THE THROATY CRY OF THE BLACK KNIGHT

Many Americans who believe in a Creator do so quietly, harboring as much scorn for their outspoken "leaders" as do the militant atheists allegedly taking over the nation. But the most visible and yammerprone Christians rail incessantly about the leftist American media's failure to properly represent them, and as usual they're campaigning against a phantom adversary. Today, finding media outlets supportive of one's political stance, however paranoid or ramshackle, is not difficult; the Christian world view is scarcely a marginal matter, and every misshapen brainchild of the religious right's singularly rancid collective consciousness is duly cast squarely into the mainstream.

For all their complaining, Christians prone to agitating for patently theocratic aims have done well for themselves in painting those decrying their bigotry and underhandedness as inimical to humankind. Any writer or philosopher who takes aim at religious superstition (Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris jump to mind) is tagged intolerant; anyone who does it serially is called an "enemy of God."

Even other skeptics often miss the point, which is never that faith in the supernatural itself -- while inherently nonsensical -- is necessarily destructive, but that faith used to leverage or justify gross political or social misconduct is a vile enemy in every imaginable dimension, because its proponents can justify virtually any solecism, burst of idiocy, or abomination on the basis of an unseen, powerful approbator. Americans forget this far too easily and at a time when it is especially dangerous to do so.

Presently, in the whole kingdom of vile and violent religions, Islamic fundamentalism, with its atrocities toward women, its continual parade of suicide bombings and its anti-Western orientation occupies the throne. But Christians, though less prone these days to outright bloodletting owing more to cultural circumstances than to an intrinsically more humanitarian or useful assortment of beliefs, exhibit no smaller degree of outright lunacy than do Koran warpers and literalists.

Like ultra-high-fidelity malware wrought of a diseased engineering revolution -- the tour de Republican force's astoundingly mindless 21st-century bullshit campaign -- the sizable moron arm of America, which enjoys a near-complete overlap with its most ardently religious demographic, lays the blame for every one of its real and imagined ills at the feet of The Liberals. Despite the fact that Republican Party carries both houses of an unusually redneck-laden Congress in addition to occupying the Oval Office, despite the Plame and DeLay and FEMA scandals and the public revulsion to God-fearing conservatives insinuating themselves in full vainglory into the Terri Schaivo mess, these hapless, nonthinking, nonseeing haters of The Liberals believe that this strawman enemy, not reality, is to blame.

Why? For one essential reason: The Liberals won't roll over and allow Christianity to have its artless, grunting way with schools, with private sex lives, with public policy from A to Zed. Committed Christians are quite literally unable to see what it is that they're demanding, or that their demands conflict not only with constitutional law but with the most permissive of logical frameworks, and are devoid of anything resembling a "love they neighbor" bearing.

A corollary to this is the moron battalion's steadfastly unawareness of the impotence of its own arguments. Its members unfailingly cast forth the gleeful fantasy that they have trounced the opposition even as they nominally choke on the shit sandwich that has just been rammed down their ululating throats. This illusion is easier to maintain in online media, where it is common practice to simply ignore items that damage, inconvenience or dismantle thoroughly any coherent points the morons may have tried to advance.

All of this brings to mind a memorable scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, wherein King Arthur, upon being denied passage over a bridge by the Black Knight, systematically dismembers his adversary with his sword, leaving the Black Knight first hopping on two legs, then one, and finally rendering him a bleeding, sputtering torso. Throughout the "battle," the Black Knight maintains, loosing at the confrontation's terminus a triumphant cry: "I'M IN-VINNNNNNNNNCIBLE!"

Remember, the important thing here isn't that the Black Knight has been sliced to bits. It's that he believes he has won. Any great satirist recognizes that the human capacity for self-deception is indispensable to his trade, and the creators of the Python cinematic series are no exception. And Christian "horsemen" -- in arguing fervently against evolution, against non-Christian religious adherents, against "Nigers," against liberals, and fundamentally against enlightenment, education, and palpable truth -- have this one element on their side: conviction. Conviction breeds effort, and this assures that no matter how extraordinarily fuckheaded or odious or oppositional a given Christian cause becomes, they will stand solidly behind it, throwing into and behind it as much money and votes and force and they can. It's the kind of wide-scale bullying that occasionally raises doubts about whether reality and truth will always prevail in the end, at least stateside, where history is seemingly on the side of the cognizant and the collected.

I'll delve into specific examples later.
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1 Comments:

Blogger Ted said...

Very nice essay -- aside from including that asshole Hitchens in it.

I'm quite impressed with your dogged pursuit of these people although you probably should keep a picture of Alan Berg close by. Don't misunderstand that as a threat of some type -- just one possible outcome of poking a rabid dog with a sharp stick.

"Niger"! That's classic.

8:29 PM  

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