To repeat myself…

I saw a headline in the New York Times today that said:

Religious leaders, Seeking Unity, Back Santorum.

Below the headline was this:

More than 100 conservative Christian leaders voted to support Rick Santorum’s presidential bid.

I believe it’s important for it to be said—over and over again—that the people referred to in the article are not religious leaders. And Rick Santorum is not a religious man. None of them have any understanding whatsoever of what real religion is. Whenever they do encounter it, they denounce it.

In other news, I’m leaving for New York City in the morning. I’ll be spending a week there, working on my book much of the time (there is a short New York section) and exploring during the rest. I’m also giving a talk about the wild parrots of Telegraph Hill—the flock, book, and film—on Long Island, in Babylon, mon. When I get back I start preparing for another trip to Santa Barbara Island. From island to island and back again. An interesting and lucky time.

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13 Responses to “To repeat myself…”

  1. margaret Says:

    Where are you giving the talk on LI? Babylon? Over the years I have heard of flocks of conures on Bayport, Blue Point, …the climate is pretty good for them. Love to see the transcript of your talk…as a native Long Islander, now upstate New Yorker-er.

    • markbittner Says:

      It’s for the Long Island Parrot Society on Wednesday the 18th at an American Legion building, I think. It’s an improvised slide show. There won’t be any transcript. It’s an update on the years since the book and filmwhat’s been happening to the flock, Judy and me.

  2. Sarah Says:

    “I believe it’s important for it to be said—over and over again—that the people referred to in the article are not religious leaders. … Whenever they do encounter [ religion ], they denounce it.”

    Oh come on, Mark. You, I, and perhaps many of your readers very well know that politicians, the policians’ puppetmasters, and the politicians’ enablers tailor their dog-and-pony shows for their target demographics, which the aforementioned parties apparently think is gullible and not onto their deceit. These parties will do, and say, whatever it takes for them to get ahead of the flock—including saying what they think their demographic(s) want to hear. These parties are also clever—as proven by their bank accounts and socio-economic connections and status. Watch what they do and do not listen to what they say. This particular dog-and-pony show is not meant for you; you do not seem to be part of these parties’ coveted Bible-thumping, Moral Majority demographic. But you know that. I suspect it’s hard for you to wrap your head around this, for which, if I’m guessing correctly, I thank god; this tells me that you are not a narcissist or a psychopath.

    Frank Luntz once said it doesn’t matter what you say; what matters is how people perceive what you say.

    Without Conscience, by Bob Hare, provides an excellent, if repetitive, primer on the mindset of psychopaths. Deception is their prime M.O.

    • markbittner Says:

      Well, I’m not addressing the deceivers. What I’m saying is that the word has to get out to their followers that their leaders are bogus. How do we do that? I don’t know. I’ll say what I think and hope more people will point out the nonsense that these people speak. Maybe if we make enough noise and good points, they’ll hear.

    • Sarah Says:

      Dunno, either. Some new out-of-state housing developments are reportedly being built in isolated, hitherto undeveloped areas in which relatively newly-built churches are pretty much the nearest source of the local residents’ social life, child care, and entertainment. Perhaps the more easily deceived among us should receive a better quality of education and also move from their physically landlocked, culturally homogenous areas to culturally heterogenous big cities and their immediate environs. Big cities generally offer more diverse and easily-accessible events that draw people out of their homes and apartments than do cities in sprawling suburbs and in the back of beyond. I also think children who grow up in culturally diverse areas generally better learn to emphasize with people who are different from themselves than children who do not. From empathy comes perspective. I’d guess that culturally conservative people identify with power and probably are not open to change, so the situation is hopeless.

      I’ll end my long-winded rant with this dandy quote about religion:

      Faith moves mountains … of inventory. — Rule no. 104, from the non-canonical inventory of the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition. (The Ferengi party says, “Vote for us!”)


  3. Sarah Says:

    P.S. Sorry, I got so carried away while writing my previous coment that I forgot to wish you and Judy a good time in New York. Have a wonderful trip! 🙂

    • markbittner Says:

      Thanks. I am having an interesting time. Maybe not a good time. But an interesting time.

  4. Margaret Benbow Says:

    I just watched a scurrilous anti-Obama TV ad which used sinister, eerie dark lighting on his face (a call to arms for all those who may have momentarily mislaid their racism in 2008). It was financed by some group called Christians for Prosperity. Do any of these people actually read, and think about, the New Testament? If they did, they should tremble in fear.

    There’s a macabre fascination in trying to figure out the exact psychological derangement that’s involved. Maybe “borderline personality disorder” comes close. They don’t understand, know or care about others’ just deserts–and don’t want to.

    • markbittner Says:

      I talked to somebody once who studies the right wing Christian movement. She goes to their meetings and talks with them. She said they simply ignore anything that doesn’t fit in with their prejudices. I doubt they get challenged one on one very often, though. If they had to actually debate their point of view with any frequencyand debate with people who were smart and had clear eyes and were not hostilethey might have to start rethinking their positions.

  5. Carla Caruso Says:

    Enjoyed your presentation at the Long Island Parrot Society on Wednesday, 1/18/12. You had signed two books for me, one for me one for my friend Suzanne and I just ordered your DVD for her. She’ll be getting both for her birthday in May! I wanted to ask how your experience at Dr. Pepperberg’s lab was….what did you see? Did you meet any of her parrots? I think you had said earlier in the evening that they were not anything like the parrots we are familiar with.

    Thank you.

    • markbittner Says:

      Hello Carla. Yes, I remember you. My experience at the lab wasn’t anything special. I was mostly an observer stuck in the back of a very small room that was filled with people. I met the parrots. What I said, or meant to say, was that the parrots she is working with now don’t seem as outgoing as Alex apparently was. They are shy—like most African Grays. I was told that Alex used to encourage the other Grays to speak and he would help them with the answers.

      I enjoyed myself in Babylon and especially enjoyed our brief talk. You seemed kind, a quality that is sorely lacking in most people nowadays.

  6. Carla Caruso Says:

    Hi Mark,

    It is such a shame that Alex died, once in a lifetime parrot. Last year I bird-sat a Grey named Talon and she was so observant and picked up on The Andy Griffith song (I was whistling it) within weeks. Now I have an 11yr old zebra finch who seems to be under the weather – hope Carmelo survives….I raised him from an egg! I have pictures of how small he was when he first came out of his egg. I always wanted to write a book on how to handfeed a zebra finch but never got around to it – 🙂 I found it a great experience.

    Glad to read that you got home safe and sound. Did you happen to see any broadway plays while in NYC?

    Have a good night.

    • markbittner Says:

      No, I didn’t see any Broadway plays. All I did was walk around in the freezing cold and look at buildings. Still, I had a good time. (Looking at buildings was research.)

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