The Creationist's Nightmare
Great idea. I'd love to get out more and travel the world. Ray, I suggest you check out Albania, which for five centuries has had women pretend to be men:
For centuries, in the closed-off and conservative society of rural northern Albania, swapping genders was considered a practical solution for a family with a shortage of men. Her father was killed in a blood feud, and there was no male heir. By custom, Ms. Keqi, now 78, took a vow of lifetime virginity. She lived as a man, the new patriarch, with all the swagger and trappings of male authority — including the obligation to avenge her father’s death.
She says she would not do it today, now that sexual equality and modernity have come even to Albania, with Internet dating and MTV invading after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Girls here do not want to be boys anymore. With only Ms. Keqi and some 40 others remaining, the sworn virgin is dying off.
“Back then, it was better to be a man because before a woman and an animal were considered the same thing,” said Ms. Keqi, who has a bellowing baritone voice, sits with her legs open wide like a man and relishes downing shots of raki. “Now, Albanian women have equal rights with men, and are even more powerful. I think today it would be fun to be a woman.”
The tradition of the sworn virgin can be traced to the Kanun of Leke Dukagjini, a code of conduct passed on orally among the clans of northern Albania for more than 500 years. Under the Kanun, the role of a woman is severely circumscribed: take care of children and maintain the home. While a woman’s life is worth half that of a man, a virgin’s value is the same: 12 oxen.
The sworn virgin was born of social necessity in an agrarian region plagued by war and death. If the family patriarch died with no male heirs, unmarried women in the family could find themselves alone and powerless. By taking an oath of virginity, women could take on the role of men as head of the family, carry a weapon, own property and move freely.
They dressed like men and spent their lives in the company of other men, even though most kept their female given names. They were not ridiculed, but accepted in public life, even adulated. For some the choice was a way for a woman to assert her autonomy or to avoid an arranged marriage.
"Albania Custom Fades: Woman as Family Man," by Dan Bilefsky, New York Times, June 24, 2008 (requires subscription).
However, this venerable tradition of gender-swapping is now threatened by feminism! I wonder what Ray Comfort would make of that? Which is more evil - transsexuals, or feminists?
A big world, isn't it, Ray? And real confusing too, when you cling to moral simplicities and black-and-white absolutes. So, where are the floods and fires in Albania?
Remember Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron, and their "atheist's nightmare," the banana?
(Of course you remember. This video is among the Top Ten Belly-Laughs of all time. I was down for the count for a full half-hour after seeing it. I laughed so hard that one side of my body went numb, and I thought I was having a stroke!)
Well, due to the banana having that artificial "tab" (bred via artificial selection), we may see a banana shortage in the coming years, and no only due to higher gas prices:
By sticking to this single variety, the banana industry ensures that all the bananas in a shipment ripen at the same rate, creating huge economies of scale. The Cavendish [currenly the only banana found on the market] is the fruit equivalent of a fast-food hamburger: efficient to produce, uniform in quality and universally affordable.
But there’s a difference between a banana and a Big Mac: The banana is a living organism. It can get sick, and since bananas all come from the same gene pool, a virulent enough malady could wipe out the world’s commercial banana crop in a matter of years.
This has happened before. Our great-grandparents grew up eating not the Cavendish but the Gros Michel banana, a variety that everyone agreed was tastier. But starting in the early 1900s, banana plantations were invaded by a fungus called Panama disease and vanished one by one. Forest would be cleared for new banana fields, and healthy fruit would grow there for a while, but eventually succumb.
By 1960, the Gros Michel was essentially extinct and the banana industry nearly bankrupt. It was saved at the last minute by the Cavendish, a Chinese variety that had been considered something close to junk: inferior in taste, easy to bruise (and therefore hard to ship) and too small to appeal to consumers. But it did resist the blight.
Over the past decade, however, a new, more virulent strain of Panama disease has begun to spread across the world, and this time the Cavendish is not immune. The fungus is expected to reach Latin America in 5 to 10 years, maybe 20. The big banana companies have been slow to finance efforts to find either a cure for the fungus or a banana that resists it. Nor has enough been done to aid efforts to diversify the world’s banana crop by preserving little-known varieties of the fruit that grow in Africa and Asia.
Then what am I going to put on my yogurt?
Now, for more serious matters: I have not been able to get this story out of my mind. A 61-year-old grandmother discovers her 16-year-old granddaughter in bed with another girl - normal teen-age experimentation it sounds like to me - and beats her granddaughter with a cane and a belt as punishment. The granddaughter is in a hospital; that bitch grandmother is in jail, where I hope she becomes someone's bitch.
What a rigid lunatic!
I couldn't stop thinking about it, and I needed some cheering up, so I turned to Margaret Cho for some perspective. This is from "Notorious C.H.O.," which I watched on the bus on the way to New York City to protest the Republican Convention with a bunch of other peace activists. (Actually, laughing your ass off at 1 a.m. is not the best way to get to sleep on a long bus ride.) The entire show is up at You Tube in ten parts (and thank you for that!).
Margaret describes how her otherwise conservative mother had an open mind about being gay: "I tell you gay story about Daddy!"
I hope someone shows this video to that poor girl in Pennsylvania, so that she and her friend don't think they're alone in being gay (or being straight and experimenting as normal kids do).
Shimmies to JanieBelle - who I understand is now quite the shimmier herself!