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Question Are state same-sex marriage policies associated with a reduction in adolescent suicide attempts?

Findings This difference-in-differences analysis of representative data from 47 states found that same-sex marriage policies were associated with a 7% reduction in the proportion of all high school students reporting a suicide attempt within the past year. The effect was concentrated among adolescents who were sexual minorities.

Meaning Same-sex marriage policies are associated with reduced adolescent suicide attempts.

(Raifman, et al.)

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Incongruity and the Moment


Bloom County, by Berke Breathed. (n.d.)

The weather report for the next couple days is hardly catastrophic, but neither is it pleasant, and that in turn brings to mind talk of blustery, wet, generally unpleasant winter expected to be, overall, too mild to build significant snowpack in the Cascades, and while it is easy enough to hope such chatter is, well, merely chatter, it is also rather quite tempting to mutter something about, Damn it, Nature! stop wasting water like that!

Except, you know, we’re the human species, so the next thought to mind is also pretty obvious: Oh, right.

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Image note: I’m pretty sure I was playing around with the photocopy filter in GIMP. Never mind. It’s Bloom County, by the one and only Berke Breathed, and I’ve a date of 26 March 1982 for this particular episode.

Question Time


With many thanks to Sean, a friend who pointed out this particular iteration of the morbid spectacle otherwise known as ¡Jesus’ fucking tits! Westboro Baptist Church―see Anna Merlan’s report for Jezebel about the latest Westboro wannabe Christianishesque clodhopping―a certain question arises, a reiteration that occasionally demands address:The Gumbys.

• Is it wrong that I only pay attention to WBC at all anymore because they’re like a comedy troupe performing a Christian version of The Aristocrats? I mean, it’s true: It was cruel of kids in my junior high to encourage the overweight, developmentally impaired kid to do stupid and humiliating things just so people could have a laugh. The Westboro heritage is similar; there is a tinge of guilt about paying attention to anything they do, as if we’re denigrating them just by watching.

Filters


Detail of frame from "Darker Than Black: Gemini of the Meteor", episode 9, 'They Met One Day, Unexpectedly ...'.  L-R, Kiko Kayanuma, July, and Suou Pavlichenko discuss the profitability of a cat café versus more mundane work as a book editor, and Mao (lower right) hides in Suou's satchel.

“Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

“Thus, when you give alms, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”

Matthew 6.1-8 (RSV)

Prayer is certainly something to do if you cannot or will not do anything more useful.One starts to wonder what God’s spam filter looks like. In the age of social media, the great testament to humanity seems to be a flood of cat videos and calls to prayer.

One could simply sever ties with their friends who are religious, but that seems stupid to the point of bigotry, and, besides, it will do nothing about the cat videos.

No, really, do you realize cat videos are a cartoon joke? As with hikikomori, the shut-ins, anime jokes about the Japanese obsession with cats are a societal critique, as gentle a prod as possible to remind that something is amiss.

In these United States, we are starting to adopt the cat obsession, and while the idea of becoming a shut-in because one owned only one pair of trousers that fell out the window one day while drying so he decided to just never leave the house again might seem obscure―and probably makes much more sense to the Japanese―what, exactly, would the joke look like if it was about Americans and prayer?

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Kitty Kitty Clickbait Christ


Religious clickbait.

A couple of things here.

First, stop with the clickbait, people. Sure, there is a season, turn, turn, turn, and all that. A time and place for everything, you know? But even longtime friends, not just the newly-agreed Facebook friends, do this to each other, and it has to stop.

To wit, there is some video going around of some dude absolutely mangling Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”, and doing so for the honor of Christ.

Okay, that’s not fair. I haven’t watched the video. And I won’t.

Why? Because when people send you a link via social media and instead of the actual content they’re sending you to an advert page with more clickbait for the website, that’s simply it. Strike one, and this particular form of stupid shit is out.

Which in turn brings us to stupid shit.

You know how every year we hear FOX News and a bunch of pastors reeling under the magnitude of their own perceived inadequacy complaining each year about a “War on Christmas”? Okay, so here’s the deal: To the one, it’s not a “War on Christmas” if people simply aren’t giving one religion a privileged place in our society and laws over another, and so far neither the FOX News crowd nor the self-loathing religious activists are prepared to indict the Bill of Rights as a conspirator to this so-called “War on Christmas”.

To the other, Christians need to stop declaring war on good taste.

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Something About Today I Can’t Explain


Composite image: uncredited photograph of Kurt Gödel ca. 1950, via Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey, left; detail of stained glass window from St. Anselm Catholic Parish, Toronto, Ontario, right.

The infinite condition is itself a paradox, as it must necessarily include its own finite limitations, lest it create finite limitation through exclusion.

Just an (ahem!) internal memorandum, sort of. It’s an abstract notion sometimes manifesting in applied logical argumentation, but only in finite and situational considerations. The formulation that struck was that, The infinite must necessarily include its own limitations. Which is, of course, a problematic notion.

Nor can I claim any sense of originality; the statistical likelihood that I am the first person to tread into this realm is precisely measurable: exactly zero. And while it is unclear what role exactly we might ascribe, it is also true that Radiolab visited Gödel during last night’s broadcast.

At any rate, this clumsy paradox exists somewhere in the record, and in much more refined expression. In turn, refined expression is crucial because application of such a crude tool invites catastrophic potentials. The point is remembering to chase it down, lest the idea strike again sometime in the future, and meet similar apathy.

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Quote of the Day: Benen on Republicans and the Ten Commandments


The Ten Commandments

The larger point is that some conservatives are so eager to have government extend official support to their religious beliefs that they’re willing to argue that their sacred texts have no religious value at all. It’s ironic, in a way – it’s tempting to think opponents of religion would want to strip sacred texts of their spiritual significance. Here we have the opposite.

Steve Benen

Yes, it comes to this.

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Benen, Steve. “This Week in God, 8.23.14”. msnbc. 23 August 2014.