Browsing Archives for February 2010

CDW Gets Committed!

February 11th, 2010

I was very anxious to read Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book Committed, because I loved her last book, Eat, Pray, Love.  My old songwriting buddy, Forrest Whitlow, had emailed me about Eat, Pray, Love and it was so unusual to hear from Forrest that I charged right out and bought the book. And I loved it! More than once, while reading that book, I actually had to put the book down and sob for five or six minutes at a time.  Then I would pull myself back together and read a few more pages, stop, sob, pull self together, read a few more pages, stop, sob, pull self together, etc,etc…

I don’t really know why I had such a visceral reaction to Eat, Pray, Love, except that it offered up a picture of god that was so refreshing.  Gilbert’s idea of religion is basically – love life, enjoy life, love people, enjoy people, meditate, help and eat lots of good food.  I could deal with this god.  This god was sending no one to hell. This god loved everyone.  No, really loved everyone and not just the ones that believed in a specific version of a specific creed. This god was about making the most out of what you had, having adventures, being curious, seeking truth, making friends, pizza, ice-cream and sex on the beach.  I could totally deal with this god.

If I could only find that god in christianity, I might never have left.  But that god wasn’t to be found in christianity, so I moved onto atheism. Which is nice because now I can make the most out of what I have, have adventures, be curious, seek truth, make friends, eat pizza and ice cream while having sex on the beach without god!  Which is good, because with god would be kind of awkward.

When Committed came out, I snapped it up.  It’s a good book – a quick read.  Gilbert wrote a lot about the history of marriage and how different cultures approach it.  These stories were the most interesting parts of the book for me.  She also wrote a lot about her own impending nuptials which involves her ‘then boyfriend’ getting deported and how she had to decide if she could face down marriage again to get him back after her disastrous first go-round and subsequent painful divorce.   Committed is no Eat, Pray, Love. I did not break down and sob a dozen times nor even blink back a single tear, but I did enjoy the book.  Which is part of Gilbert’s manifesto on god and part of my manifesto on atheism.  I may have to add it as an eleventh commandment.

Thou Shalt Enjoy Good Books!

I’ve been thinking about the ten commandments lately and how god really missed a spectacular opportunity with this trim little list of rules.  Just think about it.  If the ten commandments had actually been intelligent laws, the world could have advanced so much sooner.  Instead the ten commandments are weak, short sighted, lacking the type of insight one would expect of a god and completely undeserving of making any top ten list for anything.  Yet these rules continue to be touted and engraved and memorized and etched into stone monuments in public parks and taught to little kids as if they were the most valuable laws in all of human history.  Which they are not.

The first four commandments…

1  Do not have any gods before me.

2.  Don’t make idols of other gods.

3.  Don’t take the lord’s name in vain.

4.  Remember the sabbath and keep it holy.

None of these commandments have anything to do with how to treat other people, live morally, or make the world a better place. Instead they focus entirely on god.  It is almost as if the god who laser beamed these commandments into the stone tablets is a paranoid control freak who lives in terror of losing his power.  Did this god forget to take his meds on the day he wrote these laws?  Was he feeling lonely… neglected… ignored… insecure… fat?  Was he suffering from a pimply breakout?  Had his girlfriend just dumped him?  Talk about your high maintenance god!   Oh well – there are six more to go – I am sure god will make up for his hyperactive control issues with some radiantly brilliant laws that will point all of humanity towards a perfect life.  Let’s see what god came up with next!

Commandment Five –

5.  Honor your mother and father so that the days may be long in the land that the lord is giving you.

Uh… okay…

But what if your parents are abusive?  Criminals?  Addicts?  Amoral?  Immoral?  Raving Lunatics?  Bloggers?  Must one still honor them?  There is also a nice little promise that follows this law. Evidently, the person who honors his or her parents is granted longevity and land.  Awesome!  So where is this land?  What about all the people who faithfully honored their parents their entire lives, and yet lived out their days in crowded tenement squalor dying of the German measles when they were nineteen?   Honoring one’s parent’s is a nice idea, but should it really make the top ten of all time?  Really?  How about outlawing genocide instead?

Commandment Six…

6.  You shall not murder.

I have no problems with this particular commandment, but I do wonder why god encourages his people to break it over and over again.  In the old testament, god is constantly leading the Israelites out to annihilate neighboring tribes (including the babies and the children) and also requiring death for breaking the most minor of laws such as working on the sabbath or disobeying your parents.  Then there is the troubling scene where god asks Abraham to murder his own son. I guess god can make the laws and god can break the laws.  Because that teaches people that… uh that… um… that.. uh… what does this teach people again?

Commandment Seven…

7. You shall not commit adultery.

Um okay… this is a good rule to live by.  But is it really more paramount than say – outlawing child abuse?

Or forbidding pedophilia?

I know that unfaithful spouses are the source of much heartbreak and misery, but adultery rarely leads to mass death, horrible destruction or the sexual torture of a child. Outlawing adultery seems a mite weak when you consider a few of the options god could have chosen instead.  Like maybe – don’t burn people at the stake if they have brilliant scientific ideas or if they practice a different religion.  Oh but wait… that goes against #1 and #2.  Nevermind.

Commandment Eight…

8.  You shall not steal.

This law is also okay.  It might be somewhat problematic if you are a starving parent with a houseful of kids taking only a few apples from your selfish neighbor’s tree.  Or a slave that over the course of twenty years manages to steal enough pennies to finally buy a bus ticket to freedom.  If god had insisted that no one can starve or if god had outlawed slavery this would be a moot point.  But god didn’t outlaw starvation or slavery… did he.

Commandment Nine…

9.  You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

We are taught that this law is supposed to mean ‘don’t lie’, but upon closer examination (without the rose colored lenses of faith)  it doesn’t really seem to be about lying at all. It seems to apply to some type of a courtroom situation.  As if someone has been implicated in a crime and god is insisting that the neighbors of this person must testify honestly in court.   I actually think testifying honestly is a better law than the more simple and austere ‘do not lie’.  There are clearly situations when lying is a good thing.  For instance…

Never tell a woman that her jeans make her butt look big – even if they do.

Never tell grandma your true feelings about her sauerkraut surprise – even if it tastes like stump rot.

Never tell your small daughter that her drawing of a platypus looks nothing like a platypus.

Never tell the plantation owner that you are hiding seventeen escaping slaves in your well house.

Etc, etc etc…

Honest testimony is a good thing, but overall I think the guarantee of a fair trial is probably better.  But I’m no god so what do I know?

Commandment Ten…

10.   You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

So no coveting.

Really?

Really god?

You are going to end with this?

This is your big finish lord?

You are going to outlaw desire?

You are making wishful thinking criminal?

Why?

Why does this matter god?

Why does this make the big ten?

Why not outlaw SLAVERY!

Or how about RAPE!

Or maybe CHILD ABUSE FOR CHRIST’S SAKE!

Do you realize how much good you could have done god?

How much pain you could have prevented?

How many lives you could have saved?

How much misery you could have stopped?

It is almost as if these laws were written by a barbaric tribal overlord who was using the idea of god to control his people.

WAIT!

No Way!

Holy shit!


And so – since the ten commandments were clearly written by a person and not by a god, I thought I would attempt my own version.

The Ten Commandments

By Rechelle

1.  Never hurt a child.

2.  No war.

3.  No slavery

4. No murder.

5. Basic human rights for all people regardless of sex, race, IQ level, eye color, hair color, political affiliation, and yes, even if they are K-State fans.

6. Learn

7. Share

8. Everyone gets a vote.

9. No gods at all.

10. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. (Which did not originate with Jesus, but with ancient Chinese Confucianism, further promoting the theory that Jesus visited China during the problematic ‘missing years’.)

I would love to hear other versions of the ten commandments.

Off to tackle the beatitudes.

It would appear that Pioneer Woman got a very sweet deal when she switched ad companies and moved from Federated Media to BlogHer ads.  If I were a BlogHer blogger, I would start asking some interesting questions.  Here’s a few to consider…

1.  Why is PW allowed to run Federated Media ads above the ‘page-fold’ on her cooking, photography, and home and garden pages.  All other bloggers in the BlogHer network can only show BlogHer ads above the page-fold.  

2.  Is PW hand-picking the ‘headlines’ that run beneath her BlogHer ads?  The same blogs show up over and over again and they all happen to be personal friends of PW.  Everyone else in the BlogHer network has no choice over the headlines that run on their blogs.

3.  How come PW’s ad spots always display a commercial ad?  When the 2500 other blogs in the BlogHer network are running public service announcements and BlogHer house ads, PW is still displaying the better paying commercial ads.  

4.  Is the fact that PW seems to be running commercial ads at all times and therefore making money on all of her page views resulting in all the other blogs in the BlogHer network getting less commercial ads and therefore making less money?

5.  What percentage does PW make on her ads as opposed to all the other bloggers in the BlogHer network?

6.  At what point did BlogHer become a multi-tiered ad network and when exactly were they going to inform their other 2500 bloggers about their change in policy?

7.  Is BlogHer in violation of it’s contracts with all the 2500 bloggers in it’s network as a result of a special contract with PW and the subsequent preferential treatment of her blogging buddies?

8.  Were her special blogging buddies like Bossy, April, Jane, and White on Rice aware of their new status and if so – why did they keep it a secret?

But the most important question to ask is really this…

_________________________________________________________________________________________

How Do I Become Best Friends With Pioneer Woman and Get Into Her Lucrative Head…. Lines Too?

NEVER FEAR!  

 No one wants to be a part of the  newly created lowly caste of second class bloggers at BlogHer!  

Because ewww!  

So to help my readers rise above all those other peasant commoners at BlogHer and step into luscious limelight of PW’s total awesomeness, I have created a list of suggestions for how to make PW your new best friend and get yourself a very special spot among her hand-picked headlines.  

1.  Offer to be a surrogate mother to that baby she is so yearning to have.  

2.  Spend a year picking up the incredibly cute dog turds in her yard from the unbelievable darling Charlie the Basset Hound!

3.  Donate your afternoons to shovelling horse poop off the tennis courts!

4.  Become a christian homeschooler!  Then write a blog about what it is like to try and emulate this amazing woman on a daily basis!  (Except without the multi-millionaire ranch husband with the perfect ass!)

5.  Aw heck!  Just constantly tell her what an inspiration she is in the comments!  It never gets old!

6.  Blog for a year on making every dish in her cookbook!  Just like Julia and Julia except you won’t actually learn anything!  That’s okay!  You’re a blogger!  You can make it up!

7.  Offer to write her blog for her so that she can have more time to shop for $30.00 mini candles on the internet!

8.  Work as an unpaid hotel maid in the lodge for a year!

9.  Help her to cut and paste the entire Pottery Barn Catalog into the Home and Garden section of her blog so that she can focus on all that riveting prose that accompanies her photos!

10. Be the christian homeschooling sister of a blogger who is not afraid to criticize the mind shrinking inanity of PW’s blog.  This one might be hard – but if you put your heart into it, I am sure you can make it happen!

Hope it helps!  

Goodluck!

Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments.  

Rechelle

 

PS – To any new readers of this blog who might be wondering if I have some kind of emotional disorder when it comes to PW.  Well… I suppose it is possible, but I don’t normally mention her at all.  It’s not like I have a problem.  I’m not obsessed!  I can stop anytime I want!  Ahem!  

I did want to say however, that today’s story fluttered down from higher places.  I did not seek these details, they sought me.  I am just the humble messenger.