Over the many years that I've been writing I've churned out millions of words: stories, poems, songs, feature articles, sketches, parodies ...
I've decided to add some them to my blog from time to time, so that crevices in time will include not only contemporary stuff, but also stuff produced over the past 40 or so year. Of Jokes, and Insults and Evangelists was first published on Triond in February, 2008. It has had almost 800 hits, and so is one of the most read of my articles.
Breakfast is a great occasion for mind wan/wonderings. Take this morning …
Just this morning I was drinking coffee at a local restaurant and reading a column written by Catherine Deveny, an Australian journalist who works for The Age newspaper in Melbourne. And it got me reminiscing. About old jokes and insults. Pretty soon, I was 14 again. That would have been in the late 1950s. Two jokes from that era have survived the ravages of brain cell deterioration.
The first joke:
A fellow sees a sign at the zoo, outside the llamas cage. It reads: “Beware the llama spits.”
And he was.
And it did.
The second jokes is built on the same joke-pattern as the first:
Two sailors are scrubbing the deck of a ship.
One says, “Where’s the soap?”
And the other replies, “Yes, it does.”
[I know I'll be accused of some kind of chauvinism, but I'm going to explain those jokes. Why? you ask. Because the other day, I told the following joke to a friend, and it took over twelve hours for her to get it. That joke goes like this:
So here are the explanations.
1. Joke #1 Beware (Be where) the llama spits, and he was (where the llama spits) and it did (spit)
2. Joke #2 Where's the soap (wears the soap). ]
Most people know that the “llama spits” joke is based on the actual behaviour of llamas. And if, like me, you watch “Funniest Home Videos”, you will in all likelihood have seen a caged llama spit into the face of a zoo visitor.
How insulting! To be spat upon by a llama.
‘Now wait a minute!’ I can hear you saying. “Yes, the llama may be spitting, but aren’t you indulging in anthropomorphism by claiming that the llama’s intention is to insult the spectator.’
Maybe, maybe. But there is evidence that animals ARE capable of intentional insult. You’ve no doubt heard about the monkeys and chimpanzees who have been taught to use sign language to communicate with their human guardians. Some of them develop vocabularies of 200 words or more – it’s the monkeys I’m referring to!
That must be one of the most succinct demolitions in the world of English letters.
She wrote: If I could write like this, I wouldn’t.
All of which brings me back to Catherine Deveny, and her column. She was having a rave about televangelists, and got onto one of my favourite topics: Benny Hinn and his Signs and Wonders School of Ministry. Sometimes when I can’t sleep I watch the tele-Pentecostals pouring out their evangelical messages, and performing their squeaky-clean gospel music, and telling people that God will give them wealth if they believe hard enough.
(I watch this stuff for the same reason I pay attention to Right wing politicians purveying their pro-war, pro-business, anti-Green message: it’s important to know what the enemy is up to.)
And near the top of my “not to be trusted” list is Benny Hinn. Why am I disturbed by Mr Hinn. Deveny quotes him as saying that Heaven is “a real city made of actual jewels that will descend to earth and cover the whole of America.” I wonder how he knows this? Could it be that … God spoke to him? That’s certainly what he wants us to believe. Life has taught me to be wary of any wealthy salesmen who are selling religion. The Bible said something about it being impossible to serve two masters: God and Mammon. So I don’t trust Benny.
Well, Deveny has come up with a great line that describes Benny Baby to a tee. It may not be original; it may even be a little adolescent. But that’s okay by me, because I reckon for clarity and succinctness and simple truth, it wins the jackpot.
Benny Hinn has the magnetism of a bag of sick.