Fantasy

Simple experiment: find a few OT Bible chapters online & paste them into a text editor. Replace every instance of the name “Moses” with the name “Gul Dukat” and “Israelite” with “Cardassian”. Still awesome? You bet:

Numbers 31:7-18

They fought against Midian, as the LORD commanded Gul Dukat, and killed every man. Among their victims were Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur and Reba – the five kings of Midian. They also killed Balaam son of Beor with the sword. The Cardassians captured the Midianite women and children and took all the Midianite herds, flocks and goods as plunder. They burned all the towns where the Midianites had settled, as well as all their camps. They took all the plunder and spoils, including the people and animals, and brought the captives, spoils and plunder to Gul Dukat and Eleazar the priest and the Cardassian assembly at their camp on the plains of Moab, by the Jordan across from Jericho.

Dukat, Eleazar the priest and all the leaders of the community went to meet them outside the camp. Gul Dukat was angry with the officers of the army – the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds – who returned from the battle.

“Have you allowed all the women to live?” Dukat asked them. “They were the ones who followed Balaam’s advice and were the means of turning the Cardassians away from the LORD in what happened at Peor, so that a plague struck the LORD’s people. Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.”

Perhaps even more awesome. And certainly more appropriate that a Cardassian is being such a brutal, merciless, child-raping son of a bitch, rather than Yahweh’s chief prophet and holiest man on Earth. Also, it’s strange how easily names from science fiction slot right into Bible stories.

As an aside, I’ve always thought there were curious parallels between the names in sci-fi, fantasy and the Bible (and other mythologies). I’m going to go out on a limb and presume that SF and fantasy authors have always used Biblical/mythological-sounding names (and naming conventions) to add to their stories a particular gravity. “Balaam, son of Beor”, for instance: if you’d never heard this name in its Biblical context and were asked to guess where it came from, you could be excused for guessing it was from a Middle Earth-ish sword & sorcery novel or a space opera in which an advanced race encounter a primitive & barbarous people on a distant planet.

Now, if you wanted your Star Trek search & replace 100% authentic (euphemism for “if you were a complete & utter nerd”) you could replace “Midianite” with “Bajoran”, then do a little research & replace all the other names with appropriate analogues from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. But you don’t have to, really (but if you do, send it to me!).

I think the point I’m making is transparently obvious and doesn’t need explanation. Suffice it to say that if today, you were to read your own sacred scripture for the first time, independent of input from any priests or anyone else with a vested interest in making you believe it, you’d probably think it was mythology inferior to that of the ancient Greeks, fantasy inferior to Tolkien or some sub-par science fiction (which Star Trek is not, by the way, so do not misunderstand me). You’d probably wonder if the protagonists – that Yahweh chap and all his favourites – were really meant to be the good guys, what with their smiting and massacring and raping and pillaging of anyone who displeased them or just happened to be in their way. You’d likely look at the basic factual errors about the universe (such as Genesis) and unverifiable, unsupported events (such as Exodus) and conclude that it was indeed a work of fiction. If, after noticing all that is factually and morally wrong within it, you found out that people were viewing it as absolute Truth, basing their entire lives and after-lives on it and even oppressing or killing people who didn’t believe in it or interpreted it differently, you’d be flabbergasted. If you were already religious, you’d call them blasphemers, heretics. Depending on how religious you were, you may well call for their deaths! If you weren’t religious, you’d stand there scratching your head at the sheer lunacy of it all.

And if you did that, you’d then know nonreligious people feel: watching people hate, oppress & kill each other over some poorly-written fantasy really does our fricking heads in.

How nerdy are you?


You Are 56% Nerdy


You may be a bit surprised with this score, but your more of a closet nerd than an actual nerd.

Stop denying your inner nerd! You’re truly dorkier than you think.

I feel somewhat disenfranchised by this quiz – it’s clearly geared toward nerds of a more mathematical/computery bent, what with its questions about calculus, coding, Linux, MENSA and so forth. Sure, I love scifi and I have a blog and a nice collection of graphic novels (mostly Batman) and gosh, do I love prog-rock (The Mars Volta for the ultimate in winning technology) but numbers are not my friends. Mathematics is a tool I use when necessary, like once a year for my tax return. Maths is my ute, not my sports car. MENSA is for really, really smart people who are good at stuff and not people like me, of above-average intelligence but no idea how to apply it constructively due to ADD and several brain injuries that make my EEGs look like fritzed circuit boards. People with an insanely retentive mind for trivia and a deep, abiding love for ninjas and robots and old Arnie films. Speaking of ninjas – there was not ONE ninja-related question on that quiz! Not ONE to do with gaming (apart from “do you own an old console?” Pfft!). Not that I’d give WoW or any MMORPG the time of day, but I worship Kratos, Kongregate, GTA, Max Payne, Splinter Cell, Metal Gear, Grand Prix Legends, Burnout, Ratchet & Clank – if you can kill silently, wreak havoc or go fast or do all of them at once, I’m there. And where are the questions about RL RPGs (almost a universal acid test)? I spent hours in the school library playing AD&D Oriental Adventures, wielding a magical naginata – not to mention epic games of Warhammer (regular and 40K), taking up entire backyards, with massive armies of miniatures my friends and I slaved over for hours at our painting desks. Magic: The Gathering? No mention (I have played precisely one game). No mention of lining up for hours or days to buy a new console (I happen to think those people are retarded, but I once queued up for 45 minutes amongst people dressed like Boba Fett and Jedis to see a midnight screening of the Star Wars Episode IV Special Edition in 1997 – that was when I first became suspicious of George Lucas, a suspicion which has been borne out by his recent “work” on the franchise). They ask about comics (duh) but how can it be a true nerd quiz without asking about your toy/model/memorabilia/collectible collection? Have they seen the stamps I rip from the envelopes at work? My 1960s die-cast F1 collection? My full set of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons Of Liberty action figures? My Japan-only die-cast BTTF DeLorean and KITT? My Evangelion & Gundam models (not one question about anime!! WTF!?)? There weren’t even any questions to do with grammar (see the misused “your” in the first sentence of the results box above! Clearly they need my assistance) or spelling. Why is it that nerds always get lumped into the maths/computer/genius category? Some of us are English nerds and are goddam proud of it!

Hell, I think the fact that I’m objecting strenuously to the methodology of this quiz, its criminal brevity and its glaring lack of depth makes it pretty obvious I’m more than 56% nerdy. If someone wants to find out how nerdy a person is, they should attempt to cover a few more bases.

Fifty-six percent?! I demand the researchers do some research into what makes a nerd and re-tool their quiz. I demand a recount!