Saturday, October 24, 2009


Wow! That sure looks like voodoo from the Yoruban homeland of Nigeria, doesn’t it? Well, actually, you should probably look again. The “voodoo” people zapping each other are supposed to be Christians.

Nigeria has an Islamic majority. There’s also the “pagans,” “witches,” and a pesky Christian minority. And you know what happens with minorities . . .

Minorities, others, aliens, their very existence make people's imaginations go wild. See someone who looks, talks, or dresses funny move into your neighborhood, and the rumors of cannibalism, human sacrifice, “voodoo” start to fly. And if this includes some kind of strange religion – watch out!

I’m reminded of an anti-immigration road troupe from a few elections ago that included a black guy who dressed like he stepped out of a Seventies blaxsploitation movie, who screamed about how Mexicans were about to rush across the border to cook and eat “Americans.” Somehow, despite this revelation, Mexican restaurants are more popular than ever. And salsa has surpassed ketchup as America’s most popular condiment. Nobody is offering Aztec sacrificial tacos.

Meanwhile, outside of Christendom, it’s Christianity that has the reputation of being a scary, weirdo, alien religion. Its symbols and paraphernalia take on a voodooistic quality. Throughout the Middle East, centuries after the crusades, children have nightmares about monsters with crosses on their chests. In Japan, the cross is considered sexy. And, let’s face it, the crucifix is just plain weird.

There goes someone wearing a miniature 3D image of man undergoing a slow, torturous death – how freaking sadomasochistic can you get?

And even the Bible can inspire fear:

I wonder if the makers of this film realize that in America, the Bible is the number one book stolen from bookstores. And there are no signs of supernatural repercussions.

However, in my decade-long career as a bookstore clerk, I’ve never once heard of anyone stealing the Koran.

So one person’s blasphemy is another person’s creed. Horror in one culture is holy in another. And here we are in an age of globalization, the world is flat and all gods are created equal. Believe me, it’s gonna get weird!

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