Saturday, July 16, 2011

Bull We Can Believe In

". . . [B]e the next Jesus, the next Buddha, or even the next L. Ron Hubbard. Sign up now to create-your-own religion. . . . There are 7 billion people out there who need something to believe, bring out your inner missionary and get converting!"

                                          - Huffington Post's "Create Your Own Religion Competition" 

As if the Huffington Post's create-a-religion competition weren't enought to turn one's idle mind to thoughts of the Ineffable, the current news is rife with prophets (prophets trump missionaries) who are doing just that - not to mention others for whom recent events have taken such a creative turn that they might, with a little thought, inspire a fervent flock of sympathetic practitioners.

Take one Nico Alm, the Pastafarian who has successfully appealed to the Austrian authorities to wear his divinely-sanctioned headgear for his driver's license photograph. (I say "the Pastafarian" advisedly, as I believe Nico is the only one, which renders "a Pastafarian" inapt here.) Nico has a serious point to make by insisting that a spaghetti strainer is the sign of his religious fealty which, like a burkha or a crucifix, he should be granted liberty to display under any circumstance. (I'm not suggesting that this also gives him license to shout "Pasta!" in a crowded theater. I'm also not suggesting that his legal theater adds any sheen of legitimacy or seriousness to old-fashioned, serious-minded atheism.)

 Nico the Pastafarian

I'll allow that Nico may be the first self-proclaimed Pastafarian, not being up on my ecclesiastical history, but (just as a footnote in the interests of accuracy and creative primacy) he's not the first to have adopted the symbolism and liturgical appurtenances of the faith, as this 1993 photograph of a friend's young son attests.


Religious observances can take the strangest of forms (I'm guessing the Lord removed the left arm of the celebrant [photograph below] in another such rite) . . .


Nico merely insisted that he be photographed on a government instrument - his driver's license - wearing the sanctioned garb of his preferred religion. It isn't like he was a Texan demanding to handle water moccasins, or a U.S. citizen petitioning for his right to be photographed with his sacred bong.  Although, speaking of controlled substances in worship, Section 1307.31 of the Code of Federal Regulations allows that "The listing of peyote as a controlled substance . . . does not apply to the nondrug use of peyote in bona fide religious ceremonies of the Native American Church, and members of the Native American Church so using peyote are exempt from registration." 

Which brings me to Red Bull . . . 

Not a religious observance (yet)

 . . . which is not yet a controlled substance - but that could change. Recent legal history now includes among its shady annals the "Red Bull Defense." A Florida man was recently found not guilty by reason of temporary insanity in the smothering death of his own father, the perpetrator sleep-deprived and totally caffeine-buzzed on Red Bull at the time.

One can only imagine a wave of fist-bumping "Works for me!" toasts in supper clubs, pubs and lounges across the nation wherever Bud Light is proudly served - the beginnings of a groundswell of like-minded sentiment and tribal sympathies. With a modicum of imaginative effort, this resurgence of simpatico might be parlayed into a caffeine-fueled religious revival - call it "The Great Awakening". Admittedly, two red bulls on the logo does not suggest standard monotheism, but monotheism is arguably overrated . . . 

(Nothing personal - just used the wrong turn of phrase.)

. . . what with too many ways to get it wrong and too many people who think they've got it right. No, I think it might be time to revive the old Manichean cosmology - Good Bull, Bad Bull so to speak. That opens up a few more options and simplifies the rules at the same time; you know which Bull to choose and which one not to choose. Then, if you end up at the stake, you can always say it was the caffeine.

We all need something to believe in.

Make mine corporate caffeine

No comments:

Post a Comment