Wednesday, May 21, 2008

McCain, Zeus, and Schuchardt: My Name Is Death

Though I eagerly await news from this week’s Libertarian Party nominating convention, I will say this for the Republican candidate, McCain: he’s not an annoying Bible-thumper. Indeed, religious former Bush advisor Marvin Olasky (the UT Austin journalism prof who popularized “compassionate conservatism,” a slogan now largely abandoned in the U.S. but newly-popular with UK conservatives, oddly enough) said years ago that he thinks McCain, with his ancient-warrior ethos, is more like a Zeus worshipper than a Christian (I think that means he should get Alasdair MacIntyre’s vote).

And on another religious-continuity note, why not hear my friend Read Schuchardt speak tomorrow at 6:30 at the Albert Ellis Institute (45 East 65th St. in Manhattan) about the uncanny parallels between medieval Catholic and modern corporate symbolism? I’m going.

For some reason, I find Read riveting despite my disliking religion and liking corporations, essentially the opposite of Read’s worldview (though he used to work as a “branding” consultant). Were it not for him, I would not know about the parallels between the Nazi swastika and the Nike swooshstika — or between the cultish Landmark Forum and the gnostic world of the Matrix movies. (Then there’s his new book on philosophy and Fight Club.)

He also has seven kids and expects more, so, like a lot of religious folk, he’s winning the Darwinian race while not caring about Darwin. (But more on those topics in two months, when I host a panel of egg donors at Lolita Bar.) By contrast, he notes, my first name is German for “death.”

P.S. Oh, and to compensate for linking to the religion-mocking Bastard Fairies video yesterday, here’s a video by mewithoutYou, which unbeliever Daniel Radosh called his favorite Christian rock band during his Debate at Lolita last month — and they really are very good, but then, religion and plenty of other crazy things have inspired artists for centuries.

P.P.S. On another warrior-ethos note: there’s talk of a Red Dawn remake. Now, when you’re done thinking “Ha ha! Cool! Red Dawn!” ask yourself: How on Earth does that work two decades after the end of the Cold War? China? Alternate universe? Martians?

P.P.P.S. And speaking of old movies, since Read likes both religion and Star Wars, there’s no better time to link to this story about the UK’s Jedi “religion” being attacked by its version of a Satan figure.


Xine said...

As a historian of medieval Catholicism, I’d love to hear more about its “uncanny parallels” with “modern corporate symbolism.” Any hope for post-talk capsule?

toddseavey said...

Apparently, he hopes to write a book about it but doesn’t have an online analogue to the talk yet. Watch the mediascape for ads’ frequent invocation of pseudo-spiritual satisfaction from consumption and you’ll be on the right track, though.