Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Gospel According To The History Channel


Hey, I happened on the showing of The Bible on the History Channel the other day. Just cruised through the channels and there it was, right before the Big Bang Theory. It's a miniseries, and I didn't get in on the beginning at all, but that's okay--I've read the book. Everything starts out dark, and then it gets light, and then it gets wet, and then there are giants and lions and stuff. By the time I tuned in, we were all the way up to Jesus. I like Jesus.

They seemed to be doing a pretty good adaptation, as far as I could judge. Jesus was markedly lighter than everyone else, so as not to look too Jewish, and also gorgeous, a hippie mama's dream. He had the hair parted down the middle and all the things we've come to expect. Because we all know just what he looked like. There are pictures. We've taken his appearance, if nothing else, on faith for years. In fact that was our main talking point in the late sixties when our parents were telling the boys to get a haircut. "But Jesus had long hair," we said, as if we knew it for certain. Of course, there were no paintings of him done en plein right then and there. When Isaiah prophesied about him, he said he wasn't going to look remarkable in any way. A few hundred years after he died, people thought about it and decided he was kind of handsome. Various bits of fabric had turned up for veneration, if not laundering, upon which an image of Jesus's face had gotten smeared. By the fourth century, he had a beard in the East, and didn't grow one in the West until 1200 A.D. But he's stayed pretty much on the same template since then.

Anyone who has read Murrmurrs for a while knows that I'm going to get all crabby about them taking the screenplay from something more modern than the King James (God's) version. It's a pity. I know they do this because they think the KJV is just not as accessible to modern humans. But I like my language to have music in it, and using the New Revised Improved Standard Always-Low-Prices Version rankles. We're only one more movie version away from the Heavenly Host singing Boo-yah, and next time when Jesus holds his puny basket of loaves and fishes up to the sky for God to have a look at, he's going to bring it down laden with tuna fish sandwiches, sliced on the diagonal.

Other than that, the miniseries was fine. They did darken up Satan a gratifying amount. He looked a lot like Barack Obama. And tax collectors were properly revealed to be the lowest form of life. It was the Gospel According To John. Boehner. Except for the helping the poor part.

I missed the final episode, which miraculously aired on Easter Sunday. I've got a good idea that things took a bad turn, but (spoiler alert) it all turns out all right. Then we were going to go headlong into St. Paul's Revelations, so hold onto your hats. That calls for a lot of special effects. I think it's cool. These days, we just don't give as much respect to our schizophrenics as we used to.

82 comments:

  1. Poor old schizos. They need someone to pray to...

    (I wonder if I can get a "miracle cure" for wine snorted over a keyboard?)

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    1. Even if I could change it into water for you, your keyboard would still be screwed.

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  2. I've read about this here and there. I haven't seen any of it, but I bet it can't hold a candle to Jesus Christ Superstar from way back in 1973 -- which probably couldn't even get made in today's fundie-infested USA -- or to Monty Python's Life of Brian.

    Catering to the traditional but silly popular mental image of an Aryan Jesus, and then throwing in an Obama look-alike as Satan, shows that this version is also leaning in the direction of parody -- just not the intentional kind.

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    1. Oh great. Now I have JESUS CHRIST...SUP-ERSTAR...going through my head.

      At least he wasn't flat-out blond this time.

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    2. One of my all-time most favourite song lyrics: Prove to me that you're no fool,
      Walk across my swimming pool!

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    3. I prefer 'Prove to me that you're divine and change my water into wine'. Personal prejudice you understand.
      Thanks Murr - another brilliaant albeit not terribly godly post.

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    4. Well, I'll subscribe, since I just snorted my wine all over yuoa keuvistn...

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  3. And what has happened to the history channel?! When they started I watched archeological digs in the Gobi dessert looking for pertrified Dino poop. Now jumped way up the Nielsen ratings with Jesus. Try Vikings, now there's a bunch of guys to invite to the next Easter dinner!
    Saints be praised :)

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    1. The History Channel has dumbed itself down so far I simply cannot watch it. After every commercial break they have to summarize the preceding segment before going ahead, and before every break they have to do a tease about what's coming next, so that in an hour you might get 4 or 5 minutes of real information.

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    2. Vikings! My people! Must rummage around for my broadaxe.

      I don't watch THC very much, but I do hate those recappy things. Get on with it, man.

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  4. Huh, when I saw that picture my first thought was "Who punched a hole in that Bee Gee's hand?"

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    1. OMG....I thought you photo-shopped that picture to put the hole in his hand. Now I see from the HC website that THEY did that!

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    1. Oh come on. I must've offended SOMEbody.

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  6. I've been waiting for you to take this one on, Murr. I knew you wouldn't let us down.

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    1. I did trip across it by accident. I was very entertained.

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  7. Monday I saw a full page, full color photo of him in the newspaper and my first reaction was "He's hot!" Then I realized I was lusting after "Jesus" and felt a little dirty. Then all the other women in the office gathered around and lusted after him, too.

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    1. You know where you're all going, don't you?

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    2. I don't know....I heard he was keen on women washing his feet and stuff...

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    3. Way I remember it, it was the other way around.

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    4. They're all going to Disney World??

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  8. I come here for my smiles and chuckles and am never disappointed. It's a miracle! :-)

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  9. Perfect take, Murrr! Shame about the History Channel though...

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    1. If it's the History Channel, I'm pretty sure that means you can take it right to the bank. They're all documentaries.

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  10. The History channel: how the mighty are fallen

    Next, we get Revelations as a reality show. "Surviving the End Times." Sponsored by Jim-Bob's Rations and Munitions - your one stop shop for emergency preparedness. This week only, waterproof Bibles only $59.95, Free if you buy the family size inflatable life raft with deluxe repair kit and solar still. Only 15 low payments of $99.98. Not all of your family will be called. Take care of those left behind,

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    1. And don't forget your pets. Look up "post-apocalyptic pet care."
      For real!

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    2. Y'all ain't right.

      My Larry cat is in heaven. Wish I were going.

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  11. The History Channel. Pffft.

    That's all I got today, besides a head full of sheetrock. I got "pffft".

    Pearl

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    1. That is the exact sound a head full of sheetrock makes. I like it. It takes out some of the echo.

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  12. I could not believe the number of people reportedly watching this show so I tuned into the last segment. What could they possibly do that was different? I guess what they did was realism. When they showed Jesus on the cross, I had to turn it off. His face was so bloody and real looking I couldn't watch. Were they trying to scare the Easter eggs right outta the little kids?

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    1. You just made me remember that when I was in third grade we took a field trip to the National Gallery of Art and I have enough money to buy one 50-cent print in the gift store. And out of all the prints in that museum I came home with a particularly gory crucifixion scene. I wonder what my mom thought of that. At least it's better than Thomas Kinkade.

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    2. Holy crap, Murr! Mickey Mouse would be better than that!

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  13. Wouldnt you love to be in the room with the Obamas watching this? "Hey, Michelle...do we know that guy? He looks kinda familiar..."

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    1. I'd love to be in the room with the Obamas watching anything but this.

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  14. You know there are miracles afoot when Jesus' ma, that gal named Mary, is sporting a pair of Restylaned duck lips, the likes of which made Lot's wife crumble in her tracks when she spotted them from across a divided sea.

    I swear that Roma Downey doesn't have a mirror. You'd have thought her sainted son--or her husband, mega-producer Mark Burnett--would've let her know she looks like an idiot with all that crap injected into her face. A quick holler of "Lordamercy!" would have done the job.

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    1. I was shocked and appalled when I looked her up and discovered she's, like, seven years younger than me. She obviously thought God's work could be improved on.

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  15. Highly entertaining!

    You, Murr, and the commenters, not the series.

    Especially like the idea of the heavenly chorus doing a Boo-yah.

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    1. Somewhere, someone is reading all this and thinking "uh...I dunno...I really liked the show, but now I'm afraid to comment."

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  16. yeah, I like the boo-yah chorus... I tried to watch this in the beginning out of curiosity. I like to reinforce what I do or don't believe ever now and then for maintenance.

    I got to the part of Abraham about to sacrifice his son and remembered ... so about 15 minutes? I lasted? something like that.

    seriously. who in the living breathing hell would want to believe in such a God ... I do ask a few why and get the ... 'you are going straight to hell' look and they can't stand too close to me because the lightning might strike them.

    I asked a Catholic person why he was Catholic. He was born a Methodist… lol? He said with an incredulous look! because of the Eucharist.

    oh... I say

    Watching the Wild One on TCM … that was 60 years ago. Brando was gooooood looking. I remember being really scared of him because he was such a rebel and my minister father wouldn't approve. I was doomed to hell because I liked Elvis a few years later.

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    1. So...your Catholic friend: he was in it for the wine? Holy moly. And you can get real good deals at Costco.

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  17. I'm offended. Not once did I defend myself and my long hippie hair by saying, " ... but Jesus had long hair." Careful with the stereotyping will ya!

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    1. But Bill--somebody said it in your behalf.

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  18. I used to live in South Carolina. People there know what Jesus looks like. His image appears on toast and grilled cheese sandwiches all the time!

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    1. I once wrote about people who see the Virgin Mary in a bowl of oatmeal. Did you catch that one?

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    2. OMG...I have oatmeal six days a week and I've never seen Virgin Mary! If she's in one out of every ten bowls of oatmeal, it's clear that I haven't been paying attention. Starting tomorrow morning, I will pay attention. Maybe I should drink the coffee first...

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  19. You are probably going to hell for making fun of this, you know.

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    1. I have much more faith in that than you do.

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  20. Dear Murr, I have only the most basic of basic television, so I don't get the history channel, but your posting and the comments assure me that I'm not missing much. The sad part of all this is that so many people not only think they know what Yeshua (Jesus) looked like. They think they know what he would do in any given situation. That's what scares me. Peace.

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    1. Why, he'd do whatever it is they're inclined to do.

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  21. A few hundred years later Muhammed got it right by banning the papparazzi.

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    1. He did that? Is that why there are no photos of him?

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  23. I always smile as I know Jesus would not have been so pale if you think about where he came from.
    When my son was little I was reading a child's Bible story to him and he asked me, "Mom, did you meet Jesus when you were little?" Apparently to him I looked ancient!

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    1. You should have said Yes. That would take care of things for a long time.

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  24. I'm with you. King James' Bible is good enough for me, although I did have to go get me one with the GREAT BIG GIANT LETTERS on account of everything is written in a font with letters the size of bacteria anymore.

    I don't like those new fangled happy sappy milquetoast versions of the Bible. They're about as interesting as a tunafish sandwich cut on the diagonal with the crust cut off. Boring! (Said in a Joanne Worley voice from Laugh-In).

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  25. Ha ha ha - good one Murr.

    Just read about a big stoush the catholic bishops and St Hilda had in 664 at the Whitby Synod. It was all about the date Easter should be celebrated. You would have loved it - the Scots and St Hilda wanted St John's date but "The Roman tradition and Church . . . crushed the Scots with arguments in favour of the dates set by the Council of Nicaea in 325, dates which divorced Christianity from its Jewish roots." (Yorkshire Evening Post) The whitening of Jesus was all part of the same anti-Semitic plot, it seems. As a result western Christians celebrated Easter last weekend and for those in the east it will be May 5th.

    As they say in Yorkshire, "Ee by gum, thar's nowt as queer as folk!"

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    1. Don't let Dave and Pootie know, or I'll have to let the Easter Bunny in here again in May.

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  26. I think ol' Jaysus there was dipping into the Michael Jackson.

    THC is a sad little outport of unscientific nonsense now. I bet their ratings are through the roof.

    XO
    WWW

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  27. I LOVED Tom Robbins' book, Another Roadside Attraction, wherein John Paul Ziller and Marx Marvelous discover the body of Jesus Christ in the catacombs under the Vatican. Closing scene: John Paul and Marx rising heaven-ward in a hot air balloon to return Jesus to his rightful home. "Funny, his nose has a definite Arabic hook to it."

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    1. I vaguely remember that--they were surprised he was smaller and darker than they expected.

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  28. Is that light shining through a nail hole in his palm?

    I have had more patients than I can shake a stick at telling me they were watching this on the History channel and I'd have to bite my tongue every time. I'd only be okay with it it were part of a general mythology series.

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    1. I am afraid it is. They always said acting was hard work.

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  29. Hilariously true. I also read nothing but the KJV. Poetic, with perhaps a bit of license... :) Yes, Paul did more harm than good, seems to me... As Mark Twain is quoted: "If Christ were alive today, the last thing he would be is a Christian." Or something to that effect...

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    1. I am proud and mortified at the same time to be the great-granddaughter of George W. Cable, who toured with Mark Twain on the lecture circuit ("The Twins Of Genius"). But Cable was highly religious and drove Twain nuts.

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  30. I really don't care if the TV series is spot-on with Christ's appearance in the actor choice. Or the devil, either. My faith doesn't rely on either.

    I do think the devil did have a passing resemblance to the president, or is it the other way around?

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    1. I think it's kind of funny that the producers reacted to that criticism by saying something like "the actor who plays Satan has acted many roles, including other appearances as the devil, long before Obama did."

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  31. Thanks, Murr, i needed this run of word salad today--you provided... must be supernatural interference.

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    1. Usually, there's no other explanation.

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  32. When I first opened the post I thought that was a picture of Brad Pitt at the top and I was like "Pssh. Who does he think he is, Jesus?". But then it turned out it was Jesus. Sorry Brad.

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    1. I thought the same thing. Reminds me of a really good joke with the punchline "he IS Jesus Christ. He THINKS he's Tiger Woods."

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  33. Jono-I think a lot of us may be going to Disney World. Murr's treat!

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    1. Hey now. I don't have an In. In fact, we were prohibited from watching Wild World of Disney on TV when I was a kid. Somewhere they've got that on file.

      (I'm not sure why. I think Daddy must've read something about Walt Disney's political activities.)

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    2. WWJD if he read your blog? I think he would laugh, just like me.

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    3. Awww. Sweetie. That's one of the nicest things I've heard.

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