I Wanna Be a Debaser

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Friday, June 17, 2011 | Published in

Un chien andalou: Surrealism at its peak.

Peter Popoff, the Unsinkable Rubber Duck

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Friday, June 10, 2011 | Published in

One of James Randi's most famous debunkings is when he exposed "faith healer" Peter Popoff on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Randi and Alec Jason showed that Popoff was using radio transmissions from his wife who was working the crowd. Popoff went bankrupt shortly after that and went into obscurity for about a decade. But like any good conman he didn't give up the game. He's been doing informercials on BET for several years now and has gotten back into the faith healing business. Recently CFI Canada caught up to him in Toronto and filmed this video:

Tyler Durden, Patron Saint of Mayhem

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Wednesday, June 8, 2011 | Published in

[SPOILER ALERT: If you haven't seen or read Fight Club... well, fuck you. It's been out for 12 years (15 for the book). If anything is spoiled by this post it is your own damn fault.] fnord

It has been a long while since I have added anyone to the Discordian pantheon so I believe this is over due. Today I am adding one Tyler Durden to the ever growing list of Discordian saints. I haven't checked to see if anyone else has made him a saint but I am automatically excommunicating them, to be recommunicated at a later date.

Let me tell you a little bit about Tyler Durden...

When you think about it, Tyler Durden is one of the defining characters of our generation. The second best character of the 1990s and easily in the top 20 of the twentieth century. He is the archetype of the Sensei For Scoundrels and Chaotic Neutral. He is Anarchy incarnate. He look like you wanna look, he fuck like you wanna fuck, he's smart, capable and most importantly, he's free in all the ways that you are not. He is the constant reminder that you are not a beautiful or unique snowflake And the strangest part is that he is the imagination of an imagination, a fiction within a fiction. He is probably the most famous imaginary friend besides Mr. Aloysius Snuffleupagus and Blooregard Q. Kazoo. fnord

But more importantly, he is the Disorder in sharp contrast to the Narrator's Order. Together they reflect the Sacred Chao that is eternally struggling within all of us. Fight Club shows us that if you have too much Order in your life you end up with a soul-killing job, being owned by your possessions. But if you have too much Disorder you end up as a domestic terrorist with hamburger for a face.

But that's not to say that Tyler is without his good qualities. He was able to help many fatherless boys become the men they were supposed to be. He saved Marla's life (but that was probably for ulterior motives). And the "Human Sacrifice" scene is one of the best examples of Chaotic Good in modern cinema. fnord

If you want further proof that Tyler is perfect candidate for Discordian saint, just look at Project Mayhem, the terrorist organization that he put together to take down civilization. The committees are Arson, Assault, Mischief, and Misinformation. "Organized Chaos. The Bureaucracy of Anarchy." (Should have one more to make it an even five.) And the frames of porno he spliced into films is a great example of subliminal messaging. fnord

So, I've over-analyzed this too much already. By the power invested in me by the Goddess Eris I declare Tyler Durden to be the Patron Saint of Mayhem and Soap. Be careful invoking this particular saint though. Your survival rate may drop to zero very quickly.

I'll leave you with my favorite scene from the movie. This is a chemical burn:

Puns are a Disease

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Tuesday, June 7, 2011 | Published in

My personal stance is that puns are never funny. They can be clever but never enough to get a laugh. More often than not they induce a groan instead. That being said, this clip from The Bugle podcast is impressive in a sick and twisted kind of way:

Not Waving But Drowning

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Thursday, June 2, 2011 | Published in

This story fills me with all kinds of conflicting feelings:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

On the one hand, this man, Raymond Zack, chose his fate. He set out to die on his own terms in the waves off of San Francisco and that's just what he did. On the other hand, there is a high possibility he was suffering from a mental illness and could have been helped. But the Coast Guard didn't have the boats. The rescue copter was busy saving someone else. The local fire department was handcuffed by the cruel god Bureaucracy. The rest of the crowd was paralyzed by fear. I hate using the term Kafkaesque but that's exactly what this is. No one is a winner in this situation.

(title of this post is a reference to "Not Waving but Drowning" by Stevie Smith)

Either the Best or Worst Movie Ever

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Tuesday, May 31, 2011 | Published in

Speaking of messed up Christian sex values...

I'm not sure where to even go with this trailer. It seems to be a good example of how Christians fetishize virginity and "purity". As someone in the YouTube comments noted, the guy is more excited about losing his virginity than the fact that he's going to be getting married. This kind of attitude is the cause of some very bad marriages. And it's proof that lack of sex will eventually cause mental disorders.

(Hat tip to Unreasonable Faith, the Friendly Atheist, and Blag Hag. Yes, it took three people posting it before I'd actually watch the trailer.)

The Discordian Non-Coalition

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Monday, May 30, 2011 | Published in

Thanks to a suggestion by Jerry Coyne on his blog Why Evolution is True I've been reading Religion Explained by Pascal Boyer. (And by recently I mean over the last 3 months. I'm a notoriously slow reader when it comes to books.) It's a very interesting book in that it tackles religion from the perspective of anthropology while other books on the subject that I have read have used the routes of evolutionary psychology, cognitive science and lots and lots of sex.

Boyer does a good job of tying a lot of things together like why human inference systems like to create supernatural beings, why funerals and weddings are so important, why religions that are based on holy books are so different from "native" religions, and, definitely the most interesting to me, why coalitions are so important to society.
One of the most solid and famous findings of social psychology is that it is trivially easy to create strong feelings of group membership and solidarity between arbitrarily chosen group members. All it takes is to divide a set of participants and assign them to, say, the Blue group and the Red group. Once membership is clearly established, get them to perform some trivial task (any task will do) with members of their team. In a very short time, people are better disposed toward members of their group than toward the others.
- Pascal Boyer - Religion Explained
As someone who is about as social backwards as a slightly retarded chihuahua I've never given much thought to the types of coalitions that make up society. I've never been good at joining or forming coalitions, but more on that later. Coalitions are the glue that keeps any society together. Whether you know it or not you are currently in a coalition with your family, your friends, your neighbors, your coworkers, your local/state/national governments, and everyone else on this planet. In all of these coalitions you are expected to act a certain way at all times. Your family expects you to have their back, your friends expect you to talk to them every once in awhile, your neighbors expect you to not play your music too loud, your coworkers expect you to do your job on time, your government expects you to not violate someone else's rights, and everyone else expects you to not to go on a killing spree. It's a heavy burden but we all must share it together. Each coalition has its benefits and costs.

Where Discordianism comes into all of this, IMHO, is that Discordianism is very anti-coalitional. At least, it is anti artificial coalitional. What I meant by artificial coalitions are things like organized religions, political parties, schools of philosophy, cults of computer operating systems, etc. Coalitions not of the physical world but of the mental world.
Above an orange couch hung a huge oil painting in an elaborate gilt frame easily a foot deep on all sides. The painting was essentially a cartoon. It showed a man in robes with long, flowing white hair and beard standing on a mountaintop staring in astonishment at a wall of black rock. Above his head a fiery hand traced flaming letters with its index finger on the rock. The words it wrote were: THINK FOR YOURSELF, SCHMUCK!
- Robert Anton Wilson & Robert Shea - The Illuminatus! Trilogy
One of the most important teachings of Discordianism is that your thoughts should always be your own. You should not adhere too closely to one ideology because there is always the possibility that it could be wrong. Always be ready to walk away from a bad idea. And don't apologize for someone else's ideas just because they happen to attach the sample label that you are currently using.

I think that is why Discordianism has always appealed to people who either cannot or do not want to form coalitions. Discordians are outsiders, by choice or by ineptitude. None of us have the overwhelming desire to belong to just one group. Yes, we use the same label but we always stick apart. We are liberals and libertarians. We are pagans and atheists. We are chaos magicians and staunch rationalists. We are pot heads and Straight Edgers. We are Macs and Linux and PCs. We are always ready to fight to the teeth about these ideas, but we are also ready to drop them like the bad habits they are. We are a non-coalition of fools ready to protect each other from the other coalitions.