Thursday, August 31, 2006

“Even the Freakiest Ones”

One of the most important symptoms of pathological narcissism (the Narcissistic Personality Disorder) is grandiosity. Grandiose fantasies (megalomaniac delusions of grandeur) permeate every aspect of the narcissist’s personality. They are the reason that the narcissist feels entitled to special treatment which is typically incommensurate with his real accomplishments. The grandiosity gap is the abyss between the narcissist’s self-image (as reified by his False Self) and reality.

When narcissistic supply is deficient, the narcissist decompensates and acts out in a variety of ways. Narcissists often experience psychotic micro-episodes during therapy and when they suffer narcissistic injuries in a life crisis. But can the narcissist “go over the edge”? Do narcissists ever become psychotic? Some terminology first:

The narrowest definition of psychosis, according to the DSM-IV-TR, is “restricted to delusions or prominent hallucinations, with the hallucinations occurring in the absence of insight into their pathological nature.” And what are delusions and hallucinations?

A delusion is “a false belief based on incorrect inference about external reality that is firmly sustained despite what almost everyone else believes and despite what constitutes incontrovertible and obvious proof or evidence to the contrary.”

A hallucination is a “sensory perception that has the compelling sense of reality of a true perception but that occurs without external stimulation of the relevant sensory organ.”

Granted, the narcissist’s hold on reality is tenuous (narcissists sometimes fail the reality test). Admittedly, narcissists often seem to believe in their own confabulations. They are unaware of the pathological nature and origin of their self-delusions and are, thus, technically delusional (though they rarely suffer from hallucinations, disorganized speech, or disorganized or catatonic behavior). In the strictest sense of the word, narcissists appear to be psychotic. But, actually, they are not. There is a qualitative difference between benign (though well-entrenched) self-deception or even malignant con-artistry — and “losing it.”

Pathological narcissism should not be construed as a form of psychosis because:
1. The narcissist is usually fully aware of the difference between true and false, real and make-believe, the invented and the extant, right and wrong. The narcissist consciously chooses to adopt one version of the events, an aggrandizing narrative, a fairy-tale existence, a “what-if” counterfactual life. He is emotionally invested in his personal myth. The narcissist feels better as fiction than as fact — but he never loses sight of the fact that it is all just fiction.

2. Throughout, the narcissist is in full control of his faculties, cognizant of his choices, and goal-oriented. His behavior is intentional and directional. He is a manipulator and his delusions are in the service of his stratagems. Hence his chameleon-like ability to change guises, his conduct, and his convictions on a dime.

3. Narcissistic delusions rarely persist in the face of blanket opposition and reams of evidence to the contrary. The narcissist usually tries to convert his social milieu to his point of view. He attempts to condition his nearest and dearest to positively reinforce his delusional False Self. But, if he fails, he modifies his profile on the fly. He “plays it by ear.” His False Self is extemporaneous — a perpetual work of art, permanently reconstructed in a reiterative process designed around intricate and complex feedback loops.

Though the narcissistic personality is rigid — its content is always in flux. Narcissists forever re-invent themselves, adapt their consumption of narcissistic supply to the “marketplace,” attuned to the needs of their “suppliers.” Like the performers that they are, they resonate with their “audience,” giving it what it expects and wants. They are efficient instruments for the extraction and consumption of human reactions. As a result of this interminable process of fine tuning, narcissists have no loyalties, no values, no doctrines, no beliefs, no affiliations, and no convictions. Their only constraint is their addiction to human attention, positive or negative.

Psychotics, by comparison, are fixated on a certain view of the world and of their place in it. They ignore any and all information that might challenge their delusions. Gradually, they retreat into the inner recesses of their tormented mind and become dysfunctional.

Narcissists can’t afford to shut out the world because they so heavily depend on it for the regulation of their labile sense of self-worth. Owing to this dependence, they are hypersensitive and hyper vigilant, alert to every bit of new data. They are continuously busy rearranging their self-delusions to incorporate new information in an ego-syntonic manner.

This is why the Narcissistic Personality Disorder is insufficient grounds for claiming a “diminished capacity” (insanity) defense. Narcissists are never divorced from reality — they crave it, and need it, and consume it in order to maintain the precarious balance of their disorganized, borderline-psychotic personality. All narcissists, even the freakiest ones, can tell right from wrong, act with intent, and are in full control of their faculties and actions.

Sam Vaknin

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Union and Division

And now I am thinking of the disease which is spiritual pride. I am thinking of the peculiar unreality that gets into the hearts of the saints and eats their sanctity away. . . . As soon as they have done something which they know to be good in the eyes of God, they tend to take its reality to themselves and to make it their own. They tend to destroy their virtues by claiming them for themselves and clothing their own private illusion of themselves with values that belong to God. Who can escape the secret desire to breathe a different atmosphere from the rest of men?

This sickness of most dangerous when it succeeds in looking like humility. When a proud man thinks he is humble his case is hopeless.

Here is a man who has done many things that were hard for his flesh to accept. He has come through difficult trials and done a lot of work, and by God’s grace he has come to possess a habit of fortitude and self-sacrifice in which, at last, labor and suffering become easy. It is reasonable that his conscience should be at peace. But before he realizes it, the clean peace of a will united to God becomes the complacency of a will that loves its own excellence.

The pleasure that is in his heart when he does difficult things and succeeds in doing them well, tells him secretly: “I am a saint.” At the same time, others seem to recognize him as different from themselves. They admire him, or perhaps avoid him — a sweet homage of sinners! The pleasure burns into a devouring fire. The warmth of that fire fells very much like the love of God. It is fed by the same virtues that nourished the flame of charity. He burns with self-admiration and thinks: “It is the fire of the love of God.”

He thinks his own pride is the Holy Ghost.

The sweet warmth of pleasure becomes the criterion of all his works. The relish he savors in acts that make him admirable in his own eyes, drives him to fast, or to pray, or to hide in solitude, or to write many books, or to build churches and hospitals, or to start a thousand organizations. And when he gets what he wants he thinks his sense if satisfaction is the unction of the Holy Spirit.

And the secret voice of pleasure sings in his heart: “Non sum sicut caeteri homines” (I am not like other men).

Once he has started on this path there is no limit to the evil his self-satisfaction may drive him to do in the name of God and of His love, and for His glory. He is so pleased with himself that he can no longer tolerate the advice of another. . . When someone opposes his desire he folds his hands humbly and seems to accept it for the time being, but in his heart he is saying: “I am persecuted by worldly men. They are incapable of understanding one who is led by the Spirit of God. With the saints it has always been so.”

Having become a martyr he is ten times as stubborn as before.

Its is a terrible thing when such a one gets the idea he is a prophet or a messenger of God or a man with a mission to reform the world. . . . He is capable of destroying religion and making the name of God odious to men. (Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation [New York: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1961])

Monday, August 28, 2006

Paparazzi!

Our crack paparazzi have done it again. Last night we saw Princesss Sushitushi (aka Taro Tanaka, that wacky Cultmaster Douglas Wilson) at the Emmy Awards as she gallivanted across the red carpet in this stunning chiffon gown, lined with a soft ruffle above her bust (chest?) line. After the ceremony she snuck out the backdoor with her escort, whom she calls Über-tripe, who wore a pair of jumper cables over his naked torso. Rumor has it these two have been steaming the windows since 2003 in an on-again off-again romance, and every time she dumps him, the jilted gigolo leaves some schnitzengruben in her mailbox. But last night they were on-again and our paparazzo caught them the moment she threw the switch. Zap! We call it Torrid Tanaka Gives a Royal Shock. Looks like someone blew a fuse! Oh, Princess, we know you can’t speak for Doug, but preach to us about your anointing!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Cultist Fables

Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one an evangelical Christian, and the other a Kultist. The Kultist stood and prayed thus with himself, “God, reign down judgment upon my enemies because I want them to be my friends so much that I harass them daily, but they repent not.” And the evangelical Christian, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, “God be merciful to me a sinner.”

Saturday, August 26, 2006

He’s No Schmoe, He’s Your Pastor

Earlier today, on the local listserv, Doug Wilson visited Memory Lane when someone asked him (through his latest nom de plume Joe Schmoe), “And how’s Edna?” The question, of course, refers to “Edna Wilmington,” one of the pseudonyms that Wilson pulled out of his hat during the “It’s Not About Slavery” flap.

Edna was quite the hoot; she gave us all a good laugh. She also gave Wilson plausible deniability because, as with Princesss Sushitushi, several of the Anselm pranksters posted in her name, giving each of them sufficient latitude to deny the direct question: “Are you Edna Wilmington?” “Ah, no I am not.” Talk about a jokester. Tricks like this prove that Doug really does have the anointing.

Anyway, Edna insisted she was a real person, though she always refused to meet people and she conveniently left the country when things got too close. So Cultists in Hats put our crack team of paparazzi on the Edna trail to see if we could catch her on film. Here is a small teaser of our portfolio; you can click on each photograph to see a larger sample of the image.

In this first photograph, our paparazzo caught Edna in the middle of a workout. We call it Edna the Thighmaster. Notice that she’s sporting a sharp pastel sweatshirt with bright white shorts, and she’s barefoot! You can tell by her stance that she’s practicing her dance steps, getting ready for the big windy. Don’t want to lose balance in front of all those future men.

This black-and-white classic is especially timely given the current controversy. That’s Francis Foucachon with his arm wrapped around Edna Wilmington, smiling at a two-way mirror, not knowing that we had a paparazzo hidden on the other side. Edna is wearing a lovely dress with a white lace collar, and she has the look of love in her eyes because she knows the Frenchman is loaded. That’s right — he’s rich — beaucoup rich, baby! Frankie, you can have the liver; pass Edna the wallet!

We call this one Edna the Prairie Muffin because she’s got that Little House on the Prairie look, with her apron jumper, darkly shaded in UPS brown, no hat. Unfortunately, the darling little lass with the blue head covering is another man’s daughter, and we confirmed that the child’s father did not give Edna permission to visit her. In fact he instructed Edna to leave his girl alone. But that didn’t stop Edna; nobody tells her what to do. Since then, the father left the Christ Church Cult.

This next shot is really quite tragic. That’s Edna, of course, wearing a snappy pullover, brown on rust, riding her little scooter. But the sad part is that she was crying hysterically; the entire (as in global) academic community had just shunned her because of her booklet Southern Slavery As It Was. The front-page headline was rather embarrassing; Edna cried for days — and then they discovered the plagiarism. Now that’s something to cry about.

And finally, this one’s our all-time fav because our paparazzi captured Edna Wilmington and Princesss Sushitushi in the same shot. Better yet, we caught them on the set of Gilligan’s Island, hobnobbing with the cast and yucking it up. We call it “Lovie Dovie” in honor of Mrs. Howell. If you look carefully, that’s Edna on the right, near Ginger, and the Princess is on the left, next to Maryanne. Look out, girls, ne touchez pas!

So there you have it, Douglas Wilson in all his glory. What a guy. He’s no Schmoe, he’s your pastor.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Food For Thought

The current community discussion centered around the serving of foie gras (as supply allows) at Moscow’s newest restaurant, West of Paris, offers a splendid example of the cultural divide between those within the Christ Church covenant and those who stand apart from it. The topic of a specific controversy, i.e., slavery in the antebellum South, obligation to pay property taxes, observance of city ordinances, human rights, the separation of church and state, or serving foie gras, is immaterial. The ensuing drama is always the same.

Act One: The Temperamental Chef
A representative or member of Christ Church acts or communicates in a way guaranteed to garner a spirited response from the larger community.

Act Two: The Pot Is Stirred
The dramatic tension rises with the introduction of howls of religious persecution, protests of righteousness, and claims of victimization on the one hand; countered by appeals to well-documented history, the city code, and respect for human rights on the other. Gratuitous insults are exchanged by all parties, which represent the comedic aspect of the play.

Act Three: Gag Me With A Spoon
The denouement includes a public denunciation of opponents by all parties and occasionally, intervention by government entities (generally interpreted as an insufficient remedy by one side, or a vivid example of divine blessing and approval of the precipitating action or words by the other). Unlike a well-crafted play, the audience is consequently denied a reasonable resolution. Instead, a hardening of previously held positions, a shouldering of additional grudges, and a strong premonition — given the current cast — that within six months the production will again be on center stage in Moscow.

Throwing aside (only for a moment) the religious components that cloak any Christ Church related topic, what reaction did Monsieur Foucachon expect when he announced in an interview with the The Daily Evergreen, “his new restaurant is just the opposite of what most Americans consider acceptable meals . . . [instead] he wants to use the French ‘gastronomy’ style of cooking to show people how to truly enjoy dining again.”

Were we, the dimwitted denizens of the Palouse, supposed to clap our dirty paws together in anticipatory glee when a Presbyterian minister from Lyon, France, promises to unlock the secrets of fine dining for us? Once again, the hubris of a Kirker trumps good manners, gracious humility, and, tellingly, by his own belittling words and know-it-all attitude, sabotages his new business. (A little FYI to Monsieur Foucachon: I don’t know anyone who raises their kids on corndogs and cotton candy, much less anyone who routinely relies on squat-and-gobble eateries for dinner.)

Thus ends Act One.

In a private email to me, Monsieur Foucachon confirmed the accuracy of the Daily News article by Alexis Bacharach, published August 23, 2006:
He wants local activists, who got their hands on an outdated menu earlier this week, to know their threats of protest mean nothing to him or his staff. . . . “This is a group that was looking for something to use against my business and they found something,” he said. “While I believe there are some valid concerns here, I’m not going to stop serving what people want. I will put foie gras on my menu again.”

The translation (for those who aren’t familiar with Kirkspeak) is this: Speaking for myself and family, as is my divine right in a federal household, I don’t care who I offend especially if they are picking on me for religious reasons. Furthermore, I will continue to offend those people because even if there are ethical issues involved I can profit from the transactions while enjoying the bonus of flipping off pagans who are bound for hell. My real friends, connoisseurs who gladly gulp great gobs of greasy goose liver, applaud my moral courage and great business vision.

West of Paris, sans foie gras, was always a precarious venture. Zume Bakery’s failure should have been a red flag to Mr. Foucachon. Despite the self-serving encouragement emanating from those who risked nothing, and disregarding the unhappy institutional affiliation with New Saint Andrews College, an expensive French restaurant with a pretentious menu is probably not going to be a successful venture in Moscow. While it is handy to have a cast of thousands to blame, ultimately, the responsibility rests on Mr. Foucachon — not on the folks who refuse to patronize West of Paris.

End of Act Two: hold the applause, please, this sad tale offers nothing to clap about.

Act Three: Yet to be performed.

Finally, and in my view, most importantly, I must comment on the religious aspect of this new Kirk-related debacle. I am offended beyond measure that while children go to bed hungry on the Palouse, single mothers or fathers agonize over inadequate means with which to feed and care for their families, elderly or disabled people choose between buying food or paying rent, a minister of the gospel — an avowed Christian — puts his money and his efforts into inaugurating an elitist restaurant where fat-assed, gluttonous, bearded bores swill expensive wine and lick their oily pendulous chops in anticipation of a cholesterol-laden feast.

Francis Foucachon, I say to you in truth, rethink this venture. Establish a soup kitchen where your skills will be appreciated and respected. Feed the hungry for free and those of us with the resources to do so will gladly pay for their soup, salad, and sandwiches as well as our own. Use your daughter’s considerable skill in interior design to create a space of beauty and peace that nourishes the soul as well as the eye of all diners. Treat those with the greatest needs with the greatest respect. Create a testimony with your life that truly glorifies God by serving those who are suffering, hungry, and vulnerable.

Rosemary Huskey

Cultist of the Week Award

Gee, that’s a toughie. This week we bestow our esteemed prize upon Francis Foucachon, proud member of the Christ Church Cult and owner of West of Paris, who really cooked his goose with this one. It appears that Monsieur Foucachon has picked a fight with the animal-rights activist group PETA over the French delicacy pâté de foie gras, which translated into modern means “force feed the duck; harvest the liver.” Monsieur Foucachon is determined to serve foie gras despite an escalating public-relations nightmare, which includes a scheduled PETA protest in the heart of Friendship Square. But as the Daily News reported, “Their threats of protest mean nothing to him and his staff.” Holy Moses! Do these people ever learn? We trow not. Nevertheless, we do see one upside to this latest Christ Church Cult controversy — it makes Brown Derby a shoe in for the office pool; he bet that West of Paris would go belly up before the spring semester — the earliest date on the chart. Therefore, we tip our Fedora to you, Francis Foucachon. You give new meaning to Daffy Duck’s famous quote, “Sufferin’ succotash!”

A Happy Compromise

As West of Paris faces a showdown with PETA, the editorial staff here at Cultists in Hats suggests this happy compromise that should satisfy all parties, including those gaggles of geese.

In lieu of serving foie gras, West of Paris should offer fresh cornmeal to its customers, served via a hand-held funnel manned by the wait staff. As proposed, it would work like this: one waiter would grab the customer by the throat and shove the funnel down his esophagus, holding it firmly in place. Once secure, another waiter would pour the cornmeal into the funnel until the customer starts vomiting. When the convulsing ceases, the wait staff would immediately resume the force-feeding and thereby insure a complete dining experience.

While this compromise is labor intensive, it is considerably cheaper than the huge overhead required to harvest goose livers. Nevertheless, it would still create logistical issues, such as the amount of resistance waiters should tolerate from customers before knocking them silly and when to clean up the vomit (before or after dessert?), etc. But in the main, this appears to be a very wise solution to a rather nasty problem. Take the culture war to the customer instead of the beast.

West of Paris

Actually I had no idea where the restaurant was located or that it was affiliated with NSA until AFTER I stated my objection to foie gras and my plans to protest (I found out from Saundra’s post about foie gras before I had begun researching the restaurant). So I’m not singling anyone out for their religious affiliations, I could really care less what church Mr. Foucachon belongs to or if he’s affiliated with NSA. And he did tell me that he plans to look for a more humane supplier (but the production of foie gras really can’t be done humanely, because it relies on force feeding to fatten the animals’ livers) and that he took it off the menu until then. He did not mention to me that he planned on putting it back on the menu, nor that he took it off simply because he ran out of it.

As for why I don’t attack every single restaurant that serves meat, well that would be a losing battle. I’m not trying to tell people what they can eat. I do protest at KFC because they have especially cruel practices in the way they raise & slaughter their chickens, and they have quite a bit of clout and presence in the industry and could make a lot of changes if they so chose to. PETA has a campaign against KFC because they have refused to make some very minor changes in their slaughtering process (we’re asking them to gas the chickens before they are dropped into the feather removal tank that many go into alive, just to be sure they are dead and don’t die so painfully). I have to pick my battles here, and I try to pursue campaigns that have the capacity to educate people and bring about real change, and those where the suffering of the animals is the worst. I oppose ALL animal cruelty, but use different tactics in each case. For instance, I’m not going to force all restaurants to stop selling pork or even attempt to because I don’t think it would work, but I will happily educate anyone about a vegetarian diet and ask restaurant owners to serve more vegetarian options. I also freely distribute information to anyone who wants it, speak at classes or to the press about animal cruelty issues, etc.

The reason I am particularly concerned with foie gras is that first of all this is the first time I have ever heard of it being served in Moscow (in the 5 years I have lived here) and second, it is a particularly cruel practice, involving what seems to me a bit more inhumane treatment than your average factory farm. These ducks & geese are restrained, a metal pipe is forced down their throats, and food is stuffed into them until they contract a liver disease (their livers swell to 6–10 times the normal size, not exactly comfortable or healthy). Of course most farms also keep them in tiny, cramped cages during this feeding stage, just like chickens in factory farms, but the force feeding is what I find particularly questionable. Also, this food is a delicacy, very expensive, and totally unnecessary for anyone to eat it. So it’s not like I’m asking for all meat to be abolished, it would just be one small step in the right direction if foie gras was not served.

I hope I have cleared things up a bit. Mr. Foucachon, I am NOT trying to single you out based on any affiliations, I would campaign against foie gras at any restaurant I found out was serving it mostly because I have a particular aversion to this horrible practice, and it is completely unnecessary to the success of your business anyway.

I don’t appreciate accusations either, Mr. Arnold.

peace,

~megan

He Should’ve Stuck to French Fries

PETA activist plans protest over foie gras
Associated Press
August 25, 2006

MOSCOW, Idaho — An animal rights activist is planning a protest in the next several weeks over a local restaurant’s serving of foie gras, a French delicacy obtained by using tubes to force-feed ducks and geese until their livers become saturated with fat.

“There are still a lot of people out there who don’t know what foie gras is or how it’s made,” said Megan Prusynski, a member of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the Humane Society of the United States. “When I heard there was a restaurant in Moscow serving it, I started talking to people about doing some kind of protest to raise people’s awareness — maybe get it banned.”

Francis Foucachon, who owns West of Paris, said protests against foie gras — French for fatty liver — will not stop him from offering it on his menu when he gets more in. He sold out the foie gras he had in the first week. “This is a group that was looking for something to use against my business and they found something,” he said.

Foie gras is banned in Austria, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Israel, Italy, Poland and the United Kingdom. In Chicago, city leaders banned the item earlier this month, and the California Legislature passed a phased ban last year on the sale and production of foie gras.

“The people complaining about foie gras have a point,” Foucachon said. “The way the birds are being stuffed is questionable, and I do believe it’s important to treat animals humanely. I will put foie gras on my menu again when I find a producer that doesn’t engage in force feeding.”

Matt Prescott, a spokesman for PETA, said Foucachon will not find such a supplier.

Spokesman Review

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Take the Duck and Shove It

Few images capture life in the Christ Church Cult better than a hand covered in vomit shoving a funnel down a caged duck’s throat, force-feeding it cornmeal to fatten it for the slaughter. And few PR blunders capture the Christ Church Cult’s relationship with society better than Francis Foucachon’s smash-mouth turnaround, cramming pâté de foie gras in Moscow’s face after promising to remove it from his menu.

Francis Foucachon owns West of Paris, the gourmet restaurant francais that replaced Zumé Bakery, the high-end French bakery that closed up shop after eating hundreds of thousands in American dollars. West of Paris occupies the ground floor of New Saint Andrews College, where Foucachon plans to go out of business when he’s done offending the folks he hoped to feed.

Foucachon justified his about face in typical CCC fashion by casually dismissing the public outcry as part of the community conspiracy to persecute the Cult: “This is a group that was looking for something to use against my business and they found something.” Never mind that Israel, Germany, the United Kingdom, Austria, the Czech Republic, Finland, Italy, Poland, Denmark, California, and Chicago have banned the product — this group was looking for something to use against his business. So he’ll give them more.

Not ironically, Foucachon contradicted himself as he explained his position. According to the Daily News, first he claimed the menu that sparked the controversy was “outdated,” suggesting that he never intended to serve foie gras. Then he claimed he nearly sold out of the dish, suggesting that he gave his customers outdated menus on opening night. Then he agreed that the goose-stuffing process is “questionable,” and finally he changed the subject to lobsters, chickens, and why activists should protest grocery stores — after declaring he would still serve the liver.

Perhaps Foucachon could put side orders of foot in mouth on his menu too — right next to red herrings. Better yet, he should offer chickens with their heads cut off; then he could coordinate it with his PR. But most importantly, he should proudly display the vomit-covered hand so that all may see where the problem lies.

Now, if you really want something to feast on, eat this.

West of Paris

I don’t know the owner of West of Paris, so this is not an allegation, but a caution.

Although certain items are not available on the menu of a restaurant does not mean they are not available at the restaurant. For years, for example, it was against the law (and may still be) to serve wild game/horsemeat/cat meat/etc at restaurants. Although such items were not on the menu, they were available, sometimes to select customers, sometimes to all, at certain restaurants.

Perhaps it is just the Daily News — but I have a high regard for Alexis Bacharach’s reporting accuracy — but there seem to be a some inconsistencies in the West of Paris owner’s statements in the news article which did not inspire confidence in me in his value for the truth.

West of Paris faces major challenges to succeed:

First, the owner’s visible, vocal, strong membership and association with a sexist, homophobic, racist, anti-secular, crackpot religious cult whose cultmaster and some members are certainly not known for their honesty but for eating out of the public trough without paying their share means that some proportion of the local population will not choose to eat at West of Paris — these abstainers understandably do not wish any of their money to go to support the doctrines, activities, and flimflam of the cult.

Second, the foie gras controversy, the reaction of the owner to such, and the reactions/comments of some cult members about such have alienated other potential customers.

Third, high-priced meals, even if they might be of high quality, further restrict the potential customer base.

Hence, if West of Paris makes foie gras available to select customers even though it is no longer on the menu, I would expect that such potential dishonesty (if it happens, and becomes public) will reduce the potential customer base even further.

How many potential customers can a business consider throwaways and still succeed in the very competitive local restaurant business?

Art Deco

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Faux Pas

Foie gras controversy hits Moscow
Activists up in arms over delicacy’s inclusion on restaurant menu; item has since been removed

Foie gras is no longer available at Moscow’s West of Paris, but not for the reasons one might think. Restaurant owner Francis Foucachon sold out of the item his first week in business. He wants local activists, who got their hands on an outdated menu earlier this week, to know their threats of protest mean nothing to him or his staff. “Here is the bottom line,” he said. “I ordered a small amount just to see if there was a demand in Moscow. It was such a huge success, we almost sold out our first night.”

Foie gras, French for fatty liver, is produced through a process of force-feeding ducks and geese until their livers become saturated with fat. Handlers insert tubes down the birds’ throats and funnel pounds of cornmeal into their stomachs several times a day.

Megan Prusynski, a local activist with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the Humane Society of the United States, said consumption of foie gras went down in areas that provided focused education and outreach programs. With that in mind, she’s teaming with local and national groups, including Compassion Speaks at Washington State University, to organize protests in Friendship Square later this month. “There are still a lot of people out there who don’t know what foie gras is or how it’s made,” she said. “When I heard there was a restaurant in Moscow serving it, I started talking to people about doing some kind of protest to raise people’s awareness — maybe get it banned.”

More than a dozen countries, including Israel, Germany, the United Kingdom, Austria, the Czech Republic, Finland, Italy, Poland and Denmark, have outlawed the French delicacy. In the United States, lawmakers are proposing bans at the state and municipal levels. The California Legislature passed a phased ban last year on the production and sale of foie gras. Earlier this month, city leaders in Chicago banned the controversial item from all menus in the city.

“The people complaining about foie gras have a point,” Foucachon said. “The way the birds are being stuffed is questionable, and I do believe it’s important to treat animals humanely. I will put foie gras on my menu again when I find a producer that doesn’t engage in force feeding.”

PETA spokesman Matt Prescott said that’s a victory for animal rights, because Foucachon will never find what he’s looking for. “There are producers in the industry who say their foie gras is produced humanely, but such claims are unsubstantiated,” he said. “Investigations at every foie gras farm has uncovered incidents of sick, dead and abused animals. We’ve seen birds with holes in their throats and bloody beaks. We’ve seen farms where dead birds were dangling from wires, dripping blood on the live birds.”

Video footage and photo galleries on PETA’s Web site provide images of birds with gaping wounds, images of blood-soaked cages and buckets full of feathered corpses. “No animal should be subject to torture,” Foucachon said. “But these things they’re complaining about, I would suggest American chickens are treated far worse than the ducks and the geese. Why aren’t people writing letters and staging protests at the grocery stores and restaurants that sell chicken?” Why stop there, he asked? Foucachon suggested protests against restaurants that cook live lobsters. “This is a group that was looking for something to use against my business and they found something,” he said. “While I believe there are some valid concerns here, I’m not going to stop serving what people want. I will put foie gras on my menu again.”

Alexis Bacharach

West of Paris

I also wanted to give you all an update on West of Paris and the foie gras issue. Mr. Foucachon has decided to take foie gras off the menu and I would like to congratulate and thank him for making the compassionate choice. Hopefully his kind actions can be a way to educate people about just what goes into foie gras production and how cruel it is. Thanks very much, Mr. Foucachon and West of Paris.

Megan Prusynski

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

If the Hat Fits

Diagnostic Criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder
A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:
1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements).

2. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.

3. Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions).

4. Requires excessive admiration.

5. Has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations.

6. Is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends.

7. Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others.

8. Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her.

9. Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Cultist of the Week Award

We hand this week’s Cultist of the Week Award to the Southern Africa’s Catholic bishops, who earlier this week warned their priests to “stop moonlighting as witchdoctors, fortune tellers and traditional healers.” You really have to applaud Rome for its softened response to pestilent heretics; they used to execute by day and torture by night. Now they simply offer a warning. Then again, these ain’t the Dark Ages. The thing we don’t understand is how on the one hand Rome condemns witchcraft, but on the other they condone transubstantiation and baptismal regeneration. Looks like magic to us. Dark too. Anyway, we tip our Fedora to the bishops, as we admire their pointy hats, and leave them with a word of exhortation from Hedley Lamarr, “Go do that voodoo that you do so well.”

Shun Thy Neighbor as Thyself

One of the most difficult things for a Christian to learn when they join a cult, or when they belong to a factious sect emerging into a cult, is the Amish practice of shunning. Of course the Amish are those radical Anabaptists well known for their stylish sixteenth-century hats, hook & eye clothing, and horse-drawn buggies — you could never mistake them for postmodern. They don’t even have cell phones. Anyway, this cutting-edge Christian culture gave birth to shunning, which in its elementary form is the religious ritual of intentionally avoiding someone to show your allegiance to your sect. In cults, however, the rite oftentimes takes on various nuances unique to the particular sect.

For example, in the Christ Church Cult, they practice shunning in coordination with imprecatory prayers because, as the Cultmaster said, they really want those people (i.e. the “targets”) to be their friends. And we all know that the best way to befriend someone is to treat them with contempt and pray that God would kill them. It really says that somewhere in the Bible. But these things are beside the point. As noted, shunning is not easy to learn, so here are some important tips to remember as you grow in your shunification:
1. First, if you see your neighbor — whether driving on the road, walking through the neighborhood, or nose to nose in the market — then make your face like flint, stern & unforgiving.

2. Second, look away and be as mean as possible. You must remember that you do not approve of this person and they must know it. More importantly, your Cultmaster rejects that person, and the Cultmaster’s opinion carries more weight than God.

3. Third, ignore them. Do not say “Hello” or offer any kind of greeting. You must resist the temptation to be kind — especially if you see them in need. You are superior to them, so let them know it. And if you succumb to temptation or if your natural reflex overwhelms you so that you initiate a greeting, then make sure you grunt it with a begrudging tone. You’re a miserable soul, don’t hide it.

4. Fourth, if you feel awkward, you should. The practice is unnatural, unbiblical, and it makes you look like a jackass. But don’t worry about it; you’ll get over it as your conscience erodes with further indoctrination from the cult. Pretty soon you’ll learn to like it.

5. Fifth, teach your children to be as mean and nasty as yourself so that the world can be a better place for everyone.

6. Finally, don’t forget that the Cultist Bible says, “He that shunneth not knoweth not God.”

If you do these things, your heart will continue to harden and you’ll enjoy the rich fellowship provided only by your cult. So carry on and dread naught.

Eat This

Why thank you for the lovely welcome to the “intoleristas.” I find it funny that that name came from someone quite intolerant. . .

And as for the foie gras, the suppliers in the US and elsewhere all have the same practice (as seen in several undercover investigations into these suppliers), in fact, to make foie gras one has to induce a liver disease. That is why it gets fatty, because the ducks & geese are so overfed that their liver swells and they become very sick, often unable to move or do anything they would do normally. There is no way to produce foie gras without force-feeding the animals and inducing the disease. Foie gras is not a delicacy, it is a disease.

It’s great that the restaurant offer free-range chicken instead of factory farmed chicken, but it seems that your “ethics” are quite skewed, this doesn’t make up for the fact that foie gras is just about the most cruel way to produce a meat (fat?) that is totally unnecessary and considered a “delicacy.” I hope you’ll consider making a higher degree of ethics universal throughout the restaurant. I would love to offer you more information on this subject, or some videos so you can see exactly what goes into foie gras production. Many restaurants, states (including California) and countries (including the UK & Switzerland) have banned it because producing it requires cruelty and there is much public outcry against it.

I would be happy to eat at the restaurant if you’re willing to take foie gras off the menu (assuming you offer vegetarian and vegan options). Until then, I’d be even happier to protest it. I hope we can have a civilized discussion about this, but if not, be prepared to deal with protesters.

Here’s a video showing what was revealed at an undercover investigation of a foie gras “farm.”

Megan Prusynski

Thursday, August 17, 2006

“Return to Sender”

Most people don’t know this, but when Wilson filed his police complaint alleging that someone placed a used condom in his mailbox, he omitted a critical piece of information that could have solved the mystery in the drop of a hat — the prophylactic was marked “Return to Sender.”

You Know You’re in a Cult if . . .

You know you’re in a cult if your cult master cites the book of Ezra as his authority to dissolve a marriage of 30 years. Not quite as efficient as a UPS truck, but it’ll do.

You Know You’re in a Cult if . . .

You know you’re in a cult if your elders help you circumvent the law rather than encouraging you to obey it. In this case, the Cultmaster wants to prevent the City from identifying the 20+ illegal boarding houses that support the cult’s college instead of directing cultmembers to bring their lawless operations into conformity by obtaining conditional use permits required by the City.

-----Original Message-----
From: Christ Church
Sent: Thursday, August 17, 2006 9:06 AM
To: office@christkirk.com; TrinityReformedChurch@gmail.com
Subject: students in church directory


Due to problems we have faced with boarding students, the church directory will only include the email addresses and cell phone numbers of students that board with families. If you are in an apartment or student house we will be happy to publish your address. If you need the address of a boarding student you will have to call or email them personally. Sorry for the inconvenience.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Christine LaMoreaux, Administrative Secretary Christ Church - Anselm House
205 East 5th Street P.O. Box 8741
Moscow, ID 83843
office@christkirk.com
Voice: (208) 882-2034 Fax: (208) 892-8724 www.christkirk.com

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

West of Paris, Grand Opening

I have debated and debated about whether to post this or not, but I’d hate for an unsuspecting person to go to West of Paris only to be horrified.

I was deeply disappointed to see that West of Paris will be selling foie gras. For that reason alone, I will refuse to patronize the business, no matter how delicious other menu items look or sound — it’s a matter of ethics for me.

The process used to make foie gras is animal cruelty, pure and simple. Fifteen nations (including the UK, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, and Israel — formerly the fourth largest producer in the world) have banned force-feeding birds for foie gras production. The City of Chicago has banned the sale of foie gras, and Philadelphia is likely to follow. Beginning 2012, the production and sale of foie gras from force-fed birds will be banned in the State of California.

I won’t go into the horrifying and graphic details of how foie gras is produced, but for those who want to learn more, you can check out Wikipedia. You can also Google it, but WARNING: there’s a lot of deeply disturbing (although accurate) information and photos you’ll find.

Very disappointing that foie gras will be sold in any Moscow restaurant.

JMNSHO,

Saundra Lund
Moscow, ID

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

You Know You’re in a Cult if . . .

You know you’re in a cult if your pastors connive to deploy a pseudonym on the local listserv so that when one of them is asked, “Are you Princesss Sushitushi?” he can answer, “No, I am not,” knowing that he is technically telling the truth because he is only one component of the composite personality. Christian churches call this kind of deception “lying”; the Christ Church Cult calls it “cultural warfare.”

You Know You’re in a Cult if . . .

You know you’re in a cult if two or more of your elders adopt a pseudonym on the local listserv — the same listserv they swore off — in order to defend the cult’s master: “I can’t speak for Doug Wilson, but . . .”

Missing the point

Does the vision of Doug Wilson and his elders and the fellows at NSA for a transformed culture include a society where people obey zoning laws imposed by civil authority and eschew lying en masse to one’s neighbors?

Golly, that does sound nifty!

keely

Friday, August 11, 2006

Cultist of the Week Award

This week’s Cultist of the Week Award goes to Bob Hieronymus — that madcapping publicist for New Saint Andrews College who managed to place NSA in the top 50 “All-American Colleges: Top Schools for Conservatives, Old-Fashioned Liberals, and People of Faith.” In our opinion, anyone savvy enough to place NSA in the top 50 of anything deserves commendation. Look at it this way: in 2005 NSA perpetrated a Shroud of Turin fraud; successfully concealed vital information about a serial pedophile from the community; dodged a legitimate charge of plagiarism; and was declared in violation of the Zoning Code for the third time in a decade. How’s that for family values? This year, however, NSA dug deep and got their money’s worth out of Bob Hieronymus, who pulled the mother of all rabbits out of his hat, proving the maxim: “There’s a sucker born every minute, but none of them ever die.” Bob, we salute you with a special tip of the Fedora.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

NSA story was a stretch

One of the unexpected benefits provided by a subscription to the Daily News is its remarkable consistency in stretching the reader’s credulity. One can find no better example of this than the article in the Aug. 4 edition describing the listing of New Saint Andrews College in a forthcoming book All-American Colleges: Top Schools for Conservatives, Old-Fashioned Liberals, and People of Faith.

While noting the book is published by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, the article fails to mention this is a right-wing organization whose agenda is to promote conservative and religious values. Further noting that “the book doesn’t list any typical All American colleges,” the article implies — with its mention of Princeton and University of Chicago — that NSA is part of a collection of the nation’s elite universities: a remarkable achievement for NSA, no doubt, given its short 13-year history and its very recent and nebulous academic accreditation. Or does the remarkable achievement lie in the limitless creativity of ideology to categorize and shape the world to its own desires and agendas?

Gene Rosa, Moscow

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Secular Jihadists and the blow-up castle

Summer in Moscow means fun-filled and beautiful days for everyone. For the second year in a row, Trinity Festival is coming to our town. On Aug. 1, the Moscow Chamber of Commerce sent out this announcement:

“Second Trinity Festival Held in Moscow
Credenda/Agenda magazine is sponsoring its second Trinity Festival on August 7–9. . . . Tuesday, August 8: the festival will be moving downtown. Third through Fifth Streets will be closed from 5–10 and all local community folks, as well as festival attendees, are invited to come buy dinner from downtown vendors, enjoy the Wine Garden provided by Camas Winery, and have a fun evening of musical entertainment in Friendship Square. La Bella Vita will be selling Chicago-Style Hot Dogs, as well as snocones [sic] and cotton candy. The huge blow-up castle will make its appearance again for the youngsters. . .”

In case you do not know, Credenda/Agenda is the magazine published through Moscow’s Christ Church affiliate Canon Press. The festival also is linked with the church and its associated enterprises. It is inviting of the magazine and church to welcome “all local community folks” downtown to partake in this event and provide a bounce house or “huge blow-up castle” for anyone’s chldren. It would be a shame if such a significant event right in downtown on a beautiful August evening excluded the general public.

It is funny though that the announcement does not mention the theme of the overall event — “Secular Jihad in America: The War on the Constitution.” Well, now, that makes me stop and question the intent of the announced offer, and the real theme of the event. In fact, the idea that I am a jihadist because I believe in a secular government makes me feel quite uneasy about joining the whole event. Being somehow equated with a terrorist participating in an attack on our country’s foundation makes me think I might just choke on that Chicago-style hot dog provided by La Bella Vita. (Of course as a liberal, secular, vegetarian I probably couldn’t eat a Chicago-style hot dog if I tried.)

These two incongruous ideas: that my family and I are invited to this event and that they are calling me a jihadist are difficult for me to reconcile. Am I really welcome? Should I attend with the hopes that this olive branch to the community at-large is real?

I do want this community to work to heal some of its wounds created by our ongoing conflict between Christ Church leaders, outspoken progressives, historians and others who take issue with teachings and writings of Christ Church, Credenda/Agenda and Canon Press. Sometimes, I find common ground between myself and others in the community who belong to Christ Church.

Really, I long to maintain hope that somehow we can all live together without regular conflict in Moscow. But, the idea that Credenda/Agenda is holding an entire conference centered on the theme that people who believe in the separation of church and state (secularists) are the same as people who kill thousands jihadists makes my head ache and my hopes falter. Snow cones and being called a jihadist just don’t go together in my brain. I can’t help but wonder what the banners downtown will say? “Welcome community terrorists to our fun family event.” “Please remove shoes and explosives before entering the bounce house.” “Please don’t blow up the blow-up castle.”

By the time my Town Crier is published, this event will have passed. For now, I would like “all local community folks” to understand the connection between the event downtown and the theme of the Trinity Festival conference. Next year, let’s hope Credenda/Agenda and the leaders of Trinity Festival will think a little harder about their festival title and theme. Until then, I’ll try to keep a little flicker of hope alive.

Julia Parker

Julia Parker lives in Moscow and is a nurse at Gritman Medical Center, a mother and a former academic. Town Crier II is a weekly series of columns contributed by 13 local writers. The Town Crier columns run on Wednesday.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Ecclesiastical Discipline in the Christ Church Cult

THEORY
The Bible vests in church elders exclusively the authority to render a final determination over a member charged with the commission of unrepented sin, if — and only if — unstipulated sin-factual questions are decided in a church “trial,” subject to extensive procedural safeguards (see e.g., Matthew 18:15–17.)

After a member is found to be unrepentant of sin and they remain obdurate, he/she must be rebuked in the presence of all and the Lord Jesus Christ instructs His church to treat the unrepentant like a Gentile or tax-collector, i.e., with normal human courtesy, but not as a fellow believer.

APPLICATION
Christ Church implements Matthew 18:15–17 in the following way:

First, congregants are expected to confer with other members to make assessments of their neighbor’s level of cooperation with Pastor Douglas Wilson’s ministry objectives. The congregation is also required to police their brothers & sisters in Christ, and quietly inform an elder if there is any potential disagreement or lack of cooperation with Pastor Wilson’s personal ministry objectives, which is tantamount to committing sin, if not high rebellion.

Second, the congregation must be vigilant in ascertaining whether Pastor Wilson intends the congregation to pressure, totally ignore, or disfellowship the believer in good standing. They obtain this information by tapping into the Kirk rumor mill, which originates in Pastor Wilson’s office via his well-known whisper campaigns.

Note: Congregants with a financial connection to the church, e.g., employees of any of Wilson-associated ministries, MUST disfellowship & shun a dissident, or else quit or face termination (without notice). No unmarried, unadjudicated dissident members are permitted to marry within the Church. No member is permitted to speak kindly to an unadjudicated dissident in church, unless said member is of high status or standing in the church, e.g., Doug Jones dripping love & affection on Pooh Bear.

CONCLUSION — EXHORTATION
Every member of Christ Church should mete out Kirk discipline to those dissident members who interfere with Pastor Wilson’s ministry objectives: such dissenting conduct is sin and all requirements for a trial are hereby dispensed.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Existential Liar

TO and I once debated the subject of Doug’s dishonesty. TO held the position that Doug is not guilty of “lying” when he delivers a bald-faced lie, because, according to TO, Doug really believes the lie when he utters it. In other words, since Doug really believes his lies when he tells them, he is therefore not guilty of lying. To TO, it doesn’t matter if Doug says one thing and five minutes later completely contradicts it; TO believes this involves consistency and competence, not honesty.

I do not deny that Doug believes his own lies at any given time, even when he contradicts them within a 5-minute window. However, I hold that Doug has studied the finer points of rhetoric and he understands the importance of closing the deal, i.e. a salesman, or con artist, will not bag the customer unless he prevails upon him with his sales pitch, which relies not only upon the content of his words but their delivery. Therefore, Doug taught himself how to use persuasion in order to lie, and he learned that he could not persuade others unless he persuaded himself, or at least appeared persuaded. Of course, self-persuasion, or the appearance thereof, is not without cost. Scripture teaches that hypocritical liars scorch their scruples to a stub: “Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron” (1 Tim 4:2). But I digress.

TO’s analysis correctly identifies the reason that Doug is a successful liar, i.e., he deceives himself before he deceives others (TO does concede that Doug is guilty of self-deception). But TO fails to explain why self-deception should be exculpatory. Consequently, his analysis boils down to a ridiculous question: “Which came first, the deceiver or the self-deceiver?” as if the liar who depends upon self-deception to successfully mislead is somehow not culpable. Who cares?

If Doug predicates his lies on self-deceit, then Doug’s self-deception reveals premeditation, which only aggravates his sin. It certainly doesn’t justify him. He lies, and he calculates his lies to exonerate him. He does this by design. It’s all planned — every word. Therefore, if Doug has disciplined himself to actually believe his lies before he tells them, then he is simply an existential liar, but a liar nonetheless.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

An Illustration

Body odor is hard to discern when it is your own. You are happy with your choices of hygiene and you will not notice your pungency without shoving your face in your armpit. You are at peace. Others are not so lucky. It is your odor and their nose. They don’t need to put their face in your armpit. They merely need to walk by or step into an enclosed place with you. Soon they are dreading the “fellowship” you offer after church. “Someone,” they say gossiping like the Philistine, “must tell you.” They certainly should be braver but they are not. They should, in a manly way, walk up to you and declare to the ears that which the nose lacks. “Sir, you are offensive to all that breathes. Without breath we die, but sir, with it we are sore wounded until death may be preferred.” Such would the brave man say to his, now, ex-friend. Instead, less brave, he leaves an unsigned note in the pages of the odiferous friend’s KJV (the stinky are often sticklers).

Once this note is found and read, the comfort of the pungent is disturbed. The borders of his life have been breached. The proverbial rock with a note has been bunged through his window. Is it a psyops attack of enemies? “You stink” when you don’t can be viewed as an attempted misdirection of your efforts in ruling your fief. Is it the fearful admonition of friends who wish you to remedy something that affects them? Both are likely stories as stories go. The choice between them will tell another story, that of self assessment. Most of us, I think, are insecure about our attempts to be physically pleasing and would naturally understand that our self-comfort has misled us again. We may quickly develop into a three-shower-a-day obsessive compulsive. It takes a mighty proud man to be so confident of his hygiene that he feels free to consider the note-writer an enemy whose efforts were an obviously flawed attempt on the citadel of a kingdom wonderfully run. Do they not know that this is how all men should smell?

There is an irritation ratio that could be discerned. In both stories it is a negative act to lob a unsigned missive into another’s life commenting on a failing and it is a negative condition to stink. How annoyed we are with which, is the ratio we find defining our souls. Does my annoyance with the unknown writer predominate? Or my failure to clean myself sufficiently? Sometimes, when the planets align, the stink is real and the enemies are real. This ratchets up the confusion in dealing. The foul one easily sees the animus of the commentary and is tempted to consign the whole proceeding to motives unconnected with his stench. Others, friends, see that an enemy spoke the needful first and was rejected so they hurriedly scratch out a note and file it in the KJV. “No really, I mean this, you do stink. This is not from the previous anonymous writer.” “Sure its not,” says the offensive to himself and others who have grown comfortable with a certain level of greenish miasma in the places they gather. This is not a circumstance which will get the stinking to stop anytime soon. Some give up and avoid. Some try to find new ways to speak to the stink. They try directly, as the brave should have done but it is too late. The stinkers have developed a view. They have addressed the concept of stinking thoroughly because they defended against enemies. As for the enemies, damn them. For the olfactorily offended, they need to realize that noses are merely the evolutionary residue (like the appendix) of radical Anabaptist pietism. And our friends, we will make and sell a bacterial cocktail that will, when applied to your sweaty areas, grow into a New Wave of Wafting Greatness that Will Sweep the Infidel Nosiness Down to the Pit. And we will also need to develop something for our watering eyes.

The Oracle