Posts Tagged ‘fantastic’

I open my Facebook this morning and lo!

Charges initiated against Pope for crimes against humanity

at which I thought, hihi hihi hihi, and maybe also a bit, go get him, guys!

But of course, nothing is ever as pretty and shiny as it seems: the two lawyers who prepared the charges, Christian Sailer and Gert-Joachim Hetzel, are members of a ~~*new religious movement*~~ called “Universelles Leben“, founded by the prophetess Gabriele Wittek in 1975. Which makes it an epic clash of the cranks, which is extremely funny, as everything ever should be. Life is beautiful.

However, for all their crankery one can’t but think that they might be a bit right:

“three worldwide crimes which until now have not been denounced . . . (as) the traditional reverence toward ‘ecclesiastical authority’ has clouded the sense of right and wrong” (emphasis mine)

This is absolutely true, and a lot more quotes, too (although I haven’t of course read the whole 16500 word document, nor do I intend to. This is, after all, a clash of the cranks).

Meanwhile, from what I could gather from my extensive, 30-minute search of teh internets, Universelles Leben is basically yet another typical New Agey semi-Christian sect, with all the expected claims of being the only true Christian church, others having strayed too far from the original doctrine of peace, love, harmony with nature and antisemitism. It incorporates a lot of New Agey concepts, like a bastardised version of reincarnation, preaches living in harmony with nature and vegetarianism. The prophetess also claims some sort of era of peace and love and poo-shitting unicorns is going to happen soon. Very boring.

But wait! Some German organisations claimed that there is an undercurrent of antisemitism in the movement, and also that its place is somewhere between leftist environmentalists and neofascists. Pretty, huh? But look at the quotes:

So heißt es beispielsweise in der programmatischen Schrift „Das ist mein Wort“ von UL-Gründerin Gabriele Wittek: „Seit nahezu 2000 Jahren ernten die Juden von einer Fleischwerdung zur anderen, was sie damals und auch in ihren weiteren Einverleibungen gesät haben – bis sie ihren Erlöser an- und aufnehmen und das bereuen, was sie verursacht haben.“

(For instance in “This is my word”, a programme [of the UL] written by the founder of UL, Gabriele Witter, it says: “For almost 2000 years the Jews have reaped from one incarnation to the other what they sawed, then and in their other incarnations – [which will continue] unless they accept and admit their saviour, and repent for all that they have caused.” emphasis mine)

Gee, this is not very ambiguous, guys.

They also run foul of the law in Bayern with the result that the court said that:

Die Ausgestaltung des Gemeindelebens, wie sie aus der „Gemeindeordnung“ des „Universellen Lebens“ hervorgeht, darf in scharfer und überspitzter Formulierung ohne Verfassungsverstoß als totalitäre Struktur bezeichnet werden.

(The organisation of the life of the community as can be gathered from the ordinance of “Universal Life” may pointedly be called a totalitarian structure without violating the constitution)

(This translation sucks, but omfg, I hate whoever wrote that sentence)

The Cicero magazine also has an interesting article that mentions that members of the UL often earn their living practicing “natural medicine”. I’m so unsurprised. The members of the sect lead a very isolated life and hardly interact with the outside world, and all in all it seems all very creepy.

So I thought that maybe when Sailer and Hetzel talk about totalitarian church, like here:

“[the pope] is responsible for the preservation and leadership of a worldwide totalitarian regime of coercion which subjugates its members with terrifying and health-endangering threats”.

they simply know what they’re talking about, like, from experience.

And the moral we have is: not always the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

I was going to sleep, but I’m still all smug about having written 25 pages today. 25 pages, guys(1).

Anyway, somewhere between page 16 and page 16 1/2 I took a break and read “Itineraries and travellers in the Middle Assyrian Period” by Betina Faist, from SAAB XV/2006, where I found the following edifying(2) quotes.

1) Having summed up various peculiarities of travel during the MA (Middle Assyrian) period, BF states:

“Finally, a brief mention is owed to aspects unattested so far. In the religious realm, we do not have any indications referring to pilgrimages to the important shrines.”

Tsk, tsk, Betina. Something obvious and self-evident in your culture doesn’t have to be obvious, self-evident, expected or even present at all in others. Take Introduction to Anthropology or something, plz.

2) Trying to tie-up things cutely — something I’m absolutely in favour of — Betina(3) quotes a 1755 letter of a Frederick the Great, king of Prussia, to his sister, Wilhelmine, who was very enthusiastic about her journey to Italy:

“…I have a very high regard of the beauty of Italy, her wonderful climate, her monuments, her past greatness as well as her modern buildings. …But I also believe the Italians to be great braggarts; they exaggerate the beauty and the value of their paintings, their statues, and a thousand things more. Everything is uno spavento, una maraviglia; big words that do not stir my ear more than would the noise of a turnspit [a kind of dog -Sendai]. …I believe if I saw Italy I should not always agree with the ciceroni, which would console me for my fatherland’s barrenness; otherwise, the comparison would be too humiliating for poor Germany…”

Aww, poor Germany.

(Done commiserating yet? Hurr hurr)

Anyway, what we have here is a typically occidental assumption that people actually mean what they say. The assumption is naturally based on the firm yet quaint conviction that people always do what they should do.

(Incidentally, this conviction also allows us to date the letter as having been written sometime before the French Revolution derp)

Anyway, it is perhaps useful to suggest to puzzled Frederick a better approach to understanding the confusingly enthusiastic Italian guides. Or, even, two approaches:

A) The guides are lying. They don’t in fact think that the Italian landscape is anything like anything they imagine a wonder to be; but they have to sell it somehow, hence the unscrupulous use of more florid turn of phrase. They do not in fact intend to communicate their honest opinion about anything at all, but rather say what they think a customer might want to hear.

B) From a pragmatic standpoint, calling something “a wonder” might mean much less to a native speaker of Italian than it would mean to a native speaker of German.

Both approaches would need testing, of  course.

This is all nerd jokes and useless pedantry, as  Frederick the Great’s couldn’t have possibly known anything about the 20th century developments in linguistics.

Betina, however, could have. Alas, directly following the Frederick the Great quote:

“Sources of that nature, relevant to the cultural aspect of travel, are completely absent from our material. Nevertheless, I can imagine Tukulti-Ninurta I reclined (sic) on his throne and musing in a similar way after having received the Egyptian delegation.”

Tsk, tsk, Betina. I recommend taking Introduction to Modern Linguistics.

Also: ah, the subtle difference between absolutism and enlightened absolutism hurr hurr de hurr(5).

Nonetheless, it was a very interesting read, not only because I immediately visualised Tukulti-Ninurta musing about his Vaterland.

Aw, it’s 3 am already, I can sleep n_n

(1) There are no words in any language I know for how smug I am. The smugness; it fills my entire room, oozes through windows, and gently slinks down onto the street; then rushes to left – towards the cathedral – or right – towards the Rhine, but then it gets worse still, but I can’t see anything, once it disappears behind the corner.

No words, srsly.

(2) I feel more edified than the cathedral today.

And the big one in Mainz, too.

(3) I’m terribly sorry (not), but the name “Betina” makes my wretched black little heart warm and gives me fuzzy feelings of malicious glee. I can’t not use the name. It is imperative that I use the name.

Betina, Betina, Betina~~~~~~~

I will not be stopped.

(5) For those of you who might be confused, a journey:

– in enlightened absolutism means going abroad and making a couple of sketches, preferably of ruins,

– in Tukulti-Ninurta’s “absolutism” would mean going abroad with an army and making a couple of conquests, preferably leaving behind only ruins.