As we know them.  

Lets start with the obvious, shall we.  Perhaps you saw last night’s “Revelations”  mini-series on NBC.  I could only stomach the first half hour or so.  I mean once I’d seen a man chop off his finger to prove he doesn’t bleed like the rest of us mortals (i.e., he’s demonic) I figured it was all down hill from there.

(More after the fold)

NBC isn’t calling this a “miniseries” but rather a “six-hour event series,” which gives the network the option of bringing it back weekly next fall. It’s hard to imagine millions of viewers tuning in week after week to see the world not end. Then again, if they did, then that would probably be a reliable sign that the world really was about to end after all, though NBC wouldn’t be around to count the profits.

Truly skillful writing and direction perhaps could finesse the implausibilities, major and minor, but “Revelations” is monotonously bombastic and overblown from the outset. Lightning appears to strike a little girl not just once but twice, the second time while she’s on the limb of a tree to which the first strike hurled her. More tasteless still, a man plummets from the window of a skyscraper — an image certain to recall and thus exploit the nightmarish horrors of 9/11.

Except for the painful immediacy of such images, the montage of a world gone mad that opens “Revelations” duplicates a sequence that began the first of Universal’s three magnificently campy “Flash Gordon” serials back in the ’30s — mostly stock newsreel footage of riots and ship sinkings and so on. And so in seven decades we have come full circle, in a way; for NBC and Universal are now one, and still in the business of simulating the Big Bang for the Big Buck.

That was sign one.  Then this morning I woke up to find my daughter watching an ad for Christian Worship CD’s for Kids being marketed on Nickelodeon for $19.95.  I had the same reaction to this little gem as did the writer of this blog:

Ella’s home sick with me today and she’s been swinging wildly between boisterous / mischievous and whiny / lethargic. Which is to say, she’s been pretty much watching tv or videos for the last hour and a half. And an ad just came on, I think at Nickelodeon for a new cd from the makers of KidzBop 7, the very first product she ever asked for after seeing it advertised on tv. That new cd? Worship Jamz. That’s right, meaningless, shallow religious messages encoded atop bubblegum pop beats, all sung by talentless teens who couldn’t even make it into a boy band. One song they sampled in the ad, perhaps “Every Move I Make,” blathered on about how Jesus makes my feet stomp on the dance floor. The best part of the ad, though has to be when the mom steps onto the screen and explains, “These songs are fun and they’ve got a message we all can enjoy,” putting lots of stress on the “all,” because come on, aren’t we all fundies who want to worship God with kiddiebop music? What kind of evil heathen would you have to be to not buy your kids this two cd set of wholesomey, objectionless goodness?

Well . . . you might say “That’s life in the big city (and suburb and exurb and wherever the hell else you live).  Buck up Steve.”  So I shook my head free of those “wholesome” sounds, drank my coffee and started to read the paper.  Guess what the big headline was: Sneering Rudolph Guilty of Bombings.  

You know, Eric Rudolph, our favorite home grown terrorist, and  anti-abortion, gay night club and Atlanta Olympics bomber has escaped the death penalty and had the audacity to mock  his victims at his sentencing hearing yesterday.  

“Because I believe that abortion is murder, I also believe that force is justified … in an attempt to stop it,” he said in a statement handed out by his lawyers after he entered his pleas in court appearances, in Birmingham, Ala., in the morning, then in Atlanta in the afternoon.

. . . “The purpose of the attack on July 27th (1996) was to confound, anger and embarrass the Washington government in the eyes of the world for its abominable sanctioning of abortion on demand,” Rudolph said in the statement, in which he quoted the Bible repeatedly, condemned homosexuality and said the Olympics promote “global socialism.”

“I am not anarchist. I have nothing against government or law enforcement in general. It is solely for the reason that this govt has legalized the murder of children that I have no allegiance to nor do I recognize the legitimacy of this particular government in Washington.”

The bomb that exploded at the Olympics was hidden in a knapsack and sent nails and screws ripping through a crowd at Centennial Olympic Park during a concert. A woman was killed and 111 other people were wounded in what proved to be Rudolph’s most notorious attack, carried out amid heavy security.

The plan, he said, “was to force the cancellation of the Games, or at least create a state of insecurity to empty the streets around the venues and thereby eat into the vast amounts of money invested.”

He said that because he was unable to obtain the necessary explosives, he “had to dismiss the unrealistic notion of knocking down the power grid surrounding Atlanta and consequently pulling the plug on the Olympics.”

. . . Rudolph also admitted bombing a gay nightclub in Atlanta in 1997, wounding five people, and attacking a suburban Atlanta office building containing an abortion clinic that same year.

. . . In Birmingham earlier in the day, Rudolph pleaded guilty to an abortion clinic bombing there in 1998 that killed an off-duty police officer and maimed a nurse.

U.S. District Judge Lynwood Smith asked whether he set off the blast. “I certainly did, your honor,” Rudolph said.

With his admission, the nurse began weeping in the front row.

“He just sounded so proud of it. That’s what really hurt,” said Emily Lyons, who was nearly killed in the bombing and lost an eye.

Interesting isn’t it.  A White Supremacist and Christian Identity nut-job is allowed to plea bargain to save his life, while a retarded man was executed as recently as 2000, and only the intervention of the Supreme Court recently prevented the execution of juvenile offenders.  

Well, as we should be aware by now, not all lives are valued the same, as this little tidbit made clear when a good GOP politician proposed a final solution for the 17 million Arabs living in Syria:

Republican Congressional Rep Sam Johnson (Texas) brags to his constituents about the advice he gave to the Shrub: “Syria is the problem. Syria is where those weapons of mass destruction are, in my view. You know, I can fly an F-15, put two nukes on ’em and I’ll make one pass. We won’t have to worry about Syria anymore.” He delivered these lines in a Methodist church, and was met with roars of applause.

Of course I could have seen signs of the coming apocalypse sooner than today.  I mean after all wasn’t Randall Terry just plastered all over our TV screens as a defender of the “Culture of Life”?  The same gentleman who had these choice quotes a few years ago:

“I want you to just let a wave of intolerance wash over you… I want you to let a wave of hatred wash over you. Yes, hate is good… Our goal is a Christian nation. We have a biblical duty, we are called by God, to conquer this country. We don’t want equal time. We don’t want pluralism.”

“When I, or people like me, are running the country, you’d better flee, because we will find you, we will try you, and we’ll execute you. I mean every word of it. … I will make it part of my mission to see to it that they are tried and executed.

Or this:

You say, ‘This is extreme!’ Yeah, you’re right. But imagine God Almighty sending people to hell just because they didn’t follow His son? That’s extreme. That’s intolerance. Imagine Jesus saying that all other religions are false. Christianity claims to be the only way.”

“Christian government, folks, would prosecute abortionists. Christian government would say that consensual homosexual acts are a criminal offense.

And wasn’t it a sign from the Almighty when sitting members of Congress began calling for the “elimination” of activist judges?

Like Tom DeLay:

“Mrs. Schiavo’s death is a moral poverty and a legal tragedy. This loss happened because our legal system did not protect the people who need protection most, and that will change. The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior, but not today.”

In private, while speaking to the Family Research Council in remarks secretly taped and later released to the press by Americans United for Separation of Church and State, DeLay warned his audience of “a huge nationwide concerted effort to destroy everything we believe in,” urged them to “participate in fighting back,” and claimed that staying out of politics is “not what Christ asked us to do.”

Or the good Senator from Texas, John Cornyn:

“I don’t know if there is a cause-and-effect connection but we have seen some recent episodes of courthouse violence in this country. Certainly nothing new, but we seem to have run through a spate of courthouse violence recently that’s been on the news and I wonder whether there may be some connection between the perception in some quarters on some occasions where judges are making political decisions yet are unaccountable to the public, that it builds up and builds up and builds up to the point where some people engage in — engage in violence.”

But by far the clearest sign was when our National Pastime was enlisted in the service of promoting a more Christian America on Opening Day in Cincinnati:

The first Reds broadcast of the season starts with Furman [local broadcaster] talking over “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” . . . A transcript:

“Whether it’s Vietnam, whether it’s the Persian Gulf War or whether it’s Iraq, whenever American soldiers are marching around the globe: God almighty — God, who called home John Paul the Great — will determine once again the path and the mark, a great American victory overseas in the Persian Gulf area now, in 2005.

“As God is my witness, as sure as there is a pope in heaven today, as sure as the mighty Ohio River flows in between Ohio and Kentucky, as surely as the Furman brothers sitting next to me now, circumcised, as sure as I’m sitting here, once again, God will say, ‘It is time for the Reds to march.’ From the Civil War to World War I to World II to Vietnam to the Persian Gulf War, and to Mosul and to Falujah, one baseball team has been called by God to look down from heaven above, and to represent him.

“It’s not about football, Andy. It’s not about basketball, Randy. It’s not about swimming. It’s not about field hockey. It’s not about bowling. It’s not about tennis. It’s about one sport that God almighty has determined to represent America, and that sport is baseball.

“And the one team, the one team that is best represented is the oldest and the best franchise. Whether it’s G.I. Joe or the Doughboys. No matter what it is. Say it loud, Furman brothers, the Reds are No. 1. God bless America, and God bless the Cincinnati Reds on 700, WLW.”

God bless America folks.  That about says it all.  I’m off to prepare for the Rapture.  See you at the Second Coming!

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