The 21 Most Evil News Stories from October
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This is Week 4 of Season 3 in my new 13 Weeks of Wild Man Writing and Radical Reading Series. Every weekday I try to blog about compelling writers, their ideas, and the news cycle’s most interesting headlines.
When it all comes down to it, my reason for regarding Dennis Prager as the best talk radio host, one of the must-read syndicated columnists, and his Prager University as essential: the focus on articulating good vs evil.
In the newest Prager University video, Prager explains why rational and irrational are not synonymous for good and evil. Often times the "rational" act is the immoral one. Is it rational to cheat on a big test if you know you won't get caught and it'll be the difference between getting into college or not? Weighing the potential of punishment for being discovered-- a slap on the wrist -- versus the reward of going to a school that will open up career doors?
It's rational to try to avoid pain and suffering. So in a godless world without objective morality, why is it wrong to murder an unwanted, disabled baby?
We need this continual dialogue about the nature of good and evil. Only once we recognize evil can we make defeating it our primary priority.
If there are other stories that I missed -- and I certainly am forgetting plenty -- please leave them in the comments, and if there is anything that really jumps out then I'll revise the list.
21. Entertainment Weekly: Eminem's homophobic 'Rap God' lyrics: Still getting away with it?
What’s everyone talking about? Mainly about the following lines from “Rap God”:
Little gay-looking boy / So gay I can barely say it with a straight face-looking boy / You witnessing massacre like you watching a church gathering taking place-looking boy / ‘Oy vey, that boy’s gay,’ that’s all they say looking-boy / You take a thumbs up, pat on the back, the way you go from your label every day-looking boy.
Even though I walk in the church and burst in a ball of flames / Only Hall of Fame I be inducted in is the alcohol of fame / On the wall of shame / You fags think it’s all a game ’til I walk a flock of flames
Those lyrical nuggets come about midway through the song. Earlier, in the first verse, Em raps:
I attempt these lyrical acrobat stunts while I’m practicing that / I’ll still be able to break a motherfuckin’ table / Over the back of a couple of faggots and crack it in half / Only realized it was ironic I was signed to Aftermath after the fact
So, Eminem’s still using homophobic slurs to insult his rap foes and competitors. He’s been getting in trouble for his harsh homophobic imagery for more than a decade now, and it seems not much will change this fall whenMMLP2 drops.
The more homophobic, hateful artists are celebrated and accepted in popular culture, the more teenagers and idiots will feel justified in committing acts of violence against gay people, gay teenagers, and children who are insufficiently masculine or feminine.
20. The Daily Mail: Fashion's King of Sleaze: The squalid truth about the photographer venerated by A-list stars and behind Miley Cyrus's X-rated makeover
In one of the sets, Richardson persuades the once squeaky-clean singer to perform a sordid-looking sex act on an ice cream cone.
In another, he talks Cyrus, who is still too young to buy a drink legally in her native U.S., into holding an empty beer can suggestively in front of her groin while sticking her tongue out.
More images from the late-night photo-shoot show the former Disney queen smoking what appears to be a joint of cannabis, standing topless in a pair of see-through tights, and pulling a tiny red leotard upwards, so that it exposes most of her crotch.
Those are just the pictures which can be described in a family newspaper.
I suppose here is a good spot to respond to my friend Susan L.M. Goldberg, who began a debate about pornography recently: A Biblical Feminist’s Take on Porn:
So, when it comes to drawing lines regarding porn and porn-related behaviors, the first question anyone needs to ask themselves is: What do you define as pornography and, more importantly, why?
The common definition of pornography involves “obscene writings, drawings, photographs or the like”. ”Obscene” is defined as “offensive to morality or decency; causing uncontrolled sexual desire.” Biblically speaking, there is no direct commandment proclaiming pornography evil. Yet, there are several commandments regarding acceptable and unacceptable sexual behaviors. And, in relation to writings, drawings and photographs, God prohibits us from making graven images to worship.
Part of the reason why we need a real, working definition of pornography is because the wide range of materials often labeled pornographic is so broad and has such very different effects on the mostly men -- but also women -- who consume it. Some feminists like to define porn as essentially "anything that gives a man an erection." Does Sports Illustrated's swimsuit edition count as pornography? Does Playboy? Are all nude depictions of the female form morally equal? I think porn can be defined more simply by going to the original definition from 1843, courtesy of the Online Etymology Dictionary:
"ancient obscene painting, especially in temples of Bacchus," from French pornographie, from Greek pornographos "(one) depicting prostitutes," fromporne "prostitute," originally "bought, purchased" (with an original notion, probably of "female slave sold for prostitution"), related to pernanai "to sell," from PIE root *per- (5) "to traffic in, to sell" (see price (n.)) + graphein "to write" (see -graphy). A brothel in ancient Greek was a porneion.
Among my theses is that there is a big difference between pornography and erotica. It can be summarized very simply: pornography depicts the pimp/prostitute model of sexuality, erotica depicts an erotic sexuality. Prostitute sexuality is in which the woman is indeed treated as an object. Erotic sexuality is mutually pleasurable, an equalizing act. In pornography, it's all about just the man's perspective. The erotic depicts men and women equally. Pornography is what men watch alone because most women would find it revolting; erotica can serve a legitimate purpose for couples, fostering intimacy and providing sexual inspiration and instruction.
These two forms of media each program a man's nature differently, pornography teaching him to focus on himself and his most primitive instincts, erotica motivating him to learn how to become a proficient husband who can satisfy his wife. The disturbing cultural development in today's MTV soft porn performed by Miley Cyrus -- she is in no way erotic -- is in further mainstreaming the sexualizing of immature girls instead of mature women. Among modern pornography's most disturbing aspects is the recruitment of 18-year-old girls who don't know any better and then dressing them up to look even younger.
What happens to the men who choose to spend hours a day -- for years on end -- worshiping the bodies of teenage girls?