Category Archives: lies

Psst! Did You Hear the One About the Pope?


i’m guessing that for the part of the country that is outside of the ny, pa, dc area the fact that the pope was in the u.s. was just a headline somewhere. but in the middle of the tri-cities of his visit, there was a popenato of epic proportions.

here in philadelphia there was the typical mixture of excitement and grousing and at times the grousing out-shouted the excitement 4 to 1. now, that may have been a result of the stupid things city officials said in the run up, like “treat this as a severe storm event (which translated means to stay the hell home)” or that the secret service coordinated a lockdown situation that paralyzed a good portion of the city, or that at times there seemed to be no logical coordination between the secret service, public transportation and city officials.

whether the event lived up to expectations or broke records, it seems that the only measure worth talking about is whether pope francis can successful lead his church in a direction that brings people back. it’s no secret that participation in the roman catholic church has been dropping off – due mostly to (finally) the public airing of the horrors perpetrated by the church and their continued failure to not only acknowledge them but right them.

i was raised in the catholic church – 12 years of catholic schooling, followed by 30 years of a tenuous relationship where c and i participated in the church only to raise our children with some kind of tradition. but as the same sunday sermons from decades ago continued on as an opportunity for priests to berate the crowd for disobedience with the edits of the church—oddly enough only centered around issues of sexuality and not morality, most of which have to do with controlling women — i transitioned from not listening to drifted away. then, like most people i know, when the horrors of the sex-abuse scandal and systematic cover up hit the headlines i decided i was completely done with the roman catholic church.

in order to even stay with the church for as many decades as i had, required me to recite the mantra: “render unto ceasar what is ceasar’s and under god what is god’s”. meaning: ignore church bullshit and concentrate only on the lessons of christian tradition that matter: love one another and take care of one another.

then along comes pope francis. there has been much written about his life and how he has lived the teachings of christianity and it seems that he is carrying that into his leadership of the church. and to a large extend that’s true, certainly his words are a much more thoughtful message that has to do with love and forgiveness, mercy and inclusiveness not to mention just taking care of one another.
and then… well, then it’s just more business as usual. his inspiring words were followed by a visual of a cathedral filled with white men and the visual of seminarians and local priests, deacons and bishops – all men. men who ignore or distain women while dressed in dresses and funny hats. it all just looked so irrelevant.

sure, the pope was careful to include women in his words, but i think that’s because without them (the slave class) the church cannot function so it seemed like that was more about protecting an investment than sending a message of inclusion. and here in philadelphia there was the additional message from a hard-liner, perpetually ornery archbishop chaput who chose to use this stage to issue a ridiculous remark about the only real function of sex is to procreate, ignoring all the other more relevant messages that could and should have emanated from his moment in the spotlight.

and for all of its moralistic preaching about sexuality what is the true origin of priestly celibacy? don’t answer jesus ‘cuz that’s not it. property. and money. no married priests then no families to support and no nasty legal battles about rights of inheritance. the true reasoning is not high and mighty.

in his defense, pope francis has accomplished a lot of revolutionary things within the church, not the least of which is cleaning up the vatican bank (you want to know something about real scandal? read god’s bankers by gerald posner).

listen, i’m all for carrying on ancient traditions and rituals, in fact very much so when those traditions involve rituals where a family and a church family are able to share meaningful moments together. but when the trappings of a religion far outweigh its reason for being, i’m out.

francis may be delivering the right message, but he’s stuck delivering it in the wrong container.

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Filed under catholic, lies, Love, politics, religion, scandal

how kaavya viswanathan got lies, got harvard, and got a prestigious clerkship anyway… (and she’s not alone)

used to be that you were embroiled in a scandal and that was it for your reputation and your future.  now, you’re rewarded.  maybe the real world has become the distortion reality of ‘reality’ tv.

if you’ve never heard of kaavya viswanathan, you should look her up.  she engineered a book titled, how opal mehta got kissed, got wild and got a life and she’s the poster child of what’s wrong with, oh, a whole lot of our society today.

this kid, offspring of two physicians, got a half million dollar book contract, got into harvard and became the toast of the town.

so, the next part of the story is that another harvard kid read kaavya’s book (which apparently a whole lot of other people involved in actually publishing it did not) and accused her of plagiarizing megan mccafferty’s books.  then a whole lot of other people piled on as they read through the book.  turns out, being the model of overachievement that she is, kaavya plagiarized (cut and pasted as one blogger referred to it) from not one, but four authors (megan mccafferty, sophie kinsella, meg cabot and salman rushdie).  ripping off themes, characters, whole passages and even dialogue.

how did this happen?  she says she has a photographic memory and unconsciously lifted…  bla, bla, bla.    bullshit.  there was nothing accidental (or original) about her writing or her story.

so here’ what i think went down here: (i only know parts of this to be true, the rest is speculation)

kaavya was identified as some kind of writing prodigy by ivywise, the firm her parents paid a boatload of money ($30,000) to make sure she got into an ivy league college… which kind of begs the conclusion that they had to conjur up some kind of prodigious ability for this kid in order to justify their pricetag.  ivywise consultant (btw, they have descriptions of their specialties: “students seeking admission to highly selective schools and under-represented minorities” and my favorite, bragging that they can get your kid admission into “pre-kindergarten programs, kindergarten, elementary, middle, secondary and boarding schools…

so, ivywise’s overpaid consultant has a connection with a ‘packaging’ firm who took the outline of the book (it wasn’t even a manuscript) and pimped it out to publishers and hollywood studios.  they all bit.  kid got a book deal and admission into harvard.  ivywise consultant got big pay.

here’s where it got really interesting.  another kid at harvard wrote an article in the the harvard crimson defending kaavya on the grounds that “rappers sample from other music artists all the time and no one calls it stealing.”   ah, yep, they do call it stealing if the rapper doesn’t pay royalties for the material that’s been sampled, snotnose kid.  so, if kaavya had just cited and quoted the sections she stole, she would have been okay?  not so fast, speaks a douchebag from u of penn, ‘cuz kaavya only stole just enough material to qualify as ‘fair usage’ and isn’t guilty of plagiarizing at all.

in the immortal words of chris rock, “just ‘cuz you can do it doesn’t mean it’s to be done.”

so kaavy was not drummed out of harvard for her offense, went on to graduate, and got into georgetown law school, which in a lot of ways makes a whole lot of sense.  after that, she scores a prestigious clerkship.

does anyone else think there’s something very wrong with this story?  so, we don’t believe in forgiveness of people who came into this country illegally decades ago, or for criminals who have served their time, but this liarthief?  not a problem.

probably the most disturbing part is that there were people lined up to defend kaavya, even if it was using the idiotic “everyone else is doing it” defense.  yeesh.

mama’s don’t let your babies grow up to be liarthiefs*. people, please raise up kids with integrity even when you see that distortion reality pays off.

*reference to the song, “mama’s don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys” by ed and patsy bruce.

p.s.  there’s a p.s. to this story.  both of kaavya’s parents were killed last summer when the small plane that her father was piloting crashed.  kaavya is an only child.

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Filed under college, crimes, lies, success