Vatican Wonders If World Sure About Letting Women Drive

THE VATICAN last night wondered aloud if the world was sure about issuing driving licenses to women.

“I mean, we don’t even trust them to be priests, and that’s a job with the most thorough instruction manual ever printed” a Vatican spokesman told assembled reporters. “Though you do have to skip over the bits about selling your daughters into slavery. God himself apparently tells us that women can’t be trusted to talk to people and read from a book, and you’re letting them control tons of speeding metal?”

“I mean, priests never have to respond to new situations. We tell them what to do and excommunicate the hell out of them if they disobey. Because true spiritual well-being means only obeying orders. A woman behind the wheel would have to react to things, think for herself, and have the same abilities as a man. I mean, she might even be driving somewhere for sex. It’s shocking is what it is.”

In response to almost immediate criticism of the question, the Vatican quickly wheeled out Pope Francis to publicly talk to some women, act really nice about it, and infallibly fail to do anything about the actual issue.


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The Greatest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Movie Ever Made

People are bracing themselves for the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. The problem with watching something you loved is a kid is that you remember it awesomely kicking ass, but it ends up looking tragically silly. But turning tragic things into ass-kickers is the Turtles’ entire origin: they were pets who got lost in the sewer and exposed to toxic waste. That should have been Bambi’s mother for herpetologists. Instead it spawned an era of more cross-species love than the internet.

Well, okay, the real problem is that Michael Bay has been literally taking beloved childhood characters and making them shoot each other through the head, but fans of Turtle Power should know that their perfect movie has already been made. In 2009 Turtles Forever incarnated both the kickass and the dumbass parts of beloved cartoons by bashing the action-packed 2003 incarnation against the 1987 doe-eyed pizzavores. And it’s perfect. Because the only people qualified to truly mock ninja turtles are more ninja turtles. It doesn’t matter how stupid you think kid’s cartoons are: you don’t spend your days twirling nunchuks and eating pizza with your buddies, so you genuinely aren’t as cool.

Forever is exactly what every outraged superfan claims to want: a big-budget version which doesn’t change anything about the original. They take more turtle-piss than a cloaca, but it’s all done with love (which turtles also do through the cloaca). They’re not a quick reference but full six million dollar turtles: all the soul of the original rebuilt with far better technology. They’re actually animated now, regularly using more than one attack per fight, and that’s a fight they have immediately instead of killing time for twenty minutes until the of the episode. All eight turtles get the meet-and-greet-and-exposit over with in the first ten minutes, freeing the rest of the film for ever-increasing action.

(Source: MIrage Studios)

We ALL look at our younger selves this way (Source: Mirage Studios)

Action which never, ever stops taking the piss. Enemies demand to know who the turtles are talking to when they make wisecracks to the camera. The turtles sneaking out for pizza triggers a full SWAT response. The army actually notices when a technodrome starts rolling down mainstreet. The 80s turtles make fools of themselves of in the modern world, then the zeroes are exposed to the insanity of animated 80s, where the first thing they do on arrival is rescue the kidnapped April O’Neill. They don’t receive a message, or see a broadcast: as soon as turtles exist in the 80s they know they have to go rescue April O’Neill.

The perfect interaction is how modern Michelangelo loves them, because the 80s turtles were basically all Michelangelos. He’s you, the viewer: the more mature, more skilled grown-up who still loves hanging out with such childish heroes. You’re represented by someone who kicks ass with ninja weapons and loves laughing at the original cartoon – you couldn’t be more gloriously inserted into the fantasy if you were watching it on a skateboard.

If the turtles are cool, the villains are cooler. Because villains are always cooler. And 80s Shredder and Krang as a bickering married couple are worth the whole movie by themselves. “I’m in the middle of something here Krang!” “Oh quit nagging.”

"This is a really good movie!" (Source: Mirage Studios)

“This is a really good movie!” (Source: Mirage Studios)

The movie rolls out everything you ever wanted to see in the original, without making you wait through a two-parter to give the artists time to draw the new panels. The Technodrome, the Partywagon, even that insane blimp-glider combination that the Turtles clearly constructed to prove there were even slower locomotion options than “being a Turtle”. The plot is a paean to everything that is Turtle. Which, for a short time in the 80s, was almost everything that existed. The modern Shredder — equipped with distinctly un-80s levels of competence — swears to strike at the multiversal source of all Turtle, and his meta-attack erases the world down through inking and blue pencils to the blank page of comic non-existence.

WARNING: This means a movie about animated pets spin-kicking people is more self-aware than most people (Source: Mirage Studios)

WARNING: This means a movie about animated pets spin-kicking people is more self-aware than most people (Source: Mirage Studios)

This is where the turtles goes above and beyond. For years the turtles have had a defense against any accusations of how remakes suck, because spending years developing defenses against attacks is what martial artists do. You can’t mock TMNT for being a remake, because every Turtles series ever has been a remake or a pisstake. The movie climaxes in the world of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the black-and-white ultranoir parody of Frank Miller’s grittiest excesses.

(Source: Mirage Studios)

Our older serves will ALL look at us this way (Source: Mirage Studios)

Every mockery the modern Turtles laid against the idiotic 80s is leveled at them in turn. They’re weak, they’re sellouts, they have weird gimmicks, and it’s wonderful. Leonardo pounds the hell out of everyone while grinding out a gravelly voice-over they can hear as he hits them. The final fight is teamwork across all three generations, where the ridiculous gimmicks of the 80s are just as important as the intimidating ass-kickers, in a fight so fun the animators include a moment of giant Kaiju battle clearly and only because they could.

This movie is made with pure love. If you’re a lifelong fan worried that the new movie will disappoint you, you’re right to be worried, because it’s not made for you. It’s made for money, executives, and a flipchart in an office somewhere which said reboots were hot. Turtles Forever was made for true fans, by true fans, and is the greatest possible treat for Turtle Power.


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Auto-anthropology and Becoming a Better Idiot

Anthropology is the science and study of humanity and it may be the most important study we’ve got. Most sciences become useful in everyday life because of their results, but anthropology can improve your life right now with only an initial assumption: humans are something to be studied. We aren’t elite observers. We aren’t impartial intelligences. We weren’t magically disconnected from all the other animals when we added a sapiens. We’re stunningly sophisticated animals, but absolutely still animals, and that’s a fact we forget at our peril.

Some historical anthropology has been a bit “problematic”, which is how white guys say “We done fucked up that time” without ever admitting anything. People made the mistake of picturing others as bizarre species of exotic animal while forgetting that the exact same thing applied to themselves.

The lesson of anthropology is that our intelligence didn’t appear one day as an incredible biological computer. It emerged from millions of years of animal programming, and all of that increasingly obsolete garbage is still in there. We don’t start from zero, filling ourselves with wonderful knowledge to become ever smarter. We start several million years in the hole, stuffed with urges and impulses, a skullfull of biological bad wiring which would fuck our entire future for five minutes of oral sex and a pizza, because that’s all the needs it understands and as far as it knows we might be eaten by a jaguar tomorrow.

When we stopped risking death the every day, when we made it possible to stockpile food for the forseeable future, we rendered most of our own thoughts obsolete. But we’re still being driven by them. Every system we invent to serve us is screwed up by those screaming “MORE” and “MINE!” The acquisitive instinct alone has expanded beyond all conception and to warp the world like a societal black hole.

The mistake me we make is always thinking we’re thinking. Just because a thought is expressed in words doesn’t mean it isn’t animal. We’ve upgraded our ability to do everything with language, but the effects aren’t automatic. The improved decision-making systems using this most powerful of tools costs energy to employ. Logic, science, philosophy: they’re all specifically designed to work out the truth. But they do that by preventing us from making the mistakes we want to make. And we never want to be told we’re wrong.

But without these tools our internal dialogue devolves into an endless stream of psychological sexts and excuses to eat an entire bag of chips in our underpants. Because we call ourselves homo sapiens, but it’s still easier to be the masturbating monkey than the wise human. We have to make the effort if we want enjoy the benefits of both.


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The Tragedy of Luther

History is entirely made of missed opportunities — for everything that happened, there are an infinite number of thigs that didn’t — but one of the most tragic was in 1517. An educated person realized “Wait a minute, these stories of an invisible friend are being used by a corrupt ruling class to extort fabulous wealth from the masses!“, and decided “I’m going to throw off their nonsensical shackles, so that I can worship the invisible friend properly.”

So close! You can hear history groan as someone misses the open goal. Martin Luther recognized everything wrong with the Catholic church, which was pretty easy because at that point they were straight-up selling VIP passes to heaven*, but he’d already been so effectively dominated by church control that he couldn’t imagine a world without one.

*The church is still doing that, but now they want you to give up your beliefs in gender equality, marriage equality, and your right to defend yourself from disease or unwanted pregnancies. Which makes the money thing seem like small change.

This resulted in the Protestant church, and the coexistence of Catholicism and Protestantism may be more depressing than the original missed goal. There are more important differences between series of Star Trek. The religions are functionally identical. There are a host of theological issues, including the nature of the Host itself, but unless you’re editing a theology wiki they don’t affect your everyday life. For the average believer they both boil down to “don’t be an arsehole”. A commandment they immediately violate by calling each other sinful liars.

It’s easy to defend your faith when the competition is Norse gods and multi-armed spiritual avatars, because then there’s a clear range of options, you’ve got one you’ve already picked, and that’s all the human brain needs to disengage its higher higher functions. “This one’s mine so it’s right” is the most effective labour-saving shortcut ever invented, because thinking is hard work.

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Ireland Reminds World that Geneva Conventions Do Not Apply to Midges

With the summer sun occasionally remembering where Ireland is, the government assembled reporters in Phoenix Park to remind everyone that the Geneva Conventions do not apply to midges.

“The various treaties signed at Geneva have protected generations from cruel and indiscriminate attacks,” said Taoiseach Enda Kenny, stopping every few words to flail at the air around him. “But I think we can all agree that those wee midge bastards didn’t agree to anything, and so don’t enjoy protection against any weapons we might care to use against them.”

Assembled reporters were too busy swatting at their notepads to press questions.

“Chemical and biological weapons are banned because of their ability to kill thousands at a single stroke, which honestly sounds pretty good right now” continued Kenny as several visible red marks rose on his neck and face. “Flamethrowers are rightly condemned in warfare, but it’s pretty hot already and there’s a wile load of the wee gets.”

“We’re just saying that if anybody has any genetic or viral ideas on wiping them out, we’d probably overlook any international treaty kinda things.”

One reporter was identified as having raised his hand to ask question, not to break up a cloud of the buzzing filthspecks, and wanted to know if nuclear weapons bans were still in effect.

“At this point we’re not ruling anything out” replied Kenny. He then spluttered and spat, before pulling the edges of his mouth back, squinting, and storming back indoors.


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