Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Another Goddamned Podcast #3:
February 13, 2008

THIS WEEK – An Anti-Atheist Billboard, Clinton Sneakily Plays the Race Card, the FISA Senate Vote, and Casting Another Goddamned Podcast: The Movie

It's ALIVE! The Chambersburg billboard, that is. Has the issue now evolved into one of “hate speech”? How can free-thinkers respond? Does the new sign subliminally accuse atheists of racial hatred? (0:00)

Ex (pissed off yet again) points out how Senator Clinton’s desperate campaign is also making racial insinuations. All of us are disgusted! And why the hell is she missing key Senate votes that most progressives believe are critical to protecting our Constitutional rights? Is it OK for someone who is supposed to be one of the "leaders" of the party to be off on the campaign trail at times like this? And why aren't more Democrats pissed off about granting immunity to telecom companies for cooperating in illegal warrantless wiretapping? (15:00)

Not that we have grandiose ideas or anything. But for Another Goddamned Podcast: The Movie, the members of the Herd become casting directors. We're looking for actors to play us and our fellow bloggers in the Atheosphere. YOU can be a casting director, too. Just leave your suggestions as a comment. (32:25)

Opening Music [00:00] excerpt from "Another Goddamned Draft"
Bridge Music [14:00]: excerpt from "Jesus Loves Me feat. Satan"
Closing Music [44:25]: excerpt from "As Jazzy As I Get"
(All music: copyright 2008 by Rachel Murie)

This Week's Goddamned Links
Hemant on the first two billboards
Hemant on the anti-atheist billboard
Public Opinion's billboard story
In God We Trust (Click if you must, but don't say we didn't warn you)
Church Attendance, according to the Barna Group
Religious Service Attendance by Gender and Race (thanks, Venjanz)
Clinton supporter Ed Rendell injects race into the campaign
The New York Times on the FISA vote
Whistling in the Bathroom (The Freesound Project)

Our Cast


Venjanz said...

Interesting discussion.

Here are some figures on religious service attendance by gender and race that I found (PDF)


John Evo said...

Thanks for the interest and the link, Venjanz! Exterminator put it up with our "Goddamned Links".

In honor of your contribution I'll pick an actor to play your part - Brad Pitt. May you receive much love!

Ordinary Girl said...

In honor of your contribution I'll pick an actor to play your part - Brad Pitt. May you receive much love!

Hmmm.. yep Legends of the Fall Pitt fits the best.

Disgustipated said...

Since the sign company has the disclaimer saying the the former sign did not reflect their values, this one does.. They(The Sign Company) believe Atheists hate America. The Sign company should be protested.

The imagery in the new sign with that particular child was chosen for a reason, they didn't just google 'child with flag'. It seems they are trying to pit minority against minority! Bullshit! I bet they wouldn't have used two men or women holding hands!

Rendell said that? What an idiot! Yea PA sucks, Try living in Altoona! There is a church for every bar here! Pennsyltucky!

Love this podcast, first one I have heard! Excellent Polar Bear Joke!

yinyang said...

I haven't listened to the podcast yet, but I try to avoid anything with David Caruso in it. I think you all should pick a better actor and have him dye his hair, or make a wig if you want the color to be natural.

PhillyChief said...

Even stuff before Caruso jumped the shark?

Ordinary Girl said...

I liked Caruso in Session 9. I'm not a fan of most crime dramas, but it is fun to see Joel McHale imitate Caruso's character on The Soup.

Lynet said...

The important thing is not whether the sign is hateful. The most important thing is that the sign is lying. And for that reason, I don't think you should put up a sign saying "Why do Christians hate atheists?" for exactly the same reason. Not all Christians do.

You know, libel laws are considered an exception to 'freedom of speech'. I respect people's right to speak their opinions, but I do not respect people's right to smear and misinform. If 'In God We Trust USA' wanted to start a debate over whether atheists hate America, and take the position that they do, that would be one thing. Telling everyone that atheists hate America when they don't is completely different. It might not be possible to write the law so as to stop people from making those sorts of egregiously false statements, but I don't think they fall ino the category of important, useful dialogue that deserves that minimal 'first amendment' respect, even from those who disagree.

Lynet said...

Ah. Guess I'd better add another comment.

"Leave it to Lynet to decide?" Decide what? Whether we it was an 'aye' or a 'nay' vote that we wanted? Who cares? We wanted 'yes' to the amendment removing telecom immunity; we wanted 'no' to the bill that still had immunity.

Why am I expected to know this? It's not my country! They're not my civil liberties, either :-P

Hillary Clinton "worked on it and twisted arms"? Nah, that was Chris Dodd.

Obama and Clinton could both have chosen to make noise on this one, and they didn't. Clinton made some obligatory statement of disagreement with telecom immunity after Obama had already said he was against it. Obama made noises of disgreement that were faster and seemed more freely given, but it wasn't 'leadership'.

You want leadership on this one? Chris Dodd. All the way. And yes, part of leadership is being there, and taking part in the debate, and voting. Even if you know it's not going to change the result.

The Exterminator said...

You know, libel laws are considered an exception to 'freedom of speech'.

The definition of libel is a constantly changing thing, and there are some of us who think that completely Free Speech and Libel laws cannot co-exist.

Anyway, how in any practical way could the entire atheist community sue In God We Trust for libel?

It might not be possible to write the law so as to stop people from making those sorts of egregiously false statements, but I don't think they fall ino the category of important, useful dialogue that deserves that minimal 'first amendment' respect, even from those who disagree.

The nifty thing about the First Amendment is that no one is given the power to decide which statements are "important, useful dialogue that deserves that minimal respect" and which statements are just "egregiously false." This situation is a good thing for all of us atheists and other malcontents. Otherwise, the ignorant majority might be able to make the claim that our steady stream of godless comments are egregiously false -- and therefore legally censorable.

Lynet said...

Oh, I get what you're saying, Ext.

Mind you, I wasn't trying to say we should sue them for libel. What I was trying to get at was that there might -- might -- be a possibility of distinguishing, morally if not necessarily legally, between arguing a position and simply smearing people without evidence.

I am, I confess, inclined to view the first amendment in terms of the Enlightenment ideal of allowing all voices in a debate. As such, well, I guess I'm more interested in protecting people who are advancing an argument (for whatever conclusion) than in people who come to their conclusion and phrase it in a manner that suggests it is indisputable while providing no supporting evidence. I'm not sure that it's legally possible to distinguish between the two, and I'd much rather err on the side of caution and allow more voices to be heard. However, I may be of the opinion that speech like this only gets in because we can't ban it without banning genuine debate of one sort or another. I say I may be of that opinion because I'm aware that I haven't thought this through fully.

I suspect that I'm considering some sort of moral principle behind the first amendment which would accord certain viewpoints -- no, that's wrong -- certain types of arguments some right beyond that of simply being said, the right to actually be heard, perhaps, and weighed carefully, even if I dislike them.

Think of it as being similar to the 'no religious test' thing. Obviously, all the legal principle does is stop people from enforcing a de jure religious test. However, some people extrapolate from that a moral principle -- that in voting we should consider a person's fitness for the job, and only consider religious opinions if they can actually significantly impact on that.

Similarly, the first amendment doesn't give people the right not to be 'shouted down' by people who aren't even bothering to consider what is being said. In practice, though, if we're interested in actual debate, we would want to encourage people to react to opposing viewpoints with arguments rather than by trying to shout down your opponent or simply tuning out. The first amendment doesn't mandate such a position, but it is, nevertheless, an associated moral idea. And my gut reaction was to think that that associated moral idea doesn't apply to the statement "Why do atheists hate America?" in the same way that it would apply to the statement "As far as I can see, atheists hate America. Here's why."

But perhaps I am wrong. Perhaps I should consider the deflection from the real issue of debate in the phrasing there to be a mere rhetorical flourish, to be answered as best we know how. Perhaps I simply don't recognise it as debate because I'm not considering how genuinely the people who made that statement may hold that viewpoint.

Sorry for the rambling.

PhillyChief said...

Unfortunately, we just have to take it on the chin. Suing for libel would be a waste of time and the suit would be thrown out as frivolous. Now of course they couldn't have said blacks or jews instead of atheists on that billboard because those minorities have organizations that raise stinks. Don't underestimate the power of the squeakiest wheel, for it always gets the grease. There needs to be an atheist ant-defamation league and it needs to start squeaking very loudly, louder than that catholic league, the moral minority fucks, and all those yahoos. That's really the answer to stopping things like that billboard.

John Evo said...

Agree with Philly's last comment.

Lynet said: The important thing is not whether the sign is hateful. The most important thing is that the sign is lying.

This is exactly what I said in the beginning of the podcast, but the real question is indeed - what do we do about it? Philly sums up my best conclusions on the matter.

Women who made a fuss over their Constitutional rights were called "angry" and got the right to vote. Blacks who did the same were called "angry" and we now have a much more inclusive society. I suppose we are going to have to "do our thing" and deal with the inevitable "angry" epithet.

John Evo said...

By the way, Lynet, we leave it to YOU because you have shown yourself to be such an eagle-eyed critic (in the finest sense of the word)! Plus, Kiwi, you know more about American politics than 9 out 10 of our fellows. (I hope "kiwi" is not considered an insult or something. If it is, don't get mad at me. I'm not bright enough to know better).

The Exterminator said...

Lynet and everybody:

Don't ever believe Evo when he says he's "not bright enough" to know such-and-such. He's a goddamned (what other kind would he be?) liar.

Now, in response to all of you: Yes, of course the sign is lying. So? The sign that urges me to eat a delicious meal at Restaurant X, or stay in comfort at Hotel Y, or have the time of my life at Roadside Attraction Z is also lying. I think it might be reasonably argued that every advertisement in the United States is lying in some way, either explicitly or implicitly.

Americans have the right to lie. It's guaranteed to us in the First Amendment. I don't like it when people lie about me, but protecting their right to do that also protects my right to tell the truth about them.

PhillyChief said...

Anybody see the movie Elf? There's the scene where he first arrives in NYC and goes to the diner and sees the sign that says "World's Best Cup of Coffee" and he gets excited because he believes it's true. We laugh of course, but by laughing we acknowledge that lying is so much the norm that to believe a claim on a sign is, well, laughable.

Lynet said...

(I hope "kiwi" is not considered an insult or something. If it is, don't get mad at me. I'm not bright enough to know better)

Heck, no, it's not an insult (Have you been talking to Australians, Evo? They're the only people I know who might consider that an insult! ;-). I know that having your national bird be squat, round, brown, fluffy and flightless might be incomprehensible to some bald eagle people, but, well, you should understand.

Kiwis are the closest thing we have to a cute native mammal, actually. We're not like Australians with the cuddly koalas and such.

Don't ever believe Evo when he says he's "not bright enough" to know such-and-such.

I'm getting that :-). The self-deprecation is rather endearing, though.

(Oops. I just encouraged him, didn't I?)

PhillyChief said...

Don't encourage him. He's like a puppy. You have to rap him on the nose or do a little Dog Whisperer "ssssht!" and jab him in the neck when he does that. If you keep calling it cute, you reinforce the behavior.

Really, someone just needs to take him out on more walks. ;)

yinyang said...

Yeah, that Caruso thing was just a knee-jerk reaction on my part. A younger Caruso would be good as PhillyChief.

To be fair to the Democrats, I'd hardly call 49% and the two Independents that caucus with them a majority. And, even if I did, they're still short of the kind of super-majority they'd need to overturn a veto. That doesn't excuse their actions, of course, but I wouldn't expect anything different of them, considering that they've been like this for the few short years I've been following politics.

The Democrats are wacky, the Republicans are scary, and that's why I'm registering as an Independent. :)

As far as the billboard goes, libel doesn't really apply. Atheists already have a bad rap; it's not like the billboard is making it worse.

I don't think you want me to list 50 ideas. The best one I have is a 50 United States edition, where you label the states on a scale from one to 100 on how scary they are in terms of religion (alternately, you could use a color scale similar to the one devised by Homeland Security). And, even though it's not a topic, I think Another Goddamn Podcast: The Musical - wherein you would all have to sing most or all of the show - would be great.

Or, more seriously, you might want to talk about that Unity Conference idea, or just about the major atheist/non-religious organizations in general (do you like them, do you not like them, what have they been up to recently, and so forth).

PhillyChief said...

Musical version? Remember the show Cop Rock? No? 'nuff said.

Color coding the states would be fun, but I think I'd just paint most of them red, especially the middle and South. Scary. Of course some of the members here are in Dixieland. Gives me the willies.

Keep ideas coming. The conference sounds interesting.

The Exterminator said...

I may have been the only fan of Cop Rock.

Yinny, you're amazing. If you keep coming up with ideas, we're going to have to add you to the payroll. (FYI: Total Salary and Wages disbursed so far = $00.00)

Ordinary Girl said...

Of course some of the members here are in Dixieland. Gives me the willies.

I hope you're not referring to me.

The Exterminator said...


You're not in Dixieland. Nor do you have a willy.

PhillyChief said...

Dixieland gives me the willies

Babs said...

I'm in the very upper left portion of Dixieland, and no willy for me, either.

Disgustipated said...

The sign incites hatred of a group of Americans(US) and states a complete lie GIGANTIC on a billboard and on those grounds it should be taken seriously. It's goal was to pit neighbor against neighbor, where as the sign that said 'Imagine no Religion' doesn't name a particular religion and wasn't a question it was a thought provoking statement.

The why do atheist hate america sign shuns our "coming out" the Imagine No Religion Sign just asks a simple question, imagining the world without religion. The use of the word HATE is provacative as hell!

Disgustipated said...

Using the word 'hate' is hate speech, it gets no more black and white than that.

EnoNomi said...

Actors for Another Goddamned Podcast: The Movie

This is based purely on your voices since I don't know what anyone looks like.

Ex: Lewis Black
Babs: Robin Weigert
OG: Holly Hunter
SI: Brian Cox
Evo: William Petersen
PhillyChief: Johnny Depp (cuz someone needs to be for me & Babs)

PhillyChief said...

Very nice. I can see Lewis Black for Ex. Now personally, I have no problem with Depp. My problem is I'd want a Chocolat Depp, but he'd probably play me more Sweeney Todd.
Now are you picturing a Deadwood Robin Weigert?

EnoNomi said...

I'm recasting:
Evo: Ian McShane
SI: Sam Elliott (I'm looking for the most gravel in the voice)

I'm picturing Deadwood Robin Weigert because of the (ah-hem) language, but as we can see on Life she does clean up nicely.

EnoNomi said...

SI's voice clouded my judgment for Evo. Listening further I'm going to make one last casting change for Evo: Philip Seymour Hoffman

The Exterminator said...

Poor Eno. So near but yet so far.

Actually, here's what we really look like:

Babs: Holly Hunter
Evo: Holly Hunter
(Little Known Fact: They're twins.)
SI: Robin Weigert (Deadwood version)
OG: a female Johnny Depp
Ex: Johnny Depp (Edward Scissorhands version only), but aged about 80 years AND with a lot less hair AND with blunted blades -- AND with Lewis Black's personality
Philly: Johnny Depp (Jolly Green Giant version), only not green and considerably less jolly -- and, of course, with red hair