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‘It can be a soft exorcism’

‘It can be a soft exorcism’ September 2, 2021

• A little more than three years ago, David Dark began exploring a long analogy or parable or Pacific Rim fanfic about principalities and powers and the people controlling/controlled by them. The wise and weird Twitter thread he began then continues to this day and has now inspired a song from Dustin Kensrue and Thrice. It reminds me a bit of something from OK Computer or, even more perhaps, of the review of OK Computer that Dark wrote for Prism magazine many years ago, which I think was when his odd, gently unsettling questions first started getting under my skin. Which is to say that I like this quite a bit.

• If you’re hoping to witness or experience grace,  probably best to steer clear of churches with names like “Grace Chapel.”

• The flagship newspaper of the chain that laid off tens of thousands of copy editors (including me) now publishes occasional “fact check” articles, “supported in part by a grant from Facebook.” Here’s the latest: “Fact check: No evidence ‘Milk Crate Challenge’ is a satanic ritual.” OK, then.

• Speaking of weird analogies drawn from speculative genre fiction and game play, white Christian nationalist “prophet” Robin Bullock says that God sits, in Heaven, within a massive gelatinous cube.

• This one’s better: “The Monsters of Maple Street” and the whitelash paranoia of Franklin, Tenn. (Yes, that’s the same enclave of ingratitude where resentful white folks gather to worship at the deservedly imploding Grace Chapel.)

• “Nestflix” is a remarkable achievement and also a lot of fun. Lynn Fisher has mocked up a parallel universe Netflix where all of your favorite fictional shows-within-shows are streaming. It’s impressively exhaustive.

I mean, yes, a few shows and movies still need to be added — the “Religious Programming” tab doesn’t yet include “Good News Today,” and where’s the gritty crime drama “Boston Accent”? — but it’s still a work in progress and a delightful time-waster for anyone trapped in the gelatinous cube of a corporate cubicle.

• This is a weird, weird story well told by Daniel Silliman: “The Holy Land Experience Never Made It to the Financial Promised Land.”

The dream of a Bible theme park died in Florida last week, after 20 years of innovation and renovation—not to mention cash infusions, cost cuts, and rate hikes—failed to make the Holy Land Experience financially sustainable. …

The reenactments of resurrection, scale miniature model of first-century Jerusalem, animatronic John Wycliffe, and the Trin-i-tee mini golf course were never enough. While the “living biblical museum” attracted attention, controversy, and not a few visitors willing to pay the $17, then $29, and ultimately $50 ticket prices, the Holy Land Experience couldn’t find a firm financial footing.

Turns out a cut-rate Disney version of the Bible couldn’t compete with, you know, actual Disney. And I suspect even the sort of people who’d find the idea of a VBS-like Bible-story-themed mini golf course appealing would cringe a bit at the glib irreverence of the name “Trin-i-tee.”

I’d find the failure of this scheme somewhat reassuring if the same folks spending millions of dollars on such things weren’t also having much greater success with their attempt to turn the rest of the country into a Gilead theme park — a subject I find so dismaying that I’ve retreated here into posting random links rather than addressing it directly.

• Rebecca Schoenkopf says that Maurice Hilleman is someone we should know more about. She’s right, for millions of good reasons.

• Finally, here’s Elizabeth Kaeton’s recipe for “Savory, Sweet Crab Cheesecake.”


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