[Look for your weekly fix from the one and only Henry Rollins right here on West Coast Sound every Thursday, and come back tomorrow for the awesomely annotated playlist for his Sunday KCRW broadcast.]
See also: Henry Rollins: No Time to Waste
Dear Mr. Christ: I know that most people call you by your first name. While I am sure that's cool, having never met you, I thought it best to refer to you in the formal.
I wonder if this day after Christmas might be a bit of a relief for you. The days leading up to your now-popular birthday perhaps have you a bit disappointed in humanity. Sure, we are capable of great things, like The Velvet Underground, pizza and penicillin, but it is our actions bizarre and less-than-civilized that may have you wondering if those who claim to live by your teachings have been cutting one class too many.
While I cannot claim to be conversant in all the details of your brief existence, besides multiple viewings of Life of Brian and the big-item stuff that has been beaten into my head by fellow American citizens, I think I have a fair grasp on what you got up to, pre-Crucifixion.
Before I forget, a few years ago I was walking up the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem, where, I was told, you were made to drag your cross. I asked someone who was very sure that this happened, on this exact street, how you were able to get the crucifix around some of the sharper corners. It's a fair question. Oh, the glare I got!
Anyway, back to what you're known and loved for, your greatest hits, as it were. Let's see if I have this right. You said some really cool, punk-rock shit about rejecting materialism and feeding the poor. You went into the Temple and turned over the tables of the moneylenders. Righteous! Was that your way of separating capitalism from all that is holy? (As I am sure you are well aware, the lenders and their tables are back.) You came on all hippie libtard scum with love of your fellow man and told all who listened to do the same, right? You are known all over the world as the Prince of Peace. I guess you're the original Soul Brother No. 1. So, for all the good vibes you extolled, you were crucified by those who couldn't handle your truth.
For centuries afterward, the mortal guilt trip of all that has turned into a multibillion-dollar industry and a lot of turbulence, to say the least.
When you see how some use your teaching to validate actions so obscene and violent, do you wonder how it all got so screwed up? You have seen the celebration of your birthday go from one day to an entire season, which seems to represent less and less what you stood for, degraded into a capitalist full-contact retail death match to acquire more and more stuff. You watch people slam through doors and run over each other for a good deal.
Meanwhile, the political party that claims to love you the most slashes benefits to the poor, scoffs at peace and regards attempts to establish international tranquility through diplomacy and negotiation as vile, Neville Chamberlain-esque capitulation. They accuse the “other side” of being “godless” when they try to feed the poor, bring wars to an end, care for the planet, end bigotry and curb predatory lending practices.
Meanwhile, the “all godded up” send in their lobbyists to widen the diameter of the proverbial needle's eye so that camels and deregulation pass through easily.
Is there a wall you bang your forehead against when you see what we do with what we've been given?
There is a link, whether you like it or not, between you and Santa Claus. Too late, sir, that's a done deal. The image of Mr. Claus — another person I have not met, whose existence was recently validated by Megyn Kelly at Fox News when she claimed that both you and he were white (she later said she was kidding) — holding a bottle of Coke has been seared into my frontal lobes since I was very young.
What do you think about what Time magazine's Person of the Year — Pope Francis — said recently in his 50,000-word “apostolic exhortation”? I listened to several pages of it read on the radio and pulled this quote from a Reuters post: “How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses 2 points?” Isn't that reminiscent of your socialist commie propagandist bullshit? I thought it was a damn good question myself. The pope also said that trickle-down economics “expresses a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power.” I think it's great that he used the word naive.
One of your more flawed lumps of clay, Rush Limbaugh, was not pleased with what the pope had to say and relegated it to “pure Marxism.” The parts I heard sounded pretty Christolicious to me. Interesting that when the pope talks your walk, he seems to be at odds with those who claim to be some of your biggest fans.
Now, if Pope Francis can be seen as somewhat Marxist and he is one of your main pitchmen, don't you have a little of that on ya as well?
Mr. Christ, I read you as an infinitely patient entity who, as they say, often works in mysterious ways, a rebel unafraid to take the tougher, less traveled paths. Seems to me you're playing the long game. Is that why more states are coming out in favor of marriage equality? Is that why the Affordable Care Act is now with us?
Lastly, I wanted to ask about your sense of humor, which I take to be of great dryness and sharpness. This must explain the queens of comedy Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann. Clint and the chair, that was you, right?!
I still can't get into Christmas music, ugh. No problem. That's why there are Slayer albums. Problem solved. Peace, dude!
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