Em oi! #392: Such Truth

em 392b

I should clarify straight away that “Lupton Fact” is the term B uses for claims that I (and my brothers) claim that occasionally turn out to not be true, or not be entirely true.

Usually when I do comics about history or philosophy I fact check them pretty closely. This one, I did not–mostly it was a good story that I wanted to transcribe. To be honest, the word “mystery” in the term “Mithraic Mysteries” (or “Mysteries of Mithras”) means that you didn’t get to find out much about the rituals and so on until you had been initiated into the religion–it’s the modern-day equivalent of Free Masonry. Or Scientology. No writings from the Mithras cult survive, as far as I know, and all of what we know about them is based on supposition drawn from artworks, artifacts found in caves (where they held their rites), and a few contemporaneous writings, including one early church father. In short, we don’t really know what they believed or who they stole from. They were contemporaneous in time with Christianity, certainly, but whether they were contemporaneous in geography is a question. It seems that at least some of the similarities between Christianity and the Mysteries of Mithras may have been drummed up by the New Atheist Movement to score points on Christianity.

That said, it’s a good story.

I wanted to make this chat longer, but I’m really tired, so I’m just going to file this under BR128.M5 L86 2013, for Christianity–Relation of Christianity to other religious and philosophical systems–Special, A-Z–Mithraism. And now to bed.

OH, by the way. If you read my book, and you happen to be on Goodreads, it’s on there–you can leave a review! Exciting, eh?


Sean messaged me this morning to provide an alternate account of the connection between Mithraism and Christianity. It goes something like this:

  1. The religions of Rome were very ritual-centric, rather than focusing on belief in a specific deity, so much so that late empire writers complained that no one understood the meaning behind or origin of the rituals yet had to fulfill them.
  2. When Rome adopted Christianity as its religion, these people might have brought some of their rituals with them to Christianity.
  3. A lot of religions make a connection between their deity and the sun [For perhaps obvious reasons, since you’d want to connect a life-bringing deity with the life-bringing sun.–Ed.]. In Islam, for example, the angel Gabriel appears to Mohammed (BPuH) as a giant in the sky. In the Hebrew Bible, G-d is frequently described with solar/light-related metaphors.
  4. A lot of Roman cults had resurrection myths. But Jews (and especially the Nazarites) did sin offerings. [Ok, there are appearances of offerings all over the Hebrew Bible–for example, the “scapegoat” thing in Lev. 16:8 or Hannah dedicating her son in 1 Sam. 1:24. So I don’t know if this was just especially a Nazarite thing or what–Sean didn’t specify. Jews in general made offerings.–Ed.] It’s not a big step from an offering one person makes to clear one person of sin to an offering made to cleanse all of humanity of sin. So Christianity could certainly have picked up a lot of its beliefs from extant Jewish mythology.
  5. In summary, certainly a bunch of the harmless stuff, like bunnies that lay eggs, Christmas trees, lights, etc. probably came from Roman cults. But the rest, it’s hard to say, and harder still because some of the people who are interested in propagating this train of thought are doing so to discredit Christianity as a religion. [Whatever that means. I don’t see the fact that a religion has particular sociocultural/historical roots as incompatible with believing in it, but even in my religious days I was never a literalist.–Ed.]

Em oi! #391: One Forty Point What?

Tin roof: Rusted.
It didn’t initially seem fair to me that I should get laid off the week after Thanksgiving, three weeks before Christmas. Although I neither celebrate nor enjoy the latter holiday, it seemed like the scene out of The Christmas Carol that Dickens couldn’t stand to write. But I guess that the culturally mediated significance the greater United States places on these few weeks are no match for capitalism–and what is Christmas anyway but a holiday whose cultural meaning has long been surpassed in the minds of most Americans by its attached capitalistic values. In other words, as Marx would say, capital really does drive change, and no one, not even a corporation that makes a pretense of having “values” and caring for their employees, is going to let some religious nonsense stop them from doing what’s good for the bottom line, especially as Christmas is religious nonsense pasted on top of previous levels of religious nonsense (or, if you prefer, folkloric nonsense), itself probably resting on previous levels of superstition, all of it drummed up to assuage the old monkey brain fear that the sun is going to go out and the cold winter is going to last forever.

In other words, to quote Ford Prefect, “Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.”

In other words, bah humbug.

I was carrying out my main Christmas tradition this evening, which is making fudge for my husband’s relatives while sulking, and I decided to listen to This American Life’s episode “Christmas and Commerce” (no. 47). It has the long version of David Sedaris’s “The Santaland Diaries,” which if you’ve never heard it, do yourself a favor and listen. I am going to listen to it every year from now on. Anyway, the third act is David Rakoff talking about playing Freud in the window of Barney’s department store in NYC, and he says, “If psychoanalysis was late 19th century secular Judaism’s way of finding spiritual meaning in a post-religious world…retail is the late 20th century’s way of finding spiritual meaning in a post-religious world.” I think that sort of sums up what I’m thinking about.

The decision that I (and several of my coworkers) was laid off came down nearly three weeks ago, and I suppose I should be done with my sulking and on to the next step of the process, finding a new job. But I’m lingering. I don’t know why, exactly–probably the stress from thesis and other things. And, well, “as happy as a Jew on Christmas” is not an expression for a number of very good reasons–this is a difficult time of year, in short. And I’ve been reading Žižek, that doesn’t help.

Filing this under HD5708.5 L86 2013 for Industries. Land use. Labor–Labor. Work. Working class–Labor market. Labor supply. Labor demand–Unemployment. Unemployed–Layoffs. Plant shutdowns. Redundancy–General works.

Here’s a picture of my cat Kali and Edgar the dog chilling out together. Gaze upon it and repeat to yourselves, as I do: It’s only a job. Life goes on.

"Act casual."

Em oi! #389 and #390

I still am, but a little less.

Words (rule the world)

In honor of defending my MA thesis (successfully), two comics about the final throes. I have discussions in the vein of #390 with those who copyedit my fiction as well. Hm. We’ll file these two under LB2385 L86 2013c and LB2385 L86 2013d for Theory and practice of education–Higher education–Academic degrees-M.A. You can also check out LB2385 L86 2013a and LB2385 L86 2013b. You know, for all that I seem somewhat frustrated with my advisor, he’s really been a good fellow to me, and given me a lot of space to make my own discoveries, which I’m kind of glad about. He said some really nice things about my thesis during my defense, and we shook hands. I guess that’s, finally, a détente.

I’ve recently seen a spike in traffic, probably all you crazy people who bought my book. What fun! But looking over the blog, I see that like 99% of the posts I’ve written since July have been about how terrible it is to be in graduate school. And…to some extent this post is not a change from that. Whoops. Sorry. Next week I will have comics that are not about being exhausted and stressed out. I promise. I already have them drawn, even!

Anyway, the big news can be seen in this photo:

No, not the copy of House of Leaves in the background. The postcards are here! If you want a signed one, send me your snail mail address to ehlupton+postcards(AT)gmail(dot)com [ehlupton plus sign postcards at sign gmail period com]. As you can see, I have a lot of postcards, and I believe thus far only three people have asked for them, so get your order in!

Publication Day

So in answer to all of my anxiety dreams last night, my novella has been published! Yay!


Now you’re asking, “Emily, where can I buy this marvelous thing?” Glad you asked. Check out these links:

  1. Amazon
  2. Barnes and Noble
  3. Smashwords
  4. Battered Suitcase Press (not up yet)

But that’s not all. I know some people like to get their books signed, and this is difficult with an e-book. So if you bought the book (and enjoyed it, I guess? Otherwise what’s the point?), send me an email to ehlupton+postcards(AT)gmail(DOT)com (yes, that is my name, ehlupton, the plus sign, the word “postcards,” and then gmail dot com). Include your name and snail mail address, and I will send you a postcard with the book’s gorgeous cover on it. I’ll write a message, if you want one, or draw a picture of a dog (probably of my dog), even sign it. If you’re extra obsessive, like me, let me know and I’ll mail it to you in an envelop so it doesn’t get cancelled or otherwise undergo the rigors of the postal service.

Please note on the postcards: I probably won’t get the order before the end of next week, so I can’t guarantee I’ll be able to get youthe postcard by mail before Christmas unless you live locally. If you buy the book, you will get it delivered electronically in less than five minutes, so that will have to fulfill your desires for instant gratification for the nonce.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy it! I hope, if you really enjoyed it, that you will consider reviewing it, or recommending it to your friends. But even if you don’t do those things, I am glad that you took a little time to read it. Thank you.

Em oi! #388: The New Guy

Edgar came to live with us close to four weeks ago. I think it will be four weeks tomorrow, actually. It’s actually surprising how much about him has changed since we brought him home:

  1. He will walk on a leash and not freak out.
  2. He will go up and down stairs by himself, although he’s a bit clumsy.
  3. Weighs 46 lbs rather than 42.
  4. Is willing to walk past cars that are parked as well as cars that are turned on but not moving. Still terrified of moving cars though.
  5. We are reasonably sure he is flat-coated retriever and Aussie rather than part Newfie.
  6. I have decided on the best way to draw him. As you can see in the comic above, there was some experimentation.

At first Edgar was very shy and stayed in his crate most of the time, even though we left the door open so he could come and go as he wanted. I think he appreciated having the little cave to hang out in, because re-homing is incredibly stressful and confusing. And that’s for people; imagine how the dogs feel. Anyway, Edgar is a rescue dog and he had spent a lot of his life in to a shelter before entering the foster care system and then coming to us, so we knew that it would take him longer than it took Maya to warm up to us. After all, Maya was 12 weeks when we got her, versus Edgar at six or seven months–much more life to have traumatized him thus far. However, I am happy to report that he is thriving. I drew this follow-up comic to demonstrate Edgar hanging out in the atrium every morning while I eat breakfast:

breakfast comic

I’ll file this comic under SF427 .L86 2013 for Animal Culture–Pets–Dogs–Culture and care. Sadly, there was no entry for “doggy personal ads.”

And here’s a photograph of him I took earlier this afternoon:
Majestic as Fuck

And a picture of Edgar and Maya playing in the snow:

So the reason we were able to get another dog is that we recently moved to a new house. I think I may have mentioned this before. But the thing is that we have been slowly going through a lot of stuff at the old condo that didn’t get moved, stuff that we should probably throw away so we can get the house on the market. Earlier this evening while doing this, I came across this piece of paper:

If you can’t read, it says, “ทำงานทุกวันและเล่นไม่ได้ทำให้คุณจากคนไม่สนใจ,” which translates as “Working everyday and not playing makes Jack an uninteresting person.” Nowadays I would spell “Jack” as “แจก” rather than “จาก” I guess. But. I wonder what was going on when I made those notes? It also seems to say “Liz Bernstein–another Jew in Asia,” “มหา [maha] Ghosanada,” “CompLit,” and “No one is soverign [sic] in love.”

…It’s probably a good thing I’m finishing my thesis and graduating soon.

I should mention that the novella is due out at the end of the week. It will be available as a PDF and on all major ebook platforms (i.e., Kindle and Nook). So, uh, prepare to spend money on it? It should be pretty awesome. Here, in case you haven’t seen it yet, is the cover.