Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Enemies III & Allies II

A quick bit of context for those of you who are now getting my blog entries as notes on Facebook... (actually no one reads the real blog!):

Ages ago I started a series of posts listing people of high profile who are either enemies or allies of my own ideological stand-point. I didn't actually get far before I forgot about the blog. (2 enemies, 1 ally) Now that I'm in the habit again, it's time to get back.

A quick recap: Enemies - Anne Coulter & Ted Nugent. Allies - Dr. David Brin.

I've got one of each for today.

Starting with a new ally:
Technically this is ALLIES. The Skeptics Guide to the Universe. It's a podcast presented by the New England Skeptical Society. I listened to a few recent episodes in early December and was immediately enamoured. I went right back to the beginning of their archive - about three years worth of weekly podcasts.
In essence, the N.E.S.S. are a group of science minded folk of a variety of political stripes, (Perry DeAngelis demonstrates clear Republican affiliation; Skepchick, Rebecca Watson makes no bones about her leftist standing.) who vigilantly take on any subject where bad science is being practiced. From UFOs to Intelligent Design they take it all on with a hard-line of reason and logic. Psychic phenomenon, homeopathy, sasquatch... it's all in their sights. Through discussion they provide the listener over repeated listening with the tools by which to disect their own cherished beliefs, and like any good group of science-minded folks, they aren't too precious about their claims. They recognize that the flexible fallibility of science is it's greatest socratic strength. Case in point - in one early episode they took on the 'G-spot.' When, only weeks later they were owned (in part by then guest, Rebecca Watson) they were happy to back down. It was awesome to know that they practice what they preach. (The fact that it brought Watson to the show full-time was an added bonus. I laugh a lot listening to Skeptic's Guide, but she makes me laugh the most, next to DeAngelis - who passed away last year, so once I catch up with my listening I won't have his wit to giggle at.)
It's my favourite podcast hands down, and I'm not afraid to admit that a number of things I've taken as fact have been torn apart by them, much to my horror and eventual embrace.

My New Enemy:
Not that he wasn't headed this way before... Tom Cruise. The guy is completely bat-shit crazy. Earlier this afternoon a co-worker forwarded me a link to a YouTube video that had been tagged by muckraker-fabulous Perez Hilton. I'm not a follower of Hilton's blog, for the record.
The clip in question was an edited down version of a Scientology produced video interview with Tom Cruise. The complete and utter nonsense dribbling out of his mouth... "I know. I just KNOW. And I wish I could take a vacation and gallivant, but I can't. It's up to me." (I paraphrase.) Yes, Tom thinks he's Scientology's own personal Jesus. But really he comes off just a bit more like their Manson.
The lost had gone up on Hilton's site about five minutes before the video was posted. I watched the ten minutes. Passed it on ONCE. That person watched it with about five extra minutes to spare... and then the video was removed for 'copyright violation.'
Now, you may know that YouTube doesn't make a habit of removing videos unless the copyright holder SPECIFICALLY REQUESTS IT. So... within thirty, forty-five minutes at the outside, of the video being posted on Hilton's excessively well read website, Scientology had very firmly pressured YouTube into removing the video. The Hilton connection is likely incidental, but even so - the video was recently posted - scary!
I should be singling out Scientology as my enemy here - and don't think I won't - but it's far more satisfying to aim at Cruise. The guy is so far off the deep end by now, he's making Britney Spears look like Barak Obama. ZOIKS!

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