Doing It Wrong: Addressing Common Anti-Porn Arguments

Sex Shop

1. Introduction: Opening Up and Revealing Pornography has elicited at least as many heated words as it has orgasms. While the etymology of the word is clear and uncontroversial, defining pornography in a clear and unambiguous way has proven difficult. The word derives from the Greek compound porne (“prostitute”) and graphos (“to write”).[1] This compound word denoted “the depiction of […]

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Rock ‘n’ Reverse: Skeptical Lessons from the Backward Masking Scare

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“Just ‘cause you feel it, doesn’t mean it’s there.” ~ Radiohead, “There There”   In the campy 1986 horror film Trick or Treat, directed by Michael Martin Smith and written by Rhet Topham, a devil-worshiping rock star named Sammi Curr meets an untimely death in a mysterious hotel fire. His biggest fan, a high school student with no friends and […]

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Why the Devil Has the Best Tunes: Rock Music, Satanism, and Religious Fear

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They say I worship the Devil / They must be stupid or blind / I’m just a rock ‘n’ roll rebel. ~ Ozzy Osbourne [1] In the summer of 1990, heavy rock music went on trial for murder. Five years before, two young adults named James Vance and Raymond Belknap of the small town of Sparks, Nevada spent a winter evening […]

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Spirit of Paranoia: A Critical Analysis of “Zeitgeist” (Part III)

howard-beale

The third and final part of Peter Joseph’s Zeitgeist is by far the most fascinating – and perhaps the most delusional and paranoid – of the film’s three sections. Part III, titled “Don’t Mind the Men behind the Curtain,” takes a decidedly darker and more sinister turn. In the film’s previous chapter, we were assaulted with a barrage of media […]

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Spirit of Paranoia: A Critical Analysis of “Zeitgeist” (Part II)

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Part II of Peter Joseph’s Zeitgeist, titled “All the World’s a Stage,” describes the events of September 11, 2001 in a manner very similar to Dylan Avery’s 2005 conspiracy documentary Loose Change. In fact, many portions of Part II are pulled directly from Avery’s film. [1] In Joseph’s film, as in Loose Change, we are presented with the basic 9/11 conspiracy […]

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Spirit of Paranoia: A Critical Analysis of “Zeitgeist” (Part I)

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The discussions on the origins of Christianity in Zeitgeist may sound very compelling to those “village atheists” who make a hobby of searching for that elusive single argument that destroys Christianity as a credible belief system in one fell swoop. But any such easy argument is bound to be an oversimplification of historical or philosophical complexities. The main thesis presented […]

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Spirit of Paranoia: A Critical Analysis of “Zeitgeist” (Introduction)

Zeitgeist

When you are studying any matter, or considering any philosophy, ask yourself only: ‘What are the facts and what is the truth that the facts bear out?’ Never let yourself be diverted either by what you wish to believe, or by what you think would have beneficent social effects if it were believed, but look only – and solely – […]

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The Tribeca Film Festival vs. Anti-Vax Propaganda

De Niro and Tribeca

The tension between good science and conspiracy-happy fearmongering about some of the most important innovations in science has manifested itself in every aspect of social life, including and perhaps especially in popular culture. A recent instance of this tension can be seen in the kerfuffle that arose in this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. Robert De Niro, […]

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Movie Review: Jurassic World

In 1993, a story was told of a catastrophic incident on Isla Nublar which claimed the lives of four people, all eaten by cloned dinosaurs that escaped from controlled captivity due to a failure of the island’s security system. The island was home to Jurassic Park, the ill-fated brainchild of John Hammond who, along with his genetic engineering firm InGen, discovered a technique by which dinosaurs could be cloned from ancient DNA strands preserved in amber. The disaster occurred during the visit of a group of scientists who were hired by Hammond to evaluate the viability and safety of the island attraction. Just before a group of the survivors boards a rescue helicopter to leave the island, one of the scientists tells Hammond that he has decided not to endorse the park, and Hammond agrees.

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