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Sunday, March 27, 2005

Matlocked! An Eastertide Sermon

"There is nothing so eagerly believed as the things that are not so." These are the words of Clarence Darrow, who I often think was, in a roundabout way, the model for every disarmingly folksy lawyer in entertainment. Except, unlike Matlock, say, there was a dagger hidden in there, and after appealing to folks' trust of those who speak as they do, he would then appeal to their common sense, and make the prosecution look like a bunch of crazy zealots. Matlock, on the other hand (I don't know if this was intentional) seemed genuinely senile, and only won cases based on his charm, much to his deep surprise, as he had no idea where he was.
Mr. Darrow was always there fighting where the forces of bullshit were in their usual fervor to make more stupid laws and crucify the powerless. Can ya' believe that there was a time when one could do the real work of law, as it was designed, and spent only a medium amount of time being called UnAmerican for it? It would seem that though the common run of folks was every bit as stupid and predjudiced, back then they at least had not begun to vote against their own interests.
As opposed to now, of course. The Matlocks are running the show, and even the Appeal To Self Interest that I think will work with most folks isn't working this time. No jobs, no money, an unconquerably large debt, an international gulag we aren't gonna talk about. I Never Risk Inquiry.
I really mean we aren't talking about it. We're too busy talking about whether a certain damaged pop star might not be molesting children, and whether or not the state should be able to force a woman fifteen-years brain-dead to stay "alive". The media dutifully reports this as her "struggle for life". Oh, did you catch that thing the other day about how it seems that twenty-six people (that they're willing to talk about) seem to have died during torture conducted by our people, or friendly foreigners, in aforementioned international gulag? Didn't catch that? It's amazing they're even admitting it, but it is largely buried under the fact that Our President is playing politics of the worst sort, with a vegetable this time, instead of a fetus. It's even more amazing that he can leave the house at all, without getting pelted with rocks and garbage. Looks like we're drilling in Alaska, too.
We always are seeking to keep chaos at bay, through careful planning. The fact that the chaos nonetheless intrudes seems eternally surprising to the Nice Men who are running this here crapshoot. We had a pretty good empire once; right at the crossroads of Asia and Europe. Byzantium, they called it. It was where all the better elements of Rome ran to, when the whole enterprise there fell apart. Byzantium had to have a pretty tolerant policy, as far as inclusion goes. There were all types living there, and frankly, that makes a society not only more interesting, but richer, too. All the silly white ghosties from elsewhere want to come there and buy the exotic things and see the exotic sights.
But then, the landed class of Europe needed to shave off a couple generations of lesser sons, and the Catholic clergy was as insane as it was greedy...So it was decreed that a great Crusade was necessary. Then another twelve of them were deemed such. The end result? Byzantium, the last hope for understanding between the Islam and Christianity, was finally sacked and taken by the Turks. The whole thing had been planned so well, and God was on our side; what went wrong? "There is no God, and Mohammed is his messenger," as our Sufi friends say.
Iron Nails Ran In, and Islam and the Christers hate each other to this day.
So lessee...How to make oneself a divine instrument against the Bullshit Engine, which is always the enemy of the truly free, and anyone who thinks. I no longer know. Funny thing about the rest of us over here; we tend toward understanding, and can't help but see a bit of ourselves in those that we disagree with. As I've noted though, I don't feel that it's mutual, by a long shot. It's entirely okay for a large group of strangers to call me Immoral for not believing in this Bronze Age Hebrew War Deity that Lives In the Sky, but it would be bad manners for me to call them crazy. I mean, I could live just fine with all these believers in the Enchanted Pancake or whatever's up there this millenium, if only they didn't want to infect me with their insanity.
I'm digressing, though. Matter of fact, I wanna talk about what's obsessing me: INRI. You'll note that possible translations appear sprinkled about, above. I am also fond of:
Isis Naturae Regina Ineffabilis (Isis, ineffable Queen of Nature)
Ingenio Numen Resplendet Iacchi (The True God is Iacchus-or Bacchus, or Dionysius, the big ol' lush) and of course
I Never Reached India.
But moreso than any of these, there's what they tell ya': Iesus Nazarinus Rex Iudorem (Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews). Whoever that was. The only historical reference to that person written by a contemporary appears in Tacitus' "The Annals of Imperial Rome", where he is referred to as 'Chrestus'. That word, as used elsewhere, seems to connote 'a collection'. As if maybe it was a bunch of people. That's very different from 'Christos', which of course means 'anointed' (or the even creepier 'chryse' from Greek: "golden"). Mind you, who was translating the classics during the Dark Ages? Monks. You'd think they would have been more careful to fabricate some sort of historiographical paper trail.
So the question again, is how you go up against the Empire, this time? They'll shoot you, bankrupt you, put you in prison or just marginalize you if you try that now...But wasn't that always the case? For all the failures of our largely mediocre media apparatus, consider that Jesus didn't even have one. We can talk to each other, but that's just echo chamber stuff. We can talk to the Dupes of the Conspiracy, if we are sufficiently, disarmingly folksy. Or you can just wait for the Bullshit Engine to fuck itself, as it always does...Except that fucks you and me, too, and long before it hurts Them. It'll happen. Igni Natura Renovatur Integra (All Nature is Transformed by Fire).
"They know not what they do,"? Sure they do. It's just telling everybody else what They do that is the hard part.

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Blogger carrier said...

It is ironic that you mention Darrow in the beginning and end with the moral struggle of our current social climate. The Scopes trial really was the trial of the last century and continues to ripple through modern controversy. Infested with moralists the government continues to attempt to control the way we view ourselves. A fine thick blanket of wool has been cast over the populace causing people to be more concerned with the fate of the alleged eternal soul than with the material present.

7:39 PM  

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