Wednesday, December 12, 2018

#2117: Mark Amaru Pinkham

It is sometimes a bit unclear whether some of the pseudohistory concocted by the denizens of the more deranged corners of the Internet devoted to New Age stuff, UFOs, pastel fluff and unicorns, is intended as, well, alternative history or just intuition-based explorations of the authors’ own deranged minds, and the incoherent ramblings of Mark Amaru Pinkham certainly raise that question. Chakras, ley lines, ancient astronauts and orientalism are indiscriminately thrown into a blender and the results published both online and in weird books by obscure publishers. Pinkham, for instance, is the author of e.g. Sedona: City of Star People – Court of the King of the World, which, according to the introduction, is a “chronology of events that transpired in my life between February 1987 and May 2015.” That is an odd way to introduce what is ostensibly a history book, but apparently Pinkham came, during this period, to realize that Sedona “sits upon the foundations of a very ancient lost city of the Star People” and, moreover, that these star people from UFOs “taught the Hopis the mysteries of the cosmos and the rituals they continue to observe today.” The evidence all points to this conclusion once you reject the distinction between fantasy and reality, which seems to have been Pinkham’s primary methodological strategy. Chapters include “The one million year history of Sedona”, “Sedona, Root Chakra of Earth”, “The Sedona Grid and Chakra Points” and “The Yezidis know Masau’u as their Peacock Angel and visit his court in Sedona” (they most certainly do not).

Pinkham is currently Grand Prior of The International Order of Gnostic Templars (in fact, he is “Grand PriorSir Mark Amaru Pinkham” – our emphasis – though we suspect that the Queen was not involved in bestowing that title upon him), which is ostensibly “a modern day spiritual knight templar order dedicated to the revival of gnostic wisdom & the goddess tradition of the original templars” (those would not be identical to the people historians refer to by “knights templar”), which seems even less impressive once you see their website and the picture of Pinkham in his ceremonial garb (do check it out here). He is apparently also the founder and director – with his wife Andrea Mikana-Pinkham, a “reiki master” – of the Djedhi School of Ancient Wisdom, where you may enroll to “achieve Gnostic Wisdom and Mastery of the Force”. (Yes, it may very well be; who knows.) You will also “be given a blue robe to wear during ceremony.”

His other books include The Return of The Serpents of WisdomConversations with The GoddessThe Truth Behind the Christ MythGuardians of the Holy Grail: The Knights Templar, John the Baptist and the Water of Life, and World Gnosis: The Coming Gnostic Civilization. Apparently all of them “reveal startling information which, until now, has been concealed or has been taught solely to advanced spiritual seekers and mystery school students.” We admit to you probably didn’t learn this information in school or at the university. Pinkham is also “a professional Astrologer with over twenty-five years of experience.” Of course, “professional” means something slightly different in these circles.

Diagnosis: Yes, he is very spiritual, and probably rather harmless to the real world. We wonder if we ought to feel a bit bad about making fun of him.

Monday, December 10, 2018

#2116: Daniel Pinchbeck

Daniel Pinchbeck is the author of Breaking Open the Head: A Psychedelic Journey into the Heart of Contemporary Shamanism (2002), 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl (2006), and Notes from the Edge Times(2010), as well as co-founder of Reality Sandwich and founder of the think tank Center for Planetary Culture, which runs the Regenerative Society Wiki. Post-modernism and New Age nonsense, all rolled up nicely in pseudointellectual deepity, and fluffy, pink word salads, has established Pinchbeck as an important figure in the New Age Movement.

In Breaking Open the Head, he goes through various shamanistic practices and their use of psychedelics and how using psychedelics is a road to insight, which he mixes with the lunatic ramblings of Rudolf Steiner. The central idea is apparently that shamanic and mystical views of reality, the ones you can access by using psychedelics, provide genuine insights into Truths because wishful thinking, and that the dull and grey reality described by those in “pursuit of rational materialism” under the curse of Enlightenment restrictions like evidence and reason forfeits understanding of intuitive aspects of being. The follow-up, 2012, was (presumably deliberately) even less constrained by reality, reason, accuracy or evidence; basically, Pinchbeck starts off from Hopi and Mayan prophecies and follows his intuitions. Everything is heavily indebted to Terence McKenna’s claim that humanity is experiencing an accelerated process of global consciousness transformation (a metaphor, of course, and one that is predictably never cashed out) and the laughable psi research of Dean Radin, crop circles and the work of calendar reform advocate José Argüelles. Apparently it all supports the prophetic visions Pinchbeck has received from Quetzalcoatl, which has something to do with 2012, so there. Apparently Quetzalcoatl began speaking to Pinchbeck during a 2004 trip to the Amazon in Brazil featuring plenty of psychedelics. 2012, meanwhile, came and passed without ushering in the New Age.

In fact, Pinchbeck must be held partially responsible for popularizing 2012 nonsense in the New Age movement, where the rambling attempts at connecting crop circles, alien abduction and drug-use-as-a-means-to-channel-gods-that-non-drug-users-couldn’t-possibly-achieve-or-understand was guaranteed a receptive audience.

His How Soon Is Now?(2017) argues that ecological crises are rites of passage or initiation for humanity collectively, and appropriately addressed by reaching “the next level of our consciousness” as a species, which is a dumb suggestion. Later the same year the metoo movement finally caught up with him (he promptly blamed his predatory behavior on women; “I was never breastfed and believe that left me feeling lacking and desperately craving some essential connection to women,” said Pinchbeck), but it really oughtn’t have been necessary to marginalize his nonsense.

Diagnosis: It is worth emphasizing the sheer arrogance and narcissism of those who think their intuitions, wishful thinking and explorations of their imaginations are guides to truth and sufficient reason to dismiss the work of the generations on whose shoulders privileged nincompoops like Pinchbeck stand. Hopefully neutralized, but we realize that his audience will probably just move on to the next peddler of inane nonsense to pop up.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

#2115: Buddy Pilgrim

Buddy Pilgrim (real name?) is a Biblical business consultant (Integriy Leadership) who “teaches Biblical principles of leadership, business management and financial success applicable to every Christian in the workplace.” Note the absence of a statement about what applying these principles are supposed to achieve. In any case, in an interview with James Robison Pilgrim emphasized that business is God’s system and complained about how wealth and profit are apparently being demonized these days. He also offered a dire warning about how a “dangerous” spirit of volunteerism (that is, collectivism) is taking hold in America today. Demons, you know. But as long as you turn to God and let the Bible guide your business, you’ll apparently achieve prosperity (and if you don’t, you just didn’t have sufficient faith). Apparently Kenneth Copeland is a fan.

Diagnosis: Nope, not a chance. 

Friday, December 7, 2018

#2114: Anna L. Pierre

Ok, so this one is pretty minor. Anna L. Pierre is a citizen of North Miami, who in 2013 ran for mayor with a campaign touting that she was endorsed by Jesus Christ. Earlier in her campaign she complained that voodoo was being used against her. Pierre was unfazed, however: “They can put all the voodoo they want,” she said. “I’m a Christian woman. I’m not scared.” She did, however, reassure her potential voters that “I’m not nuts.” By 2013 most of us would have thought that having to reassure your potential voters that you are sane would suggest that you faced an uphill battle in the election; recent events have made us careful to generalize. Pierre, who also went by “Princess Anna Pierre”, however, ended up with less than 1% of the vote. Some voters were admittedly undeterred: “Well, I thought ‘I wonder if I ought to vote for this person to maintain the cosmic balance,’” said local resident Grover Rawlings, for instance. “I mean, I want to stay on the good side, it’s a pretty powerful endorsement if it’s true.”

Diagnosis: Probably harmless. At least she seems to have taken the defeat with more grace and dignity than Richard Sheridan.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

#2113: Stephen Pidgeon

Stephen Pidgeon is a Washington attorney and former candidate for State Attorney General (he lost the primaries), anti-gay activist and general rightwing conspiracy theorist. There’s a decent profile of him here.

Pidgeon is a birther, and in 2008 he led a Lawsuit Challenging Obama’s Presidential Eligibility (supported by the WND, of course), which was promptly dismissed by the courts because it “clearly lacked merit”, and in 2009 he filed a petition in federal court in D.C. seeking a grand jury investigation of those claims, which was equally quickly dismissed. In 2011, Pidgeon therefore self-published a book, The Obama Error, promoting his theories and accusing Obama of committing several federal crimes for the purpose of concealing information about his birth; chapters include “The unlawful birth of Barack Obama” and “Is Obama and Agent of a Foreign Principal?”. With regard to Obama’s long-form birth certificate, Pidgeon claims that there has “been several – well there’s been, I would say probably twenty five forensic analyses of the long-form birth certificate, all which indicate the thing is completely fraudulent, from the fact is has [inaudible], from the fact that there’s page slants on the original form and not on the [inaudible] documentation. It’s just a complete fraud.” “Forensic analysis” apparently means rants on conspiracy blogs. He also claimed to have shown that Obama legally changed his name from “Barak Mounir Ubayd” to “Barack Hussein Obama” in British Columbia in 1982, a claim that even fellow birthers have been hesitant to accept. Indeed, according to Pidgeon, “I believe Malcolm X is the true father,” and that Obama “was born in Seattle” in 1961, which would sort of undercut some of the ineligibility claims of most birthers, but to Pidgeon makes him doubly ineligible since it makes Obama “not only a communist, but a communist Muslim.” Apparently, Obama, who by 2010 was killing off his relatives to conceal information about his birth, is also “a British subject and has no business holding the office of POTUS.” We haven’t tried to figure out how that claim is supposed to fit in Pidgeon’s big picture. In 2009, he also alleged that he was being “shadowed all day by officers from the Department of Homeland Security because of his work investigating Obama’s birth certificate.

Credit: don't remember (tell
us if it's you). Comparing a
deranged monster like
Pidgeon to a petulant child
might be misleading.
The Obama Erroris not Pidgeon’s only self-published book about Obama, however. In 2010, Pidgeon self-published Behold! A White Horse!, an entire book comparing President Obama to the anti-Christ, as per predictions in Revelations. Mostly, however, Pidgeon thinks that Obama is a Muslim whose “ultimate objective is to establish a worldwide Islamic caliphate with him as caliph, declaring himself to be God in the temple of God that will be constructed in Jerusalem on the temple mount. That’s what he intends. That’s who he thinks he is.” Moreover, “do not think that he is not a Nazi. He is an Islamic Nazi. He is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. He is engaged in economic jihad in the United States for the ultimate overthrow of this country,” since Nazis, communists, muslims and atheists are all the same. “We’re in the middle of a revolution,” asserted Pidgeon in 2011, and “Obama’s Inauguration. .. was the death knell for the Constitutional Republic.” (Most of these claims are from interviews with Rick Wiles, which we won’t link to.)

Of course the Democrats are in on the plot; liberals in general are “socialist, totalitarian, God-hating marxists” who are not only wrong but part of a deliberate conspiracy to overthrow the republic. The Democrats’ social security solution, for instance, is to “kill the elderly” and “destroy the unborn.” In 2016, before the election, Pidgeon and Alex Jones together painted a frightening picture of the country’s future, which included internment camps (“it’s gun control today and internment camps tomorrow”), martial law and dictatorship. According to Pidgeon, the Affordable Care Act and Obama’s executive actions on gun reform are both “policies that were originated in the Third Reich,” and part of Obama’s plot to “completely disarm the American public while he imports hundreds of thousands of Muslim terrorists and other paid mercenaries who come into the country unarmed to find mosques that are essentially armories.” Meanwhile, Obama is using taxpayer dollars to aid terrorist groups including “Hezbollah, Hamas, the Palestinian Liberation Army [sic], Islamic jihad,” as well as ISIS, of course. “The theory,” he said, which was ostensibly “proposed initially by Adolf Hitler,” is that “National Socialism works better in a Muslim society than it does in a Christian society, so the concept within the New World Order is to Islamify all of Western society so that the dictatorship will flow more easily and that the population will be more easily controlled.” Why, you might ask? Well, the liberal elite consists of “power-hungry people and they go to bed at night thinking about how they are going to kill 5 billion human beings,” said Pidgeon.

And of course, Pidgeon is a global warming denialist. In his – you guessed it – self-published book Behold! A Pale Green Horse!he argues at length that “man-made global warming is a lie used to justify an international totalitarian order.” The book, which is not particularly concerned with the science, is full of conspiracy theories about nefarious shadow agencies; “[s]imply put,” says Pidgeon, “the hypothesis that man’s output of CO2 is causing the earth to warm is a lie, and it is a lie that has been raised intentionall by a group of international fascists seeking to create and control an international totalitarian order and to pocket a cool fortune while doing so. They have an agenda – a green fascist agenda.” (Chapters include “Architects in the Global Warming Fraud,” “The Campaign To Destroy America’s Future,” and “The International Conspiracy,” all arguing that environmentalism is just a cover for attempts to institute totalitarianism, fascism and even “genocide”).

Pidgeon is, however, probably best known as an anti-gay activist. He was long part of Protect Marriage Washington, an anti-gay marriage group, seeking to block the release of signatures on the unsuccessful Referendum 71 campaign, and spokesman for the anti-gay Initiative 1192 in 2012, which “reaffirms the definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman.” As he sees things, judges in America (i.e. the Constitution) are creating “a form of totalitarianism” that “violates the fundamental freedoms of what it means to be an Americanin order to “impose” same-sex marriage on him. Which is really bad since marriage equality creates an “order of death”; when “you come in and you introduce the concept of same-sex marriage or secular marriage, or any of the other rituals that have been formed by the state – and what you do is disestablish the godly order in favor of an order of death. And governments become more and more deadly when their adversary, the family, is destroyed.” That the purpose of legal protections of marriage is, by the Constitution, necessarily not to protect the order of God, seems to have escaped him. Elsewhere he has argued that “homosexual rights are about population control,” and it is effective because when you take away obstacles to living in homosexual relationships, people like Pidgeon will immediately be tempted to leave their heterosexual lives behind and jump on the gay train like they’ve always really wanted anywas. 

Of course, gay marriage is not really aboutmarriage; rather, as Pidgeon sees it, same-sex marriage is a form of “worship to the demons of Olympus.” In addition marriage equality is “moral fascism,” and an “act of war against the family,” and it will even “lower the status of women in society” because “women only achieve equality in a society that provides for monogamy in a one man, one woman marriage. Period. Every other society that has abandoned that standard – which is a Christian standard I might add [it is obviously not] – when you abandon that standard, guess what, women lose status.” He was understandably a bit short on the whys and hows.

Not the least, Pidgeon has actually written and self-published his own, strikingly bizarre version of the Bible containing a “lost” chapter of Acts, thus bringing the Bible more in line with what Pidgeon wants it to say. In particular, in addition to some judicious corrections (Pidgeon claims to have “limited working proficiency” in Hebrew and no Greek), Pidgeon has relied on the “Suninni Manuscript”, which is actually the “Sonnini Manuscript”, an obscure nineteenth century forgery created to promote British-Israelism by saying that Paul traveled to the UK to preach to lost Israelites. The effort was, of course, promoted by the WND.

Diagnosis: As always, coherence, evidence, accountability, truth and accuracy are liberal conspiracies. Pidgeon is the kind of insane wingnut conspiracy theorist that might make even James Dobson blush. We probably gave him a bit more attention than he deserves, but he does apparently have an audience.

Hat-tip: Equalitymatters

Monday, December 3, 2018

#2112: David Pickup

Conversion therapy is, as we’ve had the opportunity to emphasize numerous times before, dangerous pseudoscience. It is nevertheless of course forcefully championed by various anti-gay groups. David Pickup is currently one of the most vocal defenders – and practitioners – of conversion therapy. According to himself, he is “a poster child for the emotional and sexual abuse that leads to homosexuality,” with “extensive expertise in reparative therapy”, as well as a board member of NARTH and close associate of groups like Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays and Christopher Doyle’s NTFTE (which he co-founded). He is also a signatory to the “Dear Legislator 2018” letter urging lawmakers to oppose efforts to protect LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy. As he tells his own story, Pickup used to be gay, but rid himself of his same-sex attractions after undergoing conversion therapy.

Pickup, who falsely claims that “there is no proof of harm” when it comes to conversion therapy on minors, has made numerous media appearances for instance opposing bills that would protect LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy. He was also involved in the film “Voices of the Silenced,” which compares those who advocate “ex-gay” therapy and their allies in other fields to enslaved Jewish people in the first century.

Diagnosis: Yes, he’s evil and dumb. But his actions have caused and do cause real harm to real people, and no matter how weary about this kind of trite nonsense we may be, we really shouldn’t forget that.

Hat-tip: Mediamatters

Saturday, December 1, 2018

#2111: Doug Phillips

We’ve covered some deranged fundies over the years, but Doug Phillips has something of a special position among them. Phillips is the kind of guy that conjures up the image of someone shedding tears of elation over the sheer beauty in the justice in seeing heretics tortured and people in general suffer for the glory of God, the kind who views the Republic of Gilead as inspirational and the 11thcentury as already dangerously mired in wayward progressive enlightenment ideas about science, liberty and autonomy. Phillips main concern is women– the fairer and weaker and less rational sex – and how to save women from unbiblical horrors like independence, freedom and having to make decisions for themselves.

Phillips used promoted his views through the Vision Forum until he admitted to having an extramarital affair (though not the abusive details of that affair, more here), which turned out to be somewhat awkward given Vision Forum’s, well, vision, and the Forum was closed down. There is a splendid resource on the Vision Forum and its work here. Before closing, however, the Forum was pretty influential in Christian homeschooling circles, and used to have booths and speakers at every major convention, as well as networks across the Christian homeschooling scene (it’s probably notable that the other proponent of the Biblical Patriarchy model for homeschooling, Bill Gothard, suffered the same fate as Phillips). Phillips was also a central figure in the quiverfull movement.

A vehemently theocratic group, the central pillar of Vision Forum’s mission was Biblical Patriarchy – complementarianism with an emphasis on the fact that man was created first and woman’s creation was secondary. Patriarchy is accordingly the divine family order ordained by God, where the husband and father is the head of the household and the wife and mother created to be his helper and bearer of children. Moreover, children are to marry through a process of courtship guided at every step by their parents, and unmarried adult daughters are to remain under their fathers’ authority and in their fathers’ homes; illuminating detail here). (Choice Phillips quote: “Daughters aren’t to be independent. They’re not to act outside the scopeof their father. As long as they’re under the authority of their fathers, fathers have the ability to nullify or not the oaths and the vows. Daughters can’t just go out independently and say, ‘I’m going to marry whoever I want.’ No. The father has the ability to say, ‘No, I’m sorry, that has to be approved by me.’”) You know the deal (and note: the movement is actively encouraging people to deny their daughters contact with the outside world – this is not just some abstract ideal), though we suspect the Forum associates would be quick to try to explain how the idea is different from the ideas imposed by … well, people they wouldn’t otherwise want to be associated with in other parts of the world. In any case, this organization of society is apparently crucial to bringing about the coming kingdom of God on Earth. 

So yes, the Vision Forum subscribes to dominionism, the idea that God has called Christians to take over society, mass culture, and government, bringing them into line with God’s law to establish a theocratic, hierarchical and ordered society – and the explicit goal of homeschooling, then, is to groom children to be soldiers for spiritual warfare. Even Michael Farris has distanced himself from the Vision Forum ideology. The Duggars, however, are apparently fans.

An illustrative example of their work was their Beautiful Girlhood Collection, built on what is ostensibly a Biblical vision of femininity and promoting a vision of girls’ childhoods centered on the idea that servility is beauty: girls play with dolls and cook and clean. There is a brief but apt description here. They even have a “science” section. We’ll pass that one over in silence. The Vision Forum is also opposed to women’s suffrage, having produced an alleged civics study guide “Law and Government: An Introductory Study Course” where it is argued that women should not be allowed to run for office or vote. The “study guide” included contributions from e.g. Roy Moore.

At the 100-year anniversary of the Titanic disaster, Phillips took the opportunity to declare that Titanic was evidence of the goodness of Christianity while the sinking of a French ship La Bourgogne a few years before demonstrates the evils of evolution: “People that were on board the deck of the Titanic at that time were individuals that grew up in a culture which was distinctively Christian in its perspective of the role of men and women; [by comparison, when the La Bourgogne] sunk the sailors and the officers literally threw women and children into the water, beat them over the head, and the men lived and the women died. [,,, ] And in trying to understand why that happened, the commentary was, they grew up in a culture that embraced evolution, it was the struggle of the survival of the fittest, they grew up in the culture of the French Revolution which had rejected biblical Christianity and embraced paganism and the consequences were that men treat women horrifically.” Needless to say, Phillips didn’t quite get the historical details about the two events quite correct (mild criticism here), but of course, his point was not accuracy: “flash forward to the year 2012 and this year our president has finally taken us over the abyss and we have full-fledged commitment to women in the frontlines of combat in overseas battles.” As for evolution, Phillips elaborated: “Evolution says the struggle of the survival of the fittest, there are no differences between men and women, there is no charity, there is no deference, and in an evolutionary world feminism reaches its height and we see no distinctions. The result is babies are killed en masse, women are treated like chattel and men no longer take on their masculine role as defenders.” It is little surprise that a fundie creationist fail to grasp the rather basic and easy distinction between a descriptive, scientific claim about biological reality (not that Phillips is remotely on track here either) and a value system, but it is equally facepalm-inducing every time.

It is certainly not Phillips’s only forays into anti-evolution rants. The Vision Forum even produced a “documentary” (promoted by the WND) called “Mysterious Islands: A Surprising Journey to Darwin’s Eden,” which “debunks the conclusions Charles Darwin reached during his storied trip to the Galapagos Islands.” Apparently they took a group of Christian “scientists” to the Galapagos Islands to determine whether the islands “are a laboratory for evolution as Darwin believed – or a truly magnificent showcase of God’s creation,” which suggests some rather basic (but predictable) lack of understanding of how data and evidence work in hypothesis testing. Phillips, however, have more arguments: Darwin “said we would see fossil examples of animals going from one kind to another,” said Phillips (this is not quite what Darwin said), but it is “our contention that not one transitional form has ever been found.” Yes, we are aware that this is your contention, and that the fact that you are demonstrably wrong is not going to change your mind. “Today people look to the Galapagos, and evolutionists and Darwinists see it in the same way that Christians look to Jerusalem and Muslims look to Mecca,” Phillips said, which is not only a ridiculous thing to say but tells you quite a bit about Phillips’s somewhat cursory understanding of science, scientists and scientific practice. But given this false assumption, it is a short step to Phillips’s conclusion: “They [evolutionists] really embrace the evolutionary faith. In our film, we insist that evolution is, in fact, a faith. It’s a worldview based on unprovable assumptions that are accepted by faith.” We don’t for a second doubt that Phillips is confounded by the lack of impact his contributions have on science, but we are fairly confident that he’ll blame it on heretics and demons.

Phillips is also the founder of the Christian Filmmakers’ Academy and a close associate of Kirk Cameron. He was also featured in Colin Gunn’s IndoctriNation: Public Schools and the Decline of Christianity in America, which explicitly advocated that the Bible should be the model and core of all public education.

Diagnosis: One of the most disgusting, vile pieces of evil, hateful garbage to ever walk the face of the Earth, and as delusionally insane as he is morally corrupt. Hopefully somewhat neutralized, but his ideology certainly lives on.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

#2110: Stephen Phelan

Oh yes, another fundie nutter. Stephen Phelan is the communications director for Human Life International, putatively “the largest international pro-life organization and missionary worldwide”, however they measured that. Of course, much of Phelan’s efforts go toward anti-abortion issues, but as Phelan sees it, demons, evil spirits and Satan are everywhere, and he caught our eye primarily for his criticisms of a pink version of the popular Ouija board game issued by Hasbro in 2010. As Phelan sees it, the game, designed for girls aged 8 and up, is no mere toy but a “dangerous spiritual game” that opens anyone, but particularly Christians, up to attacks on their soul. “There’s a spiritual reality to it and Hasbro is treating it as if it’s just a game,” said Phelan. “It’s not Monopoly. It really is a dangerous spiritual game and for [Hasbro] to treat it as just another game is quite dishonest.” As he points out, the Bible explicitly states “not to mess with spirits”.

What distinguished the game from, say, Harry Potter-themed merchandise, “is that the Ouija board is actually is a portal to talk to spirits and it’s hard to get people to understand that until they actually do it. I don’t pretend to know how it works, but it actually does.” Moreover, the pink version of the game is explicitly marketed to young girls who may want to partake in “something dangerous” during a late-night sleepover.

Diagnosis: Someone evidently has some problems distinguishing teen scream flicks from reality, and it is not girls aged 8 and up. Don’t let this guy watch Harry Potter on his own without a trusted adult nearby.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

#2109: Jesse Lee Peterson

Jesse Lee Peterson is a right-wing pundit, minister, author (e.g. SCAM: How the Black Leadership Exploits Black America), and media personality – host of The Jesse Lee Peterson Show and The Fallen State TV web series – as well as president and founder of BOND (Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny), which is ostensibly dedicated to “rebuilding the family by rebuilding the man.” He is also a friend of Sean Hannity, and often appears on the latter’s show, as well as a national advisory board member of Accuracy in Media, former board member of the California Christian Coalition and self-appointed personal nemesis of Jesse Jackson. Peterson is, basically, a representative of all that is sad and bad, evil, delusional and insane in the world today. 

Civil Rights and welfare
In 2005 Peterson penned a column for WND claiming that the majority of the African-American people stranded in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina were “welfare-pampered”, “lazy” and “immoral”, and therefore presumably got what they deserved. Elsewhere Peterson has claimed that he would like to see black people put “back on the plantation so they would understand the ethic of working… They need a good hard education on what it is to work.” 

Yes, Peterson thinks slavery was a good thing, and is on record thanking “God and white people” for the institution of slavery. After all, Peterson pointed out, were it not for the slave trade, blacks might have never made it to the United State. Then he described traveling on slave ships as akin to “being on a crowded airplane”. Traveling on slave ships was not akin to being on a crowded airplane. At least, as Peterson sees it, picking cotton “makes a man out of you”.

Now, Peterson has indeed recognized that racism is a big problem. In 2009, for instance, he told Hannity that he thought 96 percent of black voters were racist toward whites and that “I think we all agree that Barack Obama was elected by, mostly by black racists and white guilty people.” Weighing in on the Trayvon Martin case, Peterson declared that the outrage over his death was not about justice but rather “about getting even with whites and gaining political power”: “This is black hatred of white people and a result of more than fifty years of brainwashing by racist civil-rights leaders” by demonic aggressors like MLK, as Peterson sees it. Of course, officially Peterson is a fan of MLK, but it is unclear what he associates with him: For the commemoration of 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, for instance, which called for “a national minimum wage act” and “a massive federal program to train and place all unemployed workers” in jobs, Peterson accused Obama and everyone else of twisting the message of the original march to spread anti-white racism and socialism by “call[ing] for a minimum wage increase” and pushing “socialist ideas.” “[T]he 50th anniversary commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic march and speech looked like a Ku Klux Klan rally!”, said Peterson, and “an outright attempt to rewrite history – and use King’s name to advance an anti-American political agenda.” He did not try to explain what he thought the original march was about.

It’s a general pattern of course. Together with Oprah, President Obama is “encouraging these blacks to attack whites” and inflaming “black thugs [to] attack unsuspecting whites” through “racial demagoguery” and “race baiting” to “encourage division and hatred between races;” they are therefore to blame for the much-hyped “knockout game.” It’s all, in fact, a conspiracy. The 2015 Baltimore protests, for instance? Well, Peterson saw through it and found Obama standing behind it all: Obama was intentionally fomenting unrest as part of his secret evil plot to take over all the nation’s police forces and redistribute wealth. As for Black Lives Matter, Peterson has characterized the movement as “evil,” “wicked,” and “worse than the KKK”; the movement is “led by white anarchists, communists, black homosexuals and lesbians. They hate families and God – two things blacks need most”.

In 2015, Peterson linked, in a column titled “Dear White People: Your Days Are Numbered”, protests over the treatment of students of color at the University of Missouri to the Paris terrorist attacks. While “Europe has been in the process of handing their continent over to Muslims … white Americans are handing over their country to black malcontents – and Muslims,” said Peterson; “[s]omewhere along the way, whites in Europe and America have lost their connection to God and have decided to give up defending their communities and freedoms,” and it is accordingly “time for whites in America, and in Europe, to stop the madness.” (“[t]he greatest civilizations in the world are being destroyed by the godless” and the gays concluded Peterson after a diatribe blaming Muslims, who seem to the untrained eye to be neither godless nor particularly gay.

But what about racism against people of color? In 2015, Peterson said that “[m]y hope is that we are able to dispel the idea of racism being realIt is an illusion. Racism does not exist. It has never existed. It’s a lie.” This sentiment – which he has repeated and expanded upon on several occasions, including his book The Antidote: Healing America From The Poison of Hate, Blame and Victimhood– probably partially explains why, in a 2016 interview on a white supremacist show, he cited the 1954 desegregation decision in Brown v. Board of Education as evidence that “liberalism is evil” and that “[t]he people who are liberals are children of the lie, their father is Satan,” reminding his listeners that “the battle is a spiritual battle between good and evil, right versus wrong, so liberals are children of the darkness, and we need to understand that they are doing exactly what their father’s nature is, and that is to destroy good.” We know we should be careful about labeling anyone an Uncle Tom, but it is hard to find a more suitable candidate for the title than Jesse Lee Peterson; here is another illuminating exchange (Peterson explaining that African American voters didn’t support Ben Carson’s presidential bid because they’re in an “evil state” and “prefer evil over good”). Here is Peterson declaring that white people, as a group, “represent the goodness of America”. And here is Peterson claiming that Nelson Mandela was evil and South Africa better off under apartheid. Indeed, he “can’t think of one thing” that “black people have gone into and made better.”

Of course, Peterson is dimly aware that some people disagree with him, and has published an open letter to (then) Attorney General Eric Holder that advocates the arrest of such people.

Feminism
In a 2012 video Peterson asserted his belief that “one of the greatest mistakes America made was to allow women the opportunity to vote,” ostensibly because many women disagree with him and democracy doesn’t work if people keep voting differently than he wants them to vote: “We should’ve never turned this over to women. And these women are voting in the wrong people. They’re voting in people who are evil who agrees with them who’re gonna take us down this pathway of destruction […] And this probably was the reason they didn’t allow women to vote when men were men. Because men in the good old days understood the nature of the woman.” Explaining further, Peterson stated that women simply can’t handle “anythingand that – in his experience – “you walk up to them with a issue, they freak out right away. They go nuts. They get mad. They get upset, just like that. They have no patience because it’s not in their nature. They don’t have love. They don’t have love.” Which might tell you quite a bit more about Peterson and his behavior than he seems to realize. Also, women are whores: “I don’t know if you noticed or not, but the liberal Democrat womens are calling themselves whores [Peterson is referring to advocating contraception coverage]. They came out with their so called group of women who are within the Democrat party, and they are admitting that they’re whores and they are saying that they are proud of it.”

After claiming that women are whores who shouldn’t have the right to vote, Peterson complained that “liberal women” and feminists are “destroying our nation day by day” because they’re “fascists in pantsuits.” He did not attempt to define “fascist”. (It means “people I don’t like and therefore you shouldn’t like them either,” of course.)

A rather radical MRA activist, Peterson has called for “the end of one-sided defense,” and for men to re-take the right to physically strike women: “While I certainly do not sanction men attacking women, neither is it right for men to allow themselves to be beaten by a woman,” he wrote. “It’s time for men to re-assert their right to self defense.” Here is a fascinating segment in which Peterson asks a clinical psychologist whether the man should be the head of the wife; the psychologist says that no, they should be partners, whereupon Peterson asserted that the word “partner” is gay and any man who is not the “head of the wife” is “weak.”

As expected, Peterson is a vehement critic of Planned Parenthood, alleging that Planned Parenthood is responsible for killing “over 1,500 black babies” every day.

Sex
As Peterson sees it, the only reason for people to have sex is if they are “trying to make a baby,” and he insists that any man who has sex before marriage will eventually cheat on his wife. “I just want to make that point … What’s the need for having sex if you’re not trying to make a baby?” said Peterson, a question that might conceivably explain some of the frustration Peterson expresses elsewhere.

It probably comes as little surprise that Peterson is no fan of homosexuals. Having seen a man (Michael Sam) kiss another man on TV, Peterson claimed that it would destroy free speech and turn other men gay and cause the end of America. “In America today,” said Peterson, “good is mocked and evil is rewarded. People who speak out against the immorality in the culture are accused of being hateful and judgmental” just because they are being hateful and judgmental (“We expect this kind of assault on individual freedom in communist North Korea, not in the United States!” said Peterson). And of course there is a conspiracy: “GLADD and other LGBT homosexual groups are using Michael Sam’s race and his sexuality to force black Americans and, by extension, all Americans to accept an abnormal lifestyle. This is not about tolerance or diversity – it’s an attack on masculinity and the traditional family.” So, not only are LGBT rights destroying America; they’re doing so deliberately.

And if you ever wondered whether one can be born gay, Peterson is ready to explain: “if the mother was mad while being pregnant, that can happen yes, because she can pass that spiritual to her children while in the womb.”

Now, LGBT groups complain about discrimination, but Peterson sees right through the ploy (“Discrimination: noun discrim·ina·tion: The ability to recognize the difference between things that are of good quality and those that are not – Merriam Webster Dictionary,” offers Peterson in an unusually feeble attempt to achieve a gotcha moment): “LGBT groups have been effective in linking their immoral cause to the noble civil rights movement [it would be interesting to hear what Peterson thinks is noble about the civil rights movement given that he supports apartheid]. In reality, gays never wanted equality. They wanted society to accept their sinful lifestyle, or else. LGBT groups – to be blunt – act like fascists. Just like militant Islam demands Shariah law, homosexual pressure groups demand ‘sodomy law.’” Apparently this is what counts as “insightful enough to be worth sharing” in Peterson’s mind. It’s sad, really. 

Meanwhile, people who remarry after getting a divorce “deserve to suffer”. Except for people who agree with Peterson on politics, of course.

Theology and politics
Entirely unsurprisingly, Peterson is “certain without a doubt that Barack Hussein Obama is NOT a Christian,” which says more about Peterson cognitive abilities than it does about Obama. And Obama’s election in 2008 was the work of Satan and the result of Satan’s own candidate selection, a move in a “spiritual war” in which “Satan is targeting the U.S.” As evidence, Peterson pointed out that Obama is “evil” and “an American-hating Socialist” who is “more in harmony with Muhammad than he is with Christ.” Satan’s primary selection criterion was, however, race: “Evil understands that most white Christians have been intimidated and are too afraid to stand up to it,” said Peterson. Perhaps it was a perceived failure of his revelation to gain traction that made Peterson go one step further in 2014 and declared that “I can’t say that [Obama] is Satan, but I definitely am convinced he is the son of Satan.” Then he said that Obama is probably Satan. And if Obama is not the Antichrist, Peterson said, he is, at most, “one step away” from being the Antichrist. Here is further evidence that Obama “hates Christianity”.

A recurring them when Peterson talked about Obama was, unsurprisingly and as mentioned above, the idea that Obama is “racist” against white people (he wants to “replace the white man” with “some black person that agrees with him”), ostensibly partially because his mother “hated being white.” In a 2012 speech to the John Birch Society Peterson said that President Obama and his “angry black female” wife want to “take power away from the white man and give it to people who [want] handouts, with socialism mentalities.” As for Michelle Obama: “We have an angry black female in control and if you want to know what an angry black female can do to you, go to the Post Office.” One could imagine some reasons why Peterson might end up experiencing anger a lot of places.

In 2016 he summed up Obama’s presidency: “America has been hell” and “a nightmare” under President Obama, who has turned the country “into a ghetto,” said Peterson. The reason is apparently that Obama, as a black man, “lacks character” and “has a ghetto personality” that makes him want to destroy things (“the sould is dead, he is an evil man”).

Meanwhile, President Trump is pretty much Jesus (or “a strong example of Christ on Earth”): “as Christians, we are supposed to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth. We are to be ‘cunning as serpents and innocent as doves.’ President Trump appears to be a living example of this;” if you didn’t vote for him, then “Satan is your father. Peterson was, in fact, an early Trump supporter: “we already have” a race war that’s “happening to white folks by so-called people of color and especially black people,” said Peterson in 2016, asserting that a real Republican like Trump would be the only one able to stop it. Moreover, Trump is “uniquely able to unite America” because “this is a man’s game. The other Republicans are playing it like women – and losing,” and “the only politician who truly loves the people, including black people.” More recently, Peterson has been fond of calling Trump the “great white hope”. Now, Trump was, at one point, accused of sexual assault, but Peterson warned us against focusing on that, since “generation after generation of young girls have been taught” to falsely accuse men of assault and “Trump’s ‘Sexual Assault’ Accusers Are Literally Satan’s Daughters” (the text to an image on his show accompanying a picture of Bill Cosby). That leftists don’t fancy Trump is no wonder: “The left hates God, and it hates real men who display Godly authority. For leftist males, the contrast between President Trump’s strength and their weakness is just too painful. For leftist females, the president represents the masculine force that limits their irrational excesses, such as their hell-bent desire to kill unborn children.”

That Democrats are not of God but the children of Satan is not an empirical claim but treated axiomatically by Peterson; that is, as an assumption through which other events ought to be understood. Naturally, this yields some interestingly bizarre results.

Miscellaneous
Peterson has actually said that critical thinking is a tool of the devil; not that he has the faintest idea what critical thinking might involve. Accordingly, he has little love for intellectuals: “I notice that the people who are really into the intellect are nutcases. Absolute nutcasessaid Peterson. And that is no coincidence: using intellect leads to Satan and homosexuality: “Because of this intellectual thing taking over and the people rule us, we now have so-called same-sex marriage. That wouldn’t happen if we weren’t into the intellect. Common sense would dictate that is not going to happen and common sense wouldn’t care what you thought about it because we would know that that’s wrong.”

Here is Peterson failing coherence while arguing that the American dream is “fading” because pro-immigration elected officials are “trying to stay in power, so they’re trying to appease the Hispanics” and also arguing that undocumented immigrants (he claims to know some) don’t even want citizenship. The argument could perhaps seem to make more sense when you remember that Peterson hates reason and use of the intellect, but it doesn’t really.

There’s a fine Jesse Lee Peterson resource here.

Diagnosis: A good candidate for the title “most deranged person alive”. 

Sunday, November 25, 2018

#2108: Dan & Steve Peters

Dan Peters (I think: there was also
an older brother Jim sometimes
involved in their side-show).
I have no idea whether these guys are still around, and their influence has certainly waned over the last 35 or so years, but they are absolute legends of fundamentalist insanity, so we have to cover them just in case. 

Steve Peters
The Peters brothers were seminal figures in the 80s fundamentalist anti-rock movement (a good overview here), and produced an impressive amount of strikingly self-congratulatory and self-advertising books (including Why Knock Rock?and Rock’s Hidden Persuader: The Truth About Backmasking– with one Cher Merrill), tapes, lectures, TV appearances and what amounts to their very own traveling circus, starting with a widely publicized 1979 record burning event in Minnesota. Their success seems largely to be based on the strategy of taking everything Bob Larson says and going one step further (Jacob Aranza and Jeff Godwin would then go one step beyond the Peters Brothers again.) Their main complaint is what they perceive to be the fundamental themes of rock: nihilism, humanism (not a very profound understanding of that one), hedonism and occultism. And yeah, sometimes rock musicians appear to go in other directions, but things like LIVE AID won’t fool the Peters Brothers: “Many of the stars of LIVE AID got there by helping destroy the moral fiber of America's youth.” Besides, it doesn’t matter so much what rock musicians profess to say, or what it sounds like they are saying – there are also the subliminal messages: The Peters Brothers are very concerned about the subliminal messages in rock music that are either backward-masked (apparently the unconscious mind can still interpret messages like “Here’s to my sweet Satan” in Led Zeppelin) or that they can identify by applying a solid dose of ill-will, motivated reasoning and something resembling numerology to the lyrics (interestingly, what they claim to find is usually related to sexual acts, like promoting “intercourse” and “oral sex” – the interpretations they find seem to tell us more about the “researchers” than the musicians they research). In fact, the Peters brothers don’t really think the musicians consciously put the messages there – rather, Satan himself is speaking through them and conveying his own messages through the music.

Their main data point is the alleged “epidemic” of suicides among kids involved in rock music, and their books tend to go on about the same number of highly mythicized stories about good teens ending up with drugs and shotguns after exposure to rock music (their circus often featured John Tanner – this story – performing for them and supporting their ideas.)

The most obviously lasting legacy of the Peters Brothers’ work “dedicated to exposing the TRUTH about rock” is probably the video titled Truth About Rock. In the video, you will ostensibly learn a lot of things, including:

-      That “Mick Jagger is an avowed homosexual!
-      That “the cover of an Alan Parsons Project album has girls with syphilis sores on their faces cloaked by veils!
-      That “John Denver says that with the help of his guru, he will become God!
-      That “KISS stands for Kids in Service to Satan. Look into the eyes of Gene Simmons. The Bible tells us that the eyes are the windows of the soul. Nobody’s home there!” The Peters Brothers apparently once interviewed Gene Simmons.
-      That “The Eagles’ ‘Hotel California’ is about the Church of Satan. I mean, I don’t know any other hotel where they’ll let you check out but you can't leave!

As opposed to some anti-rock figures, the Peters are fine with Christian rock: As long as the lyrics (and artist lifestyles) conform to the Bible, it is OK.

Diagnosis: Again: we don’t really know where they ended up, or whether they are still around for laughs and pointings, but if they are they really need an entry. This is pretty much as delusionally insane as fundamentalism comes.