Funny thing about satire. And the funny thing I refer to, of course, is humor. Humor is the most potent weapon against extremism because extremists hate to be ridiculed. They love to be opposed - opposition is what defines them - but they HATE to be ridiculed.
So the Kouachi brothers are at the end of a long line in the afterlife. And Cherif says, ‘I can’t wait to meet the 72 virgins.”’ ‘Me neither,’ says Said. Suddenly the gates part, belching flames and sulfurous smoke, and who should emerge but Mohamed Atta, rubbing his ass in obvious pain. ‘Oh,’ says Atta to the brothers, ‘so you’re numbers 71 and 72.’
Roy Zimmerman, “Moi aussi je suis Charlie,” Newsletter, January 9, 2015
The massacre in France and other “Allahu akbar!” inspired terror acts are frontal assaults on free expression. Crimes committed by “Allahu akbar!” style Islamists remind some secularists in this country of heinous acts perpetrated by their deviant Christian cousins that have bombed abortion clinic and federal buildings and otherwise committed murders in Jesus name.
The Organization of the Islamic Conference sponsors resolutions before the U.N. Human Rights Commission against the “defamation of religion.” Poppycock - I think It’s time to go all Howard Beale on those who want to suppress free expression - and take steps to make clear that we’re “as mad as hell, and we’re not going to take this anymore!”
Fundamentalist Islam should be given no claim on our rights to free speech or free press. There must be no supernatural-based restrictions on anyone not given to the supernatural, that is, religion. It’s time we reaffirm and promote our rights to wield satire and inflict mockery on any deas we find meritorious of nothing less. Let’s be clear that we will neither bow nor cringe, nor accept bowing and cringing from others (Ingersoll) where freedoms are at stake. We will honor no sacred images or holy books. We prefer ribald to reverential. Everyone is free to believe any dogma he or she can swallow, but please, include the rest of us out, to paraphrase Yogi Berra.
Ingersoll called liberty the blossom and fruit of justice, the perfume of mercy.” To publish satire is just one effective way to carry the torch of truth, to hold aloft a beacon that lights the way for freethought.
Defend Speech That Offends
Many media outlets responded to the French jihadist murders by publishing cartoons ridiculing selected expressions of Islam. Good for them. We need more of it - bring on the sarcasm, ridicule and multiple forms of humorous mockery. Protect freedom of speech by exercising your rights to insult, even in ways others might find in bad taste. Only the markets get to censor, via consumer choices, not automatic weapons.
We’re Doing Our Part
We have a dim view of the Dark Ages and have no desire to go back. Let’s do what little we can as individuals to be more like the editors of Free Inquiry Magazine, who in 2006 were the first (and for some time the only) U.S. publication to show the Danish cartoons mocking Muhammad that created a firestorm - and murders in Middle Eastern and other countries. Last week after the Paris murders, the president of CFI rather courageously gave interviews to US News, WBFO radio, the Kingkade & Breakenridge radio show and on Connections with Evan Dawson.
So, let us question, challenge and criticize ideas that invite such, as we see opportunities. Religious protections are at odds with human rights. Yes, people deserve respect, but not creeds or other points of view that seem odious or simply inappropriate.
I just written a book on REAL wellness that takes on religion and other ideas that people avoid because they fear exercising their rights, constitutional and otherwise, to speak freely. The title of the book is
Wellness Orgasms: The Fun Way to Live Well and Die Healthy. My co-author is Grant Donovan, as Australian.
We made a choice to roil the waters while entertaining and informing on matters noted in the subtitle.
The promotional literature is deliberately aggressive. Here’s a sample from our press release:
We’re taking wellness back while promoting free speech. No more diplomacy, no more playing Mr. Nice Guys - the cost containers, healers, magic potion vendors, risk reduction specialists, spiritual gobbledegookers and Oprah types have had their way with the wellness concept for too long. REAL wellness is back - and it comes with reason, exuberance, athleticism and liberty. Wellness was never coined to describe the absence of disease or a cure for anything - other than normalcy, mediocracy and boredom.
And now comes the WO to reclaim the true nature of wellness, rechristened REAL wellness to describe a life state of generous
mental, emotional and possibly other orgasmic experiences. A state where logical wonderment, unbridled enthusiasm, freedom of thought and expression and the desire to think, move and interact well combine to produce continuous mini and occasionally not-so-mini heightened orgasms beyond the mere transient, often awkward and sometimes compromising sexual kind, not that we’re saying there’s anything wrong with that.
Wellness Orgasms: The Fun Way to Live Well and Die Healthy is about denouncing superstition in order to more fully embrace the chance nature of your existence in a vast universe of meaninglessness.
So, the purveyors of pablum fake wellness have been warned - we’re taking back the word and the concept of wellness and setting
both where they belong - on a path to a new Enlightenment for one and all, young and old - for the health care system, for worksites,
for educational institutions and yes, even for the Vatican, should church fathers want to give freethought a try. As Salman Rushdie put it, ‘Respect for religion’ has become a code phrase meaning ‘fear of religion’. Religions, like all other ideas, deserve criticism, satire, and, yes, our fearless disrespect.
Finally, to paraphrase JFK, let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of wellness book—one born in this century, tempered by countless NWC hand-holding excesses, disciplined by a hard and bitter conflict with the forces of superstition, proud of our underutilized capacity for reason--and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which freethinkers have always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.
A Warning to All Who Buy the WO
Please do not read this book if you are easily offended. If you are unsettled by unfamiliar or different perspectives about religion, politics and sex, you could have a heart attack reading Wellness Orgasms.
None of the ideas, perspective or recommendations that follow in this book is illegal, sinful, contagious or hazardous to your health; on the contrary, the suggestions will help you sustain a life rich in Wellness Orgasms. Better you should do that until that final day when, in Robert Green Ingersoll’s words, your life will end as serenely as the sun rises. (Improved Man)
Full disclosure: We want to help everyone live well and die healthy. Alas, we cannot effectively promote REAL health, happiness and a successful life of full engagement and meaning if we honeyfuggle our readers or bumfuzzle the issues.
After lifetimes writing books, newsletters and articles laden with charm, sensitivity, diplomatic nuance with compassion and love for all, we said to each other, Aw screw it - let’s tell the truth.
True confession: We do rather delight in challenging social norms that spread misery and inflict great harm. Therefore, we selected the most egregious man-made, woe-bearing phenomena on Earth for dissection and reform. We include religion for special attention. In chapters not less than 300 or more than 600 word, we recommend new perspectives on vital topics. We look at existing customs, traditions, policies and norms infected with pernicious elements. We focus on ideas that will mitigate harm, promote joy and expand your freedoms.
Wellness Orgasms are about having fun and learning to embrace inherently meaningless lives with enthusiasm and exuberance. We offer a mindset of REAL wellness as an alternative to the prevailing orthodoxy that seeks only to avoid disease. The term “wellness” has been hijacked by the medical world to mean the absence of disease, by the corporate world to mean shifting the cost of care and by the drug industry to mean treating the symptoms of physical and mental dysfunctions.
REAL wellness is about the active pursuit of an orgasmic-worthy life of positive sensations and the full experience of being alive. You must never feel guilty for having experienced explosive sensations wherein you tingle all over with unbounded sensations of happiness, fulfillment and contentment. Since such cataclysmic sensations never long linger, they should be pursued wisely and integrated into a not-so-normal part of daily life.
The Wellness Orgasm philosophy rests on a conscious awareness that there are no ultimate truths, only scientific facts in the meaningless chaos of life. Only science reveals what little we know about the universe as it is, oblivious to our presence and our fate, neither ally nor foe - just reality. Modern discoveries about the natural world are vastly superior to the superstitious inanities and insanities of man’s ancient past. A Greek philosopher (Epicurus) made a wild guess 23 centuries ago “that there will be nothing to hinder an infinity of worlds.” We now recognize a great deal about our planet and our own solar system.
Astronomers, for example, have recently discovered 370 exoplanets outside our solar system. Within our Milky Way galaxy alone there are 100 billion stars, billions of which have their own planetary systems not so much unlike our own. A pity, isn’t it, that Epicurus isn’t around to say, “I told you so, long ago.”
Your journey with this book might lead you to conclude, as we have, that all the gods man ever created were but myths and superstitions. Who cares? Who needs one to experience awe, wonder and reverence at the amazing and expanding universe? Like Epicurus then, we today can thrill at the magic of nature, though we perceive but a fraction of its power and glory. While the natural world promises us nothing, it does not threaten us with eternal misery, either. There is no command that we bow and cringe before it - nor does reality demand prayers or supplications, fastings or genuflections, the ringing of bells or the swinging of sensors or that we chant the litanies of barbarism (paraphrasing Ingersoll’s “Improved Man”). The universe is infinitely greater, as well as boundlessly more modest, than any gods ancient or modern, that people invented to bargain with and to worship, sacrifice, kill and die for.
There remains no evidence whatsoever of any transcendent purpose for our being here - it's just a cosmic wonderment. So enjoy every day - you’re going to be dead soon. Get your Wellness Orgasms now, before it's too late.
Our thinking as authors is that we must take risks to effectively explain the nature of REAL wellness and how you can benefit from embracing this way of thinking. If, in doing so, we find ourselves accused of blasphemy, nudity, vegetarianism, irreverence, naturalism, secular humanism or worse, we will soldier on. Come to think of it, we do in fact favor all of these things, though we may or may not be kindly disposed to the kinds of things that come out in the “or worse” category.
Yes, we do question conformity of thought. REAL wellness is not a religion and nothing about it should be followed blindly, on faith or owing to claims of revelation (we make none). Instead, REAL wellness is about critically thinking your way through life, looking at evidence and data - and making your own examined decisions for living a WO-filled life.
REAL wellness is also about exploring questions, not following experts with answers. So that’s it - Wellness Orgasms (WO) is written for your consideration by two aging infidels who wish to challenge social norms and offer insights derived for the pursuit of REAL wellness lifestyles.
We hope this publication enriches both your well-being and your love of life and liberty, and thereby enhances the good you do for others.
Freedom of speech is an opportunity that refines, ennobles and enriches your life.