What follows is strictly and exclusively based on my experience and should in no way or to any extent whatsoever be interpreted as normative for others. I am speaking of and for myself here, no one else. Nor should anything I say be interpreted as a critique of Christianity, the tradition I was raised in and that I followed for about 55 of my 70 years. Whatever critique I have of Christianity is strictly and exclusively a critique of Christianity in relation to my thought, life, and experience, no one else’s. That said …
I am pretty sure I am in the process – it is a process – of becoming a practicing Buddhist. I have been flirting around the edges of Buddhism for some time, studying Buddhist texts, reading books by, e.g., Alan Watts, D. T. Suzuki, Thich Nhat Hanh, et al. And all t
Mad Magazine is no more … a moment of silence, please …
I grew up with Mad during the days immediately preceding puberty and into early puberty. The magazine was wonderfully iconoclastic for a kid who was confined by the suffocating strictures of hyper-fundamentalist Christianity – the church I grew up in thought Billy Graham was a dangerous liberal because he talked with the Pope occasionally … seriously! – and parents with a grossly over-developed respect for sheer authority, especially church authority. Basically, my adolescence was eerily similar to what I imagine people go through who live in North Korea – constantly under surveillance, allowed almost no individual freedom, perpetually evaluated by the fundamentalist God (the Celestial Kim Jong Hoozis du jour), etc., etc.
Perhaps the greatest, and potentially fatal, error committed by the Framers of the US Constitution was the assumption that everyone, every citizen, would (a) value the Constitution and its principles as highly as they, the Founders and Framers, did; (b) that those same citizens would consequently possess at least a rough, working knowledge of the Document; and that (c) the most fundamental principles of the American Constitution would be taught from generation to generation throughout the life of the American Republic. This confidence was reflected in Chief Justice John Marshall’s famous exposition of implied powers in the 1819 decision of McCulloch v. Maryland:
Chief Justice John Marshall
A Constitution, to contain an accurate detail of all the subdivisions of which its great p