Friday, April 15, 2011

What’s So Good About Good Friday?

A week from today is Good Friday, a day which always puts a smile on my cynical lips. On that day, supposedly Jesus Christ sacrificed his life to atone for my sins and the sins of all mankind. You with me so far? And supposedly, Jesus was the earthly incarnation of an infinite and all-knowing god (all-knowing is the operative phrase, here). So here’s what I don’t get. If you believe the fable about the all-knowing power of Jesus, then that means that at dawn on Good Friday, J.C. knew he would get the cookies pounded out of him that day, but he also knew that 48 hours later he would be back on the streets, good as new, and no worse for the wear. So if you sacrifice your life for a cause— any cause whatsoever— then how much of a sacrifice really is it if you know that you won’t actually have to stay dead for more than a day or two? And is that really a sacrifice at all? Isn’t that more of just an overly dramatic temporary exhibition? How about just calling it a stunt? And is an overly dramatic stunt enough to atone for the sins of all mankind? Who makes this stuff up, anyway?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

This World’s No Place to Live

Bluegrass picker, John Duffy, sang that, “This world’s no place to live— but it’s home.” Problem is, the “hominess” seems to diminish with each passing day, and this makes writing a cynical blog like The Stonecypher increasingly difficult.

2011 has been simply the worst and it’s not even Easter time yet. Writing should result in something that’s fun to read. From my viewpoint, the fun comes from absurdity, and the absurdity usually comes from stupidity. But stupidity is never funny when it’s tragic, and 2011 has (so far) been mostly about tragedy. Oh, to be sure, there have been bright spots. Charlie Sheen isn’t funny, but watching major networks devote large segments of prime news time to interviewing psychologists about their interpretation of Sheen’s You Tube postings— that’s absolutely hilarious because it makes the “farce factor” meter peg out at the max. And of course, Sarah Palin is always entertaining for “farce factor” value. She doesn’t even need to speak. All she needs to do is hold one of her kids or grandkids up in front of the microphone, and we all get to wonder how big and heavy will the kid need to be when she stops doing this. That’s funny.

But Arab dictators are not funny. Citizens facing fatal gunfire in the mistaken belief that somehow there’s safety in numbers— that’s not funny. Mexican drug cartel violence isn’t funny, especially for Americans along the southern border. Global unemployment and homelessness are definitely not funny. 9.0 earthquakes are not funny. Thirty foot tall Tsunami waves are not funny. Radiation leaks are not funny. But when the radiation leak is in Japan, and hysterical Californians stock up on iodine tablets to protect themselves— that’s funny, at least in a snickering, condescending kind of way. It’s all about the reading on the “farce factor” meter, and god knows I’m certainly not above a little snickering condescension.

I look forward to the day when we can all get back to just watching the fast track canonization of John Paul II. For sheer farce and absurdity, it’s hard to beat Catholicism, especially when it involves sainthood for JP2— a man who kept clerical pedophiles working their evil in parishes for 22 years when he had the power to stop it. It makes you wonder about all the other Catholic saints. How messed up were they?