Fireworks, Horror, and a Few Glimmers of Hope

Agent Orange busily goes about turning America into a cheap tin dictatorship, complete with totalitarian military parades for a holiday that’s supposed to be about liberty from tyranny. America isn’t great right now (unless you think kids in cages and treating homeless people like vermin is great, which apparently evangelical Christians and white supremacists do).

It’s hard to celebrate. It’s hard to do anything but stare in horror at the ever-worsening news.

But I’ve got an article about the geology of fireworks here, and some pretty fireworks photos, so let us have something a little bright to keep the despair company.

Green, blue, and red fireworks burst over a river at night
Colin Knowles (CC BY-SA 2.0)

For all those “America is a Christian nation!” screamers you’re likely to encounter over this holiday, I’ve got the perfect counterpoint. America, you see, can easily be shown to actually have been founded on Islamic values. Look:

The fundamentalist Christians have entered the Declaration of Independence into evidence. That means it’s fair game to further examine this document for clues. In fact, let’s take another look at that second sentence, specifically:

…with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

“Unalienable Rights”. That’s an interesting concept. Where did it come from? The phrase is more commonly referred to as “inalienable rights”, about which Wikipedia says:

The idea that certain rights are inalienable was found in early Islamic law and jurisprudence, which denied a ruler “the right to take away from his subjects certain rights which inhere in his or her person as a human being.” [emphasis added]

That’s right. This most basic of concepts, declared as “self-evident” in our founding document, is based on Islamic law!

A pastel band of fireworks explodes in a dark sky, looking like a balloon bouquet
Anna-Louise (Pexels)

Heads are absolutely going to explode. You will have enormous fun.

It turns out Portland cops are liars and antifa are not putting cement in milkshakes. The lie may actually backfire on the people perpetuating it for once. This definitely calls for a celebration.

Magenta, cyan, and orange fireworks explode in a dark-blue cloudy sky. Silhouettes of two women celebrate on a slope.
Max Pixel

And keep some fireworks handy for Friday, because it looks like this federal judge is about to unload some righteous fury in court due to Agent Orange’s impulsive decision to spit in the court’s face over the census:

U.S. District Judge George Hazel is now giving the administration until Friday to decide whether it will enter into a written agreement that confirms it will no longer pursue including a citizenship question on census forms, plaintiffs’ attorneys Denise Hulett of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and Shankar Duraiswamy of Covington & Burling tell NPR. If the administration does not enter the agreement, the judge is prepared to start reconsidering recently resurrected discrimination and conspiracy allegations against the administration’s decision to add the question.

Remember: this country was founded by imperfect assholes, but they gave us a strong framework to build on, and we can and will fight back against this outrageous encroachment on democracy and human decency. We still have courts, a Constitution, a ballot box, and a lot of irate leftist citizens who’ve studied resistance movements worldwide. Gather your strength and resist in any and every way you can.

Fireworks, Horror, and a Few Glimmers of Hope
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Welcome to the Unconformity

Kicks construction debris behind the boxes holding nine million rock samples that haven’t been put away

Drags a comfy chair over; dusts it off, sits down

Waves you all closer

Right. Well. Welcome to the new place! I’m Dana Hunter, and this is my Unconformity. At bloody last. Let’s get to it, then, shall we?

I’m sure you all know: this is no time for conformity. Hence, the new place. It’s rough around the edges. It’s something we’ll finish building together. It may change a lot over the years. But the basics will probably remain about the same: nice room, interesting rocks, comfy chairs, books, geology, resistance.

There’s many kinds of unconformity, and we’ll be exploring quite a few of them.

In geology, an unconformity is a break in the rock record. It may come about because deposition paused for a considerable time, or because strata eroded away before new sedimentary layers were laid down. We’ll see more than a few unconformities in our time here. Some of them are pretty great.

In human relations, unconformity* is an inability or a refusal to conform with the prevailing religion, politics, or social mores of the societies we inhabit. And in times when fascists have a strangleshold on our political institutions and religions drive bigotry, racism, sexism, and egregious human rights violations, it’s vital that we refuse to conform.

So that’s the Unconformity in a nutshell: we’re going to talk geology, and we’re going to talk resistance, and sometimes we’ll be combining the two. We are also most definitely going to be talking about a lot of books that relate to both, so I apologize in advance for the additional burden your bookshelves are about to endure.

There’s going to be so much to see here, and so much to do.

I’ll still be blogging at Rosetta Stones, but here, I’ll be able to get a lot more parochial. I’ll be taking you on all sorts of adventures in Pacific Northwest geology, with occasional forays into my origins in the desert Southwest, and we’ll troop over to your local parts of the world sometimes. We’ll have volcanoes, and floods, and flood basalts. We’ll explore the best and worst of what a subduction zone has to offer. And we’ll go places that will leave us speechless with their beauty.

“I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve (or save) the world and a desire to enjoy (or savor) the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.”

E. B. White

Oh, yes, we’ll definitely do both. I’ll be finding all sorts of ways for people of all ages and abilities to save and savor the world.

We’ll have book reviews galore. We’ll deconstruct the really terrible ones, and do chapter-by-chapter reviews of really good ones. For those who were enjoying the Escape reviews and fascinated by the horror show that is creationist Christian earth science, I’ll be bringing those over from ETEV and continuing them here. You’ll also get clean versions suitable for presenting to people who faint at four-letter words.

We’re going to have loads of fun (for certain values of fun) debunking all kinds of creationist crap. And we’ll explore how the same people who cling to young earth creationism and the fundagelical Christianity that typically espouses it also became the people shilling for a serial adulterer with a passion for dictators. We’ll even see how some of their top organizations jumped into bed with the Russians, and explore their white supremacist origins.

Fascism did indeed come to America wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross. It also uses school vouchers and homeschooling to indoctrinate kids with racism, bigotry, and misogyny, and is happy to jump in bed with anyone, even mortal enemies, who joins them in pissing on groups they despise, and helps them go from fringe to the highest offices in the land. There’s a hell of a lot to expose, and we have a lot of work to do opposing them.

We’re also going to be exploring a lot of other woo and religious bunkum, especially the bits that involve the earth sciences. Science denial hurts us all. It kills people, and it’s killing this planet.

Handling religion with kid gloves does tremendous harm. We’re going to explore how religion is used to cover up outrageous abuses, and how we can curb the excesses of religious groups and help people escape their clutches. But we’re not going to forget that religion doesn’t have a monopoly on evil doings, either.

I am, of course, an intersectional feminist and a social justice warrior. So you can bet we’ll be taking on sexism, racism, homophobia, and all sorts of other bigotries. We’ll be tackling a wide variety of inequalities, and exploding lies that tell us that inequality is sadly inevitable and intractable. We’ll see that women, people of color, and queer and trans folks have always been leaders and fighters, innovators and scientists, despite white straight cis men’s determined efforts to pretend otherwise.

We no longer need to conform to the myths that harm us.

Part of being an Unconformist is knowing that trans women are women (ditto for trans men being men, and nonbinary or gender fluid being totally valid choices), black lives matter, autism doesn’t need to be cured, disability is too often caused by failure to accommodate difference, inequality isn’t innate, religion doesn’t have the monopoly on morality or truth, and resistance isn’t futile, among many other things. We’ll be touching on all of it in time. Even if some of these notions don’t presently strike a chord with you, I hope you’ll listen. It’s important, especially in a time when so many vulnerable people are harmed by toxic beliefs we may not even be aware we’re harboring.

And because it’s important to take a breather from the heavy stuff from time to time, we’ll be doing plenty of fun things, too. We’ll take a look at pretty things. We’ll indulge in cooking and crafts. We’ll even have lots of Geocritters, because using animals to illustrate earth science concepts is a blast.

I know everything’s been rather hard on us lately. But we have each other, and we have the wisdom and knowledge of a lot of good people to draw on, and we have a world worth both saving and savoring.

Let’s start something great.

While time lasts there will always be a future, and that future will hold both good and evil, since the world is made to that mingled pattern.

Dorothy L. Sayers

*Technically, nonconformity, but this is my blog and we can call it what we want

Welcome to the Unconformity