9.09.2008

That old fucking rugged cross.

Mike, I thought you would appreciate this.

I don't normally sleep with the television on. I normally can't sleep with the television on, but this past week it's been easier than trying to fall asleep in the dark and quiet. For some reason completely unknown to me, the tv tends to default to the local religious nutjob station during the night. Maybe it's a sign from God. Or proof that the Evangelicals control more than we think.

Anyway.

This morning when I woke up there was some program on called "The Twin Towers and The Cross". And this little frosted southern woman is talking to a firefighter who worked during the rescue on the phone.

"Oh yes, terrible. Just terrible. Now, Sergeant, can you tell us about the smell? What did the air smell like on that morning?"

She stares intently at the lens, eyes closing slightly as she licks her lips and he gives his answer.

"Mmm. Yes. Soooo terrible. Now tell us about the beams that formed a cross...."

The Sergeant relays the story in sort of normal person's terms -- it was a horrible morning, everyone was exhausted and completely shell shocked, and suddenly they look up and see that some fallen beams vaguely resemble the shapes of crosses. The symbolism (yes, symbolism) strikes a chord with the tired, traumatized workers and causes them to pause from going through the motions and mourn for a moment.

"Oh! How magnificent! How unbelievable! Miraculous!"

Yeah, lady. The molten metal beams melded together in a perpendicular fashion really fucking made up for the loss of thousands of lives. At least we know God is with us. Well. Those of us who didn't have to die because of the fags and the feminists, that is.

"Now, can you tell us, Sergeant, will the rebuild incorporate the crosses?"

At this point I turned it off. But you've got the general idea.

Now. There's this little turd of an attendant at the hospital. A seminary student. Fine, fucking great. I've got a well-developed interest in theology myself. You can't judge a book by it's goofy fucking clueless grin, right? Every time we walk through he asks how we are. Fine and how are you?

"Oh I'm blessed and highly favored."

.... Excuse me? Did you just say that in an Intensive Care Unit? Did you just say that at all?

'Blessed' I'm fine with, and quite used to. 'Blessed' is only a slightly condescending way of pointing out that you're a religious person and your day is better because of it. 'Blessed' is also a valid answer at times, as far as I'm concerned.

You can shove 'highly favored' right up your ass.

I'll just skip right to the point. The vast majority of Christians I've met want to believe that bad things can't happen to them. Religion is their way of feeling in control of the world, as though they have the upper hand on the chaos. If you live your life right, and follow steps A, B and C, then God will bless and protect you. Ipso facto, if bad things happen to you, you must have done something to deserve it. Or you need to be taught a lesson.

I believe in a higher power. I'm also a strong subscriber to the theory that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Life is all about the journey, about pushing and extending your limits and taking in all that you can. And hardship, if put to the right uses, fosters compassion. Which makes this world a better place for everybody in it. I do believe that there are things that may not make sense to us while they are right in front of us, but can show their meaning and their value further down the line. And even if everything doesn't happen for a reason, there is usually a way to salvage good out of bad, if you work hard enough at it.

However, life is sometimes random and horrible things do sometimes happen to people just because they can. No one is exempt from that. And no one can control it. It's just our job to make the best of things, to see the symbolism of a situation and gain meaning where we can, not because God gives things meaning, but because we've got to make our way through this world somehow. And it's not ours to judge where we fall in the grand scheme of things and it's certainly not ours to judge where others fall, either.

8 comments:

MikejGrey said...

There was a huge debate when the "freedom towers" were being designed whether to incorporate the cross or not. I think it may have ended up in some 911 memorial. Maybe it's next to the shredded remnants of the bill of rights.

Oh man. Licking her lips, huh?

I'm no Picasso said...

Yes. Actually licking her lips.

I know I loved Prof. Narkunas a lot more than most people, but he was really onto something with his violence of war/pornography thing. Not that he's the first to see the resemblance of course. Especially here in the south where we really were quite distant from September 11th (whether anyone wants to admit that or not), there is the desire to hear everything recounted in slow, sensual details.

Of course the douchebag 'feminists' in my War Machines class tried to make his argument about how he's anti-pornography, and therefore repressing women's sexuality (never mind the fact that pornography on the whole has fuck all to do with women's sexuality). Completely missing the point that what he was talking about was viewing dead bodies and carnage in a sexual way. Dumbasses.

Gary said...

You and me have to watch the God Channel on cable together when you next visit. Nothing like sitting down with a beer and some smokes and watching the cash fly in during Missions Week. Oh yes!

I'm no Picasso said...

We definitely have to do that. It'll be better than the Pope.

MikejGrey said...

Pornography is about feminism?
How does that argument work?

That's the same as saying that Sex and the City, and Paris Hilton and the like represent a new breed a feminism. Where women can be as mindless, and shallow as men. Hurray for progress.

I'm no Picasso said...

That's basically what I said.

Of course, I defend a woman's right to be as involved in the sex industry as she may wish, but to connect a woman working in the porn industry with female sexuality is just stupid. It's just a job. She's not enjoying it. She's just paid to look like she is. And so is he, actually, with one minor exception.

I'm all for occasionally objectifying people, but let's not mistake it for social progression.

Reise-ohne-Ende said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Reise-ohne-Ende said...

I believe in a higher power. I'm also a strong subscriber to the theory that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Life is all about the journey, about pushing and extending your limits and taking in all that you can. And hardship, if put to the right uses, fosters compassion. Which makes this world a better place for everybody in it. I do believe that there are things that may not make sense to us while they are right in front of us, but can show their meaning and their value further down the line. And even if everything doesn't happen for a reason, there is usually a way to salvage good out of bad, if you work hard enough at it.

Goddamn, girl. You just succinctly summarized everything I've come to realize over the past year. Thank God for that kind of clarity and balance, because there is so much hatred and separation from both sides of the argument; sometimes that kind of optimistic faith is the only thing that gives me the patience to see things through.