Your head asplode

by Kieran Healy on December 5, 2007

Via Unfogged.

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The Bland Leading the Bland « The Opinion Mill
12.06.07 at 3:24 am



harry b 12.05.07 at 4:51 pm

That’s kind of nice. I usually find Whoopi Goldberg dreary and irritating, but she is kind and graceful here, when the temptation to laugh must have been almost unbearable.


joel turnipseed 12.05.07 at 4:52 pm

You can tell Whoopi is a media pro by the delivery of the line, “Not on paper.”


Kris 12.05.07 at 5:35 pm

wow, she is remarkably ignorant. That just… hurts.


neil 12.05.07 at 5:51 pm

It’s worth mentioning that Sherri Shepherd, according to Wikipedia, was raised in a Jehovah’s Witness family. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Jesus was God’s first creation and that he was the archangel Michael until he was sent to earth as the baby Jesus we all know and love. So it’s pretty likely that Shepherd was told when she was a child that nothing came before Jesus, rather than just coming up with it out of nowhere.


Oliver T 12.05.07 at 6:01 pm

She’s the same woman who didn’t want to commit on whether or not the Earth is flat.

Several things must have gone wrong before you end up with discussions like this broadcast to millions.


Grand Moff Texan 12.05.07 at 6:09 pm

The Greeks threw Christians to the lions?

Mithras wept.


abb1 12.05.07 at 6:15 pm

Who is the Brooklyn-sounding woman who knows the word ‘polytheism’? I think I may have herd her or some sounding exactly like her on air-america, no?


Selfreferencing 12.05.07 at 6:16 pm

This reminds me of the Family Guy episode that showed the View as a roost of hens clucking violently.


Jacob T. Levy 12.05.07 at 6:22 pm

Now I have to clean up little pieces of my head from all over the office. Thanks a lot, Kieran.

Neil’s attempt at a salvage operation is nice and all, but she doesn’t just say nothing came before *Jesus*, she says nothing predated *Christians*, and says variations on that over and over again.


apostropher 12.05.07 at 6:33 pm

she says nothing predated Christians

It’s true! You can look it up in the Old Testament!


Trey 12.05.07 at 6:46 pm

This is the same woman who was unsure if the world was flat, correct?


Drake 12.05.07 at 6:57 pm

Just so we’re all on the same page, I’ve transcribed this excerpt:

Whoopi: [Crosstalk]
Behar: [Crosstalk]
Shephard: [Crosstalk]
Hasselback’s sub: [Crosstalk]
Behar: [Crosstalk]
Shephard: [Crosstalk]
Hasselback’s sub: [Crosstalk]
Whoopi: [Crosstalk]
Behar: [Crosstalk]
Shephard: [Crosstalk]
Hasselback’s sub: [Crosstalk]
Shephard: [Crosstalk]
Hasselback’s sub: [Crosstalk]
Whoopi: [Crosstalk]
Shephard: [Crosstalk]
Behar: [Crosstalk]


Kinney 12.05.07 at 7:15 pm

You are correct Trey.


4jkb4ia 12.05.07 at 7:21 pm

The Song of Songs is about the relationship between Christ and His Church, too.

(This joke courtesy of Allegra Goodman’s Paradise Park)


eszter 12.05.07 at 7:38 pm

Very very scary. I think Oliver T above sums it up well.


C 12.05.07 at 7:54 pm

Oy vey.


Barry 12.05.07 at 8:30 pm

“he Greeks threw Christians to the lions?

Mithras wept.”

Posted by Grand Moff Texan

Well, it’s possible. During the Roman era, of course.


Brad Holden 12.05.07 at 8:30 pm

If Sherri Sheperd was raised as Witness, then that explains her comments. According to the Witnesses, all religions are outgrowths of the Truth, Buddhism is just an error in translation. It is wise not to think about this too closely, as it will cause further asplosions.

Having discussions with these people is very interesting in revealing their depths of close mindedness. They are, as rule, really very pleasant people, though.


Jeff R. 12.05.07 at 8:51 pm

Just reading the comments about this elsewhere, I thought, like Neil, that she might have been talking about the idea that Jesus had always existed. This is Catholic dogma also: Jesus is one person of the trinity and is eternal. After actually seeing the video I know that was a charitable assumption. It’s not that she doesn’t know anything about religion, she doesn’t know much about anything.

Just so I don’t get misinterpreted, I’m not interested in defending Catholic dogma. I’m saying that’s what it is and the eternal existence of Jesus isn’t a controversial view among many Christians.


harry b 12.05.07 at 8:54 pm

I don’t agree with oliver t. This is daytime network TV, the home of drivel, mindless nonsense, wickedness and freakshows. So, we get a Jehavoh’s Witness who is basically ignorant but, apparently, innocent, rather than the usual fare. How is this worse? (I exempt the delightful and excellent Oprah from my tirade, and no-one can tell whether in doing so I am being flippant or not).


John 12.05.07 at 9:10 pm

My understanding was that God the Son is one person of the trinity, and has always existed, but that Jesus Christ is an incarnation of God the Son who came into existence at a specific time, the Annunciation, or whatever.

Beyond that, Shepard is, in any event, saying that not only Christ, but Christians existed in the 4th century BC, and were being fed to the lions. This is obviously just ignorance.


rm 12.05.07 at 9:53 pm

She is apparently not making a distinction between the idea that the Son is eternal and the historical timeline which includes a period called “B.C.” I really don’t think she has a basic timeline of history in mind — Classical times are the Romans throwing Christians to the lions, and that’s all.

This is not important, except that it is on TV and represents most Americans’ engagement with history. I display an equal level of engagement with knowing the personnel of NFL or NBA teams, which most of my neighbors think makes me awfully weird.


joel turnipseed 12.05.07 at 10:04 pm

rm –

No need to make a choice between ignorance of either sports or classical history. Quite apart from role of 19th century classical thinking in making sports an important part of our education and society, it should be noted that the Greeks had one hell of backfield.


Megan 12.05.07 at 10:16 pm

Re Brad at 17, I was also raised a Jehovah’s Witness (though I haven’t been for years) and actually they do not believe all religions are an outgrowth of truth. They believe that only their religion is the truth. Every other religion follows false gods, ie Satan. The belief system isn’t as benevolent as you make it sound.


kvn 12.05.07 at 11:07 pm

Regarding her comments about never having considered whether or not the earth is round: I think she was making a point about local versus global perspectives being a consequence of having too many pressing, day-to-day issues in one’s life. She’s clearly speaking allegorically, but I think she was confused about the thrust of the discussion in the first place. She was basically latching onto and running with this one concept because she was already lost in the conversation.


Scott McLemee 12.05.07 at 11:42 pm

Brad at comment 17:

If Sherri Sheperd was raised as Witness, then that explains her comments. According to the Witnesses, all religions are outgrowths of the Truth, Buddhism is just an error in translation.

That’s not anywhere near being Witness doctrine, which is almost exactly the opposite.

You could sum it up as: “Everybody else is wrong and wicked, including all of so-called Christendom, and soon Jehovah will destroy every last one of them.” The Buddhists have no “truth,” mistranslated or otherwise. They worship idols of a false god, and when Jehovah gets done with them they’d probably wish they hadn’t — except that they won’t even be suffering in Hell. Their souls will be utterly wiped out of existence.

Plus they have traditionally been hostile to education, and to any kind of knowledge apart from that necessary to reading The Watchtower and the bizarrely garbled Jehovah’s Witness version of the Bible.

That might tend to explain her comments. They are more likely the product of dumbassedness than metaphysical nuance.


Brad Holden 12.06.07 at 12:00 am

Scott McLemee wrote:

That’s not anywhere near being Witness doctrine, which is almost exactly the opposite.

Interesting. I was told, at point blank by a highly respected brother, that modern world religions were derived from a garbled version of Truth (obviously Baal worship was not.)

That does not contradict the idea that everyone else is doomed, as you seem to imply. Jehovah does not award points for partial credit in the Witness theology. These people have not thought really hard about sin and forgiveness, much to their discredit.


Scott McLemee 12.06.07 at 12:15 am

Well, I’m just going by a big stack of JW literature that somebody at a garage sale was really happy to unload, plus reading a couple of histories of the group. The belief that they had the one Truth (and everybody else was clinging to error through disobedience to Jehovah) seemed to have been a core idea getting them through the rough patches following three or four guesses on when the Apocalypse would hit.

Evidently they have learned from that experience and no longer make estimates of the timetable. Perhaps other sorts of creeping liberalism have appeared as well?


Rich Puchalsky 12.06.07 at 12:30 am

How do people think that they got Christians and lions into those early Greek arenas? Everyone knows that’s what the long necks on the trained dinosaurs were for.


Keith 12.06.07 at 1:37 am

I knew a Witness, or rather a guy raised as a Witness. His parents punished him if he brought a report card home with As on it. They expected Cs. A grades meant he wasn’t reading the Bible enough and spending too much time on worldly knowledge. So I’m thinking McLemee is on to something.


vivian 12.06.07 at 2:06 am

Harry @ 19:
(1) With cable, I’m not sure daytime TV is any worse than any other time of day. It’s mindless drivel vomited by turtles all the way down. With islands of House, Dr. Who, and other folks’ favorites.

(2) Daytime drivel shows pretend to tell true anecdotes of unusual and seamy real life. Lies in anecdotes are fiction. If the View pretends to be more like news or morning news-lite shows, then this crap is authoritative presentation of lies as general truth that people need to know – if not ‘news’ exactly. Which might be thought to be worse. Or not.


rm 12.06.07 at 2:08 am

j.t. at 22: Classic. But . . . what is this “football” of which you speak? That ain’t no Murkin sport. One cannot imagine an American Football team of philosophers. That just doesn’t work. One can imagine a baseball team of philosophers, but who would they play? Canadian philosophers? Liberation theologians? (And Emerson winds up for the pitch . . . a grounder to shortstop! Peirce to Santayana to Quine . . . he’s out!)


Dave Maier 12.06.07 at 4:30 am

John Haugeland has a piece called “The Intentionality All-Stars” in which occurs the sentence “Wittgenstein might have been a shortstop” (the sole sentence in that section).


Tom 12.06.07 at 4:46 am

rm at 31: Reminds me of a Monty Python skit:


Nick Barnes 12.06.07 at 12:03 pm

Surely the lions predated Christians?


r@d@r 12.06.07 at 3:15 pm

[…] 5, 2007 Otherwise known as “Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television.” Posted by stevenhart Filed in Mass Market […]
Posted by The Bland Leading the Bland « The Opinion Mill · December 6th, 2007 at 3:24 am

today’s first LOL at 7:14 a.m. PST, before i’ve even made it to work! nicely done.


richard 12.06.07 at 4:12 pm

when Jehovah gets done with [Buddhists]… they won’t even be suffering in Hell. Their souls will be utterly wiped out of existence.

cool. So everyone’s happy?


xaaronx 12.06.07 at 5:14 pm

Exactly, Richard!


harry b 12.06.07 at 7:43 pm

“mindless drivel vomited by turtles all the way down”

I suggest that you trademark this, vivian, before TV Guide or NBC nabs it as a slogan. Or, worse, The Simpsons steals it to include as a slogan for some fictional NBC.


vivian 12.07.07 at 2:37 am

So you think it might be ready for prime time? High praise indeed, on a day not overfull of praise. Thank you!


big ink 12.07.07 at 3:42 am

One can imagine a baseball team of philosophers, but who would they play?

Asked and answered. If you’ve never been over there, dig into the beautiful, weird world of the Cosmic Baseball Association:


Oliver / Cultpunk 12.07.07 at 4:35 am

Jehovah’s Witnesses use the more common, PC term “CE” (common era) when using dates of things. For example, they will not say that something happened 400 BC. They’ll say it happened 400 years BCE (Before Common Era). This is because they believe Christ always existed.

Ironically, the CE and BCE conventions were designed by secularists (I believe) to steer the world away from Western Christo-centrism in defining our timeline, but it concedes it exists anyway. I.e. it replaces “AD” (anno domini) with “CE,” (comon era) and “BC” (before christ) with “BCE” (before commone ra). Ironically, Jehovah”s Witnesses use this CE/BCE convention, too, because it illustrates that there technically is no period in history that was “before christ,” since He’s eternal.

They also don’t believe in Hell, just “the grave.” And other fun stuff.


richard 12.07.07 at 5:04 pm

I’ve always thought CE was much more hegemonic/unmarked category/insensitive than AD. With AD you’re acknowledging your cultural background, with CE your assuming everyone else shares it, too.

Me, I can’t decide between Robespierre’s or Pol Pot’s Year Zero.


Matt Weiner 12.07.07 at 5:16 pm

With AD you’re acknowledging your cultural background, with CE your assuming everyone else shares it, too.

You’re assuming that everyone who uses these terms shares this cultural background. I learned CE/BCE in Hebrew school; the idea, I figured, was that the Gregorian calendar does not measure the year of “our Lord,” but if we want to be able to communicate with everyone else in the U.S. (and a lot of the rest of the world, don’t know how much) we’re going to have to be able to talk about Dec. 7 2007 as well as the 27th of Kislev, 5768 (which I just had to look up, anyway).

Oliver T seems right to say “Several things must have gone wrong before you end up with discussions like this broadcast to millions,” but isn’t a lot of equally absurd nonsense about politics broadcast to millions daily, with much more harmful consequences?


Theron 12.08.07 at 12:12 am

Teaching World Civ at a less-than-prestigious university in a part of the country known for its abundance of Protestant evangelicals, I am struck by how little my students know about their own religion. It is one thing that many of them have trouble identifying the Nicene Creed, altogether something else that almost as many have trouble identifying Paul. I have also come across a significant minority who seem to believe that all of the people in the Old Testament were Christians (well, the good ones at least), which I suppose is not all that surprising. It is a bit jarring though to read an exam essay about the early spread of Christianity that begins with Moses leading his people out of Egypt. (And on a side note, I find that I have to gently disabuse many students of the notion that “Pharaoh” is somebody’s name.) I used to teach the section on origins of Christianity working from the assumption that most people were familiar with the basic outlines, but I long ago gave that idea up.


Christo 12.08.07 at 1:12 am

While Rome burned, some chickens clucked. [And the rest are f__ked.]

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