according to Simon (part iii)

“What happened to your face?” Jacob asked as I met him at the Cyrene’s inn.

“I was attacked by one of Herod’s thugs,” I said. “They’re onto us. So watch who you talk to.”

“You didn’t tell him anything did you?”

“I told him I was a friend of Joseph’s. After that, he left me alone.”

“Shit,” Jacob said and rubbed his face. “Well good news is I met with Ananias and his wife Sapphira. Remember them?”

“The one’s from Rome?”

“Yeah. They sold some of their property in Judea. They gave the money to John to distribute to the widows outside of the city walls. It’s finally happening Simon!”

“Don’t let it get to your head!” I told him. “You still need to lie low.”

Just then a big burly fellow with six other men busted through the door. “Χαιρετίσματα Jacob,” the booming voice said.

“Hello Stephanos.”

“You’re Stephanos?!” I exclaimed.

Stephanos looked over to me and back over to Jacob. “Who’s dis?” the man asked in his Greek accent.

“Relax, he’s Simon,” Jacob replied. “He was a good friend of Yeshua’s.”

Stephanos looked me up and down. “I heard you were arrested,” he said to me.

“No, it must have been another Simon,” I replied. “I’m from Bethsaida.”

Stephanos was confused. He looked back to Jacob. “I was told that Ananias gave you money. Our women and children are starving too-“

“Now Stephanos,” Jacob interrupted, “I know where you’re going with this. But Ananias was very clear: he wanted us to use this money to help the widows of Jerusalem.”

“Because we’re Greeks we’re not as important as the Hebrews?”

“I didn’t say that. Please listen to me. I’m only respecting Ananias’ wishes.”

Stephanos was furious. “We’ve been in the streets for days while you Hebrews have been coward up in your homes! Do you support us or not?!”

“Of course I support you!” Jacob yelled then took a deep breath. “I get how you feel, Stephanos, I really do. But you gotta understand our situation. Herod and Pilate aren’t too concerned with the Greeks right now. But they are after us. We can’t be out in the streets and we don’t have the money to spread around to everyone. I’m sorry. But Ananias is a very successful man from Rome and a diaspora Jew just like yourself. If you go to him and explain your situation, he can probably provide you with some assistance.”

Stephanos stood silent for a moment then muttered something in Greek. He walked up to Jacob. “μη με σταυρώνεις,” he said. Then him and his six men left the room.

“You should’ve stayed away from him Jacob,” I said.

“I know.”

“And Stephanos is a convert. To Ananias, he’s still a Gentile. He’s not giving him the money.”

Jacob began rubbing his temples. “I need a drink,” he said.

We went down to the tavern where Levi was scribbling something down. “What are you doing?” Jacob asked him.

“The Greeks wanted something to tell the people back in the Decapolis. Something about Yeshua.”

I looked over the writing. He didn’t write much but it was all in Greek. I couldn’t understand a word of it. Jacob was puzzled. “Where did you learn to write Greek?”

“In school, here in Jerusalem” Levi replied, “I had to learn it along with Hebrew.”

“Maybe we should drop the subject of Greeks for the time being,” I said.

We sat silently drinking our wine for a few minutes. There was a commotion on the streets. Andrew came running up. “They’re about to stone some of the Greeks!” he screamed.

Jacob and Levi instantly got up. “Aren’t you coming along?” Jacob asked me. Against my better judgment, I put down the wine cup and followed them.

A few blocks away, a crowd was gathering. Some were shouting. Others gawked out of morbid curiosity. Moments later, Temple guards began dragging out seven Greeks. One of them was Stephanos.

Behind them followed a few members of the Sanhedrin, including Joseph. Standing beside him was Ananias.

“Thief! Thief!” Ananias shouted. “These men conspired with Yeshua to rob the Temple and overthrow the Romans!”

My heart began to sink. This was a setup.

The guards threw the Greeks in front of Herod’s black-cloaked mercenaries who had their spears ready. Meanwhile, the Roman guards stood back smiling at the whole affair.

A judge from the Sanhedrin stood among the crowd and faced the accused. “Conspiracy, sedition, robbery of Ananias,” the judge said, “are these accusations true?”

It didn’t matter what Stephanos said. And he knew it. From his knees, he laughed and looked at the crowd. “You stiff-necked people,” he said, “your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him—”

“God help you,” the judge said.

With those words, the mercenaries plunged their spears into the bellies of the Greeks. A pool of blood formed in the middle of the crowd.

Levi screamed in horror and ran away.

But the crowd was just getting warmed up. They picked up stones or any disposable object and began hurling them towards Stephanos. He got bruised and battered and knocked in the head a few times but kept crawling forward.

Among the mercenaries, I recognized a familiar face: The scars….the scabs…the wiry frame. It was him alright. It was the man that attacked me a few days earlier.

And Stephanos kept crawling towards this man as the stones were raining down on him. When he reached his feet, Stephanos grabbed the man’s cloak and got to his knees.

I was too far away to hear anything, but Stephanos was clearly saying something to this man. Judging by his face, the figure was stunned by what was being said. But before the figure could react, a member of the crowd smashed a rock into Stephanos’ skull.

The man in the black cloak stood back with blood and brain matter splattered all over his face. He was in a daze.

Before the crowd could mutilate the bodies, Joseph stepped in to quiet them. That’s enough!” he yelled. “The perpetrators of the Passover sedition have been caught and punished! This matter is closed! Please return to your homes!” As the crowds dispersed, the Temple guards started dragging the bodies outside of the city walls.

Jacob and I returned to the inn in silence. We didn’t know what to make of what just happened. “Do we leave Jerusalem?” Jacob asked.

“Why?” I replied. “It looks like Joseph and Ananias took care of our problem.”

TO BE CONTINUED…

this one Hurts

So I was filling out my pimpin’ March Madness bracket (obviously UK is gonna win it all) when word got to me that William Hurt died.

According to Marlee Matlin, maybe Hurt wasn’t the most pleasant person to be around (to put it mildly). Which is another reminder that Hollywood is a terrible, godawful place filled with fragile egos and needs to be nuked off the map entirely.

But this is also a reminder that some of my favorite artists and actors are passing on and we should appreciate their art while they’re still fresh in our collective consciousness. Some of my favorite performances from Hurt are in Ken Russell’s Altered States, Lawrence Kasdan’s The Big Chill, and David Cronenberg’s A History of Violence.

RIP

hi I’m glen greenwalled. AMA

Who questions the questioners?

***

It has been absolute Christmas for me the last few days. My blog’s existence has been vindicated by the conflict in Ukraine and the state of journalism reporting on it.

The internet really has ruined everything…especially the Twitterification of political discourse.

Case in point is Glenn Greenwald, sometimes referred to as the “GOAT” of journalism, who is now having an total fucking meltdown on Twitter.

Monitoring this situation, it has occurred to me that people can’t handle that multiple things can be true at once.

No, Greenwald is not a “Putin agent”. Yes, “propaganda” is bad, especially when it’s used to drum up war. And yes…Russia, led by an autocrat, invaded a sovereign country and no matter how terrible propaganda and American foreign policy has been, it doesn’t change the fact that….Russia, led by an autocrat, invaded a sovereign country.

I’m always hesitant to say that the “media lies to you”. It’s more complicated than that. What they’re actually doing is spin doctoring, omitting facts, and failing to interrogate all available information and opinions (but I guess in a certain sense, that is lying).

That’s why it’s up to YOU, fellow reader, to be honest enough with yourself to interrogate all available facts. That’s all we’ve got for the time being.

Because there is no trustworthy journalist or media figure. They’re all cynical actors until proven otherwise…especially the ones that have prior ideological convictions (what they are specifically for Greenwald, idk. But they’re easy to infer: has close associations with Noam Chomsky, his husband is a Socialist politician in Brazil, etc) and simultaneously criticize Big Tech yet profit off of it (via Substack, Twitter, etc)

But if you’re a Greenwald defender, relax: “iM jUSt aSkiNg QuEsTIons”

I’m gonna leave a link to these two articles here. Maybe they’re old. Maybe they’re outdated. Maybe they’re inaccurate. You be the judge.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/is-glenn-greenwald-the-new-master-of-right-wing-media

https://www.forbes.com/sites/maxrobins/2013/10/22/billionaires-want-to-pay-millions-for-journalists-who-make-trouble/?sh=68b3b4306e51

the art of choking

It’s everyone’s favorite time of the year: when America’s favorite bandwagon team, the Green Bay Packers, makes the playoffs and gets promptly bounced out by a lesser team.

To celebrate this event, during the 49ers game, I decided to choke on viagra pills. I collapsed on the floor and my wife stuck her fingers down my throat like a little baby and I threw up all over the carpet. My wife, god bless her, called 911. When the paramedics and firefighters showed up, they laughed in my face for wasting taxpayer money. But it worked because minutes later, Robbie Gould nailed a 45 yard field goal, sending San Francisco to the NFC championship.

This actually happened btw

So in solidarity with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, I too decided to choke during the 4th quarter.

It’s a playoff miracle.

jesus the cynic?

It’s interesting to view Jesus scholarship over the last 50 years. Most of it seems to reflect more on the political climate of the era it was written rather than on the actual historical Jesus, i.e. by turning Jesus into “Jesus the Revolutionary”, “Jesus the Mystic”, “Jesus the Philosopher”,etc.

It’s an easy mistake to make. Arguably I make it when I refer to Jesus as a “populist” figure of the time (I don’t mean that as a compliment. I mean that in its most literal sense: Jesus was addressing working class problems in a religious/political context.) It’s very difficult to separate our biases from the subject being analyzed, especially one as controversial as the historicity of Jesus.

I think there’s a (growing) minority consensus that Jesus took some influence from the Cynics. Some quack scholars might even say he was an outright Cynic.

I think this is an interesting question. In my view, the majority of mainstream scholars, both Christian and secular, wish to paint Jesus as a figure that almost emerged from a vacuum. It makes sense actually. All of the earliest, independently attested documents (The hypothetical Q…which survives almost in its entirety between the Gospels of Matthew and Luke…the epistles of Paul, Gospel of Mark, and Josephus) make no mention of Jesus’s origins (Q and Mark both start with the Baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist). So an attempt to say anything about Jesus’s influences, other than that of John the Baptist, would be pure conjecture. But there are some interesting parallels between Jesus and the Cynics: Mark 6:8, the location of Nazareth and its proximity to an apparent hotbed of Cynicism, Jesus’s confrontational style and eschewing of fame and fortune, embracing of poverty, etc. etc.

But read the Cynic texts. To the Cynics, Diogenes was their “Christ figure”. They all tried to emulate him. And to be honest, he was a disgusting asshole. While Diogenes definitely had his influence, I doubt he would have accumulated very many personal followers. I mean, many might have tried to ACT like him, but there’s no way anyone could have spent more than 10 minutes around him. Jesus, meanwhile, was probably trying to do something entirely different and would have certainly disapproved of things like…I dunno…MASTURBATING and SHITTING in public.

In my humble view, the Cynic modus operandi was likely something that was in the air at the time which some itinerant and apocalyptic preachers might have adopted. But just because that aesthetic was in vogue at the moment doesn’t mean that they were practicing Cynics.

While it’s fun to speculate, the simplest explanation is probably the correct one: Jesus was an apocalyptic Jewish preacher preaching to a mostly Jewish audience.

the injustice

Posted this before and I’m posting it again 🤷‍♂️

Gotta get this blog back on track, ya know?

So I was totally smashing a milf when I said “hey baby, gotta take a shit.”

“Go use the McDonalds down the street,” she said.

So I walked down the road at 1:30am, dick still hard. I clogged the toilet and ordered some hash browns.

“That’ll be $5.50 sir,” the server said.

“$5.50?! What is this….Hardee’s?!”

charles “rowdy reggie” jackson

Charles Jackson was an author that kinda got lost in the shuffle of 20th century alcoholic writers.

His life was tragic. Naturally.

Jackson appeared to have lived a mostly closeted life. He suffered from tuberculosis, losing a lung, which led to alcohol and substance abuse. He died of apparent suicide in 1968.

Blake Bailey wrote a biography of Jackson titles Farther and Wilder: The Lost Weekends and Literary Dreams of Charles Jackson. Unlike every other book I talk about here, I might actually read that one.

The Lost Weekend is Jackson’s most famous work. Billy Wilder adapted it into a film in 1945. While the book was successful upon its release, it is now largely forgotten in the American canon.

The second chapter of the The Lost Weekend is probably the most harrowing description of being an alcoholic ever written. And while I thought the book was fantastic as a whole, I actually found Jackson’s second novel The Fall of Valor to be much more engrossing.

And unfortunately it’s been totally forgotten.

The Fall of Valor is about a man vacationing with his wife in Nantucket who suddenly becomes obsessed with a recently married Marine captain on leave from World War II. The blatant homosexual overtones were ahead of their time upon its release in 1946, but the novel is powerful in its exploration on the dissolution of relationships and masculinity.

Jackson’s style can get a little long winded at times, which bogged down The Lost Weekend at certain points. But it pays off in second novel. Jackson was an astute observer of human nature. He’s seen the dark side and knows what people are thinking even when they aren’t aware of it themselves. All of this comes together in a heartbreaking conclusion for The Fall of Valor.

Anywho, no jokes. That’s all I got.

Bye ✋