TOTD 2018-6-21: It’s fun!

In life you have creators and denigrators. One group is having fun and making new things. Denigrators are living in the past and have given the “remote control of their lives” to someone else. They are waiting on the decisions instead of making them. I will let you guess which one is which.

One knows about “I Love Lucy” and how it was a hit show. Desi Arnaz and Lucy Ball were more than actors. They founded DesiLu Productions. Many of the hit shows we watched used that studio. Look at these lists.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desilu_Productions#Produced_by_Desilu

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desilu_Productions#Filmed_at_Desilu

Impressive list. I had no idea what a big influence that studio had. Did you? That is what creators do. They change the landscape.

Denigrators are often witty and smart but don’t create new things. They are the pilot fishes of life living off others. They get ecstatic when people make mistakes for that is more food for them. It is a zero sum game for them. Success comes from destruction.

Look around you. Who are the creators? Who are the denigrators? Who is having more fun? Have some fun.


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Southern Baptist Story 2018

A few weeks ago we learned that the Social Justice Warrior element in the Southern Baptist Convention is much more powerful than we had thought. The Southern Baptist Convention is hugely influential on the population of “Evangelical voters,” so all of us have an interest in this unsettling development.

Paige Patterson was dismissed from his job as head of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. He was caught up in the #MeToo-for-Evangelicals excitement. In part, the fallout from anti-Patterson social media activism resulted in the election of J.D. Greear as the new President of the Southern Baptist Convention.

The events of the past two months were the culmination of a campaign that began in 2014. Paige Patterson gave a speech to the Awaken Conference that year. Awaken Conference is a youth conference. There was immediate push-back against Patterson’s sermon. The chattering went around and around in Baptist circles on the internet, and triggered a build-up that prompted a number of women to start dishing about slights from Paige Patterson.

The story had legs. It turned out that Paige Patterson has very old-fashioned ideas about complementarianism, which in part are reactionary to modern feminism. In that 2014 sermon, he brought up the translation of the Hebrew words used in Genesis for God making the man, and making the woman. The verbs are different words. The word used for God making the woman is a word that implies care of construction details and aesthetics.

I didn’t need to learn Hebrew to figure that out, either,” Patterson quipped.

He went on to tell a story about an angry woman who had just heard him speak who was “giving me what for” while her teenage son and a friend stood nearby.

About that time, a very attractive young co-ed walked by,” Patterson said. “She wasn’t more than about 16, but let me just say that she was nice.”

Thinking nobody was paying attention, Patterson said, the son commented to his friend, “Man, is she built.”

In the middle of the sentence she stopped, wheeled around, slapped a hand over his mouth, loosened his teeth and said ‘Young man, don’t you ever say anything like that again,’” Patterson said. “If you do, I’ll mop up the face of the earth with you.”

Patterson took it as an opportunity. “I said, ‘Ma’am, leave him alone,’” he said. “He is just being biblical. That’s exactly what the Bible says.”

It might help to understand that Paige Patterson was one of the leaders of the “conservative purge” that began in 1979 and continued through the 1980s in the Southern Baptist Convention. Since he is known as a conservative leader he makes an attractive target for the liberals.

His remarks were called “unbiblical” and “misogynistic.” They went around the internet, gathering steam, building an anti-Patterson movement. Then women started to tell stories about Patterson slighting women’s complaints about sexual harassment on campus that they alleged had not been treated properly by Patterson. Evidently he was like lots of administrators, a little too concerned about his institution, and perhaps not concerned enough about females, especially if he thought they had sort of invited bad behavior on the part of men.

But more stories came out, and more women got riled. The most damning of all was when a former student from when Patterson was at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary went to the Washington Post with her story from 2003. The Washington Post put two very capable, and hostile, female reporters on the story. They reported from the point of view of the women on full outragey attack mode against Patterson and all theologically conservative Baptists and the Southern Baptist Convention. This was not a media-generated problem for Patterson or for the Southern Baptist Convention, but Big Media attention did add a lot of pressure.

Their reporting is actually very good:

Then this spring came the case of a former Southeastern student named Megan Lively, who was 24 in 2003 when she says she was assaulted by a man she had been dating. She told The Washington Post that Patterson encouraged her not to report the incident to the police and to forgive her alleged assailant. A few days later, Southwestern trustees cited a second incident in 2015. Trustee Board Chairman Kevin Ueckert, in a June 1 statement, alleged that a Southwestern female student reported to Patterson that she had been raped, and police were called. “But in connection with that allegation,” Ueckert wrote, Patterson emailed campus security — Ueckert said trustees saw that email — and “discussed meeting with the student alone so that he could ‘break her down.’ ”

On June 4, Patterson’s attorney, Shelby Sharpe, released what he called a “character defense” that he said he compiled without any input from Patterson, just “as a person, not as his lawyer.” That document cited leaked friendly letters between the 2003 woman and Patterson in the months after the alleged rape, which Sharpe said disproved the idea that there was a rape and that Patterson mishandled it. Sharpe also said Patterson hasn’t been given access to the 2003 documents used to accuse him and hasn’t been able to defend himself. In the 2015 case, Sharpe said Southwestern trustees had seen the “break her down” email before — when rather than fire him they demoted him to president emeritus, with full benefits. He also said that the student had “given several different accounts of her story” and that Patterson “preferred there be no police presence so the young woman would not feel intimidated.”

Of course all this broke just in advance of the Southern Baptist Annual Meeting.

Patterson is out, fired, discredited and became such an embarrassment so quickly that he agreed to withdraw from a scheduled speaking slot at the Annual Meeting.

The Messengers voted 68 percent to give the presidency to a Progressive.

Of course, Baptist media also played a hand. There are several Baptist newspapers and they mostly lean left. The conservatives are making do with blogs and e-newsletters. Many of the Messengers (voting delegates) had never even heard of the conservative candidate, while J.D. Greear has been pumped by Baptist media for over two years (he was second last year to outgoing President Gaines).

In a side note, my favorite media critics noticed that the New York Times ignored the Annual Meeting until after Mike Pence spoke, and they only published then because they could write about the Messengers who voted to disinvite Pence.

The real damage here is limited. The key thing is that the Southern Baptist Convention President appoints members to boards and commissions, so a fresh cohort of liberals will be moving into decisionmaking roles in the Southern Baptist Convention.

I am not a Baptist, and would especially like to hear from any Ratburgher Baptists who would care to comment.


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The Soviet Anthem Misheard

This is brilliant:

The Hymn of the Soviet Union was the national anthem of the USSR from 1944 through 1991 (replacing the Internationale).  The melody remains the anthem of the Russian Federation today, although the lyrics have been changed.  (Indeed, the lyrics of the Soviet version were changed from the 1944 original as the past was revised.)

Just for fun, here is a stirring rendition of the hymn as misheard by an English speaker, illustrated by the images summoned.

Like 13+

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TOTD 2018-6-17: Working With Human Nature

Isn’t the essence of the free market giving people want they want? The company that succeeds is the one that meets not only needs but wants. Why is that? “Man does not live by bread alone.” There is more to life than meeting basic needs. People don’t just want functionality. They want form too. It is a beautiful thing when someone works with human nature and not against it for they succeed.

Adam Smith was able to capture that while people were helping themselves they were helping others. People will pay for a better service and stop paying for a poor service. People will switch from a Model T to a GM product because they want something different. You know what they call a slow animal in the wild. Lunch. A person who can’t work with reality fast enough loses. Their product suffers.


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Doing Rich Lady Things Like Using Uber and Seamless Are the Modern Way of Giving to the Poor

I feel guilty when I order takeout. Why? Because that’s money I could be saving for a rainy day. The frugal American we-don’t-have-servants mindset is that anything you can do for yourself, you should, and paying others to do something because you’re too lazy, is wasteful. 

When my sister’s washing machine broke, she had to send out her laundry for a while as they waited on repairs. She said, “Olive, it’s great. I may never go back. I know it’s such a Rich Lady thing to do, but….” 

I began to think: The services that we consider Rich Lady Things–Uber, Seamless, laundry service, etc.–put money in the hands of the poor. If I tip the delivery guy generously I’m putting money directly in his pocket, much more efficiently than a government entity or charity could do. 

As much as I love the church, she doesn’t take care of the poor like she’s supposed to. Mainly because the government has stepped in to do her job for her, and made her irrelevant when it comes to taking care of the needy. Church budgets primarily go for buildings, and salaries, so there’s not much left over to give to the poor anyway. 

But could paying for services that I could theoretically do, but don’t have the time or inclination, be the modern way of giving to the poor? Those who are perfectly willing to drive me to the train station, or cook my food and bring it to me, are depending on my generosity. Could it be that I actually owe them their commission and tip? I’m stingy if I have the money in my hand, but don’t give them the opportunity.

The Biblical model of giving and helping the poor is outlined in the Old Testament in “not gleaning to the edge of the field.” At harvest time, the righteous were commanded to leave a little bit of crop around the edges so that the poor could come after the reapers and gather what remained.

When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the foreigner residing among you. I am the LORD your God. Leviticus 23:22

This was the wealthy man’s field–his grain, his land, his laborers–but in the Biblical sense, he owed it to the poor to not reap every single inch of produce his land yielded. Leave a little bit. Around the edges. For the poor. After all, that was there only chance at gathering–they didn’t have their own land or crop.

Yes, you could rightfully command your workers to gather every single stalk, every head of grain, but don’t do it. Leave a little bit around the edges. For the poor.

Today, I could insist on doing my own cooking and cleaning, but why? In one sense it’s a way of being rigid and greedy.

When my brother goes to the bank, he gets $100 in singles, in order to tip his baristas every morning. The idea of tipping as a way of giving comes from him, who declares he does not give to charities generally. But if you go out to eat with him, you will see that he gives generously to the poor.

Thoughts? Are there any Rich Lady (or Man) things you do, that may actually benefit someone?


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TOTD 2018-6-13: Being Wrong

It really surprised me when I got online and thought I wrote the equivalent of “2+2=4” in a nice and kind way to have people disagree with me. It shocked me even more that my writing was so loose that some of what they wrote made sense. I hope I can give an example.

I remember writing “If you have to explain the obvious you are in trouble.” I thought it was something obvious and uncontroversial. What I got was a variant of “The author is trying to say what I think he is trying to say. The author has evil intentions.” There are the “Thought Police” and to coin a phrase the “Thought Janitors”. Theses people want to improve the world by cleaning up evil intentions in others. I had evil intentions and never knew it.

What finally dawned on me is that I have to listen and understand that people read something different than I write. Also they might have a better point and I could be wr wr wr, less than prefect.

The other thing I learned is to be gracious. Sometimes people say the right thing in a wr wr wr, less than perfect way. I ask questions and try to get their point.They have good things to read if I am patient.

And for a bonus, I know how it feels to have someone write a complete mischaracterization of my view then one million people like that comment. “What you really said was 2+2=6 and why do you put puppies in blenders?”

Now the fun begins. You will write comments about this post. Time to get out my blender. 🙂


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