Thursday, July 23, 2009
Saturday, July 18, 2009
With the confirmation hearings of Judge Sonia Sotomayor set aside for now, the focus of congress is now squarely on health care reform. Already, a Senate bill has made it out of two committees and a House bill has cleared an important committee as well. So, before bob and abe give their take on this critical issue, here's a few interesting articles detailing the events of this past week.
Friday, July 17, 2009
The good news is that you get a bonus 20 minutes of Bob and Abe. The bad news is that you have to endure 20 minutes extra minutes of Bob and Abe. We'll try to keep future episodes down to the more manageable 60-65 minutes, but we rambled a bit this week.
Further good news is that I hereby promise that we will have this coming week's episode up absolutely no later than 4 a.m. 22 july 2009. Srsly.
Let us know what you think over at firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Instead, we'll be doing a quick rundown of the week's headlines, with just a couple of minutes of hilarious insights on each. This got us thinking, and even though it's last second notice, do you have any headlines you'd like to hear our thoughts on? Just comment on this post or send us an e-mail with the link attached one way or another, and we'll check it out, and probably include it in the show.
Hurry up! Let us know!
Some things already on our plate:
Obama says the stimulus is working! Be patient!
Now Russia wants a global currency, too.
Don't forget about swine flu! Be scared! Stay scared, dammit!
Thursday, July 9, 2009
In the painfully grade-schoolish fashion of rhetorical essaying, I will begin by defining the term that I have placed under attack. Tolerance, as defined by dictionary.com, is:
1. a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from one's own; freedom from bigotry.
2. interest in and concern for ideas, opinions, practices, etc., foreign to one's own; a liberal, undogmatic viewpoint.
Tolerance, for lack of a better word or, simple irony, is no longer tolerable, on any sort of grand cultural scale. Tolerance is something I have for a two-year-old child, or a dog. I will tolerate a two-year-old screaming uncontrollably at the table next to mine because the two-year-old lacks the ability to reason or use logic, has precious little language with which to communicate its desires—in short, the child does not know any better. I will tolerate a dog that occasionally shits the carpet because while the dog understands on some level that it should not have shat the carpet, it is, after all, just a stupid fucking dog. Dogs are known to occasionally shit carpets, and so I can be neither surprised nor can I get terribly justifiably angry at the dog's action.
Tolerance is something that is expected, if not demanded, of me as a liberal-minded, undogmatic free-thinking person, according to the definition. If there is a part of another culture that goes against something fundamental about the way I see the world, the only fair and objective reaction is to tolerate it as something just a little different from what I believe, but valid just the same. Just because I don't agree with it doesn't make either one of us wrong—we can live in harmony together as two people who just agree to disagree. According to the definition, by my fair and objective assessment of the differences between me and my subject—let's say, the shitty carpet-shitting dog, I am being permissive of the dog's behavior, and by my recognition that the dog doesn't know any goddam better, I am permitting the carpet-shitting to continue.
But what if, just for, well, carpet-shits and giggles, we exchanged the dog in this scenario, with, say, any major religious or political or governmental organization that discriminates against any percentage of its population for any reason whatsoever. Saudi Arabia, China, or the Catholic church. It doesn't matter—any group that willfully violates the human rights of even its own constituents or those that would oppose them will slide in quite nicely. Women in Saudi Arabia. Or loud-mouthed Chinese. Or Catholic children who slip up and sin every once and a while. These are huge numbers of human beings that are treated like property, or less than, and live in fear that the consequences of their actions can mean execution by stoning, life in prison, or eternal damnation just for attempting to freely express their humanity.
Does an intellectual tolerance of other cultures mean that I have to tolerate the marginalization, propertization, and basic systemic hatred of women by huge swaths of Islam? Or that I should find it permissible for freedom seeking Chinese to be locked up for years simply for expressing their basic human rights? Or that I accept the forever recurring abuse perpetrated upon millions and millions of young catholics in the form of promised eternal pain and torture, in the event that they fail to gain entrance to heaven due to the impossibly high standards set for admission.
I don't think I even need to answer the question. The answer is no, by the way—I should not have to tolerate systemic violations of basic human rights in the interest of not hurting anyone's feelings. If you doubt the systemic nature of these violations, I would simply, if admittedly a touch arrogantly, submit that you need to look closer. If you further think that more evolved versions of these systems—basically less completely fucking crazy versions of these religions, are somehow less unacceptable, than I would ask the following: if you have to leave behind the most fervent adherers to a particular way of life in order to deem it culturally acceptable or even to justify its continued existence, do you think that maybe, just maybe, there might be something fundamentally flawed about the belief structure?
The difference between the dog and the institutions is, hopefully, just as apparent. Perhaps the most important revelation we remarkable human animals have derived from the study of ourselves and the world around us is but the fulfillment of the hypotheses of the greatest philosophers who ever put their thoughts, ideals, and hopes to the page. The idea that all men are equal, utterly regardless of breeding or bloodlines, race, religion, or nationality—a fact as revolutionary as it is blatantly plain and as purely beautiful as it is simple and instinctual—is no longer a mere ideal, or concept. It is a fact of our genetic coding, and as such, should free us all from the primitive barbarians who would divide us with such petty distinctions as skin pigmentation, or place of birth.
Though this is probably no great surprise to you by this point, I will say anyway that I find myself to be a rather remarkable creature. I say that not as a confession of hubris, but as a way of relating the level of respect that I have for you as my fellow human being. I know of no higher compliment than to say that I am that remarkable creature, and that you are my equal.
This is why I cannot tolerate the tolerance, or permit the permissiveness, or accept the idea that I should respect someone else's belief system simply because it is their own, and not mine. Call it whatever you want—intolerance, ignorance, close-minded hatred, freshly shat sanctimonious bullshit—I will happily accept all futile attempts at narrowing my perspective down to anything so easily dismissed. Simple truths are so much stronger than that.
The only moral high ground is the one onto which each and every last one of us is born. It is the space which I am proud to occupy. Tolerate it.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
If you would like to receive an e-mail every time there's a new show available, e-mail Bob and Abe at email@example.com with Subscribe in the subject line.
Episode Two of the Bob and Abe Show is finally upon you. You may notice that Abe is, strangely, not a part of the festivities this week, but Augie is here to keep his seat warm and spar with Bob a bit.
On this week's show, Bob and Augie talk about the U.S. health care system, Michael Jackson, Mark Sanford, and Hitler! There's not a whole lot else to ask for, is there? But if that's not enough for you, there's even five minutes of a little segment we'll call Happy Thoughts with Bob.
Don't worry, Abe will be back next week. You may direct your outrage over his absence to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for checking us out, and be sure to check back every week for a new show.
Episode 2 Breakdown:
00:00 Introductions all around.
03:53 Bob and Aug talk ObamaCare, hilarity ensues.
25:20 Bob is allowed to rant for five or so minutes.
31:30 Jack-o Talk. Five whole minutes elapse before the first molestation reference.
44:20 Governor Mark Sanford is banging an Argentinian, and Augie approves.
49:22 Michael Jackson comes back up, and then some weird shit happens. McDo, anyone?
54:09 Bob regales us all with a tale from the wacky world of pizza delivery.
Until next week!