Saturday, July 29, 2017

Lunatics, zombies, and jerks

Helping people drop dead prematurely since the dawn of mankind.

(Published on July 8, 2017 in Business Standard)

Have you noticed how innocent people are forever expiring prematurely? Healthy as horses, dead as dodos, not their fault, very sad. One of the leading causes, according to a statistic I just made up, is competitive fundamentalist religion. Religious lunatics, who think their imaginary friend is better than other people’s imaginary friend, are constantly causing people who may or may not have imaginary friends to drop dead. And they do it in creative ways—spigots of blood, hangings, beheadings, stabbing, stoning, flaying, crucifixion, heads on pikes, dismemberment. They tear babies out of wombs with swords, barbecue people alive, fly them into buildings, gas them, blow them to smithereens, gun them down, poison them. They broadcast fake news to WhatsApp zombies and let the madness begin.

Each religion tries to beat the other religions, mostly literally. They all have that competitive killer instinct that sports coaches are always looking for. It makes them lynch and bomb each other—the fundamentalists, I mean, not the coaches—and throw money and training at their own best guys. They sometimes mean to kill innocent bystanders, and sometimes kill innocent bystanders even when they don’t mean to, because their aim is bad in all senses of the word. But even great talent needs nurturing. What they require is the environment, and the encouragement, to do better, to be better.

The time has come, my fellow citizens, for us to pause in our selfish little lives, take a breath, and contribute to creating this opportunity for fundamentalists to achieve their full potential. Since we already have a sports metaphor stretching to breaking point above, I propose a Religious Olympic Games.

I envision a huge religious fundamentalist competition, sponsored (obviously) by arms dealers. Let us assemble the batshit crazy of the world into vast arenas, and give them the time and space to share their thoughts and feelings with each other without inconveniencing the rest of us. Let them mill about in the confines of a series of enormous, blood-absorbent stadia, thoughtfully located in the heart of nowhere. We will supply them weapons and energy bars, lock the doors, and let them have at each other. The rules are simple: the last person standing has the best imaginary friend. That’ll be good, since they won’t have any real friends left.

To chivy this process along, I suggest that we also lock in those jerks in politics who like to fan the flames of violent religious competition. They excel at it and will deeply cut the time needed to extinguish all human life in the stadia. Since they too need incentive, we’ll announce a simultaneous competition for electoral dominance. One selfless organiser sitting at a remote computer terminal somewhere will have to manipulate the voting results, live-streamed on a large screen in the stadia, to keep the hacking, lynching and bombing going at as high a rate as possible.

The Religious Olympics Games will solve two problems at once: The last pious lunatic can pick his or her way through body parts to finally own the victory podium (which will consist only of the gold—no runners-up) and spend the rest of his or her life being excruciatingly smug and preachy to a bunch of decomposing human remains; and we’ll have gotten rid of the whole bunch without getting ick on our hands. It’s win-win all the way!

Then the rest of us can get back to doing whatever we have to do to get through this vale of tears—commune privately with god, make art, sell ball bearings, drink—without dying prematurely at the hands of lunatics, zombies, and jerks.

I even have a Games motto lined up: Altius, citius, fortius, quitbotherius.

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