Sunday, August 24, 2008

This is an image from "The Dream Hunters" by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Yoshitaka Amano (famous, apparently, for his connection to Final Fantasy...about which I know nothing. You have to draw the geek line somewhere, and while my line allows me to be into graphic novels/fiction [not the same as comic books, by the way...and anyway Vertigo comics aren't the same as Superman] it stops short of gaming of pretty much any kind, up to and DEFINITELY including RPGs). Tell me that isn't beautiful. You can't, can you? Or if you can, I shake my fist at you for having crappy taste. I've been rereading this book, which my super pal Nathaniel Hawthorne (yes, that's my nickname for him...strangely, I often give people nicknames that are longer than the original names they replace) turned me on to. Thanks, Najj, for getting me heavily into the Sandman series just before midterms my sophomore year when I was taking all those hard science credits! So, book recommendations: ANYTHING by Neil Gaiman, especially his graphic novels, but also his straight-up fiction (Good Omens, which he wrote with Terry Pratchett, is amazing and got me through some very rough times last year by virtue of the fact that it wrestles with the 'big issues' in a lighthearted but not-at-all minimizing fashion; one of his other novels, Anansi Boys, is the book I happened to have with me this past April when I passed out on the job and spent 6 hours in the ER getting hydrated/repotassiumized. So you know it's absorbing if it managed to keep me from utterly freaking out).

Another book recommendation, with the caveat that I haven't actually read this one: Founding Faith, by someone Waldman, which examines the faith of the Founding Fathers (less so the Founding Mothers, though one would assume they'd be included somehow, even if only tangentially). Did you know that Jefferson and Washington and Franklin would be totally f*ing appalled by the state of religious affairs in the US today--Falwell's wide reach (may he rest in peace, ahem...must not speak ill of the dead...no mention of his probably current thirst for a glass of ice water...), the Religious Right (which, according to a lovely bumper sticker I saw recently, is neither) and the fact that James "Beat Your Kids Until they Understand The Love of Jesus" Dobson is going to have a major influence on the upcoming election...
Well, the Founding Fathers were Deists, not Southern Baptists, and they not only believed in religious freedom, they practiced it. They didn't blindly accept what they were told was right; they didn't mindlessly toe the party line ("Well, if my pastor says abortion is murder, it must be, and I'm not going to tax my brain thinking about it."); they were men and women of thought as well as action.

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