BUFFY: Does it ever get easy?
GILES: You mean life?
BUFFY: Yeah. Does it get easy?
GILES: What do you want me to say?
BUFFY: Lie to me.
GILES: Yes, it's terribly simple. The good guys are always stalwart and true, the bad guys are easily distinguished by their pointy horns or black hats, and we always defeat them and save the day. No one ever dies, and everybody lives happily ever after.
-- Joss Whedon, "Lie to Me"
(Buffy the Vampire Slayer, episode 2.07)
Monday, August 31, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
To return to the enlightened bishops and theologians, it would be nice if they’d put a bit more effort into combating the anti-scientific nonsense that they deplore. All too many preachers, while agreeing that evolution is true and Adam and Eve never existed, will then blithely go into the pulpit and make some moral or theological point about Adam and Eve in their sermons without once mentioning that, of course, Adam and Eve never actually existed! If challenged, they will protest that they intended a purely “symbolic” meaning, perhaps something to do with “original sin”, or the virtues of innocence. They may add witheringly that, obviously, nobody would be so foolish as to take their words literally. But do their congregations know that? How is the person in the pew, or on the prayer-mat, supposed to know which bits of scripture to take literally, which symbolically? Is it really so easy for an uneducated churchgoer to guess? In all too many cases the answer is clearly no, and anybody could be forgiven for feeling confused.
-- Richard Dawkins, published excerpt from The Greatest Show on Earth (via)
Tuesday, August 04, 2009
(The "fairy fruit" mentioned in the passage below is key in the fantasy novel these paragraphs are from, and is ultimately complex and elusive; but to understand this quote all you need do is to think of it as an illegal hallucinogenic, euphemistically referred to in legal contexts as "silk".)
"What was the Law invented for? What are you driving at, Nat? I suppose it was invented to prevent rapine, and robbery, and murder, and all that sort of thing."
"But you remember what my father said about the Law being man's substitute for fairy fruit? Fairy things are all of them supposed to be shadowy cheats -- delusion. But man can't live without delusion, so he creates for himself another form of delusion -- the world-in-law, subject to no other law but the will of man, where man juggles with facts to his heart's content, and says, 'If I choose I shall make a man old enough to be my father my son, and if I choose I shall turn fruit into silk and black into white, for this is the world I have made myself, and here I am master.' And he creates a monster to inhabit it -- the man-in-law, who is like a mechanical toy and always behaves exactly as he is expected to behave, and is no more like you and me than are the fairies."
- Hope Mirrlees, Lud-in-the-Mist (1926), Chapter 17