Pavilion Digest: February 2006

A plethora of perplexing pavilion posts. The Pavilion Annex thread, the Pavilion Discussion thread, and monthly digests of all messages from the Pavilion.

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Paul L
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Joined: Wed Feb 07, 2007 4:32 pm

Postby Paul L » Sun Feb 05, 2006 8:42 am

Name: Paul Lorello
Source: unca20060316.htm
To Mark:

Thanks for the crash course. I studied Jazz piano in my youth, but being a sheet music kind of guy, I never ventured far to discover which labels were which and which had the best recordings and so forth. Ignorance on my part, I admit. I took whatever I could get. I still do. It's hard for me to find this stuff these days in my neck of the woods. Thanks again.

To All:

First, thank you Steve Barber for your tender and very human post. It's hard to be coldly analytical after that. I agree with you that the real enemies are the fanatics. They've always been.

As for the supposed abortion clinic cartoon, I think a cartoon depicting a bunch of people all wearing the same Jesus mask all lobbing the same Molotov cocktail in the same manner would be more to the point in describing the banality of fundamentalist Christianity (and the banality of its constituents' ways) in America. We could even have them all with their backs turned to a homeless shelter, or a stack of bibles opened to the New Testament. This is the state of fundamentalism.

That said, we must recognize the essential difference between the east and the west when it comes to religion: Americans are consumers. We buy stuff. Furthermore, we buy slogans. Coke is it, we say, and we buy it. But what is the "it"? We don't know and we don't care. If the ad said "Coke rots your teeth", the stuff probably wouldn't sell too well. Yet *everyone* knows Coke rots your teeth. We buy it anyway.

Here are other buzzwords we buy: Morality, Liberty, Evil-Doers, Freedom, 9/11, The Hijackers, Patriotism, Jihad, God, Jesus, Conservative, Left-wing, Liberal, I could go on.

What do any of these mean? Even used in context in news reports, blogs, editorials, talk radio rants, they still seem to take on the quality of ad copy. Same holds true for religion. If Marx (Engels?) was right and religion is the true opiate of the masses, then the words themselves are the vessels - the bongs, the rolling papers, the hypos; things used over and over again that really have no inherent meaning of their own but convey some cheapened, corn syrup-laced version of Christianity. It is mythology without meaning or philosophy; or as Jung would have put it, obedience without awareness.

We can't presume to understand the extremism of the east. Extremism is extremism no matter how you slice it, but this goes beyond opiates for the masses. It's uppers for the masses.

We in the west, we just buy stuff. Fundamentalist Christianity will dry up and blow away on a weak breeze once we find a way to take away its market value. Extremist Islam may be a bit more durable.

Just two cents. Thanks for listenin', fellers.



Earl Wells
Posts: 73
Joined: Wed May 28, 2003 5:32 pm

Alfred Bester

Postby Earl Wells » Sun Feb 05, 2006 12:06 pm

Name: Earl Wells
Source: unca20060316.htm
I think I first read about Bester leaving his estate to his bartender in essays & editorial comments by Charles Platt.

After Bester's death in 1987, Platt published an essay about the last time he saw Bester in Platt's zine REM (No. 10, December 1987). In the following issue, renamed SCIENCE FICTION GUIDE (No. 11, March 1988), Platt's editorial included a brief follow-up, in which he mentioned learning that Bester had left his estate to his bartender.

A few years later Platt wrote an essay about getting an unpublished Bester novel in print. The novel was published by Tafford in 1991 as TENDER LOVING RAGE. From the essay: "In a gesture that must have had some humor in it, Alfred Bester willed his house, his money, and his entire literary estate to his bartender." (See SCIENCE FICTION EYE no. 9, November 1991, p. 31.)

Both of Platt's essays were reprinted in his 2001 collection LOOSE CANON.

When Jack Skillingstead posted his question about Bester here on Saturday, he mentioned something about the bartender not remembering Bester. I don't know where this came from. In Platt's 1987 essay, he wrote about visiting Bester in Bucks County PA and going with Bester to the local bar: "The bartender served Alfie a big snifter containing at least six ounces of brandy, without being prompted to do so, and left the bottle beside the glass." Some time after that visit, Platt wrote that "... I was told his bartender was looking after him at home." If this is the same bartender that inherited Bester's estate, it seems unlikely he would have forgotten Bester. (See REM no. 10, December 1987, pp.4-5.)

The Locus obit says that "The executor of the estate is Bester's longtime friend Joe Suder." It doesn't identify Suder as being Bester's bartender. (See LOCUS no. 322, November 1987, p. 62.)

Mark S.

More Bird

Postby Mark S. » Sun Feb 05, 2006 5:55 pm

Name: Mark S.
Source: unca20060316.htm
To Paul: Happy to oblige with the Parker info. You might want to try They are one of my favorite places for music and they have a few Parker collections at terrific prices. Collector's Choice Music, takes a music lover's view of not only what they carry but the music they issue on their own label. I am sure you will find a cross section of music that will amply reward your time.

Neal Johnson
Posts: 23
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2004 12:38 am


Postby Neal Johnson » Sun Feb 05, 2006 6:21 pm

Name: Neal Johnson
Source: unca20060316.htm
thanks for that



Postby Shelly » Sun Feb 05, 2006 8:54 pm

Name: Shelly
Source: unca20060316.htm
Dear Steve Donner,
In re to your 2-5 post please correct your statement that all Catholics vote Republican. Although I am certain Bush and the rest of your party would love our voting bloc on the home team (those fundies just haven't been able to pump up the numbers, have they?)rest assured that Catholics are deeply individualistic people who think for themselves. But given the fact that nearly one in four people on the PLANET are Catholic, we are used to politicians salivating over us.
A gentle suggestion to do a little more reading up on your religious "facts", Steve, before spreading misinformation. There was a good deal of it in your post and not just concerning my religion.

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Postby robochrist » Mon Feb 06, 2006 2:01 am

Name: Rob
Source: unca20060316.htm
A Reply to BOTH Steves

Steve Dooner:
"I have Palestinian, Lebanese, Jordanian, Iranian, Iraqi and Syrian students in my classes, and they all act like American kids for the most part. "

...My ex-girlfriend teaches college English courses, and same can be said for Muslims among HER students.

We make the mistake of knowing Muslim Americans or meeting Muslim students who are clearly nice and intelligent, and assume this represents substantially what we would find in the Middle East. Sometime you should talk to those nice Muslim students about Israel, its right to exist, and any Muslim leaders who'd try to make peace with the Jews (I am recalling Anwar Sadat). They can be very nice; very hip; very engaging. But bring up certain subjects, and you may find a new side to them. Certainly with some of them. It happend to me a couple of times.

But the situation is NOT the same in the Middle East.

Read about what it is to live in a Muslim country, particularly for women: ... rights.htm

Once you deal with a THEOCRACY, you may easily detect echoes of a Nazi-like state. That's why WE fight for separation between church and state, even though there are some among us who would have it otherwise, and are trying to make it so even as we speak.

There was that woman a few years ago, in Nigeria, I believe,
who was to be stoned for having sex out of wedlock.

And how many writers get their lives threatened as Rushdie did?

So, Steve, it is not a valid argument to imply that we can learn so much about the Muslim nations from our experiences with Muslim Americans. That isn't to say there aren't many nice people over there as well. The point is their minds are shaped in a theocracy, whose dictates carry many severe and disgusting penalties. You can't gauge the extent of anti-Western sentiment, or terrorist sympathy in those nations from the relatively few you meet here.

In many of those coutnries, women are restricted from education, and, in some of the African countries, even subjected to genital mutilation (female circumcision) to prepare them for marriage (note, no anesthetic is used as their vaginal areas are gouged when they reach the age of 12. I SAW it on video. I saw these young girls screaming their lungs out, as women assisting in the procedure went on with, "don't you want to get married some day?" And this is LAW there. It's not just religious convictions, it's government institution. So do NOT talk to me as though these were fancies of mine)

And it is Muslims who are killing orangutans in Indonesia, driving them to the edge of extinction, because in their religion it is the afterlife that is blessed not those things in the physical world.

But going back to our original topic, fundamentalist sympathies and anti-Western hate, recall what I posted about Wahhabism on the site. In Saudi Arabia, the literal interpretation of the Quran is broadening in its acceptance. This is not among a small minority, but a very large one to say the least. They are teaching young kids propaganda, racist views about the Jews, and victory of Muslims over the Jews. Again, from the very book they are teaching to 14-year-old boys: "The day of judgment will not arrive until Muslims fight Jews, and Muslims will kill Jews until the Jew hides behind a tree or stone. Then the tree and the stone will say, 'Oh Muslim, oh, servant of God, this is a Jew behind me."

As long as the U.S. does business with the Saudi family resentment toward the West will increase, with corresponding sympathy to fundamentalist ideology. One doesn't need to look beyond
the nearest neighborhoods outside the Saudi palace to see how much the family consolidates wealth; they are virtual slums. And that continued state of poverty helps catalyze anti-Western sentiment. It's going to get a lot worse before it gets better.

(And it was the Bush family whose business contributed so much to all this)

I'm a progressive. Tolerance is important. But washing over the facts gives liberal tolerance a bad name, handing lots of fodder to Conservatives. I don't feel ingratiating to ANY theocracy, much less ANY religion. Let's call a spade a spade.

READ about the evolving nature of Jihad. As long as we're in those regions it's going to grow; it is a small minority who actually conduct terrorism (as Steve Barber insists); but a very large one in those regions who sympathize with it. This sympathy produces ongoing funds to terrorist groups, thereby sustaining their power.

But the real fuel, I think, is coming from the hate propaganda kids are being raised on over there. Solid reserves to replace terrorist leaders captured or killed. Therein lies the propagation Bush overlooked when he stupidly took Iraq.

These aren't my fancies. But you needn't take my word for it. Just dig into material about life under those systems: the restrictions on women, punishment meted out (and what they consider justifications for it), and, what children are being taught. I suggest you focus especially on the Islamic African nations, Afghanistan and Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, and Chechnya.

THEN consider the shit France has got itself into and revisit the Danish cartoons. Maybe you'll discover that the publishers had something on their minds beyond simple outright racism after all.

Gerd Trimbleson

Postby Gerd Trimbleson » Mon Feb 06, 2006 4:03 am

Name: Gerd Trimbleson
Source: unca20060316.htm
It's true we shouldn't catagorize a whole people by the actions of a few. But we also can't call what's happening across the world right now as something done by "just a few."

Looks like there's a lot of buy-in on this one. Death to cartoons. What a great culture.

Steven Dooner
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Jan 10, 2005 4:05 pm
Location: Weymouth, Massachusetts

Postby Steven Dooner » Mon Feb 06, 2006 5:36 am

Name: Steve Dooner
Source: unca20060316.htm
Hey Rob,

You took a portion of a personal e-mail to you and posted it here. That's out of bounds. I withdraw from this discussion.

Steve Dooner

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Ezra Lb.
Posts: 4547
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 8:02 am
Location: Washington, DC

Postby Ezra Lb. » Mon Feb 06, 2006 6:13 am

Name: Ezra
Source: unca20060316.htm
Chris Hitchens gets off a good one every once in a while.

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Site Admin
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Rob -

Postby Moderator » Mon Feb 06, 2006 7:30 am

Name: Steve Barber
Source: unca20060316.htm
Yes, I insist that it is a small minority of the Islamic culture who conducts terrorism. I think you will find this born out by those same facts you suggest below. In the same way domestic terrorists are the minority when it comes to fundamentalist Christianity (abortion clinics, government buildings), and only the minority of American schoolchildren who bring weapons to school and kill other students and teachers.

Does the Islamic culture conform to your set of norms? No. Are our values universal? No. Should we judge other cultures strictly by our own standards? Of course not.

Do fundamentalist governments -- of any kind -- conform to universal standards of decency? It depends upon which standards are being used to judge. You find many of the practices in Islamic countries offensive. You're lucky not to live there. Or in Sub-Saharan Africa where millions of people are starving to death on the streets or succumbing to diseases we cure in a simple trip to the drug store. Nasty Africans, how dare they treat themselves this way?

Islamics are responsible for the destruction of the rainforests -- thank heavens, I guess the heavily Catholic Brazilians were getting a bad rap. And wiping out Indonesian orangutans? I doubt Islam is to blame. Logic would dictate that Indonesian orangutans would be destroyed by Indonesians -- but I'm reasonably assured that it isn't because of their religion. The same way the destruction of Great Apes isn't a function of Rwandan Christian missionary activity.

You dismiss Dooner's comments regarding American Islamics by noting they are products of OUR culture, however somehow decide that the actions of a foreign community ARE a result of their religion, not their culture. It seems to me that my own group, we Americans, have done some pretty serious damage ourselves -- but I am unwilling to accept that because Americans have done horrible things we are all horrible people. Maybe that's why Middle Eastern Muslims don't like us. We're different than they are, and have proven historically to be unreasonably aggressive towards them. Am I to be judged by George Bush? God forbid, and I mean that literally.

You paint with a broad and judgemental brush, without considering cultural values or historic framework. Do I like everything they do as a culture, no, not at all. I find some things offensive and cruel. Can I impose my values? Yes, but it really isn't valid or warranted. I'm not suggesting just sitting by, but we have to be open in our thinking and not judge everyone with the same standards.

In our culture, reading things like "Foundation", "Stranger in a Strange Land", "Bug Jack Baron" and "Dangerous Visions" used to get you branded as a nearsighted, zit-faced, closet-dwelling geek. That same culture liked to put black people in the last few rows, drew asians with buck teeth and slanted eyes, and knew that hispanics rarely shaved and had water running off their backs.

And last I checked, we were wrong about those things, too.

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Faisal A. Qureshi
Posts: 59
Joined: Wed May 28, 2003 4:24 am

Postby Faisal A. Qureshi » Mon Feb 06, 2006 7:56 am

Name: Faisal A. Qureshi
Source: unca20060316.htm
My God Rob, you've certainly been having a bad time with my brethren. Remind me never to offer to buy you a beer, you'll probably tell me its against my faith to be getting booze for the infidels.

Heck, if I ever meet Harlan, you better be there to remind me he's you know... kind a Jewish, just so I can wash my hands afterwards and demand my money back in case I'm inadvertantly supporting ZOG or something.

If I meet Cindy, remind me not to go all being a Gentleman and kiss her on the cheek but instead demand that she wear a burqa and where her is her husband and why she isn't looking after that larger family they should be breeding for the upcoming Jihad.

And if I, God forbid, ever go into a foreign country school where bigotory and intolerance is being taught as part of the curriculum and have say as much to combat such attitudes (which btw is usually not part of the lesson plan of any of the counteries you've mentioned apart from Taliban era Afghanistan. Sorry Rob, its not that I don't deny these places exist but they're not as popular as you think. Kind of like me attacking the USA on the basis of me watching a documentary on white supremicists and thinking every American teenager is a aryan supersoldier waiting to kick ass and quote Mein Kampf), you better be there to remind me that I ain't supposed to think like that and get in with the programme and start hitting on Jews, Danes, Smurfs, Dan Brown's next book, etc. as part of the grand plan to combat the decadence of Islam.

I hear they don't do female circumcisons in South Asia, I better go down there and tell them they should start. Anything else is less than Islamic. I'm sure there must a verse in the Quran for it. If not, I can find a Hadith. If not there, I can try Fox News, they can give me one. If all else fails, I'll get a guy in a beard to make one up. That always works.

While we're at it, I better tell the folks of Al-Taif to start stoning those baboons. I'll go with getting rid of Panda's. Religion in this life, 70 virgins in the next.

Jeez, please!


Dima El-Khechen

Steve Barber

Postby Dima El-Khechen » Mon Feb 06, 2006 8:54 am

Name: Dima El-Khechen
Source: unca20060316.htm
Steve - thanks for your post below. While I am not muslim myself, I have lived among them for a large part of my life. I am also familiar with how a lot of Arabs, muslim and not, feel about US policies. However, I've never been much interested in arguing, especially online, so I think I'll go back to being an observer here. I also wanted to extend my sympathies for the loss of your friend, she seemed like a lovely person.


Mike Lee

Offending Muslims

Postby Mike Lee » Mon Feb 06, 2006 8:55 am

Name: Mike Lee
Source: unca20060316.htm
I've been reading the comments about this, and have a few of my own:

The content of the Danish cartoons isn't relevant. Whether they depicted M*h*mm*d reading books to blind children or banging a blind child, they would have been offensive either way.

The content of the Danish cartoons isn't relevant. In a free, Western society, free speech trumps your "right" to get so offended and huffy that you threaten or perpetrate violence.

The content of the Danish cartoons isn't relevant. European papers aren't reprinting the cartoons because they're good. They're reprinting them to send the message that "This is free speech, and you're living in the West now, and if you don't like it, go burn something or kill someone over it, and see what happens next."

The content of the Danish cartoons isn't relevant. Everyone who says any form of, "well, I believe in free speech, but clearly it must be responsible..." from Condi Rice to various people who've posted here is scraping and bowing to thugs. It's pathetic.


ignorance is not a point of view

Postby S! » Mon Feb 06, 2006 8:57 am

Name: S!
Source: unca20060316.htm
or so a Dilbert cartoon once told me.

Hopefully, everyone has had a chance to at least look at what was actually printed and caused all of this fuss before commenting. Uninformed opinion is best kept to one's self.

Muslim Americans are like, ya know, kinda sorta, maybe, just a little ... well you, know ... diverse. I hear they even have both boys AND girls! Go figure. And they don't have tails or horns or any of that stuff. Some may be smarter than others too, but that's just a guess on my part.

Islamic people in the good ole U. S. of A. are just as diverse as anywhere else. Including our own share of whackos, liberals, conservatives, intellectuals and airheads. This is true of any large segment of the human population, pretty much everywhere you go. (How the great unwashed get fired up about things is a regional and cultural thing.)

I recall a segment done on _60 Minutes_ in 2002 where Ed Bradley was shocked at the answers he got from Muslim schoolgirls "in the shadow of the world trade center" on their views of the heroic men who crashed those planes into the twin towers and how they would simply love to be virgin servants to them in the afterlife because it would be an honor. I can't find the direct link to the story on the _60 Minutes_ page of the CBS site, but here is a link refering to it: ... mment13650
The kids they interviewed, after showing the tapes to their school administrators and parents, were _allowed_ to tape some clarifications on what they meant. Carefully worded clarifications, scripted by their elders. And nothing has changed since that segment aired over 3 years ago. If that segment had never aired, I would never have known such things existed in America today. But they are out there, and closer than you might think.

I have both friends and coworkers who are Muslims. Not a one of them is a fanatic about anything, except for those baseball perverts who like the Yankees. They want to live their lives and not be bothered by people who don't know them or their families or their secret hearts desires. They are decent people with children and siblings and parents. (The doonesbury quote from 3 decades past that "commies have mommies?" comes to mind, don't ask why.)

Steve Barber: correct-a-mundo. a SMALL faction of the Islamic culture conduct terrorism. ditto for the abortion clinic bombing catholics, although I cannot remember the last time that happened.

Rob: that woman who was stoned for having sex out of wedlock, was she raped? I recall a news item about that as well. Another incident or the same one, its just another level of horror to it all. Thanks for the visual.

Catholics voting republican: yes, I am one of them. I also vote democrat depending on the candidate. John Kerry said a lot of the things I personally believe in, I just didn't believe him when he said them. So I voted for Bush, at least I knew where I stood with him. Better the devil you know, eh? My local congressman is a democrat, and I voted for him too.

FAQ: See my above mentioned _60 Minutes_ segment. Teaching that stuff happens in America, not just Taliban-era Afghanistan. And isn't it 72 virgins in the next life, not 70? I wouldn't want anyone to be shorted on this. I like the rest of what you wrote.

Jerry Springer-esque final note: The semi-human things that are actually killing people and rioting at embassy after embassy over these cartoons are the inescapable product of the brainwashing of the masses who've never seen those newspapers nor their cartoons by a fanatical few who *may* have. These embassy folks probably never even saw the cartoons either, being that far from home. They are innocent civilians in this. Attacks on innocent civilians are usually decried as barbarism of the worst kind, as we did with US soldiers at Mai Lai, the Sudanese at Darfur, the Palestinians at [insert random place here], the Hindus in Kashmir, the Russians in Chechnya, etc etc etc. I have yet to see that outcry and condemnation for the current atrocities.


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Postby Charlie » Mon Feb 06, 2006 9:49 am

Name: Charlie
Source: unca20060316.htm
I get a kick out of people trying to pigeon-hold Arabs or any group of people as if it can be done. There's even a book, The Arab Mind, that's supposed to tell me what I'm like. I guess I oughta read it to find out. I'm a Lebanese-American, born in the "hotbed of hatred", as someone on this board ignorantly referred to it. I still have loads of cousins and friends in the hotbed areas, who are all professional, up-standing citizens. Guess what, not all Arabs are Muslims. We're Christians, atheists, Buddhists, any about every other religion under the sun. In fact, Lebanon was predominately Christian only until recently. We're straight, gay, conservative, moderate, radical, stupid, republican, democrat, smart, rich, poor, professional and about any other adjective you can imagine. Did you know one of the first astronaut candidates was Lebanese, but was unable to pursue his dream because he wasn't a US citizen at the time? Doesn't matter, he has had 2 mountains named after him and has led 5 expeditions to Antarctica. His name is George Doumani. Sam Maloof is THE foremost wood furniture maker in the US, if not the world. He's Lebanese. Shakira, you know her, yup, Lebanese. George Mitchell the politician...Lebanese. Helen Thomas, the reporter W likes the snub at news conferences because he's scared of a little old lady...Lebanese. I could go on and on and on. But, what for? You wanna stay ignorant and get your news and beliefs from PBS specials. Be my guest.

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