Christ On Ice?
Regardless of one’s religious
persuasions, or lack thereof, Jesus Christ is a figure of
endless fascination and speculation. With surely more to come
this month pending the release of The Da Vinci
Code in movie theaters across the country on
And with last month being the Eastertide, it
was of no particular surprise to us to find that two new stories
concerning Christ, had made the mainstream media. One of them
you no doubt saw; the other— being essentially of a
one-day nature— you might have missed.
The story you saw (unless you were in a coma),
concerns the so called Gospel of Judas.
According to this 1700 year old document, which was in a thousand
fragments and took five years to reassemble and translate,
Judas emerges as hero, rather than betrayer.
In handing Christ over to the authorities, he
is merely doing his bidding. In a dramatic passage from the
text, Jesus tells Judas:
||You will be cursed by the other generations—
and you will come to rule over them.
This is akin to finding a document stating that
Lee Harvey Oswald (and/or whomever?) carried out the assassination,
at JFK’s specific request.
||Lee, beware of Jack Ruby packing heat.
As scholars will no doubt be debating this newly
uncovered “Gospel” for decades, we’ll be
back here in 2036 to address their conclusions. But for now,
let’s move on to the story you might have missed.
This one particularly tickled our fancy owing
to its comedic implications and the visuals conjured up in
the mind’s eye. It concerns the biblical story of Christ’s
walking on water.
A Professor Nof from Florida
State University, writing in the April edition of
the Journal of Paleolimnology (which
for the uninitiated is… “a publication for
the rapid dissemination of original scientific work dealing
with the reconstruction of lake histories”…we
swear; we’re not kidding on this), believes that in
actuality, Jesus might have been walking on ice!
This professor— who takes geekiness to
a whole other level—used records of the Mediterranean
Sea’s surface temperatures and statistical models to
examine the dynamics of the Sea of Galilee. He concludes that
a drop in temperature below freezing could have caused pieces
of ice to form on the surface of the water, that were thick
enough to support an adult person. Therefore, distant observers
unable to see “Christ on ice”, might have concluded
that they were seeing him walk on water.
Our response to this— to use a common
email acronym— is ROTFL!!! (which of course translates
to “Rolling on the floor laughing”).
Look, believing in miracles is a matter of,
well, belief. You either believe in the divinity of Christ
and therefore his ability to walk on water or you don’t.
Either way, of course, is fine. But to suggest on the basis
of scientific extrapolation, which deals in possibility,
that Christ with any degree of feasibility, could
have perpetuated such an ill-conceived hoax, is truly laughable.
Not even David Blaine (www.davidblaine.com)
would try this stunt. Think about it.
Imagine the scene: a secret boat (the “second
boat theory?”), with a co-conspirator(s)…(Judas?),
sneaks Jesus out there on a freezing night, and deposits him—
in his sandals— upright on a floating chunk of ice.
Then he/they row through the other ice floes to get out of
sight and wait until the boat containing Peter and other apostles
arrives on the scene. Of course, if they are out of sight,
how will they know when the coast is clear (so to speak) so
that they can come back undetected to retrieve him? A-a-a-a-neeeway….
So here’s Christ. Standing out there.
Shivering. (If you’re trying to convince someone of
your divinity, you can’t be out there all bundled up,
can you?). And he’s trying to keep his balance on this
moving piece of ice. Wondering, for how long. An hour maybe?
Praying that what with all this frigid weather, Peter doesn’t
decide to call off the planned fishing expedition for that
Really, how smart is this “Iceman Cometh”
idea? Putting ourselves in his sandals, we’d wonder
if there wasn’t an easier illusion to perform, that’s
just as convincing, yet not as cold. Not to mention, one so
as easy to go awry.
Suppose for example, Peter and the guys insist
on taking the boat all the way out to where Jesus is standing?
They see the ice under his feet. Then he’s got some
‘splainin’ to do, no?
Or worse, suppose Christ slips?
One slip… and there goes the whole
We believe in science as much as the next guy.
If not more so. After all, we graduated from Brooklyn
Tech. And we have always been big fans of NASA
and this whole water on Mars business. But this “scientific”
explanation cuts no ice with us. What’s next? How about:
||“A prominent oenologist writing in
this month’s ‘Wine Spectator’
concluded, that water will tend to taste like
wine, to those already drunk.”
Once there were phone
And a seat and a shelf
and the Yellow Pages—
the ones of course most needed.
Ripped from the spine with intent and malice?
Or someone in search of the Chop Suey Palace?
A call outside from a phone-booth phone
a savored piece
of social exchange.
And you brought to the premises
a pocketful of change.
And you smoked while in there
the hard core kind:
all the while
the first hand smoke.
Then second hand smoke.
Third and fourth and tenth hand smoke.
Smoke, smoke, smoke
till you looked like Jacob
enshrouded in translucent robes
punctuated by exhalations
of chains of perfect rings:
whooo whooo whooo
You sat there smoking
five cents please
making time with another princess
you met last week in Queens.
She had to leave with her friend
before you could make
They always travel in pairs:
one loose; one plain.
call tonight caught
the former in curlers
doing her toenails
Oh, to stay here on this line forever.
Lost in seduction
that door to adulthood
with its cancers and commitments;
it’s clothes at the cleaners—
this tyrannosaurus ass
banging his claw on the tempered glass?
Go away you dinosaur! The day will soon
when we all will roam the earth in search
for cellular phones
sipping spring water
from recycled plastic
as we go.
The “Reality” of Miss
We called it.
In writing about the Miss America pageant in
our Muse-Letter of November 2004 (http://www.domenicapress.com/html/newsletter_november_2004.html)
one of our observations went something like this:
about this event from a broadcast standpoint, is that
it was the first “reality TV” program—
a good 50 years ahead of its time!
… all the elements are there for
what is making this genre so white hot today:
• Amateurs vying for their 15 minutes
of fame and fortune, despite questionable
or no talent
• A moment of glory offset by all
the pain and humiliation…
• And having many losers (in this
case 49! Wow! Count ‘em!)… with their biggest
dream in life left unfulfilled.
In fact looked at in that context, and
with the right host— say The Donald or Simon Cowell—
this show might still have some “legs”.
(Pun…definitely intended). It might again become
the mega hit it once was. Hmmmm.”
Sure enough, as reported by the Associated Press
at the beginning of last month:
Miss America pageant will broadcast a reality series
next year to draw viewers and let the audience choose
some of the finalists.
Country Music Television
will show the seven-episode ‘Finding Miss America”
in the days leading up to the January 2007 pageant.”
But we lay claim to no great genius in seeing
this coming. In fact, given where the culture is going, can
an actual Presidential election in this manner be far behind?
| American President!
A show in which literally anyone can become
president as they do their
song and dance before our Electoral College,
with its Dean and host— John Stewart!”
Giving Poetry, Language
and Thought a Bad Name
Martin Heidegger, who died 30 years ago this
month, is widely regarded as one of the central figures of
the existentialist movement. A darling of the intelligentsia
(and Woody Allen), we remember him as being required reading,
in a philosophy course we took in college over 40 years ago.
So when we ran across a book by him entitled
Poetry, Thought, Language, it seemed
like something that, would not only be intellectually stimulating,
but perhaps of some practical use in our writing as well.
It turned out to be one of the more classical
cases of hyperbole and intellectual masturbation that you
will ever run across in your existential life. So why spend
any time sharing this? Because it is so convoluted, that trying
to figure out exactly what he is saying, makes for an interesting
brain-twister type of a puzzle.
For example, here are a couple of concepts espoused
by Marty, taken verbatim from the book. We invite you
to try to unravel their meaning. (Note: Take all the time
“What in the thing is thingly?
What is the thing in itself? We shall not reach the
thing in itself until our thinking has reached the thing
“Even though the work’s createdness
has a relation to creation, nevertheless both createdness
and creation must be defined in terms of the work-being
of the work.”
ROTFL!!!! Is he kidding? Or maybe it’s
But we’re inclined to think that this
is the sort of createdness of thinglyness,
that gives human intelligence a bad name.
The History Boys
Giving human intelligence a good name, is The
History Boys, a new play that opened on Broadway,
about ten days ago.
Traveling across the Atlantic from the West
End in London—where it had won the Olivier Award (the
British equivalent of a Tony)— this play by Alan Bennett
has received glowing reviews here in New York. One was so
glowing*, as to send us to our cell phones after just a few
paragraphs to order tickets.
And we were glad we did. We absolutely loved
this play which is now virtually sold out for the next few
months, from what we could gather on a testy “Box Office
line”, when we went to pick up our tickets the next
day. And in addition to financial and critical success, we
expect it will garner a few Tony Awards as well.
The play deals with a theme that has been explored
before, though never quite so uniquely. In essence:
the approach to education, be of a short term nature
designed to pay off in immediate, tangible ways —such
as better SAT scores and GPA’s that presumably
lead to better financial rewards and a secure place
within the system?
Should it be designed for long term gain in less measurable
ways, that inspire individuals to seek knowledge for
the love of knowledge, and in the process becoming more
well-rounded human beings and out-of-the-box thinkers?
Discuss among yourselves.
The power of the play derives from :
• its being able to
address this old theme in a refreshing way (one gay
student sings a hypnotic rendition of Bewitched,
Bothered and Bewildered during a scene change…though
this is not a musical!)…
• with a generous supply of “edgy”
humor (another student defines history as “Just
one f------ thing after another”) …
• and enacted by an ensemble whose
performance we found flawless