Belief Beat

Belief Beat

Fun Friday: Afterlife Runs Short of iPad 2, But Hey, A Gay Caveman!

Perhaps a bit morbid for a Fun Friday, but I still got a kick out of this story — partly because I’m still debating whether to buy this gadget now, or wait for the inevitable upgrade:

iPad 2 sold out in the afterlife as Chinese pray for the dead (Reuters)

During the Qingming festival, also known as the tomb sweeping festival, Chinese communities in Asia honour their ancestors by burning fake money or replicas of luxury items such as flashy cars and designer bags.

The festival, which stems from Confucian teachings of loyalty to family and tradition, is also celebrated widely among the Chinese in Malaysia, who make up a quarter of the 28 million people in the mostly Muslim but multicultural country.

“Some of my customers have dreams where their departed relatives will ask for luxury items including the iPad 2,” said prayer item shopkeeper Jeffrey Te as he filled cardboard chests with fake money at his shop on the outskirts of the capital.

“I can only offer them the first iPad model,” he added, pointing to shelves stocked with the gadget along with paper iPhones and Samsung Galaxy Tabs.

In other ghostly news, the afterlife does have at least one gay caveman – which isn’t news to Jean Auel enthusiasts (the final installment to the Earth’s Children series, The Land of Painted Caves, has just been released!), but may be an unsettling discovery for ultra-conservative Christians and others who firmly believe homosexuality is unnatural, rather than a “Born This Way” orientation. Or, does it not matter, if the homosexual homo sapiens lived  a thousand years before Leviticus was written, and even longer before Jesus showed up on the scene or Judeo-Christian values made it to central Europe’s caves?

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

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Robert C

posted April 8, 2011 at 1:24 pm

There is serious disagreement about what that caveman actually was. Hard to discern what someone’s sexual orientation was by the position he was buried in. Shaman were often buried in counterposition, so I wouldn’t count him among the ‘brethren’ until I read his diary if I were you.

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Nicole Neroulias

posted April 8, 2011 at 5:00 pm

That’s why it’s Fun Friday, and not a serious blog post.

Having said that, though, considering that there were gay ancient Greeks and Romans, it’s hardly a stretch to assume there were gay cavemen, too.

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Robert C

posted April 9, 2011 at 1:44 pm

Of course there were. And there were cavemen child molesters too, but the apparent obviousness of something doesn’t transcend or mitigate its elevation into the realm of social constructivism or rational choice theorem. I know quite a few modern gay men who are cavemen. But that is a discussion for another fun friday. isn’t it?

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posted April 9, 2011 at 5:22 pm

I heard on NPR that there was much better evidence that he was gay. Apparently he was really into clubbing.

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Robert C

posted April 9, 2011 at 7:00 pm


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posted April 9, 2011 at 7:47 pm

Robert C: “And there were cavemen child molesters too”

Did you really have to go there? You yourself have identified as gay before in your comments. Do you want to be compared to a child molester?

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Robert C

posted April 10, 2011 at 9:51 am

I didn’t suggest they were ‘gay’ cavemen child molesters, just ordinary ones. The point is human nature hasn’t changed in 20,0000 years but the ‘social labelling’ in this instance was premature.

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Your Name

posted April 10, 2011 at 11:10 am

When I read about this discovery, a male buried in the style of, and with the implements of a woman, I thought he might be early evidence of a two-spirit person/berdache (If you go to Wikipedia’s problematic article – caveat lector). If he was gay/cross-gendered/two-spirit/transvestite/or just stone age fabulous, his life and choices seem to have been respected as he appears to have been buried with all due dignity. Though the converse may be true: this was a man who was despised and was buried as a woman as a form of post-mortem punishment (this, of course, supposes a lot about the role of women and their position within this culture and how men and women viewed and valued their roles. It also assumes much about their beliefs in the afterlife or possibly reincarnation – I’m merely speculating).

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posted April 11, 2011 at 2:30 pm


Nicole I’m a little concerned your byline has vanished from places I’m used to seeing it. You are still with B’net aren’t you? (Hopeful interrogative inflection)

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Nicole Neroulias

posted April 11, 2011 at 3:11 pm

I’m still around, nnmns. What do you mean?

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posted April 11, 2011 at 3:23 pm

Good. I visit the main page and the page of bloggers. Usually you are on both, but Fun Friday was removed from the news list on the main page and wasn’t in its usual place at the top of the page of bloggers.

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Nicole Neroulias

posted April 11, 2011 at 3:30 pm

The site is being redesigned, so that’s probably why… we’ll see how things progress over the next few weeks, though.

It would be interesting to read (or write!) a book about how world religions/traditions view homosexuality — both in contemporary times and historically. Not just gay marriage, though that could be part of it, but gay “feelings” and/or “behavior.” Certainly, there’s a huge range within certain communities now, let alone across continents and eras… Anyone got a recommendation?

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posted April 15, 2011 at 3:36 pm

Now I’m thinking George Takei should make a caveman broadway show :)

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Grumpy Old Person

posted April 27, 2011 at 1:30 pm

“And there were cavemen child molesters too”

Ah yes, the ‘reasoned’ ‘rational’ response – liken gay people to child molesters. Talk about self-loathing.

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Grumpy Old Person

posted April 27, 2011 at 1:38 pm

This: “this was a man who was despised and was buried as a woman as a form of post-mortem punishment (this, of course, supposes a lot about the role of women and their position within this culture and how men and women viewed and valued their roles.” speaks volumes about the Biblical proscription against “lieing with mankind as with womankind”.

I think people should think much more seriously about what it meant to “lie with womankind” back in the Bronze Age. (THey were chattel, objects – usually of scorn and contempt – to be used at the man’s prerogative.

From there, we could discuss how gay men don’t “lie with womankind” – AT ALL – and then focus on whom this passage was seemingly intended. To me (and to some Biblical scholars), this passage is aimed at heterosexual men (you know, the kind of man that DOES “lie with womankind”), and the message is that for THEM to “lie with mankind as with womankind” is the abomination. To treat a MAN like they would a woman was the true abomination, for they didn’t “lie with” them in a very loving manner, instead treating them as objects to be owned and used.

THAT’s the ‘seeyun’, imnsho.

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