Berlin (1870)

The question of exactly who is controlling the language has changed since the advent of electronic media. It used to be the pastors, who borrowed their authority from a conveniently mercurial God. The etymology of pastor passes through late Middle English from Anglo-Norman French and has to do with sheep.

The pastors (and their kapos, the Sunday school teachers) were the Thought Police in America for the longest time; it wasn’t until the end of the 19th century that Harvard’s presidents weren’t either Clergymen or graduates of the divinity school: all but one of the first twenty, starting in 1640, were one or the other or both. Harvard was the top of a pyramidal American confusion between Bible Studies and General Education. Christianity was the chief administrator of taboos and longings. [When did Christianity fall behind as a control mechanism? When a new standard of “proof”, via technological development, arrived: photographic evidence. Think about it.] Christianity always relied too heavily on hearsay, which only works on people who have no higher standard for proof. Pastoral types. In pastures.

Seeing is Dreaming; Seeing En Masse is Believing.

Authority devolved from the purview of a vague God to the concrete jurisdiction of the electronically-transmitted image. Your real-life glimpse of a flower or a beheading is nothing (a loner’s hallucination); it’s only when the authoritarian camera sends the image around the world, for all to see, that it means something. We have spent most of our lives on the cusp between two control systems, one fading, the other burgeoning with asymptotic force.

God was just hearsay but you Believed in the ad campaign for the Reverse-Nativity of 9/11/2001 because you saw the film clips with your very own eyes, with everyone else, with billions in real time, over and over again. In slo-mo. The image fused with the trigger words they droned with hypnotically repetitive precision… which fused with the DNA of your taboos and longings. Your taboos against questioning the authority of the image, your longings for revenge. 

A new covenant of the Church of the Electronically-Transmitted Image.

A bearded infant was born on a deconstructed cross (an “11”) , and died in a cave, and was resurrected, and killed again…

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR [letters are vetted for cogency and style]

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