What can you say?

Discussion (55)¬

  1. HaggisForBrains says:

    Barmaid sounds just as shrill and strident as Richard Dawkins. When will they ever learn to tone it down.

  2. Arki says:

    It made me laugh.

  3. Cass says:

    Perhaps if the barmaid uses only single syllable words so she doesn’t sound educated?

  4. fenchurch says:

    I don’t know what the seed is of this one– the Blunt Amendment?
    Maybe it would have passed had it been about weed.

  5. Thanks again, Author. In my family, just saying I’m an atheist is enough to colour me strident. That’s kind of a piss brindle with swirls of commie red. 🙂

  6. Jerry w says:

    Who can fill in the blanks on how churches and such in the U.S. came to be absolved of paying tax on any of their vast holdings of property and cash, and yet allowed to get involved in specifically secular political issues? When did it start, and where? Just askin’……

  7. Jerry w says:


    Perhaps the barmaid uses only single syllable words (along with speaking slowly) so she can be understood?

  8. machigai says:

    I dunno.
    Usually it you declare youself to be polite, you’re not.
    At least she wasn’t shrill.

  9. DocAtheist says:

    Perfect! I was in the bartender’s shoes, a few nights ago. Result? The Catholic I spoke to couldn’t hear me. She couldn’t believe her beliefs weren’t held by 99.9 out of 100 in the world, even when all the non-Catholic, self-proclaimed Christians were pointed out as representing hundreds or thousands of different churches because they can’t agree with each other, either. I might as well have been broadcasting to the blind and deaf.

  10. DocAtheist says:

    Jerry W, I think the political tones of religious institutions — as we know it, today, in the USA — started around the middle of the anti-Communist era, mid-1900’s, when the USA motto was changed from “E Pluribus Unum” to “In God We Trust”, when “under God” was added to the Pledge (falsifying its “indivisible”, immediately following that insert and representing the former motto), and when TV came available, allowing the creation of TV evangelists, one of whom tried running for president. It turned out to be such a brutal and harsh experience, he led other Christian leaders to support a candidate rather than become one, after that.

  11. Lakabux says:

    @DocAtheist, yup. About the time that the Family, the group formed by Abraham Vereide, really began to take off. Read the book of the same name by Jeff Sharlet for a real eye-opener.

  12. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    You know, the one thing that we atheists constantly accuse the religious of is ‘ignoring the evidence’. Now, I hate to say this but I’ve just had an awful thought; isn’t that just what our beloved barmaid does? When all’s said and done, she does have the son of God stood literally right before her eyes, stigmata and all, and his drinking buddy died sometime during the Bronze Age!

    I will now go and wash my mouth with soap, then write “I must not be such a fucking pedant; it’s a cartoon, it’s satire, and it’s bloody funny” 1000 times in my own blood.

    That’s better. Feeling a bit weak from bloodloss though….
    Another bullseye, Author. Do all religionists and religious apologists think that ‘strident’ and ‘difference of opinion’ mean exactly the same?

  13. Peakcrew says:

    AoS, you are nearly correct. Yes, she has Jesus there, but only a body double of Mo … 🙂

  14. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    The body-double, of course! I could have got away with 500 lines and a healthier blood pressure 🙂

  15. Nassar Ben Houdja says:

    It is considered relativly uncool
    For an dullard to make to rule
    Respect, give and take
    Not enforced ritual fake
    Brayed by a dogmatic mule.

  16. Acolyte of Sagan, just gotta say you crack me up, lad. UPWA Forever. 🙂

  17. John says:

    Again, a poorly masked attack on the sexual minorities.

    Yes, the affirmative action policies were fully imposed on the entire society; yes, dialogue with sexual minorities is sometimes sensitive; and yes, a comic strip where a smartass protagonist is attacking a GAY couple with smartass (homophobic) rhetoric is HOMOPHOBIC indeed.

  18. FreeFox says:

    @AoS: *clears throat* Ahem. No. Not “all”, ye old tribalist. *bows* ^_~ (But actually, I think you could have gotten away with even less bloodloss. I mean, in all the strips has Jesus ever actually shown any evidence? He “says” he’s the one, but that does not yet constitute any kind of proof. And is at best very weak evidence. And Jesus doesn’t have stigmata… I mean… he was simply physically been nailed to the cross. Nothing supernatural about that. Hell, I got scars like that…)

  19. FreeFox says:

    @ John: Huh? I think you misunderstand. Different legislation. (They usually keep their boxers on ^_^)

  20. Aykavil says:

    Imho, the barmaid can’t have it both ways. Either a single law must apply to the whole society, in which case it is natural that various groups try to impose their own view, or the legislator must take into account various groups/sensibilities, in which case it is natural that minorities get exemptions. What the barmaid essentially says is “damn you if you are the majority, and damn you if you are in the minority”.

    Besides, the term “existing” law is misleading. Laws are not eternal, and were at some point drafted, sometimes against existing (minorities’) beliefs. Or sometimes new beliefs emerge, which run against a law. Think obligation to worship the Emperor (ancient Roma), blasphemys law (Pakistan), mandatory work on Saturdays (at certain times/places in medieval christendom), European regulatory provisions on cattle slaughter, etc.

  21. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    FreeFox, of course not all. You are your own very special creation 🙂 But I would have thought that a J&M devotee such as you would have recalled a much earlier strip (I’ll try to find it later) where the boys go swimming, and Jesus complained about the problems of treading water because of his stigmata. I think it was about the same time that Mo had a cheeky testicle poking out of his ‘budgie smugglers’.
    Which reminds me of the time I was chased out of a swimming pool. Well, how was I to know that the ‘S’ had come off my SPEEDO trunks.

    John and Aykavil, you really are missing Barmaid’s point by a country mile. She’s talking about the religious trying to impose their archaic opinions on all. As far as I’m aware, to take John’s point, nobody has yet demanded that homosexuality becomes mandatory for all, but if certain religious factions had their way then the opposite would be law in a heartbeat. And as for all of Aykavil’s examples, there is a common thread running through them, namely they are all examples of breaking away from religious blanket rules. As things stand today (in secular societies such as ours), people can worship an Emperor or refuse to work on saturdays if they wish, but they cannot force others to do the same, and this is what Barmaid is defending. So come on fellas, down from those terribly high horses, the altitude is distorting your view.

  22. FreeFox says:

    @AoS: But that is what I meant: Jesus’s “holes”, that supposedly are the reason he can no longer walk on water, were caused by ordinary nails, not by faith like proper stigmata in the faithful. Anyone can pierce themselves using pointy iron. No wonders involved. And since he cannot walk on water any more more either because of that, it still leaves his claim about his supernatural origin just that: A mere claim. Not disproven, but clearly (within the context of the comic) not actually proven either. Not even especially likely.


    Be it done with most consummate skill
    A critique of faith will still
    Be taken quite ill,
    As offensive and shrill,
    Even grounds to fight, maim and kill.

  24. RavenBlack says:

    It strikes me that actually *everyone* would like the tax exemptions the church enjoys, so in that one context we would really appreciate them having their special laws imposed on us all. So of course that’s the one time they don’t even try!

  25. Java says:

    Panels 2 and 3 are logically contradictory: panel 2 suggests that one group of people should not be allowed to impose their non-universal views on a dissenting group, while panel 3 suggests that a different group of people should be allowed to impose their non-universal views on a dissenting group. The mere fact that the law already exists is not a sufficient distinction. For example, if a law were passed requiring the teaching of creationism (or some religion in general) in school, atheists would object and anyone who argued that atheists should be denied “exemptions from existing legislation [despite] the strength of those beliefs” would be instantly recognized as an idiot.

  26. FreeFox says:

    I find myself agreeing with Aykavil and Java. I’m not certain I can follow either logic, but somehow this sounds duplicitous. I think Barmaid should have stuck to a shrill and strident “truth does matter”.

  27. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    reeFox; and there was I thinking that was where the term ‘holey spirit’ came from. On the subject of the crucifixion and stigmata, I’m always tickled by the idea that the nails went through the palms (just like the image on the Turin Scam…I mean Shroud). The weight of the body would very quickly cause the nails to tear through the soft tissue; the history books tell us that it was the wrists that were nailed, the joints of the forearm and wristbones preventing tearing. And I have a cracking joke about His walking on water, if anybody would like to hear it? It may be an oldie but it’s certainly a goodie, and so whilst most of us over – ahem – 30 will know it, the classics always deserve an airing for the younger generation to appreciate.

    Darwin Harmless; thank you for the ‘lad’ description. It’s been a good long time since I was last called that, and as I read it just as I returned from taking my 2 grandsons home, having had them overnight and feeling every exhausting second of it, you gave me the best chuckle I’ve had in a dog’s age.

  28. FreeFox says:

    Always ready for a good joke. And given your parameters my chances are excellent I don’t know it yet. I could even offer a Jesus joke in return…

  29. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    FreeeFox, Java et al; the important part of Barmaids speech is the first part. To paraphrase, ‘imposition of beliefs and attitudes…that cannot be rationally justified to the satisfaction of most’. She then goes on to ask if they might just consider if it’s reasonable to expect those beliefs to be imposed on all, not to demand that they are not.

  30. FreeFox says:

    @AoS: So you mean she basically says “Since you two guys are WRONG, would you please shut up and neither bother us with your idocy nor ask us to pander to you?” Hmm… maybe Jesus and Mo aren’t so wrong in feeling insulted then after all. I guess you can only be right or polite. Not both. (Though it’s always either to be neither.) ^_^

  31. FreeFox says:

    Oops. “…easy to be neither” of course. ^_^’

  32. Chris Phoenix says:

    AoS, you’re awesome and made me LOL for the first time today.

    FreeFox, it’s an interesting question: Should any group get exemptions from legislation on the strength of their beliefs? If we were to pass laws saying explicitly, for example, “Every child must learn about evolution in school, unless their parents are fundamentalist Christian, and then they don’t have to,” would that be a just law?

  33. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Chris Phoenix, glad I gave you a giggle, not too sure about the ‘awesome’ though; I’m with Mo on idolatry 🙂

    Freefox, I don’t see her telling them they’re wrong, I see her saying that they can’t expect to be able to demand – and demand’s the important word – imposition of their beliefs. Had the conversation continued she may have pointed out that Britain is secular, so religion can’t simply ride roughshod over government. She might add that they live in a democracy, that there are ways of getting laws changed but demanding change isn’t one of them; that if they want to tell people what to do, they have the freedom to stand for election, exactly like everybody else has to.

    Or is Barmaid just a dictator-in-waiting?

    The ‘walking on water’ joke will have to wait. It’s a bloody long one and I can’t sit at the computer any longer; my back’s singing falsetto so it’s painkiller (prescription and – ahem -herbal) and temporary oblivion time.

  34. Maggs says:

    Chris Phoenix, I guess the law should state that science should be taught in school, and that the difference between science and ‘bad science’ should also be taught in school.

  35. WrinklyDick says:

    I am not AN atheist, I am, however atheist, i.e. not theist, as in not part of a group, I try not to be shrill. Why should people like me, who have no part of the organised obscurantism of all these, “smelly little orthodoxies” be categorised as another group, when, on the whole, we’re doing our own things, and couldn’t give a monkeys for yer creepin’ Jesus, or yer old paedo camel dealer etc.

  36. HaggisForBrains says:

    It’s interesting to see several suggestions of “missing the point”. For me, the point of the joke is in this quote: “- perhaps you might give some consideration to the question of whether or not it is reasonable…if that’s not too much trouble”. This could not be more polite, restrained, non-strident and non militant.

  37. @ HaggisForBrains “- perhaps you might give some consideration to the question of whether or not it is reasonable…if that’s not too much trouble”.
    Sounds sarcastic to me. (Is it my turn to write something in my own blood?)

  38. Author says:

    Interesting take on this strip from a Lutheran pastor.

    Episcopalians like it too!

  39. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Darwin Harmless “Sounds sarcastic to me. (Is it my turn to write something in my own blood?)”
    Oh shit, now look what I’ve started…..haemocalligraphy! But no, there’s nothing wrong with a healthy dose of sarcasm where it helps to get a point across. Although usually referred to as the lowest form of wit, in the hands of a master of the form it can be a very effective debating tool.

  40. HaggisForBrains says:

    Well done, Author. I followed your links, and it seems that some xians at least are getting it. Keep up the good work.

    @ AoS & DH – Barmaid does not sound the least bit sarcastic to me, but then again I have been know to miss the subtleties of a barmaid’s remarks, particularly later on in the evening.

  41. Acolyte of Sagan The lowest form of wit is the pun. Sarcasm has been elevated to an art form by the great debaters of history. Samuel Johnson’s letter to Lord Chesterfield(7th February 1755) comes to mind. The sarcasm is in the salutation: My Lord,
    Your lordship’s most humble,
    most obedient servant,

  42. Don’t miss the speech by Maureen Walsh, a Republican Senator in Washington State, on the homepage of that Lutheran Church link. Beautiful.

  43. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Ok, the ‘walking on water’ joke, but firstly, to pre-empt my fellow UPOTW members I will begin with a disclaimer, the same one that appeared in the original O.T. biblical texts but was subsequently suppressed when it was realised some were taking the stories seriously;
    The following is a work of fiction, historical accuracy is neither implied, inferred nor assumed.

    It’s high summer in the Holy Land, and Jesus is bored. He had planned to take his disciples down to the Red Sea coast and spread the word among the throng of tourists, but most of the lads had decided to take advantage of the summer holiday season to earn a few shekels instead, by setting up souvenir stalls or hiring themselves out as tour guides. Even Mary M. had set herself up in a tent to practice what she mysteriously referred to as ‘the newest profession in the world’. Only Paul had gone with him, so to thank him for his loyalty Jesus has decided to treat him to a nice day out.
    “I’ve rustled us up a nice picnic” he says to Paul, “and there’s an island with a lovely secluded beach, just a mile or two off the coast, where mum and mortal dad used to take me when I was a kid. There’ll be no tourists there so we can just chill out, have something to eat and get around the outside of a couple of bottles of my home-made wine”.
    They head down to the seafront hoping to find a fisherman who might take them across in his boat, but nobody’s around.
    “I suppose we’d better find somewhere else then” says Paul.
    “No we won’t”, says Jesus, “we’ll walk”.
    “I think you mean ‘swim'” Paul replies, “but I never learnt; I’d drown before I got half-way”.
    “I said walk, and I meant walk” Jesus snaps.
    “My Lord, I don’t mean to doubt you, but surely nobody can walk on water, not even you”.
    “Listen Paul, all you have to do is have the faith to trust and follow the path of your Lord”.
    Paul agrees to trust him, so as Jesus takes his first steps into the water Paul is by his side step for step. However, they’ve only been walking for a minute and already the water is up to Paul’s knees, yet Jesus’ feet barely break the surface.
    “I’m not sure about this, Jesus” says Paul.
    “Just remember what I told you on the beach and you’ll be fine”
    They carry on and soon the water’s up to Paul’s waist, yet Jesus is still just skimming the surface.
    “Jesus, I’m getting worried” says Paul
    “I told you, just remember what I told you on the beach” Jesus says again “and you’ll be fine”.
    It’s not long before the water’s up to Paul’s chest and he’s starting to get scared.
    “Are you sure about this, Jesus? I can’t go much further”.
    “What did I tell you on the beach? Now stop whining and do as I told you”.
    “But Jesus, the waters now up to my neck” sobs Paul, “Please help me Lord, I don’t want to die”.
    “Oh, for the love of dad, do what I told you on the beach” shouts Jesus. “Now stop pissing about, get up behind me on this oil pipe and follow my fucking path”!

  44. FreeFox says:

    Thanks. 🙂 Here’s my fav Jesus joke in return:

    The crowd has gathered to stone the adultress. Everyone is excited, rocks get passed around. Then Jesus steps out in front of the accused woman and spreads his arms.
    “Let Him who is without sin cast the first stone!” he thunders in his best son of god voice. Everyone looks sheepish, stones are dropped into the dust, the crowd begins to disperse.
    Jesus bends down to help up the crying adultress and comfort her…
    …when this HUGE boulder comes flying, smashed her head in, Jesus gets splattered with gore. He drops the dead woman, counts to ten and says through clenched teeth:
    “That is why I said *HE* who is without sin… mother!”

  45. European says:

    Might still be topical here, on the (non-strident, very personal) Saudi critic of the Prophet arrested last month in Malaysia:

  46. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Another oldie that deserves a fresh audience:-

    Michael was left as a new-born on the steps of a Catholic orphanage, was raised and educated by priests and eventually went on to become a priest himself. On the day after his ordination he was allowed to go into the nearby town on his own for the very first time. As he reached the town he came across a very attractive and scampily dressed young woman stood on a corner. As he passed by, she said “Twenty for a quickie, Father”. Never having heard this expression before, he geneflucted and with a shy ‘Bless you, child” he went on his way. Only a couple of minutes later he came across another, similarly attired young woman, and the same conversation ensued; “Twenty for a quickie, Father”, a bit of geneflucting and a terse “Bless you, child”.
    Now, six times in all did the same occur whilst in town, leaving him non the wiser as to what this ‘quickie’ was, and it was puzzling him greatly as he made his way back to the seminary. As he passed the nearby convent a middle-aged nun was leaving the gates.
    “Good afternoon Father” she said, “you’re looking very puzzled. May I ask what’s on your mind on such a lovely day”.
    “Well Sister, I must admit I’m very confused. Could you possibly tell me” he said, “What’s a ‘quickie'”?
    “Well Father” she replied, “To you it’s a tenner, and that’s half what you’d pay one of the tarts in town”!

  47. fenchurch says:

    @AoS – you made a cute typo that makes me think that the young woman was covered in an outfit comprised of shrimps. Maybe it was Lady Gaga?

    Mmm, scampi. 😉

  48. noreligion2 says:

    fenchurch, she was known to favor the prawn position.

    DH, how’s that for some of the lowest form? (so to speak)

  49. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Fenchurch, I can only assume that her pimp clothed her as cheaply as possible. Yup, he was shellfish.
    Now THAT’S a pun, noreligion2.

  50. noreligion2 says:

    AoS, would it be safe to say that sister was nun too shy?

  51. some Matt or other says:

    Sounds like a bad habit to me.

  52. truthspeaker says:

    Acolyte of Sagan – Mohammed lived in the Iron Age, not the Bronze Age.

  53. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Truthspeaker, you are right of course, and and invokes the spirit (sic) of UPOTW.
    In my defence though, he may indeed have lived in the Iron Age,but his mind was certainly welded to the Bronze.

  54. OtterBe says:

    Well done*, AoS; well done indeed. I had scrolled all the way up, when, with finger hovering over the Next button, a synapse reluctantly fired to inform my conscious that you had spelled that verb with an ‘ld’, not ‘dd’. “That…Bastard!” I thought, “I bet his friends call him, ‘Right Bleeding’!”

    *As a former reformed pedant who installs piping to earn my daily loaf, I regret to inform you that one brazes bronze rather than welding it. The melting temperatures are much lower for copper-based metals than for iron and iron-based alloys. This is why humans had the Bronze Age before the Iron Age.

    I DO apologize: apart from this pesky fact, your sally was quite worthy-and the delay only made my pain more exquisite.


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