Archive for dumbing down

The pastor who "promotes a generation of stupidity, all for the glory of his ego"


jesus on dinosaur

Please welcome back guest blogger and all-around cool person, K.C. Boyd. You might remember her from an earlier post, So which is it, GOP? Open contempt for marriage equality or “outreach”? “Inquiring upchuckers want to know.”

Daily Upchuck

Warning: Due to the seriousness of this post, there will be no mini-pukes today.

John Hagee, the pasty, corpulent human dinosaur that he is, has entered the amusement-church fray.  Not content to peddle the coming End Times glory over the Christian airwaves and in church on Sundays, the Cornerstone mega-pastor decided to further his market on dumbing down San Antonio’s youth.

Tiptoeing in the footsteps of the smarmy Ken Hamm, whose $27 million Northern Kentucky Creation Idiocracy “Museum” far overshadows Cornerstone’s hovel of a $5 million Noah's Ark Children's Building , they both spew the same errantly biblical pablum, Hagee ‘s ark opened last week to an astonishing 28,000 visitors.

In and of itself, it is unsurprising that so many people lined up for this piece of biblical theater when, after all, the latest Gallup Poll showed that 46% of Americans today believe in Creationism. (GRAND UPCHUCK) What astonishes and disturbs is that the Scopes trial did so little to eliminate the mythical thinking and teaching that continues to delude yet another generation of children nearly ninety years later. Of the ark, Matthew Hagee, the heir-in-waiting to his father’s multi-million dollar empire said, "There is no greater investment that can be made than that of building a foundation in the life of a child that will keep them the rest of their days," Foundation, exclaims this upchucker! A foundation guaranteed to leave unsuspecting children far behind their science-believing peers, peers who have already left them so far behind in the dust that they can never hope to catch up – that kind of foundation?

Therein lies the heartbreak. It is one thing for an adult to choose religious belief over science but it is another entirely for a pastor to actively promote a generation of stupidity, all for the glory of his ego. For that is exactly what’s on show here - - an oversized, manipulative man, prideful enough to hawk his particular faith over science, intellect and knowledge and to do so to the lifelong detriment of his followers. Faith may have its place in society – that’s a topic for another day - but it has no right to compromise the future of that society’s children. 

Hamm, Hagee and the rest of the creationist charlatans must prove to their audiences that Genesis took place exactly as is written for if not, the rest of the Bible falls apart. Without Genesis as Truth, Hagee is left with parables and lessons of morality and then the whole thing, including his End Times ecstasies fall apart. No, far better than that, he chooses to delude and promise, to lie and to cheat, to steal and to rob an entire generation and beyond.

Not very Christian of him, I’d say.

Novelist K.C. Boyd is the author of Being Christian: A Novel. According to Mikey Weinstein, President of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, "Boyd created a story so riveting that not only could I not put it down, but upon finishing it, I found myself, like an addict, craving more.


Naming Nemo: Commercializing the weather


naming nemo

The Weather Channel decided to name the Big New England Blizzard as part of a policy they previously announced. They say they will give names to winter storms so that you and I can follow them more easily. We apparently need snazzy, memorable names to do that, because apparently keeping track of major news of major storms along major swaths of America is too difficult for dimwits like us.

So commercializing the weather will fix all that. Just like commercializing the news allowed us all to be so much more informed by outlets with absolutely no bias whatsoever.

As you can see from the screen grab above, some meteorologists aren't exactly thrilled, so they started a Facebook page, "STOP the Weather Channel from naming winter storms."

fb page stop weather channel from naming storms

Per the L.A. Times hard copy (this information has since been scrubbed from the online version), Thomas Downs, a meteorologist with Weather 2000, a New York-based forecasting and consulting firm, "speculates that because the Weather Channel is owned by NBCUniversal, stations owned by that company will be the most enthusiastic about using the names." I can picture it now:

NBCU: Weeee! We get to use totes adorbs names! Weeee! Higher ratings! Weeee! We're enthusiastic!

George Wright, a meteorologist and the founder of Wright Weather Consulting in New York, made this point in an interview with The Times: “A hurricane is something that’s more unusual and devastating. If you start naming other storms, people will suddenly think this might be a hurricane.”

Joel Meyer, founder and president of AccuWeather, a Weather Channel competitor, issued a statement this fall blasting the Weather Channel for its decision.

"In unilaterally deciding to name winter storms, the Weather Channel has confused media spin with science and public safety.”

Of course, the Weather Channel would never decide to start naming storms just to draw more viewers to their site. That would be self-serving and give their detractors more fodder for criticism:

The Weather Channel decided to start naming storms after it coined a 2011 event Snowtober, a name that got picked up on Twitter and in media outlets and drew more viewers to the site.


Well, at least they're giving a great deal of thought to the choice of names so as to maintain a modicum of real gravitas:

[Brian Norcross, senior executive director of weather content and presentation at the Weather Channel] supervised the creation of this year’s list of winter storm names, which also include Draco, Gandolf and Walda. While the Weather Channel first looked at using baby names from the early 20th century, it eventually settled on names of gods from Norse and other mythologies. Jorel, the father of Superman, nearly made the list, but was swapped out at the last minute for Jove.

Cartman is still waiting in the wings.

cartman hippies



Study: “”The most ardent tea party Republicans” in Congress speak “at about an eighth-grade level.”



Today's L.A. Times has an article that confirms what we all know: Congress is sophomoric. There has, indeed, been a noticeable "dumbing down."

What? You're surprised? No way, no how, no you are not, stop that! Not after all that GOP obstruction and tea tantruming about big bad Obama "taking away our guns," screaming about the dreaded, non-existent "death panels" and the endless and renewed jaw-clenching birth certificate blather. In fact, how have we EVER managed to survive President Obama’s evil presidency?

New research is showing that all that head-butting and speechifying has devolved to eighth grade levels, and no, that's not hyperbole:

Discourse in the House and Senate has dropped a full grade levelto the equivalent of high school sophomore, according to a new study. [...]

"Congress is changing as an institution, and what you see is more and more members gearing their speeches as sound bites or YouTube clips," said Lee Drutman, a senior fellow at the nonpartisan Sunlight Foundation, which compiled the study released Monday. [...]

In an analysis of floor debates over the last several years, the study found that newer lawmakers tended to speak at a lower grade level than the veterans of congressional speechifying.

Guess who scored the lowest! Go ahead, guess. I'll wait.

Give up?

[I]t should come as no surprise that the lawmakers at the bottom of the list, speaking at the lowest grade level, are among the most ardent tea party Republicans in the freshman class. Rep. Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina, Rep. Robert Woodall of Georgia and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky were the bottom three — speaking at about an eighth-grade level, the study found.

Californians ranked among the better spoken overall, and the No. 2 slot went to Rep.Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-East Los Angeles), at almost a 16th-grade level.

And because we try to be even-handed here at TPC, it's only fair to point out that it was Republican Rep. Dan Lungren who made it to number one with the highest level of speech. Kudos to him.

Communicating clearly and accurately, using proper language, and articulating carefully and meaningfully are all so important, especially in an era of 140-character tweets and rushed text messages. Can we at least expect our elected representatives to strive for the ability to do that at ninth grade levels?

Oh, but I kid. I meant tenth.

Now if you'll excuse me, Twitter calls.


Rick Santorum's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad English, but Christian conservative leaders back him anyway


I have a pet peeve. When I see public figures (Okay, and not so public figures. Okay, and sometimes even friends.) use egregiously bad grammar or mispronunciate (yes, that was intentional) or invent words, like "misunderestimate" or "pundints" or "nu-kew-lar", it drives me a little nuts.

I can't help it, it's been ingrained in me since I was a kid. I had an excellent education, and for that I owe my teachers a huge debt of gratitude. And while I am, admittedly, critical, I make plenty of mistakes, too, and often use twisted grammar or invented words as a writing device.

But I expect more from certain people, especially leaders who hold themselves up as role models or stress their own superiority and that of those who are just like they are over Americans who they imply are "less than."

So anyway, there I was, minding my own business, reading a couple of CNN articles about how Christian conservative leaders voted to support Rick Santorum and how Rick Santorum's latest pitch was to warn voters that President Obama would "destroy" Willard Romney in November. I got to the end of the second piece and the following jumped out at me:

[Santorum] plans to make Romney his main target.

"I think there are difference between me and Gingrich but frankly there are bigger differences between Romney and I than Newt and I," he said.

"Between me and Gingrich"? "Between Romney and I... Newt and I"?

Well, this may explain one thing: Why Santorum attacked the president for suggesting that American kids going to college was a good thing... although you'd think after earning three degrees of his own, he would have learned to speak English properly. Especially if he thinks it should be the official language of the United States.

And by "English" he means lousy English. You know, like the kind Rick Perry uses.

Keep 'em uninformed and uneducated, right Ricky? That's the only way the GOP can win... other than through enormous undisclosed corporate donations, fixing voting machines, and voter suppression, I mean.

Speaking of informing the electorate... 

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