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#287: Personal Religulosity, Part One

October 6, 2008

Notes from the Manager

Related Strips: #226: Agree to Disagree?, Part One; #227: Agree to Disagree?, Part Two; #228: Agree to Disagree?, Part Three; #229: Flies, Vinegar, and Honey; #230: Life, the Universe, and Everything; #232: Blind Faith

The sequel no one demanded! This is a three-parter, so come back Wednesday and Friday — or come back next Monday if you hated the Expelled strips, because this is, in some ways, more of that.

Bill Maher's Religulous (now out in limited release) is actually very funny for the first hour or so, until it turns its attention to Islam, where Maher loses almost all of humor and levity that was so pervasive in the first hour (even to a fault, occasionally). Then he caps it off with a heavy-handed anti-religious diatribe that feels both unnecessary and poorly fit with the rest of the movie.

The funny parts and the legitimately thought-provoking parts still make it very much worth seeing, I think, but it is disappointing that he doesn't really give religion a fair chance to refute his main point: that religion is inherently ridiculous and harmful to society. He interviews no theologians and no Biblical scholars. Perhaps the layman's religious beliefs are really more relevant than those of a scholar, but it's a perspective he doesn't even consider. It's worth noting that he did contact a few real authorities at a few churches (i.e., the Pope and the head of the Mormons), but was refused interviews with them.

Of the people in the film, only a handful — of any religion — come off as particularly sane, and even one of them (a senior Vatican priest) is a bit nutty. The all-too-brief highlight of the film, for me, was the chat with the Vatican astronomer, who comments about the (so-called) "literal" interpretations of the Old Testament and decries the fundamentalist insistence on using the Bible as a scientific text. I would be eager to see a film really examine just that point alone for two hours.

Complaints from some people that Maher and director Larry Charles (Borat) edited his interviewees come off as crazier than they really are is a cop-out, however: he doesn't really bait anybody into saying or doing anything. He asks questions, and they answer. He does make fun of more than a few of them to their face, but the words coming out of some of their mouths is impossible to explain away by baiting. (Even if he did bait them, they still said it.) The nutty religious people on-screen really do believe what they're saying, and these people really do exist. In mass numbers.


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Sunday, November 1, 2015

2015-11-01 14.15.23

Thank you very much for the outpouring of kind words since last Friday. It meant a lot to me, and I’m happy to say that I have great news: things may not be quite so bleak as I thought last week.

For some background, since I haven’t shared much of this publicly, my cat Punk very nearly died in September from a urinary tract infection. A slew of medicines turned things around after a rough couple of weeks, and he had two great weeks but then relapsed. As it turned out, the strain of infection he had was resistant to the antibiotics he was on, so he had to go on some new meds.

Because he wasn’t back at 100% (as close to 100% as an 18 year old cat with three chronic diseases gets, anyway), the recovery this time was very, very hard on him. Punk had to be taken to the emergency room last Wednesday evening, then he wasn’t handling the pain medication they prescribed very well — or eating, except when I would spoon feed him baby food — so I was… in a very bad headspace last week.

With non-stop attention and some tweaks to his medication dosages, he began improving steadily on Friday evening, started to eat on his own and seek out my company on Saturday, and he even meowed for the first time in two weeks on Sunday.

If this keeps up, this will be the third time he’s cheated death (last month, and a bout with pancreatitis a couple of years ago), but I’m still nervous about him relapsing yet again. There’s also the very real possibility that there is something else going on behind all his recent troubles…

But… he’s a tough little guy, and he’s had a great couple of days,which is very encouraging. He has even managed to get back to work on the strip with me (pictured above!), and we’ll hopefully be able to keep at it.

The Multiplex update schedule may be a little erratic for the next couple of months. If that happens, hopefully it will be because I need more time to finish my MFA thesis, not another downturn in Punk’s health. Either way, thank you for reading, and thank you for all your support — financial, emotional, and… egotistical?

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