Tuesday, June 9, 2009
My Curious Correspondence with a Christian
Fans of the PRHOI may be aware of an ongoing dialogue I’ve had with one Mr. Batholemew Boge, head genius behind the neo-Classic Xian-Prog outfit Divine In Sight, and largely responsible for their 2001 magnum opus Sorrow and Promise. Mr. Boge, with great courage- for he was well aware of my loathing for certain strains of Prog, as well as my writing style which manages to match in virulence the vituperation of my hatreds- offered a gratis copy of his record with a direct challenge to review the thing and do my damnedest. True to his word, a package arrived last week, delivered by my landlord and opened with heart-a-palpitating by your humble Curator; upon opening the package, there it was, lovingly wrapped in a protective layer of toilet paper (and I am not kidding) and me barely able to get the thing open for my excitement of the Sorrow and Purulence I felt lurked within.
There was just one problem; this may not be to my exact taste musically, but Boge’s outfit is not that bad, other than his singing, which is so awful that if I was his wife I would leave him. (To his credit, Bart has fired himself and hired what sounds to be a rather large closested homosexual (nobody can sing that high and be straight) to practice his own brand of Mercury-poisoning, and who will be able to handle those insane Xian mosh pits that break out when the spirit doth move them.) Other than that- and an unfortunate penchant for a very dated Scholz Rockman distortion-in-a-box guitar sound (which Bart has assured me is a thing of the past as well)- there are moments on this album which actually flat-out rock; the first track takes eight minutes to get there, but the break (superbly introduced by a frenzied two-fingered assault on his Rickenbacker by the extremely talented bassist- sounding far more like Steve Harris than Chris Squire, BTW) allows Bart plenty of room to lay down an intricate arpeggiated guitar lead with his drummer showing it is possible to play very aggressively while not acting like a Portnoy and mucking everything up with unnecessary pyrotechnics when a clever fill will do. Incredibly, and almost unheard of for a contemporary Christian rock band, Boge also seems to know the value of a minor chord, instead of basing all of his emotion on the ecstatic power chords which these other bands utilize with the punishing insincerity of a used car salesman with a roll of quarters shoved in his polyester slacks. These guys have virtually nothing in common with other “Prog” Xian acts, which will probably doom them to curiosity status amongst the cognoscenti of such rubbish, but allows even the perpetually hate-addled Curator a moment of complimentary indulgence, as the sheer audacity of not sounding like these other horrible fucking bands demands at least a nod from this insomnia-plagued Palinurus.
For, as must be clear, this review is not really about Divine In Sight; I wanted to say a few things about this record because Mr. Boge has been a tireless correspondent and commenter here, but this blog isn’t going to turn into some kind of cheerleading section for followers of the single most destructive narcissist and plagiarist the world has ever seen- Paul of Tarsus, fabricator of the Nazarene legends and, like Mr. Boge, tireless letter-writer to indifferent pagans quite frankly dumbfounded by the intensity of their touching attachment to somebody who is, after all, dead. Between Paul’s bizarre emphasis on the cross and Mr. Boge’s obsession with Rush, I’m not sure who comes out more to be pitied but, regardless, these insensate idee fixes are not going to ruin my reputation as the nastiest and most defiant anti-Christian this side of H.L. Mencken; for, to borrow from Dennis Miller back when he was funny and not insane, when it comes to being “born again”, you’ll have to pardon me for getting it right the first time.
So Divine in Sight is talented and knows how to rock out; I’d prefer to talk about some other bands, like Young Earth, who are- are you even remotely ready for this?- an Xian Prog band devoted to making music about the literal interpretation of Genesis, to the point that they denounce Darwin on the homepage of their website and really, truly seem to believe the Earth is 6,000 years old. I’m sorry, but- Mother of fucking Christ, are you fucking kidding me? The dazzling stupidity of Fundamentalists is so awe-inspiring as to invite pure whimsy and fantasy; surely, if their savior is as gullible as his flock, should Jesus actually come back my first impulse would be to approach the returned Semite and play “got your nose” with Him. The image of a cruelly disoriented Christ, undone by the same credulousness that has made him such a superstar lo these last 2,000 years, grasping hither and yon for a snout robbed as if from a Gogol story, gives your Curator silent, yet bountiful, heaving fits of mirth; the idea of his joyless epigones being allowed to inflict their “creation science” (sic) on impressionable children gives me anything but. Like the struggle of the Workers against the Bosses, there is no middle ground in the burgeoning war of the clusterfuck boob-boisie against the oppression they face from a rational world which has no place for fairy tales in biology texts; indeed, in this war, no one has the luxury of “going to Canada” to avoid the draught coming from between the ears of this baying rabble who long only to be siphoned off to Heaven in a fanciful mid-air naked jamboree that isn’t even in the goddamn Bible. And they’ll cut your throat, infidel, if they think it will bring Junior back one day sooner. Which side are you on, then- which side are you on?
What, then, could be the alternative for an Xian band trying to spread the message of their Lord, but without resorting to the criminal idiocy which plagues modern Fundamentalism like the rampant stench of putrefaction in a slaughterhouse? I’m glad you asked, because Mr. Boge also directed me- in one of his earliest letters- to offer any “advice” I might have for his next music project, which (surprise) will be some kind of epic about some kind of Christian thing. What Bart may not be aware of- for how could he, dealing with such an obviously evil man?- is that The Curator has a very deep knowledge of Scripture and can navigate the OT and NT with all the shoe-horning peregrinations of a preacher; for you didn’t think I came to my atheism by mere cussedness, did you? No, I learned disbelief the old fashioned way- I moved away from home, did some drugs and slept with some girls, decided this was better than betting the farm on an itinerant sky spook to come back and give me a transcendental hand-job, thought some things through and then the Nietzsche got hold of me and that was pretty much all she wrote. (And by the way, I’d like to make an offer to all proponents of “creation science” (sic): you can teach your young Earth nonsense to my (non-existent) kids if I can lecture your happy brood on Zarathustra and the Anti-Christ; we’ll see whose Idol is Master and whose is Slave, and with the inherent urge to belief of the typical fundy-youth, I will soon have the cult I have always wanted and unleash these reformed believers upon the world with bile, frenzy and dynamite; and yea, I shall be acclaimed a god.)
So, getting back to my point, let’s address the Christian Prog concept album that I guarantee will never be made, though it has quite a defensible basis in the scripture I know. For one, let’s imagine a savior tormented by his burden (LK 4:1-4) and only gradually realizing what must happen for his father’s plan to be fulfilled (MT 16:21) He is familiar with the OT prophecies, and sets out to fulfill them (JN 12:14- see Isaiah and Micah for all of these various prophecies, sometimes amusingly misinterpreted by the Gospel writers- “an ass, and yea, a foal of an ass” (MT 21:5). Sorry, Christian humor.) But when he arrives in the holy city- perhaps the very first victim in history of the “Jerusalem Syndrome”- he is so overcome by the surroundings, especially the magnificent Temple (2CHR 3:3) , that he loses sight of what is supposed to be his father’s plan...and remembers the Beatitudes (MT 5: 3-12) so recently uttered now that he is so close to the corruption of Annas and Caiaphas, quisling vassals of the ruthless Pilate. The trade in fowl for filthy lucre upon the very grounds of God’s house enrages him; having already made clear his ability to tear the place down to the last brick (JN 2:19) and with the fire of righteousness only a man convinced of his own destiny can posses, he makes the fatal mistake of kicking over the money changer’s tables (JN 2: 12-25) and thereby inviting the whole of authority in Jerusalem down upon his merely-human back. It is during Passover, after all; and the Romans know the full political implications of this festival honoring another time the Chosen had been released from a cruel bondage.
Thus: a caring, passionate, truly human liberator, a nationalist, a Rabbi who respects and honors the traditions of his people...but also a revolutionary, a communist (or at least a socialist!), an early crusader for the rights of women, one who slummed with the lowest orders of the society in which he lived- oh, it’s a hell of a story, Christian. Could be straight out of Weil and Brecht to be honest- but we’ll never see it, because instead of proffering guidance for man to liberate himself, the current moribund Christianity offers only a dire choice between living on one’s knees or burning for all eternity in a lake of fire that didn’t exist until Dante imagined it- 1,500 years after the life of Christ. It demands fealty, acceptance, copious public displays of smug propriety, endless denunciations of “the world” while prospering in a society that has benefited like no other in history of the wonders of science and technology, is paranoid, militant, conspiracy-minded, hidebound, insular, intolerant, insulting, meticulous in its prejudices and slovenly in its curiosities; in short, the Fundamentalist is the perfect dupe for a cadre of Caligari’s so perfect in their manipulation that their sleepwalkers are blessed with life and revere only death, waiting for that magic day when they can be done with the troubles of the flesh and get massive amounts of revenge on the likes of The Curator, who so delight in pointing out the criminal failings of a philosophy that rises just above a suicide cult. My disbelief alone is worthy of a summary burning; in the name of Baal himself if they only knew what went on when I conned a lovely bird into nesting in my bed for an evening! But the obsession with any sex that doesn’t involve an immediate apology to Jesus upon ejaculation has always intrigued me; for a group that seems to think gays and lesbians want to get married just to piss them off, their leaders sure do seem to know where to get a blow-job in Kansas City at three in the morning; Christ, I don’t even know where to buy head in a strange town, and I’m obviously a degenerate of near-mythical proportions! And as for homosexuality...it astonishes me that a group of people who literally worship a guy who ran around the desert for two years with twelve “disciples” all wearing dresses and Birkenstocks are so worked up about a couple of queers who want to play house in Iowa. One look at Ted Haggard told me who was the “bottom” during his little soirees with American hero Mike Jones, and that the good Pastor had felched more of Onan’s seed (GE 38:9) than Elton John at a Theater District karaoke bar. This kind of murky hypocrisy isn’t exactly what I’d call living “in the light”. How much worse can I do going to Vietnam with my buddy Mike and buying a 12 year-old for a carton of cigarettes and some “Lime-taste” Jell-O (apparently, they’re nuts about it over there)? Saved, you want me to be? Christian, if this titanic fraud is what you call being “saved”, then damned I shall remain, proudly, even if the Man himself floated down from the Seattle heavens and had Mel Gibson with a crate of Zyklon-B for back up. I’ll not bow to madmen, no matter how much cache they register with my more credulous neighbors.
Thus, once again I have managed to “review” an album while really using it as an excuse to attack a segment of society that has had it way too fucking easy for way too fucking long; Bart, you’re a good guy and a talented musician, but I can’t let up for even a minute on the true purpose of my life: the destruction of all known values and the endless tyranny of tradition, eradication of all age-of-consent laws and the establishment of an enlightened dictatorship consisting of me and guided by my intimate knowledge of the folly of man and the desirability of the principle of Anthrocide, which is the one truly original contribution to Western philosophy that I have been able to make in my 37 years.
But that is for another time. For now, keep on rockin’ in the free world, and maybe sit down this week and try to write a song about a car. Jesus can be in the car, man- it’s cool. Think Red Barchetta, only less lame. You and Junior, out for a drive, kickin’ it Old Testament style- you gun the engine too hard, and break down in the desert and Jesus gets out, pops the hood, and smoke is flying everywhere and he says “The one thing I can’t save is this engine”. And everybody has a nice, life-affirming, laugh. But the car has to be the focus, and it’s gotta be fast and there has to be metaphors and stuff about getting the hell out of somewhere. Just my two cents. Cheers, Belial. - TR