Keep on the Sunny Side
‘Shot of Love’ kills ‘Proposition Hate’
If the Supreme Court has already overturned California’s Proposition 8, and if Michelle Shocked was right about the implications of such a ruling, I am personally in a world of shit right now.
I admit I’m pretty confused about exact details regarding the “end of days.” Which of my myriad sins will finally land me in the lake of fire? Hmmm … probably blasphemy. It hardly matters.
Recently at a show in San Francisco, Michelle Shocked confounded many of her fans when she started jibbering about how gay marriage would cause the apocalypse. That really happened! Most of the audience believed she was being sincere. They got up and left. It definitely sounds like she is losing her mind. That is tragic. On the other hand, she has been washed in the blood for several years. That is also a form of tragedy.
Those folks cross the thin line between normal, born-again fundamentalist Christian paranoia and mental illness faster than Wellbutrin crossing my blood/brain barrier. Searching for rational motivations from these people is like talking to a drunk person. They believe gay marriage will cause their God to finally shut this little project down for good!
In the end, the straw that broke the camel’s back won’t have been the Belgians’ unspeakable behavior in the Congo, the near genocide of America’s indigenous population by violent, amoral, germ-covered thugs, Pol Pot, the Holocaust, or even the horrific spectacle of our frantic race to poison and destroy our lovely planet.
The earth has never known corruption profound enough to mark the human race as totally irredeemable, thereby triggering the pulling of the great End Times plug — until now. Nothing says “triumph of the Anti-Christ” like gay people wanting to settle down and get monogamous, maybe even in a church with a cake.
Hank Williams recorded “I Saw the Light.” His even more tormented alter-ego, Luke the Drifter, recorded “The Battle of Armageddon.” Most songs from Luke the Drifter’s catalog sound like cautionary tales from Edward Gorey’s Sunday School class. “Ramblin’ Man” and the pathologically cheerful “Everything’s OK” are notable exceptions.
Mostly, there are a lot of warnings about the ill effects of the glamorous honky-tonk life on one’s possible salvation. By all accounts, Hank Williams was a mess. He kept up a heavy schedule of sinning and repenting as long as he could — 29 years.
Bob Dylan didn’t really seem to care whether the rest of us were saved or not. I appreciate that. Although, I have heard a bootleg from his fundamentalist Christian period where he tries to explain how the bear from Revelations is actually the Soviet Union. I also read a transcript of him talking about Armageddon during a San Francisco show around that same time. He sounds totally wacked. The born-again are completely obsessed with the end of the world. The happiest gospel songs are always the ones about how it won’t be long now!
Dylan’s great records “Slow Train Coming” and “Shot of Love” were both products of his Christian era. Gospel music is impossible to deny, and his live bands from those tours totally rocked. Still, I was glad when this dark phase ended. Striking a brand new vein of inspiration, especially one that combines the ecstatic intensity of love with a deep, wallowing fear of being damned, is the sort of thing that people have always gone to the crossroads for. Dylan’s gospel songs often have the twisting surrealism he is known for, so when I feel like I know exactly what he’s talking about, I’m pretty sure I’m wrong. I can pretend he’s just talking about some other dude, but I’m pretty sure it’s Jesus.
I love Hank Williams. He is long dead and finished talking about politics, so my love for him will remain pure. I love Bob Dylan, but he never calls. I don’t know the current status of his immortal soul. I hope he wants Proposition 8 overturned. I think that would mean we were going to spend eternity together, just like I always dreamed!
Catherine Irwin is probably entertaining the righteous by drowning in a pit of boiling lead for all time …