fear and loathing

Dramatization of Michael talking to God if God were a Samoan attorney driving a beardless Michael to Las Vegas.

(cross-posted from Kosher Eucharist)

I’ve tried to studiously ignore the Jewish-Israeli Blog Awards. They incite discord and strife within our e’er-so loving and tight-knit community, and they reward and promote topic-free writing and a suffocating flurry of political commentary by amateur pundits whose main source for information is Little Green Footballs. But now that Beyond BT has elected to go the Shas route and opine that a vote for them is a vote for God – next year’s JIBs will doubtless be wracked by controversy when SerandEz are found to be distributing talismans from the Baba Sali’s grave in exchange for votes – I’ve decided that something must be done. The JIBs, and their winning blogs, purport to carry on with the aid of Ha-Kadosh Baruch-Hu himself – yeah, I see that בס”ד up there – but nobody has thought fit to actually ask the Lord what his feelings on the matter are.

So, possessed as always of an investigative spirit, I took two tabs of the very finest blotter acid and embarked on a voyage to the King of Kings’ celestial abode. Barely ten minutes had passed before I felt a sense of profound peace and fulfillment descend upon me, and my eyes and ears were filled by the radiant Presence of the Lord.

The booming reply seemed to shake the very firmament.
It turns out the T-shirts were right. The Lord, by all sonic indications, is indeed black.
“So…uh…You must be the big cheese. Hashem. Ha-Makom. Ribbono shel Olam. The Lord of Hosts. Adonai and I. Haile Selassie?”
“None of those. Ever since I’ve embraced the Noble Eightfold Path, I’ve distanced myself from the names I was once called.”
A beat of awkward silence passed between us.
“So…uh…You converted to Buddhism, huh?”
The Lord kissed His teeth, or at least produced the equivalent sound effect.
“Yeah, I mean, I’ll be the first to admit it…even a cursory examination of history shows that the whole ‘God/human’ relationship wasn’t working out well for either of us. You transgressed, I smote, it always ended in tears. I even sent my only begotten son to save you, and you let that one slip through your fingers.”
“So You mean Jesus–”
“No. Why does everyone think it’s Jesus? Remember all that London graffiti circa 1967 about how ‘Clapton is God’?”
“I’ve heard tell.”
“Well, he was.”
“Was? But he’s still alive.”
“Have you heard ‘Clapton Unplugged’? He’s certainly dead to me.”
The Lord’s critical pronouncements thundered with the sort of finality that would make a Pitchfork Media reviewer wet his skinny jeans.
“Granted. But You’re the master of the universe and You couldn’t think of a more effective way to transmit Your message than graffiti? No lights in the sky? Rains of fire? You know…old-school flavor?”
“I gave you Layla, didn’t I? Besides, you people are perfectly willing to accept that a gaggle of fragrant Galilean fisherman could be apostles, but not London graffiti artists?”
“Good point. But I have to tell You, God, us Jews always kinda thought You…you know…had our backs.”
The Lord snorted mightily.
“Oh. Yeah. I have your backs. Right. Remember the Holocaust? I stopped meddling in you hook-nosed Shylock motherfuckers’ affairs after you managed to let your second Temple get burned down.”
“Profanity isn’t very Buddhist of You.”
“4000 years of vengefulness and jealousy is hard to shake. But I’m trying to follow the Buddha’s teachings and break the cycle. Right speech. Right action. Right view. Right intention.”
“Oh, like kavanah?”
“Will you stop being such a fucking Jew about this?”

I cleared my throat uncomfortably. Clearly, and somewhat perversely, discussing religion with God wasn’t getting anyone anywhere, and God’s revelation of his anti-Semitism, while perfectly logical, placed me on an awkward footing. I decided to gingerly press forward with the intended topic.

“So…God…You’re aware of the Jewish-Israeli Blog Awards, yes?”
“Motherfuckers spammed my inbox.”
“Right…well, if you don’t know, they’ve advanced to the final round, and one of the blogs – Beyond BT – has implied that a vote for their blog in the finals is in accordance with Your Eternal Will.”

I heard what seemed to the sound of a cosmic keyboard clacking, followed by several minutes of increasingly irritated grumbling. Then the Lord returned, His voice a pillar of whirling flames.

“They think this shit is what I want? They think this is what I created the universe for? And I fuckin’ quote:

“‘I was reviewing the Parsha Friday morning and I realized that I hadn’t informed my Partners in Torah chavrusa that it was a double parsha. My chavrusa loves to learn and each week he reads *every* Art Scroll note and translation on the parsha.

I gave him a call around 10:15 to tell him. He said that he was just sitting down to learn and he noticed Behar was short and he wondered if perhaps it was a double parsha. At exactly that moment my call came in to tell him that it was a double. Pretty cool.’

“They think I don’t got anything better than manufacturing mundane coincidences to do with my time? Motherfucker, we got weed up here!”
“…I see. Tell me more about this Noble Eightfold Path. But, uh, first, God, do You have any picks for the JIBs? Which blog would You shine Your countenance upon?”
The Lord grumbled.
“A contest in which a fiercely mediocre, Reader’s Digest-worthy cartoon and a dozen blogs by American Orthodox Jews who are just so refreshingly unorthodox win every year? Who’s supposed to win, that Kike With Cap guy? And you want my picks?”
“If it’s not too much trouble.”
The Lord released a long, hissing breath.
“Alright. JSpot.”
“Really, Lord? But I think they’re quee–”
“The Lord is down with downtown,” said the Lord, sweeping away 4000 years of religious certitude with one slightly inelegant play on words.
“Okay then, Lord. But one more question. Since You’re a Buddhist now, what would You, the unfathomable entity who brought the universe into being, want to be reincarnated as?”
“Art Blakey. God out.”

And His Presence left me.

There you have it, J-Blogosphere. The word of the Lord.

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