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It’s Whacky Over-The-Hump Cartoon Day…or is it?

After Monday’s post-Easter blog (which received six-times more traffic than usual, thanks guys!) here are some cartoons to gently ease you over Wednesday.

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Heeeeeere’s Jesus!

     It’s Easter Sunday!!! “Rise and shine, Jesus. It’s time to make a bunch of people feel really dumb for crucifying you.”

      However, if Jesus Christ really came back today, how long do you think it would take for us (as a society) before we crucified him all over again?

     I mean there are a whole lot of people in this country waiting for Jesus to return. If he did come back, would he use the name Jesus Christ? Or would he take the smart route and go by another name? If he claimed to be the son of God, how long would it be before Christians in this country started yelling “Blasphemy!”

         The Bay Area Brit doesn’t believe the man would stand a chance against the Christians.

           “Show us a miracle!” they’d cry. “Prove you are who you say!”

          And Jesus would be all, “I did all that nonsense last time around. You really want to see a miracle?”

        And the Christians would be like “Yeah, of course. How do we know that you’re telling the truth otherwise?”

        And Jesus would be all, “I’m the son of God. I mean seriously, people, I died for you lot and now you’re doubting me all over again. Talk about a deja vu.”

        And the Christians would cry, “But you’re not even white! Jesus was white!”

       And Jesus would be all, “How could I be white? I was born in the bloody Middle-East, you morons.”

       And the Christians would be all, “Did he just call us morons? Well this is awkward.”

       And Jesus would be like, “Tell me about it. I thought you–especially you rich, Southern churchy-types–would be happy to see me.”

       And the Christians would say, “Well we were, but we thought you’d be whiter…and well, you called us morons, and well, we don’t believe you.”

        And Jesus would be all like, “What about FAITH?”

        And the Christians would be all like, “Well we had some, but it went away. Things have been really rough since you left. Times have changed.”

         And Jesus would be all, “How can it be any worse than it was? Last time I was here there were lepers everywhere. Romans were running the shop like a fascist state, and talk about the plagues and whatnot. Remember all that from your Bible?”

      “Yeah, I mean we remember that. Look, listen, we were kind of scaring our children to be good on this whole ‘fear of going to hell on judgment day’ thing thinking that you weren’t really going to come back. I mean why would you? But if you are back, then we’re all in a lot of trouble. You see we prayed a lot, and we read the Bible, and we preached, but we didn’t practice what we, or even you, preached.”

        “What are you saying? Have you not been taking care of all of God’s children?”

        “Er, in a word, no. There’s a lot of really poor people in this country and we’ve kind of just ignored them and been looking out for ourselves. You know, taking care of ‘number one.’ Being ‘number one’ is kind of a big deal in this country. We know that you taught us that we are all created equal, but we kind of think that’s bullshit; pardon our language. We’ve got things kind of cushy and we don’t want to give anything up so that poor people have something.”

        “Well that’s not very Christian of you is it?”

         “Yeah, so…sorry, we’re going to have to crucify you again. You’re more important to us dead than alive. And we don’t need you coming back and making us all feel guilty because we’re a bunch of hypocrites.”

And…scene.

       This year, Easter Sunday was April 4th, the anniversary of the death of the Reverend Martin Luther King. I leave you with the final paragraph of Dr. King’s final speech, which he gave the night before he was murdered.

      “Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”

© copyright Matty Stone 2010

Let Me Play The Fool

        Shakespeare is like broccoli. You heard me.
The Bay Area Brit has always liked to read, but as a schoolboy in England, I was forced to absorb books that were way over my head. Instead of opening up to the world of Olde England as spake by 14th Century writer Geoffrey Chaucer, I gazed at the text wondering what I could do or say in the melancholic mire to keep my classmates and me entertained.

      l played the fool.

    I felt sorry for my fellow pre-teenage students, some of whom may have genuinely been interested in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, or Shakespeare’s Hamlet, or Charles Dickens’s Hard Times. At the age of 12, I couldn’t care less. Even if the stories had been interesting to me, what was with all that lingo? My sphincter puckered at the antiquated verbiage.

        I have recently come to appreciate “The Bard.” To me, Shakespeare is like broccoli. I hated broccoli as a child. It was forced upon me because it was supposed to be “good for me.” Much like Shakespeare was supposed to be “good for me.” In adulthood I have come to appreciate, and dare I say it, love broccoli and Shakespeare. I even like that wretched cauliflower Dickens now. I mean his stories are depressing as hell and I still imagine myself a victim of child labor forced to shimmy up a chimney to clean it every time I read him, but at least I get it now. Chaucer: you’re like Brussels sprouts and are dead to me and can rot. I know you’re “important” but you did nothing but ruin books for me for a very long time.

                  I recently read “Fool” by Christopher Moore. A book that is inspired by Shakespeare and British comedy. Moore is one of my favorite writers because he’s funny. He can tell a mean story, but in a way that keeps you on your toes. His comedic timing is as good (if not better) than any writer I’ve ever read. I was first introduced to Christopher Moore a few years ago after reading a book that he referred to as the biggest challenge of his writing career: “Lamb: The Gospel According To Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal.”

If you haven’t read “Lamb,” and were kept prisoner in Sunday School as a child, this might be the perfect antidote to what ailed you all those years ago. It’s a brilliantly executed story that we are all partly familiar with. Moore fills in the missing blanks from The Bible about Jesus’ life, and does it in a way that even the most ardent Christian might concede believable.

I’m just saying that Moore would have made a great apostle were he offered a shot at writing one or more of the gospels. The man can spin a yarn. However, when I finally got around to reading “Fool,” I braced myself (somewhat apprehensively) for some Shakespearean childhood flashbacks.

I am often wary when Americans (Moore is originally from Ohio) try to delve too deeply into not only my country’s history but take a swing at the humo(u)r. British humor has its own unmistakable identity. To scratch the surface, it is borne from the works of Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde (although technically Irish), P.G. Wodehouse, Tom Stoppard (who penned “Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead,” which is Hamlet written from the perspective of two of the play’s secondary characters), Douglas Adams, and Pythons of the Monty variety. Fortunately, Moore is a fan of the genre and is influenced appropriately by the comedic gods from across the pond.

He researched Lamb by reading The Bible with an archaeologist’s toothcomb and visited Israel and walked in Christ’s footsteps.

         Ensuring Fool’s authenticity wasn’t something he could do by just reading up on Shakespeare (which he did). It wasn’t by visiting Britain (which he did). The heart of Fool comes from understanding the British sense of humor;  the language he uses is spot on. In the hands of a different American writer, the book might have been overly-peppered with jokes and schtick sold to him by a hackneyed Renaissance Faire Punch and Judy gag writer. Not so with Fool.

Fool is Moore’s version of “King Lear” as told from the perspective of Pocket: a black-clothed court jester, who is either fully loved or despised by the other characters living in Lear’s court. Moore acknowledges Shakespeare took liberties with timeframes and geography in his play, as he did. As to what responsibility Moore had to steer things back where they belong–the answer is none. As a consequence, Fool is a hilarious and oft bawdy Medieval romp which begs, borrows, and steals from a handful of Shakespeare’s works. Think of Fool as Shakespeare on Nitrous Oxide. Yes, the writer takes liberties all of which he confesses: there are cameos from Macbeth’s witches and Moore uses British slang and American euphemisms with a joyful abandon. At some point I remember vague mention of “the driving out the Mazdas from Swindon.” It doesn’t make sense, but why should it? It’s laugh out loud funny and satisfying to the end.

       On this April Fools Day, if you have a new-found love of broccoli, this fool urges you to seek out Christopher Moore’s “Fool.”