(By the way, it's curious, but oddly reassuring, that even in these postmodern timesyea, even among the most devoted pomos themselvesthere are still a few rigid literalists who act as if words are capable only of a single, narrow, woodenly literal meaning.
That's OK with me. I'll just work harder to be clear.)
In the hypothetical example I concocted, when I indicated that I wouldn't hesitate to kill Osama bin Laden, I was not actually condoning "vigilantism."
From the beginning, the statement carried the assumed-but-unstated understanding that if I were actually in such circumstances, it would be either as a soldier whose duty it is to track down the guy and bring him to justice (or bring justice to him); or else as a civilian faced with an opportunity to try to halt some immediate threat of terrorism. That's what we were discussing in the original context of the remark. It didn't occur to me that I might need to spell out all those qualifications every time I returned to the illustration to clarify a point. However
- Of course if I saw Osama at Costco buying milk and riding one of those scooters for disabled people, I wouldn't wantonly and unnecessarily crack his skull with a chub of frozen meat.
- The imagery of beating him into unconsciousness with a tube of Costco ground beef was 1) partly for humorous effect, 2) clearly exaggerated, and 3) likewise loaded with a few unspoken but rather obvious assumptions, including the theory that he would most likely try to resist arrest (in which case the same principles would apply whether I was a military authority or a regular Costco shopper trying to make a citizen's arrest.) Only if he resisted would I hit him with bovine products. (Are we clear on that?) If I could reasonably and easily subdue him peaceably, I agree that killing him would be an unjust and unjustifiable act of vigilantism.
- I would not, however, first invite Osama to a Backyard Bible Club, a week of VBS, or an evangelistic meeting. I would indeed want him to hear the gospel at an opportune time, but that will most likely come only after he is subdued and imprisoned. (Unless he meets a more immediate form of justice, in which case I would feel no personal responsibility for the failure to evangelize him. That will be true even if by some amazing and unlikely turn of events I become the one who ultimately has to beat the life out of him with a frozen Costco chub, or whatever.)
I realize there are those who will judge me guilty of an unloving and overly-harsh attitude toward our terrorist neighbors who need to hear the gospel, and a few tenderhearted souls might even henceforth boycott the blog. But I gotta be honest with you: At the moment, I want to see Osama out of commission. After that, if the opportunity arises, I'll help map out a strategy to evangelize him.
Imagine that! A teacher of God's Word being misunderstood for something he wrote or said. What is this world coming to? We may next hear of people being offended by the Truth of God's Word. Keep up the excellent work, Phil. Enjoy the blog.
So you are dogmatic on the bovine product over porcine eh?
I am picturing Phil at his neighborhood Costco. He is already frustrated at his half-day visit to the doctor, and now, he has to go pick up milk on the way home. While in the dairy section, out of the corner of his eye, he sees someone strangely familiar. He hesitates to stare since the poor fellow is on one of those electric scooters reserved for the mobility challenged citizens. However, he follows him to the frozen food ailse and feigns studying a package of frozen peas, holding it at the perfect angle so that he can observe this familiar stranger secretly open a container of Cool Whip, and sneak a finger full of the frozen faux-cream.
Then, it hits him like a ton of bricks: "That is Osama Bin Laden!" He's not in Afghanistan. He's hiding in America! The perfect hiding place.
Phil reaches for his cell phone, but realizes he left it charging in his car, as he ran his battery down playing "Frogger" at the doctor's office all afternoon. He is on his own. His heart races. He mistakenly places the peas back on the shelf where the carrots are stacked, but no matter, he's out for justice.
His mind races, "What would Walker, Texas Ranger do? Better yet, what would James Garner do?" Where can he find a weapon in this store? Then, he smiles as he remembers those long tubes of frozen beef, pre-packaged for those who can't bear to see the actual raw meat, something he actually prefers. In any event, he moves one ailse to the west northwest and finds the "Family Pack" of beef, 80% lean, and hard as a rock.
Weilding this weapon, he doubles back, and comes up from behind, walking steadily and confidently. He wonders if the turban will offer much protection to his head. Nevertheless, he thwacks him, such that he actually sees a white bubble flash from his head with the word "Pow!!" in it. Osama is out cold, Cool Whip container rolling sideways down the ailse, and Phil, our hero, is standing there in a daze, dreaming of actually getting to meet Katie Couric.....
i)Some folks still haven't figured out what hyperbole is. They think that Jesus is advocating cruelty to animals when he talks about pulling a camel through the eye of a needle.
ii)I take strenuous moral exception to Phil's threat that he would hit UBL over the head with a chub of frozen beef.
Phil, when dealing with a jihadist, you need to beat his brains out with a chub of frozen pork.
If you club him to death with a beef product, then he dies a martyr and goes to paradise to collect his 72 dark-eyed virgins; but if you club him to death with a pork product, then you render him ritually unclean so that he's barred from paradise!
You really need a refresher course in cultural sensitivity!
Believe me, Phil, you're not the only one who has suffered from overly literal interpretation, or, to put perhaps a more accurate label on the problem, an overly quick rush to judgment.
I think the type of problem you've just encountered would happen less often if readers would take the time to get to know an author's work before venturing to offer criticism. Having read your blog since its founding, I've gotten to know your worldview and style, so I had no trouble catching your meaning. Your subsequent clarifications merely confirmed that my interpretation of your initial post was correct.
Thus, to your newer readers I offer this advice: lurk quietly for at least a few days before accusing PyroManiac of any serious crime. :-)
As someone who has had the unfortunate occasion to take another human life with the business end of a frozen Costco chub, I think you're taking this all too lightly.
OK Phil, you did it. I give up. I haven't laughed that hard at work for years. But you did it. You da man!
frozen beef.... too much!
Shalom Ben Leno
Steve and leec: I take your point, but Costco doesn't sell ground pork in frozen tubes—do they?
They used to have these great pork tamales, but I don't think those were firm enough or long enough to beat a guy to death through a turban.
You know I just have to concede there.
I might have a case for a projectile weapon, except that I haven't seen them selling thier chops pre-frozen.
And there is certain something that is if not elegant, at least very satisfying in the thought of seeing OBL being tracked through the isles of 5lbs. cans of tuna being clubbed by a baton of frozen beef.
First, for clarification's sake, I'm a different steve than the one who wrote comment #4.
Second, a hearty amen to theinscrutableone's comment. Hyperbole and hypothetical musings can make for very effective prose, and it's unfortunate when a writer has to walk on eggs and resort to qualifying EVERYTHING he says for fear of offending literalists who fail to leave breathing room for finer points that were left unstated.
Finally...puritanicoal, your Costco scenario made me smile. I can picture the "pow" scene on a comic book cover right now. :)
Credit given where credit is due...this post made me laugh out loud. Phil is probably at his best when defending his own words and thoughts. And I can't that anyone really did get concerned about his Costco comments. Like it's really gonna happen...
Uh...insert the word "imagine" in between can't and that..
It is YOU who made the most outrageous assumption, that being that YOU, of all people, could actually intentionally kill another human being, especially with a close-quarter weapon. Those of us who have had the experience know that a man looks very different when you look at him through a gunsight. I doubt that you've ever been in such an encounter, except in your Walter Mitty fantasy world. Face it - you mishandled this from the start, mainly by trying to portray yourself as something you aren't. You're not Rambo; you're not Jean Claude Van Damme; you're not Bruce Willis in *Die Hard*; you're none of those guys, because those guys don't exist; you're not even a real fighter. If something heavy went down in your vicinity, you'd either flee or die. Of course, if you've had some sort of combat experience, I'm sure your eager young followers would love to read about it, and I know you'd be very eager to post it.
No amount of explaining, disclaiming, or defining is going to clear this up. Better to just let it go and move on.
oh my goodness Phil, what a crack up so sorry you have to explain yourself at such length. Did you ever think a blog to be so much work? I have to say I have learned much about humor these past two weeks as I myself totally misunderstood somebody elses blog and was ready to pull out the guns, so to speak. I even come from a family which uses "tongue and cheek" conversation everyday. Not that your comments this time were necessarily "tongue and cheek". It did however make me stop and think and take a closer look at what people blog without jumping to forgone conclusions about people. You've got to know we enjoy your blog very much! There are many a day,ok almost every entry, that I have to read and re-read your entries while my little brain trys to expand for all your knowledge. For myself, it is kind of like experiencing Master's seminary w/o the cost and the suits.
In your disdain for Mr. Johnson I think you have so completely missed his intent as to be discussing an entirely differnt subject Mr. Smith.
I canot believe that someone could in any way read wht he posted and come up with him saying "Look at me I'm some kind of great warrior" unles they are intent on misinterpreting what he said from the start.
I assume you are more fond of pork also?
You had me in stitches with this post!
Keep it up man!!!!
Lighten up Winston.
Mr. Smith writes, "Those of us who have had the experience know that a man looks very different when you look at him through a gunsight."
I agree, it is an ontological event in your life, but what is your point? I have had the unfortunate experience and happen to agree with Phil. BTW, I think Phil would make a very good cage fighter (Pyromaniac would be a great name on the card don't you think?).
Phil, you are slacking off with the comic book covers. Surely you can do better than what you produced for this segment (“Let’s Roll!”). I’m dying to see a comic with Osama in Costco, riding in an old folks scooter with a blanket over his lap, with Pyro sneaking up behind with a “chub of frozen meat.”
Well, Phil, in that case I think that Costco has a patriotic duty to start stocking frozen pork chubs just in case UBL or one of his associates wanders into the store some day!
We should also lobby Bush to arm our soldiers with frozen pork pellets instead of bullets.
As to Winston Smith's inane comments, it's very easy to imagine Phil or any other normal man intentionally killing another human being, say, in defense of his family.
Something tells me ol' Winston Smith was spoofin'...and is having fun laughing at the responses.
It is frankly reprehensible that I, as a busy mother of three, should be spending my time thinking about which pork products could be used to best effect in apprehending said terrorist mastermind.
I thought that a string of sausages round the neck might work, but then I found myself wondering if I would be able to defend the use of an instrument that required a little more premeditation and force than a big thumping pack of meat.
Then I started wondering about the reasoning behind using pork in the first place, because after all, trusting in a pork-free death to save is no more helpful then trusting in a spaghetti parachute, so what does it matter?
Then I realized that there might be some humour being used in the blog-posts and subsequent comments, and so I pulled myself together.
On a side note, I heard recently that the 72 virgins thing is a mistranslation of the word for raisins. So all that would actually be waiting for the brave suicide martyrs would be a bag of dried fruit.
Not good enough, Phil. Back up and try it again. (A comment designed to keep the laughs coming.)
What's even funnier is the thought that you were really portaying yourself as Maximus of Cosco.
Good Funny Stuff.
Pork's good, especially with good Bavarian sour kraut. You like?
Mmmm yum, don't get me started with saurkraut!
Now there is something Costco should have, but I think Phil would be breaking several international laws if he used it as a weapon.
Thanks for correcting my spelling of saurkraut.
Tell me, have you ever lightly sprinkled saurkraut with Sesame seeds? Try it!
Heh, a bit off topic, but I will! My normal modus is simply liberally piling it onto whatever my favorite sausage is that month on a big roll.
BTW, is this Winston Smith that has done so much album cover art?
Sorry for the tangent guys.
Even desiring the death and judgment of OBL isn't unbibiblical, considering the imprecatory psalms and the apostolic attitude toward false teachers.
Mr. Smith, having been in a variety of violent encounters over the years, I can say from personal experience it does not require a combatant with the ability of a "Rambo" to sneak up behind someone and smack the ahem! out of him with a blunt object. Where on earth you might have gotten the impression that the Philmeister was claiming to be any such thing anyway, I'm sure I don't know.
I have not seen the frozen hamburger tubes at Costco, but some of those racks of ribs look pretty intimidating.
As for the fight, well, here is inspiration.
leec: "BTW, is this Winston Smith that has done so much album cover art?"
My guess is "Winston Smith" is this dude's pseudonym, drawn from the protagonist of Orwell's 1984.
Our "Winston" is an aficionado of the unique brand of racism known as "kinism" represented at the notoriously appalling "Little Geneva" blog.
I don't think Mr. Smith's hissy (above) was satirical. He and his fellow "Reformed Confederate Theocrats" are piqued at me for saying I would no sooner devote space at my blog for a debate about the supposed merits of their opinions on race than I would open the discussion to a dialogue about the pros and cons of NAMBLA.
Phil may not be Rambo or Bruce Willis, but he does have a pretty good knack for ID'ing the occasional wacko (e.g. Caroline Trace) who comes along. My question is how in the heck did you know that? There's not much in Winston's profile to find any clues...
Been a long time since I have read 1984, well before 84 in fact.
It's all so clear to me now....
This place is starting to sound as ridiculous as the BHT!
Pork vs. Beef... Links vs. Tubes...
How 'bout some serious theological discussion!?!
P.S. I'd use a day-old mellawach and fling it at him like Odd-Job's Bowler Hat in that James Bond Movie.
"I thought that a string of sausages round the neck might work, but then I found myself wondering if I would be able to defend the use of an instrument that required a little more premeditation and force than a big thumping pack of meat."
Oh man, I can't take it. There's tears in my eyes. I can't breath....
You mean like the cheese sandwich with the Virgin Mary on it or the Pretzel shaped like baby Jesus?
I beg to differ with Marc. Pork is a deadly serious theological issue. Just reread Acts 15 on the kosher laws!
Have you ever noticed that conservatives have more fun that liberals? Liberals are paralyzed by the fear of giving offense--unless they're offending the fundies. Liberals are the most uptight, inhibited people one earth--like a girl caught wearing the wrong color dress to the prom!
Conservatives, by contrast, call a spade a spade and revel in hyperbole.
The "other" steve here again...
Never again will I be able to walk by the frozen meat section in Costco and keep a straight face.
I am a self-confessed fighting fundamentalist, so I would not hesitate to nail Osama if given the opportunity at Costco. My assumption was that you were right on target to seize that moment to hit a target of opportunity. In my mind, it would give an even better meaning to your "Dead Right" concept!
Sled dog: "My question is how in the heck did you know that? There's not much in Winston's profile to find any clues."
He made a reference in one of his earlier posts to my use of the delete button. The only posts I have ever deleted in quantity were from racists connected with the kinist klan at "Little Geneva." I checked, and Mr. Smith is a regular commenter there.
Despite his braggadocio, he includes no actual details in his profile, so I surmised that his name is a reference to the famous Orwellian character. Several of the bugs who hang around LG like pseudo-literary references.
It all fits with the nature of his earlier conniption, too.
Though is was outrageous that you associated us with NAMBLA, we actually find you amusing, in that depressing sort of way that comes from watching a "minister of the Gospel" become completely infatuated with himself. We've been called "racists" by better specimens than you (and they themselves are poor specimens), and like you, none of them offer a definition of racism, offer proof of our "racism", or want to debate, but prefer to just throw the word out there for good PR, like showmen and politicians do these days.
You're an amusing guy, Phil, very good at puffing yourself up for an adoring and fawning audience, and watching you squirm around this latest misstep in your auto-apotheosis has been entertaining. I look forward to much more of it.
It's a shame we have forgotten about 9/11 and gotten so distracted with Iraq. Bin Laden must be laughing his towel off!
Oh, by the way, Phil, it's very funny how you refer to our "braggadocio" after you've told everyone how you would take out OBL. Hilarious!
Got news for ya bud.
If we are united here it is due to the truth of the Word, not Phil himself.
Saurkraut aside, looking at how you interpret clear and obvious posts way out of thier context here I'm not suprised at how your hermeneutics led you to the Kinist camp. Just looked over there, I won't do that again.
I did post a formal definition of "racism" the first time this subject came up. You may be able to find it on the blog via a google search. The subject is off-topic for this post, however, and any further remarks about kinism, klanism, racism, or related issues will be summarily deleted without the slightest regret or embarrassment.
Peddle your ideas elsewhere; not on my blog.
I mean it.
I would think that ground beef would have a tendency to break apart after a couple of blows. Not good, if you do not take him out quickly.
Having read your blog for awhile, I would think OBL would be in much more danger if you simply invited him on a trip with you.
Fortunately, Fo11, there are 4 chubs per bag in the Costco ground beef packs.
Still, "stoning" with the frozen pork tamales might be an effective alternative, if you had enough participants.
This was great, Phil. I love the theological polemic as much as the next person on here, but this is too much fun every now and then!
'Moorhead' was right, you must do the "Costco Comic" version of this. And Libbie, you are WAY too funny!
Bye Winston. You are hilarious too...just in an insane sort of way!
The next thing you know, J. Jonah Jamison is going to be editorializing that Spiderman is a vigilante and the cops will be out looking for the web-slinger rather than helping him nab Doc Ock or that social misfit Norman Osborne.
Phil: if someone does not have the sense to understand a hypothetocal example, you should hit them in the head with a frozen beef chub from Costco and see if it does them any good. It's posts like this one that proves out the failures of American public school education -- when something as simple as reading an essay one disagrees with comes to this kind of niggling, it might be better to sit around and sip iced tea all day rather than blog.
I know this horse is dead, but I thought I would clarify/respond. I am not opposed to the death penalty, and I am sympathetic to one's desire to see OBL answer for his crimes. My objection Phil is not that you are unloving toward the terrorists, but that you are flippant concerning violence in genral. I find it wholly unChristian and completely unbelieveable.
This made me laugh out loud.
Joe and Winston,
Give me a break. Offense meant! I've been blogging for some time now, and I must admit something: I'm sick of the whole pious, "holier-than-thou" posts which often pop up in posts like yours and show the author of the post (you) more arrogant in his piety than he would like to think. Phil is hardly unloving, and context is everything! If you people ignore every trace of biblical genre in your Bible studies as often as you do in Phil's blogs, I'm afraid to know what doctrinal positions you've all come to! This post of Phil's is intended to show truth through satire; so will aldo respect, please take a chill-pill and give Phil a break.
Adam Cummings is my new hero.
I'm surprised that no one has mentioned the obvious weapon of choice - a "club" sandwich...
I must say that if I saw Osama in my local A&P, I'd beat him with frozen meat [or whatever was closest by - air freshener, perhaps?] first and then ask questions later. No doubts about it.
If that makes me unloving, then I don't care. I still took out [as in, rendered unconscious] OBL and should get quite a hunk of cash for capturing public enemy #1. I can deal with being called names if I have a cool million or two in the bank. [After taxes, of course =)]
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