some answers to 17 questions 7.11.2005

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Neva Chonin asks Seventeen Questions. While I don't have answers for all of them, I can answer a few.

(Rolls up shirt sleeves.)

Here goes.
5) Lord Ganesha's elephant head: What's up with that? Was this the best Shiva and Parvati could do? Wasn't it too big for his body? And how many arms, really? Did he ever have to attend a public school and explain his appearance, or was he homeschooled?

This is easy, and a quick trip to Google helps find the answer, which is here: Ganesha: The Elephant-God The elephant head came from a young elephant, and he was probably homeschooled--as most Gods (even Hindu Gods) seem to have all the manners and mannerisms of small spoiled children with superpowers.
6) The Wrestling Riddle: Why is it acceptable for straight guys to wrestle half naked, crawl on top of one another and drape their legs every which way, yet forbidden for these same guys to have physical contact off the mat? I observed some very macho dudes engaging in this activity at the gym last week, and I'm telling you: soft-core porn. Dudes, explain.

In fact, there is an entire genre of gay wrestling porn (not work safe!) out there. I knew one fellow who was really into gay wrestling porn.

Beyond that, it's important to remember the Touching Code for Hetrosexual Guys. Guys are permitted to touch each other under the following, limited circumstances: (a) if it's a contact sport and the contact sport hurts like hell, (b) if you are attacking the other person. Further, (c) guys may hug, but only briefly, and only if they hit slap other on the back (preferably hard enough to knock the wind out of each other), and (d) guys may kiss each other's cheeks, but only if they're European. Otherwise, it's Gay.

As wrestling is a contact sport whose objective is to cause enough physical pain to force the other's back to the mat, it's acceptable contact. (Unless you're into that sort of thing, in which case, eeeewwww...)
9) Candy: Why so good?

Sugar. We're apes, and we like sweet fruit because they're calorie rich foods. Sugar is simply extracting the most calorie rich component of the food.

It's also why fats--which conseptually are really gross--are really delicious in cooked foods.
10) Bono: Why so lame? Why so loud? Why so annoying? Why is there a Bono?

You may as well ask why there is evil in the world. It's so we can know what good music is supposed to sound like, because if there was no bad music, we'd have no frame of reference.
11) Live 8: Uplifting social experiment or pointless exercise in moral narcissism? Does anybody need to hear Bob Geldof trot out "I Don't Like Mondays" one more time? Is Africa any better off as a result? Should pop stars just shut up?

Is it an exercise in pointless narcissism by entertainers who (for the most part) don't have a college degree, flunked out of social studies and came to fame by choosing a career path designed specifically to allow them to screw as many cute groupies as possible? Yes.

Africa is definitely not better off as a result--and for so many reasons beyond just the fact that the self-appointed guardian of their moral and economic existance is a divorced punk rocker whose sole claim to fame in the American Market was a song designed to help starving Ethopian Children almost 20 years ago. (Last I heard, they're still starving.)

So, should pop stars shut up? I'm not completely sure about that--if only because it gives people who actually follow the issues and who bothered to go to college for the education rather than drop out and follow one's libido heart some idiot to privately laugh at. However, it would be nice if they'd stop pretending they are on the same intellectual, moral and spiritual level as the Ph.D.s, policy wonks and experts who have spent the last 20 years studying and understanding the problem, rather than getting morally indignant about the problem (and at the same time tried to use the moral indignation to expand their music's market reach).
15) Is Tom Cruise evil?

No; he's a stooge, and a rather stupid one at that. (See my answer above and realize the sort of narcissistic justification of one's life for a moral cause to compensate for a life of debauchery also applies to actors.)

L. Ron Hubbard was evil.
16) Satan: Why so hot? Why do Christian comics always portray Satan as buff and laughing? What's more, why are the angelic hordes so grim and humorless and blond? Does being good mean we can't be ripped, happy brunets? Is physical fitness an impediment to spiritual enlightenment? Discuss.

God is perfect, heaven is perfect, and His angels are perfect--though not all uniformly blond. (Archangel Michael is often portrayed as a buff brunette in Roman centurion garb wielding a flaming sword.)

Satan, on the other hand, is not perfect; he is fallen.

And as any author can tell you, imperfect characters are more interesting than perfect characters: they have more depth and provide a greater range of behaviors than perfect characters who--in their perfection--are necessarily two dimensional. While Satan ultimately loses in most Christian stories about him--and only fights to a draw in others, he is in many stories a much more sympathetic and even human character than the unknowable and unreachable God and his hordes of perfect, grim and humorless angels. (It's even said that humor comes from a clash of ironic images--and necessarily must be the product of imperfect reality. Thus, humor is impossible in heaven, but alive in hell.)

As to the buff part, have you met any really buff body builders in person? To me they're scarier than hell...
17) The Faulty Reasoning of the Comb-Over: Please explain. Has anyone ever complimented a man on his comb-over? Has a comb-over ever convinced anyone that there's really a full head of hair on a balding pate? Why, then, do men engage in this barbaric custom and open themselves to mockery? I ask because I care. I care a lot.

It's like cooking a frog: put the frog in cold water, and slowly raise the temperature. Eventually the frog will cook to death, having never left his environment.

Well, comb-overs are the same thing: they start as an attempt to cover a quarter-inch gap, then a half-inch gap, and eventually go from "unnoticed rearrangement" to "oh, my God just accept you're bald and chop off that poor lone 8 foot hair attempting to cover your head!"

There, I hope I've helped with at least a little enlightenment.

posted by William Woody at 9:50 AM

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A moderate conservative living in the left coast, surrounded by the sureal, wonders if there is a sane life living amongst those who have lost touch with reality.

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