Simpsons Superiority in Seeing the Future

One of the best things about the Simpsons on FX (apart from being followed by Archer) is the thematic runs they do as part of the “every episode” series.

All of the music episodes together? Done.
Every Lisa as the star episode? Done.
All the doughnut episodes? Done.
Every Simpson’s pet? Done.
All of Homerisms? Done.

And most recently, all of All the robots episodes? Done.

It’s such a cool way to experience 28 seasons worth of genius, and it exposes some of the most interesting recurring thematic ideas the Simpson’s tacked in nearly three decades.

The robots one really stands out to be because of all the talk about automation transferring jobs away from humans. Granted, for a certain portion of the population the biggest concern is the misplaced notion that offshoring is hurting the current generation of workers and the current administration’s policy is unfortunately mostly focused on addressing this fallacy. The truth of the matter is even a few decades before the Simpon’s debuted the real threat to the American worker was automation.

For example, earlier this year the automated teller machine (ATM), celebrated it’s 50th anniversary, not only revolutionized the banking industry, it changed a major part of customer care since the last 60s. Interactive voice response was spawned in the 70s and began the replacement of the opperator in basic telephony situations as well as providing triage in most telephony customer care situations. By the time the 80s rolled around, consumers were interacting with machines to perform daily retail tasks from self-serve at-the-pump gas to self-checkout at the grocery store while manufacturing was envisioning the concept of “lights out” and the arrival of programmable automation controllers.

The 1990s brought rapid technological change that directly affected both businesses and consumers like no other time in history and the pace of change accelerated so quickly during the decade that more was achieved in those ten years than had been in the nearly 50 years before.

It also brought the Simpsons which debuted December 17, 1989.

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Prepping MPHnoise: War

Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong asked what it was good for.
Bob Marley noted there is War in the east, War in the west, War up north, War down south, everywhere is war
And, of course, the Exploited extolled We don’t need your war! with a little assistance from Slayer & Iced T.
Then again, ,etal, punk & hardcore have had more than enough to say about war – from Bathory & Burzum to Sepultura, Shadows Fall and System of a Down went with the simple one word title for their lamentations on human aggression.
#MemoralizingPatrioticHeroes ’17 will visit the many faces of war as we remember the fallen heroes of war for Memorial Day on MPH noise radio this Sunday evening.
In past years we’ve focused on soldiers, sacrifice and heroism but never on the act of war. As I sifted through my music library it was almost overwhelming to consider the vast range of interpretations heavy music has approached one of man’s oldest vice. I’m looking for requests, dedications, suggestions and otherwise for this year’s war focused show – if it’s about war and hopefully references such in the title it’s fair game. So have at thee.
And, in the mean time do me three favors.
1) check the comments for links to past years shows and listen to them
2) remember that this Memorial Day weekend is more than just BBQ, Bikinis and Beer. It’s about honoring the fallen lost in the course of battle. Take a serious and solemn moment to pay tribute to the soldiers as well as civilians, humanitarians and press corps killed in acts of war.
3) Watch this video
Oh, and don’t forget to please tune in to KAOS Radio Austin this sunday evening for the broadcast.

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The Great Jersey Controversy: Thursday – Full Collapse

Every proud Jersey kid knows the undeniable, debate-ending power of pulling out the genius of Frank Sinatra, Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, the Fugees, and so on. While the sales numbers and cultural iconography are arguably the reason conversations occur, the deeper lyrical atonement they provide to listeners is why they continue to withstand the test of time.

While not achieving the same level of pop familiarity, New Brunswick’s Thursday represent the same kind of lyrical respite as their homeland’s predecessors. And none more so than on their emotionally charged sophomore full-length Full Collapse. A great many arguments begin and end on this record alone.

To paraphrase Tim Gilles of Big Blue Meenie Studios, an early supporter of the band, Thursday are hardcore at their core. While for many, particularly in the NYHC and Jersey Strong Core of the scene at the time, that would mean overdriven distortion and the wall of guttural vocals, for Thursday, it was the rawness of their approach overall. They were as unrefined as anything born out of the metropolis, but they brought something else out of their Central Jersey basement and attic scene, melding the elements of Jersey’s vast musical landscape plus aspects of post-hardcore, indie, singer-songwriter and the fledging emocore idea.

Throughout Full Collapse, it’s readily apparent that Thursday were crafting songs from a different plane than many of their contemporaries. Despite themselves even admitting they still felt quite immature, the reception celebrated them as crafty songwriters whose dynamic approach transcended their relative youth and inexperience. So much so, that early in the album’s cycle with Chicago thugcore giant Victory Records, they were already being courted by major labels to make the leap to international exposure.

Opening the album with “Understanding in a Car Crash” was not only daring due to it’s unconventional approach, but it also exceptionally sets the tone for the undulating sonic and lyrical journey the listener is about to be taken on. The song quickly became a staple of the band’s live set, and for good reason. It’s memorable in a way that most songs which are essentially devoid of a traditional chorus can never be. Listeners are immediately drawn into its building guitar lines and the tension of the lyrical story, but it’s really the just-off-key emotion of Geoff Rickly’s vocals that carry the song as if it’s literally teetering on the edge of crashing itself.

This unsettling dynamic carries throughout Full Collapse as it courses with a ritualistic sense of desperation, ebbing from heartbreaking melody and exploding into pain-inducing wails. The lyrics drive at introspection that challenges with a visual tapestry drawing on phrasing like, “We don’t stand a chance in this threadbare time, Staring at the setting sun, No reason to come back again, The twilight world in blue and white, The needle and the damage done.”

Each song is crafted around the story it is telling, rather than the expectation of a verse-to-chorus pattern and in-as-such, it frees Thursday to completely explore the vast reality they are trying to convey about life. If that sounds familiar, one only needs to be reminded again of their Springsteen-Jersey lineage to understand why it works so well as the albums winds through “Autobiography of a Nation.”

By the time crowd-favorite “Cross Out the Eyes” comes up, Thurdsay are just beginning to show the true depth of the hand they are holding. It’s a brutal sonic journey of bristling screams delving into introverted passages of reflection – the perfect climax for an album built on just this such kind of dichotomy. And yet, it’s hardly the perfect Thursday song in-and-of itself because of it’s predictability and cliches – it encompasses so much of what Thursday fans draw from the band’s energy.

This is not an album for simpletons or the weak of heart or mind, and that challenge continues on to “Paris in Flames” – another live staple because of its emotional outbursts. It’s really the lyrics that stand the test of time as one explores the exponential meaning of, “Still you won’t let go of old ideals, There is no headline to read at night, When the record slips and you’re not holding the needle.” If that doesn’t send shivers down your spine, than nothing likely will.

The band’s success was not achieved without controversy. There were tri-state supporters who felt the band’s move to Victory was selling out. There were fans of the band who felt their videos, larger tours, and courting by major labels was selling out. There were even those who just felt the band being labeled emo(core) in-and-of itself was a form of selling out. Yet, the band never sold-out anything more than a few hundred thousand copies and some mid-level clubs at that point in their career. Sadly, the scene did as much to hold them back as it was doing to prop them up.

Eventually, “Standing on the Edge of Summer” appeared in the Wes Craven film, “They,” while some of the other singles appeared on different comps including several for Warped Tour as well as eventual exposure on Guitar Hero.

While looking back, the criticism of the album is short-sighted at best and asinine at worst. What Thursday achieved for themselves (and more importantly, for Jersey and whatever genre you peg them as) is notably important. Few bands rose to the occasion at defining moments, toting the genre flags they were forced to carry, the way that Thursday did with Full Collapse. Everything after it in NJ, in the emo(core) scene and for bands of their era jumping indie-to-major, this record set a benchmark for.

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Stars and Scars column intro

A long, long while ago I used to write on occasion for a number of print and online ‘zines. DIY publications that were labors of love more than commercial successes for everyone involved. My contributions were primarily an outlet for me to continue my creativity discovered in college as a writer and editor while not having to adhere to a regular writing schedule or editorial board’s whims. It was a great experience then and I’m excited at the opportunity at reviving it again now.

Stars and Scars was a punk and emo zine put together by a former intern of mine who has more passion and devotion for the scene than almost anyone I’ve ever met. Her struggles sometimes were something straight out of the song lyrics she so closely related to and her ability to overcome was equally as inspired. The ‘zine ran for several years before going on sabbatical.

When she contacted me about reviving it both of our lives were in new and unique places. I was already old back them in a scene dominated by pensive teens so making a reprise now as a middle-aged father was going to be a huge step. One that I am more than both anxious and nervous to be a part of. But, it’s also a great opportunity to put into action an idea I’ve been kicking around since Padawan was born. One that I’m looking forward to exploring further … here’s my attempt at introducing the column:

Parents are in a unique role of being able to pass along preferences to their offspring. It’s an opportunity to educate and enlighten the next youth movement from where the previous left off. While many parents simply attempt to relive the glory days of their own youth, desperately trying to hold onto a bygone era pre-parenthood, my journey with my own Padawan is much different – at least when it comes to music. That’s because there are no glory days to my music consumption, and the genres and eras that influence me are as diverse as my everyday experiences with my little learner.

To capture those moments of shared musical enlightenment, I began documenting early on our joint listening habits. This column is my attempt at trying to take those first playlists and singular memories and craft them into something more meaningful than poorly scrawled notes on baby wipes, smears of spit-up on my hoodie, and other less glorified ways of keeping track of scraps of paper (I hope that was paper anyhow) in the nursery.

Fatherhood has forced me to take new, deeper, and more profound looks at the world around me. This is as much a musical journey of a dad rediscovering some of the lost memories of “growing up” as it is a father passing along their own music to the next generation.

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Save Net Neutrality

Recently Tech Crunch posted an article These are the arguments against net neutrality — and why they’re wrong by Devin Coldewey

It’s a brilliant work of observational art.

I’m going to copy and paste here bits and pieces of the different conversations I participated in that the article spurred on both social media and through emails in the immediate aftermath of it’s posting:

Dismantling NN in the US is more a function of immediate quarterly profit maximization by greed-driven capitalistic status quo than it is about creating consumer friendly products that are better, faster and more reliable. Reducing NN isn’t going to evoke more competition or drive companies to innovate, it’s going to produce efforts to maintain as low cost a backhaul as possible for the majority of users while allowing an ability to charge an uber-premium for exclusive top end access. That’s not good for the consumer, for society, or for technology moving forward in the future. But, it’s damned good for short term profiteering.

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Prepping MPHnoise: they said rap and metal would never mix, the great punk conspiracy, and more

The other day I posted about how I was going to

friend one: You’d better have at least one Limp Bizkit song in there somewhere.

Me: Nope. I capped the last songs mid-90s, like 1994 which actually eliminated a lot more than you’d think.


Me: Nope. The Bisquick only formed in late 1994 and there dollar bill was like 97. The didn’t hit till 98 and at that point the genre was headed to b level bands moving into the end of the decade with Bisquick knockoffs

friend one: You’re doing a disservice to the people looking to learn more about rap metal. Leaving them out is whitewashing the whole history. Is it just “Bring the Noise” by Anthrax and Public Enemy for 2 hours? Because if you’re purposely leaving Limp Bizkit out of this alternative history of rap metal, I don’t know what else you could play.

Me: [editors note, I already did a blog on this, but here’s the synopis of that blog I copied to my friend] The 80s were rife with rap metal, even before anthrax and PE got together. Bad brains and suicidal tendencies in 84 both touch on it as does Kiss, run DMC, LL Cool J in 85, Beastie boys (including with Slayer) in 86, red hot chili peppers, anthrax, ton loc in 87, public enemy, Sir Mix a Lot with metal church in 88, faith no more in 89, biohazard in 90, and then in 91 rush, tourniquet, Primus and iced t to name a few do it at the same time as the anthrax with PE duet. After that you still have Korn, stuck mojo, 311, rage against the machine, downset, candiria, infectious grooves, 24-7 spyz, helmet, clawfinger, kid rock, the judgement night soundtrack and a bunch more before limp dick are even a band and that’s not even all of it. I could get into Blondie from the pop side, or the Animals on the classic rock side, or Frank Zappa or Lou Reed/Velvet Underground or Brian Ferry/Roxy Music from the experimental/art rock side, the Doors and Black Flag both using spoken word, the Sugar Hill Gang and more, but thats more of a diversity of hybridization than what I want to explore (and this is only focusing on rap itself, not beat box which has an even richer and more diverse history of its own).

friend two: Good job! Shit Bizkit was the WORST band of that horrible sub genre nu metal. They couldn’t rap or play metal. They were a disgrace to all the real rap and metal acts that did it a decade before them. Mainstream crap!! What are you gonna tell me next? Green Day was a great punk band?? LOL

Me: Leaving off LB was much more about the timing of their career than anything else. They were NOT a founding father of the genre nor were they one of the original cross-overs into mainstream popularity of the genre. As I mentioned, the show focuses on the roots of rap-metal thus it begins in the early 80s and continues through the mid-90s, essentially 1994. That’s three years before LB release anything that’s widely known.

While LB produced probably more clones in the genre than any other band participating in it and second maybe only to Linkin Park in terms of sales success they were coming into a genre even when they were “founded” in 1994 that had already moved beyond 10 years worth of novelty songs to include several artists whose careers were already established as hybrids of rap and metal. While they may seem inextricably connected to the (worst) parts of the rap metal genre they are hardly what I would consider foundational to it with the lengthy history that predates them. Are there other artists, and songs, I probably left off from those early/mid 90s that could have/ should have made the show? Probably, and I’d be open to those conversations — for example, I did leave off Ton Loc, 24-7 Spyz, Infectious Grooves, Sir Mix a Lot with Metal Church, Helmet, clawfinger, and Kid Rock to name a few (some of which missed because I don’t own them, some because of the show running order and time, some because honestly, I just didn’t feel like them when I was programming)

But LB no being on is strictly about the timeline and nothing more. carrying the show into 97-98/end of the decade would have put it from being the roots to being in the height of the genre’s mediocrity and meant not only having to spin the likes of Limp Dick but a whole host of numetal, rapcore, post-rap rock/rock-hop and other bastardizations that I just have no interest in getting in to.

friend one: I’ll tell you what is is… A CONSPIRACY.

Me: Your shits Counterfit. you can’t buy shit with a 3 dollar bill, y’all$ so just keep Rollin’to your pile of Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water that your Nookie comes with. Back Up. You be Crushed and Re-arranged and now you got no Faith, so just go and Break Stuff…

[editors note: the conversation when sideways from here into punk, or what is and is not punk]

Me: as for Green Day, I don’t actually hate them. I get why some people do and that’s just fine – the argument of what’s ‘punk’ that surrounds them was a natural extension of the 80s conversations that swirled around punk to begin with.

While pop-punk might not be the most beloved “aggressive” music genre it has its roots squarely in band and early sub-genres that are inherent parts of the aggressive music scene. I don’t want to get too deep into the weeds of retelling the genre’s history but I have no problem saying bands like the Who & the Kinks, the Clash & the Ramones, Bad Religion, the Vandals, the Descendents, Dag Nasty, Social D, the Offspring and to an extent even DRI, Sex Pistols and whole host of others “make” Green Day possible.

So, I actually think IF I were to do a show on the foundational aspects of pop-punk I would probably wrap the show up with Green Day’s Lookout! era years. After that, the genre of pop-punk pretty much exploded as part of the broader 90s “Alternative” scene and became clone-on-clone, particularly of mainstream bands trying desperately to capture the “Dookie” era sound.

friend two: I still think GD are a bad parody of a punk band.

Me: I could make that same arguement about Sex Pistols and look where they ended up 😉 I get people not liking Green Day, they’re a band that stirs controversy and helping popularize a genre that would go on to be more pop than punk. But, it’s not like what they did was unprecedented even in Punk.

friend two: What’s ironic about the Sex Pistols (and the Clash, who were the biggest influence on GD) is that those are the bands they doing a bad parody of.

Me: Sex Pistols were literally a parody of themselves even at the time … and they were a corner stone of contravery even within the 70s punk community.

Everything about the Pistols that might have been wholesome and punk in the beginning quickly became a hodgepodge of marketing tactics and cultural exploitation by the time they gained any kind of notority. They were manufactured and that was not lost on the real punks and DIY musicians of the time. At times it was more about the characature of himself that Johnny Rotton portrayed. The band became more about the “look” than about the music which was encapsulate by the sacking of Matlock and how it was handled. This visual approach superceeded everything else to the point where as a post-script they are often critiqued as being more a “boy band” than a true punk band. Their lyrics although championed now as social and political commentary were at the time contrived and marketable to creating a specific kind of contravercy. The music was raw not by sake of intending to be but because the band lacked any musical skill or sonic value in-and-of itself and their success was crafted in the studio by big named producers and engineers who created the band’s sonic image. While the Pistols were sneering at other punk bands publicly and accusing the scene of selling out they themselves were calculating and manipulative behind the scenes undermining their actual credibility. And, as for being punk, a lot of punks then and most enlightened punks now, look at the Pistols as being a necessary evil in the genre’s history but certainly not an embodyment of the punk ethos or even in some cases it’s sonic reality.

and the analytical critique of how not punk they really were only got worse the more John Lydon’s opened his mouth in the years since.

The Clash, on the other hand, never really seamed to hide the fact they were sonically genre-bending and that they were in it for some kind of fame-and-fortune. The kind of contraversay that lurked around the Pistol’s intentions was not there in the same way for the Clash who seemed more into embracing just doing whatever they wanted and that included being upfront about what they were. that’s why they got away with what they did and even a terrible marketing slogan like “the only band that ever mattered” actually seemed to stick to them long, long after their contractual relationship with CBS (who coined the phrase) was over.

I have no problem with Green Day being a 90s version of what the Clash attempted in the 70s. Good for them in succeeding at it. Again, just like the Clash weren’t for everyone back then, GD aren’t now. I’m certainly not going to convince you to think they’re good — my point was more, they are punk, as much as some of the “founding” punk bands were punk and that they didn’t invent the sonic qualities of pop-punk but that they refined those qualities that had always been a part of the punk scene into what would eventually the derivative top-40 punk of the 90s Alternative Rock movement and pop bands like Blink-182.

friend two: so what you’re saying is I shouldn’t do a roots of pop-punk show 😉

friend three: I’ll listen to anything that isn’t pop-punk. Please, if you’re going to kill us with non-metal at least do like screamo or something post-punk that still has some aggression to it

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Mike Pence, the “Bible” and Christian Oppression

For the record, I’m not trying to be anti-Christian, nor anti-organized religion. I am trying to point out the irony of a guy, Conservative Republican current VP Mike Pence, whose Christian Privilege helped him rise to the rank in society he has and who uses his interpretation of Christian beliefs to oppress and persecute others including Christians of other denominations talk about the plight of oppressed Christians.

He recently spoke at a Christian international forum and “claimed” that “Christians” were the “most persecuted” “religion.”

While there may be controversial evidence he might be correct in his statement, it is hardly tenable that what he stated in his remarks was a reflection of the international community compared to his at-home words and actions. His sect of so-called Christian beliefs are hardly persecuted here considering the wide berth so-called religious exceptions are even given here in the first place.

Generally, Pence is hardly the spokesperson for Christian morality with his reputation for being an aggressive Bible thumper that comes often at the expense of other’s liberty and freedom. He is more often the oppressor of not only other Christians but American liberty as a whole than he is a defender of anything morally logical or Christian in a Christ-like embracing idea…

But moreso, the conversation ended up devolving into a history lesson yet again. Without exposing too much of the flatlessness of the other side I’m simply copying here my own notes from the debate:

perhaps Christians don’t march here against ISIS and other worldwide (so-called) persecution because they are too busy pretending to be persecuted and oppressed by the fake war on Christmas. They are too busy feinding oppression by minority religions, atheists, scientists, gays, trans, women who want birth control, big city liberals, and whomever else the Fox News oppressor du jour is. If certain Christians weren’t so busy trying to pretend they were being marginalized and hijacking the narrative on what being Christian is here they might realize the plight of real oppression around the world.

Of course many Christians have conveniently forgotten Christians were the oppressors for centuries committing horrible atrocities like the Inquisition, the New England Witch Trials, the KKK, Pogroms, the Crusades, the Council of Toledo (to name a quick few). Many of the underlying premises of those historical wrongs committed by Christianity are being repeated today by non-Christian groups. Because many modern Christians have their heads in the sand about their own morally-void pasts they are unable to recognize what real oppression is and take real action against it.

That’s part of why no one marches here when Christians abroad are oppressed. A few particular denominations of Christianity here in the US have hijacked the conversation and turned the privilege of being the majority here into some twisted version of being marginalized so much so that it trivializes what oppression is. The desensitization that this faux-outrage American Christians create makes it that much more difficult for both they themselves as well as secular society here as a whole to take oppression seriously. If you trivialize so-called Christian oppression to the point that it is in the media here then society has a more difficult time understanding the terrible effects of it overall when it’s actually happening.

Are all US Christians ignoring what’s happening abroad? No. But, the majority are, particularly the ones that hold social and political sway and are using that clout to do other things. Are all US Christians engaging in the reductive thinking that US Christians are marginalized? No. But enough of them are that it is actively diminishing the conversation about real oppression. Is it fair to lump all Christians together then when discussing this problem? Probably not, but since minority Christians have allowed mainstream Christians to hijack the religion for decades now and since a portion of vocal mainstream Christians love to use stereotypes to group others they don’t agree with together, it’s quite understandable in how “all Christians” get lumped together in these discussions.

And, which “Church” exactly did it devolve into bashing because Christians and even “Church” are pretty broad terms? Generally, Christians barely agree on what it means to be Christian which is why the faith has hundreds of denominations and offshoots. These denominations don’t even love one another (forget about loving anyone else). Historically, and still to this day, different denominations say and do pretty horrible things to one another. A point often overlooked when discussing what it means to be Christian and potentially oppressed. Christians are fantastic at marginalizing and oppressing one another over trivial denominational differences.

There’s a long history of Protestants bashing Catholics (and vice versa) and of both bashing ethnic Orthodoxies, of all of them bashing the LDS and Jehovahs witnesses, of conservative denominations bashing liberal and progressive ones, of evangelicals bashing “ceo” christians, of Westboro Baptist and other extremists, and so on and so forth just in the microcosm of the “modern” USA. It’s hard to bash Christianity in general because it means drastically different things to Christians themselves – most of the distaste for Christianity is usually targeted at a few denominations that have hijacked the conversation of Christianity on a mainstream, secular level and turned it into an us-versus-them as in Christian-versus-non-Christian thing.

Generally, historically and now in the microcosm of the modern US, Christians don’t take responsibility for the faith as a whole. Each denomination primarily focuses on propagating their narrow interpretation of what is a “real” Christian. On rare occasion they might temporarily align to which ever branch it was convenient at the moment to align with if there was one politically or militarily to align with. Given the option most denominations would love to convert their fellow Christians to the “right” version of the faith. It’s a big reason why most denominations don’t even bother apologizing for the jackassry of the Westboro Baptists or ATLAH Missionary Church or the likes of the CSA, Frazier Glenn Miller Jr., Eric Robert Rudolph, Wade Michael Page, the Army of God & Bruce Hoffman, Dylan Roof, James Harris Jackson, Buford O. Furrow & The Order White Nationalists, James Wenneker von Brunn, Charles Barbee & Robert Berry & Jay Merelle, the Hutaree Christian militia, Robert Doggart, Robert Lewis Dear, Frazier Glenn Miller Jr, Henry Francis Hays, etc while ironically demanding every other possible non-Christian group’s association to take responsibility for their actions from blacks to hispanics to atheists to Muslims to single mothers. God for fucking bid some hollier than thou bible-belter accept that bible thumping Christians are terrorists acting on behalf of all Christians. You’re much more likely to hear the pitifully defensive and tone-deaf “they don’t represent us” than you are to a more empathetic approach requested, ney, demanded by so-called Christians of non-Christians.

Not that other religions haven’t or don’t suffer from similiar factions, but we aren’t talking about how different denominations of Muslims in the middle East and in Africa kill one another over different interpretations of the Koran producing atrocities that go ignored, we are talking about if US Christians care about anyone other than their own denominations.

It could be said, then, another reason Christian don’t march here because there’s a subtle feeling those Christian in the middle East aren’t real Christian because they aren’t evangelical Protestant born agains, or Southern Baptists, or Roman Catholics, and so on, and therefore their problems aren’t “our” problems because they aren’t “real” Christians to begin with. They are just some people over “there.”

Is this a broadly generalized sentiment? Sure. But it’s not untrue, otherwise you would see these major American Christian Groups focusing their energies on it in a more public manner. It’s not like they don’t have the followers, or the resources, or the public’s attention. It’s that they (select, mostly conservative, denominations) actively chose NOT to get involved for Christians over there and put their effort in politics and government and trying to Bible-ize secular society over here in stead.

Following this line of thought, it’s also probably of why (most) Christian here don’t care about the Armenian genocide. It happen to “so-called” Christians in a far away land some time in the past. Armenians are an ethnic minority in the US to begin with, but that’s compounded by being ethnic Orthodox Christian which is a faith that itself is fairly splintered and highly misunderstood by “mainstream” Christians in the US. It’s easier then for the general population secularly as well as within the majority of the Christian population to overlook what happened because “those people” aren’t “like us” anyhow.

Also, not to trivialize it at all, but it occurred during WWI which on the whole receives much different treatment than WWII does. This gets into a whole other conversation but generally speaking WWII has a kind of social cache’ that few other wars have, including it’s predecessor. Combine that the fact that most Westeners know little about the Caucasus, Persian, and the Gallipoli Campaigns because the focus tends to be on (Central) Europe’s experiences and therefore would have had little exposure to the Ottoman aggression other than that of a few select battles which makes learning about or comprehending the scale of the Armenian experience that much more difficult unless one ardently studied the war.

Then again maybe if some modern US Christians were fighting to put it into school curriculum rather than fighting to put Creationism and other Bible things in secular US classrooms they, and everyone else, might know more about WWI and the Armenian genocide in order to preserve it.

And, maybe if some Christians from our grandparents and parents era focused on the genocide decades ago rather than a Bible thumping desire to insert God into the Pledge of Allegiance and everywhere else it was artificially jammed into in the mid last century the geoncide would already be in the history books.

One of the reasons why the Jewish genocide of WWII is more remembered is because a) the Jewish community as a whole, both religiously and ethnically, are more united in remembering and educating; b) the soldiers of all faiths that experienced the atrocity first hand came back to their homelands with stories that were cataloged and retold; and c) the Second War, as I mentioned earlier, is just more of a social (and pop-culture) mainstay than the First War was. Of the former two point, neither of those things exist in the same way for what happened in Armenia. It would take a minor miracle for the diversity of Christianity to come together and bring remembrance and education to the Armenian experience. Until Christians themselves care there will always be a huge void in that knowledge base.

Finally, 45’s Administration did make a ham-fisted attempt at following through on it’s campaign promises to deal with Christian refugees in the first EO regarding international travel. It was just so terribly written and executed that it completely undermined the attempt. Everything since that they’ve proposed continues to run afoul of existing immigration law primarily because 45’s Administration lacks the knowledge, resources and focus to turn around an executable EO or legislative branch document. That’s a whole other conversation.

And, not to minimize the plight of Christians faced with ISIL but that situation is far more complicated than just ISIL attempting Christian genocide. First, and foremost, ISIL claims to adhere to the Wahhabi fundamentalist doctrine of Sunni Islam and that allows it to exploit major rifts in Islamic belief including targeting for oppression and death of Shia, Kharijite and other either philosophical or jurisprudence variations of belief. Furthermore, while not necessarily singled out for death in the same way, it makes more progressive and mainstream Sunni believers targets for oppression and forced conversion. ISIL actively commits ethnic cleansing against any non-Wahhabi Muslim. This is not only at the level of being a War Crime itself but technically not even permitted even in many of the most extreme readings of Muslim literature. And yet, non-ISIL Muslims struggle to counteract these atrocities being committed against them. Partially, this is because not all of them easily get along with one another similar to how Christian sects often fail to unify due to their own denominational infighting.

All the ISIL religious cleansing of Islam is occurring simultaneously to committing genocide against all non-Muslims which includes Christians and Jews as faiths as well as Yazidis and other ethnic Kurds, eithnic Druze and so on from a socio-political view as well as singling out those who are or are perceived to be LGBT, have certain physical or metal disabilities, etc. Christian persecution is one part of the ISIL brutality. Which is why sometimes trying to single it out from all of the other terroristic things ISIL is actively engaged in gets to be thorny. With so many active targets some might question why singling out Christians is more important than any of the other targeted groups.

In conclusion though, first, thanks as always for engaging in an intriguing conversation. I do miss getting to think through all these things with you on a regular basis as I’m always reminded of something I’ve forgetten about, or get to learn something new, or just construct a broader view of what things can be when we do get to chat. Second, I hope you don’t think I’m necessarily coming at you personally (or anyone here is, though, I can’t speak directly for them). You happen to be the one right now really engaging in the intellectual part of things really deeply so i’m putting the effort into responding to you. If I come off as being too strident I apologize, the one-dimensional medium of internet posts sometimes doesn’t do tone and intention justice. I think we probably agree on more than it might appear.

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