The News of the Weird 2.0 Blog
Angst, Confusion, Cynicism, Ridicule
Hand-Picked and Seasoned by Chuck Shepherd
Thursday, January 24, 2013
Scientology: You won’t read a more entertaining review of Lawrence Wright’s new book than that by Michael Kinsley in last Sunday’s New York Times. Wright ostensibly explores why seemingly normal people would devote themselves so slavishly to a rigid set of philosophies when Scientology did not have the head start that other religions have. (That is, people choose to be Christian, or Muslim, or Jewish, etc., largely because of their rich histories and from parental or community indoctrination. And even though many people see through those “rich histories” as being mostly legend, those histories are far, far less fanciful than Scientology’s.) By contrast, Scientologists had to figure everything out by themselves--and they’re doing it about as well or poorly as any self-acknowledged “empty-feeling”-inspired people might be expected to do it. And through it all, the jury is still out on whether founder L. Ron Hubbard has been, for 27 yrs now, just giggling in his grave. New York Times
One More Crazy Egyptian Cleric: Rasmi Ajlan apparently startled his interviewer with Rep.-Todd-Akin-like pontifications on sexuality, e.g., a man doesn’t want to be “irrigating the seed of another” and the more a man copulates with his already-pregnant wife, the smarter the child will be. The newly-impressed interviewer could only respond, “Allahu Akbar! This is the wondrous scientific nature of Islam.” (The politically-correct crowd is quick to call these crazy-cleric stories “hoaxes.” Yr Editor usually doubts the “hoax” angle. More likely, it seems, is that there might be an Arabic-English translation disagreement or that the unorthodox view is simply a dispute over Quranic language--or that Islam, like other religions, simply has a few crazy uncles.) YouTube via Middle Eastern Media Research Institute (Washington, D.C.)
Something Else You’d Know Way Before Now If You Always Read News of the Weird: Many of Las Vegas’s homeless do have homes--in the “flood tunnels.” After a day of scrounging for loose change in downscale casinos, they retreat to surprisingly elaborate digs (and hope the periodical surges don’t wash away their possessions, which would do dozens of dollars’ damage). Of course, since News of the Weird was on this story in 2009, citing a pictures-galore story from London’s The Sun, you would not have been surprised to read the Globe and Mail story last week. (Several NOTW readers denounced me in 2009 because I cited The Sun. Note to Skeptical Readers: Only if everything in a newspaper is false can you disbelieve a story only on the basis of where it appeared. But of course, not everything in The Sun is false. Therefore, to evaluate the story, you have to, like, um, y’know, actually evaluate the story [cf. Some facts reported by your least-favorite conservative or liberal commentator are actually true, and thus you don’t win your argument simply by citing the source].) The Globe and Mail (Toronto) /// The Sun (upated 2009 story)
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