Category Archives: Featured Videos

Even Stevens Mock Abrahamic Religions

This hilarious video, featuring Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart as, respectively, a Muslim, a Christian and a Jew, really hones in on the ridiculous dogmas and apologia of the Abrahamic religions.

Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell

 

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Morality DOES Have an Objective Basis

I’ve always looked for an objective moral standard but could never find one. This video doesn’t provide a universally objective moral standard but it does come as close as humanly possible. In plain, logical, English, here’s the explanation for a quantitatively and qualitatively objective basis for morality: well-being.

George Carlin Video: Religion is Bullshit

The all-time king of stand-up comedy (R.I.P.) was in prime form when he performed Religion is Bullshit.  One of his best routines.  I’m sure not all those audience members laughing their asses off were atheists.  Perhaps humor is the most effective proselytizing technique.

N E W S :
I’ve created an English transcript of this video. It’s available here.

In the bullshit department, a businessman can’t hold a candle to a clergyman. ‘Cuz I’ve gotta tell you the truth, folks, when it comes to bullshit – big time, major league, bullshit – you have to stand in awe of the all-time champion of false promises and exaggerated claims: religion. No contest.

Religion easily has the greatest bullshit story ever told. Think about it. Religion has actually convinced people that there’s an invisible man living in the sky who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of 10 things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these 10 things, he has a special place full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry, forever and ever until the end of time.

But he loves you.

He loves you and he needs money. He always needs money! He’s all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing and all-wise – somehow, he just can’t handle money. Religion takes in billions of dollars, they pay no taxes and they always need a little more. Now, you talk about a good bullshit story . . . holy shit!

I want you to know (this is sincere) when it comes to believing in God, I really tried. I really, really tried. I tried to believe that there is a God who created each of us in his own image and likeness, loves us very much and keeps a close eye on things. I really tried to believe that but I gotta tell you, the longer you live, the more you look around, the more you realize something is fucked up.

Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed. Results like these do not belong on the résumé of a Supreme Being. This is the kind of shit you’d expect from an office temp with a bad attitude. And just between you and me, in any decently-run universe this guy would’ve been out on his all-powerful ass a long time ago. And by the way, I say ‘this guy’, because I firmly believe, looking at these results, that if there is a God, it has to be a man. No woman could or would ever fuck things up like this. So, if there is a God, I think most reasonable people might agree that he’s at least incompetent and maybe, just maybe, doesn’t give a shit – which I admire in a person and which would explain a lot of these bad results.

So rather than be just another mindless religious robot, mindlessly and aimlessly and blindly believing that all of this is in the hands of some spooky incompetent father-figure who doesn’t give a shit, I decided to look around for something else to worship. Something I could really count on. And immediately I thought of the sun. Happened like that. Overnight I became a sun worshiper. Well, not overnight – you can’t see the sun at night – but first thing the next morning I became a sun-worshipper. Several reasons. First of all, I can see the sun. Okay? Unlike some other gods I could mention, I can actually see the sun. I’m big on that. If I can see something . . . I don’t know . . . it kind of helps the credibility along, you know? So everyday I can see the sun as it gives me everything I need: heat, light, food, flowers in the park, reflections on the lake, an occasional skin cancer – but hey – at least there are no crucifixions and we’re not setting people on fire simply because they don’t agree with us.

Sun worship is fairly simple. There’s no mystery, no miracles, no pageantry, no one asks for money, there are no songs to learn and we don’t have a special building where we all gather, once a week, to compare clothing. And the best thing about the sun? It never tells me I’m unworthy. Doesn’t tell me I’m a bad person who needs to be saved. Hasn’t said an unkind word. Treats me fine. So I worship the sun. But I don’t pray to the sun. Know why? I wouldn’t presume on our friendship: it’s not polite.

I’ve often thought people treat God rather rudely, don’t you? Asking trillions and trillions of prayers every day. Asking and pleading and begging for favors. Do this. Give me that. I need a new car. I want a better job. And most of this praying takes place on Sunday . . . his day off. It’s not nice and it’s no way to treat a friend.

But people do pray and they pray for a lot of different things. You know . . . your sister needs an operation on her crotch; your brother was arrested for defecating in a mall; but most of all, you’d really like to fuck that hot little redhead down at the convenience store. You know, the one with the eye patch and the club foot? Can you pray for that? I think you’d have to. And I say fine. Pray for anything you want. Pray for anything . . . but what about the divine plan? Remember that? The divine plan?

Long time ago, God made a divine plan. Gave it a lot of thought, decided it was a good plan, put it into practice. And for billions and billions of years, the divine plan has been doing just fine. Now, you come along and pray for something. Well suppose the thing you want isn’t in God’s divine plan? What do you want him to do? Change his plan? Just for you? Doesn’t it seem a little arrogant? It’s a divine plan. What’s the use of being God if every run-down schmuck with a two-dollar prayer book can come along and fuck up your plan?

And here’s something else. Another problem you might have. Suppose your prayers aren’t answered. What do you say? “Well, it’s God’s will. Thy Will Be Done.” Fine. But if it’s God’s will and he’s going to do what he wants to anyway, why the fuck bother praying in the first place? Seems like a big waste of time to me. Couldn’t you just skip the praying part and go right to his will? It’s all very confusing.

So to get around a lot of this, I decided to worship the sun. But as I said, I don’t pray to the sun. You know who I pray to? Joe Pesci. Two reasons: first of all, I think he’s a good actor, okay? To me, that counts. Second, he looks like a guy who can get things done. Joe Pesci doesn’t fuck around. In fact, Joe Pesci came through on a couple of things that God was having trouble with.

For years I asked God to do something about my noisy neighbor with the barking dog, Joe Pesci straightened that cocksucker out with one visit. It’s amazing what you can accomplish with a simple baseball bat.

So I’ve been praying to Joe for about a year now and I noticed something: I noticed that all the prayers I used to offer to God and all the prayers I now offer to Joe Pesci are being answered at about the same 50% rate. Half the time I get what I want, half the time I don’t. Same as God: fifty-fifty. Same as the four-leaf clover and the horseshoe; the wishing well and the rabbit’s foot: same as the mojo man; same as the voodoo lady who tells you your fortune by squeezing the goat’s testicles . . . it’s all the same, fifty-fifty. So just pick your superstition, sit back, make a wish and enjoy yourself.

And for those of you who look to the Bible for moral lessons and literary qualities, I might suggest a couple of other stories for you. You might want to look at the Three Little Pigs, that’s a good one. Has a nice happy ending, I’m sure you’ll like that. Then there’s Little Red Riding Hood, although it does have that x-rated part where the big bad wolf actually eats the grandmother. Which I didn’t care for, by the way. And finally, I’ve always drawn a great deal of moral comfort from Humpty Dumpty. The part I like the best? All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty back together again. That’s because there is no Humpty Dumpty and there is no God. None. Not one. No God. Never was. In fact, I’m gonna put it this way: if there is a God, may he strike this audience dead.

See? Nothing happened. Everybody’s okay? All right. Tell you what – I’ll raise the stakes a little bit. If there is a God, may he strike me dead. See? Nothing happened . . . oh wait . . . I’ve got a little cramp in my leg . . . and my balls hurt . . . plus I’m blind . . . oh . . . now I’m okay again. Must have been Joe Pesci, huh? God bless Joe Pesci.

Thank you all very much. Joe Bless you. Thank you very much. I appreciate it.

Justin Timberlake Video: Hallelujah

I was listening to the words of Hallelujah and realized that, although it contains biblical references, it’s not really a religious (i.e. Christian) song . . . but it IS spiritual.  It’s a secular song pointing out that not all things praiseworthy come from God.  There are many sources for Hallelujahs.  With a little research, I found this quote from Leonard Cohen (the songwriter):

“Hallelujah is a Hebrew word which means ‘Glory to the Lord.’ The song explains that many kinds of Hallelujahs do exist. I say: All the perfect and broken Hallelujahs have an equal value. It’s a desire to affirm my faith in life, not in some formal religious way but with enthusiasm, with emotion.”

Timberlake told MTV News that when he was asked to perform on the Hope for Haiti Now telethon, he knew exactly what song he was going to perform. “It’s always been one of my favorite songs,” Timberlake said. “And my artist Matt, we always kinda sing that song when we’re messing around in the studio with ideas. The way that it’s written can be interpreted many different ways,” he added. “But the emotion that comes through – the chords, the melody and also what’s being said in the song – it just kind of fit for the telethon.”

Timberlake’s version marked the first time this song entered the Top 40 of the US singles chart. The only previous time “Hallelujah” reached the Hot 100 was in May 2008 when Kate Voegele spent one week at #68 with her cover.

After the music video, below, is some of the history associated with this great song and then, finally, the lyrics to the original version of Hallelujah.

From Wikipedia:

Hallelujah” is a song written by Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, originally released on his studio album Various Positions (1984). Achieving little initial success, the song found greater popular acclaim through a cover by John Cale, which later formed the basis for a cover by Jeff Buckley. In recent years several cover versions have been performed by a large number and broad range of artists, both in recordings and in concert. The song has also seen significant use in film and television soundtracks, as well as televised talent contests such as The X Factor.

Musical composition and lyrical interpretation

Cohen’s original version contains several biblical references, most notably evoking the stories of Samson and traitorous Delilah from the Book of Judges as well as the adulterous King David and Bathsheba:[2] “she cut your hair” and “you saw her bathing on the roof, her beauty in the moonlight overthrew you”.[1]“Hallelujah”, in its original version, is a song in “12/8 feel”, which evokes the styles of both waltz and gospel music. Written in the key of C major, the chord progression follows the lyric “it goes like this, the fourth, the fifth, the minor fall, and the major lift“: C, F, G, A minor, F.[1]

Following his original 1984 studio-album version, Cohen performed the original song on his world tour in 1985, but live performances during his 1988 and 1993 tours almost invariably contained a quite different set of lyrics with only the last verse being common to the two versions. Numerous artists mix lyrics from both versions, and occasionally make direct lyric changes, such as Rufus Wainwright, a Canadian-American singer, substituting “holy dark” and Allison Crowe, a Canadian singer-songwriter, substituting “Holy Ghost” for “holy dove”.

Cohen’s lyrical poetry and his view that “many different hallelujahs exist” is reflected in wide-ranging covers with very different intents or tones of speech, allowing the song to be “melancholic, fragile, uplifting [or] joyous” depending on the performer:[1]The Welsh singer-songwriter John Cale, the first person to record a cover version of the song in 1991, promoted a message of “soberness and sincerity” in contrast to Cohen’s dispassionate tone;[1] The cover by Jeff Buckley, an American singer-songwriter, is more sorrowful and was described by Buckley as “a hallelujah to the orgasm”;[1][3] Crowe interpreted the song as a “very sexual” composition that discussed relationships;[1] Wainwright offered a “purifying and almost liturgical” interpretation to the song;[1] and Guy Garvey of the British band Elbow anthropomorphised the hallelujah as a “stately creature” and incorporated his religious interpretation of the song into his band’s recordings.[1]

The information below is excerpted from Songfacts.com.

The song is about love which has soured and gone stale. Cohen used a lot of religious imagery, including references to some of the more notorious women in the bible. Here’s some lyrical analysis:

“You saw her bathing on the roof, her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you” – Bathsheba, who tempted the king to kill her husband so he could have her.

“She tied you to her kitchen chair, she broke your throne and she cut your hair” – Delilah, who cut off Sampson’s locks that held his superhuman strength.

“But remember when I moved in you and the holy dove was moving too” – This could be a reference to the divine conception and Mary.  It’s turned sexual with “And every breath we drew was hallelujah.”

Regarding the line, “The fourth, the fifth, the minor fall and the major lift,” to which the chords played are: F – G – Am – F:  It is clever the way that not only the chords line up in the lyrics and in the music, but also because the connotations themselves of “major” and “minor” add to the meaning of the song. The “fourth” is a major chord based on the fourth of the key Buckley is playing in. Likewise the fifth is the major chord based on the fifth tone of the key. The “Minor Fall” corresponds to Buckley playing a minor chord based on the sixth of the key. “Major Lift” corresponds to playing the major chord on the fourth again.

The Bible makes reference to King David communing with the Lord and learning that certain types of music were more pleasing. The chords mentioned in the lyrics (that “David played and it pleased the lord) are often used in hymns.

Leonard Cohen sang this to Bob Dylan after his last concert in Paris. The morning after, they sat down at a cafe and traded lyrics. Bob especially liked the last verse. Dylan himself has performed this live, and there are bootleg versions in circulation of his version of this song. (thanks, Daniel – Nova Scotia,Canada)

Cohen started work on this song five years prior to recording it on his 1984 Various Positions album, by which time he had 80 verses to choose from.

Buckley started covering this after he became inspired by John Cale’s version off his 1992 album Fragments Of A Rainy Season. Cale shaped his own interpretation after Cohen faxed him 15 pages of lyrics for this song. He claimed that he “went through and just picked out the cheeky verses.” Buckley referred to his sensuous rendition as a homage to “the hallelujah of the orgasm.” He explained in a Dutch magazine OOR: “Whoever listens carefully to ‘Hallelujah’ will discover that it is a song about sex, about love, about life on earth. The hallelujah is not a homage to a worshipped person, idol or god, but the hallelujah of the orgasm. It’s an ode to life and love.” Buckley also admitted to having misgivings about his sensual version and he hoped that Cohen wouldn’t get to hear his version.

“Hallelujah”

I’ve heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don’t really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty in the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you to a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Baby I have been here before
I know this room, I’ve walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you.
I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

There was a time when you let me know
What’s really going on below
But now you never show it to me, do you?
And remember when I moved in you
The holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Maybe there’s a God above
But all I’ve ever learned from love
Was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you
It’s not a cry you can hear at night
It’s not somebody who has seen the light
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

You say I took the name in vain
I don’t even know the name
But if I did, well really, what’s it to you?
There’s a blaze of light in every word
It doesn’t matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

I did my best, it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch
I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah


 

The following text was taken from leonardcohenforum.com. I was written by ‘Actaion’ and edited by me.

These are the original lyrics from the album, ‘Various Positions’ (1984):

O1
Now I’ve heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don’t really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah

O2
Your faith was strong, but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you
To a kitchen chair
She broke your throne and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah

O3
You say I took the Name in vain
I don’t even know the Name
But if I did, well really, what’s it to you?
There’s a blaze of light
In every word
It doesn’t matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah

O4
I did my best, it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch
I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you
And even though
It all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Ten years later, Cohen published an almost completely changed version on his album, ‘Live Songs’ (1994)

N1
Baby I’ve been here before
I know this room, I’ve walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you
I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah

N2
There was a time you let me know
What’s really going on below
But now you never show it to me, do you?
And remember when I moved in you
The holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah

N3
Maybe there’s a God above
But all I ever learned from love
Was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you
It’s no complaint you hear tonight
It’s not some pilgrim who’s seen the light
It’s a cold and it’s a lonely(/broken )Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah

N4 (same as O4)
I did my best, it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch
I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you
And even though
It all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah

So only the last of the four verses stayed the same. The additional verses had already been published, the prior year, in the book, ‘Stranger Music’ (1993).

Strangely enough, a few years before Cohen published ‘Stranger Music’, John Cale presented a cover version on the tribute album, ‘I’m Your Fan’ (1991), which included some of the newer verses.

Cales version contained the following five verses: A1, A2, N1, N2, N3. He also changed the melody of the first two lines slightly.

Jeff Buckley adopted Cales version on his album, ‘Grace’ (1994). His version is one of the most famous and adored versions today.

The song reached a broader audience when featured on the soundtrack of the popular animation movie, ‘Shrek’. The song, sung by Cale, was played in the film for quite a long time, and in the foreground, featuring the verses O1, N1 and N3. Oddly enough, Cale’s version was used in the film but it was Rufus Wainwright’s version (using the same 5 verses Cale selected) recorded on the soundtrack album.

Thanks to Shrek, Hallelujah became more popular than ever. Today it seems to be an obligatory song for any contender to win American Idol.

Some facts strike me as noteworthy:

  • Nearly every cover version is based on the mixture of verses introduced by John Cale. Apart from those already mentioned, Bon Jovi, Sheryl Crowe and Allison Crowe stuck to those same 5 verses.
  • K.D. Lang’s version omitted N2 on her studio version and N3 on live version.
  • Hardly anybody uses any version recorded by Cohen himself (the German group, ‘Wir sind Helden’ is the only exception I can think of: and even then it ‘s only true for the lyrics – the melody is closer to Cale’s version). Bono uses Cohen’s original album lyrics but with N3 added.
  • Cohen himself made use of all seven verses during his 2008 tour but usually omitted 1 verse to even out each performance to 6 verses. His most used version was: O1, O2, N3/O3, N1, N2, O4/N4
  • Mainstream covers usually cut the verses N1 and N2 to give it a standard playing time, leaving only three verses (O1, O2, N3 – N2 is usually omitted because of its more explicit lyrics).
  • Verse O4/N4 are the only ones to appear in both of Leonard’s published versions – yet are also the only ones which never show up in cover version!

The Devil trumps God: Family Feud

This video is full of surprises. I can’t say much in advance or I’ll spoil the surprises. When these 2 wholesome Family Feud families square off, expect the unexpected. The question is: “Name something that gets passed around.”