July 11, 2014

"When chemotherapy left me too exhausted to even get out of bed, I would find myself picking up the Bible..."

"... if that’s what happened to be on my nightstand, and reading a favorite verse or two. But if there happened to be a copy of The Hunger Games there instead, a couple of chapters of that would also do the trick."
God is our strength, we read in Psalm 18, and as powerless as I felt during those agonizing months, I discovered courage in His wisdom when it was within arm’s reach, just as I did with Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers and David Baldacci’s thriller Stone Cold.

Throughout my life, in fact, the Bible or some other reading material has been there when I needed it most. When I lost my job and worried about how I was going to scrape together next month’s rent in the middle of a brutal recession, I often relied on the Bible, A Tale Of Two Cities, In Cold Blood, The Audacity Of Hope, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Seabiscuit, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, a pocket road atlas of the Great Lakes region, The Oxford Companion To Ships And The Sea, or Fodor’s Montréal And Québec City 2009....

34 comments:

Sto-ology said...

God is not a rip off=trust/faith. It must be hard in your situation - hang in there!

Phil 3:14 said...

Is this supposed to be funny?

At first I thought the satire would riff with the "anything nearby" theme. Yet it kept coming back to the Bible as the object of humor.

I hate to sound "stereotypically right wing" but should I assume the Onion would shy away from such a satire focusing on the Koran?

Michael said...

One of the great Onion headlines was: Man fights cowardly battle with cancer.

The Godfather said...

Thank goodness it's The Onion! When I read your excerpt I thought it was intended to be serious, and I despaired that anyone could be so spiritually oblivious.

m stone said...

Interesting interposition of humor and reality and sarcasm.

I doubt there are many thinking people who haven't found solace in the most strange materials. If it's not the words or context on some remote connection, happiness can be drawn from our stimulated imagination.

I still recall how stunned and emotionally charged I felt the first time looking upon Charles Minard's flow map of Napoleon's march to Moscow and return.

RazorSharpSundries said...

Thank you so much for the true gut laugh. I thought "Who is this idiot?" The Bible? Hunger Games? The Audacity of Hope? God, I want to throttle her.

rhhardin said...

Back issues of Time and Newsweek do best.

rhhardin said...

This cereal box would work.

It's like you're going somewhere, but without the hassle.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

Michael said...
One of the great Onion headlines was: Man fights cowardly battle with cancer.


Good one, but this is a bit better, imo:

"What's-his-face Fires Publicist"

Anonymous said...

It's one of the weirdest things I've read for satire. I started by thinking it satirizes the Bible, but at the end I starting thinking it satirizes life without the Bible, that in fact in hard times the Bible actually does provide confidence and truth that helps whereas iPad games or internet bloggers really provide no long term relief from the challenges that face us.

etbass said...

"Interesting interposition of humor and reality and sarcasm."

1% humor
0% reality
99% sarcasm

Interesting, zero

From Inwood said...

When times get rough
And friends just can't be found
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will get on to Althouse.

Or something. Whatever.

John Lynch said...

The are a lot of old people facing death these days. There's every reason to make fun of all the self-absorbed death drama we're going to be inundated with as the Boomers are dragged kicking and screaming off of the stage.

Everyone dies, it's an experience common to us all, and there is nothing special about it. In the past people understood that and died in private. Boomers are going to die as publicly as possible, and we're all going to have to hear about it.

GJ Onion.

tim maguire said...

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...Good one, but this is a bit better, imo:

"What's-his-face Fires Publicist"


+1, brilliant.

David said...

This is great because she is parodying the religious and the irreligious at the same time. Well done.

Smilin' Jack said...

People who have been marooned or otherwise cut off from all human contact for long periods of time often recount how they would compulsively read and reread any written material available, just to keep from going mad with boredom. So this isn't so unrealistic.

If it ever happens to me, though, I certainly hope it's "The Hunger Games" rather than the Bible. I'd rather read the labels in my clothes than the Bible.

jimbino said...

Whenever I feel miserable, I pick up the Book of Job. Makes me feel much better.

The Crack Emcee said...

While I know this is a joke, I'm currently reading "The Warmth Of Other Suns" and it's like that,...

Bob R said...

I assume you are blogging this because it's so unusual for the Onion to have a joke in the body of the article that's funnier than the title. Of course, as usual, all of the jokes in the body are the same joke as the one in the title, but here a few of the versions are distinctly funnier.

Michael K said...

"I was lifted from despair by my Bible and my 2006 Ford Focus owner’s handbook. "

This is obvious parody but it is odd. Maybe the writer thought anyone reading a Bible was a joke.

Ann Althouse said...

Another way I saw this material, not that I think the author intended it, is as a paean to reading. The Bible is comforting in hard time and inspiring and so forth… but so is ANY reading. Reading itself is restorative. I found that touching. There are times when you've got nothing, and a scrap of anything to read is appreciated.

Mrs Whatsit said...

My favorite Onion headline (and one Meade might like):

Nation's Dog Owners Demand To Know Who's A Good Boy

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

The joke starts with the idea that the Holy Bible isn't the functional equivalent of a little kid's security blanket and builds from there, would be my surmise.

Not enough people really believe a cross wards off evil spirits so there's not much there to work with.

Someone smarter than me could probably get a joke out of the widespread belief that God can hear your thoughts only when you want Him to.

Anonymous said...

Reading gives the mind prefabricated thoughts. It takes more work, generally, than watching something, and so occupies the mind more completely, offering a respite from whatever is troubling you.

jimbino said...

Right, if we can't get those vets into a VA hospital or treatment within 4 months, we should at least send them some books to ease their wait.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

Ann Althouse said...
Another way I saw this material, not that I think the author intended it, is as a paean to reading. The Bible is comforting in hard time and inspiring and so forth… but so is ANY reading. Reading itself is restorative. I found that touching. There are times when you've got nothing, and a scrap of anything to read is appreciated.


Exactly right. Before I saw that this was the Onion, I was nodding in agreement, and for the reasons you wrote.

traditionalguy said...

Speech regulates human behavior. Written speech lasts for hundreds of years. Ask Shakespeare.

Craving speech /words is a human instinct in our souls.

The Creator calls Himself The Word.

The Onion makes us word addicts laugh. We need that too.

William said...

For the chronically unemployed and depressed, nothing is more restorative to the human spirit than The Audacity of Hope. The UN has had it translated into Arabic and distributed among the Syrian refugee camps. I recognize the piece was satiric, but it does draw attention to the power of the words contained in Obama's grand opus.

Brent said...

Be not deceived. God is not mocked, whatsoever a man sows, that shall he reap.

God doesn't pay at the end of every day. But in the end, God pays.

I have a feeling this is not going to end well for the Onion.

cold pizza said...

Literacy is a miracle. How, with a few stray jots and tittles and squiggles, we can convey our innermost thoughts and dreams; we can know of events happening in far distant reaches of the world or in ages past.

Most people take literacy for granted; that ancient mystery passed through patriarchal linage, the realm of scribes and priests. There are no stumbling beginnings of literacy, no potsherd with letters scratched out; Literacy sprang fully formed, Athena-like, upon the ancient world.

I stand in awe of this power, which can bring us the stars... or fling monkey poo. YMMV. -CP

Quaestor said...

"Russ came to me in his time of need," said Pastor Charles Bourne of Holy Christ Almighty Lutheran Church. "But when I tried to comfort him by saying he would be with God soon, he only stopped bawling long enough to say, 'Fuck God. There is no God.' I had to get a couple acolytes to help me pry him out from underneath the pews."
The Onion, 2/24/1999

Knocked me outa my chair, by gawd.

I'm inspired... really, I am. I swear to god. I'm inspired to found my own religion. There. Done.

I am now the ordinating prelate of the First Church of Jesus H. Christ. Our dogma is simple and irrevocable: All prayers directed to Our Lord that do not address Him correctly, by leaving out the Sublime Initial, for example, fall on deaf ears, metaphysically speaking. Furthermore all those who persist in the pernicious misuse of the Holy Monogram are guilty of Blasphemy, so there.

There are many clerical vacancies here in the FCJHC. Cardinal's hats and archbishoprics are available to the suitable pious for a nominal fee.

jr565 said...

This reminds me of the movie Kingpin where someone comes to Woody harrelsons house and needs something to read while taking a dump and all Woody has is a cereal box.which the guy takes to read.

jr565 said...

Whoops I remembered Kingpin incorrectly. It wasn't a box of cereal it was a bottle of shampoo. And he had already read it! "New and Improved! I read this already. You got any, uh, New Mentident?"
Some people just need to read SOMETHING.

http://youtu.be/tmGNT7x3zBI

St. George said...

"Just as nettles crackle under a kettle, so too is the laughter of the fool: this also is vanity."

Ecclesiastes 7:6