased to tell you to fuck yourself. A lie about a dead infidel is still a lie.

Christopher Hitchens, 1949-2011

*Try hard, won’t you? My heart aches for a Hitchens obit of Kim Jong Il.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


SPOILERS throughout for shows featuring incest tropes.

The budding incest subplot on Dexter is making this TV addict a little grumpy. I thought about leaving the show if they follow this through, but you know I won’t because we’ve been together so long, baby. Maybe you think my visceral reaction is attributable to cultural taboos and my own squicks and hang-ups, as at first I thought it was. But then I examined it a little deeper and realized that this irritation is not about incest. After all, I did not mind Octavia and Octavian in Rome or Cersei and Jaime in Game of Thrones. Jimmy and Gillian in Boardwalk Empire freaked me out for a minute but that was just because I didn’t think the show would go there until a bit later.

So, what is the problem? The problem is two things. The first thing is that the incest trope has been done on each of those HBO programs I just mentioned. On True Blood as well, when Vampire Beel banged the bejeezus out of his great-great granddaughter. Did the big men at Showtime notice a correlation between HBO’s incest subplots and its Emmy nominations and issue an order to Scott Buck? 100 percent more sister-fucking than that damn vampire show, or it’s curtains for you, Buckaroo! The decision seems tacked on, a conclusion to an emotional arc that never existed before twenty seconds ago.

Which brings us to thing number two: this development is not a logical progression for these characters. Octavian was always into Octavia, and her seduction of him made sense in the context of their story. Cersei and Jaime were fucking from day one; their sexual relationship is an important part of their characters, and it ties into the larger narrative. The implication that Jimmy and Gillian had such a relationship came early in their series, so when the setup got knocked down, it was inevitable and meaningful to Jimmy’s character and to the story.

When, in Dexter’s five previous seasons, has Debra’s behavior ever indicated sexy feelings for her brother? Debra justifies the delusion that she has always been into him with the men in her life, whom she says are either just like Dexter or nothing like him at all. So, either your boyfriends have stuff in common with your brother, or they don’t, and that’s your case for brother-fucking? Let’s see if this adds up.

Biney the Mad Prosthetist is Dexter’s biological brother, and the two of them lived through the same trauma, the chainsaw murder of their mother. They have a lot in common, and I’m positive that this will be the writers’ primary piece of evidence in their defense. There was that dude she met at the gym, who IIRC was just a nice guy. Deb sabotaged that relationship because she was still fucked up from the Biney thing, and who could blame her?

Lundy, I think, is the great love of Deb’s life, and it is he who disproves the case for brother-love. Sure, Lundy had things in common with Dexter—an eye for detail, intense curiosity, passionate drive—but the old man was his own man, a lion for justice. Debra, Lundy, and Dexter had one thing in common: they hunted murderers obsessively. Deb likes men who have the job in common with her because it is convenient to get the nookie this way; this does not make a case for brotherly love. If anything, Lundy is a better example for daddy issues (another post altogether).

Then there was Anton, who was another nice rebound dude. I guess the writers will say that Anton has nothing in common with Dexter and that’s why she dated him, because brother-fucking! But seriously, you can’t have it both ways. Deb likes to rebound with the teddy bears, who salve her wounds until she is well enough to fuck up the relationship. After Lundy died, Deb ended up with Quinn, who satisfied part of the teddy bear thing and part of the convenient partner nookie thing. Quinn and Deb were good for each other; they brought out the best in one another. That the show runners decided to break them up so Deb could feel sexy feelings at Dexter is a betrayal of her character.

It seems to me that, for five years, the writers were very careful to not imply incestuous emotions between the siblings. Even when Jennifer Carpenter and Michael C. Hall were a real-life couple, there was zero sexual chemistry between them onscreen as these characters. Their relationship was something I really loved, because it illustrated how an adoptive relationship can be the same as a blood relationship. Now the show runners seek to undermine that idea, and for what? Isn’t the revelation that her brother is a murderer enough to propel Debra’s character through the next couple seasons?

You made a bad decision here, Buck. I hope you realize that before next season, and Brother Chuck the psychiatrist and her subplot posthaste.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

It Gets Worse

Last month, professional atheist JT Eberhard gave a much-touted talk at Skepticon IV about mental illness, and called for people with mental disorders to share their stories. This is one of mine.

Since I was a little kid I have wanted to die, but I first understood I could kill myself when I was twelve. That year, an acquaintance of my dad’s shot himself in the head. I realized I did not need to beg imaginary beings to get me out of this life when there was a way out right there in the medicine cabinet (we didn’t have a gun). It seemed so obvious, to do it my damn self. Right in my face the whole time, and I never saw it until Dad’s friend blew his own brains out. I thought it was genius.

22 years later, I still think that guy had the right idea. College is going well enough, and I love my husband and family, but none of it matters to my brain. At least once a day, I seriously consider suicide as an alternative to spending one more conscious minute on this ridiculous piece of shit planet.

Sometimes crazy people neglect hygiene and various ailments. My upper teeth have rotted away so that when I smile, I look like a zombie. This is a little bit cool on Halloween or on a movie set, but not so fantastic at a job interview. The bleeding and pain are never even a little bit cool. I have trouble leaving the house a lot of the time, because I cannot bear people looking at me. It will cost over $4000 to extract the teeth and over $1700 to get dentures put in. I am 34 years old and I have to get dentures because I am batshit.

Two weeks ago, I had a five-day-long panic attack. I could not sleep, I barely ate, and what I did eat I vomited soon after. My husband tried to help by dragging me out of the house, but there was no shutting up the noise in my head. I did not know what to do, and so I considered eating my husband’s entire bottle of Xanax to make it stop. Instead, I took three pills and passed out.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, I felt much calmer after I got some sleep.

Living with mental illness sucks, but skepticism saves the day almost every day. I can’t reason myself out of a panic attack, but I can determine that, indeed, the Wendy’s has not disappeared or ceased to exist, that my brain is being a douchebag once again, and that I should pull over until it quits doing that. There is comfort in having a framework to better distinguish reality from delusion. Skepticism does not always alleviate the guilt I feel for being crazy, but it helps me to understand that the guilt is irrational, unhelpful, and perfectly understandable given society’s views on the mentally unstable.

The ability to question my own assumptions has kept me ticking. Maybe on dark days that disappoints me, but what do I know? I’m crazy.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Fundies Piss Me Off

In a nation with as diverse a population as the United States, where all races, creeds, religious beliefs, genders, etc. come together in the public space, how the fuck is it that I ended up the only atheist among a horde of Christian fundamentalists in my philosophy class?

First, there is the fellow who answered a discussion question about ethical relativism with an incoherent screed about the immorality of men who lie with men, quoted the bit in Leviticus about such men being "put to death," and something about how the government says "God bless America" all the time. This was all in one post. He backed off a bit when I asked him what he was trying to say; should the U.S. government put men who lie with men to death? But that is what happens when you confront fundies with the implications of what they believe. They back off so they don't appear to be the monsters that their words imply them to be.

Being gay, BTW, is totally more abominable than eating shellfish because Jesus said so.

Then there is the young lady who claimed she was "very upset" because other people did not believe the same things that she believed, that she did not even realize it was possible. Really, lady? You never met a Jew? Hell, you never met a Christian of a different denomination than yours? She never spoke to me, but I know my disproof of the stupid stupid STUPID ontological argument the week before was probably one source of her discomfort.

Anyway, it is almost over, and soon I will enter Intro to Film. This is a class where maybe, for once, the Godders will talk about something other than how awesome their god is. Like movies, for instance. Hopefully not the Left Behind movies, but fuck it. Kirk Cameron at least is good for a laugh.