Friday, April 04, 2008

A message to the God Freaks. (Others, feel free to skip.)

I don't know where you folks got the idea that you're entitled to spam my blog, submitting comment after comment with no relevance to a given post (or even any of the threads that arise spontaneously therefrom). Clearly you have nothing to contribute except your generic, evangelical Christo-blather. But as I noted in one of my first published essays, a long-ago dissertation on the benign menace of Jehovah's Witnesses, I find it intriguing and ironic that you people who can quote scripture the way I quote batting statistics show so little respect for the rights, preferences and boundaries of others. I keep telling you that I'm not going to publish any more of your material...but you keep sending it through anyway, not only cluttering my inbox, but adding frustration and complication to workdays that are already quite busy enough.

To my mind, this is a very small microcosm of what causes so much trouble elsewhere in the world, courtesy of fanatics who are pathologically caught up in their religious beliefs and determined to impose those beliefs on others.

Tell ya what. See that maniacal gleam in my eye in the photo above? I just bought a beautiful new maple bat. (One might say I worship at the Church of the Louisville Slugger.) And I swear to your god, the great god of cyber-harassment, that if I can hunt you down somehow, I will deliver righteous justice unto you with the sweet spot of that bat. Got it? Now back off, please.


On a somewhat brighter note, the new issue of Skeptic, featuring my piece on journalism's crippling flaws, is now on the stands. Interesting cover, I think, given over to the global-warming problem...or controversy, depending on your point of view.


Anonymous said...

Steve, I'm going to take the bait and comment here. I concur on the validity of your post--some of the more recent "religious" comments on your posts have been bizarre if not deranged. (In the words of Mark Knopfler, "no one ever mentioned the medical report.")

What moves me to comment is the attitude taken, even by the obviously highly intelligent, highly educated commentators on SHAMblog, to any religious comment of any sort whatever. Just the other day, someone called a comment I'd left on one of your posts "a knee-jerk reaction." I have spent a lifetime studying and reading about comparative religion--the seemingly inherent human (or even primate) urge to develop religion, to worship "the other," fascinates me--and I was setting forth a very carefully thought out position.

God knows, anyone and everyone could and should feel free to disagree with that position; sadly, I lack the god-attributed quality of omniscience, so it's just one person's take. But whatever else it may have been, it was hardly a knee-jerk response; it was a thoughtful, educated response, and deserved a better reception than a slick, uh-huh dismissal.

Which finally brings me to the reason I'm writing here. This is, after all, SHAMblog, which by its very nature is dedicated to skepticism, to questioning assumptions. And I approve of that: We should always question, always quest. And the answers we choose ultimately to accept, at least for now, will always differ, yours from mine, mine from his, his from hers.

But it seems to me that, in this very politically correct world of making room for everybody, there are still two types of people that it's PC to bash, mock, stomp, ridicule, or what have you: people of faith and fat people. (Oh wait, I forgot female politicians.)

I'm not asking anyone to agree with a religious POV; everyone with a good brain should use it, and plenty of people with good brains have dismissed religion as bunk, or worse. But it saddens me to think that I would receive more courtesy by declaring myself a Pastafarian (and no offense meant to any follower of the FSM, ramen to his, uh, its name!) than a Catholic. A little more intellectual forebearance would be not just appreciated, but appropriate.

Cal said...

Could those messages be some form of spam?

So you play in a wood bat league? How many do you go through in a season?

Case said...


I have a writer's question for you. I'm catching up on shamblog posts and I notice that you are making exstensive uses of colons. Many readers have mimicked the trend in the comments.

I picked up a paperback by John Case, Ghost Dancer, on vacation and I also noticed extensive use of colons.

I checked my copy of The Elements of Style by William Strunk, E. B. White, and Roger Angell, and Strunk oultines clear rules.

Is it just me, or is the use of the colon a late 2000's writing fad?

Steve Salerno said...

Anon, I don't think my post should be interpreted as religion-bashing--and if it came across that way, it's only because it must have been poorly written. What I object to is zealotry. You know, we hear a lot these days about our secularized culture and its intolerance of people of faith--Mike Huckabee, as you know, made that notion a cornerstone of his campaign, and did amazingly well with it among his demographic. I was brought up Catholic, and despite my innate skepticism of all things supernatural, I guess it's still in there somewhere, because to this day, I find a quiet kind of personal peace in watching religious broadcasts from St. Patrick's Cathedral or the Vatican. But the key words there are "quiet" and "personal." What I object to--massively so--is when people insist on inflicting their faith ON ME. And if you think about it, in such cases, they are the ones who are being intolerant of my desire to be free of their preaching. That's what this post was about.

I'm sorry if you feel you've received shabby treatment on the part of some of our contributors. Please realize that in blogging,
"cleverness" is one of the most prized commodities, and I often think that people will sometimes say something just because it sounds so damn clever to say it...

Cal: Yes, been playing in wood-bat leagues for the past 8 years now (or ever since I moved to PA). At first I had to re-learn how to hit with wood--and I broke a bunch. More recently, however, I manage to make kindling out of just one or two per season. (As you probably know, wood bats ain't cheap anymore. A decent maple bat--all the rage nowadays--is upwards of $50, even at discount.)

Elizabeth said...

Dear Anon, I think I'm the one guilty of the knee-jerk comment. Mea culpa. Please forgive. That comment had not much (if anything) to do with your (well-written and thought-out) post, but merely reflected my own discomfort at bringing up such a sensitive subject and anticipated others' responses. Heck, I had knee-jerk reactions to my own words there...

Thus my comment referred to my feelings more than your post. (Hope it makes sense...?)

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Elizabeth. And Steve, that IS a maniacal gleam in your eye! Thinking of calling yourself the SHAMblog Slugger?

roger o'keefe said...

You know I'm a big fan, or I hope you do, but I have to say this. You shouldn't write posts like this, because it makes you seem frivolous. A little bit, if not more than a little bit "over the top". If this was the first time I'd visited Shamblog and I read this particular post, I'd think you were some kind of kook who wasn't worth my time.

Just calling it as I see it, Steve. Take it for what it's worth. If you feel like you have to get this kind of stuff out of your system, do it in some non-public way, otherwise you do a disservice to yourself. And trust me, this is from someone who hates Jehovah's witnesses every bit as much as you do.

Steve Salerno said...

So Roger, was it the maple bat that did it for you? What I mean is, if I'd stuck to regular ash, you would've been OK with it? ;)

Anonymous said...

This reminds me of the old quote "Almighty God, please save me - from your followers"