The premiere magazine of sock color, celebrity tittle tattle, and lightly disguised advertorials has released their eagerly anticipated opinion of the Holy Bible.
GQ took a moment out from letting us know which “18 On-Sale Style Flexes to Buy Right Now” and advising us to “Set Your Pits Free with Spring’s Best Lightweight Sweaters”, to tell us what they really thought of the Holy Bible, a book that shaped 2,000 years of culture and changed forever all of mankind.
The Holy Bible is rated very highly by all the people who supposedly live by it but who in actuality have not read it. Those who have read it know there are some good parts, but overall it is certainly not the finest thing that man has ever produced. It is repetitive, self-contradictory, sententious, foolish, and even at times ill-intentioned. If the thing you heard was good about the Bible was the nasty bits, then I propose Agota Kristof’s The Notebook, a marvelous tale of two brothers who have to get along when things get rough. The subtlety and cruelty of this story is like that famous sword stroke (from below the boat) that plunged upward through the bowels, the lungs, and the throat and into the brain of the rower.
Any person who is even barely literate and who possesses an intellect above sub-moronic knows the influence that the Bible has had is impossible—as in not possible—to underestimate. You don’t need me to tell you that every, without exception, institution of Western culture has been molded, moved, and motivated by it. This includes the English language itself, which because of King James, is saturated in Biblical imagery, poetry, metaphor.
But this is GQ we’re talking about. A Conde Nasty publication. These are people with money and therefore moral sophistication. They, above us all, know of what they speak.
So it must be that Agota Kristof’s The Notebook as replacement for the Holy Bible is beyond monumental. Beyond stupendous. Beyond even the excitement wrought when reading about “The Best Sex Toys for Couples Will Make Sex Even More Awesome”.
I consider myself blessed that I discovered a mind far greater than my own reviewing The Notebook. Slavoj Zizek even provided excerpts. Zizek tells us:
The Notebook tells the story of young twins living with their grandmother in a small Hungarian town during the last years of the second world war and the early years of communism. The twins are thoroughly immoral – they lie, blackmail, kill – yet they stand for authentic ethical naivety at its purest…
One night, they find themselves sleeping in the same bed as a German officer, a tormented gay masochist. Early in the morning, they awaken and want to leave the bed, but the officer holds them back.
Then comes this excerpt of this better-than-Holy-Bible book:
‘Don’t move. Keep sleeping.’
‘We want to urinate. We have to go.’
‘Don’t go. Do it here.’
We ask: ‘Where?’
He says: ‘On me. Yes. Don’t be afraid. Piss! On my face.’
We do it, then we go out into the garden, because the bed is all wet.
You don’t have that kind of realism from Matthew, Mark, Luke or John, boy. Zizek says of this passage that it was “A true work of love, if there ever was one!” God Himself sacrificing Himself for mankind’s sins just doesn’t stand up to Russian-dossier-style fiction.
Zizek next tells us of a priest’s housekeeper who plays “erotic games” with the boys. A procession of starving Jews walks by:
Right in front of us, a thin arm emerges from the crowd, a dirty hand stretches out, a voice asks: ‘Bread.’
The housekeeper smiles and pretends to offer the rest of her bread; she holds it close to the outstretched hand, then, with a great laugh, brings the piece of bread back to her mouth, takes a bite, and says: ‘I’m hungry too.’
Seeing this, the boys “put some ammunition into [the househkeeper’s] kitchen stove so that when she lights it in the morning, it explodes and disfigures her.”
They graduate from that to blackmail and then to “assisting” in suicides. “[W]hen their grandmother asks them to put poison into her cup of milk, they say: ‘Don’t cry, Grandmother. We’ll do it; if you really want us to, we’ll do it.'”
Now isn’t that nice to see young people obeying their elders.
Zizek didn’t mention the “famous sword stroke (from below the boat) that plunged upward through the bowels, the lungs, and the throat and into the brain of the rower.”
Bonus anecdote So you don’t think the news is all bad, I can report that yesterday at mass two dozen kids received First Communion. What made it hopeful was that the kids were accompanied by parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends. The pews overflowed. All were dressed beautifully and appropriately. Here’s the point: many of the people were not themselves communicants, but they still thought it an event worth celebrating and honoring in the proper style—and not being embarrassed about. It’s confirmation (a pun) the GQ’s of the world have not yet completed their work.