Jamie’s Digest (2): Cool Bits From Books

Whenever I’m reading I always like to highlight phrases and passages that strike a chord with me, either because they’re emotionally or intellectually resonant, or because they’re exceptionally relevant to something that’s happening in the world today. I’d like to continue to share some of the these excerpts with you.

Catholic Tastes

In light of both the ascension of the DUP to the role of king-makers, and Germany’s recent parliamentary vote in favour of legalising gay marriage, I thought the below was exceptionally relevant. It’s an extract from a piece published in a gay newsletter in Southampton the late 1970s by a man named Paul, a volunteer for the Solent Gay switchboard. A copy of the full text (which speaks of his sorrow at the extent of anti-gay discrimination in the country), as well as appearing in the newsletter, was also sent to the Rev. Ian Paisley, Lord Longford and Mary Whitehouse, a trio he felt had lent credence to those who would level violence and abuse at gay people.

Many heterosexuals like to remark that if everyone were homosexual, the human race would come to an end. (The human race would suffer the same fate if the entire male population became Roman Catholic priests, but God in his infinite and unfailing wisdom ensures that only about 5% of us are homosexual and that even fewer are Roman Catholic priests.) In view of the acknowledged importance of sex in perpetuating the human race, it is strange that there are still those who regard it as something shameful, embarrassing or rather awkwardly special.”

Amazon link: Ban This Filth by Ben Thompson (p.347 – 349)

The Bondage of Work

The below extract is for those of us (most of us) who are unlucky enough to work for ‘da man’ in any of his multifarious guises.

Every time you go into your workplace, you leave a democracy and enter a dictatorship. Nowhere else is freedom of speech for the citizens of free societies so curtailed. They can abuse their political leaders in print or on radio, television and the Web as outrageously as they wish, and the secret service will never come for them. They can say that their country’s leader is a lunatic, their police force is composed of sadists and their judiciary is corrupt. Nothing happens, even on those occasions when their allegations are gibberish. The leniency of free societies is only proper. Freedom of speech includes the freedom to spout clap-trap, as regular surfers of the Web know. If employees criticise their employers in public, however, they will face a punishment as hard as a prison sentence, maybe harder: the loss of their career, their pension, and perhaps their means of making a livelihood.”

Amazon link: You Can’t Read This Book by Nick Cohen (p.149)

Mo’ Men, Mo’ Problems

As a humanist an atheist and a secularist (sometimes we all walk into a bar) I’m appalled at the prejudice frequently levelled at my fellow human beings on account of their skin-colour, country of origin or set of beliefs; I’m further appalled by the foreign policy measures and media hyperbole that has inflamed hatred in this country and abroad. However, I’m also appalled at the way in which our freedom to criticise religion, in all of its forms, is slowly being eroded, mostly – it has to be said – through fear: fear of violent reprisals, and also fear of being on the same side of the argument – albeit for vastly different reasons – as the nation’s execrable clan of right-wing racists. That being said, however incompatible I consider organised religion to be with a measured, rational view of the world, and however strongly I may wish mankind to move beyond the infantile and supernatural, it’s always a good idea to seek out differing and (especially) opposing views; to be as well-informed and educated as possible on the history, structure and practice of religions.

Below is an extract about the history of Islam that you may find surprising (or perhaps not).

The emancipation of women was a project dear to the Prophet’s heart. The Quran gave women rights of inheritance and divorce centuries before Western women were afforded such status. The Quran prescribes some degree of segregation and veiling for the Prophet’s wives, but there is nothing in the Quran that requires the veiling of all women or their seclusion in a separate part of the house. These customs were adopted some three or four generations after the Prophet’s death. Muslims at the time were copying the Greek Christians of Byzantium, who had ong veiled and segregated their women in this manner; they also appropriated some of their Christian misogyny. The Quran makes men and women partners before God, with identical duties and responsibilities. The Quran also came to permit polygamy; at a time when Muslims were being killed in the wars against Mecca, and women were left without protectors, men were permitted to have up to four wives provided that they treat them all with absolute equality and show no signs of favouring one rather than the others. The women of the first ummah in Medina took full part in its public life, and some, according to Arab custom, fought alongside the men in battle. They did not seem to have experienced Islam as an oppressive religion , though later, as happened in Christianity, men would hijack the faith and bring it into line with the prevailing patriarchy.”

Amazon Link: Islam – A Short History by Karen Armstrong (p.14)

Brazil Nut

Nemesis – an account of the rise of an ordinary man in one of Rio’s most infamous favelas and his rise to the rank of don of the criminal under(and over)world – is a wonderful book: fast-paced, exciting, shocking, thoughtful, well-written and meticulously researched.

The extracts below give shape to the idea that tackling poverty and inequality through state and welfare policies/spending is not only an essential component of our common humanity, but also makes sound long-term economic sense. Effective social policies and less poverty equals a society that has greater stability, greater contentment, less crime, less unrest and less violence across the board.

After decades of dictatorship and chaotic transition, renewal and optimism were surging out from the federal capital, Brasilia, towards the furthest reaches of the country’s body politic. Whole regions and classes were reviving after a long period of neglect and deprivation. The sudden arrival of a period of prosperity that saw unemployment fall to record levels and personal spending increase significantly is crucial in explaining why Rio was becoming less violent. Young men in the favelas were turning away from weapons and drugs in favour of education and settled employment.”

While China was lauded for pulling some 100 million citizens out of poverty from the mid 1980s, fewer noticed Brazil’s more monumental achievement flowing from [socially democratic political moves and social policies designed to eradicate the chronic, crushing poverty experienced by a significant proportion of Brazil’s citizens). In Brazil, 30-40 million people managed to cross the poverty line. Given the much smaller population of Brazil, this was an even greater feat than the Sino equivalent.

The consequences of this golden era for Brazil’s political personalities were immense. The primary beneficiaries were the poor, not least those who lived in the favelas of the south. This was especially true of Rochina. Its isolation from other favelas and its now well-established tradition as a large market, both for the residents and for those coming from outside looking for a bargain, enabled it to ride the wave of economic confidence with a swagger. This growth spurt offered alternative employment to its younger men and women, and so the drugs trade became a somewhat less attractive career path.”

What was the biggest obstacle to political reform? Well, surprise, surprise: “The vested interests of Brazil’s powerful, if numerically small, economic elite proved deft in constructing numerous barriers.”

Amazon Link: Nemesis by Mischa Glenny

Read books, motherfuckers. Read books.

Why it’s time to bid farewell to Santa (or: Why Santa is bad for your kids’ elf)

I could sit in a circle of peers and announce that I don’t believe in Yahweh, God, Vishnu, Allah or a giant turtle that holds the known world atop its back as it crawls through the cosmos, and most of them would probably accept this declaration with a silent nod or a shrug of the shoulders. Never mind that in certain countries, among certain people and cultures, such a vow would earn me a spell in prison, a steak knife to the stomach or death. Here in the modern, secular west, I can profess belief, or its lack, in whatsoever I choose and be almost certain of a tolerant reception. But try to tell people that I don’t want to play along with the Santa myth we force upon our kids, and I’m treated like a scar-faced leper with a vest of grenades and a public masturbation problem.

The sprawling Santa conspiracy, global in its reach, in which we entangle our children raises a multitude of uncomfortable questions, and comes at a terrible price: not least of which is the spirit of shattered trust in which it’s perpetuated.

All other western cultural norms are fluid, it seems, except for this one. Never this one. The only things that will grant you an exemption from Santa are deeply-held fundamentalist Christian beliefs or adherence to a non-Christian faith, and even then you’ll probably still be regarded as a destroyer of children’s dreams.

It’s clear that there’s something about this little red-and-white lie that’s seen as integral to and inextricable from a hearty and wholesome childhood. There’s a concomitant notion that somehow the act of debunking Santa holds the potential to obliterate a child’s capacity for innocence and imagination, and quite possibly leave them with the dull, jaded outlook of a middle-aged chartered accountant on the eve of his second divorce. Or else turn them into a fleet of joyless androids each with the face of Richard Dawkins.

Santa is but one fictional character in a cast of thousands. Why should he get special dispensation when it comes to the laws of reality? I regularly read my son stories about alien encounters, magical beanstalks, sentient robots and talking horses, without ever feeling the need to perpetuate the entertaining fallacies inherent in the source material. No-one would consider it heresy for me to explain to my son that horses can’t really talk; knowing this fact doesn’t in any way limit his imagination or detract from his very real enjoyment of the story. Penguins don’t have jobs, dogs can’t moonlight as policemen, there’s no such thing as ghosts, people can’t turn green and smash buildings when they’re angry. He knows that, or at least these things have been explained to him. He doesn’t care. He still mimics these characters and scenarios, and riffs on them in his own unique, imaginative way when he’s running about the house or play-acting with his toys.

The power of Santa compels him… to do very little

Here’s a question for you: why does Santa deliver unequal amounts of toys to the children of the world? Why does he deliver more toys to affluent families than he does to poor families? Clearly, on the great sliding scale of political ideology, the red-jacketed sleigh-racer is more tightly aligned to conservative notions of capitalism than he is to communism, or socialism. If your kid goes back to school after the winter break with a new pair of cheap shoes and a toy laser gun, and has to listen to another kid bragging about his £1000 home entertainment system and surprise trip to Disneyland, what is he to infer about his worth in Santa’s eyes? Should he castigate himself for being too naughty, placing the blame for his poor festive haul upon his own tiny shoulders? Or should he just conclude that Santa doesn’t really like him all that much?

Remove Santa from this equation, and you’ve still got a problem with unequal distribution of wealth and resources in society, married to an unslakable thirst for goods and gadgets that’s only heightened and reinforced by our media, but that’s an argument for another time (besides, there are more learned, original and eloquent thinkers out there with better and more important things to say on the topic than little old me).

Consider also this point: Santa is an omniscient being who has mastered time itself, can travel around the globe and back in one evening, and can apparently conjure an endless supply of toys from thin air, much as another bearded magician once did with water, wine, loaves and fish. Santa uses these powers not to alleviate suffering, lift people out of hunger and poverty, cure the sick and the lame or to usher in a new era of world peace, but to drop toy robots down chimneys. What a role model. He’s no better than Sooty, or Jesus.

You can emphasise the magical, imagination-stretching benefits of a child’s belief in Santa as a rationale for deceiving your children, but when I hear Santa’s name mentioned by parents, more often than not his name is evoked as a correctional tool rather than as an instrument of wonder. Be nice, behave, go to bed, tidy your room, eat your dinner, or Santa will cross you off his list, and you won’t get any toys. By weaponising Santa in this way, parents have created a bearded boogeyman to scare or bribe their children into behaving the way they want them to. This may be an instantly effective, no-nonsense behavioural control technique, but then so is smashing them in the face with a cricket bat.

The sad truth is that parents are conditioning their children to be good not for goodness’ sake – as the old snowman song goes – but to be good so they can get a new TV. They’re being encouraged to equate virtue with financial reward. Part of being a happy, successful and fully-socialised human being necessitates a degree of sacrifice, negotiation, humility and deference. These are qualities – and modes of conflict resolution – that shouldn’t need a chuckling demigod, or the dangled carrot of a PlayStation 4, to be fully realised.

My family and I were in a shopping mall at the weekend, and passed by a Santa’s grotto. I couldn’t help feeling that there was something deeply sinister and ritualistic about the line of dead-eyed kids shuffling up to receive their gifts. They were like a cult. Ho ho ho. Here’s your new church, kids, here’s your new Jesus: roll up, roll up, as we inculcate you into the wholesale religion of consumer greed.

We experience rather enough problems with the religions we already have, thank you very much, without adding Santaism to the list. While belief in Santa may be the ‘Temporary Profile Picture’ of quasi-religious micro-faiths, it worries me tremendously that a belief in the supernaturalness of Santa might serve as a gateway drug to harder fictional beings, like Jesus or Moroni.

Imagine the scene in a household where a child who has been raised in a pro-Santa Christian family finally discovers that Santa isn’t real.

CHILD: “Ah, so Santa was all a big lie, was he? That’s hilarious. You had me, you did, you really had me, you got me hook, line and sinker with that one. So, come on, put me out of my misery. Jesus, right? Come on, the cat’s out of the bag. You made him up too, right? Miracles, walking on water, rising from the dead. I knew there was something iffy about that. I’ve got to hand it to you, though, you’ve created a genius fictional character there.”

PARENT: “Em… nope. Nope. That’s all true. Em… Jesus is real.”

CHILD: “…”

(Actually, the more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that Santa – employed properly – could be the antidote to Jesus: the great flicking wrist to bring down the whole house of cards.)

Parents and guardians are the people that children listen to and look up to above all others, whose word is gospel for a significant proportion of their young lives. For them to distort a child’s understanding of the laws of time, physics and the universe is an unforgivable crime. Nothing should be done to inhibit a child’s burgeoning critical faculties, or to corrupt their very sense of the world as an observable, rational and comprehensible place.

Don’t get me wrong. I myself used to believe wholeheartedly in Santa Claus. I used to get letters from him, in this very ornate handwriting. I thought, this could only be the work of a magical being, he writes like a bloody pro. This guy’s the real deal. I also used to get plenty of Valentine’s cards. I don’t think I can properly express the horror I felt on the day I was old enough to realise that the letters from Santa and the Valentine’s cards were all in the same handwriting. That was a shock to me. “Well, Santa. I see last year’s presents have come with a few strings attached. I’m not that sort of boy. But maybe throw in a few easter eggs and we’ll talk.”

The truth was even more horrible. I cross-referenced the Santa letters and the valentine’s cards with the handwriting on my birthday cards. They were from my gran. “Roses are red, I’m your mum’s mummy, I am going to put you, back up in my tummy.” I know she was just trying to boost my fragile little-boy ego, but I really bought in to the whole romantic fantasy. And all that time the unrequited love of my young life was a bloated septugenarian who smelled of cabbage. I was cat-fished by own gran before it was even a thing.

I guess what really irks me about this time of year is the fact that Santa is a secret I’ve had no say in. You don’t need Santa to make Christmas magical, but you do require his absence to maintain an honest and healthy stance on both our society and the universe itself. My silence is being demanded, not to preserve the mystery and magic of the festive season, but to stop me from blowing the whistle on the millions of other families who have chosen to deceive their children. Families who want to keep using Santa as a four-month-long carrot-and-stick combo. This only makes me want to blow the whistle all the more; to send my sons into their future schools with information bombs strapped to their brains, ready to blast your children in their faces with the bright light of truth.

I always want to be truthful with my children.

“Daddy… what happens to grandma and grandpa now that they’re dead? Have they just disappeared? Will I ever see them again?”

“…”

“Daddy?”

“TWO MONTHS UNTIL SANTA COMES, WEE GUY, ARE YOU AS EXCITED AS I AM??!!”

I think I do, anyway.

Jesus Comes to Stirling

stirling-blc

It would appear that the art of proselytising has gone corporate.

I was shopping in Stirling with my family yesterday. By which I mean they were shopping, and I was wandering the streets like a refugee displaced by war, desperately wishing I could return home. As I walked past Debenhams for the 857th time, I realised how thoroughly, head-thrashingly bored I was of the Thistle Shopping Centre and its Hannah Barbera-esque monotony. In a bid to shake things up, and stave off the desire to hurl myself under a bus, I decided to weave a different route through the white-walled labyrinth. I was also hungry. Ultimately, I didn’t care where the detour took me, as long as it took me to Greggs the bakers. Keeping to a semi-religious theme, you could say that I was on the road to Ham-ascus. Well, you could say that. But you probably shouldn’t. And I wish I hadn’t. Even the Christmas Cracker people would’ve rejected that piece of shit. I’m very Syria did that joke.

Anyway, let’s get on with this. I don’t want to be responsible for you being seized by the desire to rush outside and offer your skull to the nearest steamroller. My new route took me past a place I never expected to see in a mall in Stirling. To be honest, our Calvinist history not withstanding, I was shocked to see it in Scotland. It was the ‘Bible Learning Centre’, a neat, glossy, corporate, well-lit and slick shop filled with book shelves, biblical figurines, and blackboards. It looks for all the world like a cross between a classroom and a showroom, which I suppose it is.

“Hello there, I’d like to test-read a Bible.”

“I can tell by just looking at you that you’re a classic model man. We’ve just got an exclusive range of Bibles through the door, all kitted out in the original Hebrew. Bit pricey, but your neighbours will covet the hell out of them.”

“I was thinking maybe something a little more modern and conventional. Something reliable, affordable, with room for the kids.”

“Hmmm, I can do you a second-hand King James. Mint condition, apart from some kid’s drawn a spurting cock over the story of Lot’s wife.”

mormoons

The centre is a base for God-botherers, which means that preachers now have a permanent, six-day-a-week presence on Stirling’s streets. Except the people from the centre, who were loitering with intent outside the mall, neither bothered nor preached. Instead, they stood quietly in a row, holding posters and pamphlets perfectly still in their hands like mime artists, approaching and cajoling precisely no-one. I half expected them to be wearing little badges that said: ASK ME ABOUT MY JESUS.

What a wasted opportunity. I say if you’re going to go God, go full God, or not at all. Yes, Jesus was part of a touchy-feely, New-Labour-esque shift away from the lightning-and-locusts focus of the rather brutal Old Testament, but even in his softer, less-murdery, sandal-wearing incarnation, God/Jesus was still hard as fuck. He came down to earth and took more lashes than Anastasia Steele and an Iranian blogger combined, and didn’t even flinch when the Romans nailed him to a piece of wood. The guy’s a dangerous, kinky mental case, who could wink out the world with a twitch of his nose; he doesn’t want a line of meek, sharp-suited morons representing him, some ball-and-bowtie-less Muslim Brotherhood. He wants nutcases. Hectoring, full-blown nutcases.

He wants people like the guy I used to see standing outside one of the shopping centres off Union Street in Aberdeen, who would turn up every day with an amplifier and a microphone and let everyone know – through the medium of angry shouting – that they were all evil bastards who were going to hell. No exceptions. Even the babies were bad’uns.

I miss that guy.

Angry preacher

Perhaps if the Stirling missionaries injected a bit more vim and pep and honest-to-goodness fire and brimstone into proceedings, more people would visit the Bible Learning Centre. I know I would. “WELCOME YOU HORRIBLE FORNICATORS, SECRET MASTURBATORS AND SINNERS! COME SEE OUR DIORAMA OF HELL, WHERE ELTON JOHN IS FUCKING A DINOSAUR AND RICHARD DAWKINS IS BEING WHIPPED BY STALIN.”

Yesterday, the centre was deserted but for one lonely volunteer sitting up the back of the shop padding away at his mobile phone. No doubt he was taking to Twitter to enthuse about how great Jesus is. Tweets like:

@drippyhippy If you think about it, isn’t the Bible just a great big Tweet from God?140 characters, and Jesus is the star! #teamGod

 

@JesusTheFirstRockstar WOO! Jesus, your guitar solo of love flew through the amp and blew the devil from my stage! The crowd surfed him to Hell. YOU RULE JESUS!

 

@PiousPaul My cat licked its own chuff, so I burned her in the name of Jesus. #saynotopussy #mercifulJesus

If Jesus came back today, WWHD? I’ll tell you what he’d do. He’d lose the heid, Bible-style.  “ANN SUMMERS IS HEAVING WITH CUSTOMERS AND MY SHOP’S EMPTY?!” he’d bellow. “DILDOS?!! THE ONLY THING HOUSEWIVES SHOULD BE PUTTING INSIDE THEM IS MY LOVE!” Then he’d go on a major ‘taps aff’ rampage, smashing the shit out of every shop in sight, making his funny turn in the temple look like a sulky pre-schooler’s huff. Then it would be back to basics: floods, earthquakes, pillars of salt, the lot. “I’m never taking 2000 years off again,” he’d say, loading up another lightning bolt.

But thankfully you don’t need to worry about that, because Jesus is about as real as the doodle I just did on my notepad of a half-frog, half-beaver with George Galloway’s face.

Anyway, we’ve all learned something today. We’ve learned that the people of Stirling are more interested in nipple clamps and edible knickers than the Bible. And I’ve learned something, too: I actually quite like you, Stirling.

Thanks, Bible Learning Centre.

PS: Good people of the BLC: I’d rather my son spent a whole day wandering around a museum exhibition entitled ‘Pictures of Murdered Prostitutes Throughout the Ages’ than spend thirty seconds in your dead-eyed play-pen of lies. Happy Easter!

Jesus Loves You – That’s the Problem

jesus

Letter from a friend? Letter from a terrifying stalker, more like. Is this letter supposed to bring me comfort? Really? It’s the sort of thing you’d expect to find under your pillow alongside a dead rat. A dead rat with blood-red lipstick smeared over its hellishly contorted face, and a message carved into its side with a stanley knife: “This how yoo mayk MEE pheel!”

And what in God’s name is Jesus – a God, the God – doing wasting his time on the indifference of one obliviously happy mammal while the whole world around Him echoes with the yelps and cries of the suffering of millions? Wait… shhhhhh. Shhhh. Do you hear that noise? That, my friends, is the sound of a malnourished East African child’s recently-deceased cheek thudding into the hot desert dust; Jesus could’ve saved him, but presumably he was too busy skulking around Scottish forests, jumping out at people from behind trees, and going, ‘WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO TO MAKE YOU LOVE ME, OPEN ANOTHER FUCKING VEIN??!’

It’s nice that Jesus/God takes a non-interventionist stance on things like genocide and torture (“Well, you know me, Archangel Gabriel, I really don’t like to interfere.”), but doesn’t appear to mind sticking his beak in when he’s feeling a bit mopey and sorry for himself. No lightning bolts to fry those who rape and beat children, but rainbows all round for all the underwhelmed, non-plussed cunts of the world who’re just trying to get to work on time – and couldn’t give a jumping jackhammer for Jesus. That makes Jesus angry… and you wouldn’t like him when he’s angry.

No, this note does not indicate the behaviour of a benevolent and omnipotent deity; this note indicates the behaviour of a psychopathically jealous ex-partner who’s wearing a moustache made from bits of your hair he’s snipped from your head while you were sleeping. Having read this puke-inducing letter, you’ve got to believe that Jesus getting himself put on that cross two-thousand years ago was nothing more than a cry for attention from the universe’s biggest sulk.

I can see the FBI shaping a serial-killer’s profile from this note:

This is a man with grandiose ideas far out of touch with reality. He exhibits extreme narcissism, illustrated by the way in which he capitalises the word ‘Me’. Through his use of language, Jesus reveals a deeply entrenched God-complex.

We can speculate that in his childhood he was prone to violent bouts of rage, and may have committed anti-social acts such as flooding the entire earth’s surface and murdering millions of people. He may also have experimented with turning people into pillars of salt. Almost certainly he pissed the bed until he was 13.

Remember the Old Testament? Same dude, different beard. God was a total shit in the Old Testament, and I think that only makes his persona in the New Testament seem more sinister (remember ‘New’ Labour?). Jesus makes me nervous, like he’s an old gangster that says he’s gone straight, but you’re never quite sure: “I used to slice a mug’s fingers off just for lookin’ at me funny; now I bladdy love puppies, my san.” You know, a crazy glint in his eye that suggests he could go off on one at any minute. Perhaps, then, he’s more like a violent husband that’s trying to schmooze back into his ex’s good books: “Look, I know I got angry and wiped out a whole country with an earthquake when you forgot to close the fridge door that day, but that was the old me. I’ve changed, I really have… I promise…” Yeah, right, Jesus, pull the other one, mate! Jesus is Trevor, and we’re a planetful of Little Mo’s. And if it’s niceness you’re claiming, let’s not forget that Ted Bundy worked on the Samaritans’ switchboard. 

Creepier still, Jesus ends his ‘From a Friend’ letter by saying that he wants you to meet his Dad. But HE’S his own Dad. What next, Jesus? Discount coupons for a two-night stay at the Bates’ Motel?

Anyway, Jesus really freaked the fuck out of me with this one, so I’m busy drafting the text for a restraining order:

Jesus Horace Christ, you are prohibited from being within 30m of Mr Andrew, at all times and for any reason. This is in response to recent events, including:

Following Mr Andrew and his friends around the local park. You shadowed them on a parallel path behind the trees, intermittently breaking cover to blow in Mr Andrew’s face, and blind him and his friends with direct sunlight.

Breaking into Mr Andrew’s house in the dead of night. Mr Andrew said he opened one eye to find you sitting in a chair next to his bed. Your arm was outstretched and your fingers were approximately five inches from his face. You were crying, and mumbling to yourself: ‘I just want to touch you.’ You then opened the curtains and flooded the room with moonlight, muttering to yourself about DVDs of yours that were still in Mr Andrew’s possession. Mr Andrew was awake but was so terrified that he pretended to be asleep, hoping that you would leave the house of your own volition.

 

Folks, be afraid… be very afraid: Jesus loves you.

In Heaven, no one can hear you scream.

 

 

 

 

RoboPope: Dead and Alive, You’re Coming With Me

'Yes, I use Daz.'

‘Yes, I use Daz.’

Pope Francis has franchised out his brand to help him meet the demands of the Papacy in our busy, modern times. The new fleet of state-of-the-art RoboPopes was unveiled at a ceremony in Rome last month. Speaking at the ceremony, the Pope said that ‘a robot in my likeness will be sent to every country in which there is a Catholic presence’, each one personally blessed by the pontiff, and programmed to dispense Papal wisdom, and kiss the ground and shit like that.

‘Unlike God, I can’t be everywhere at once,’ said the Pope, ‘but now, with these surrogates, I can come close.’

Too beautiful to be bothering with any Popery, so he stays in his boxers.

Too beautiful to be bothering with any Popery, so he stays in his boxers.

The Pope was praised by senior clergy for ‘embracing change’ and ‘adapting to the technological age’, but Vatican sources insist that the Pope had these robots made because ‘he’s a lazy old cunt.’

‘Most days it’s a battle to get the Holy Father out of his underpants,’ confessed our insider, ‘He’ll just sit there eating ice-cream with a giant ladel, and watching South American Soap Operas. Los Tittos el Bitchos is his favourite. One time, he couldn’t be arsed going out on the balcony to address the crowds in St Peter’s Square, so he just pointed to one of the elder bishops and said, “Stick some glasses on that guy and shove him out there. No cunt’ll know the difference.”’

roboThere have been some teething problems with the robotic pontiffs. One model, trialled in La Paz, Bolivia, was addressing a congregation when it began flailing its arms and shouting, ‘DANGER, WILL ROBINSON! DANGER!’ The priest who tried to subdue the robot was decapitated, and the organist lost an eye, an ear and one-and-three-quarter testicles. In Dublin, one of the robots began fingering a choir boy. The priest sent an angry memo to the Pope saying: ‘I have nothing against the fingering of a choir boy in principle, Your Holiness, but I had first dibs.’ In Paris, one of the PopeBots converted to Islam, and then whizzed down the Champs Elysees yelling ‘Allahu Akbar’, and loudly denouncing the Pope as a ‘heathen dog.’

The Vatican has ushered in a new era of electronic innovation, upon which other faiths and nations have been quick to capitalise. Iran, Israel and Brazil are all developing, or have developed, a range of religiously-inspired robots, in preparation for what Mahmoud Ahmadinejad calls ‘the coming robopocalypse.’

‘The streets will run with the Castrol GTX of the infidels,’ Ahmadinejad told viewers on Iranian state television, ‘just as soon as we sort out our Windows Vista compatibility issues.’ The Iranian prototype, NOT MOHAMMED, is set to be unveiled this Autumn.

Israel’s line of JewBots, or RabbiPods, will serve as one-day-a-week cleaners rather than metal holy men.

‘This will be a great way for us to get around the no-working-on-the-Sabbath rule,’ said an old Israeli man, who looked uncannily like ZZ Top, ‘I don’t much care if these robots can recite Leviticus, as long as they know their way around a vacuum cleaner. And it would be a bonus if I could hire one to fuck my wife for me.’

'You won't like Jesus when he's angry...'

‘You won’t like Jesus when he’s angry…’

Brazil has completed work on a giant, 300-foot-tall animatronic Jesus, which has already laid waste to nine cities. The cry of ‘JESUS, SMASH!’ has struck fear into the hearts of those on Brazil’s east coast. India is busy working on a 400-foot-tall … whatever that big guy with the trunk and the lots of arms is called, to combat the problem. Robot engineer Samjat Duwallawallawallah said: ‘Hinduism is a religion of peace, yes, but when our guy gets over to Brazil with his multiple pairs of arms I guarantee you he’s going to fuck Jesus’s shit right up.’

Despite some setbacks to his RoboPope plan, it’s clear that Pope Francis remains optimistic, and, more importantly, doesn’t really give that much of a shit.

‘It’s like McDonalds,’ said the Pope, ‘When kids have their birthday parties there, they don’t care whether or not the guy prancing about is actually Ronald McDonald. They see the wig and that nightmarishly fixed smile, and, to them, it’s Ronald McDonald. They’re happy. Same with my robots. People don’t think it’ll be real? Fuck real. Jesus isn’t real, and it’s never put me off. Anyway, these new PopeBots will give me more time off to enjoy my favourite soaps, which reminds me… interview over, got to go… Alejandro’s about to find out that his twin brother Alfonso’s been pumping his wife behind his back. Wouldn’t mind a bit of that myself, actually. Smashing tits on that girl.’

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The Fresh Prince of Jihad

I came up with this odd, rather disturbing version of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air‘s theme tune a good few years ago now, but I was never wholly satisfied with the ending, so I shoved it away in a drawer beneath a mountain of old pants. I’ve unearthed said song, and tweaked it a little, because, quite frankly, I’m a sad, sad little man with no ambition. Never-the-less, it’s finished now. Who would have thought that the tune could have lended itself so well to the theme of Palestinian jihad? Uncle Phil would be livid!

I dedicate this re-worked song to two people. Firstly, to Speggy (aka Craig Evenden), who performed a rough-cut of this song at a drunken party years ago. He did this to see if the words worked with the tune – he also did it because he was pissed and I handed him the piece of paper. Secondly, I dedicate this to the very first Vivienne of Fresh Prince, the one who was dropped from the show for being ‘a bit too African’.

The Fresh Prince of Jihad

Now this is my story all about how,
My life got flipped turned upside down,
And I’d like to take a minute, just sit right there,
I’ll tell you how I became some mince that got mauled in mid-air.

It was Palestinia,
Born and raised.
In the compound, that’s where I spent most of my days.
Killin’, anthraxin’, and eatin’ my mule,
And shootin’ some people outside a’ the school.
When a couple of Jews,
They were up to no good:
Started rolling tanks through my neighbourhood.

I shot one little kyke, and Allah was there,
He said, ‘You’re joining with your aunt and uncle up here in my lair.”

I missiled up a lab and when the flames cleared, the
Science rate was threshed, and I had mice in my ear.
If anything I could say that these Abs were rare,
But I thought, nah, forget it, pre-pare for war-fare!

I got to the guardhouse about seven or eight,
And yelled to the Abbies, ‘No homes! Hell is greater!’
Looked at my kingdom, I was finally dead,
I sat on a bomb, that’s the price of Jihad.

@ Jamie Andrew 2012

(Unless you’re a lawyer, in which case it was Speggy. I can tell you his address and everything.)

Cunt of the Week (05 Jun 2012) by Thomas Wotherspoon

Cunt of the Week

My nomination for Cunt of the Week this week is… the entire population of North Carolina. They recently made law in their state constitution that marriage between a man and a woman would be the only legally binding agreement of its kind. This backwards and hateful step was taken by the scum of a redneck society gone mad; thumping out inspiring lines like, ‘It’s in the bible,’ and ‘god made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.’ I mean, congradu-fucking-lations for making something rhyme, you cock-eyed, slack-jawed, sister-fucking idiot. We’ll get back to why it’s not a good idea to base a modern society on a piece of political propaganda written thousands of years ago in a minute. For now, we’ll let them think that the bible should be law, and have a little look at how that might work:

Leviticus 11:9-10:  ‘Of all the creatures living in the water of the seas and the streams, you may eat any that have fins and scales. But all creatures in the seas or streams that do not have fins and scales–whether among all the swarming things or among all the other living creatures in the water–you are to detest.’
No eating shellfish.
Ephesians 6:5: ‘Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.’
Keep slaves
Deuteronomy 22:28–29:  ‘If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay the girl’s father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the girl, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.’
A rape victim must be punished and marry her attacker.
I could do this all day, really I could. Come on, you cherry-pickin’ motherfuckers. If you can turn a blind eye to some of the rules in your holy fucking book, then surely you can let two people who care about each other – and want to sample the suffering fucking hell that is marriage – to at least get the nightmare that they desire. Also, those knuckle-dragging morons messed up the language in their writing of this law and null and voided every civil partnership, including those between men and women.
Homosexuality was around long before the bible was written; the Greeks and the Romans had much documentation of it, as did the Persians. Hell, there’s even the Isle of Lesbos, for fuck sake.
The times they are a’ changing, as a wise man once said. The people of the world need to move past their fears and problems together and embrace the future. Or be labelled cunts forever!
Yours Honestly – Tam
THIS WEEK’S GUEST WRITER His name is Thomas, but you can call him Tam. He’s normally an easy-going person, but can turn into a Hulk-like, angry, and shouty bastard when he sees idiots about to open their mouths: as he lives in Central Scotland, Tam spends most of his time green. An uber liberal, Tam thinks you’re entitled to your own opinions… unless they’re wrong.
He’s a bit fat, but not serious fat… they aren’t going to be taking a wall out of his house to get him out or anything. He loves games – online, board and card, and can be super competitive. He is currently undefeated in Monopoly.
Tam lives in Skinflats with his imaginary pet hawk and thirteen dead bodies he hopes will remain undiscovered.
Write for next week’s Cunt of the Week (CoTW)http://www.jamieandrew-withhands.com/2012/06/01/cunt-of-the-week/

Jesus Christ!

I never doctored these, or came up with the idea, but I just had to share them. Very funny. The theme is ‘Jesus is a Jerk’, and I suspect the images are from Christian materials that have been subverted/raped by cheeky wee scamps the world over.