2011-12-30

Cult of the Green Fairy, Part IV

At last we come to the fourth level of Rappaport's hierarchy: the arena of on-the-ground adaptive pressures, where religious ideas meet the real world in practice and must respond like any other organic system in order to survive. This last part of our look at an imagined absinthe religion will be a piecemeal conclusion, addressing a smattering of issues the Green Goddess may encounter on her journey from spiritual obscurity to deific stardom.

2011-12-09

Cult of the Green Fairy, Part III

Having firmly established that the absinthe ritual is indeed a ritual properly so-called, let us continue with our consideration of the third tier of Rappaport's hierarchy: rules of conduct.

2011-12-01

The Absinthe Ritual



At the conclusion of our discussion of absinthe cosmology, I declared we could turn our attention to the third tier of Rappaport's hierarchy of religious ideas. However, before we consider that third level generally, let us take a detour to examine its most prominent and significant feature exclusively.


Here we will consider the ritual preparation of absinthe in terms of Rappaport's definition of ritual before returning to our hypothetical survey of religious absinthism.

2011-11-22

Things Bloggers Should Never Do, Episode 3

It's that time again. Bloggers should never...
  • Tell readers they have to read so-and-so's book, or that such-and-such a blog should be on their blogrolls right now.
  • Bury substantial posts under piles of announcements about conferences, bubbling reviews of how inspirational so-and-so's keynote was, and shout-outs to people met at conferences.
  • Use three verbs separated by periods as a blog title or subtitle.
  • Pretentiously refer to their sites as 'weblogs'.
  • Write posts in which almost every single sentence is a separate paragraph.
  • Grammatically treat the words 'social media' as singular.
It's likely this will be the last installment of this serial tirade, as my regular work had me wading through relatively fewer blogs than over the summer, and came to a sudden and unexpected end last week. In any case by now I'm fairly confident I've seen most of the worst the blogosphere has commonly to offer. Nevertheless, feel free to suggest anything I've missed in these three cautionary articles. As the Interwebs continue to develop, no doubt the vulgar errors perpetrated most frequently will as well, and time may oblige me to revisit this painful subject once again.

2011-11-21

Cult of the Green Fairy, Part II

Previously, we set out to define the ultimate sacred postulate of a hypothetical religion of absinthe. Now we turn to the second tier of Rappaport's theoretical hierarchy.

2011-11-11

Cult of the Green Fairy, Part I



When I actually stir myself to gather my thoughts and outline one of the ideas that occasionally flits through my head, I can still manage to come up with some decent direction for something to write about. At first I thought this would be a solid single post, but by the time I finished outlining it I realized we're in for another small series. At least that'll give you something to look forward to, right?

As those of you who keep in touch or are connected with me on the Google+ are likely aware, my latent interest in absinthe has lately blossomed into full-fledged devotion. As I learned more about the enigmatic aperitif, I naturally grew more deeply fascinated with the ritualistic behaviors associated with its preparation, and with the figure of the Green Fairy herself, embodiment of all the mystique of the drink and the culture surrounding it.

In absinthe's heyday, enemies of the Green Fairy promoted the notion of absinthism, an addiction distinct in severity and symptoms from common alcoholism. Of course, the scientific evidence adduced to prove the existence of this condition was flawed and insubstantial, and despite its infamy absinthe is in fact no more (or less) capable of harm than any other libation. However, as a modern absintheur I think it appealing and apropos to reclaim the term 'absinthism' for the peculiar fascination, devotion, and adoration that distinguishes absinthe connoisseurship.

Perhaps you can see already where this led me.

2011-10-13

Things Bloggers Should Never Do, Episode 2

Figured I should publish at least a couple of actually topical posts before loosing the second installment of this judgmental nitpicking. This second round has actually been ready to go since early in June, and perhaps you won't be surprised that the third is already underway.

In any case, bloggers should never...
  • Title their blogs "My [Subject] Blog" or "[So-and-So's] [Subject] Blog" or, perhaps worst of all, simply "[So-and-So's] Blog".
  • Incorrectly use commas to reflect non-grammatical pauses that might be made in speech.
  • Use capitalized words run together without spaces as a blog title, like "LameAssTitleBlog".
  • Title their blogs with a clever-looking combination of one word in capitals and the other all lower case, like "BULLSHITblog".
  • Use images completely unrelated to their posts (or related only by the most pathetically tenuous acts of imaginative stretching) simply for the sake of having an image in the post.
  • Describe themselves with a series of unconnected and unrelated nouns separated by periods.
Once again, I invite your suggestions for bad blogging habits in the comments, though frankly I imagine it'll be something of a challenge for you to come up with something I haven't encountered. Surprise me.

2011-08-12

From the Agora

I quite unexpectedly found myself engaged in a refreshing theory and method conversation the other day on the Google+ of all places. My interlocutor was Charlie Peirson, the first person I met during my orientation at Reed College in days of yore, incidentally a fellow student of my teacher Professor Brashier, and a jolly good fellow. Charlie's own blog may be found here.

Our exchange, reproduced below, was spurred by this little talk from Sam Harris.

2011-07-15

I'm on a Boat

... Or a bandwagon or something. Anyway, I've suckered myself into joining Google+. If any readers out there would care to connect, feel free to find me. If you ask really nicely I might even be persuaded to hand out an invite to the field trial.

2011-07-07

Lady Gaga and Non-dualism

Fascinated as I may be by social media, I'm no user of Twitter, Facebook, nor any of the rest. (What I've heard of Google+ over the past week has been tempting me a bit, though.) Regardless, in the course of my work yesterday I happened upon a recent tweet (or at least a hypothetical tweet featured in a video) of Lady Gaga's: "you are ALL beautiful."

Immediately my mind began to wrestle with what the Goddess of Pop could mean by this. On the face of it, the message seems simple and cheery enough, but given more than superficial consideration we're obliged to concede that, strictly speaking, it can't be true.

2011-06-08

Things Bloggers Should Never Do, Episode 1

For awhile now I've been looking for an outlet to express some vexation of mine over too-common habits and behaviors among bloggers. As you may recall, dear reader, my day job entails looking over hundreds of blogs every week. In the course of touring so much of the blogosphere, one develops an eye for certain annoying commonalities between blogs on all subjects.

It occurred to me that I am a blogger, and have this blog as a potential venue for just such a venting. Although it breaks my heretofore undisrupted focus on matters pertaining strictly to religion and the study thereof, I believe I may excuse myself on the grounds that off-topic posts about blogging itself are one of the features found on blogs everywhere.

And so, without further ado:

Bloggers should never...

  • Use the word 'musings' in their blog name, post titles, or anywhere on their blogs, ever.
  • Describe their blog as 'the place where I record all things pertaining to [subject], [subject], [unrelated personal interest], and life' or with similar phrases on an about page.
  • Profess their undying love for or addiction to or connoisseurship of chocolate and coffee.
  • Just post interesting or amusing videos without significant or meaningful commentary.
  • Post self-promoting collections of their tweets from the last week.
  • Use the contraction 'there's' when they mean 'there are.'
I'll leave it at that for this first installment. More to come as my rage gauge fills up again.

Feel free to get in touch to suggest your least favorite bad blogging habits to contribute to this ongoing catalog of trite degeneracy.

2011-05-21

Still Here

Don't want to say 'I told you so,' but...


Heaven and Earth, just as they were before. Cheers.

2011-05-16

The End is Nigh... Again

It has come to my attention that the end of the world is scheduled to begin this coming Saturday, May 21st, at 18:00 pacific time.

Once again, some clever person has made 'calculations' based on clues hidden in the Bible, and determined with great precision and certainty the day and the hour at which the saved will be 'raptured' ('rapture' is a verb now?) off to Heaven, while the rest of us poor sinners will be paid the ultimate wages of our depravity and unbelief. It is of course of no great import to this positive determination that its author made a similar prediction before. Apparently he was undaunted when Judgment Day failed to arrive back in 1994, and wrote off that apocalyptic misreckoning on account of having not yet completed his biblical research.

Somehow notwithstanding the fact that many of these supposedly calculated predictions of Armageddon have come and gone without incident (and indeed that Christians have been anxiously awaiting doomsday since not long after Jesus' death), this latest end-of-days forecast seems to have garnered quite a bit of attention and a few prominently outspoken adherents. I've read of people who've given up saving money or looking for work because they anticipate how completely unnecessary these things will be in just a few days. Others have cut themselves off from their incredulous families in zealous adamance.

I actually saw a man in the public market, waving a Bible in one hand and bearing an end-is-nigh type sign in the other, trumpeting the coming apocalypse to passersby.

I'd like to offer an analysis of this behavior, but if the world is going to end next weekend it seems hardly worth the effort. For now I merely note the date and pass along the news.

Should this prove to be my last post, dear reader, I'll probably see you in Hell.

2011-04-01

Finding GOD

Dear readers and friends, beloved of the LORD and all traveling the one path to sweet salvation, whether lost in the thorny wilderness of sin or sure of blessed grace in the name of Christ Jesus, loving greetings and hallelujah, amen.

So much has happened in the last few days, I don't know where to begin or how to explain, but with the help of almighty GOD and His blessed son, Jesus, perhaps I may convey some small sense of the great miracle that has occurred.

2011-02-18

Christianity & Personal Finance

Happy new year and all that.

Since my previous post, I've begun work as a writer and editor at a Seattle-based internet marketing company. I mention this for two reasons: firstly, to excuse the most recent stretch of posting dearth; and secondly, because my work has led me to the subject of today's post.