The following column previously
just after the 9/11 disaster
Holds a Press Conference
NEW YORK: Responding to current events on earth, God, the omniscient creator-deity worshipped by billions of followers of various faiths for more than 6,000 years, on Monday angrily clarified His longtime stance against humans killing each other.
“LOOK, I DON’T KNOW, maybe I haven’t made myself completely clear, so for the record, here it is again”, said the Lord, His divine face betraying visible emotion, during a press conference near the site of the fallen Twin Towers. ‘Somehow people keep coming up with the idea that I want them to kill their neighbor. Well, I don’t. And to be really honest, I’m really getting sick and tired of it. Get it straight. Not only do I not want anybody to kill anyone, but specifically command you not to, in really simple terms that anybody ought to be able to understand.”
Worshipped by Christians, Jews and Muslims alike, God said His name has been invoked countless times over the centuries as a reason to kill in what He called “an unending cycle of violence”.
“I don’t care how holy somebody claims to be”, God said. “If a person tell you it’s My will that they kill someone, They’re wrong. Got it? I don’t care what religion you are or who you think your enemy is, here it is one more time: No killing, in My name or anyone else’s, ever again”.
The press conference came as a surprise to humankind, as God rarely interferes in earthly affairs. As a matter of long-standing policy He has traditionally left the task of interpreting His message and divine will to clerics, rabbis, priests, imams and Biblical scholars. Theologians and laymen alike have been give the task of pondering His ineffable mysteries, deciding for themselves what to do as a matter of faith. His decision to manifest on the material plain was motivated by the deep shock, outrage and sorrow he felt over the violence carried out in His name, and over its dire potential and continuing ramifications around the globe.
“I TRIED TO PUT IT in the simplest possible terms for you people, so you’d get it straight, because I thought it was pretty important” said God, called Yahweh and Allah respectively in the Judaic and Muslim traditions. “I guess I’d figured I’d left no room for confusion after putting it in a four-word sentence with one-syllable words, on the tablets I gave to Moses. How much more clear can I get?
“But somehow it all gets twisted around and, next thing you know, somebody’s spouting some nonsense about, ‘God says I have to kill this guy, God wants me to kill that guy, it’s God’s will’” God continued. “It’s not God’s will, all right? News flash: ‘God's will’ equals ‘Don’t murder people’”.
Worse yet, many of the worst violators claim that their actions are justified by passages in the Bible, Torah and Qur’an.
"TO BE HONEST there’s some contradictory stuff in there, okay?” God said, “so I can see how it could pretty misleading. I admit it—my Bad. I did my best to inspire them but a lot of imperfect human agents have misinterpreted My message over the millennia. Frankly, much of the material that got in there is dogmatic, doctrinal bullshit. I turn my head for a second and, suddenly, all this stuff about homosexuality gets into Leviticus and everybody thinks it’s God's will to kill gays. It absolutely drives Me up the wall”.
God praised the overwhelming majority of His Muslim followers as “wonderful pious people”, calling the perpetrators of the Sept 11 attacks “rare exceptions”.
“This whole medieval concept of the jihad, or holy war, had all but vanished from the Muslim world in, like, the 10th century, and with good reason” God said. “There’s no such thing as a holy war, only unholy ones. The vast majority of Muslims in this world reject the murderous actions of these radical extremists, just like the vast majority of Christians in America are pissed off over those bigots on The 700 Club”.
Continued God, “Read the book, ‘Allah is kind, Allah is beautiful, Allah is merciful’. It goes on and on that way, page after page. But no, some assholes have to come along and revive this stupid holy-war crap, just to further their own hateful agenda. So now everybody thinks Muslims are all murderous barbarians. Thanks, Taliban: 1,000 years of pan-Islamic
cultural progress down the drain”.
God stressed that His remarks were not directed exclusively at Islamic extremists, but rather at all whose ideological zealotry overrides their ability to comprehend the core message of all world religions.
“I DON’T CARE what faith you are, everybody’s been making the same mistakes since the dawn of times”, God said. “The Muslims massacre the Hindus, the Hindus massacre the Muslims. The Buddhists, everybody massacres the Buddhists. The Jews—don’t get me started on the hard-line, right-wing, Meir Kahane-loving Israeli nationalists, man. And the Christians?
You people believe in a Messiah who says, ‘Turn the other cheek’, but you’ve been killing everybody you can get your hands on since the Crusades”.
Growing increasingly wrathful, God continued: “Can’t you people see? What are you, morons? There are a ton of different religious traditions out there, and different cultures worship Me in different ways. But the basic message is always the same: Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Shintoism…every religious belief system under the sun, they are all saying you are supposed to love your neighbors, folks! It’s not that hard a concept to grasp.
“Why would you think I want anything else? Humans don’t need religion or God as an excuse to kill each other—you’ve been doing that without any help from Me since you were freaking apes!” God said. “The whole point of believing in God is to have a higher standard of behavior. How obvious can you get?”
“I’M TALKING TO all of you here”, continued God. His voice rising to a shout. “Do you hear Me? I don’t want you to kill anybody. I’m against it, across the board. How many times do I have to say it? Don’t kill each other anymore--ever. I’m fucking serious!”
Upon completing His outburst, God fell silent, standing quietly at the podium for several moments. Then, witnesses reported, God’s shoulders began to shake, and He wept.
[from the Ojai Orange, November 2001, author unknown]
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Wednesday, October 27, 2010
A Budget Travel Pioneer on a Time When $5 a Day Was Real (Frugal) Money
nytimes.com: Frugal Traveler
by Seth Kugel
It was the first handwritten letter I’d received in 5 years. Or maybe 10. Signed by John Wilcock, a man I’d never heard of, and postmarked Ojai, Calif., it was waiting for me when I returned from my São Paulo-to-New York summer trip. Mr. Wilcock wrote that he had been an assistant editor at The Times Travel section back in the 1950s, and had written the first editions of “Mexico on $5 a Day,” “Greece on $5 a Day” and “Japan on $5 a Day” for Arthur Frommer in the 1960s.
By George, I thought. This man was the original Frugal Traveler.
by John Wilcock
"A GOOD WAY to describe John Wilcock is to say that he is a talented bohemian counter-culture journalist who once played a major role in the emergence of America’s underground press. Born 1927 in Sheffield, England, he left school aged 16 to work on various newspapers in England, and on Toronto periodicals before moving to New York City. There in 1955 he became one of the five founders of the Village Voice in which he and co-founder Norman Mailer wrote weekly columns. Wilcock called his column “The Village Square”, an intended pun. He and young Mailer were not quite friends, although Wilcock was at times annoyed, but always amused, by Mailer’s monstrous ego."
-From the preface of Manhattan Memories, by Martin Gardner
The Autobiography and Sex Life of Andy Warhol
by John Wilcock
Edited by Christopher Trela
Photographs by Shunk-Kender
Village Voice and Interview cofounder John Wilcock was first drawn into the
milieu of Andy Warhol through film-maker Jonas Mekas, assisting on some
of Warhol’s early films, hanging out at his parties and quickly becoming a
regular at the Factory. “About six months after I started hanging out at the
old, silvery Factory onWest 47th Street,” he recalls, “[Gerard] Malanga came
up to me and asked, ‘When are you going to write something about us?’”
Already fascinated by Warhol’s persona, Wilcock went to work, interviewing
the artist’s closest associates, supporters and superstars. Among these were
Malanga, Naomi Levine, Taylor Mead and Ultra Violet, all of whom had been
in the earliest films; scriptwriter Ronnie Tavel, and photographer Gretchen
Berg; art dealers Sam Green, Ivan Karp, Eleanor Ward and Leo Castelli, and
the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Henry Geldzahler; the poets Charles Henri
Ford and Taylor Mead, and the artist Marisol; and the musicians Lou Reed and Nico. Paul Morrisey supplied the title: The Autobiography and Sex Life of
AndyWarhol was the first oral biography of the artist. First published in 1971,
and pitched against the colorful backdrop of the 1960s, it assembles a prismatic
portrait of one of modern art’s least knowable artists during the early
years of his fame. The Autobiography and Sex Life is likely the most revealing
portrait of Warhol, being composite instead of singular; each of its interviewees
offers a piece of the puzzle that was Andy Warhol. This new edition
corrects the many errors of the first, and is beautifully designed in a bright,
Warholian palette with numerous illustrations.
The British-born writer John Wilcock co-founded The Village Voice in 1955,
and went on to edit seminal publications such as The East Village Other, Los
Angeles Free Press, Other Scenes and (in 1970) Interview, with Andy Warhol.