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About Vandalay

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  1. I know making fun of grammar is dumb but it always makes me laugh when people try to sound smart by using whom and get it wrong
  2. You wouldn't have thought this could get any worse, but the beauty of having a state department staffed by the worst people alive is they can always surprise you
  3. I mean he's not wrong tbf
  4. Vandalay

    A50 Triggered, Brexit Talks In Here Please

    I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that theonets might not be completely sincere here
  5. Vandalay

    International Politics Thread aka Nihilism Fuel

    Follow up: the guy who supposedly set up the fake assassination for Ukraine turns out to be a Nazi
  6. How feasible do you think it would be to spread the story that the Muslim Brotherhood funds The Big Bang Theory?
  7. This might actually be the most purely dumb thing Trump has ever done. Obviously not the worst, but the one that best sums up how stupid everything's become. Jesus
  8. It's also worth bearing in mind that it isn't a linear process of going from theocracy to secularism. There was a fairly big movement in the US that wanted to turn America into an outright Christian theocracy. That obviously never happened, but it became pretty influential - Michele Bachmann talked about Rushdoony approvingly, and her becoming president wasn't any more unbelievable than Trump doing so. By contrast, you have this clip from the 50s of the president of Egypt laughing at the idea of forcing women to wear a hijab. These things can go back and forth.
  9. "Smithers are they booing me?" "Uh no, they're saying Booliani, Booliani"
  10. Well, only partly. Hell is hardly mentioned in the Old Testament while it's everywhere in the New. You do have the turn the other cheek stuff but you also have "these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me" and all the stuff about the Jews being responsible for the death of Jesus (also the first prohibition against same-sex relationships between women, weirdly). The main biblical source for the crusades was the fairly benign "the life of man upon earth is a warfare", and the main source for Christian Zionism is a really obscure passage in Ezekiel which some people take to be predicting the apocalypse, so all this stuff is pretty malleable. The Quran does talk about killing infidels but it also preaches tolerance for people of the book, and the Ottoman Empire was cited by enlightenment liberals as an example of religious tolerance (and a pretty common destination for people fleeing anti-semitic violence in Europe). The content of the books definitely does have some impact, but in the end I don't know what it achieves to focus on that. You can't change the Quran, and trying to make people abandon their religious beliefs never ends well (I know you're not suggesting either of those). I think it's far more worthwhile to look at how those ideas get influential, and that's almost always more of a political question than a theological one.
  11. Vandalay

    Russian bot people - what's this about?

    Quite a good profile of the guy from back when he was, um, "dead"
  12. Vandalay

    Russian bot people - what's this about?

    Ukraine's now claiming they got the idea from Sherlock Holmes. Encouraging from their side both cause they caught the guy and cause it means Russia doesn't have (many) moles, but I guess the flip side is it gives the Kremlin even more license to deny every negative news story, and it might make the Russian people less likely to trust dissident journalists. His book on the Chechen war is very good, btw.
  13. Vandalay

    International Politics Thread aka Nihilism Fuel

    So yesterday it was reported that anti-government Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko had been shot dead. Ukraine, understandably, blamed Russia for it. He's just appeared at a press conference with the Ukrainian security service very much alive. Even by Russian standards, this is really weird.
  14. The Christian reformation was pretty violent, and movements like Wahhabism are actually much closer to a "protestant" understanding of religion than more mainstream forms of Islam (though the comparison isn't particularly helpful). The biggest problem by far is that the most hard-line interpretations are backed with the most money and guns.
  15. Agree with most of your post but that's not really accurate - ISIS wasn't Russia's top target in Syria but they did attack them. But you're right that Russia's commitment to fighting Islamism in general is totally hollow - they put Kadyrov in power, and support (nationalist) Islamist groups in central asia.