Thursday, August 16, 2007

How Gods Become Bored

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," promoting distant deities since 2005! Curiously, in all that time I've never addressed a seminal question. How do gods and goddesses become bored?

The short answer is that their praise and worship teams either die out, suffer attrition of the faithful, or become absorbed into more aggressive pantheons.

Recently a suicide bomber killed 500 people of Kurdish extraction called Yazidis. The Yazidis worship a deity they call the Peacock Angel. They intermarry and keep their small praise and worship team close to home. Unfortunately, that home is Iraq. Finally, something the Sunnis and Shiites can agree on: Let's decimate these heathens and send the Peacock Angel into boredom!

On the very same day: a story about the 30th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death. Fifty thousand people attended a candlelight vigil in Memphis over the following three days. At least one person died of heatstroke in the 100-plus temperatures. A professor from Bucknell university told the newspaper of Elvis:

"He's popular beyond popular. Three-year-old children in China know who Elvis is."

In the parts of Baltimore so lovingly filmed for Hairspray, I have seen homes with altars to Elvis, including these sorts of paintings and lots and lots of candles. Some folks think Elvis never died, or else he has come back and is hiding out somewhere. Ergo, he has all the earmarks of an incipient deity.

I don't think Elvis will have staying power, even though his posthumous marketers are raking in bundles of large that make the pope salivate. Elvis was at heart a nice guy, and he did good deeds, but in the end the gourmet peanut-butter-and-banana sandwiches will sink his reputation, and hence his budding godhood.

The most interesting set of bored gods and goddesses are the ones who aren't completely bored. For instance, this beautiful African deity, Yemaya, came over on the slave ships to the Caribbean. When the slaves were forcibly converted to Catholicism, they simply prayed to Yemaya as a "saint." The exact same thing happened with the Celts, which is why we have so many girls named Brigit today.

Personally, since I believe in each and every god and goddess who has ever been worshiped, both within recorded history and prior to it, I think the Peacock Angel will want a reckoning from that suicide bomber. At any rate it is despicable to see anyone killed for their religion, which is never, ever, the reason they're killed in the first place.

As for Elvis, the King is dead. Get over it, Baltimore.



Anonymous said...

Per a commentator on NPR, one of the problems for the poor Yazidis is that their main territory happens to be in between the Sunnis and the Shia, both of which happen to want where the Yazaidis live. Land/oil greed disguised as religious intolerance. sigh.

MountainLaurel said...

Actually, Yemaya (aka Iemanja or Yemanja) has had a renascence in the syncretic Brazilian religions of Macumba and Candomblé, a combination of native Brazilian, African, and Catholic religions. Fascinating pantheon they have...if you haven't checked it out yet, I believe you'll enjoy it. It's closely related to Santería in Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands.

Tennessee Jed said...

We are ALL being lied to. This is a long film, but worth an objective watch.

buddydon said...

grate post on how relijun wurks n how thangs, even gods n the folks that worships em, changes.

Athana said...

It's been a few years ago, but I remember reading something about how Elvis had a bad habit of beating up his girl friends. So if he's a god, he might belong with the beating-up-your-girlfriends group, the kingpin of which is the god Zeus. Zeus raped every female he came close to, mortal and deity alike. And according to some recent reading I've been doing, he's a direct descendant of an Indo European god who raped his own daughter, the Goddess of the Dawn. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this is so bad that I had to pass it on (and take some of the weight off my own shoulders).

Anne Johnson said...

Nobody here at "The Gods Are Bored" is keen to join an Elvis cult.

Anonymous said...

Elvis is lower than whale doo-doo. I’m glad the bastard died. He was spying on people in the music business and accepted an award from Nixon for doing so. I burned all my records. If there is a hell I hope he is in the hottest spot.