Location: Vienna, Virginia, United States

A graduate of Dartmouth College (2005) and Washington and Lee University School of Law (2010). These are my personal blogs, and the musings expressed on them do not reflect the positions of my employer. They do reflect my readings, thoughts, and aspirations, which I figure is good enough.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Why the FSM is nothing new, but is thoroughly necessary

For those unfamiliar with Pastafarianism, the FSM (Flying Spaghetti Monster) is a deity whose noodly appendages skew scientific experiments, and whose wrath has been felt as global warming (and other natural disasters) as the number of pirates (his chosen) in the world have decreased.

Sent to the Kansas Board of Education after they decided to teach "theory" of intelligent design in the science classroom, the FSM has gathered quite the following with his noodly appendages. Of course, the natural reaction from individuals who support intelligent design has been less than favorable. The hate mail which has been posted onto's page is pretty virulent, albeit ridiculous in many cases, but obviously this hits a nerve with some people.

Why has it hit a nerve though? Obviously satire and religion has never been received very well, but the FSM shouldn't receive any more hate than any other satire. Not when other people have done it, and in much more popular mediums.

Consider Charles Schultz. A lot of people think that Schultz stuck to "safe" topic, but then again, a lot of people haven't seen the strip where Snoopy accidentally gets a driver's license instead of a dog license, and then accidentally a fishing license, and just when everything is about to be set right again, Snoopy is told that he doesn't need a license to own something else. The last panel shows Snoopy walking away with an assault rifle.

A lot of people haven't considered that the Great Pumpkin, and Linus' obsession with the Great Pumpkin, isn't so much a condemnation of Linus as it is a send-up of Santa Claus, the materialism of Christmas, and the thoroughly silly nature of the entire Christmas holiday.

Much like the FSM brings ridicule to the theory that scientific evidence can be found that a higher deity created and molded life on Earth, the Great Pumpkin does the same for Santa Claus and our celebration of Christmas. The fact that the Great Pumpkin isn't mocking religion so much as our concept of Christmas doesn't hide the fact that it's still parody, and scathing parody at that. It saddens me that we still watch "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" and "A Charlie Brown Christmas," and we go about our materialistic holiday motions as if we had forgotten everything we just watched.

If we can take anything from the Great Pumpkin storyline, besides the anti-materialism part, it is that Linus' beliefs are just as valid as those of the children who go trick or treating, if not more so because the other children are just following some tradition that has been thrown upon them. And that faith, real faith, is much more than the condemnation of those who don't believe as you do.

Faith is not what the other children are following when they ridicule Linus. Faith is what Linus has when he sits in the pumpkin patch, waiting for the FSM, I mean, the Great Pumpkin, and does it year after year despite the fact that he has never seen tangible evidence of the Great Pumpkin. Those who would censor the FSM and foist the "theory" of intelligent design upon science classrooms would do well to read some of those old Peanuts strips, I think.

Yet, because Schultz is such an accepted institution (although he got plenty of hate mail too), and obviously the FSM isn't, people try to get pictures of the FSM removed from classrooms, more because the FSM is an affront to their misguided beliefs than due to any concern about free speech and good fun. Indeed, the willingness to resort to law in this case tells me that those individuals on the Kansas School Board are not ready to have a scientific discussion, and are merely going through the motions they believe are necessitated by their "faith." Good Christians my ass.

Raaaamen, my friends. Ramen.


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