Dull Ache column by W.R. Marshall
Look, I’m the first to admit I tend to play the Apocalypse card now and then, but you have to admit, the End of Days is always good for laugh. There’s Cheney as Satan – or a close personal advisor. There’s a crackerjack conflict going on in the Middle East where the Endtimes are supposed begin. And last, and certainly least as a president, but at the very top of most true-believers anti-Christ list, you got that dancin’ fool, George W. Bush.
(It’s not too late to get in the “Bush Blows-up the World” pool; you have until Jan. 20.)
Granted, this entire political season has thrown all of us off our games a bit, and I did say that when the Democratic race came down to a black man and a white woman, things were getting a little weird, and when the rich white woman called the black man an “elitist,” I wrote about those four guys and their specifically colored ponies – but what’s not funny about the Four Horsemen?
Then Obama became the presumptive nominee for the presidency of the United States, an historic moment for our nation, so sure I tried to milk a yuck or two out of it with a bit about one world-cleansing conflagration – you’re rarely wrong going with the classics.
However, while I was joking, Armageddon came a-knockin’, and now I have irrefutable proof that the reign of fire is right around the corner. So don’t go shopping for bottled water and Spam because I already bought it all … although I’m not sure how Spam can save me from acts of divine retribution.
The sign that tells me the sword of Damocles is about to fall is this ad that showed up in my mailbox: “A symbolic display of devotion…THE MEN’S STERLING SILVER NAIL CROSS. Artisans have taken a symbol of Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice, the nails of the cross, and fashioned them into a sterling silver cross pendant.”
The ad is on an 8″x11″ piece of heavy stock, complete with post-paid replay card; the rest of the text is a combination of salesmanship and evangelizing (yes, I know they’re the same thing.) On the whole it’s no cheesier than those mailers trying to sell you commemorative plates or NASCAR bobbleheads.
The reason the Sterling Silver Nail Cross flyer is a portent of a bad end for us all is – it came packaged with my monthly copy of PLAYBOY.
I’ll give you that PLAYBOY is pretty tame, actually lame stuff these day. Hannah Montana seems lurid by comparison. Still, the magazine does show fully nude, highly airbrushed, desexualized photos of naked women, and they do have many a bawdy cartoon that involves comical sex acts – which, when combined would excite the average eighth-grade lad, so it’s still not on Pat Robertson’s summer reading list.
The answer is, unfortunately, yes, I do get it for the articles. I get better porn in my online junk mail.
The point is, PLAYBOY, Hef’s magazine, the icon of the sexual revolution, the magazine that used to sell those dopey man sign necklaces, is shilling for a company that wants you to spend $100 on a really tacky display of your faith. (Anyone every hear the Lenny Bruce routine about Christ and the electric chair?) The ad is placed on top of the magazine, you see the cross before you see the cover.
So you tell me, am I overreacting, or do you want to trade me two cans of peaches for a can of Spam … although I’m not sure how peaches can save me from acts of divine retribution.
W.R. Marshall is a regular contributor to The Augusta Free Press.