Thursday, December 22, 2011

Xmas, and how to mash up trams and the bible ...

(Above: click to enlarge).

The pond was reminded of the cartoon above by this little splash in the heart of the nation, involving the inimitable Gary Johns:

Stop right there, no need to breach the paywall to have a little debate.

Jesus actually had more than a few unkind words to say about the rich, and offered up this insight:

Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.

And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.

And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!

For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

Now call Jesus an idealistic or an unrealistic or an impractical nong, call him a pinko socialist commie pervert, but for the sweet absent lord's sake, read the bloody bible and read what Jesus actually said before you scribble a dingbat header.

There is of course more, much more in the bible, in relation to parents, moneylenders and minions of Murdoch, but why should the pond have to reprint the new testament in its entirety so that the heathens at The Australian can get a decent Xian education?

Oh yes, that set the Xmas spirit of goodwill, harmony and peace on earth surging at the pond.

But wait, today there's more.

Tell that to Santa, and to his face punk, and the reindeers and the elves, and don't go on about how they're just imaginary friends for children. Just remember the Romans did perfectly well with Saturnalia, without need of Christianity and cliches like sefl-designated and sapping the festival of its spirit.

What on earth does self-designated mean? Is Peter Kurti self-designated? Or does appearing in The Australian bestow designation?

What, no precious bodily fluids going down the drain as well as the sapping of the festival spirit?

Short and long punk, you stick to your host of imaginary friends, and the pond will remain loyal to Santa and his helpers. Consumerism lives ...

Quick easter bunny, there's someone who doesn't believe in the worlds at the top of the faraway tree.

Meanwhile, as part of the culture shock involved in making the trip to Melbourne, the pond has taken to reading The Age, and bizarre scribbles like Don't get mad, but maybe it's time to rail against a Melbourne icon.

They really do breed their loons down south with an exquisite sense of silliness and refinement as James Schloeffel bangs on about trams, apparently mainly because they dared to dig up the street outside his house, and Sydney's envy isn't enough to sustain the whole darn tram thing:

Call me avant-garde, but I had not imagined trams would be trundling around Melbourne in 2111. I assumed we were just hanging on to them for sentimental reasons until they died. A bit like the Queen.

Call the pond avant-garde, but we assumed Melbourne would be home to petrol heads like Mad Max driving V-8s up Swanston street in 2111.

Actually we'll just settle for calling Schloeffel a dunderhead, and recommend he read in the sister rag Matt Wade's poignant address to Sydney-siders No need to be glum about state we're in.

Cheer up Sydney - the weather might not be very summery but all is not lost for the Premier State.

But where are the trams, there ought to be trams at this time in our career, oh well maybe next year ...

But when the pond went looking for more quaint parochial thinking, that was it. The Fairfax Sydney-Melbourne axis has become a giant amorphous cosmopolitan blob, stripped of regionalism and eccentricity, with Melburnians force fed the likes of Paul Sheehan ... and Simon Smart, director of the Centre for Public Christianity, which operates out of Kent Street in Sydeny (and which raises the question of how soon can we look forward to a centre for private xianity).

In Believer or not, hope sustains all, Smart shows he's a dab hand for rhetorical questions, as he trawls through a set of atheist views which seem quite likely interpretations of the state of imaginary friends in the world, and arrives mournfully at this:

As another year rolls around we get ever-diminishing glimpses of the ancient Christmas story. A child is born among straw, mud and poverty, who also, so the story goes, happens to be the one who was present at the laying of the foundations of the universe. Is it a story that has any currency these days?

Mud? They can't resist the odd embellishment and polishing and scrubbing of the myth, can they?

Read Luke 2:1-20 in detail and see if you can find mention of mud.

Poverty? Actually it was because there was no room at the inn that Jesus ended up in the manger. Is it really necessary to the myth to suggest that Joseph was a wastrel layabout unemployed useless hopeless dingbat, when all he was doing was turning up in town with his squeeze (pledged to be married to him, so never mind the bastard pregnancy by an out of town interloper) to do the right thing by the Roman census.

Poor Smart reveals he has a sick child, so there's no need to be hard on him, but really:

... Christmas morning reminds us that there is a promise that one day there will be a world of no mourning or crying or pain.

You mean when we're dead? We should be looking forward to being as dead as the dodo on Xmas day?

And so those in the West who still celebrate Christmas will do so with a profound sense that this day represents a moment of hope that, perhaps despite appearances to the contrary, God is real, and that he cares enough to get intimately involved in the human drama.

Except of course if you happen to be caught in sectarian violence in Iraq, or living in a theocracy like Iran or suffering in a madhouse like North Korea, or a European Jew or millions of other civilians caught up in the second world war or ....

Oh enough already, you catch the drift. As Edward G. Robinson might or might not have said, and Chief Wiggum certainly did to Ned Flanders, where's your messiah now ...

Suddenly a trip to Melbourne seems like a pleasant distraction from these weighty questions. Bring on the trams, there ought to be trams, maybe next week ...

(Below: speaking of Xmas spirit, the Fox News Xmas card is another beauty, as the Fox drives the sheep to victory, and never mind if cable still generally runs behind free to air in the States, it's the competitive spirit and the bloodlust for victory and kill, kill, kill, 'die motherfucker ratings die' - or 'the motherfucker ratings the' if you will Sideshow Bob - that makes Xmas such a serene time of peace and goodwill on earth to all people).


  1. If we of today had to comply with a purported census under Joseph' s constraints there'd be many millions descending on that small village where Charlemagne was born.

    No wonder there was no room at the inn as most of the population could have claimed royal descent after 26-odd generations.

  2. To be sure, to be sure. Found this on an Xian site discussing the issue of the inn:

    “And laid Him in a manger, because there was no room in the inn.” The problem of the inn is still unsolved. The fact is we do not have any information regarding these Palestinian inns. In the rest of the Roman empire, we know they were places of ill repute and travelers, whenever possible, stayed with friends. Thus, we have the emphasis in the New Testament on showing “love to strangers.” Jewish inns may have been better, but this is only conjecture.

    It seems, as always, that the problem was the Palestinians ...

  3. The Palestinians must have overthrown David's occupation of their lands and kicked out those foreigners from Ur including all of Joseph's ancestral family thus necessitating the search for public accommodation.

    I saw one TV "documentary" suggest that domestic animals of the time were kept indoors and stables as such non-existent for civilians so conditions for the incipient King of the World were just about the same as for everybody else.


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