The Stupidest Thing I’ve Read This Week (5/5/12)

Third place this week goes to a project on Kickstarter, looking to get funds in order to carry out a scientific expedition to the Congo. The aim is to discover and document new insect and animal species.

All well and good. But the stupid this starts with this sentence, discussing one of the things the group aims to find, based on evidence supplied by locals:

“…the pygmies identified the animal from a picture shown to them by Gibbons as a Styracosaurus”

A Styracosaurus is a dinosaur. It was sort of like a Triceratops, with more horns. It went extinct around 70 million years ago.

Now, the chances of a dinosaur being alive and well in the African jungle are pretty slim. But I think the organisers of this whole thing know that. But they also know that dinosaurs are cool and capture the imagination in a way that new insect types don’t. You mention in your proposal that you’re looking to find a living dinosaur and you will get notice.

The stupid thing is it worked. Over 20’000 dollars on Kickstarter. There you go science guys. Want to get money off the public? Imply living dinosaurs will be involved.

Moving right along to second place. I promised myself when I started this series that I would try and ignore potential entries from Free Republic, an infamous forum for hard core Christian conservatives in America. Through the medium of the excellent site Freeper Madness and this expansive thread on Cracked, I happened upon the kind of thing that I could not easily ignore when it comes to stupid things I read every week.

It’s a thread about a US Senate report which found that torture was not a reliable method of extracting information. Free Republic disagrees of course, as they tend to do about anything that suggests people outside white conservative Christian American demographics should be treated with respect and dignity. No, when confronted with this report, one of the denizens of Free Republic, user “Tula Git”, had this to say:

“Tell it to Jack Bauer”.

In fairness, several “Freepers” did point pretty fast that Jack Bauer, legendary CTU agent and torture proponent (apparently) is a fictional character and not the best model for basing beliefs on. But it doesn’t matter. “Tula Git” actually made my jaw a little slack with that response, so I have to include him here.

First prize goes to a school in Ireland. A very Catholic school. St Joseph’s Secondary, in Borrisoleigh, County Tipperary.

The Principal of St Joseph’s, it came to light in the past seven days, turned away a prospective student twice. Why?

Because first, she was pregnant. The second time, because she was a teenage mother.

The whole story is filled with the kind of quotes that could fill up this week’s list. My favourites, from the Principal:

“I was shocked and told her that I did not take in such girls.”

Yes, “such” girls. You know the kind. Remember people, they will never be a greater double standard then how sexual activity is used as brush to paint males and females with. I’m sure the father would have been enrolled. From the actual report on the issue:

“My duty is to protect the honourable majority of my pupils.”

From what? Is she giving birth to Cthulu?

“The school has an uncompromising ethos and will not become a dumping ground for those rejected elsewhere.”

Let’s just pile on the negative terms shall we? “Such girls”, “dumping grounds” “reject”.

“Do not try to blame this school for having a moral code. You have no business coming down here to single us out – we are a Catholic school and shall remain so.”

No.

This person, and the apparent rules that St Joseph’s operates under, is not  Catholic. Or a Christian. How could they be? After all, from the highest source:

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.

There is no room for interpretation here. There is no wriggle room, no looking away, no excuses. Those are the damn words and you are throwing them aside in favour of discrimination, of having a morally exclusive club. You are the ones killing my church. Strangling it.

Jesus would have enrolled her. You know he would have. The fact that St Josephs, or any other school, wouldn’t is sad, enraging, frustrating, pathetic, and more than a little stupid.

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