Smoke wisps from my cigarette enhancing my opium wash. As I’ve indulged in too much opiate consumption my guitar is unhappily in hock to provide me a few hours of endorphin high; judge me as you wish. However, it has led me to muse (being a musician it happens a lot :)) on something that happened in the days leading up to the Winter Solstice.
I went to a carol service over Christmas at my Dad’s old Oxford college. I have not been to a carol service for several years, being somewhat anti-religion. The choir was amazing. Truly, the human voice lifted in song is a sound most heavenly.
However, interspersed between the harmonic interference of male and female voices, we were forced to listen to readings from The Bible. I say The Bible, but perhaps I should say A Bible, most likely the King James version of the literal Word of God! Yes, there is a key word in there: version. I mean, there’s the original translation into Latin from Hebrew or Aramaic (which left out any bits Constantine didn’t want), then through, Olde and Middle English, to the King James Version taken as somewhat authoritative today. But still the literal Word of God… Honest!
Now, I’m something of a feminist and I couldn’t understand how if I, a somewhat modern and forward-thinking but still unmistakably – and unapologetically – male man, was offended by the brazen, derogatory sentiments being delivered with unashaméd, tranquil tones, then how on Gaia’s green earth could so many, one would assume educated (we are in a church on one of the most respected university campuses), contemporary women, no doubt with ambitions, aspirations, careers, and cares beyond being receptacles for sperm, rearing children and taking the blame for all that’s wrong with the world, sit calmly with bowed heads while such monstrous calumnies against their entire gender were dictated gently by various men and women of the church.
And how could these aforementioned dictators deliver these passages
A) with a straight face, and
B) without feeling hideously uncomfortable?!
I mean if someone asked you to stand up before a load of people and tell them that women were inferior, the reason for all the suffering of the world, and basically not worth pissing on if they were on fire, you’d tell them where to stick it, no? At the very least, if you did narrate the reading, wouldn’t you have the decency to avert your eyes and look a bit sheepish, rather than glaring meaningfully at members of the audience as if they shouldn’t have caused us all such woe by being born female?
Oh come on, man, it’s from the Bible; it’s part of Christmas; and you don’t have to take it seriously if you don’t want to.
Well, it fucking shouldn’t be part of Christmas. And, forgive me, but when I’m in a room and someone is reading something out with conviction I do take it seriously, because on some level, it’s trying to work its way in and poison my being with cruel, anti-human propaganda, and if that’s what it’s trying to do to me, then all the people who aren’t reacting are suffering that same poisoning without knowing it.
And don’t tell me I’m trying to ruin Christmas. I love Christmas, but I love it for what it is: a festival at the Winter Solstice, right in the middle of the harshest part of the year, when you get together with people you love, eat, drink, and be merry… and possibly sacrifice an animal or a virgin or something – or did I dream that one?
Anyway, who wouldn’t love that? And we had been doing that for centuries prior to Jesus even being born, so don’t tell me that it’s justified on the grounds that there wouldn’t be a festival if it weren’t for Christianity – FUCK RIGHT OFF with that one!
I mean – and I apologise for going off on one about this but it’s my blog so like it or bugger off – two thousand years and still people hear this shit without getting pissed off at the malignance being thrust on us by a fucking book! In fact, they tell me to chill out! It’s outdated. Either update it (like you’ve done for the last two thousand years) and join the rest of us in the 21st century or FUCK RIGHT OFF!
Just to show how outdated it is I’m going to attempt to look at this from another angle, just to see if I can’t speed things along…
There we were, the first man and woman, alone in the world, surrounded by the lush provision of Mother Nature. There was a tree – a metaphor for something else, of course, but let’s leave it as a tree for now – and there is a decree from The Gods (Elohim translates as Gods, plural): “You shall not eat from the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil!”
Some might say that this was a foolish thing to say to a human. Immediately, one wants to eat those rosy apples!
But, whatever the reason – Jealously guarding the realm of the divine, suggested by the Tempter not more than a few pages later – we left the tree alone, for now. Hell, there were other things to be getting on with without having to worry about one tree. Shagging… that was lots of fun; passed a lot of time. Oh, and according to Milton, the seraph Raphael came and chatted to us for a while, informing us of a war in Heaven and of the casting out of Lucifer Morningstar, greatest and most glorious of all the angels from aforementioned Cloud City. Incidentally, Lucifer was the original angel of Music, and orchestrated the heavenly choirs.
Adam hears this story and takes it on face value. Let us imagine that Eve, being bright-minded and of equal but differently functioning intelligence, thinks a little beyond the face value and imagines that these Gods don’t like people standing up to them, people who get too big for their boots, and she files this little bit of information as a possibility somewhere in that little storage facility women seem to have for things like people you met once four years ago while drunk’s birthdays, and where you went to dinner that day when your father’s cousin came to visit your sister’s dog.
Now life goes on happily enough until this chap, Lucifer, – whom we could also call Inspiration or even Messiah, if we subscribed to Blake’s writings and were feeling charitable – comes into our idyllic sphere of existence and has a chat with Eve, supposedly with the intention of fucking up this little state of bliss.
But let’s look at that: bliss is a somewhat subjective term, no? One man’s joy is another’s grief and similar comparisons? I assume the same applies to women. And as there is no specific description of what this “bliss” entailed what are we to think? Also, there is the well-known phrase “Ignorance is bliss”. And I suppose it is, but I personally can’t see two intelligent people never beginning to question and philosophise, especially if there’s nothing to do but eat fruit and fuck! In fact, usually the only time I get any sort of deep conversation from a girl is after a good shag; y’know, lying there in the afterglow pondering things while passing a cigarette back and forth.
So could it be that Adam rolled over and went to sleep after five minutes, leaving Eve to seek out fulfilment elsewhere?
I’m digressing, and I’ve created too many threads and forgotten them again to create a coherent story out of this! In order to preserve spontanaeity I’m just gonna plough on to my point.
My point is I would be glad to have that knowledge from that tree. Even should the “blissful” state be lost, you can still fuck and eat fruit. To me the story shows a woman furthering the course of mankind, rather than ruining our happiness. Is it possible this parable on the power of the female has been twisted to suit the needs of Patriarchy?
I forgot! The worst bit I had to sit through: when God found out that Adam and Eve had eaten the apple he says to Adam “Didst thou eat of the tree?” or something similar and Adam points at Eve and says “She told me to!” I mean, really, how low can you get? And this Almighty, Omniscient God decides to be really petty and make the birth process long, arduous, and painful as a result! Yeah, ’cause two wrongs make a right, God.
In spite of all this, though, we are supposed to take away this message: He LOVES you…
Seriously? Straight face?
So what I want to say is “Thanks, Eve, for saving us from ourselves!”