Throbert's Theatre of Thinkologizing main page


28 January 2009

Words of the Day

Pabstism (păb'•stiz•əm) n. -- A quasi-religious ceremony in which participants, usually men, spray each other with cheap beer.

Bar Schlitzvah (bar shlits'•və) n. -- Akin to a Pabstism, but with kosher snacks.


posted by Throbert | 1/28/2009 01:48:00 PM | (0) responses

Separated at -- um -- birth?

I know I won't be the first to make this thoroughly ovious joke, but:

Left hand: Kenyan tchotchke in Obama's new office, purportedly representing an African proverb that, like an egg, power must not be held too loosely nor too tightly.

Right hand: Detail from Dali's 1937 painting The Metamorphosis of Narcissus.

posted by Throbert | 1/28/2009 07:41:00 AM | (0) responses

26 January 2009

Jerusalem/Athens Mash-Up

To me, this is one of the coolest sculptures in the history of Western art, and also one of the weirdest:

Michelangelo's Cristo della Minerva -- so called because the 14th-century church that houses it is situated on the former grounds of a temple consecrated to the Roman goddess of wisdom -- is a work that I'd never been aware of until a couple years ago, when it flashed onscreen in some PBS or History Channel special about artistic representations of Jesus through the ages.

Seeing it for the first time was one of those spit-take moments for me -- I could hardly believe that Michelangelo had gotten away with something so jaw-droppingly pagan in its aesthetics.

I mean, a Vulcan anthropology undergrad who'd studied a little about Earth's history and cultures, but who hadn't gotten to the chapter on Christianity yet, would probably look at the marble figure of a bearded human male carrying an odd -shaped object, and think: "Aha, this must be another Ancient Greek statue honoring one of their many deities -- perhaps Taumikron, god of lower-case t's? Or Hypotenos, god of 90° angles?"

Of course, we know that it represents Jesus Christ, and yet... Michelangelo portrayed his Lord and Savior as a heroic, muscular, nearly-nude male beefcake -- the way that classical Greek sculptors were wont to depict Apollo or Dionysus. "Goddamn, that Jesus was a hot fucking sonofabitch!" or the Italian equivalent thereof, must've been in Michelangelo's thoughts as he worked on this statue. And it's remarkable, to me, that except for the fluttering strip of cloth covering up "the bikini area," Michelangelo totally ignored Christian standards of bodily modesty.

It was one thing to present J.C. as a near-naked corpse held by Mary in the Pietà -- there, the nakedness served to emphasize the Son's voluntary self-degradation in being incarnated as a human in all our biological squishy grossness and suffering physical death. But here, the post-Resurrection Jesus is very much alive, chipper, and looks not the slightest bit embarrassed to be strolling around like an International Male catalog model. One must wonder: in Michelangelo's homosexual imagination, was Jesus circumcised under that loincloth, or -- like the David -- "un-kosher"? [It was pointed out to me after I originally posted this that the cloth over Jesus's genitals was a later bowdlerization not intended by Michelangelo. -- ed.]

I can't think of a work that more concisely embodies the Renaissance and subsequent Enlightenment, in which Christian Europe rediscovered the intellectual heritage of pagan Greece -- producing a cultural fusion without which America, and the modern Western world, could not exist.

Labels: , ,

posted by Throbert | 1/26/2009 04:17:00 PM | (0) responses

25 January 2009

Today's Bible Trivia (not that I'm gonna make a habit of it)

Elsewhere on the Innerweb, someone observed:
I can't think of a single reference to cats in the entire Bible. Does anyone know of a Bible verse that mentions cats?
In case you're ever on Jeopardy, the correct answer is:

"What is the Apocryphal book of Baruch, Alex?"

In the final chapter of Baruch -- a chapter that is sometimes referred to as "The Epistle of Jeremiah" and sometimes as "Baruch, Chapter 6" -- the author mocks the helpless, inanimate carved "gods" of Babylon:

3: Now shall ye see in Babylon gods of silver, and of gold, and of wood, borne upon shoulders, which cause the nations to fear. [...] 11: Yet cannot these gods save themselves from rust and moth, though they be covered with purple raiment. [...] 14: [One of the male gods] hath also in his right hand a dagger and an ax: but cannot deliver himself from war and thieves. 15: Whereby they are known not to be gods: therefore fear them not. [...] 19: [The gods] are as one of the beams of the temple, yet they say their hearts are gnawed upon by things creeping out of the earth; and when they eat them and their clothes, they feel it not. [...] 21: Upon their bodies and heads sit bats, swallows, and birds, and the cats also. 22: By this ye may know that they are no gods: therefore fear them not.

Like the other books of the Apocrypha, Baruch is regarded by Roman Catholics as part of the canonical "Old Testament," but is considered inauthentic (i.e., not divinely inspired) by most Protestant Christians and by Jews.

Labels: ,

posted by Throbert | 1/25/2009 03:49:00 AM | (0) responses
throbert says:
me and mine
greatest hits
добро пожаловать на