Saturday, April 30, 2011

Damn! Forgot the Camera Again!

As will sometimes happen, local daily had an interesting letter in it this morning:

      In the Voices section of the April 23 Argus Leader was a picture of the Last Supper. The picture was a good one, but what it portrayed was completely inaccurate. Where were the women and children?
        Everywhere that Jesus went, he was accompanied by women and children. He loved them. He cared for them. He always had them near.
          Most biblical stories are about men. Two thousand-plus years ago, the roles of women were much restricted, and women were treated as inferior to men. The role of women in Christianity and Judaism was as if they were invisible, which resulted in men being all there was when the Bible was written. And, of course, we need to remember that the Bible was written by men.
            In biblical usage the term “disciple” often means “student,” someone who believes in a person’s message and who tries to follow that person’s values and teachings. “Apostle” means “one who is sent forth as a messenger.” Using such definitions, all female and male followers of Jesus could be considered his disciples.
              According to Wikipedia, there are at least 53 named women who were disciples and/or apostles of Jesus.
                Not much has changed in the past 2,000-plus years. Women still are restricted and treated as inferior to men. If Jesus was physically here with us now, he would be appalled. It is past time that the good old boys woke up to the fact that without women, there would be “nothing” and “no one.”
                  I hope that the next time I see a picture of the Last Supper, I won’t have to ask, “Where are the women and children?”
                    Rev. Ed D. Crowson

                  Letters such as this always provoke in me a chuckle. “The picture was a good one, but what it portrayed was completely inaccurate.”

                  Really? Completely inaccurate?

                  Am I to conclude, then, that the letter’s author was there?

                  No one, apparently, had the presence of mind to bring a camera to the Last Supper, so it’s hard to say who, precisely, was there.

                  The biblical accounts reference “the twelve,” but they don’t say “the twelve and nobody else,” nor do they say “the twelve and a bunch of women and children and two puppy dogs,” so that’s all up in the air.

                  Note that I am not quibbling with the Reverend’s comments on the sexist nature of the Bible, since I happen to agree with him on that score, for the most part. Nor am I arguing about whether any or all portions of the Bible actually happened, for that is irrelevant to the matter at hand.

                  Which is the claim made about the portrayal of the Last Supper. Viz., “completely inaccurate.”

                  Completely inaccurate?

                  Well, let’s see. Anyone reading the biblical record (the only source) would have to conclude that, for one, Jesus was there, and the twelve disciples, too—so that much of it must be accurate enough. Perhaps the picture is incomplete and other people, unmentioned for whatever reason or no reason at all, were indeed present. But to say that the rendition is “completely inaccurate” is...yep, completely inaccurate.

                  Monday, April 25, 2011

                  What Does it Mean When You Pose the Question and Then Don't Answer it?

                  I’ve received notice from my credit union that its board has decided to merge with another local credit union. I’m not keen on the idea—my experience has been that when credit unions decide they need to be bigger, service suffers—and I think it should have been put to a vote of the members (evidently the other credit union’s members get to vote, but not ours), but what really caught my attention in the “information” packet I received in the mail was how little real information it contained. And what a dandy job its creators did of dancing around questions...even though they were the ones posing the questions!

                  Take this example, for, um, example:

                  Okay, good to know...but tell me: How much is the merger going to cost??

                  Sort of never gets around to saying. And much of what little id does say makes no sense. “...instead of two computer systems, we will operate on just one.” Uh-huh. Well, I can tell you how much money that will save the current members of my credit union: Precisely nothing at all. See, my credit union currently operates one computer system. The other credit union, a competitor, operates its own, as does every other credit union in town. What they do is not an expense to me or my fellow members, just as what wedo is not an expense for them. The same goes for “combining facilities, our insurance bond, card programs, and much more”—these are not duplicated expenditures, as implied, since currently the two businesses are completely separate. The idea that merging two independent businesses cuts duplicated expenses is ludicrous. It’s tantamount to saying that if I double my expenses, then cut them, I’ve “saved” money.

                  And while there may be “cost savings” in the future—real cost savings, I mean, not sleight-of-hand “savings”—it bothers me that not even ballpark guesstimates are being put forward. Absent any figures, it’s impossible to judge whether the board is indeed accurate in claiming that bigger will in fact be any better for the members.

                  Looks like I might have to drag myself to one of the “informational meetings,” even though it feels like a waste of time. We don’t get to vote, and it’s obvious where the big shots weigh in on the deal. Still, my longstanding motto is You have to make your own fun, so perhaps I’ll turn up and ask some salient questions.

                  Like, How much is the $!#@&% merger going to cost??

                  Maybe Sex Sells After All!

                  I mentioned in passing nearly a month ago (“Catching My Eye,” March 26, that USA Today’s Tech Briefing had been touting for several weeks already the article “Free porn on ‘tube sites’ puts a big dent in industry”—and I expressed my wish that I had been keeping track from the beginning so I could report on exactly how many months now they’ve been plumping this patently salacious headline.

                  However, I can report that USA Today has yet to give up on it: Here’s a screenshot of this morning’s Tech Briefing e-mail, with the porn headline still enjoying its place of honor. I assume it’s there after all this time because it continues to generate clicks, so maybe it is indeed true that sex sells.

                  Let’s not fool ourselves: I’m not particularly prudish, as anyone who’s read one or more of my detective novels can attest. My issue here is with the blatantly prurient intent attached to running this same link day after day, week after week, for well over a month now. Enough, already!