Saturday, January 03, 2004

First, a site that tells it like it is:
Second, I didn't get my usual Christmas Greeting from Byl Cameron. Byl is a guy I used to be pretty close with back in the day in New Haven. Then he became a born again Christian (or as I like to call them "Chrissssstians") and began to say (and believe) things that seemed quite out of character for someone so clever (you can tell he's a bright guy by his website, which is well worth a visit).

I guess this is kind of old news. As many of you know, I'm awaiting fatherhood. You may also know that while I wasn't exactly overjoyed about this news, I have since come full circle. I'm genuinely happy to have this kid coming into the world, no matter how difficult and tricky things are going to be for the next 18 years. But I will not try to pretend that I was psyched about the news when I got it. I wasn't sure where the relationship was going at the time, I was concerned about the fact that we weren't married and had no plans to get married, and I was concerned (still am) about the difficulties about being international-but-unmarried parents. Never mind that my personal finances are a fiasco or that my calling is to play music, hardly a stable income. As I say, these issues are all immaterial right now (except the finances of course, damn you UPenn).

After reading my post about how I came to be an expectant father in September, Byl went ballistic on me, telling me I was a hypocrite.
Here's his email to me:
well, the blogspot story is up. i'll admit, i am distressed by it. if
you don't need anything extra to think about, or don't care what i
think, no need to proceed.

we are three children deep into parenthood, so i have some experience
with what you are facing. it's an unbelievable experience, both in the
difficulties and wonders it will bring. it is unlike anything you have
ever done. it is so different from anything else you have ever done,
it would be like me trying to explain what a color that you have never
seen looks like.

there is going to be someone sitting in front of you one day who will
be looking you in the eye, seeking your admiration, needing your
guidance, needing a place be held when they hurt themselves, and
generally looking for a father - someone to guide them through an
increasingly scary and difficult world with a hand of love.

the fact that you are lobbying to have this person killed is
tremendously sad, but the fact you feel it's ok to write about it so
flippantly upsets the living shit out of me. your slight glimmer of
shame is the only redeeming element of the whole writing
[I'll point out that Scott Colan at thought it was impressive and honest enough to post at HIS blog]. social
stigma aside, you appear to know that a child you made, that is kicking
inside of the body of someone you care about, is in fact a person.

you espouse great concern for the poor, the oppressed, those caught in
the crossfire of unjust wars, those on the periphery of society - now
you have a chance to prove it's not the rhetorical bullshit. you
actually will have responsibility for someone else's existence and fate
until you or they die, be it a few weeks or the next 90 years. yes -
holy shit.

step up and be a father to that person.

if you have a tirade of a response, just save it.

if you want some support and input from two people that love our
children and care about you - we're here. and we will lift your name
up in our prayers.

I wasn' too happy about that one, and I told him so. Notice Byl's already calling a clump of cells, at the time barely a month old, a "person." I wonder if he goes diving after miscarriages to revive them with mouth-to-mouth, because by his logic, they're people too. Don't flush! In the name of Jeeeezus Christ almighty, don't flush!. Hey thanks for clearing that up for me Byl. Before you came along and told me that a blastocyst is a viable person, I would have been wandering around in the darkness. May I interest you in my scab collection?

On a tangent, I wonder how many Chrisssstians supported the war in Iraq? Or to be apolitical, I wonder how many Chrissstians step on bugs or swat flies every day? How many spay and neuteer their pets? Or is human life/ reproduction more important than any other life? Ever throw a moldy orange in the garbage? DUDE STOP!!! THAT'S LIFE YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT THERE, AND LIFE IS PRECIOUS. Of course death, also in God's plan, is to be avoided at all costs. What the fuck is up with that? I thought you wanted to go to heaven... there's an interstate I can direct you to, why not set up a nice game of hopscotch? I'll even let you draw the board in a cross pattern...

I will repeat, in case you're new to the blog or you haven't been here lately, I'm not upset anymore about the kid. He's coming any day now, and we're both really excited for him to get here. Melissa and I have gotten past any problems we had back in September and our relationship is super-strong right now. On the other hand, fuck any born-again Chrissstian that says I should live my life this way or that. There's a reason they threw you motherfuckers to the lions, and I for one wish the tradition would be revived. What I wouldn't give to see a stadiumful of you holier-than-though, self-righteous scolds all hanging from the gallows while you're pelted with garbage.
By the way, this isn't directed at those of you who may be of any number of Christian sects. I have no quarrel with Catholics, Baptists, Presbyterians, Episcopals, Lutherans, what-have-you. I have a problem with you "Chrisssstians". You know the ones: the ones who have a "personal relationship" with God. The ones who go around yapping that "gay people must never marry," "sex ed in the schools is bad, we should only teach abstinence," "abortion should be illegal and so should contraception." The fucking idiots who plaster doodles of fish on their bumpers. Fuck you. Go nail yourselves to a cross, simp. Go kill yourselves so you can get to heaven quicker, just leave me alone here on earth. You all make me want to vomit.
Anyway, my response to "Padre Pio":
I have no tirade. as is plain, I lost: she's keeping
> the baby.
> I understand you have a deeply, deeply held conviction
> against abortion, which I respect and admire you for [ok, I was blowing smoke up his ass here: I have no respect or admiration for pro-lifers at all: they are the scum of the earth and should have been aborted themselves]
As a matter of fact, while Melissa is pro-choice
> herself, it was her personal conviction about abortion
> for herself that led her to keep young Henry. that's
> OK: that's her personal conviction.
> Byl I added a paragraph to my blog today, which
> describes my own deeply -held personal conviction: "I
> have always held a deep personal antipathy toward
> human reproduction. My father and I have had deep,
> meaningful philosophical discussions about the human
> race: our impact on the planet, our failings, and how
> our failings will some day be our doom. I like being
> alive, but I HATE this world and it is never going to
> ever ever ever ever get better. There is never going
> to be a time like the cover of the Jehovah's Witness
> magazine where everybody is happy and there's clean
> energy and people are nice and everyone's fed. People
> cannot solve the world's problems because people ARE
> the world's problem, and that goes treble for
> Americans, who by simply sitting quietly and doing
> nothing use up more energy than anyone else on the
> entire planet. For as long as I have been aware of my
> own capacity to reproduce, I have always thought it
> was a terrible idea. I do not want to add to the
> problem. As much as Melissa has a personal conviction
> against getting an abortion, I have a deeply held
> personal feeling against reproduction. By making a
> kid, I have done the worst thing I could have ever
> done, short of murdering someone. "You're going to
> have a baby" is NOT good news to me."
> that said, I AM stepping up and being a father to my
> fucking kid to be. with all due respect, keep your
> prayers and your God to yourself.

So Byl wrote back:
I am right there with everything you are seeing.

The fact that we expect differently from the present state of
screwed-upness, that we feel it CAN be different says to me that we
have an innate sense of a Differentness that is waiting to be tapped
into. You have never seen a world in better shape than this, your dad
has not, and go on and on backward - it has been this way as far as we
can remember. What is it that makes us imagine a better world? What
is it about the planet that we think worthy of its perpetuation? Why
is beauty destroyed a tragedy, and ugliness growing a shame, a crime, a
loss? Where does this sense of loss come from? Where did we get such
ideas? Is it just imagination?

There is hope, and it will have the final word.

I think this child will be a great thing for you. The love he will
unleash in your life will almost unbearable it will be so great. I
believe with all of my heart that this will be so. And where I take
that hope I will, by your request, keep to myself.

Be strong, and never doubt we are here for you!

I think it's worth noting that Byl talks in vague abstractions (Also, if they're there for me, then I'd like that "thereness" to be in the form of financial contributions: hey Chrisssstian, how's about a couple years' worth of diapers?)

Where i give concrete examples of why I don't want to bring a kid into the world (mainly because the world is going to hell in a handbasket), Byl brings up hoary old "hope." "You're concerned for the poor and oppressed: the best idea is to bring someone new into the morass, because, hey there's always hope. We dumbass Chrisssstians have been spouting this "hope" shit for 2000 years or so, and we keep on hoping." Right. Alan Watts (or was it Thomas Merton) once pointed out that hope is what prevents you from doing the things that need to be done now.
I also like the presumption that everyone sees things the same way: "Why
is beauty destroyed a tragedy, and ugliness growing a shame, a crime, a
loss? Where does this sense of loss come from? Where did we get such
ideas? Is it just imagination?" I finally decided that the answer to these thoughts is "God," so therefore that's the answer that everyone else must come to as well. That's the essentially what's he's saying here.
That's the problem with Chrissssstians. They're so absolutely sure they know the answer to everything (the answer is ALWAYS Jesus), that they take on the burden of scolding anyone that sees things differently, and telling people what they "should" do. Bad day at work? How's about some Jesus? PMS? Jesus is the cure (just ask David Hager, Bush's nominee to the FDA who refuses to prescribe contraceptives and tells his femal patients that the best way to deal with premenstrual cramps is to pretend that Jesus is giving you a big hug). Fretting over impending fatherhood? Time's ripe for a nice big cup of Jesus.
Spare me.

Thus far I have not gotten my Christmas greeting. I haven't missed it so much because I wanted a seasonal greeting. I wanted it more because I wanted to email back, "I thought I told you to keep your prayers to yourself."

Fucking stupid Chrisssstians. Byl wanted me to spare him a tirade, which I did until now. But rereading his poppycock over again just pissed me right the fuck off. "There is hope, and it will have the final word."
Bullshit: it's my blog, and I get the final word: "fuck you, and fuck the imaginary deity you rode in on, Chrisssstian. Now scram before I pound a nail through your palm."