The Watering Hole, Saturday, March 29, 2014: Ah, No

A new movie has Christian Conservatives up in arms because of its alleged inaccuracies. It’s called “Noah” and it’s the story of a young boy whose obsession with words leads him to write a novel that redefines the meanings of words commonly in use at the time and — and I am being told that this is not what the movie is about after all. Then it must be the one about the man who works for a shadowy company that tracks people with special abilities — and I’m being told this isn’t the story, either. Ah, I know. It’s got all these right-wingers upset, so it must be the story of a shadowy government agency that tracks weather patterns and tries to warn people that the average overall planet’s surface temperature is rising — and I’m being told that’s the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Then what’s this one about? The what? Are you sure? Okay, if you say so. Apparently it’s the story of a man who signed up for AARP and — what? Not AARP? Ark? He signed up for an Ark? That makes no sense. Oh, he built an Ark after getting a DM from God. Why would he do that? Read my what? Oh, alright, if you insist.

According to Le Bib (or, as the Gangsters call it, the Bible), Noah was a 600-year-old righteous man chosen by God to build an Ark of a specific size, for the purpose of rescuing a sample of all living land and air animals from a flood He was about to bring upon the Earth, wiping out all living things (except, I presume, the fish.) A version of the original story (certainly not the original version itself) can be found in the Authorized King James Version (AKJV) of the Bible, in Genesis. Chapter 5 gives Noah’s genealogy from Adam (God’s alleged Creation), which tells us that this story takes place about 4,400 years ago, if you believe the earth is about 6,000 years old. It also means it takes place about 2,400 years before the birth of Jesus. Why this movie should bother Christians so much baffles me. It’s not their story. And if you want other non-believers to think the God you worship is an all-loving God, you don’t want to draw attention to this story. God is so fed up with Humanity that he’s going to kill them all and start over with Noah’s family. Why would you believe He wouldn’t kill everyone again? You say it’s because God promised he wouldn’t do that again? That’s not the way I read it, but more on that later.

This two-and-a-half hour movie (which I have not seen, but whose contents I base on the reviews I cite) is based on Genesis Chapters 6, 7, 8, and 9. The main complaint of the Right Wing Christian Reviewers (they’re so much alike they might as well belong to a formal organization with that name) is that the Darren Aronofsky film Noah is not true to the story in the Bible. Well, at least the Bible we presume they mean. They never seem to say which one. And as much as I hate to admit it, they’re right. Debbie Schlussel says a better title would be Not Noah. Erick Erickson is not kidding when he says it was “one of the funniest comedies I have seen in a very long time,” and that he’s “Not sure it is worth it for anyone who takes the Bible seriously.” And Ben Shapiro calls it a “perversely Pagan mess.” And they are correct that the short story of Noah that I read in the Bible (Yes, we Atheists do have access to Bibles, as evidenced above) said nothing about warriors battling Noah for a place on his Ark, or of giant stone creatures, or of Methuselah having magical powers. It doesn’t really say much of anything, really. The gist of the story is summarized in Chapter 6. Flood coming, start building. Animals gathering, start loading. Rains pouring, start praying. Storms passing, start looking. Waters receding, start living. Throw in some really awesome special effects (which, when you get right down to it, is the entire point of the movie) and you’ve got a Hollywood movie. Of about twenty minutes. Of course they had to pad it with things not strictly found in the Bible. They could have been a little more in line with the original story. I’m pretty sure Noah’s sons were not named Ham, Eggs, and Bacon. (BTW, why would a vegetarian – Noah is depicted in the film as a vegetarian – name his son ‘Ham’? For that matter, why would anyone who practiced a religion that proscribed pork name one of their children ‘Ham’? But I digress.) And the Biblical Noah did not have a Ford F-150 to help him haul lumber around. And Home Depot did not donate an apron for Noah to wear with pockets for nails. But these are minor things. Okay, I made those last few things up.

What also bothers the RWCR is that the word “God” is not mentioned once in the movie. Oh, does that irk them. Noah makes reference to the Creator, but never calls him God or any other particular name. And this seems to bother them a lot. But if you;re going to make a claim that a movie is not faithful enough to the original book, you should be absolutely certain you have your facts right. Assuming we’re talking about facts. Perhaps “details” would be a better choice of word. Schlussel says that Noah was 500 years old when he began the Ark. Not correct. Noah was 500 when he started having children. He was 600 when he started building the Ark. And Shapiro says that God promised never to destroy Humanity again. That’s not how I read it. There are the thoughts God had to himself, and there’s the words of the Covenant he spoke to Noah. And what he told Noah was that He would never flood the Earth again. That doesn’t mean he won’t do something else, like let the temperature rise so much that the planet became uninhabitable for humans.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss anything you wish.

89 thoughts on “The Watering Hole, Saturday, March 29, 2014: Ah, No

  1. This may be a bit of a stretch but if Noah were gathering specimens off both gender, wouldn’t that make him a scientist?

    On another note: Why are there fossils in the Himalayas? (and I don’t mean aging hipsters)

  2. The funny part is that the overwhelming of those criticizing the movie have not seen it and never will. Nope. That’s wrong. The really funny part is that, as far as I know, there isn’t a single Israelite, Palestinian, or any kind of Semite in the film but I have yet to hear any fundies complaining about that.

    • So, according to those folks, Satan’s plan to steal innocent souls is to convince them to protect everything that God created, down to the tiniest flower….

      ….riiiight (bump to Frugal’s mention of the esteemed Mr. Cosby).

  3. What amuses me most of all when it comes to biblical stuff is that it’s so clearly written by a bunch of old dudes seeking means to control that day’s expanding/expansive human population, and the very best way to control people is to give them something big time and dastardly/deadly to worry about. Works every time, this day included. As Emily Dickinson put it some 150 yrs ago, “The Bible is an antique volume, Written by faded men.” She nailed it. My ‘sainted’ father once pointed out that “whoever wrote that stuff was obviously smoking something.” He may well have hit the same nail on the same head — not unusual, for pop.

    Now, I’ll admit that there are some good ideas in the Bible, stuff which, if universally practiced, would work for everyone’s benefit. There’s also a whole lot of crap in it which, if practiced universally, would work for the benefit of only a small handful of bad guys. We seem, as a species, more inclined to follow that latter course than the more reasonable one.

    As for this new movie, I’ll not bother. Bill Cosby’s comedy version, back in the sixties, serves all the “Noah” purposes I’ve ever needed, plus it still makes me laugh at the nonsense which underlies the entire thesis. “NOAH!” Said god. “HOW LONG CAN YOU TREAD WATER?”

    What is, btw, a ‘cubit’ in the biblical world? According to today’s online dictionary, a cubit is “an ancient linear unit based on the length of the forearm, from elbow to the tip of the middle finger.” Hard to not display that particular tidbit of biblical “logic” these days, esp. when confronted by a B-thumping Noah-thumping Christer! 😀

  4. Here’s a glaring example of the opposite of brilliance. I almost hope that yesterday’s troll stops by so that I can explain to him how much I hate these freaks and why. Wanna know why the American education system is falling to third world levels? It’s freaks like these who are actively making the children of other people ignorant of science because right-wing Jebus gives them a woody. Now? I think I’m going to puke, take a pill, and take a nap.

    • It’s shit like that — crap that seems to always float away never to properly flush — that acts as the dagger in the heart of any sort of progressive thought pattern in which lives the prospect of enabling, rather than destroying, everything here on this speck of galactic dirt that might, to its myriad inhabitants, count for something. Saddest of all is that each and all of those ‘floaters’ will self-proclaim their (biblical) importance and how they’re loved by, and deep within, the bowels of their own creation.

      That’s for yesterday’s troll, btw, just in case . . . well, y’know.

    • I would imagine God would be way more concerned with how we use our brains than with how we use our genitalia.

  5. Oust the two blockheads and install the eight year old as Senator. She has more knowledge and common sense than the so called xtians.

    That Lt. Gov. needs a good swift kick –

    He (Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell ) has since amended the amendment to describe the Columbian Mammoth as “created on the Sixth Day with the beasts of the field.”

  6. Piers Morgan Goes Out Fighting

    After three years, two months and 11 days, Piers Morgan hosted his final nightly CNN show tonight. Morgan, who took over the 9pmET hour from Larry King in 2011, is expected back to host specials and other coverage for the network. He reserved his final few minutes for a topic he’s devoted many of his 1,000 episodes to: gun control.

    “I’ve made my point. I’ve given it a tremendous whack,” said Morgan. “Now it’s down to you. It is your country. These are your gun laws. And the senseless slaughter will only end when enough Americans stand together and cry, enough.”

    Morgan ended with: “God bless America, and while I’m at it, God bless Great Britain, too.”

    CNN To Test Michael Smerconish, Jake Tapper, Bill Weir & Don Lemon In Piers Morgan’s Time Slot; Morgan’s Last Day March 28

    Smerconish is first up Monday night. He goes against Megyn Kelly, at Fox, Rachel at MSNBC, and Dr. Drew at CNN-Headline News. I think the hour will move further away from the paparazzi stories that were a staple of Larry King, and still too frequent with Morgan.

    • The only one of the bunch I have any thoughts on is Lemon and all I can say is; anyone but him. They should send him out to find the “supernatural event” or black hole that swallowed up the airliner. Give him a rubber raft, a sat phone, and drop him off somewhere between Sri Lanka and Antarctica.

  7. It is rather interesting that the fundies are all hot and bothered because the movie doesn’t call their deity by the Internet handle they have given him. In the OT he is referred to as Jehovah or or some weird acronym because back then no one could actually know the name of said deity. It wasn’t until centuries later folks had the temerity or gall to call that being God..

  8. Lukoil Starts Output From Massive Iraq Oilfield

    One of the biggest undeveloped oilfields in the world has begun commercial production in south Iraq, officials said on Saturday, part of ambitious plans by Baghdad to dramatically ramp up output.


    The country is looking to increase its production capacity to nine million bpd by 2017, a target the International Monetary Fund and International Energy Agency have warned is too ambitious.

    It currently produces about 3.5 million bpd, with exports in February reaching 2.8 million bpd, the highest such figure in at least a quarter-century.

    With this much ‘easy oil’ coming on line, what do we need the filthy, difficult Canadian tar sands oil for? Dump the KXL, and use up as much of this foreign oil as possible first.

  9. We are experiencing a, much needed, pounding of rain…
    few weeks ago the ‘group’ that meets in the apartment house lobby were praying for rain!
    Today one was going off to Saturday mass – another said “ask god to stop the rain’.
    Me: Won’t god be confused – you were praying for rain and now asking for the rain to stop?

    • I’ve noticed that god does both. Starts it and stops it. But does he listen to prayers? Nope. Sixty years ago I begged him to fix a cavity in my tooth. Nope. Had to go to a dentista. And believe me, he was NOT god.

      Wonder why that is? Why doesn’t god yield to the demand of each and all of his children? So hard to figure. 😯

  10. I’ve been facing a crisis but resolution is at hand.

    My lease is up on the 31st and I finally got around to going in and signing it on Thursday. I’ve been here for 8 years and figured that everything would be a mere formality. Boy! Was I wrong.

    It turns out that they changed the rules on pets and now EACH cat requires a $250.00 deposit plus a fee of $30.00 a month; up from $15.00 per cat. Even though they “observed two cats in the apartment” when they did the fire alarm inspection on the 3rd of March no one bothered to mention the new policies until I went in to sign the new lease. Imagine my surprise when they told me that I had to pay a $500.00 deposit for the two cats by the 31st, or they would begin eviction proceedings, and I would be paying an extra $60.00 a month instead of the expected $15.00! It gets worse.

    It turns out that they had managed to conveniently forget that I paid the initial $250.00 pet deposit when I moved in and had been paying the old $15.00 per month fee for 8 years. That was the precise moment that my anxiety level went to 10. So? I got good and drunk, slept on it, and went to work.

    It’s a good thing that I’m a pack rat. I have my copy of every lease I’ve signed and every bank statement and every cancelled check since I’ve been here. This includes the cancelled $250.00 check with the note “Pet Deposit for Tigger”. So? At this point i have established that I had paid the deposit for a single cat but I really can’t justify another $250.00 for a new cat I barely know after already paying to get them both fixed. I have been having a lot of fun with Kang and Kodos but I was never really sold on the idea of having two cats on a permanent basis so I decided to give one of them up. The local Humane Society requires an appointment to drop off a cat and I committed to surrendering one of them tomorrow at 3:00 PM but; which one? This is the point my anxiety level went to 11!

    Well? Long story short; Kodos made the decision for me. I think he picked up on my mood, as pets often do, and responded by pissing on just about everything. So? Tomorrow Kodos is getting dropped off and I sincerely hope he stops pissing on things and has a long and happy life and I might have have my first good night’s sleep in a while. But? That’s not all.

    The caretaker for the building is the after-hours caretaker who lets people in who have forgotten their keys and whatnot and he’s also the guy I fly planes with. We went out flying this afternoon and he told me that the property is up for sale. “Gee!”, I said, “that sounds like a good reason to try and void leases so they can raise the rent on brand new tenants”. Ding! Ding!! Ding!!! Now the whole ordeal makes sense.

    I figure that I will throw them a bone and pay the extra $15.00 for the one month I had an extra cat under the old rule, despite the fact that I had been paying the $15.00 for the two months since Tigger died. If they decide to be even bigger dicks? I’ll just move and let them try to sue me. I don’t like moving but I like dicks even less and I’ll be damned if I will let them ruin more than a few days of my precious life. Or, perhaps, I’ll just stick around just so they can’t take advantage of whoever they pace in my apartment. I’m actually looking forward to the next few days (weeks?) now that I know what’s going on. In fact; I’m going to walk over to the local pub, have a few ales, ogle the pretty bartender, and come home to spend one last night devoted to wrestling with a brace of kitties.


    • pete, that is just so rotten.
      Why can’t landowners/landlords be honest and just say they’ll mess up ones life by turning the screws, raising all fees/rents to just within sending people into homelessness…
      They’ll not get over on you…give ’em the business.

      Hope you’re able to get a bit of rest this night!
      Please keep us posted.

      • Thank you, my friend! I am, at this moment, in a pretty warm and fuzzy place that should result in a decent night of sound sleep but not quite ready to pass out. Everything will come to a head on Monday and, since there’s no way they can prove there has ever been more than one cat in my apartment, I think I have the bases covered.

    • I assume MN doesn’t have a ‘stand your ground’ provision for when your landlord . . . well, you know. Too bad.

      Have you mentioned to your landlord that you’re really close to the Koch Bros, and that they’ll happily kick in a billion or two so that you and the cats can continue undisturbed? Might be worth a try. It worked for Mitt, I’m thinking. He and Ann . . . nah, never mind.


      • I’m O.K. without any need for violence but you raise an interesting, even fascinating, point that has nothing to do with my situation.

        Would “stand your ground” apply to a tenant who feels threatened by their landlord? Damn! It isn’t just fascinating; it’s compelling. I would really, really, love to see the answer and the rationale. Let’s examine a hypothetical situation that has nothing to do with me.

        If a woman is a week late with her rent check and the male landlord threatens to kick her out on the street if she doesn’t provide a sexual favor (Let’s stipulate that this is something that happens with some regularity.); would she be protected by a “stand your ground” law?

        • Therein lies the rub with Stand your Ground, afaic. “If you feel threatened . . . ” it’s ok to blow the SOB away. Something like that.

          So. Suppose, just suppose, someday I happen to run across the Koch Bros and I’m armed. I feel threatened by their efforts to impose an oligarchy. Can I? If no, why not?

          I know, that’s absurd. But why is it ok in other realms for, say, a white guy to shoot a black kid in a hoodie? And if that’s ok, what’s the logical extension, the extension that makes it universally ok to ‘stand your ground’?

          I’m sure it all depends upon who’s rich, who’s poor, who’s white, who ain’t, who’s “impo(r)tent”, who’s not, etc. But why is that?

          How does a nation of 330 million people suddenly wind up going fucking nuts, simply because an “impo_tent” cluster of shitheads (eg NRA) . . .

          Well, y’know. Why does a country lose its collective mind?

          • I don’t think the country lost its mind — the problem is that there is too much power in too few hands, and the system has been rigged and loopholed so that those with the most money can buy the most power, and generally get what they want.

          • Why DOES a country lose its collective mind?

            That just might be the “ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything”. We know that the answer is not “42” but that doesn’t bring us any closer to the actual answer.

            The closest that I can come to THE ANSWER is that any group of animals who are locked in close proximity to each other eventually come to hate some of those they are locked up with. There isn’t really any rhyme or reason to it because it’s instinctual. There’s an overwhelming instinctual need to turn on anyone who violates your turf.

            There have been numerous studies with numerous “lower” animals that have established that any creature who feels threatened or crowded will turn against their neighbors. If you lock a whole bunch of rats in a cage and provide them with every material need they will still go nuts. Some will cower in a corner and cease biological functions and some will eat the ones who cower in a corner and cease biological functions.

            I think the technical term is “biological imperative” and it doesn’t lend itself to humane sensibilities.

      • It will work out. I will end up with a really neat kitty and someone else will end up with another really neat kitty. The worst possible case, at this point, is that my really neat kitty and I will have to move. Moving sucks but it’s not fatal.

  11. Holy crap! I have to toot my own horn.

    I posted a comment on C&L that has garnered the most positive response of any comment i have ever made on the entire intertubes. Here’s the link to the thread and my comment.

    “This is exactly why we need an amendment to the first Amendment. Here’s how I would word it.

    1a. Any lawmaker who cites his/her personal religious beliefs as justification for public policy shall be immediately removed from office and forever barred from holding any position at any level of government be it local, state, or federal. And by immediate we mean that the Master at Arms of the involved body will escort him/her to their office, provide them with boxes for their crap, confiscate all keys, and escort the disgraced party from the building before the end of the business day. Furthermore; said ex lawmaker will have their pay revoked on the spot and be declared ineligible to collect a pension.”

    I have made this comment before, with a few variations over time, but I have never received such an overwhelming response.

    • If you don’t toot your own horn, others may never even know that you have a horn to toot (o.k… I’m misquoting Blackadder, but it’s true). I’m all-in on that, it’s brilliant.

      I think that one fellow was concern trolling you, though, as he apparently does not understand the distinction between someone having a religious belief and someone having morals. They are two separate items: “having religion” does not mean that you have good morals, and havng good morals does not mean that you have religion.

    • A full workup should reference the Establishment Clause as support, or as this is in support of the Establishment Clause. I think (it’s late for me – if I had to work tommorow I’d have to up in about 5 hours or so). But I think that there is something there…. because using ones religious belief as a reason for a law would enshrine that religion into the law, AND make precedent for that particualr religion being used to create other laws?

    • Amending the constitution is big business:

      But the proposal might be able to be altered a little to make it a change (or clarification) in the interpretation of the Establishment Clause instead of a change in the Constitution itself. Since the clause already exists, if it can be argued solidly enough on legal grounds it might have a chance, though I don’t know what the actual process would be once it was written up fully as an argument.

      • True.
        I have no idea how to go about enlisting a number of sane lawmakers to make it happen and I realize that enlisting enough insane voters would be even harder. But? what do I have to lose?

        The Representative for my district is a Democrat but she also panders to “good Christians”. I’ll send her an email but she’s out.

        Al Franken is one of my Senators but he seems to be playing the “Minnesota nice” card and has been a dutiful junior senator. I’ll send him an email but he’s out.

        Amy Klobuchar is my other senator and she’s a centrist. I’ll send her an email but she’s out.

        Where do we turn?

        I’m going to send a letter, not an email, to Alan Grayson. He doesn’t seem to care who thinks he’s an asshole and just might broach the subject.

        Bernie Sanders might be the one senator who is closest to standing up for my beliefs. I’ll send him a letter too.

        Join me, good people, in broaching the subject with any lawmakers you might think will broach the subject. I don’t think we will manage to cast the fundies out of government in our lifetimes but why not ask some of the most sane legislators to, at least, bring up the subject?

    • Congratulations, Pete. I just saw it go up to 250 up votes just a moment ago. Excellent comment.

      Not sure what that concern troll thought needed to be amended about the 6th Amendment, but he doesn’t seem to understand that your Amendment would be the next one (not really 1A), and whatever it says would override anything else in the Constitution, which is the entire point of an amendment. You don;t have to write a separate amendment for each part of the Constitution you wish to change. You can do it all in one go.

      But I do like the idea of any Legislator being automatically impeached, tried,, convicted, and removed from office merely by suggesting that Religious belief justifies legislation.

  12. Fundies Say the Darndest Things

    Science cost too much. I’d rather have
    hope and faith in the unseen than an over
    paid scientists to think up stupid things
    they can’t prove either. I’m gonna go with the
    good book.

    • The fundamental flaw with Democracy is that stupid people can vote, too. And stupid people outnumber smart people by a wide margin. And I consider Fundies like the one above to be among the stupid people.

  13. Every now and then, this kowtowing to Israel makes me explode. I know of no factual reason our politicians must be loyal to them.

    • Because the bible says it is god’s special holy land (and here we are back at Pete’s Law!).

      When did all this “America must always support Israel” stuff start? Why am I suspecting that this is actually linked somehow to one of the WW’s?

      Whenever I ask an American xtian who thinks that way, “Why don’t you and your family move to God’s chosen holy land so that you can better defend it AND actually live IN “God’s special holy land”?”, I usually get no answer, or (seriously), “I don’t want to live there,” which makes no sense to me based on the belief being professed. Why would you NOT want to live in your God’s “special holy land?”

      And I have also hard a few argue that “Israel is our closest ally”, to which I ask, “And as our ally, what have they done for us?”

      • As to the “closest ally” lie, are they really closer to us than England, France, or Canada? At least those countries don’t try to antagonize us by doing something to shake world peace, like build settlements in OCCUPIED territories right before a formal visit here.

        • No kidding! Has Israel EVER done anything ‘for’ US interests that were not directly in their personal interests? I don’t think so — they flip us off every chance they get, as well as demanding we do things at their command.

            • I find the whole spying issue muudy waters. On the one hand, you want to make sure that someone isn’t up to nefarious deeds, and I get that, but on the other — if you’re not doing anyhting that the rest of the world would object to, why care? Transparency is the best policy, in my opinion.

              “…But the whole point of the Doomsday Machine is lost if you don’t tell anybody…. WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL THE WORLD?!?!” (Dr. Strangelove)

  14. Michael Waltrip is doing his pre-race ‘grid run’, (which he stole from Robin Miller), and he stopped to speak to Danica. He has to bend down just to hold the mike for her to talk into it. I think he’s about fifteen inches taller than she is. He’s 6’5″, and she’s 5’2″.

    • “Look at the gospel accounts of demons and so forth. That’s reality.”

      And this is evidence that you’re talking to a delusional mind. A statement like that is so illogical that I can’t understand how they can write computer software.

    • What I got out of that was that the game designers believe that God basically gave them this quest to make this game, and that Satan is interfering with it.

      They SHOULD be elated that Satan is interfering (staying within the theology here) — because that would mean that they WERE doing “God’s work”. No?

      Furthermore, shouldn’t it be an honor to “do battle with Satan” in the name of God?

      Whiney ass pretentious fools. Hell (:)), that they believe Satan is interfering should be a major selling point for them: “The game that Satan doesn’t want you to play.”

  15. Doing some research on Pete’s idea, and being the Socratic that I am, I went to an online dictionary to check definiitons. The dictionary asked for folks to tell why they were searching that word. It was “respecting”. There were 7 replies, and all of them noted they were looking it up in regards to the first amendment (and so was I). Weird.

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