Christ on Toast

ToastA few years ago, my friend Tim and I set ourselves the task of reading the bible and blogging about it. We only made it as far as the first Book of Samuel—it’s quite a task, poking fun at every burning dove and talking ass you come across—but I learned a lot along the way. For example, did you know that every rainbow is an apology from God? Mopping up after the great flood, God saw that it was muddy, and he was ashamed, so he made a solemn vow to Noah (Genesis 9:12):

I establish my covenant with you: never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth. This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.

So every time you look up in the sky and see a rainbow, it’s a reminder of God’s great promise—a promise to never again try and destroy you! Sweet! If you run a Christian supplies store, you might consider stocking this awesome celebratory poster I made:

rainbow

The bible is gloriously batty, and I highly recommend it for your next book group (I’m pretty sure it’s Oprah-approved). Here’s our take on Deuteronomy 22-24, in which Moses declares a bunch of minor laws (it will make more sense if you read the real deal first):

Oh Moses, you gorgeous madman, on and on you go. You’ve said all there is to say about idolatry and warfare, and now you’re dishing out God’s holy oddments. First up, be kind to cows. If a cow gets lost, help it to find its way home again. Be kind to donkeys, too. If a donkey stumbles under a heavy load and falls into a ditch, don’t laugh at it or call it a great gray fool. Don’t poke it with a stick. Join forces with your neighbors and get that poor ass back on its feet.

Men, don’t be wearing lady costumes. And gals, let the men wear the pants. The Lord doth hate a transvestite:

The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.

If you come across a bird’s nest in a tree or on the ground, feel free to eat the eggs, or kill any little baby birdies, but don’t mess with the mother bird:

Let her go free, and the LORD will bless you with a long and successful life.

Not a day goes by without some idiot falling off a roof. The Lord is heartily sick of this nonsense. If your house has a flat roof, could you please build a wall around the edge. Thanks.

Girlfriend, keep an eye on that husband of yours. If he grows tired of you, he may try to ruin your honor by claiming you weren’t a virgin when you married. If this happens, there’s only one thing for it: your parents must show the town’s leaders the sheets you bloodied on your wedding night. If you threw away those sheets, or maybe washed them, then I’m afraid your husband’s accusation will stand, and you’ll be stoned to death, you wee scallywag.

Surely the women of Israel are incensed by this law? After all, they’ve read every issue of Twelve (the lower life-expectancy Seventeen), and they know it’s, like, totally easy to accidentally bust your hymen whilst climbing a tree, or riding a donkey, or pulling a donkey out of a ditch. That doesn’t mean you’re not a virgin! “Leading a lost cow home through a field, I slipped and sacrificed my maidenhead to a fencepost… are you telling me I deserve a good stoning?” She asks a fair question, Mo, but I can’t imagine you have much sympathy. Perhaps you stare down at your sandals, blushing, as you advise all women to remain as still as possible until they get married. Mind your hymens, ladies!

Men, don’t think your genitals have escaped God’s pervy eye. If your private parts have been cut off, or even if they’re just a bit squishy, I’m afraid God doesn’t want to know you:

He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD.

Soldiers, keep your camp clean. If the Lord’s told you once, he’s told you a thousand times: don’t shit on the grass. When thou wilt ease thyself abroad, for heaven’s sake dig a hole. If the Lord pops by for a visit and there are great big steaming piles of turd lying around all over the place, well, he won’t be staying for a cup of tea.

Have you been cautioned against wet dreams, that uncleanness that chanceth upon you by night? They create a lot of unnecessary bother, so try not to have them. Don’t be cruel to runaway slaves. Don’t visit temple prostitutes. And would you please stop kidnapping one another, you ratbags!

If you lend money to a fellow Israelite, you mustn’t charge him any interest. It’s okay to take something of his as a guarantee that he’ll pay you back, but don’t keep anything he really needs. If you take his only coat, for instance, you mustn’t keep it overnight. Give it back before the sun goes down, so the poor chap won’t freeze to death. It will be hugely time-consuming and inconvenient, having to visit all your debtors twice a day to collect and return their coats. This is not the Lord’s problem.

When you harvest your grain or pick your olives, don’t be too thorough about it; make sure you leave a few scraps behind for poor people. Poor people enjoy a good scavenge; it takes their minds off the hunger.

And on and on and on it goes. Are the children of Israel listening, Moses? Does God still speak to you, or are you just making this shit up?

A Little Wrong

From Under The Glacier by Halldór Laxness:

laxness2It’s strange that all birds don’t fly in the same way. After all, the air’s just the same at the same place and the same time. I’ve heard that the wings of aeroplanes all conform to the same formula, whereas birds each conform to a formula of their own. It has undeniably required more than a little ingenuity to equip so many birds each with their own formula, and no expense spared, either. Nevertheless, there has perhaps never been a bird that flies as correctly as an aeroplane; yet all birds fly better than aeroplanes if they can fly at all. All birds are perhaps a little wrong, because an absolute once-and-for-all formula for a bird has never been found, just as all novels are bad because the correct formula for a novel has never been found.

Do you like Huey Lewis and The News?

AmericanPsychoI apologize in advance if the tone of today’s post is a little petulant. There was some kind of terrible bedside misunderstanding between the two cats this morning—cat #1 made a small noise; cat #2 COULD NOT BELIEVE THE SMALL NOISE—and cat #2 decided to release the tension by spinning in daft circles on my face. This seemed to work well as a method of stress relief for cat #2, bless, but my right eyelid is now the right eyelid of someone who has been wearing their crown of thorns at a very jaunty angle. Jerks.

Onwards! Bret Easton Ellis reveals he is ready to start writing fiction again:

The idea to begin a new novel started sometime in January while I was stuck in traffic on the 1-10 merging into Hollywood after I’d spent a week in Palm Springs with the 26-year-old and a friend I’d gone to college with who was now losing her mind.

For the TLDRers, a summary of his post: Deepak Chopra retreat; CW network; phone calls from the production company. Yep, Bret Easton Ellis has been too busy being Californian to write another novel. But after coughing up the script for The Canyons onto the back of an American Apparel receipt, our lad is finally ready for a new challenge…

I jest because I love. Or at least, I quite like. I thought American Psycho was weird and funny and awful and intense and something that will stay with us (“sadly, an American classic,” as some bloke says). It took the vanity and vapidity and excess of the ’80s to its grotesquely logical conclusion. And I had to show I.D. to buy it from the Chartwell Whitcoulls, which was the most exciting moment of my young adult life.

But much of what Ellis has written since then has been more of the same—same day, different drug, now with vampires! I’d imagined him as some shabby, friendless weirdo who had locked himself away in a Vogue-lined chamber in order to write a grand, sweeping indictment of yuppie culture. But not so! In 2010 Ellis told an interviewer:

Patrick Bateman did not come out of me sitting down and wanting to write a grand, sweeping indictment of yuppie culture. [That’s me told.] It initiated because of my own isolation and alienation at a point in my life. I was living like Patrick Bateman. I was slipping into a consumerist kind of void.

For the love of god, man, pull yourself out! You’re that guy who gets excited about hanging out with models while also making fun of and despising the fact that you’re that guy who gets excited about hanging out with models? Fine. So you’re a meta-douchebag. That’s okay: you can tell us modern life is rubbish while standing knee-deep in muck. But you only needed to tell us once; the ickiness of it all has been well and truly grasped, and I don’t think I can drum up much enthusiasm for another round of aren’t-we-terrible-and-pass-the-martinis…

But what do I know? Ellis might be intending to go in a totally different direction. Maybe he’s had a revelation: if this scene is so awful, why am I still here? Maybe he’s going to move to Minnesota and plant zucchini and write a tender memoir about how the smell of damp soil reminds him of his grandmother. Which would be worse? American Psycho Part 6: The SoulCycle Cycle? Or A Vegetable Saved My Life: How I Finally Learned to Stop Giving A Shit About What Goes On At The Chateau Marmont?