Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Bizarre Baby Accessories

Don't tell me we don't start gender socialization in the cradle.

Actually, this product speaks to both sides of the gender debate. Anyone who has changed enough diapers knows that little boys like to play Fountain. Not something little girls have the equipment to do. But would an equivalent product for girls feature cars, trucks, firemen, or -- God help us -- jungle camouflage? What kind of parent has a camo-themed nursery?

I don't know whether to applaud the cleverness, celebrate the brilliant marketing, or deplore the sexism and militarism.

In other words, this is the ultimate American product.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Jacques de Molay, Thou Art Busted!

Seven hundred years ago, on Friday, October 13, 1307, Philip the Fair of France took decisive steps toward ending his debt problem. Instead of burning his credit cards, he burnt his creditors: the Templars. He had them arrested, tortured, tried, and burnt at the stake for immorality and heresy. Interestingly, the heresy accusation wasn't the sin of usury, although they charged interest. No, he accused them of sodomy. Some things don't change.

So today, if you read Umberto Eco, write a check, or watch The Da Vinci Code, think of the Templars.

And in more Templar news:

The Vatican, confessing to an archiving error, has released documents showing that Pope Clement originally found the Templars not guilty of heresy. I am annoyed at the misusage of "absolved" here; the Pope acquitted them. "Absolve" has a special religious meaning, which makes the usage here unnecessarily ambiguous.

A conference will be held by the Ecclesia Gnostica in Los Angeles in observance of the 700th anniversary of the day the Templars were arrested.