Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Christians In the News

I want to start with Frank Rich's column on Sunday ... The All-White Elephant in the Room ... which, as usual, nails the point to the wall. I suggest you read it if you have not, and I will say of it only that he points out that the Rev. Wright is hardly unique in his extremist posturing on the basis of religion. If you want a taste of the sort of religious bigot that the teflon maverick McCain is sucking up to, try this little clip of the "reverend" John Hagee. Not surprising to Jews or gays, by the way, because these guys love to hate, and hatred is what fuels them. Wright, Hagee, or the tottering Pat Robertson who may finally have written himself into irrelevance with his imbecilic endorsement of Mr. oily himself, the cleanly forgotten Rudy Giuliani.

My problem is about why a man who ought to be an atheist like Obama has to pretend to christianity to have a career in anything. Or at least I figure he must be an atheist, because he is certainly smart enough. (Smug, self-satisfied grin.)

More to the point, though, is the obvious historical fact that christianity has always made a big business of condemning the society in which it resides for the monstrous sins of the occupants. Christ did it. Saint Augustine, the miserable old bugger who is the proximate cause of the bloodthirsty loathing at the core of catholicism, thought that he was surrounded by evil incarnate. The response of the great monk Alcuin, later in the service of Charlemagne, to the bloody assault of the Vikings on the undefended Lindesfarne monastery was to ask "Consider carefully, brothers, and examine diligently, lest per chance this unaccustomed and unheard-of evil was merited by some unheard-of practice." Not being of a graphic mind, albeit certainly possessed of pornographic suspicions, Alcuin did not specify the evil which God was punishing. But he was sure that the Vikings ... the Islamic terrorists of their day, and a damned sight more effective they were ... were God's vengeance on his own evil society.

Frank Rich rightly notes that the current outcry against the silly "reverend" Wright stinks of racism. I think it suggests that Wright, and by extension Obama, is a little less American than maverick war hero McCain. So the war hero can pursue a bunch of bigots ... the same bigots who worked against McCain in 1980 in concert with the dimwit who currently holds the office he seeks ... but that is all American. By the way, McCain's christianity has all the passion of Reagan's, who hauled himself off to church like the B-actor that he was. When the black Obama, raised by muslims, decides he wants the same christian cover used by politicians of every ilk ... well, it's just not quite as American. I think that is the unspoken paradigm. It is a way for the right wingers to express how unamerican Obama is without saying it. They plan to specialize in this particularly tawdry tactic.

From the tragic to the farcical, poor suddenly christian Jason Castro has been dumped from American Idol. I believe that he could have a career in christian music ... he is drippy enough, and he is dreamy enough, and he knows how to wear a cross. Of course he would have to get over the laziness or stoner mentality that doomed him. The careful reader of my tinklings will note that I sang his praises more than once, especially with reference to his sublime rendering of Daydreaming Boy. Sometime after that performance, he started to sport a cross. I assume it was a ploy for votes ... but then, as one might note, I assume that most religious display is a ploy of some type. I was disappointed. Still he managed a few more memorable songs, and he could have nailed both of the songs he tried last Tuesday (I Shot the Sheriff and Mr. Tambourine Man). He was made to sing those songs. But he could not rouse himself to care ... or he was just plain too dumb, as my friend TF notes, to understand the music. I figure he was tired out and wanted to give up.

But he always has that annoying cross to fall back on ...

(I later watched a YouTube clip of his "singing out" ... in other words closing the show ... he chose I Shot the Sheriff again and this time he nailed it ... he acted too. Really sweet. I hope he has a career, at least so we get to look at him, and I hope he abandons the cross when it no longer suits his hype.)

There is one more little cross to bear as well ... sweet Tim Lincecum of the Giants ... sweet, not this time his taut, "ripped" (to use Kruk's phrase) frame, but sweet, his fastball and now truly sweet change-up ... sweet, he may be, but he is sporting a cross as well. It is one of those broad seemingly titanium jobbies. It pops in and out of view tight around his sinewy little neck. He has always worn this leather thong thing around his neck, and I noticed that, so I have to assume that the cross is new given that I have never seen it before. Now it is not one of those bloody wooden "Mel-Gibson" crosses such as the most fanatical christian in baseball, Todd Helton, sports almost navel low. Some properly agnostic pitcher should complain that the dangling splinter is bothering his concentration and make him take it off. Anyway, it is depressing that wee Timmie has taken up the cross. Not sure if this is just the way he is, or if he was the victim of one of those christian lurkers who haunt locker rooms to try to take athletes as a kind of booty.

There is just such a lurker at the Sports Cafe at MRU, the major research university at which I labor. He is short and overfed, being overfed being no bar to christianity, notwithstanding all the humility and poverty stuff of which the Christ makes such a to-do in his big book, nor to mention the seven deadly sins of which gluttony is prominent. He drives another one of those monstrous SUVs ... I think it is a Land Rover, though I can't tell one from the other ... just that the thing is damned big, and the poor dwarf has to clamber out of it like a crab on a rock at low tide. He scurries across the parking lot, clutching the inevitable bible in hand, and then finagles some muscle bulging studly dude ... I have only ever seen him with males ... into a heartfelt conversation, heads bent low and whispering spittle-contact close. If he were trying to bed the dude, everyone would be outraged. We live in a society where a little nooky is outrageous, but duping innocent young minds with life-denying piffle is the work of saints.

Back to Lincecum ... still have to love him because the pitching is so sweet. I think I will hang my hat on the following, without even a jot of evidence ... I'm going to go with the cross as a beard to obscure the fact that he is gay ... yeah, that'll do it. They're all gay ... every damned one of them. Again with the smug self-satisfied grin.

Photos by Arod, both from a Sunday Walking with Loki. The church is from Fort Mason, and the poster is from a surf shop at Fisherman's Wharf. The Alcuin quote is from page 30 of Justin Pollard's Alfred the Great: The Man Who Made England which I am revisiting in preparation, I hope, for a post on accident in history. That said, I am being seduced by what appears to be an excellent history of Prussia ... hmmm, the dilemmas, the dilemmas.

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