Monday, February 22, 2010

The Focus Group

Back when the DaVinci Code movie came out, I wrote this bit about it for my old site and how I imagine the Bible might have actually been put together.  Since my post was read by approximately no one, I feel no guilt whatsoever about recycling it now.  After the last couple of religiously themed posts, I figure the time is right.  Rest assured, I plan on changing the subject with the next post.

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I’ve been enjoying the flurry of publicity regarding the movie release of The DaVinci Code… the protests, the defenses, the dialogues… As a Recovering Catholic, I find a great deal of happiness regarding anything that gets The Church’s panties in a bunch. 

As I understand it, The DaVinci Code asserts (albeit in novelized form) that the Catholic Church has for years covered up the fact that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and produced offspring, of which there is still a traceable bloodline today.  (Talk about an intimidating family to marry into…) 

As I also understand it back in reality, The Bible was compiled from the writings of various men, and translated again and again throughout many centuries, to ultimately become in the eyes of the most devout believers, the literal word of God.  These are the poor souls who, sadly, were out sick on that day in grammar school when they covered “metaphor.”  (What’s a “metaphor”?   To keep cows in, of course.)

So, there is information from all these different sources… different writers, different styles… Who was the editor that decided on what was used, and what went onto the cutting room floor?  And how did he decide?  I also wonder who he was that he had the right to decide… was he given the Holy Red Pen, with which to make the Divine Edits of God?

The research department here at Darwinfish has obtained an ancient scroll, which indicates a major roll played by the Holy Focus Group… a mishmash of average Josephs off of whom the Editor bounced the Hallowed Rough Draft.  I’m picturing the meeting of the Exalted Editorial Committee, as recorded in the meeting’s minutes by a member of the Scribes Pool…

In Attendance: Phil Osteen (Editor in Chief), Ferris Seize (Focus Group Moderator)

Phil Osteen: Well Ferris, what did the group have to say?

Ferris Seize: They have a couple of issues, Chief… first of all, they don’t like JC’s occupation.

Phil:  What’s wrong with being an accountant?  It’s an honorable position counting the Holy Beans.

Ferris:  True enough, but they’re just not feeling the heat.  They think it should be more manly.

Phil:  What do they suggest?

Ferris: They’d like him to be a lumberjack.

Phil:  Are you serious?  A lumberjack?

Ferris:  Yes, Jesus, the Lumberjack of Nazareth.

Phil:  But he would have looked horrible in plaid.  And look at all the unintended irony at the end of the Third Act.  I can just see the headlines on the local parchment… “Lumberjack Felled By Tree”…  Can’t do it…we’d be the laughing stock of all the other religions… They’d call us “Bunyonites.” 

Ferris:  Well if we leave him as an accountant, no one but librarians will be following Him.  We need broader appeal…

Phil:  Who would believe it?  No one can support a wife and kids on what a lumberjack makes…

Ferris:  Oh, they want to lose the family stuff too.  They feel there’s only room for one “Heavenly Father”.  No one wants to think of The Savior doing the laundry and changing dirty didies…  It ruins the “stud appeal”.

Phil:  Ok, what say we split the difference and make Him a carpenter?

Ferris: I can sell that.  Just make sure that no one ever finds out about that Accountant thing, otherwise…

Sadly, that’s where scroll ended.  But there you have it.  Jesus 1.0: husband, father, accountant.  Stay tuned for further developments, as the Committee finds something else for Jesus to do during tax season.   Also, Jesus turns white.

10 comments:

  1. Hilarious! You know, when I was a girl, I found it easier to read and believe the Bible as an anthology written and edited by human men (like, say, my grammar-school readers) than as the True Consistent Infallible Word of God. It was when I was told I was to read it as God's Word that the cracks in my faith deepened.

    The "What's a metaphor?" bit brought back memories from elementary school, too.

    I was amazed at all the hype around the DaVinci Code. For your appreciation, or not, this is the blog post the movie and the hype inspired from me. L'Ailee and I were never Catholic.

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  2. A carpenter, fersure. Made little three legged stools and othe esoteric furniture...never married (not even mary mag), ran around in sandals with a bunch of fishermen...

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  3. I think you had it right as a little girl... Consider it a book of stories that generally guide one towards a good life.

    I always laugh at the people that want to drop the Leviticus bomb on the gays, yet have no problem with All You Can Eat Shrimp night at Red Lobster.

    Your review of the DV Code was spot on. Nice to look at, exciting, but light weight. Best not to take it (or any movie) very seriously.

    And the "Metaphor" gag is one of my old favorites. And I NEVER get the right setup for it in conversations...

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  4. Mary Ann:
    Like Sam Kinison said, were Jesus to have been married, no woman would ever buy that story in a million years. "So where you been? Out with those 12 losers who won't get a job? Oh, anyone that says 'we believe', we put'em up and feed'em. I'm sick of it... Where you been?"

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  5. Jesus would hav been a great accountant, never making a mistake, and I know he would have just sailed thru the CPA exam. Dad

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  6. The Guy graduated from college with two degrees: one in theatre and the other in theology.

    (Whenever anyone asks what his major was, he likes to say, "Absolutely nothing that would help me get a real job.")

    But from the very MOMENT I found out about this, I've been peppering him with questions about various points in The Da Vinci Code.

    I think he finds that particular fascination of mine equal parts amusing and irritating. Sadly, I don't think Dan Brown books were on his required reading list, being that he went to a Baptist college and all. Sigh.

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  7. I think it's hilarious and sad that so many organized religions rely on the whole "word handed to man directly from God" stuff. Even differences in the "modern" versions (KJ vs. NIV, etc.) demonstrate the possible misinterpretations possible. It's ridiculous to believe that nuances would not change wording enough to make a difference.

    I love the reference to the gay verse and Red Lobster. Hee hee.

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  8. Dad:
    And that opens up a whole other area to explore… Jesus Christ, CPA. Can’t you just see Him during tax season?

    “Now about these charitable deductions… (looking skeptically over the top of his half-glasses) you know you really didn’t put that much in the plate.”

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  9. B. Girl:
    Right… the Baptists don’t find this stuff nearly as amusing as we do. Must they suck the fun out of everything?

    A favorite definition:
    Puritanism – The fear that someone, somewhere, might be having fun.

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  10. Cristy:
    That’s the thing… you can’t get 5 people standing next to each other to pass on the exact same message, let alone a message that’s been translated and interpreted for thousands of years. And anyone that’s studied English or any other language knows that even tiny changes can greatly alter the meaning.

    I don’t see how any manuscript under these conditions can be elevated to the degree that the some have done. And those that cherry-pick which portions they’re going to make a big deal about, make me sick. They’re really just using the Bible as cover to justify their prejudices. As if that’s what Jesus was all about… excluding people.

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