The One True Faith. Mine.

I’ve always wondered how deeply religious people could be so certain their “faith” was the real deal and everyone else’s was bogus. Brian Hines wonders, too:

“People will reject unsubstantiated claims in holy books… except the book they believe in. People will reject miracle stories… except miracles related by their own faith. People will reject the divinity of living prophets or messengers of God… except the person they accept as a genuine spiritual teacher.

Every religious believer, aside from the few who are genuinely open-minded, considers that he or she has found the One True Faith among the 4,199 or so false faiths. Yet how is this possible, logically or realistically?

It’s like Garrison Keillor’s Lake Woebegon, where all the children are above average.

There are good reasons for belonging to a religious, spiritual, or mystical group. But having a lock on cosmic truth isn’t one of them. Nobody knows what lies at the heart of reality, or even if there is such a thing: a heart, a core, a central truth.

So the only honest attitude is “I don’t know.” Along with, “You don’t know either.” This leaves us all on the same unknowing level.”

Garrison Keillor on the future of radio

“The future of public radio is shining bright if only we can wrest it out of the hands of people my age and into the hands of people forty years younger. The problem isn’t the medium — the technology is light, portable, easy to use — the problem is the heavy hand of tradition that keeps innovation at bay. There is so much that can be best conveyed through audio, Erin, and that won’t change. The music industry is getting flattened by the Internet, but there’s a great future for radio. I see reality radio as the next big thing — eavesdropping radio, the microphone picking up things you weren’t meant to hear — and then I see radio drama coming back to life, but radio drama that attempts to impersonate reality.

“As far as news goes, radio is the province of the Authoritative Voice, and people are always ready for the next one. We are creatures who love to listen to our own kind. We’re intrigued by the sound of ourselves. When I see people walking around with little wires running into their ears, I have to think radio has a future.”

Altman films “A Prairie Home Companion”

“It is an imagined last show and so it’s in the context of being taken over by a radio conglomerate, which is happening to a lot of radio shows at home.” Written by Garrison Keillor and starring Meryl Streep, Woody Harrelson, Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Kline and Lily Tomlin. [Reuters story]

I always liked the Wolfman Jack scenes from American Graffiti. Something about being on the air, alone in a radio station at night. Something we’ll never experience with podcasting. That real-time connection with listeners in the middle of the night. Sigh.

Garrison Keillor: Confessions of a Listener

“The deregulation of radio was tough on good-neighbor radio because Clear Channel and other conglomerates were anxious to vacuum up every station in sight for fabulous sums of cash and turn them into robot repeaters. I dropped in to a broadcasting school last fall and saw kids being trained for radio careers as if radio were a branch of computer processing. They had no conception of the possibility of talking into a microphone to an audience that wants to hear what you have to say. I tried to suggest what a cheat this was, but the instructor was standing next to me. Clear Channel’s brand of robotics is not the future of broadcasting. With a whole generation turning to iPod and another generation discovering satellite radio and Internet radio, the robotic formatted-music station looks like a very marginal operation indeed. Training kids to do that is like teaching typewriter repair.

After the iPod takes half the radio audience and satellite radio subtracts half of the remainder and Internet radio gets a third of the rest and Clear Channel has to start cutting its losses and selling off frequencies, good-neighbor radio will come back. People do enjoy being spoken to by other people who are alive and who live within a few miles of you.” — From the  The Nation (May 23) [via Doc Searls]

Republicans

Regular visitors to this space have heard me flex my political cynicism in previous posts. I’ve often said it doesn’t matter who we put in the White House. They’re all lying politicians… blah, blah, blah.

But this campaign –and the prospect of four more years of Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Ashcroft– has given me the willies. Im fearful. This time, I think it matters a lot. So I’m talking through my fears here.

I didnt plan to watch the second debate but got hooked and couldnt turn away. At one point I recall thinking that if Kerry did too well in this debate and the next, an accident might befall him prior to the election. Shudder.

Those of you that have found your way here before also know that Im prone to let others do my thinking –or at least my talking– for me. George Carlin, Dennis Miller and others just say it/write it better. Like Garrison Keillor, who rails on Republicans in his new book, Homegrown Democrat: A Few Plain Thoughts from the Heart of America:

“The party of Lincoln and Liberty was transmogrified into the party of hairy-backed swamp developers and corporate shills, faith-based economists, see-through fundamentalist bullies with Bibles, Christians of convenience, freelance racists, hobby cops, misanthropic frat boys, lizardskin cigar monkeys, jerktown romeos, ninja dittoheads, the shrieking midgets of AM radio, tax cheats, cheese merchants, cat stranglers, taxi dancers, grab-ass executives, gun fetishists, genteel pornographers, pill pushers, chronic nappers, nihilists in golf pants, backed-up Baptists, Crips and Bloods of the boardroom, panjandrums of Ponzi marketing and the grand poo-bahs of Percodan, censors, spin dentists, Swiss bankers, hit men, body snatchers, mouth breathers and tongue thrusters, testosterone junkies, oversexed hedge-hogs, brownshirts in pinstrips, sweatshop tycoons, line jumpers, randy preachers, marsupial moms and chirpy news anchors, UFO scholars, johns, shroomheads, hacks, fakirs, aggressive dorks, wizened aliens, aluminum-siding salesmen, Lamborghini libertarians, people who believe Neil Armstrong’s moonwalk was filmed in Roswell, New Mexico, little honkers out to diminish the rest of us, braying, smirking, scratching on the national blackboard, Newt’s evil spawn and their Etch-a-Sketch president with a voice like a dial tone, who for almost four years has looked as if here were just about to say something smart, not much introspection going on here, no inquiring minds eager to learn about the world, not much chances of anyone picking up a book that isn’t on the official reading list and hearing a still small voice, a dull and rigid man suspicious of the free flow of information and of secular institutions in general, whose philosophy is a jumble of badly sutured body parts trying to walk, supported by millions of good folks who do not share the anarchist dream but sleep well with this West Texas sphinx for a nightlight. Republicans: the No. 1 reason why the rest of the world thinks we’re deaf, dumb and dangerous.”

Roger –who is too smart and too kind to be the Republican he believes himself to be– said he was bothered less by the things Keillor is wrong about than by the things he is right about.