Popeye the Sailor vs. the Japanese

April 26, 2011

Here’s a little find that a student researching his final paper on WWII sent to me. It comes fully stocked with all of the racist characterizations of the Japanese that one expects from the period. It may be the first cartoon that I have seen that addresses Japanese ritual suicide. (Warning: may be offensive to humans.)

As it so happens, I am reading David Livingston Smith’s  book on dehumanization, Less Than Human: Why We Demean, Enslave and Exterminate Others. It’s quite good and, I imagine, very accessible for a variety of audiences.

Sigh.

RJB

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Teh Oxford Lolcat Dikshunaree

April 25, 2011

Lolcats have taken over the Bible, so is it surprising that they’ve invaded the most famous dictionary in the English language? They really need their own multi-volume dictionary–Teh OLD (Oxford Lolcat Dikshunaree).

ES


Skeptical Humanities Retreats into Comfortable Obscurity

April 25, 2011

Here’s the month’s hit tally for Skeptical Humanities as reported by WordPress:

That's more like it!

But enough. Time for some lulz. Here’s a kitty:

<a href=’http://www.macbrosplace.com/funny-cat-pictures/’><img src=’http://www.macbrosplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/cat-voices-in-head-400×300-01.jpg&#8217; alt=”></a>

Also, here’s a clip from the Onion’s Factzone:

http://www.theonion.com/video_embed/?id=20098<br /><a href=”http://www.theonion.com/video/autistic-reporter-train-thankfully-unharmed-in-cra,20098/&#8221; target=”_blank” title=”Autistic Reporter: Train Thankfully Unharmed In Crash That Killed One Man”>Autistic Reporter: Train Thankfully Unharmed In Crash That Killed One Man</a>

Haha!


The Week in Conspiracy (24 April 2011)

April 24, 2011

That sneaky cabal of globalist Marxist weasels has made me look the fool again by delaying their plans for taking over everything by one week. But ne’er matter! We’re on to them, and by exposing their plans, somehow that’s going to make everything better.

But I’m still sleeping in the HAARP-proof bunker tonight.

Conspiracy theory of the Week:

By the way, sifting through my Google Alerts this week was pretty amazing, as I came across myself several times. That’s new.

RJB


CNN wrap-up…

April 20, 2011

Check me out. I’m now an expert. Heheh. Anyway, ego-stroking aside, I was reading through the comments with great interest. On a blog the people who reply are generally interested in what you have to say. Sure you get an occasional person who just did not get the point, but most people are on the same wavelength.

The people replying on the CNN post, however, wow…the audience is noticeably different. Most of the critics, honestly, didn’t get past the headline. I could have written filthy limericks and nobody would have noticed. Either that or reading comprehension is WAY down. Regardless, I thought I would compile my favorite replies because I have 10 minutes.

phatchunk99

CNN brings dumb articles everyday. Are we going to see a repeat again today?

MrsLaceyB

Hey, a lot of other news sources have done this story too. So, ease up, readers. I’ve seen this story published year after year on various news websites. Chicago Tribune, Huffington Post, and numerous other sites have the same type of story except they didn’t even try to oppose the coincidences, they just brought it to our attention. I agree with the professor, its confirmation theory, people tend to seek out what they want to hear. The news media loves to put fear into the heart of Americans to manipulate us.
(Always agree with the professor.)
angbahoko
Tactically thinking and speaking, spring time and fall time has probably the most ideal weather for those who want to carry out a terror attack. April is the beginning of Spring. Most people are busy doing their thing and are outside more often, thus more activity (more distraction) and less attention from the guarding eyes. The change in season (warmer climate) easily provokes the temper of violent people. Summer is even worse, thus more road rage and homicides during summer time.
The only problem with this, though I generally agree that violence is probably more likely during nice weather, is that the ATF set the timeline for Waco. When my cross-country rampage comes around, my top is going to be down.

longtooth

I’ve seen a lot of inane and desperate attempts at filler stories, but this one takes the cake. CNN, where have you gone? Look at the BBC website, and hang your head in shame.

MadMelGibson

What an irresponsible story. You could say that about any month. Its called coincidence.
Again, he didn’t read or understand it. But it’s Mel Gibson, so what do you expect?

NathanS

The American people know about the Bomb squad trucks that were witnessed at the scene an hour before the explosion in oklahoma… Coincidence? You do the math, oh wait you won’t because CNN didn’t say it first.

Guest

“Conspiracy theories are a contemporary mythology, not unlike the Greek gods. Everything that happens has a reason, and the gods affect the course of human events through direct intervention.”Now why did the author feel the need to specify which gods are mythological? These two sentences sum up the absurdity of all religions. It’s certainly not limited to Greek mythology.
Only because they are clearly agents with motivation that are a lot like people, that they walk among us and have human form but can do anything. They live like elites on their holy mountain and are inaccessible to mere mortals. There was a reason I said that and the image in my head was of Athena deflecting an arrow aimed at her champion. Sure, it was just a crummy shot, but Athena gets the credit. Besides, I did say, “really seem to me to be a secular version of religious mythology.”

sonnycam

good analysis there, CNN……..ever heard of COINCIDENCE?? idiots
There’s an irony buried in this analysis. But at least he gets to walk away feeling smug.

alwaysrite9

If you read the article, you would have noticed that CNN is debunking conspiracy theories – so, if you consider the debunking to be paranoid, doesn’t that mean that you are actually the paranoid. Gotta go, time for “Twilight Zone” . . .
That one made me happy.
antil

“Following the election of [Barack] Obama, however, there was a steep rise in the number of hate groups”

“last year on the 19th of April, gun advocates had a rally in Washington””in the mythology that has grown up around Waco and Oklahoma City among self-identified patriots, the 19th has become a sort of high holiday””Conspiracy theorists”

I see what you did there. Talk about tying unrelated thing together…

These people are laboring under the demonstrable delusion that Obama is designing to take away their guns; it is a conspiracy theory that is at the heart of just about every fascist take-over scenario dreamed up by modern conspiracists. They are related, and I never said that everyone there was conspiracy theorist.

BeyochKnowlz

Didn’t Shakespeare write “April is the cruelest month”? This has been going on for centuries.

turtle995

I am a Jewish interdimensional shapeshifting reptilian space alien that works as a banker for the CIA. Why can’t we all just get along?
Win.

LiberaI

“Conspiracy theory expert.” What a joke.
Heheh.

NewEditi0n

April showers bring May conspiracies.

BGko

This guy they interviewed missed the boat. Actually April 19th to May 1st is an Occult Holiday time period in which blood sacrifice is required. On April 19th in particular, a sacrifice by fire is required, hence we have Waco, OK City, BP, etc ,etc ,etc…. I know it sounds wacky, but this is truth. Research deeper into the occult and you’ll find our government, media, etc is absolutely riddled with it, but you won’t see it unless you know what you’re looking for. You’ll find many such ‘disasters’ fall on occult holidays for good reason. You don’t have to believe in it, what matters is that they believe in it and act accordingly.

Wait…there was a boat? Why wasn’t I told?

SeekTruth911

Put simply, the globalist elite are very much obsessed with numerology because they believe in Satanic forces that empower them. I think that’s a bunch of bull pucky but THEY believe it.
Just google “dark secrets inside bohemian grove” to see the political and financial leaders of the world performing a mock human sacrifice to an ancient god known as Moloch.Also google David Gergen Bohemian Grove and just look at his reaction.

Kjcube

“He teaches a course examining conspiracy theories and runs a blog” well that settles it then… stupid CNN
I thought you had to be an expert to teach college classes on…your subject. The blog is just gravy for me.
BP2U
This ‘expert’ apparently doesn’t know that more suicides occur in Spring, as people come out of a long depressing winter only to see everyone else (except themselves) change for the better. It’s not a conspiracy, that’s just how it works.The tax time and 4/20 connection are also practical.Next time, ask normal people instead of these so-called ‘experts’ 😛

You’re right. Columbine was probably about taxes. And experts. Pish! What do they know?

NikkiNouse

It has been reported that levels of male testosterone are highest in April, probably from evolutionary survival mechanisms over millions of years. Not surprising, then, that male-initiated violence increases this time of year.
Aleforge

I agree with some of the others, its warmer out so people start picking up new hobbies. I almost started a cult but ended up doing some yard work instead. Maybe next year. *shrug*
Ketone

Can the professor cite any violent acts that actually were deliberately planned to coincide with the Battles of Lexington and Concord? He says the timing of Waco was merely “an unhappy coincidence”. Bringing up Lexington and Concord sounds nice but does it have any meaning?
Clearly not to you.
joeisking4
This article is ridiculous. While I’m not one to tone it down just to please a few sensitive people but cnn should really be more careful when putting out pointless articles such as this. Copy cats do exist and want to add their names to the long list of April tragedies. This is pointless journalism. Call me crazy, but this seems like a ploy to further violence so a few writers and editors can have their time to shine.
Imagining sinister motivations much? Dude, I want to study you.
nocode42
Confirmation bias is the single greatest threat we face today. It has allowed complete lunatics from both sides of the spectrum to basically hijack national politics with the kind of delusional sense of certain righteousness that produces suicide bombers. And there is literally no way to speak reason to such people… they could watch Obama’s birth with their own eyes and their brain would tell them the eyes are lying and their grandmaster’s right.
I like the next exchange a lot:

GixxerJoe

CNN forgot about April 19, 1775. Typical libtards.

nocode42

Both battles were mentioned in the article you didn’t read. Thanks for illustrating the concept of confirmation bias though. Your idiocy might be instructive to others.
Heheh.
GHull
You forgot the oil spill starting on April 20th. These dates are intentional. Illuminati mind control and sick cult like belief systems causes these dates to be used. Get real CNN. This is a piece intent on debunking people like Alex Jones and John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
Glades2
The Bible says that many things happen spiritually that we are not aware of – the week before or after Easter was also near or almost at the same time of these events, and represents the suffering of Christ for our sins, so it’s possible that spiritually evil tries to counter this sacrifice by generating evil in different forms. In fact, at the time of the Columbine shooting, Rachel Scott’s Father said that the thought kept coming to him (as said in the book “Rachel’s Tears”) that what was happening was “a spiritual event”, so again it does seem that many things happen for spiritual reasons, that we cannot see or understand by God’s permitting Will, for the good of mankind…
Oh, shut up. Er, I mean…good point!

sarcastr0

I can’t believe CNN’s obvious bias against interdimensional shapeshifting reptilian space aliens living in hollowed-out artificial moons. Obvious liberal bias.
That was my favorite comment, by the way.
Starter1977
CNN-you puppets for the illegal corrupt government..please see that you are controlled and you don’t even know it. You think you are high game, you are a joke and are being controlled like a video game. WAKE UP. Obviously the middle of April has an increase as it is Hitlers Birthday tomorrow. Every year he makes sure another event happens around the anniversary. And quit playing dumb like you actually think Hitler is dead. Wake up your fruitcakes and quit playing dumb..I guess that’s what you become after getting brainwashed by your controlled school system.
That one wasn’t.
andruha
Actually, I thought this article wasn’t half-bad. Granted, CNN asked inane question — they are trying to play the average American — but the expert was pretty interesting. I like his comparison to Greek Mythology — interesting interpretation.
Ah, that’s more like it.
So that’s that. I will never mention the CNN article again. Unless I’m drunk or think you might be interested in or benefit from being told about it.
RJB

Going Berserk

April 19, 2011

Who hasn’t at one time or another gone berserk? And by “gone berserk,” of course I mean become enraged, howled like an animal and then killed indiscriminately. What, just me? Ha ha, just kidding. Really.

But what does it really mean “to go berserk”? Berserks (Old Norse berserkr, pl. berserkir) were fearsome Viking Age warriors. They appear frequently in sagas, but it is difficult to separate legend from reality in the sagas. Sometimes they had supernatural abilities and sometimes they were stock characters–bullies who served as a foil for the protagonist. Where can we find the truth?

Where else but the History Channel. A few years ago History International ran a program called Unconventional Warfare. The first segment deals with the Trojan Horse. According to the narrator, no one really knows whether the story of the Trojan Horse is true or not, so you know off the bat that this is going to be another serious, hard-hitting, scholarly look at history.

The segment on berserks begins well enough, with information provided by real, genuine experts (and General Wesley Clark for some reason). Okay, the fact that the History Channel manages to bollox up their credentials may be a bit of a concern. They properly credit Ruth Mazo Karras as “Historian, Univ. of Minnesota,” but they identify Anatoly Liberman (more here) as a “Scandinavian Historian” at the Univ. of Minnesota as well. In fact, Liberman teaches in the department of German, Scandinavian and Dutch, and much of his work focuses on linguistics and philology. Similarly, they identify Paul Acker* as a “Norse Historian” at Saint Louis University, and, to be fair, he does look a bit like a Viking who’s given up raiding for academia. However, he is a professor of English rather than a historian. They don’t bother to give John Lindow (more here) any academic qualifications at all, identifying him as “Author ‘Handbook on Norse Mythology.'”

Regardless, the misidentified academics give a good summary of the berserks: they were fierce fighters who whipped themselves into a frenzy and fought in the front lines. In legendary tales, they are described as wearing bear or wolf skins (berserkr means “bear shirt”). They supposedly fought without armor and could not be harmed by weapons or fire. In reality, of course, they could be harmed and killed, but for the duration of  the berserker rage, they may have seemed impervious.

But what, asks the narrator, caused the berserker rage? Acker says, “Through their training and initiations, they whipped themselves into frenzy: that’s part of their jobs.”  The narrator, of course, knows better: “Some theorize, however, that the berserkers had a little help–from mood-altering substances.” Karras notes that “If you read a lot of modern works that refer to berserks, they talk about how they may have used either alcoholic beverages or perhaps hallucinogenic mushrooms to bring on the rage.”

Now, at this point, you can sense the word “however” hurtling across the room, desperate to make it before the camera cuts away, but, alas, to no avail. Magic mushrooms is what the History Channel wanted, and once someone mentioned them, they stopped. The point of Unconventional Warfare is to compare strategies used in the past to ones used much more recently. The berserks and their magic mushrooms are compared to Somali warriors who use a narcotic weed to become more aggressive.

None of the academics were told that this was the point of the segment. They only knew that the History Channel was doing a segment on berserks. When asked about the magic mushrooms, Acker and presumably Karras (quite possibly the others as well) explained that while some have speculated that the berserks used hallucinogens, there is absolutely NO evidence. There is nothing in the literature to suggest that the berserks used anything but training, natural aggression and the gift of Odin to work themselves into a frenzy. They may well have had a bit of a tipple now and then, but that hardly separates them from anyone else in Viking society.

If this is how they do history, perhaps it’s just as well that they stick with monsters and doomsday.

But enough about historical berserks; let’s talk about the literary and legendary ones–they’re much more fun. First the stock characters. These guys wander around, acting like bullies and intimidating people until they get their comeuppance from the saga protagonist. In Grettis saga, Grettir fights and kills a mound-dweller (an undead guy who attacks Grettir when Grettir is robbing his grave), a draugr (an ueber-nasty undead guy), a she-troll, a giant, a bear and lots of people. LOTS of people, including a number of berserks. Grettir meets a group of twelve berserks, led by a couple of brothers named Thorir Paunch and Ogmund the Evil.

They came from Halogaland and were bigger and stronger than anybody else. They would go berserk and spare nothing when they flew into a rage. They used to take away men’s wives and daughters and keep them for a week or two, then return them. Wherever they went, they used to plunder and cause other trouble (Saga of Grettir the Strong, p. 42)

Grettir pretends to befriend them, then gets them drunk and fights them (the alcohol is of no benefit to them, by the way). When they realize what is happening, the berserks, of course, go “berserk and [begin] howling like dogs” (p. 46). While they’re howling, Grettir thrusts a spear through Thorir and Ogmund, who bumps into him. Then he takes out the other berserks.

Later, when Grettir is staying with a man named Einar, a group of berserks arrive, and the leader challenges Einar “either to hand over his daughter or defend her if he was man enough” (p. 95).  Einar consults with Grettir, and the berserk becomes impatient:

The berserk thought that Grettir and the farmer were stalling. He started to howl loudly and bite the edge of his shield. He put his shield in his mouth, spread his lips over the corner of it and acted like a savage. Grettir strode over to him and when he came alongside the berserk’s horse he kicked the bottom of the shield up into his mouth so hard that his face ripped open and his jaws fell down to his chest (p. 95)

Then Grettir cuts off his head, and the other berserks decide to be on their way–rather quickly. Throughout the sagas, the beginning of the berserker rage is signaled by howling and shield-biting. Some of the Isle of Lewis chessman seem to depict shield-biting berserks:

As far as I know, Grettir is the only person who has the sense to kick the shield back into the berserk’s mouth. Not all berserks are slightly comic bullies, however. Some have supernatural powers. Examples may be found in Egils saga. Egil was a great warrior, an exceptional poet and a truly phenomenal drunk (again, though, his drunkenness is unrelated to his frenzies). Jesse L. Byock has argued that Egil may have suffered from Paget’s disease, which has a genetic component. Based on his saga, Egil may also have suffered from a genetic predisposition for berserkerism.

Egil’s grandfather is named Ulf. He is big and strong and a good farmer. As evening rolls around, however, he turns bad-tempered and is known as Kveldulf or Evening Wolf. You might as well wear a name tag that says, “Hi, I’m a werewolf. Ask me how.” He has two sons, Thorolf and Grim, known as Skallagrim (Bald Grim). Thorolf is tall, strong, brave, handsome, honorable (by saga standards) and an all-round swell guy. Grim is big, strong, ugly, troublesome and, like his father, has a tendency to shape-shift. Skallagrim has sons named Thorolf and Egil. Thorolf II is a carbon-copy of Thorolf I. Egil is big, strong, freakishly ugly and has the family tendency to shape-shift. The non-berserk Thorolfs both die young; the berserks all die of old age.

In one of Skallagrim’s rages, he seizes one of Egil’s friends and “[dashes] him to the ground so fiercely that he was crushed by the blow and died on the spot” (Egil’s Saga p. 63). He then seizes twelve-year-old Egil, who is rescued by his foster mother who is “as strong as a man and well versed in the magic arts” (p. 63). Skallagrim is described by an enemy as being “as vicious as a wolf” (p. 42), and Egil is mistaken for a bear on one occasion (p. 104). According to the narrator:

It is said that people who could take on the character of animals, or went berserk, became so strong in this state that no one was a match for them, but also that just after it wore off they were left weaker than usual (p. 46)

Kveldulf, Skallagrim and Egil also tend to befriend people with similar berserker characteristics. For instance, there is Egil’s friend, Onund Sjoni: “Not everyone agreed that he was not a shape-shifter” (p. 130).  Although Egil’s connection to berserker madness is less explicit than Kveldulf’s and Skallagrim’s, he performs one of the best killings in all the Icelandic family sagas. He is fighting a duel against a man named Atli, who is “strong and courageous, an experienced dueller, and skilled in the magic arts” (p. 128). Egil is able to hack Atli’s shield to bits and land blows, but the sword is unable to bite. His own shield is beginning to split, so

He threw down his sword and shield, ran for Atli and grabbed him with his hands. By his greater strength, Egil pushed Atli over backwards, then sprawled over him and bit through his throat. Atli died on the spot. Egil rushed to his feet and ran over to the sacrificial bull, took it by the nostrils with one hand and by the horns with the other, and swung it over on to its back, breaking its neck (p. 128)

Let this be a warning to you, History Channel: don’t mess with berserks.

ES

*Full disclosure: Professor Acker was my dissertation director. When the History Channel came a-filming, they collected several graduate students to sit listening in rapt attention while Prof. Acker delivered a faux lecture. We were cut.

References:

Byock, Jesse L. “Egil’s Bones.” Scientific American. Vol. 272. Jan. 1995, pp. 82-87

Egil’s Saga. Tr. Bernard Scudder. The Sagas of Icelanders: A Selection. New York: Viking, pp. 8-184.

The Saga of Grettir the Strong. Tr. Bernard Scudder. London: Penguin, 2005.


The week in conspiracy (19 April 2011)

April 19, 2011

You remember last time when I said that global events were coming to a head in the coming week? Boy, I sure was wrong because this week– THIS WEEK– represents the culmination of vast clandestine machinations.

Conspiracy Theory of the Week (or so):