Monday, May 16, 2005

A blog about an article about Jesus and his iPod

So there's this columnist for the San Francisco Gate by the name of Mark Morford whose work I am a big enjoyer of. You couldn't exactly accuse him of being an investigative reporter, but then again, reporting isn't really what he's doing. The guy's a full-blown balls-to-the-wall left-winger, a liberal's liberal if you will, writing about everything from evil grocery store chains to SUV's to Bush is an idiot to our culture is getting desensitized by constant bloodshed in the news to why do we only ever hear about the wack-job religious people to Bush is a fucking moron to prescription medication addictions and how we are a quick-fix society to why can't we all just relax a bit more and of course, Bush is an evil deathbastard. And I love every word of it.


So he wrote this article where he posed the most interesting question: What would Jesus have on his iPod? To which the Holmes had to say, "Hmmmm. Just what would Jesus, son of God, divinity made flesh, have on his iPod?" Now unfortunately, the Holmes hasn't gotten around to purchasing an iPod just yet, but I think the idea here is pretty clear. Knowing what we know about Jesus, who he spent his time with, who he showed mercy to and who his wrath was reserved for, knowing that he loathed violence but was not afraid to agitate those in power, knowing that he spoke a message of peace and love, well, just what kind of music might such an individual be into these days? Or rather, all days, seeing as how time doesn't quite work the same way for divine beings as it does for us earthbound human types.

The author himself offered some ideas, and then printed a nice chunky sampling of the responses he received from readers...needless to say, their answers were all over the place, you name it...blues, jazz, funk, protest anthems, love ballads, country, heavy metal, classic rock, classical, neo hippie chick, old school hip hop, emo, techno, showtunes, of course gospel, both Elvises....basically just list every category of music that you can think of before you realize that it's really difficult if not impossible to classify everything, then remember how that one song you like doesn't really fit into any one categorization, and then remember that there are a ton of songs out there like that, and then laugh thinking about that argument you got into that one time about whether that one band really qualifies as that one genre, especially after doing that one album or how one time you tried to organize your CD's by genre and it took you over a week of just sitting and staring at your collection before you finally got everything into some kind of order, but even then you ended up with categories with names like "Somewhat more feminine stuff that I got into some time after college when I realized that all I listened to was guy music" or "Really chill with sort of a hiphop influence somewhere in the beat" or "Bizarre Euro-Asian sort of thing that most American ears won't like and will actually hate which is part of but not entirely the reason why I like it." And of course "Other."

That's how many types there were. Are. And counting.

So just what tunes does the Holmes suggest? What would the Holmes expect to find as he scrolled through the divine iPod? Well, maybe I've got some ideas, but to be honest, that's not really the question that I'm incredibly interested in. What gets the hamster to jogging in the wheel of the Holmes's brain is the question, what does all of this tell us? All these ideas that people have about Jesus's musical tastes, what does it say? Well, it tells us that taste runs the gamut, but anybody who knows at least one other person should have figured that out by now. Maybe could it be that it tells us a little something about Jesus? Well maaaybe, but only in relation to how people think about him and who they think he is....or perhaps to put it more accurately, who they want him to be. So many suggestions from so many people expressing so many different ideas. It seems that people just want Jesus to like their music.

But that can't be it...not all of it anyway. Think about your favorite song, album, singer, band, opera, whatever, whether it's a recent discovery that you've been listening to nonstop all week or an all-time fave, that's the music you love and it's part of you. And it matters not one tiny split hair what anyone else thinks of it, what some reviewer said or how loudly your friends groan when you put it on, that is YOUR music and you love it. And when you meet someone who feels the same about it as you do, oh shit, the connection you get!

You see what I'm getting at? All these iPod ideas, they seem to express a need that runs deeper than just saying "I think this music is cool and I think Jesus would too." Well no, actually, that's pretty much it, but at the same time it's more than that. It's about connection and understanding. In a world where each of us is so often misunderstood, we want, dammit, we want so much sometimes just to be understood. To feel perfect wordless no-need-to-explain understanding. And in an age where warmongers and bigots and fascists and liars and thieves and hypocrites and violent extremists are shrieking louder than ever that their mandate is the holy mandate of God, more people just want to scream out NO! You evil bastards do not have Jesus on your side. Jesus is not guiding your missiles true to their targets or giving AIDS to the scary homosexuals or raising your stock because the Son of God that likes this song isn't capable of such atrocities. The Jesus that likes this song here, well, he understands me perfectly and I don't have to explain a thing to him because he knows. Even better than I do.

See what I'm saying?

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