Sunday, January 31, 2010


Since I found myself within spitting distance of the Museum of Creation and Earth History in San Diego the weekend that the Chargers lost to the Jets and the entire city of San Diego collectively wept as rain began to fall, it became a running joke to say that "Baby Jesus is crying because LT and the Chargers lost." Local newscasts didn't take entirely different routes from such conclusions (making me realize that Will Ferrell's turn in Anchorman wasn't quite fiction either).

For almost the entire duration of my California stay, that "Baby Jesus" joke came back to haunt me tenfold, as another iteration of "El NiƱo" dumped rain, hail, mudslides, thunder, and tornado warnings on my head for over a week. And even when I ducked into museums or burger joints, I got confronted by the Bible. A delicious bite of an In-n-Out burger reveals a Revelations citation, a slurp of a chocolate shake gets me some Proverbs.

Head to the Hammer Museum and there's an exhibit of all of R. Crumb's original drawing for his recent Genesis Illustrated book lining the gallery walls. As a failed Catholic, I can't say that I know the Old Testament all that well. And as one tour guide put it to a group of septuagenarians tongue-clucking to these panels: "Most churchgoers might be able to hum a few bars, but few know the whole song."

In the exhibit's introduction, Crumb's perceives that when the church began to consolidate the myriad stories that make up the "Good Book," an agenda of patriarchy erased any notions of matriarchal society. It's not hard for me to believe that at one point in such creationist myths, it would've made a lot more sense for the woman figure to be molded first, to have the man emerge from her. Since that's how the story goes thousands of times each and every day.

If the Crumb book revealed anything, it's how contorted and disturbing the first books actually are. Count at least two instances of husbands passing off their wives as sisters so that they can marry richer pharaohs (and unleash God's plagues upon them). But there's also a sequence wherein two daughters of Abraham get him drunk on consecutive nights so as to impregnate themselves. So where is the museum for that?