Thursday, October 28, 2010

In The Beginning.

At the moment I've been reading two books - The Necronomicon, a giant book of H.P. Lovecraft stories that Steve gave me for Mother's Day that I still haven't finished, mostly because I only read it in the car at red lights and in the few minutes in the basement of the local Methodist church before Fat Camp* starts.

This book seems to scare the living shit out of certain people who are 1.) religious, 2.) have a knee-jerk reaction to things that are black and look scary, 3.) quite literally judge books by their covers, and 4.) will not, for whatever reason, ask me what I'm reading.

If this describes you, we both know that if I were reading a Stephen King book you would have absolutely no problem with it whatsoever. Please also know that without H.P. Lovecraft Stephen King would have spent his life as an English teacher at Bangor High School. Which is a perfectly admirable thing to be, of course, but you know what I mean. The force of the Necronomicon, it runs strong through young Jedi King.

That being said, I have 7 stories left to go and I would really like to quit toting the book around. It's quite large.

The other book I'm reading is the Book of Genesis, which should soothe the same people who give me the stinkeye for reading Lovecraft, but won't, because it's this version:

It's the entire, unedited Book of Genesis, illustrated by R. Crumb, the 60's cartoonist who dropped acid one day, tripped for two straight years before coming down, and discovering during his extended period of mind alteration that he had created Mr. Natural, one of his most famous recurring characters in the world of subversive comix.**

While reading the two side by side, as I'm doing, I've found that while The Necronomicon wins for drawing out the tension and the fluidity of the prose, the plot lines in their stories are equally implausible and horrible.

Lovecraft did have humans breeding with aliens who looked like a combination of fish and frogs, but at least that happened in the context of a mutually agreed-upon business arrangement. This is not nearly as bad as Lot offering up his daughters to the men of Sodom to be gang raped. Sheesh. I do not know what life lessons that is supposed to teach us, and quite frankly, I don't want to discuss the possibilities.

Luckily for me, I am not a Biblical literalist, so I don't have the burden of believing any of this actually happened. I mean, I know Lot's behavior vis à vis his female children plays out in very real ways every day in the world, but Western Culture typically doesn't consider these kinds of men as being blessed by God.

I'm now half way through the book, and Crumb has illustrated every single verse, including the awful "begets" verses (Abraham begets Isaac, Isaac begets Esau, Esau begets whoever, and so on for about twenty more times. Bless his twisted heart, that must have been crazy-making.)

And speaking of Esau, I made it through the 6-day creation story without blinking an eye, I made it through the Noah story, I made it through the Methuselah-lived-927-years stories, I made it through the horrible Lot story, I made it through the graphic incest scenes, but you know what really hung me up?

Esau trading his birthright to Jacob for a cup of lentil soup.

He traded. His birthright. For lentil soup.

Lentil soup.


Have you ever had lentil soup? It's good and all; I mean, it's a hippie dietary staple, and I respect that, but I'm sorry, this just didn't happen. Esau wasn't crawling through the desert with a swollen stomach and vultures circling overhead, he was just hungry after working all day. And Jacob's pot wasn't the only pot in town. Couldn't he have asked his mom for some soup if Jacob was being bitchy and wouldn't share?

This is the stupidest plot point I've ever read.

If it sounds like I'm stomping all over the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim faiths, I'm sorry. I really am sorry, but I just have to get this out of my system. And just as a preemptive strike, let me assure you that God is not responsible for Esau making such a ridiculous decision.

God was all over the place demanding crazy shit from everybody during this time, but at no point did God ever shine down out of the clouds and tell Esau THOU SHOULDST GOEST FOR THE SOUP. Don't try to pin this one on God. This is all on Esau.


Babies, I'm sorry, but it just didn't happen.

*It's my weekly Weight Watchers meeting. I prefer calling it Fat Camp, because I don't want to admit that it actually works, so I pretend I'm too cool for it by belittling it. 37 pounds and counting!

**Two years!! I tripped for 18 hours once, and I'm telling you, that was way too long. By the end I was literally just sitting around with my fellow day-tripper Molly, waiting for it to be over. "I'm tired of being fascinated by watching ants chew on a piece of used bubble gum! When will this end?"

I can't imagine it lasting for 2 years.