Comfortable and Furious


The End is Extremely Fucking Nigh


The verdict is in, ladies and gentlemen, and Christians, once thought to be poor, unfortunate saps afflicted with advanced insanity — tinged with a bit of self-delusion — have now graduated to dangerous and morally suspect; murderous, schizophrenic beasts so beyond the grasp of reason that round-the-clock shock treatments would do little but deepen the dementia. After one jaw-dropping episode of NBC’s Revelations, based on the New Testament’s dumbest book, we now have lasting proof that the Religious Right has secured the mainstream for its sinister agenda, I have never been so afraid for the future of this country. I’d run and hide, but these people have infiltrated every hole, sewer, and open pit in their quest to transform this country from a backwater hovel of superstitious yokeldom to a shining, crisply ordered behemoth of lockstep and zealotry. The hillbillies still remain, of course, but they’re finely tailored and well-funded; legitimized by the bloated cash cows that currently craft legislation in the most conservative legislative body in American history. And this is no escapist melodrama, friends, but A-list, big-budgeted propaganda with the sole desire to bring extremism to the widest possible audience. As with the Schiavo case and the Pope’s death, this is but one more attempt to dominate the airwaves with talk best left to mental institutions and isolated Montana retreats. It’s about making madness reasonable, acceptable, and commonplace. And if we get enough of it, it won’t appear as dangerous as it really is.

What is most striking about Revelations is that it begins and ends each segment with a Biblical quote, as if gibberish could be given added authority by merely appearing on the screen. The Bible hasn’t seen this kind of publicity in decades, and it’s all given without differing viewpoints or much-needed critical analysis. And then there’s Sister Josepha Montefiore (Natascha McElhone), some accented, hotter-than-expected nun who runs around claiming that all the signs are in place, despite the objections of scientists, doctors, and one Richard Massey (Bill Pullman), who we know will come around to the nun’s vision because he recently lost his daughter to a sicko killer acting in the name of Satan. In fact, the murderer might actually be the devil himself, as he snaps his fingers to stop airplane turbulence, and slices off his finger without a trace of blood. He also screams at Massey during a prison visit, saying that God has abandoned him and let his daughter die. I’d say the devilish dude was the only interesting character in the entire show, but we know he’s meant to be an object of scorn. The nun is also traveling the world to witness other signs of the end times, including the shadow of a cross where there is no cross, as well as Mary’s umpteenth appearance on a tortilla in some remote village. I made that last part up, but why is it that these strange religious visions always occur in Mexico? Could it be that the fecal water or massively polluted air helps bring about bizarre hallucinations? And while we’re on the subject, why is it that whenever someone claims to have heard voices from God, that person is “inspired” or “full of the spirit,” while someone claiming to speak for demonic sources is always insane or in need of treatment? The Pope claims to hear Jesus and is made a saint, while Richard Ramirez acts for the Dark Lord and is thrown in jail? Fine, Ramirez slaughtered a dozen Californians, but the Pope’s ridiculous policy on birth control helped kill ten million Africans. Oh, that’s right; nothing in this fucking cesspool of a world makes sense anymore. I keep forgetting.

The other big turn of events in Revelations involves some young girl who is struck by lightning, lies in a vegetative state, and is thought to be speaking in Latin while scratching out ancient religious symbols. The nun is there as well, fighting the medical establishment (as well as a few Communist judges) to keep the girl alive because of her inherent dignity and worth. Nope, nothing topical there. The nun takes the drawing of a horse and meets with Massey, claiming that it is a sign that she is speaking for his daughter beyond the grave. Oh, before I forget, the comatose girl was hit by that righteous bolt only after sassing her father, a devoutly religious man who roared that she would be attending church on Sunday because she had a fake tattoo and all-too-revealing hip-huggers. Typically, the real source of his outrage lies in the fact that he can’t fuck his own daughter without moderate to severe guilt. These kids today; if only God himself would strike them down for rebelling against paternal cock.

Across the globe, in Greece, a white baby is the lone survivor of a shipwreck, and is brought ashore to be made a symbol of God’s love. Foreshadowing demands that this baby will in fact be the anti-Christ, although I’m waiting for his transformation into a Jewish male in his late thirties in Manhattan, as promised by Jerry Falwell. Again, this shit would be laughable and quite possibly entertaining if people weren’t watching each episode hoping for instructions on the end of days. “Wars and rumors of wars?” Iraq! Terrorism! “Natural disasters and great calamities?” The tsunami! Earthquakes galore! And of course, ignore the fact that the planet has been perpetually at war since humans first started bashing each other’s heads in with rocks; and earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, and landslides have never ceased wreaking havoc since the Earth cooled. No, dear believers, these events are unique to this moment in time, as they were for each and every previous generation who also believed themselves to be those chosen to witness Christ’s return.

The key question remains: will I watch the remainder of the series? I have every intention of catching episode #2, but will go no further if that damned nun insists on keeping those holy melons from spilling out of that frustratingly tight habit. I hold out hope that she too is on the side of evil, and it is her devilish mission to fellate non-believers unceasingly until they roar their allegiance to Hades. Still, I can dig the killing of teenagers and deluded Third World folks trekking thousands of miles to stare at false images. But in those pockets of America not affected by electricity, running water, or the arrival of the printing press, I fear the result of too much time spent in the presence of prophecy. And yet, we are sufficiently teeming with crazies and loons to allow for an inspired Christian to shoot up a mall or blow up a stadium as a way to expedite the rapture. Then, if we can generate a movement to hold the writers and producers responsible, we can hold show trials exposing the radical religious agenda and break out the piano wire currently in storage from the Stalin era. I know, it’s a long shot, but such fantasies keep me plugging along in a world without meaning.