Churches and high school homecomings
Imagine a 15-year-old girl attending her high school homecoming dance. For one girl in October 2009 in Richmond, California, the night turned into a horrible excursion into hell. The girl was raped and beaten by 7 to 10 men and “boys.” Those arrested by police included boys aged 15, 16 and 17 and men aged 19 and 21.
Worse, if there can even be such a thing as “worse,” the event was witnessed by up to an estimated 20 bystanders. As word of the rape spread, it was reported that more came to watch. None did anything to stop the attack or report it to authorities. It was reported that some allegedly laughed and some even allegedly took pictures with their cell phones.
The event was significant for getting the phrase “bystander effect” into the media for a while.
Last week the Catholic sex abuse scandal also became news. According to Wikipedia, “much of the scandal focused around the actions of some members of the Catholic hierarchy who did not report the crimes to legal authorities and reassigned the offenders to other locations where they continued to have contact with minors, giving them the opportunity to continue their sexual abuse.”
An extremely troubling response from the Vatican in Sept. 2009 estimated that “only” 1.5%-5% of Catholic clergy were involved in child sex abuse. (Remember – this is the incidence rate they gave themselves. No doubt the actual rate could be even higher.) The response also indicated that the church was “busy cleaning its own house” and in a logically spurious argument that completely avoids personal responsibility claimed that sex abuse in other churches occurred at a higher rate.
In the Richmond incident, bystanders did nothing to prevent a crime in progress. In the Catholic sex abuse scandal, persons in positions of authority did not report the possibility of crimes when they were discovered.
I submit that both of these examples are cut from the very same cloth.
Aside from resolving these ongoing cases by helping the victims and punishing the guilty, the primary question becomes: What do we do now?
My proposal is something I’d like to call the “do the right thing” law. Or perhaps it could be known as The Bystander Law.
The tragedy in the Richmond case is that our justice system will only prosecute actual participants in the attack. The witnesses who stood by and did nothing, spread the word to others, and/or enjoyed the show will never be held accountable for what they have done. Similarly, in the sex abuse case, persons who facilitated protection of the guilty who then went on to commit additional offenses will also never be held accountable.
That lack of accountability is unacceptable. We need a solution with more teeth.
In short, a “do the right thing” law would hold witnesses and abettors fully accountable as if they committed the act themselves.
Come across a rape in progress? Immediately report the act or you will face the same penalty of law as if you were the one who committed the act. If the rapist gets eight years, the witness who did nothing should also get eight years.
If you are an official in the Catholic church and receive allegations of sex abuse, immediately turn them over to the police. Fail to do so and you will be held accountable for that person’s actions from then on. Fail to turn over allegations of abuse to the proper authorities and you should go to jail. These reported incidents are not “internal matters” to be handled as the church sees fit. They are crimes. The church has clearly demonstrated it is unfit to investigate them.
This is important. The people who did nothing, laughed, took photographs, or facilitated additional cases of abuse are still out there among us.
I don’t give a shit if psychologists and social scientists say there is a so-called “bystander effect” or not. We need a law that says “do the right thing or you will pay.” Or else next time it might be you or your own little girl that gets attacked for hours while society stands by and does nothing.
My DVD disc is too controlling
Operation is currently prohibited by disc.
Excuse me? How many products do you know that tell you, “Sorry. You can’t use me that way.”
It’s annoying. You have to sit through a bunch of crap on a DVD before the disc will decide it’s time to allow you access to the menu. “I now deem you worthy. You have done my bidding. You may access the menu at will.” Gee, thanks. That’s very gracious of you, especially since I own your ass!
At last! The menu! I’ve heard about you. You are the gatekeeper to the actual content on the DVD that I originally wanted. Not all that other stuff I was forced to watch against my will. “Oh great menu! I will now select Play Movie and just maybe you’ll let me finally watch. Thank you, oh thank you!”
A few minutes into the movie, though, suddenly – a problem emerges! The screen scrambles, glitches a couple times, freezes for a few seconds more … and then … POOF!!!! The DVD is suddenly playing the beginning of the movie again.
Yep. Your rental DVD has a booger on it left by the previous customer. Now you have no choice. You have to haul your carcass from your seat, eject that sucker, and pray to the DVD gods while you wipe down the playing surface and hope – please God – that the cleaning will make the DVD work.
You have to re-insert the DVD back into the player.
You guessed it! The DVD will not automatically return to the previous viewing location. And any attempt to use the remote control results in “Operation is currently prohibited by disc.”
“Oh God, no. Oh God! Ayeeeiiiiiiieeeeeeee!”
According to Wikipedia this is called “user operation prohibition”:
The user operation prohibition (abbreviated UOP) is a form of use restriction used on video DVD discs. Most DVD players prohibit the viewer from performing a large majority of actions during sections of a DVD that are protected or restricted by this feature, and will display the no symbol or a message to that effect if any of these actions are attempted. It is used mainly for copyright notices or warnings, such as an FBI warning in the United States, and “protected” (i.e., “unskippable”) commercials.
I call it living hell on earth. And I paid money for all this shit? The television, the DVD player, and the disc itself.
From now on I think I’ll spend my time doing something more enjoyable – and cheaper – like burning out my eyeballs with a blowtorch.
The center does not hold. Things fall apart.
No time for blogging recently, so just this wonderful video I found recently. Hopefully you’ll find it to be “Something Diabolical.”
Handling illegal interview questions
I received an email today about how to handle illegal interview questions. According to the email (always a very reliable source) the questions below are are “illegal.”
Of course, what is “illegal” in a job interviewing type of situation? I think it goes without saying that one person’s “illegal” is another person’s “get yer ass out the door because you won’t be working here!”
Right on. People abusing other people. You know, now that I think about it, they ought to base an economic system on that.
According to the advice in this unsolicited email there are three ways you can go when responding to an illegal question during an employment interview:
- Answer honestly if you want.
- Tell the interviewer their question is illegal thus blowing any chance you had at the job.
- “Base your answer on the requirements of the job and your ability to perform it.” (Whatever that means!)
I feel their advice is incomplete. In an attempt to be helpful here are more options I came up with on my own:
- Keep a video camera in your baseball cap and sue their asses. (Dressing like a pimp is optional.)
- Lie through your teeth. They just broke the law – one good turn deserves another.
- Say, “I love you.”
- Casually mention, “You know, sex is still in play.”
- Distract with your “Basic Instinct” move. (This also requires wearing a short skirt.)
Also, be forewarned that your interviewer may employ a technique known as “probing” during the interview. The best advice I can offer is relax as much as possible and lean into it. With most interviewers this is usually a very brief process, but some might be able to make it last 45 minutes or more.
So here are the original questions from that email answered by yours truly with my own special flair. Enjoy!
Q: Does your family mind the travel required for this position?
A: Let us dispense with the petty mind games, shall we? We’re all adults here. We all know that I’ll be forced to eat your ass on a regular basis. Let us not pretend that I’d refuse to sell my children to the devil for this “opportunity.” Travel is the least of my concerns.
Q: Are you religious? Will your religion prevent you from working extra hours or on weekends when we have a big project?
A: It probably won’t be a problem, unless I am displeased in any way, shape or form. Then I may draw a pentagram around your desk, sprinkle some goat blood, and burn some (mostly) harmless incense while chanting your name.
Q: You have a very unusual last name. What is its origin?
A: Doin’ your mom.
Q: Are you planning a family in the near future?
A: That depends on you. If I may, I’d like to answer that question with a question of my own. Are you available Saturday night? I rarely wear underwear and when I do it’s usually something unusual. I also always forgo protection because, let’s be honest, that just makes it so much more fun.
Q: How many more years do you see yourself in the work force (before retiring)?
A: Difficult to see is the future. Always clouded with emotion. How long does it usually take to get access to the company checking account around here? – or try this alternate answer – Oh please oh please oh please! I want to do nothing but work for you and clean your boot heels with my eager tongue until the day I die. Pick me! Pick me!
I hope these answers come in handy at some point during your career. It’s amazing, I know, but I’m offering them completely free of charge! Just another of the many perks of reading this blog.
Birthday card for the boss
Today one of my mandatory job duties was to scribble something – by hand, mind you! – in a decorated piece of folded cardboard. The intended target: My boss!
Oh the humanity!
I believe most in our society call this item a “greeting card” or “birthday card” or something of the sort.
In some primitive cultures it is traditional to celebrate the annual circuit of their home planetoid around the central celestial body in the solar system by inscribing on a decorated and folded piece of cardboard. The event commemorates the number of circuits completed since the original date the life form was born. Some believe the annual circuit date to have special significance.
So I was compelled – against my will – to come up with text that would be socially acceptable for the situation. This is what I came up with:
Thank you for living one more year so the paychecks continue!
For the record, the second place runner-up was: I’m sorry for your loss. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.
I figured if I was to ever be questioned about the second one (which I’m saving for a rainy day) I could always just claim there was a mix-up since I was signing a sympathy card at the same time. I was at work, so that’s highly probable.
Does the Pope writ in the woods?
Mind if I pontifficate for minute?
On March 20, 2010, the Vatican released a letter from Joseph Alois Ratzinger that apologized for abuse on the part of “priests, brothers and nuns.”
You might know Ratzinger better by his more popular name: Pope Benedict XVI.
The letter was prompted by a report released by the Irish Child Abuse Commission 2009 that documented testimony of nearly 2,000 witnesses in over 200 Catholic-run schools from the 1930s until the 1990s.
Benedict, who became the Pope in 2005, probably never imagined that he’d be writing a letter apologizing for sexual abuse committed by members of the Catholic Church. Now some are calling on him to resign.
It turns out this wasn’t just another unpleasant duty that falls on the shoulders of the Pope. It turns out that he may have been personally involved in some of the events surrounding the sex abuse scandal.
As reported by the BBC, the Pope has been accused of “failing to act on complaints from two archbishops in the US about a priest who allegedly abused 200 deaf boys.”
Back when Benedict was still known as Cardinal Ratzinger he “allegedly failed to respond to letters about the case.” Something known as a “church trial” was halted after the priest wrote to Ratzinger complaining of “poor health.”
For more than 20 years before he was made pontiff, Joseph Ratzinger led the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith – the Vatican office with responsibility, among other issues, for response to child abuse cases.
The Pope is also against condoms in Africa, furthering a ridiculous church doctrine that could help reduce the spread of AIDS. The church preaches abstinence and fidelity yet somehow that isn’t enough:
This is the reality: a married woman living in Southern Africa is at higher risk of becoming infected with HIV than an unmarried woman. Extolling abstinence and fidelity, as the Catholic Church does, will not protect her; in all likelihood she is already monogamous. It is her husband who is likely to have HIV. Yet refusing a husband’s sexual overtures risks ostracism, violence, and destitution for herself and her children.
Source: Catholic Church condom prohibition comes face to face with reality of AIDS in Africa.
I don’t know enough to know if the Pope should resign, but I do know this: Some people in positions of trust have gotten away with sexual abuse for far too long. I would guess that only a fraction of them have ever been exposed and even less of them have ever been held accountable. This is one of the greatest travesties of justice of all-time, in my humble opinion. Not only on the part of those who committed heinous acts but also on those who knew and did nothing to stop it or even worse helped cover it up so it could continue somewhere else.
How many abuses could have easily been prevented? Only God can answer that question. The guilt is shared by far too many.
Anyone suspected of sexual abuse of a minor should be treated the same regardless of their role in any church. Period. The fact that church membership helped protect this sort of behavior is unconscionable.
Steps need to be taken to make sure this never happens again. And this time, we can’t leave it up to the Catholic Church to take care of it on their own. They have more than demonstrated than any such efforts are utterly pointless. The entire organization needs to be put on some sort of probation with forced compliance.
Grandma used to ask if I broke my arm
What’s fun about blogging? And why do I do it?
Let’s be honest. A big reason is feeding ye olde ego. I’m not going to lie about this, I gotta keep it real, yo. I found out recently I may have a streak of narcissism within me. I guess I’m part show-off. Who knew? 🙂
Another piece of the fun has got to include watching the stats, too. Or, as the good folks at WordPress put it, “obsessing.” If you check your stats several times a day on a regular basis you just might be obsessing.
Speaking of stats: last week was this blog’s fourth best week ever. And, in terms of traffic, March 2010 is officially my most successful month to date. And the abyss is about to hit the only kind of 10k I’ll ever personally experience.
OK, enough obsessing. What I really want to talk about today is the funnest thing about blogging:
Meeting and getting to know my fellow bloggers!
Yep. That’s it. I’d rather read what y’all have to say than most anything else on the net. You bunch of monkeys at keyboards. (More on that later. Heh.)
I just counted and I subscribe to 61 of your blogs. Wow! And I use my “blog surfer” function constantly. That means if you write it, I’m going to read it. And that is a lot of fun.
Unlike other media, though, like newspapers, TV and radio, I’m not limited to a read-only mode. If I’m moved by what I read I can leave a comment and in the vast majority of cases the actual blogger will respond. I mean, seriously, can it get any more exciting than that?
As for as blogging is concerned I believe that “comments” are the coin of the realm. They are generally fun to receive (especially if they are on-topic and don’t attempt to disembowel me – hint hint) but they are even more fun to give. I guess one of those old adages about giving and receiving and stuff like that might even be true.
Even though I’ve made a commitment to blog every damn day – even if it kills me – giving out those comments is just as important to me. And lately I’ve been sucking at my comment production, mainly because of time constraints. My writing time has been diminished the last week fews, and of course, there is also the ongoing work on my novel. I’m up to three sentences now!
So if you’ve noticed a reducing in my comment output of late, I sincerely apologize for that. Please know it is not intentional. I have not dropped anyone from my reading list. I’m still read every delicious word you write. Unfortunately, for you anyway, just like the Terminator, I will be back. And then you’ll just have to live with it. Mwuhahah!