April 22, 2006

Tom and Silent Katie give birth

This week, prompted by the Scientology™-influenced "silent birth" of Tom Cruise's and Katie Holmes' daughter Suri, Fred Butler posted an excellent parody of the event.

I'll bet this bit of celebrity gossip has caused a bunch of consternation amongst the hoi polloi. "Silent birth?" they're all wondering. "What's with the silent birth? Why didn't Katie want anyone to talk around her while she delivered Tom Cruise's illegitimate love child? If only the Crusty Curmudgeon could explain this to us, but he has been nowhere to be found for many weeks!"

So here's the deal with why Scientologists™ are so obsessed with silent births.

April 20, 2006

My personal history with the KJV-only cult

(Howdy! It has been a few weeks since my last blog entry. No particular reason, just a busy couple of weeks for a number of personal reasons, plus the usual Easter-season busyness. So I'm going to pretend nothing happened, and just pick up where I left off at the beginning of the month.)

Dan Phillips said, in a comment on my previous post on KJV-onlyism:

Candidly, and just 'twixt you and me -- of all the false notions that too many Christians hold, just about the most embarrassingly baseless and indefensible is KJV-onlyism. It just shocks my brain into numbness that otherwise functional folks can not only hold this view, not only publicly hold this view, not only publicly hold and defend this view, but publicly hold and defend this view and vilify others who don't. Maybe I'm missing something, but I simply can make no sense of it.

Neither can I. Over the years, I have learned how irrational KJV-onlyists can get. What's more, I think they are actually getting worse. The standard KJV-only treatment of Brooke Foss Westcott and Fenton John Anthony Hort, two 19th-century Anglican clergymen and textual critics, is almost paradigmatic of the downward spiral of KJV-onlyism.

April 05, 2006

KJV-onlyism, sola Scriptura, and "monkey see, monkey do"

KJV-onlyists do not have a strong reputation for being "logic friendly." Pointing out the illogic in their arguments is a good way to get ignored, abused, or (on forums they operate) banned. (By contrast, on the Bible Versions Discussion Board, I don't ban KJV-onlyists just for disagreeing with me or being illogical. I prefer to keep their brand of irrationality out in public where we can all see it for what it is.)

One tactic I see frequently is the one I call "monkey see, monkey do." It works like this. Someone challenges an aspect of KJV-onlyism with a logical syllogism or pointed question. The KJV-onlyist does not answer directly; rather, he replaces all the terms with KJV-only ones - or sometimes deliberate absurdities - and throws it back at his opponent, smugly thinking to himself how clever he is. Unfortunately it rarely works, and the results are often rather amusing.

April 03, 2006

Amen brother!

Do you know what the "Amen Break" is?

Maybe you don't recognize it by name, but you've heard it - probably hundreds of times. It is possibly the most ubiquitous drum rhythm in the history of popular music, a six-second loop taken from the middle of a 40-year-old funk B-side, sampled, sliced, diced, and distorted, and re-used in literally thousands of musical compositions, primarily of the hip-hop and drum 'n' bass variety.

Nate Harrison, an American interdisciplinary artist, created an exhibit in 2004 featuring an audio essay (on vinyl, natch!) about the history of the Amen Break. (The presentation includes a QuickTime video of approximately 18 minutes, which takes some time to load.) You may agree or disagree with Harrison's opinions about the ethics of sampling and copyright control, but I found the history of this little musical snippet - only four and a half revolutions of a 45-rpm single - fascinating.