Thursday, February 28, 2008
The church was initially shopping around for university presses, particularly Oxford University, to publish the Smith papers, but they elected to scrap that and start their own press in order to "maintain editorial control."
Maybe it's just me, but I read that as saying "we want to be able to cut, redact or otherwise downplay anything that is not faith affirming," as the LDS church is so very very skilled at doing.
I'm not sure if Joe ever wrote journals or correspondence about his otherwise documented pre-BOM treasure hunting, fraud trial, or claims of magical power. If he did though, I'm willing to bet money that none of that will be in this book.
Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe this will truly be an exhaustive collection that is truly what it purports to be. If so, then I welcome it. The Mormon church has a long history of supressing, downplaying, or (with the advent of the internet) simply telling their members to ignore anything that might call the veracity of Smith and others into question.
For instance, just now, I searched on LDS.org for the Kinderhook Plates, the forged "ancient" plates brought to Smith by critics of the church in order for him to attempt translation and make him look foolish.
According to LDS.org in their intro to the topic: "Joseph Smith did not make the hoped-for translation. In fact, no evidence exists that he manifested any further interest in the plates after early examination of them, although some members of the Church hoped that they would prove to be significant."
As you might guess, this is inaccurate. There indeed is evidence that Smith attempted translation, with Smith stating that "I have translated a portion of them, and find they contain the history of the person with whom they were found. He was a descendant of Ham, through the loins of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and that he received his kingdom from the ruler of heaven and earth."
LDS.org does actually include that quote, which kind of surprised me. But they immediately follow it up with a dismissal, saying that the words were not from Smith, but from William Clayton. Who was Clayton? Oh, you know, just some guy who happened to be employed as Jospeh Smith's scribe! And since Smith never wrote those words himself (you know, because he was largely illiterate), the account cannot be trusted, according to the church. Though numerous other texts attributed to Smith were actually written by a scribe (not the least of which is the Book of Mormon).
This is just dishonesty.
Okay, enough on the historical jiggery pokery of the LDS church. I'm trying to pull this post to some sort of elegant close, but I think I might instead just end in mid sente
Monday, February 18, 2008
So, first, I'm removing "Saturday" from the title of the music post, as it's obvious that I can't commit to that...
And second, here's an unorthodox cover of the Beatle's "Hey Jude" by an up-and-coming new artist...
Yeah, I was feeling kind of uninspired this week.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Well, someone put together a BRILLIANT follow-up, now with John McCain!
Somehow, it seems less inspirational when the speech being sung-along to says "I don't believe Americans are concerned if we're there (Iraq) for a hundred years or a thousand years or ten thousand years."
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Be sure to pray to Yahweh, the Invisible Pink Unicorn, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster to make everything go well. If you could sacrifice a couple of rams as well, that might just do the trick!
We may be calling upon any who read this to help us move. You have been warned.
Monday, February 11, 2008
Sunday, February 10, 2008
I've been a fan of Metric in particular since I first heard their album Old World Underground, Where are you Now?
This track, "Poster of Girl," comes from their excellent album Live it Out.
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
“When I am this party's nominee, my opponent will not be able to say that I voted for the war in Iraq; or that I gave George Bush the benefit of the doubt on Iran; or that I supported Bush-Cheney policies of not talking to leaders that we don't like. And he will not be able to say that I wavered on something as fundamental as whether or not it is ok for America to torture — because it is never ok… I will end the war in Iraq… I will close Guantanamo. I will restore habeas corpus. I will finish the fight against Al Qaeda. And I will lead the world to combat the common threats of the 21st century: nuclear weapons and terrorism; climate change and poverty; genocide and disease. And I will send once more a message to those yearning faces beyond our shores that says, 'You matter to us. Your future is our future. And our moment is now.'”The first half of that cannot be said for Hillary Clinton. Granted, Obama was not IN the senate to vote for or against the Iraq War resolution, but he has steadfastly supported ending the war and not getting ourselves embroiled in other uneeded conflicts.
And from Patrick Nielsen Hayden:
Obama certainly speaks with the gravitas of the likes of Jefferson, King and Kennedy. Time will tell if he can become one of the nation's Great Presidents. In any event, it's eminently exciting to be able to cast a ballot for a candidate who is not just "better than Bush" (like Kerry was in '04), but truly is someone I would choose as leader of this nation.
I’m for Obama knowing perfectly well that, as Bill Clinton suggested, it’s a “roll of the dice”. A roll of the dice for Democrats, for progressives, for those of us who’ve fought so hard against the right-wing frames that Obama sometimes (sometimes craftily, sometimes naively) deploys. Because I think a Hillary Clinton candidacy will be another game of inches, yielding—at best—another four or eight years of knifework in the dark. Because I think an Obama candidacy might actually shake up the whole gameboard, energize good people, create room and space for real change.
Because he seems to know something extraordinarily important, something so frequently missing from progressive politics in this country, in this time: how to hearten people. Because when I watch him speak, I see fearful people becoming brave.
Saturday, February 2, 2008
I was talking the other day (this was before Edwards had bowed out) that I would be genuinely satisfied with any of the contenders for the nomination. I think Hillary Clinton would be a strong leader, with the mettle to be taken seriously on the world stage (unlike, for instance, a particular current U.S. president).
But I gotta say, I like Obama a hell of a lot. I feel that he is much more in line with me on a whole host of social issues.
Now all of that said, I'm not sure what to make of this new celebrity-infused "music video" produced by will.i.am and Bob Dylan's other son. It's certainly inspiring, and feels like a "We are the world" sort of call to action, only instead of worldwide poverty or the AIDS epidemic, the issue at hand is Super Tuesday. The video is gorgeous, intermixing an Obama stump speech with celebrities singing or speaking Barack's words.
The video's makers say that the Obama campaign was not involved, and might not even know if the video exists... I don't know if I buy that. And it frankly doesn't matter to me who Scarlett Johansson, Herbie Hancock or Kelly Hu endorse for president, except maybe that it makes me like Scarlett Johansen a little bit more (purely for her acting talent and personality! Honest!!!).
The whole thing feels a little over the top... But oh well, I guess if Obama inspires people, that's a good thing... Anyway, here's the vid:
Several months ago, I discovered The Bird and the Bee, a superb, quirky, underrated electro-indie-pop-whatever duo. I just saw the video for their Polite Dance Song (it's kind of a fun song, listen closely to the lyrics), and couldn't resist posting it. It is made all the better because the red-shirted dance god with the magic triangle looks nearly identical to someone I work with (Sorry, Danny!).
Behold, the glory of Polite Dance Song, the greatest music video ever: