The House of David

"dawnbreak in the west"

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

High Christology is best Christology

Much of the debate between Bart Ehrman and the hard atheists has been a debate over the Low Christology and the High Christology. Dr Ehrman inherits a nineteenth-century opinion about Jesus, that he was a failed messiah who mainly taught apocalyptic prophecy, and that his followers were those who elevated him to capital-H Him. The hard atheists accept the Church's classical view: that Jesus did claim to be God, or near-enough, or at the very least that this was the first view any Christian had of Jesus. Some atheists conclude that Jesus was a blasphemous crazy charlatan; others wonder if Jesus existed at all and if later Christian editors had simply concocted a Messiah figure out of Jewish tradition.

(Do pardon the 4chanspeke in my title. I could not resist.)

The Catholics and lapsed Catholics are, perhaps ironically, in alliance with the latter atheists. I've been reading Brant Pitre lately. Two decades ago I was heavily into John Dominic Crossan. Crossan it was who introduced me to the parallels between the Passion narratives in all five gospels (including Peter), and the suffering-servant poems in the Hebrew Prophets especially Psalm 22.

Pitre is looking at the Divine Liturgy. Scott Hahn had done similar with a view to Revelation; but Hahn doesn't help us explain why the Mass takes the form it takes. (And Hahn had indulged in cheerleading, unfortunately for him.) Pitre points out that Second Temple Judaism had predicted a reunion with God in the Messianic World To Come: after the new Moses returned to the new Earth, all shall be fed by miraculous manna - in fact, from The Bread Of The Face Of G-d. Hahn and Pitre both agree that the Mass exists as a shadow of that great eschatologic Banquet.

There are a lot of threads to tease out, here. An atheist would reject Jewish apocalyptic thought, and boot out Catholic(/Orthodox) Christianity with it. Pitre's and Hahn's publisher Doubleday may or may not wish to convince Lighthouse Catholic Media that the focus of their researchers should be on what the Gospels and Paul were trying to get across, whether or not Jesus himself was the guy who had taught all this stuff first.

Nonetheless, Pitre and Hahn (and Crossan) do have a point that the Gospels and Paul were appealing foremost to Jews. Just like the Qur'an makes little sense outside Late-Antique Near-Eastern Judaeo-Christianity (and modern Christianity and Islam don't help), we're not getting anywhere with New Testament studies if we just look at the Hellenistic or Parthian cultures (and modern Judaism and Christianity don't help). The New Testament was meant for first-century AD Jews, first. Contemporary goyim were a decided afterthought. Modern Jews weren't even envisaged.

And the form of Judaism predominant in first-century Judaea did, indeed, allow for a supernatural Messiah, a Divine one, or near-enough.


posted by Zimri on 19:45 | link | 0 comments

Twitter is dying

Reports of Twitter's death have been trickling around for awhile. People have been mooting Gab as an alternative, but Gab had a rocky start as a defamation-den.

There exist alternatives to Twitter and to Gab. Like... blogs.


posted by Zimri on 19:20 | link | 0 comments

Why oppose vaccines?

A few years ago I saw a lot of ads on websites pushing scares against... the banana. This tasty fruit, or receptacle for fruit (I am not always clear on that, cf. the tomato v. the apple) is a carrier of potassium and, also, some sugars. But someone was willing to pay, to get a message out, that it was Bad For You.

I always doubted that bananas were Bad For You. But then I recalled people telling me that eggs were Bad For You back in the 1980s, because cholesterol. Eggs are not Bad For You; a lot of those breakfast cereals, by contrast, very much are nothing but candy served with milk.

There were anti-vaccine movements in the Left back in the late 1990s. These reached a fever pitch during the later Bush administration - and some Rightists signed on. The Little Green Footballs' "lizard lounge" chat hosted a mini-insurgency of anti-vaxxers alongside the creationists and other assorted nuts; I was one of those who ratted them out, more publicly than most, so I got tagged as the Judas in this passion-play.

I'll take it. Zimriel Did Nothing Wrong. As is becoming increasingly clear.

I am a minarchist, of libertarian origins. The government is best which governs least - in fact, which doesn't govern at all except to protect against foreign threats. A pathogen abundantly qualifies as a foreign threat, a threat to all men and to all which men should like to protect.

Given this wholesale debunking of the anti-vax cause, I am left wondering why there was ever such a cause.

And I am thinking of eggs, and of bananas. Perhaps the meme was one that its backers wanted for other people. This was a Website Worth Wreading. The anti-banana people thought you proles were eating too many bananas, which they wanted for themselves - think, chocolate. The anti-protein people wanted a population of ill-nourished herbivores. Of sheep.

The anti-vaxxers resemble most the anti-DDTers. The money behind anti-vax wasn't concerned with autism, any more than the money behind anti-DDT cared about the environment. The money men vaccined their own kids and sprayed their own yards. They concocted a meme that would cull the stupider people. It was eugenics all along. They wanted you dead.


posted by Zimri on 18:51 | link | 0 comments

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

#Metoo in education

Certain males online have been triggering my radar with their pro-feminist signalling. Since I am interested in the goings-on in education, I'm wondering how an educational administration - if it cared - might follow up on a hunch.

We're not looking so much for a Weinstein-tier situation, of sexual attack; for now we're looking just for quid-pro-quo, the Casting Couch. For now. Grading Couches tend to develop into harassment occasions.

I'd start my search with the students. I should look at a pattern of middling-to-poor grades, suddenly boosted to good-to-great. That is not conclusive: the student could have had a sharp talk from the teacher and/or the grader, whether or not either one wanted more, and a good teacher or grader would do just that. An audit of the submitted papers and quizzes would reveal whether the student had, actually, learnt something.

I should also flag a class which has potential as a hunting-ground - meaning, the measures to pass or fail are overly subjective. Either there isn't a final exam or the exam is on the honour-system. The class is structured with a political slant.

The department is complicit if a hunting-ground counts toward the degree / graduation requirements. Keep an eye out for, say, a course in Nilotic History pre-700 CE, barred from the Ancient Mediterranean Civilizations degree. Keep an eye out for a mitochondrial genetics / deep-history class barred from Womens' Studies. If you see this, then something stinks somewhere.


posted by Zimri on 18:44 | link | 0 comments

Sunday, May 20, 2018

The self-deluded Bernard Lewis

Dr Bernard Lewis, whose work contributed to mine, has passed on. Dr Kevin MacDonald had harsh words for Lewis in 2010. He's relinked that, so, we gotta discuss it.

MacDonald's first critique is that Lewis, in the 2000s, preached that the Muslim peoples could, as Muslims, compose a liberal democracy. This is true (that he preached that). MacDonald's second critique is that Lewis contradicted his own research from the 1950s... also true. Lewis, as late as the 1980s, thought that Islamic culture in its own heartland was a theocratic despotism (I flooded the zone that week; so scroll down). Islam made a few equalitarian gestures (the Qur'an's own suras are ambiguous toward lawful authority) but whether the caliph rules from centre-out, rather than top-down, makes no difference to the "out" crowd.

MacDonald continues, that Lewis was lying (subterfuge); and concludes, that these lies were in service of a proIsrael agenda.

I don't see the evil in Lewis. In no place do I sense a callous disregard for Muslim human life. I sense instead that Lewis had acquired a genuine affection for Near Easterners, that he wanted for them what was working for him. He also had got spooked by the academic Left, led by Edward Said. He direly didn't want to be accused of racism excuse me, Orientalism. What easier way to claim nonracism than to preach that They're Just Like Us?

The tragedy of Dr Lewis is that he'd lied... to himself. The tragedy of Dr MacDonald is that he... well, that he hates Jews.


posted by Zimri on 17:27 | link | 0 comments

Monday, May 14, 2018

Coming out clean with Christian scripture

We had a discussion over at Ace's this morning, concerning a valid baptism in Christianity. There were questions about full immersion; or the sprinkling, as displayed by Catholic artists of the Renaissance. The Biblical witnesses came up.

Baptism in Christianity descends from John's arrogation of the Temple ritual cleansings, which he did outside the Temple - deeming, as many Jews did at the time, the Herodian Temple to be in apostasy. As such these baptisms were immersive. Mark and, following Mark, Matthew assume this when their gospels describe Jesus as "coming out of the water".

There was an argument that John might have stopped short and not baptised Jesus in full, based on John's comment in Matthew that Jesus didn't need the bath. Bart Ehrman has argued that Matthew had added this comment. Having inherited Mark, Matthew inherited also a theological problem in Mark: for Matthew, Jesus was greater than John.

Christians have a choice. They can accept a harmony of all these gospels. Or they can take the gospels as later developments against the most-likely original events, alongside some oral and interpretive traditions. In the latter case they have to triangulate the sources. Supporting the former against the latter, our modern-day Tatians would point out (accurately) that the latter requires no faith, and that we're going into danger if we follow Bart Ehrman.

I personally side with Ehrman here. It shouldn't matter that he's an atheist. It should matter that he's a(n) historian. And I am not calling Matthew a liar, for adding this little false detail. Matthew had inlined a hadith which, ultimately, came from some nameless Christian mufassir of Mark. This is why Christians kept four gospels after all, and didn't keep those harmonies like that Diatesseron.

As an addendum / additum, Christians don't need the full immersion (well, excepting maybe the Messianics - disclosure, I'd gotten immersed too, in Episcopalianism). Christians are not Jews or Mandaeans or Manichaeans or what have you. For us, the form of baptism is symbolic. The Holy Spirit, from above, is our true baptism.


posted by Zimri on 17:58 | link | 0 comments

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Incel

Trickling around the weeb, I mean the web, is the meme of the "involuntary celibate" which now of course has its Orwellian abbreviation, the Incel. I was hoping to ignore this, given my personal life, or lack thereof, but then we got a Tweet from nasty woman Ellen Pao urging employers to look into incel-dom in their workforce.

This sparked off one of those tiresome arguments we've seen too often. Single unhappy men got defensive and asked how is it any business of Pao's. The social justice crowd told the incels that they don't owe you creeps their bodies, you rapists. And everyone got dumber. Again.

Certain incels shouldn't have claimed solidarity as a community, perhaps. If you done fucked it up as a man, your job isn't to wallow in the muck; it's to get out and start #winning. I've occasionally gone into 4chan /r9k/, G-d help me, to argue precisely that - but, mainly, to hand out attaboys to the people who have been making progress. Some of the /robots/ might be too far gone. But usually, I get the impression they could haul themselves out of their holes, if they wanted to and had a little moral support.

But the social-justice Maenads shrieking at them that IT IS ALL THEIR FAULT? No; they're not helping, either. That is literally "insult to injury". The Incels're not calling themselves that because they're rapists. They're calling themselves that because they've lost hope. And threatening what livelihoods they still have really does not help.

Inasmuch as the Maenads are speaking the language of power against the language of despair, I side with the latter. In that spirit, to Incels: I suggest not getting angry at the Maenads - or, at least doing that taqiya thing I've mentioned here and there, and not showing it. Go find yourself someone nonMaenadish. Kevin Williamson suggests joining a church.

(MGTOW on the other hand are just plain wrong.)


posted by Zimri on 17:58 | link | 0 comments

The Baptist jerk store

Some time awhile back one Brant Pitre, a Catholic, went to a Baptist pastor for permission to marry his then-Baptist fiancée in the Baptist facility. The interview... did not go well. Three-hour theological wresting match, Pitre later described it. He got served so hard he failed to get the pastor's blessing, and later ended up in the scholarship gig. I'm reading all this in his Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist.

Pitre found his own way out of "the jerk store", as they term it in Seinfeld. But I reckon I might have answered some of the pastor's questions differently. To whit, Show me where the word Purgatory ever occurs in the Bible! and Did you know that the Catholic Church added books to the Bible in the Middle Ages?.

I'd have punted on the former, that I haven't learnt enough about the afterlife to decide if the Canon Law is right about Purgatory. But I'd have pushed back on the latter: that, no, the Church did not "add books to the Bible".

Catholics follow Augustine that the Word Of The Lord, which is in the Bible, represents words spoken to men (and, in places, to women) of their own time. For us today these teachings must be interpreted. The words in the present Bible might not even be accurate transmissions of what the original author intended, which is why we have had this whole discipline of textual criticism. And some of those stories might not ever have been intended as factual. So where it might offend a Baptist that we allow into Scripture a clearly fictional novel like Tobit, we understand it as a Jew understands Esther - it is just a "Writing". It does not "defile the hands" however you interpret that famed Rabbinical ruling.

So you know, I am not in Christianity for the sake of the Bible. I am in Christianity for the alliance it represents between G-d and humanity. (It would be easy rhetoric to say, "for the sake of Christ!", but I don't play easy-mode.) If I'd ever wanted a Faith of the Text, I'd have joined the Islamic Umma. I approach G-d more as a wrestler than as a supplicant sometimes - I cannot quite shake whence I came - but here I'll submit that my judgement rests with G-d and not with the Southern Baptist Convention.

As for Purgatory I am uncertain. I can see how a Purgatorian (let's just use that term for now) might blow off penance for sins, since he can always make it up later. But I can also see how a non-Purgatorian might become a homebound neurotic afraid of doing anything that might cause her to sin. I lean toward the latter because, again, I think that G-d loves us and doesn't want us to be neurotic. Although I don't (yet) see it as a necessary part of the Church dogma.

But as for full Biblical literalism, I have definite opinions concerning that. I don't think that literalism is good news. I don't think that it helps us here on Earth. I would have informed this pastor of such, hopefully with respect, in as many words. If he'd pushed back against that I'd have declared the interview over. He'd still have called me an unbeliever but I'd have spared myself a couple hours of his apish chest-beating.


posted by Zimri on 16:21 | link | 0 comments

Oliver North is no Charlton Heston

Dr John Lott is a scholar and a mensch, and Charlton Heston was a civil-rights hero. Lt. Col. Oliver North on the other hand broke bad in the 1980s.

The Iran-Contra scandal had many facets, but it was presented to the Western media in two parts. These were the Iran part (where the Ayatollah got guns, for money) and the Contra part (where Mesoamerican drug barons got guns, for free, and so very-nearly did Pineapple Face Noriega down in Panama). Ollie North got caught, despite an epic document-shredding spree; and got hauled before Congress. But they let Ollie wear his uniform and the man looked cute on TV - all of which I remember, despite being a child at the time. To this day we see people who plead Ollie's case.

I admit I hadn't much looked into the Iran part. Giving the Ayatollah weapons was obviously awful but, Ollie's doodz tell me, that was Israel giving them weapons and those weapons didn't work. Since American taxpayers like my dad at the time were, perforce, giving aid to Israel, I'm not seeing where laundering our gifts through a protectorate absolves us of much. That the Iranians' shiny new weapons were crap is something I also dispute - there's an argument that Iran won its war. The Ayatollahs are, after all, still with us.

The Contra part ended better, for us. Unlike the Ayatollahs, the Soviets lost the Cold War. They quit funding the Cuban regime. That regime - to survive - pulled out of Nicaragua. This forced a democratic election against Daniel Ortega's "Sandinista" dictatorship, which Ortega (momentarily) lost. The Soviet collapse also had the knock-on effect that the West didn't have to hold our nose around "our" dictators so, when Pineapple Face moved harder into drugs, the next US Administration found its excuse to force democracy on Panama too.

The Contras did have several problems of their own. As drug smugglers, the Contras contributed to the crack-cocaine spike at home, at the time called an Epidemic, with which label I tend to agree. As participants in a civil war, a guerrilla war, the Contras struck at Managua-loyal civilian targets. Managua of course did the same thing against Contra-friendly communities like the Miskito. War is war and you just have to take sides. Overall the Contras were the good guys... barely... mainly because Ortega was and is that bad. Also the Contras were our guys. You'd think that would be enough but welcome to Red Empire / Blue Empire.

Since I haven't heard Ollie or his doodz disavowing Iran-Contra, that means Ollie - still - is Iran-Contra. Overall, I have a hard time defending Iran-Contra. Ollie couldn't, or he wouldn't have shredded his records. Neither could President Reagan, as we all remember from that "I cannot recall" meme. But Ronnie was sadly not in full command of his brain by then, and the Democrats controlling Congress didn't move against him. They perceived that Candidate Bush in 1988 would be more vulnerable, to the Where-Was-George question. Which was asked at the Convention... by Edward Chappaquiddick Kennedy. Guess that's why it's remained such an unresolved question. (At least we should be able to agree that that Costa Rican jackass can get bent.)

Back to Ollie, the NRA was dumb to choose this guy as the face of the Second Amendment. Fringe people like him are best left to the fringe.

As for how we deal with it, we should just remember that our right to self-defence is a right of all free men, and it matters as little to us if this Lieutenant-Colonel runs the NRA as it matters to Christianity whether a Borgia be Pope.


posted by Zimri on 15:27 | link | 0 comments

Wrong banner, yo

I stumbled onto the Drudge Report and they were showing a commemorative Israeli coin, with President Donald Trump's profile superimposed upon Kurosh II Shah's. With it is a quote about Cyrus (the latter) ordering the building of the Jerusalem Temple. Which implied the city's resettlement and its international recognition as capital of the Madinat Yehud.

Donald Trump is many things, including the first President to have an embassy in this city and to bring a lot of Arabs toward that recognition (tacitly). Some of us do find amusing to call him God-Emperor. But he is hardly in position to, you know, TEAR DOWN THE DOME OF THE ROCK. I mean seriously, and maybe literally... good G-d in Heaven.

Leaving that aside, I notice the Persian banner they posted next to the American seal was the lion-passant avec cimeterre. I vaguely remembered ol' Cy using the falcon with wings outstretched, and I definitely remember the Sasanians using a four-pointed star. I had to look up that lion banner. It's Qajar, from Fath Ali. I don't think those Iranians ever ruled Jund Filastin but as noted, this is a time and place I haven't studied.

(At least they got the Hebrew script right. It would indeed be Imperial Aramaic, not the pre-exile Hebrew/Phoenician.)

To sum up, if you're doing 2 Isaiah messianism, please do your research. Putting the wrong flag up there makes G-d facepalm.


posted by Zimri on 14:13 | link | 0 comments

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Thoughts on Broward County

I don't recall I commented much on Cruz's attack on his Broward County school (except in passing). Today I've been at a John Lott talk (with Q/A, and book signing). Some silly things were said from the audience - some of the sillier, from me, to my shame. So I'll just use this space to set my thoughts in order.

Let's start off: Dr John Lott is not your stereotype of a NRA (or GOA, NAGR etc.) ideologue. To be fair to the NRA, and I'm here for the purpose of being fair - the same should be said of certain of their actual spokesmen. Like Charlton Heston, civil-rights hero as he was. Lott has a PhD but doesn't care if you call him Mr or Dr - I asked, because I didn't know he had a PhD, and he told me he didn't care what label you used, which meant he was claiming the PhD, but is humble. Also Lott got on the phone with David Hogg (who deserves no honorific) for 45 minutes, discussing talking-points which Hogg had taken from Obama (the liar) over December 2015 - January 2016.

As for Cruz's attack, we're still working the details of what possessed him to do what he did. We're also working the details of Scott Israel's office and why they acted, or didn't act, the way they did. It is the consensus of the County police that Scott Israel acted with dishonour. There are also serious questions about why Cruz, referred to the PROMISE programme (which was supposed to cure troubled kids before they went to juvie), didn't complete it and why the authorities let that happen.

That far, Lott would have us know, is as far as we can go.

For instance, Deputy Fitzsimons was NOT murdered. Vox Day lives in Italy and is no fit resource to talk about 'false flags' or THE REEEL SHUTER!! or the like. Dr John Lott has his eye on the ball. Dr John Lott has his eye on gun sense - which if it means anything, means studying what works, and not falling for bullshit - either from this Vox, or from that unrelated and opposed Vox website's statistics. The conspiracy-theories won't work.

Please remember in these contexts, that although "the truth" might be in Vox Day, that Vox has no obligation to provide to you the facts. Vox Day believes in Corception. Vox Day believes in a higher truth, against which the facts can only confuse you. He will lie to you if he thinks it will bring you to a higher truth.

(So y'all know, I did not moot conspiracy-theories to Dr Lott; quite the opposite. But therein lies a tale. I have nurtured suspicion about VD's integrity for some years now, before he ever mooted Corception - during that "Pizzagate" weirdness. I didn't believe in Pizzagate - and I didn't believe that VD believed in it either, despite that he kept posting about it. But I let it slide, at that time. because Hillary was in the pro-gay camp and her husband took trips to Epstein's island. Pizzagate was Fake But Accurate. I hereby confess that, in not stating my misgivings back then, I sinned. In my sin of omission, this has allowed VD's followers and VD himself to sin by commission. VD is now in the position of Harry Reid, crowing that "it worked, didn't it" since his guy won a Presidency. Maybe VD can live with that knowledge. I can't, anymore.)

On to David Hogg, nicknamed "Camera Hogg" by others in my circle, which nickname I blurted out at the talk. Dr Lott didn't like that.

In this case those other bloggers have a point. Hogg is not a good person. For my part, Hogg appropriates Holocaust imagery, which disgusts me at a genetic level.

How we deal with Hogg when we discuss him with moderates is another matter. Here Corception won't work; we have to practice something closer to taqiya. As Morton Smith quoted Saint Clement, not all true things can be said to all men. We can say that Hogg and his friends like Emma Gonzalez treated Cruz like a leper (which the media cool kids tell us didn't rise to bullying... let me report to y'all, I've been in that situation of social-ostracism by the cool kids; and trust me, that's El Guapo telling the ostensible bullies I am no longer under his proteccion).

We can also say that Hogg has his opinions but he is still not a policy wonk, and - as an onsite photographer - can provide nothing more than raw footage. Hogg's emotions and opinions are not admissible to the court.

To sum up: Dr John Lott shamed me today, and I thank him for it. I have rough edges and I am working on them.


posted by Zimri on 19:44 | link | 0 comments

Sunday, May 06, 2018

This is how you got kurgans

I had an intuition that the Mother Goddess pro-woman, equality!! culture of the first agriculturalists was a sham. That in actual fact, the women were sneaking off with the alphas - of whom there are not many - and sticking the rest of the men with the bill.

Glenn Reynolds just reminded us of a study from 2015. Just after 8000 BC, coinciding with agriculture, a bottleneck throttled Y-DNA. Translated: the women weren't pairing-up anymore. They were sneaking off with the alpha. And getting away with it.

Excellent deal you're offering to us men, Riane. A real equality there, where seventeen women reproduce for one man.

For all that talk of the Mother Goddess, I now have to wonder if that was all just humbug, which the king of the roost foisted upon the villagers. Yeah, he was the guy who cared the most. He cared so much, he prima-nocte'd all the wenches. He wore the big golden fedora.

I should maybe nuance what I'd said about the women of Old Europe betraying their men. I can see how the men wouldn't fight hard to protect that system. The feminine betrayal started centuries before the Indo-Europeans showed up.


posted by Zimri on 22:10 | link | 0 comments

The darkness over Avalon

Riane Eisler points out that a mother-goddess isn't a mere patriarch reskinned as a female. Eisler recognises inherent difference between men and women; as, she notes, the Minoans had recognised. The mother-goddess implies a wholly different theology which, then, trickles down to politics.

Before we get to what the gods look like, know that every human theology in an urban context is one of dominance. Hunter-gatherers, as shamans, see their supernaturals as like - say - bears: dangerous, but beatable. Hunter-gatherers learn their place in the world by strife, Hyborian Age strife. Strife doesn't work in a town. To scale to the town level, society needs a common culture and a chain of authority.

In one important respect the female tendency, to see human relations as a network, will create a society like Islamic Baghdad: the ruler isn't on top, but s/he remains in the centre. There isn't a ziggurat or a pyramid, there to overawe the people. But there is definitely a Who's-In, Who's-Out distinction. We just might not see it so easily in the archaeology.

The androcratic pantheon proposes a celestial god in terms of fatherhood, the Dios-Pater. But he's not just dad. He is the judge of his tribe's cases, the commander of the tribe's army, the protector of the tribe's women and children. As the men and women, or if you're Eisler the "women and men", agree to come to the king for justice; the female and male gods plead their cases before their Father Who Is In Heaven.

The mother-goddess, if she was ever worshipped, has been envisioned as a woman without a "master". The goddess has no father. She also has not adopted any man to be a father, on her behalf. Her pantheonic ideal is that of mother-and-child. The mother is often even virgin.

This gynocentric theology means too many of your society's children are going to lack fathers. It also leaves men with no theological model for adulthood. Their very gods are infants before the Mother - eternally. I have the same problem with Mary in popular Catholicism (fortunately perhaps not an inherent problem of Christianity).

Eisler would tell us that patriarchal dominance is unhealthy and live-denying. If you would like to know the alternative, life under a Mother Goddess, I suggest Moira Greyland as a witness: The Last Closet.


posted by Zimri on 15:41 | link | 0 comments

The slow death of Old Europe

Yesterday I read Riane Eisler's smug little book, The Chalice and the Blade. Eisler's thesis was a Big Thing back in the Kindler Gentler George Bush Presidency, like a lot of the university-driven Politically Correct theses; it was the book which brought Mariya Gimbutas to the masses.

There's some Afrocentrism in here too. THAT much got laughed out of serious academe over the middle 1990s. I also note, by Eisler's logic, that these kangz must have been those who had brought violent "androcracy" to the Nile. On topic, Eisler was also wrong about the pacifism of hunter-gatherer tribes, like those who likely killed off all the Neanders (and Denisovans). If she had abandoned this noble-savage lie, she might have used that to bolster her Afrocentrism. She might also have used that to explain the origins of Indo-European androcracy: as a shamanism of the stallion. A serious work of scholarship would have made these distinctions and raised those possibilities.

We who involve ourselves in academic disputes have, as far as I know, not dared to call out this book for what it is: a Third-Way (i.e., fascist) polemic masquerading as a popularisation of archaeology. And we've all been too polite to call out Eisler for what she was: a fraud.

Eisler, like Gimbutas, possibly did get a few things right, between the edges. It is just that we have to weed out the smug to get there.

Modern genetics has been taking the fun out of prehistoric sociology, on both sides. We now can track the people, alongside the pots and (Gimbutas' true contribution) the languages. So, yeah: the Indo-Europeans with their kurgans and corded-wares and Battle Axe Cultures were a thing. Whether that great Old European utopia which we replaced was also a thing, and whether we should count the Minoans as the last survivor of that thing...

On those Minoans, we might want to check Iosif Lazaridis, "The evolutionary history of human populations in Europe"; or Gregory Cochran. Crete seems to be genetically of a different Anatolian source-population, not directly connected to the ancestors of the Old European farmers. Anyway Crete isn't really our focus.

I want to talk Old Europe. Old Europe didn't start out peaceful. The farmers fought the hunter-gatherers, and vice-versa. It's just that the farmers didn't need to fight as much as did the Indo-Europeans... or as did (probably) the hunter-gatherers amongst themselves. The first farmers took the farmable areas, and couldn't do anything with the forests nor - much - with the rocky fishing villages. So the riverbanks is where the farmers stayed. And the hunters retreated to the forests where, later, their populations rebounded.

Later, the farm boys perhaps didn't keep their fighting-skills up. They weren't hunting the larger animals, and their domesticates were smaller animals like sheep and immature swine. So we might allow with Eisler that the women got the confidence to boss their men around. Eisler approves modern Scandinavia as an example of this partnership of "gylany" (Eisler's word which Gimbutas, I think, later re-borrowed from Eisler).

Mind you, the females running Scandinavia these days don chador when treating with the Ayatollah. Even then I suspect the Old European farm girls preferred a stronger man. Eisler claims, oh no, the kurgan barbarians must have raped the locals. Eisler herself doesn't approve of the nuclear family and defends adulterous cheaters. I do not see Eisler as an honest person at any level. So I cannot rule out that the Old Europeans had women like Eisler amongst them, too; and that these women collaborated in Old Europe's betrayal. I've wondered similar about Harappa, and about Byzantium.


posted by Zimri on 14:55 | link | 0 comments

Thursday, May 03, 2018

Work diary

I don't often write these, but I gotta tell somebody; so it may as well be the Algerians, the Yugoslavs, and the Italians who together make up the House's readership...

One of the features of my current (recent!) place of employment is that they do an annual "Hackathon". This is, I think, a system that modern American coding-shops have borrowed from the West Coast coding-shops, not least Alphabet (formerly Google). In theory the suits set aside a day or two, and the coders work on work-related projects that have not (yet) been requested by customers. I had done Hackathon once before in a professional capacity - seven years ago; and at that time I did not participate, instead using that time to refactor some stupid code that was already there. That whole environment over there was toxic. So this year over here I was apprehensive. Especially since I'd fallen ill last week.

Over Tuesday and early Wednesday, we've been listening to presentations.

Yesterday we had a teaching-session on Node.js and Aurelia (aka, Not-Angular) from which I got very little, on account I wasn't on the distribution list and, further, didn't have my software set up properly. Later there was an in-office "happy hour", but I didn't feel like I deserved any booze; and a night of Fun And Games up near Fort Collins, but I didn't feel up to driving across Northern Colorado in the cold rain. (I believe I have mentioned that I have not been feeling well.) They also gave me a shirt which I didn't feel up to wearing. I didn't even watch the Rockets loseplay. Yesterday, in short, was a Very Bad Day and you'll understand why I did not blog anything.

Today was when we got the Hackathon proper started. Since I am new, I volunteered to work within the existent codebase - I wanted easy-mode coding, and also to learn the existent codebase. I found some stuff that we the coders had been doing with database scripts, and which could be done on the customer-side by their admins. But first we needed a database and a codebase. So until 10 AM, I was pushing our own admin to get this pre-work done; I guess before the other coders got into it. Alongside this I went out for a chimichanga, and went looking at some relevant code I could plagiarise for my project.

From 10 AM to noon, I was hacking away (on the code and from my congested lungs), then came a lunchtime of rubber chicken, and then back to hacking. Around 1 PM I got-gud-enuf to show to a manager who'd happened along. He gave me some direction, so I completed the rest (and cleared out bugs) by 3 PM.

I then got assigned a stretch-goal: to add a link to run some automated script that our DBAs had also been doing manually, and would rather not. Fortunately a DBA had already written the script. Over the next 90 minutes I tweaked my code to run this DBA's script. Oh, and I got to drink one of the beers left over from yesterday. Woot!

As Scott Adams would say, I was Out At Five. Tomorrow I reckon I'll be wearing that shirt. I've earned it.


posted by Zimri on 17:47 | link | 0 comments

Monday, April 30, 2018

Coronavirus diary

Last week I contracted some sort of common cold virus. It was moderate as these things go but I have not been having an enjoyable time of it.

Monday night: first notice that something is up with my upper respiratory system. Hope it is something that will blow over.

Tuesday: Oh no it is not. Miserable sinus and throat scratchiness. I moot at work that I might not be present the next day. (And I don't get to see the Rockets play, and win, that evening.)

Wednesday: Mostly more-of-the-same, but less rheumatism. I go to work anyway. Figure the virus is out; just the "crud" left. Thurs-Fri: continuing basic "crud". Sat: bad chest cough in the morning, am a congested zombie the rest of the day. Sun: Day Of Rest. Today (Monday #2): mucus is more solid, usually a sign things are getting better.

Pardon the whining. This was my first cold-virus since January 2014. My immune system is pretty good, all things considered; but sometimes a bug slips through.


posted by Zimri on 19:30 | link | 0 comments

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Zim prays at the end

The Saker offers a yuuge post about Russian / Ukrainian relations.

I lack the skill-set in East-Slavic history, theology, and politics to comment on much of his post. I admit this. But I like to think I grok Orthodoxy in general. And I like to think I grok Catholicism, since I have studied exactly that for all my life, and am Catholic today.

I also admit, once again, to frustration on how The Saker uses emotive terms like "liberate" to describe, in this case, Catherine II's invasion of Polish sovereign territory (Polish rule being a "yoke", in Saker-ese). The Saker denies that the common people living in that territory might have preferred the Polish nie-poswalam federalism over Russian centralising autocracy. Because those rulers were Catholics ("Latins") and, in The Saker's mind, the True Slav can never be a Catholic.

The Saker overall sketches out a Russia in which the Orthodox bishops sold out to Stalin, or fled to the West; and then after Communism the Western exiles rejoined with the bishops, who were still sellouts, and have since bent the knee to that KGB throwback who is Vladimir Putin. The Saker takes the side of the underground preachers - still around - who never bent the knee.

The Saker observes that from the days of Maximus Confessor, (honest) Christian priests don't answer to bishops imposed by an emperor, even by a nominally Christian emperor. I couldn't have put it better myself.

But The Saker oversteps his bounds entirely when he types this: The entire concept of the Papacy is a Frankish notion forcefully (and brutally) imposed upon the Western Romans by their Frankish occupiers. No, this is not true. The Bishop Of Rome has asserted moral authority from the days of Saint Clement and has insisted upon his See's prerogatives throughout several Byzantine interventions. If the Franks had wanted to use the Papacy, they'd have deported the Vatican to Frankish territory - as, in fact, some later kings did, to Avignon. Such acts, we all know, didn't take. Because the Papacy doesn't belong to France. It never did.

Any more than bishops belong to Moscow, or to Kiev. As The Saker agrees. As Maximus agreed; and as I agree.

Which brings us back to Rome. If we desire an episcopacy independent of NKVDniks like Pooty Poot, as The Saker says he desires; would that episcopacy not be safest if she answered to a wider network, independent of all the Russias? A network which, at its centre, was no subject to the surrounding land's monarch?

Holy Maximus, I ask of you, pray for me, and for The Saker; and with the sophia you have acquired from the Presence, let us both understand best the way toward a Christian unity.


posted by Zimri on 20:49 | link | 0 comments

'Never again' is for Europeans

As the decades increase between Current Year and 1945, and between C.Y. and 1975 for that matter, I grow less impressed with my elders' consensus on the Nazi regime.

For the usual disclosures, my grandfathers were both engaged with the war-effort, on the English side; and one of my grandmothers had a more... direct interest in the outcome. I do not hold a brief for the Nazi cult or for its crimes.

I do say that World War Two celebrations these days are starting to smell like Commodus' naval-games in the Colosseum, replaying the battles against Carthage, three centuries prior. Except that Rome had actually claimed the fruits of that old victory. That war which we (Brits) launched to save Poland from Hitler and Stalin, at its end, delivered Poland to Stalin.

In addition the word "Nazi!" is mainly used as an insult to people with whom we disagree. Since Jonah Goldberg it's even being used against liberals. And sure, "Nazi!" can work against, say, Planned Parenthood. But even here it is conceding the point.

That point is that the Europeans within the Hajnal Line are, somehow, uniquely imbued with the agency, the privilege, and the intrinsic evil to enact a Holocaust. If an Idi Amin outside the Hajnal commits a genocide then somehow that is The Legacy Of Colonialism too.

The Europeans are reminded of How It Happened Here, over and over again; and the Europeans are told that their righteousness remains contingent on how they fought against It, over and over again.

There is an argument that we all needed this propaganda shame-campaign, for that first wartime generation, to fend off yet another orgy of violent revenge like what inspired those European wars in the first place. But I ask, where is the value in such propaganda today?


posted by Zimri on 10:52 | link | 0 comments

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