Archive - Jun 10, 2005

Urine, Elephants, and Scientology

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It's Friday, and yes, the Topic-Monkey is once again Spastic.

I still have a lot of unanswered questions about Koran abuse at Guantanamo Bay, but the most important one is this. What kind of chickenshit operation are we running down there? The Army says one Koran got wet because guards were having a water balloon fight. And one Koran got peed on because some guard-pee got into an air vent and splashed into a cell.

You know, it's bad enough that we have an extralegal detention center where people whose guilt we're being asked to assume are held without trial for years, tortured, humiliated and abused. But goddammit, do we have to be so fucking redneck about it? Water balloon fights? What the fuck? Can't the army scare up an old Nintendo 64 or something to keep these pinheads occupied? Maybe some Van Damme DVD's? Or maybe they could go the extra mile, use some of their nationally sovereign land, and make themselves a regulation water-balloon fight arena? Come on. We're spending hundreds of billions of dollars on the war on terror, and you're telling me our brave fighting men have to have their water balloon fights in cell block hallways?

And as for the pee... OK. I am not that familiar with military protocol. As a result, I am obviously completely unfamiliar with the mechanism by which urine can accidentally make it into an air vent and, subsequently, a cell. If any of my readers happens to own a copy of Jane's Fighting Urinals and wants to scan the relevant section, I'd be grateful.


Yet another creationist can't stand being excluded from a place where science holds sway. And it's in Oklahoma! Specifically, the Tulsa Zoo, where the world's most appropriately named creationist, Dan Hicks, is trying to get a creationism display. See, the zoo has stuff on evolution, and Hicks thinks he should get equal time.

But the best part of the whole thing is how he comes to the conclusion that it should be OK. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"The Pandora's box is already open. All we're saying is if you're going to open Pandora's box and you're going to allow all these religions in, don't forbid ours."

Which certainly seems reasonable. If the Tulsa Zoo is, as Hicks claims, a rampant pantheistic smorgasboard, keeping out Christians would be mean. And wrong. And also very, very funny.

But the zoo's "allowing" of "all those other religions" consists of the following. One statue of Ganesha, and one globe inscribed "The Earth Is Our Mother". The latter is not specifically Gaian or Wiccan - it's a fricking metaphor on a stray bit of decoration. And the former? Somehow, I can't imagine the Tulsa Zoo is informing people that the elephant god is real, and that zoo visitors should make offerings to Ganesha. Yet somehow, these two items are more than enough justification for the Hicks of the world to demand their superstition be presented as fact, complete with dioramas.

And it even worked. Sorta. There's gonna be a spot for a creation exhibit at the zoo. With the caveat that whose creation myths will be represented will be included at a later date. And they're gonna make Hicks pay for it. And stick it on an empty wall somewhere. I can certanly think of a few choice locations in a zoo for a creationism exhibit.


For the record, I do not give a shit if Tom Cruise is crazy, if Katie Holmes is being sucked into Scientology, or if Mission Impossible 3 ever actually gets made. But I am curious about one little thing. When, exactly, did we decide as a society that celebrities who fuck up can make up for it by engaging in one instance of lame self-parody?

Cruise acts like a nutjob on Oprah, seemingly spontaneously. Couple of weeks later, after some bad press, he goes on Leno and, doing an obvious bit, acts like a nutjob on purpose. And somehow, ergo, he's not a nutjob. I'm sorry, I can't follow that logic. Same thing with Bush. One of his speechwriters slips a joke about how he cannot speak English into a public appearance, and hey, it's OK that he's a boob.

Sure, there are a number of situations where the ability to make fun of yourself in public is a huge help. But after the first couple of dozen times it happened on SNL, it became commodified, an exercise in every PR textbook, followed to the letter by people who don't actually know or believe what they're doing. So it doesn't fuckiing count anymore. Say what you like about Russell Crowe, but at least when he went on Letterman the other day, he wasn't chucking Styrofoam phones at Paul Shaffer.