Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Even More Bloggin'

All who recognize the intrinsic coolness of coolness should proceed to the following sight, offensivesatire.blogspot.com - it's a little sight whipped up by my bro and his friends. Now peons!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Recent Archaeological Discovery Has Catholic Church in Tremors

Here's a satire I wrote recently:

PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA – Earlier this week, in Southern Cambodia, a team of attractive, racially diverse and sexually open-minded archaeologists uncovered an artifact with a crude carving of Christ depicted as a vampire. An inscription beneath the drawing read 'De Sanguine Cristo', meaning in Latin ‘On the Blood for Christ’, a slight variation of the traditional Christian passage, 'De Sanguine Cristi', or ‘On the Blood of Christ.’ The Christian understanding of the passage is the cornerstone of their faith in which participants receive the body and blood of Christ in order to participate in a divine union with God. With this discovery, that belief is deeply threatened.

“We feel that our opinion is that this is pretty much decisive evidence against the Christian religion, although not decisive in the sense that we’re trying to impose,” said Nahash Rainbow-Haus, an adjunct professor at Harvard University and member of the archaeological team, who has also been blessed with soulful eyes and a roguish grin, “and we are very excited to forge a new trail for humanity – one that exists without the strictures of a man-made religion. I vote first for the removal of the strictures of clothes.”

The artifact itself stands 18 inches tall, and depicts Christ flying through a dark night sky with long, canine-like fangs and a vial of blood wrapped around his neck. A crude speech bubble is drawn around his head with a Latin phrase that is roughly translated as “Vlah! I vant to suck your blood!”

The controversial vampiric depiction of Christ, however, is causing a stir in some religious circles over the proper worship of their Redeemer. “The House of the Dead shall be resurrected by the blood of the innocent,” said Count Chocula, the figurehead of a little-known, but scrumptiously delicious chocolate cereal, “I [expletive deleted] hate that cereal, but I thought the subtlety of marshmallows in the shape of detached organs and severed heads would get the children on my side.”

In the past 100 years, there have been a plethora of ancient texts uncovered with controversial interpretations of Christ, Mary Magdalene and his Apostles ranging from the Dead Sea Scrolls to the Gospel of Judas, but none have proved to be as contentious as the rough carving, which carbon dating places at 36 C.E. The discovery uproots a fundamental element of western religion that has come under fire in recent decades from leading intellectuals of our time, such as Dan Brown, Rosie O’Donnell and throngs of manic-depressive teenagers who wear makeup and eat their feelings.

“Dude man, I’ve been saying for way too long now, so all you fascists better listen up,” said Dylan “Souldeath” Tucker, a local teenager known for his whiney, pitiable poetry and his extensive Asian tattoo collection, “A lot of us have got things to say, and we’ve been saying them, or wanting to say them, and this just proves it, and now we’re gonna start saying things, and you’re all a bunch of damn fascists. Oh, and conformity is the death of individuality.”

Several of Dylan’s friends, who were physically linked to him with chains of body piercings, echoed his statement with a chorus of “yeahs” and “that’s right.” Dylan, however, wasn’t available for further questioning because he choked on an excessively large feeling.

Despite the novelty of the discovery, the western world is suffering from extensive ramifications from various social organizations, especially the VZEA or, The Vampire and Zombie Enthusiasts of America. Raymond Lofton, referred to by his peers as Vampiric Destiny, was kind enough to take a break from his FPSMMORPG (First-Person Shooter Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) to speak with us on the condition that the only light allowed into the room come from a pale computer screen, so as not to upset what he called “totally glazed over eyes”, and that Jerry, our news editor, continually press F6 to cast Bestial Howl for his level 79 Druid Warlock. “Man, I’ve always loved zombies,” said Lofton, a self-proclaimed level 14 zombie enthusiast, “and it totally makes sense that they’re like the henchmen of God. I mean, they’re just so wicked awesome. Did you see 'Dawn of the Dead' where the no-legged zombie attacks the girl with the big rack in the parking garage? I mean that’s Darwinian evolution and societal handicapped awareness bundled into one gruesomely awesome scene.”

Pamela Cranson, a visiting archaeologist from Stanford University, who also has a Ph.D. in open-mindedness, expressed her opinion, “It seems that after thousands of years of lies, deceit, prevarication and redundancy in the highest rings of the Catholic Church, we have discovered that Christ’s original intention was not for us to eat his body and drink his blood, because that’s just crazy. Rather we are to gather for him the body and blood of others as a penitential sacrifice for our wrongdoings.”

The recent development has many questioning the authority of Scripture and the Catholic Church, and although many believers have remained faithful to the Holy See, such concrete evidence as this is causing an unparalleled societal turmoil.

SexxyPrincessUnICOrnFairyStar73 told reporters on Instant Messenger that “religion is like so totally gay,” and that her “mom only does it cuz shes jealous of how omg HOTT I am and cuz she doesn’t want me to be with Timmy cuz dad NEVER kisses her like that!!!11”

Marketers, however, are already taking advantage of the new depiction of Christ, and are marketing him as a social revolutionary. Abercrombie & Fitch has begun mass production of T-Shirts with a print of Christ with fangs, ruffled hair and wild eyes on the front and "What Would Jesus Do?" printed on the back. A recent Marlboro ad shows Christ returning to his cellar in Transylvania after an exhausting night of ravaging the town. Leaning against his coffin, the rugged, dangerous-looking Christ stares despondently out the window and lights up a solitary, slender cigarette as the camera pans up to the moon. Reportedly, the vampiric Christ will even be appearing on next month's box of Wheaties.

"As marketers, it is our duty to turn controversial images and figures into diluted shells of their original self by mass-producing the image on T-shirts, coffee mugs and bumper stickers until the image is rendered utterly sterile," said Rich Hampton, Chief Director of Marketing Affairs at TGC (Thank God for Capitalism), "Vampire Christ is simply the next Che Guevara."

When Fr. Vodak Wozniak, the official theologian of the Papal household, was questioned about the recent discoveries, he stated, “Are you stupid?,” and mumbled either a voodoo incantation over my soul, damning me to an eternity of excruciating pain or something in Polish.

The widespread panic that has cataclysmically rung throughout every demographic has still received little response from the Catholic Church. Whether these discoveries will spell the dawning of a new age or simply another short-lived controversy remains to be seen, but for the first time in thousands of years, the integrity and legitimacy of the Catholic Church is wavering.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Aosta - Where Tiramisu-Related Dreams Come True

This weekend we decided to take it easy, and boarding in the Dolomites seemed to be the best way to relax. Our friend Gabe knew an Italian woman in the small town of Aosta who offered her place for us to stay for the weekend. She was a very sweet older lady and an amazing cook. Emphasis on the amazing. I'm talking about food euphoria. On top of that, her son is the top snowboarding instructor in Aosta, so he got us free gear! We only paid for our train and our lift tickets.

We had planned our trains like good travelers, giving us a 15 minute interval to catch our train to Torino from Milano. The Italians though get bored quickly, and to make thing more exciting they pulled into Milan at 6:14 for our 6:15 train. I wish we could have bird's eye footage of Father Pat and Nicole sprinting over the yellow line, Gabe carrying his backpacker's pack and me darting around old women while hugging my bag in my arms. Somehow we did make it to the train, which was standing room only, much to the chagrin of the poor passengers who were put inches for our sweating, huffing bodies. Ew.

The drama of travel though was repaid in full when we arrived at Umbretta's house with this view to console us.
While our original plans were to enjoy a weekend of snowboarding in the mountains, I began to strongly consider staying with Umbretta just to eat. As fun as clipping down the side of a mountain was, Umbretta's tiramisu takes the cake.When cool things gather, God tends to commemorate the celebration:

And of course, we did do a little boarding:

And no snowboarding trip is complete without shameless posing pics 8000 ft. in the air:

"Hey Father Pat, do you want to come and pray evening prayers with us?"

"Ummm...tell Avram...that I'll pray later..."

Nursing our (well, my) wounds at lunch with hamburgers and beer:

At the end of the day, as we were getting into the gondola that took us all the way down the mountain, Gabe sat down and broke the window of the car. The Italian monitoring the gondolas walked over, gave the window a pat, said "A posto" (everything's in it's place), and walked away. That would never fly in the States! Only in Europe...

And how about a little artistry at the end of the day?

Only now am I feeling the repercussions of testing the physical limits of my left buttcheek. Let it be known to all that if you spend an entire day falling on the same spot, it will turn into a deep purple, Van Gogh-like bruise that spans from the top of your tailbone to the back of your knee, and you will most likely spend the next few weeks on the prescription level of ibuprofen. Oh, and avoid stairs.

C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis has come up in conversation a lot recently, and I have to admit that despite that he's the most loved theologian of the last 150 years outside of maybe JPII, I don't like him. Whenever I mention it I get accosted with gasps and raised eyebrows with threats of tar and feathering at Piazza Venezia at the next Italian manifestazione. I have reason for my dislike though, but before I dive into that I will admit that he's very insightful and quotable. He could rumble with the best of them in terms of one line zingers, but when it comes to content and depth he leaves too much to be desired.

The chief mark of great literature is subtlety. Dostoevsky never spells out his intent. One could read Tolkien their entire life and never get and inkling (pun definitely intended) of a deeper meaning to the text. When I read C.S. Lewis I feel like he has a great stone tablet with "suffering" or "loyalty" inscribed on the side, and he's bashing me over the head with it. Great literature should invoke emotions and cultivate virtues without the reader ever having to rationally articulate why. It should sweep the reader off his feet into a sea of imagery and description. G.K. Chesterton says in his Everlasting Man, "Poetry is sane because it floats easily in an infinite sea; reason seeks to cross the infinite sea, and so make it finite. The result is mental exhaustion…The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens. It is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head. And it is his head that splits…” C.S. Lewis is the logician unabashedly forcing the heavens into his head. His writings never illustrate the complexity of the problem, and they thus devalue the spectrum of human emotion and the complexity of human nature. Literature has always taken primacy in man's experience. Myths, literature and stories expressed the world in a way that math and science couldn't. Man danced with the stars long before he ever measured them through a telescope.

A critique of Lewis shared by Tolkien and Lewis' colleagues at Cambridge was that his books were too neat. He would encounter a problem that had plagued humanity since the dawn of, well, humanity, and would write a neat, 200 page exhortation of the Christian perspective and be done with it - one book on suffering, the next on joy, the next on grief, without ever fully grappling with the depth and intensity of the human struggle with these questions. He undoubtedly makes insightful observations, but without a deeper examination, observations simply float disconnectedly in the cosmos of literature for a weary student to find on google. Even in his fiction, Lewis' characters lack the complexity of a Frodo, Sam or Sarumon. Whether it was intentional on Lewis' part, I don't know, but it seems consistent with his non-fictional works.

Even more bothersome about Lewis is the attitude that he takes towards truth. He's proper where he should be tenacious, and tenacious where he should be proper. There are certain things in this world that can be understood, but truth ultimately remains ever-elusive. The proper way to approach truth in literature is to seduce it from the shadows - to paint alluringly and hope to draw it into the light. Truth requires respect and prostration, but once that truth is revealed it has to be dissected with the full force of the veracity of our mind. Lewis approaches truth with an entirely inverted attitude. He brashly and irreverently tries to tear truth from the shadows, but when he stumbles upon something, rather than diving to the heart of the matter, he treats it superficially and dismissively. He's impetuous, hollow and has a tinge of arrogance. C.S. Lewis is tea-time.

I don't mean to detract from an expansive body of work, because Lewis certainly should be mentioned amongst the great modern theologians. I simply don't think he deserves the overwhelming praise and widespread popularity that he has received. He's like a big chocolate easter egg that looks great and has you thinking you'll be satiated in chocolatey goodness for the next 3 weeks, until you bite into it and find out that it's completely hollow.