Sunday, May 03, 2009

[christianity] is fair discussion possible [6]

You can call this saccharine sweet but it's still an endangered species.
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6


So, there's a fair bit of evidence, none of it in itself conclusive, just as none of the alternative theories supporting the other side are conclusive. How can they be with something metaphysical, where we're only equipped to observe phenomena and speculate.

In the case of Jesus of Nazareth though, it's hardly necessary to speculate, as he was quoted and commented on by a wide variety of people.

Recently, there was a Scottish blogger who was arguing for gun control and an American was opposing him, laying down evidence after evidence, none of it in itself conclusive but the sheer weight caused the other to say he preferred his intuition to mere evidence.

The first problem is how to ignore the weight of evidence and to, in effect, deny it. The only real way to do that is to provide counter-evidence, e.g. quoting from the Hadiths, putting the Kabbalistic perspective and so on. The difficulty is that it does not negate what is in these five posts, which are only a fraction of the textual documentation.

The second problem is that if you do concede the weight of evidence, then the next step is to accept that the miracles might have occurred, that he might not have been in the tomb and the stone might have been rolled back.

Or are you going to rely on your intuition in 2009, as Hume did in his day, that it's 'just not possible' because you don't want it to be possible and you can't get your mind around the concept?

Another thing you can do is bring in tangential arguments such as: 'If there is a G-d, why does he 'allow' such suffering in the world?' There's an answer to this one too and that will appear in the articles on Satan later in the week.

Yet another angle is to stand on your rationalist authority and open with, 'James, I don't know where to begin in correcting your false assumptions, rash generalizations and unsafe conclusions.' Unfortunately, that doesn't negate what's written, it only makes an assertion, unsupported by evidence.

The third problem is that if you do concede it might be so, then you might also have to concede that what He said was gospel. And in that case, there are such uncompromising, unpalatable things you're asked to subscribe to that you might blanch at the prospect. An example, from the Sermon on the Mount, is that if you divorce for any other reason but infidelity on the part of your partner, you're in trouble.

Best just to put it all out of mind, yes? :)

Dearieme might need to use his + button to see the text on this article on the Timing of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

[dizzy dizzy] soon over babaluma

[the books] state of play

For anyone contemplating being published, this article by L'Ombre should give you pause.

Anyway, my three [the trilogy] are done after so bloody long and are in the process of being uploaded [the site developed problems and I have a new blog to put them on - more later]. When they're up, I'll put something in my sidebar and send the pdfs to those I promised.

I'm on my next project now and have adopted Sackerson's suggestion of some short stories. The first collection, called Dark Logic, basically uses a common theme and a common set of characters but each is written in a different genre, e.g. SF, horror, erotica, human interest, mystery suspense etc. More on that down the track.

[texas] just one of many in the new nau

Theo makes some good points about Texas, including:

Maybe you don't know it, but Texas is the only state with a legal right to secede from the Union... (Reference the Texas-American Annexation Treaty of 1848.)

OK, now we'd agree as far as saying that Obama would be incapable of handling such a move and also note the other secessionist moves of late, e.g. Montana and California. Note the mood of unrest, e.g. in the Tea Parties as well.

Now, here's where you need to be a bit more clever than your average bear. Some of you will recall the SPPNA [I have many articles on it, accessible through my search window - here's one] and the control being handed over to the NAAC on March 21st this year. Right, now given the mindset of the CFR and assorted bozos, it is very much in their interests for the unrest in the former U.S.A. to take place [just how many pages of quotes would you like?].

After all, they are looking towards the NAU.

Watch closely, people and see history being made as the U.S. Constitution becomes an irrelevance.

Friday, May 01, 2009

[goyang inul] dangdut, seksi atau jahat?

I thought I’d see what Inul Daratista has been doing for six years now; it appears she’s doing much the same but is now an Indonesian icon.

From John Aglionby, The Guardian, Zamira Loebis, Jakarta, Bryan Walsh, Pelaihari, Kemal Jufri, Imaji, Time Magazine

The scene is 2003 - war has all but broken out again between the government and separatists in Aceh, and the first of the Bali bombing suspects is about to go on trial, but they struggle for airtime against the Inul saga.

The young men have traveled many kilometres to the one-mosque town of Pelaihari in Indonesia's South Kalimantan province to see the country's hottest and most controversial dangdut singer. They're rowdy, they're eager and, in clear defiance of the laws of physics, all 10,000 of them want in, now, through the soccer stadium's single narrow entrance.

Then Inul swaggers on stage, packed in tight red jeans and a glittering crimson tank top. She turns her back to the audience. The guitars crunch, Inul's hips swing low and hard.

The dance itself, it's less erotic than pneumatic. As Inul bends her knees and swings her butt in what appears to be a 120° arc, she resembles a glittering piston. Betraying her rock roots, Inul doesn't so much twist in time with the music as arrhythmically hurl herself around the stage like a dangdut Joan Jett.

Her wardrobe seems to consist entirely of Lycra, but her sartorial style and stage manner are tame compared with the scantily clad Indian stars who can be found shimmying away on any TV in the country.

She hasn't released a single recording, but one critic estimates that some 3 million pirated VCDs of her performances have been sold in Indonesia. Muslim clerics denounce her bump-and-grind dancing, attempt to ban her concerts, even pray for rain to keep impressionable fans away from her shows, yet politicians are lining up to recruit her support for the 2004 elections.

She's become the live wire connecting Indonesia's still nascent freedom of expression with the country's entrenched—and often hypocritical—moral majority, yet her popularity just keeps surging.

"She's the one and only one who can survive [in the country's cutthroat music scene]," says maverick TV and music producer Arswendo Atmowiloto. "She's what the people want."

Looking older but acting younger, clutching a pillow to her chest and resting her head on a TIME reporter's shoulder, in 10 hours she'll be doing her heavy-duty Fly Girl routine on a Pelaihari stage; 12 hours after that, she'll be in Jakarta running through a version of her moves for SCTV.

She hasn't seen her family in more than three months.

"The real Inul is the people's singer," she says. Her roots run deep in dangdut's heartland. Though she initially earned a mere 40ў per gig, Inul built a strong following in East Java, where her slam-dancing style was hardly unique.

"A singer like Inul is quite familiar there," says Bre, who's been following Inul for two years. "You could find so many Inuls in any small town in East or Central Java."

Born poor in the East Java village of Kejapanan, Gempol, in 1979, she’s just a well-brought-up, lower-class Muslim girl who had stars in her eyes from an early age and desperately wanted to be a dangdut singer. She started her performing career as a rock singer at age 12 but soon switched to dangdut.

Her real name is Ainul Rokhimah; the stage name Inul Daratista actually means "the girl with the breasts”.


Dangdut is a folky pop with Malay and Indian origins that dominates Indonesia's non-metropolitan music scene. Drilling is a funky, somewhat erotic dance style.

Basically, it involves rotating the hips in increasingly energetic circles while steadily bringing in the limbs until one becomes a flurry of appendages.

Originally the music of the lower class, complete with bawdy lyrics and sexually suggestive dancing, dangdut was cleaned up in the late 1970s and '80s when it was popularized by singers like Rhoma Irama, who diversified the music and turned the lyrics safely sweet. Cynical politicians began using dangdut musicians, including Suharto favorite Rhoma, to court the lower classes.

"Dangdut has been corrupted for the political campaigns," says Kompas music critic Bre Redana. In a familiar Indonesian story, the music of the people became a tool of the powerful.

In January, Inul came to Jakarta and performed on Warung Tojedo, a national television program. Virtually overnight, Inulmania swept Indonesia, and within weeks, Inul was bumping and grinding on the cover of major national magazines and appearing on television more often than the country's President.

Inul's concert fees rose dramatically, to anywhere from $1,100 to $1,700 per show. TV programs in which she appeared consistently drew 14 share points, well above the norm for music shows.

Indonesians snapped up copies of illegally recorded VCDs of Inul's old East Java performances—making her perhaps the first musician to owe much of her fame to piracy.


To the Indonesian Council of Ulemas, one of the ruling bodies of Indonesian Muslim clerics, her performance is a debased display of pornographic lasciviousness, circumscribed by its July 2002 fatwa against pornography.

In February the Ulemas council issued an edict against Inul. Other conservative groups quickly jumped on the bandwagon, but the row merely elevated Inul's status - and performing fee.

The whole saga was given a new lease of life after the "King of Dangdut", Rhoma Irama, called a press conference to vilify her.

He and his cabal banned her from performing their songs (which would virtually silence her) and said she was corrupting both dangdut and the nation's morals and - after an alleged rapist claimed he was aroused to act after watching an Inul performance - inciting crime.

Authorities in devout Yogyakarta banned Inul from performing, fearing that she would "degrade the morality of the highly civilized and educated residents" of the city.

Even the television stations profiting from her appearances paid unintentional homage to Elvis Presley on The Ed Sullivan Show by cutting away from Inul's hips when gyrations commenced.


Former president and respected Muslim leader, Abdurrahman Wahid, virtually blind and therefore having no visual frame of reference, made the point that Inul has a right to do what she does under the principle of free expression.

Virtually every academic and "cultural expert" has since entered the fray, with the vast majority backing Inul.

Taufik Kiemas, President Megawati Sukarnoputri's husband, was photographed shaking his considerable booty behind Inul after a TV performance.

Many middle-class and upper-class Indonesians read their papers and shook their heads at the controversy—then told their drivers to pick up a copy of Inul's VCD

Inul’s view?

"Write this down," she commands [a reporter]. "The MUI should realize that Indonesia is not a Muslim country, it's a democratic country."

Inul, who says she prays daily, insists that her art doesn't clash with her Islamic beliefs and suspects the religious hierarchy castigates her because the real threats to Indonesia's fragile morality, particularly corrupt officials, are too dangerous to attack.

"Why should they care about me when there are pornographic VCDs and prostitutes in the street? They choose me because I am an easy target."

[bank of america] pirates at the helm

Vox comments on the Bank of America debacle:

Speaking as an entrepeneur, let me state unequivocally that one of the biggest problems in corporate America is the fact that the professional executive class is the most useless bunch of thieving scum in the country. (The Human Resources departments are useless too, but at least they're not thieves.) Most corporate executives are not businessmen, they're not capitalists, they're simply parasites busily engaged with siphoning off as much corporate money as they think they can get away with.

To which I replied, 'Not only in America, Vox.'