Monday, August 19, 2013

Nonsense Doesn't Matter Except That It's Everywhere

I wouldn't care much about Reza Aslan or his new book Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazarethexcept that, imitating Salman Rushdie and the Ayatollah Khomeini, Aslan's book was propelled to nationwide-#1-bestseller status in the wake of a stupid Fox News interviewer asking him how dare he, a Muslim, write about Jeebus. History has repeated itself as farce: Rushdie, a brilliant writer,was lifted to superstardom because religious fanatics were under orders to assassinate him; Aslan, a mediocre writer, has become a superstar because a Fox talking head said something hilariously stupid even by the standards of Fox. Aslan isn't stupid, but he's very, very far from writing as well as Rushdie, and his book is the 7-bazillionth example of the Jesus-as-Rorschach-test genre: we're all pretty much familiar with the New Testament Jesus; New Testament scholars, from Albert Schweitzer through John Dominic Crossan to Aslan, expand upon and/or depart from the basic familiar narrative and incorrectly label their work nonfiction. Not only did Nikos Kazantzakis write a much better Jesus story than those other three, he also called his version what it is, a novel.

I wouldn't care much about the assertions that the entire story of Jesus is copied from other myths, except that it's everywhere and it's proponents are every bit as resistant to discussion as any religious fanatic. List a dozen or so substantial variations from the myth of Oedipus, or Dionysis, or Hercules, or Perseus, or Osiris, or Theseus, or Prometheus, or Romulus, or Lucifer -- if you know any of those myths it's not hard to come up with a dozen ways in which the story of Jesus varies from each one of them -- and ask the turnip smugly smiling as he says that the Jesus story is 100% copied to respond to your objections to his thesis, and he'll respond as if he didn't hear your challenge at all, and chide you for not having read his favorite mouth-breathing author's book-length rant about how they did too steal it, and conclude that obviously your faith (doesn't matter a lick to him if you're an atheist) is obviously threatened by having come into the truth he's layin' down, and -- well, I'm sure you've met idiots yourself and know what they're like. The ones claiming that Jesus' story is 100% STOLEN -- they like to use the word "stolen" -- and that the Bible is a game of Telephone, these morons wouldn't matter much except that there are so many of them. (The story of the fictitious manuscript in the the preface to Umberto Eco's Il Nome Della Rosa --now THAT is a tale of a game of Telephone, which, although fictitious, will surely delight anyone who actually knows anything about the transmission of texts originating in the Middle Ages or earlier.)

Dan Brown wouldn't matter to me a bit if he hadn't sold hundreds of millions of copies of his silly books crammed with factual errors often taken for facts, in part because Brown insists they are facts when he isn't covering his ass by pleading that his books are just fiction.

Idiots who don't get that humans are warming the climate or who don't care wouldn't bother me if they weren't numerous enough to elect public servants.

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