Jun 08

Forget WeinerGate. What about JudgmentGate?

How Cartoon11 come we're hounding Congressman Anthony Weiner out of office but allowing Brother Harold  Camping to continue scaring people and collecting millions of dollars for his ersatz preaching?

In case you don't recognize the name, Camping's the lunatic who predicted Judgment Day would occur on May 21. As a result of his rants, people emptied their pocket books, quit their jobs and sent Brother Harold more than $9 million.

Camping predicted Judgment Day would begin worldwide at 6pm local time on 5/21. It would feature a rash of terrible earthquakes that would kill millions, unearth every casket and see only the “true believers” rising to heaven. Survivors of Judgment Day would chill with the now undead until October 21st, at which time God would mercifully finish off the planet.

Needless to say, there were no earthquakes. In fact, the only rumblings came from some of the believers Camping had bilked out of their life savings. One misguided European teenager actually committed suicide in anticipation of Judgment Day.

And, yet, Brother Harold's back on TV and radio with a slightly corrected prediction. He says we experienced a quiet Judgment Day and that we're still on track for an October 21st blitzkrieg from the Big Guy.

Camping is a zealot. And, zealots are dangerous. I'd label him a religious terrorist. He's using fear to once again whip up a frenzy, scare the uneducated and rake in a whole lot of additional loot. But, the mainstream media's giving him a free pass.

I'm not suggesting politicians such as Arnold and Anthony shouldn't be pilloried for their misbehaving. But, as far as I know, neither stole money from people, ruined lives or caused at least one suicide. So, how come the media's going 24×7 about WeinerGate but ignoring JudgmentGate?

Camping's a brilliant scam artist. He uses ersatz math to formulate an end of days pronouncement. Then, when it doesn't happen, he simply pushes the date back six months and says it will still happen. In effect, he's saying God has granted us an extension. But, unless I've missed something, God doesn't work for the IRS and we're not talking about tax filings.

I believe religion, and not money, is the root cause of all evil. Fundamentalists like Camping are no different than terrorists such as bin Laden. The former's weapon of choice is words. The latter's was, of course, weapons.

The media will wake up again only when Camping begins spending millions of newly-collected dollars from his fearful flock in early October. At that time, he'll once again proclaim the end of the world and TV's talking heads will once again joke about end of the world parties. Until then, though, the Fourth Estate will stay focused on the sleazy and sordid behavior of politicians and celebrities instead of exposing this nut job's dangerous ways. The former hypes ratings. The latter could save lives and fortunes.

Jul 22

RepMan’s Recommended Readings

Every now and then, I come across a book that alters my point of view on a subject or provides
Reading-a-book-on-the-bea-001 fresh thinking that stops me dead in my tracks. When those seminal events occur, I like to share what I’ve stumbled upon with others. And, in this case, all three recommended readings touch on image and reputation in some way, shape or form. So, drum roll please, here are three recommended reads for your summer pleasure:

1.)    “The God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins. Regardless of your religious persuasions and beliefs, you owe it to yourself to read Dawkins’ treatise on creationism vs. evolution. He explores both the Old Testament and New Testament as well as the Koran, the writings of Confucius and every other latter-day spin-off (think Joseph Smith, Sun Myung Moon, etc.) In the text, Dawkins argues very convincingly that there is no afterlife. Dawkins doesn’t see atheism as a downer however but, rather, as a reason to live a fuller, richer life and to make the most of the precious time we have here on earth. The book is also chock full of amazing quotes, such as this one from Emily Dickinson: “That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet.” The book also contains a fascinating chapter on Stalin and Hitler, and the possibility that the latter’s Catholic upbringing may have planted the original anti-Semitic views in his mind.

2.)    “The Art of Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein. This is a MUST read for any animal lover in general and dog lover in particular. In my humble opinion, it runs rings around “Marley and Me”. The beauty of this book is that it’s written entirely from the dog’s, Enzo’s, point of view. In doing so, it provides some surprisingly insightful views on human behavior. “Art” also contains more plot twists and turns than a Formula One racing course but sadly, like Marley, ends with Enzo’s demise. Surprise, surprise, though, there’s a very cool epilogue that will leave you panting for more.

3.)    "100 Bullshit Jobs… and How to Get Them" by Stanley Bing. I love anything Bing writes. This 2006 handbook on the 100 easiest jobs in the world is a laugh out loud page turner. Bing skewers every occupation from personal publicist and media trainer to industrial psychologist and Tarot card reader. In the process, he ‘ranks’ the bullshit level of each job from 1-200 (with 200 being attained only by Donald Trump who, Bing says, cannot be topped for round-the-clock pure bullshit). In each job description, Bing provides such observations as ‘The Upside, The Downside and The Dark Side.’ In his description of someone who holds a top job at the strategic consulting firm, McKinsey, Bing’s upside is: “License to kill comes with the job” (referring to all the downsizing that McKinsey types do when they’re hired). The downside as: “People run away and hide in the AV closet when they see you coming” and the dark side as: “You are found with a chicken skewer through your neck at the client retreat in Boca.”

So, there you have it. Three totally different books with three totally different POVs that open one’s mind, make one think and cause one to laugh out loud. What more could a blogger ask for? Oh, one criticism of the Bing book, though: how did he not list medical supplies executive as one of the top 100 bullshit jobs of all time?

Mar 11

Travel agents, tollbooth attendants and now Catholic priests

It’s easy to see why career opportunities are less than ideal for travel agents and tollbooth attendants.Full
Technology is literally wiping both off the face of the earth.

But, when it comes to ‘other worldly’ matters, who would have guessed that priests may become an endangered species? A new survey by Milan’s Catholic University revealed 60 percent of Italian Catholics no longer go to confession. Thirty percent see no need for an ‘intermediary’ and another 20 percent feel uncomfortable with the priests’ role as middleman between the sinner and God.

The Milan survey comes as no surprise. After decades of scandals involving the priesthood, why should anyone feel comfortable opening up in a confessional? In fact, ‘confession-avoidance’ is a classic cause-and-effect of the Church’s poor image and reputation.

But, with the confessional becoming less and less popular, I wonder how priests will spend their free time? Maybe the Garden State Parkway Authority is still accepting resumes for their few remaining tollbooth attendant openings?

Thanks to Greg Schmalz for the idea.

Nov 12

Religiously pursuing profits

Televangelists sure give fundamental Christianity a black eye. These self-righteous men and womenPlate
pound their podiums, thump their chests and offer lots of false hope: all in the name of Jesus and the Almighty Dollar.

So, it’s nice to see the government finally step in and investigate the charlatans who preach poverty but live in the lap of luxury.

Ah, there’s nothing like a good Congressional investigation to put the fear of God in a double-talking, bible-thumping fraud. And, while there are undoubtedly some legitimate preachers out there, my gut tells me the majority simply prey (pun intended) on the fears and ignorance of the great unwashed masses.

Organized religion deserves its checkered image and reputation. Too many scam artists have hurt too many unsuspecting faithful over the years.

So, let the investigations begin. And, hopefully, some of these profit-hungry pastors will be doing their preaching in prison and not on the boob tube.