March 29, 2005

Invisible Pink Unicorn

Invisible Pink Unicorn

The Invisible Pink Unicorn is a being of great spiritual power. We know this because she is capable of being invisible and pink at the same time. Like all religions, the Faith of the Invisible Pink Unicorn is based upon both logic and faith. We have faith that she is pink; we logically know that she is invisible because we can’t see her.

Because we were talking about religion, and because a number of my readers are not followers of a particular mainstream religion (as far as I know) I thought you might get a kick out of her holiness the Invisible pink Unicorn.

The IPU is a parody of theism. Because of this, I imagine some might find it insulting of their religion. Of course, one should always be able to joke about one’s beliefs and the IPU does not target any specific religion as a target.

And the humor of it serves a valid function. When theists are confronted with it, it ought to remind them that, while we are immersed in a culture that reeks of theism (God is even on the money) to nontheists:

their preaching is likely to be viewed by atheists as having all the credibility and seriousness of [the atheists] preaching about the IPU[…]. (quoting from the Wiki page on IPU)

Yes, I think it’s amusing. I don’t find the need to be in-your-face about my atheism. Many people find personal strength in their theistic religion, they are serious about it, and they respect my right to not share in their religion. I have a great respect for these people. Luckily, they also have a sense of humor (by definition, because all people I respect have a sense of humor).

It seems to me that the IPU (blessed be her holy hooves) is fairly gentle satire, as satire goes. After all — she’s pink. And who doesn’t like unicorns? Part of my amusement in stumbling upon this the other day was simply in finding a relatively positive, creative way to blow off the steam that builds up from being inundated by references to God practically 24/7. The prevalence of God-talk perplexes us. For every action there is an equally perplexing reaction.

I leave you with the web page of the Invisible Pink Unicorn that you may download the logo for yourself, for your own purposes. Hmmm… Stickerguy?

Posted by James at March 29, 2005 11:19 PM
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Reminds me of this:

This morning there was a knock at my door. When I answered the door, I found a well-groomed, nicely dressed couple.
The man spoke first: "Hi! I'm John, and this is Mary."
Mary: "Hi! We're here to invite you to come kiss Hank's butt with us."
Me: "Pardon me?! What are you talking about? Who's Hank, and why would I want to kiss his butt?"
John: "If you kiss Hank's butt, he'll give you a million dollars; and if you don't, he'll kick the crap out of you."
Me: "What? Is this some sort of bizarre mob shake-down?"
John: "Hank is a billionaire philanthropist. Hank built this town. Hank owns this town. He can do what ever he wants, and what he wants is to give you a million dollars, but he can't until you kiss his butt."
Me: "That doesn't make any sense. Why..."
Mary: "Who are you to question Hank's gift? Don't you want a million dollars? Isn't it worth a little kiss on the butt?"
Me: "Well maybe, if it's legit, but..."
John: "Then come kiss Hank's butt with us."
Me: "Do you kiss Hank's butt often?"
Mary: "Oh, yes, all the time..."
Me: "And has he given you a million dollars?"
John: "Well, no, you don't actually get the money until you leave town."
Me: "So why don't you just leave town now?"
Mary: "You can't leave until Hank tells you to, or you don't get the money, and he kicks the crap out of you."
Me: "Do you know anyone who kissed Hank's butt, left town, and got the million dollars?"
John: "My mother kissed Hank's butt for years. She left town last year, and I'm sure she got the money."
Me: "Haven't you talked to her since then?"
John: "Of course not, Hank doesn't allow it."
Me: "So what makes you think he'll actually give you the money if you've never talked to anyone who got the money?"
Mary: "Well, he gives you a little bit before you leave. Maybe you'll get a raise, maybe you'll win a small lotto, maybe you'll just find a twenty dollar bill on the street."
Me: "What's that got to do with Hank?
John: "Hank has certain 'connections.'"
Me: "I'm sorry, but this sounds like some sort of bizarre con game."
John: "But it's a million dollars, can you really take the chance? And remember, if you don't kiss Hank's butt he'll kick the crap of you."
Me: "Maybe if I could see Hank, talk to him, get the details straight from him..."
Mary: "No one sees Hank, no one talks to Hank."
Me: "Then how do you kiss his butt?"
John: "Sometimes we just blow him a kiss, and think of his butt. Other times we kiss Karl's butt, and he passes it on."
Me: "Who's Karl?"
Mary: "A friend of ours. He's the one who taught us all about kissing Hank's butt. All we had to do was take him out to dinner a few times."
Me: "And you just took his word for it when he said there was a Hank, that Hank wanted you to kiss his butt, and that Hank would reward you?"
John: "Oh no! Karl's got a letter Hank sent him years ago explaining the whole thing. Here's a copy; see for yourself."
John handed me a photocopy of a handwritten memo on From the desk of Karl letterhead.
There were eleven items listed:

1. Kiss Hank's butt and he'll give you a million dollars when you leave town.
2. Use alcohol in moderation.
3. Kick the crap out of people who aren't like you.
4. Eat right.
5. Hank dictated this list himself.
6. The moon is made of green cheese.
7. Everything Hank says is right.
8. Wash your hands after going to the bathroom.
9. Don't drink.
10. Eat your wieners on buns, no condiments.
11. Kiss Hank's butt or he'll kick the crap out of you.

Me: "This appears to be written on Karl's letterhead."
Mary: "Hank didn't have any paper."
Me: "I have a hunch that if we checked we'd find this is actually Karl's handwriting."
John: "Of course, Hank dictated it."
Me: "I thought you said no one gets to see Hank?"
Mary: "Not now, but years ago he would talk to some people."
Me: "I thought you said he was a philanthropist. What sort of philanthropist kicks the crap out of people just because they're different?"
Mary: "It's what Hank wants, and Hank's always right."
Me: "How do you figure that?"
Mary: "Item 7 says, 'Everything Hanks says is right.' That's good enough for me!"
Me: "Maybe your friend Karl just made the whole thing up."
John: "No way! Item 5 says, 'Hank dictated this list himself.' Besides, item 2 says, 'Use alcohol in moderation,' item 4 says, 'Eat right,' and item 8 says, 'Wash your hands after going to the bathroom.' Everyone knows those things are right, so the rest must be true, too."
Me: "But 9 says, 'Don't Drink,' which doesn't quite go with item 2, and 6 says, 'The moon is made of green cheese,' which is just plain wrong."
John: "There's no contradiction between 9 and 2, 9 just clarifies 2. As far as 6 goes, you've never been to the moon, so you can't say for sure."
Me: "Scientists have pretty firmly established that the moon is made of rock..."
Mary: "But they don't know if the rock came from the Earth, or from out of space, so it could just as easily be green cheese."
Me: "I'm not really an expert, but I think the theory that the moon came from the Earth has been discounted. Besides, not knowing where the rock came from doesn't make it cheese."
John: "Aha! You just admitted that scientists make mistakes, but we know Hank is always right!"
Me: "We do?"
Mary: "Of course we do, Item 5 says so."
Me: "You're saying Hank's always right because the list says so, the list is right because Hank dictated it, and we know that Hank dictated it because the list says so. That's circular logic, no different than saying, 'Hank's right because he says he's right.'"
John: "Now you're getting it! It's so rewarding to see someone come around to Hank's way of thinking."
Me: "But.... oh, never mind. What's the deal with wieners?"
Mary blushes. John says: "Wieners, in buns, no condiments. It's Hank's way. Anything else is wrong."
Me: "What if I don't have a bun?"
John: "No bun, no wiener. A wiener without a bun is wrong."
Me: "No relish? No Mustard?"
Mary looks positively stricken. John shouts: "There's no need for such language! Condiments of any kind are wrong!"
Me: "So a big pile of sauerkraut with some wieners chopped up in it would be out of the question?"
Mary sticks her fingers in her ears: "I am not listening to this. La la la, la la, la la la."
John: "That's disgusting. Only some sort of evil deviant would eat that...."
Me: "It's good! I eat it all the time."
Mary faints. John catches her: "Well, if I'd known you were one of those I wouldn't have wasted my time. When Hank kicks the crap out of you I'll be there, counting my money and laughing. I'll kiss Hank's butt for you, you bunless cut-wienered kraut-eater."
With this, John dragged Mary to their waiting car, and sped off.

Posted by: Bob McCown at March 30, 2005 12:22 PM

HAH! That was great. Thanks for sharing, Bob.

Posted by: Patti M. at March 30, 2005 12:34 PM

Yeah, that is really funny.

Someone has taken the joke a few more steps here:
http://www.wunderland.com/WTS/Ginohn/cetera/hankisms.html

I especially liked the 12-Step Religion version of Hank (12 step programs are a weird pagan-christian religion/cult)

Twelve-Step Group Therapy - If you are addicted to, say, wieners, there's help! Just follow these steps to full recovery:

1. Admit you are powerless over wieners,
2. and insane too.
3. Convince yourself that this billionaire philanthropist named Hank can cure you.
4. Give almost everything you own to Hank.
5. Take a good look at yourself,
6. and continue to admit to Hank, yourself, and somebody else that you are one sick wiener lover.
7. Find Hank, or send him an email asking for help.
8. Meanwhile, list all the people you pissed off,
9. and make amends to them alló unless they don't want you around.
10. When you screw up and take a little bite of a wiener, don't keep it a secret.
11. Try your darnedest to find Hank's personal telephone number.
12. Do your best to spread these techniques to other wiener abusers.


Posted by: James at March 30, 2005 12:43 PM

Also precious are the entries for Amway and Scientology:

Scientology - You will be just like Hank once you learn how to kiss your own ass (for a small fee, we can show you how to do this), and then you can give yourself a million dollars. If you make fun of us while we're kissing our asses, we might kick the shit out of you or sue you for having fun at our expense.


Amway - Do whatever you like with or without Hank, the important thing to remember is to kiss lots of ass. You kiss my ass and recruit people to kiss your ass in return, and so on. When you have enough people kissing your ass you'll get lots of money, and before you leave town even! Honest. Remember, you must teach your ass kissers not only to kiss your ass, but mine, my up-line, his-up-line all the way to Rich and Jay! Any condiments you use must be purchased from me.

Posted by: James at March 30, 2005 12:45 PM

Aren't all religions cults in some way?

Speaking of cults, what ever happened to est? Until I went looking, I had no idea the "founder" was so narcissistic as to name the "program" after himself. From http://skepdic.com/est.html:
-------

Werner Erhard's est [Erhard Seminar Training and Latin for "it is"] was one of the more successful entrants in the human potential movement. est is an example of what psychologists call a Large Group Awareness Training program.

Posted by: Patti M. at March 30, 2005 12:59 PM

If you read the rest of the est article, you'll see that est split into Landmark Forum and Lifespring. Lifespring may still be around, but I think Landmark spawned yet another group, or got renamed, or something.

Posted by: Julie at March 30, 2005 1:17 PM

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