[Mark of the Beast Week]
Let Him that Hath Understanding...
Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.I can't resist the allure of tomorrow's date--6/6/06--and it's pulpy relevance to our slasher-flick- and God-saturated culture. The irony is too rich: we have a theocrat in office who doesn't appear to understand the religion he wishes to officially institute as the state faith; meanwhile, the Jesus-exploiters of the GOP have selected this as the week on which to use gay marriage to rile the faithful into a great fury--and so cover up their sins of corruption and incompetence. Aren't these truly the men of God?
As for my irreverent exploitation of the beast's mark, recognize that it is an apt symbol of what ails our churches and capitols. John of Patmos, writing to an audience familiar with the structure and symbol of apocalyptic literature, did not intend--or imagine--it would be taken literally. Of any text that needs to retain its context for interpretation, it is the Book of Revelation. Yet our country, so well-personified by the man of George Bush, is currently not in a nuanced phase. We like our world literal, damn it, and if that means justifying incompetently-conducted invasions of nonthreatening nations with the label of "evil," well then, good enough.
So we'll delve into a world of beastly marks and examine a country held in thrall by the blindness of literalism, suffering from the loss of mysticism, nuance and insight.
And what better stage doth present its literalist farce than the one stretching from the White House to Capitol Hill? I can think of none.