Dear Constant Readers,
It’s my pleasure to inform you that big changes are coming to The New Apocalypse. First of all, the fundamentals are bending a bit. New Apocalypse will now be a forum not only for non-fiction, opinion and guerilla journalism, but also for poetry and — perhaps even occasionally — fiction. You may have seen a prototype of this contribution if you were paying attention almost a year ago at my last posting. Lots has happened since then and the game has changed. It’s time to embrace the New Paradigm.
I am perhaps even more excited to announce that The New Apocalypse will soon be home to a new and very important contributor: Upton Charles. This man is a consummate gentleman and is given to strong drink, which means we can trust him. Never trust a man without a vice. Or ten.
I had the pleasure of meeting Upton Charles several years ago in a horrific dive bar in New York, NY. Mars Bar is it’s name and locals will be familiar with its general back-alley ambience if they have any drinking blood in them at all. I was flailing my limbs and gibbering incoherently about the End of Days with yet another half empty glass of rum and ice, tripping on bad mushrooms, when this erudite young gentleman strolled in. Obviously a regular, the bartender served him without a word and he observed my diatribe cooly for some time.
Finally, Charles interjected his own points to the debate and we found we were of like mind. Yes, he too had heard of the Pacific Plastic Soup. Yes, he too despised politics as usual (especially in the Republican Party). Yes, he too knew the pitfalls of modern technology. Yes, he too knew the dangers of Traditional Gothic Heavy Metal Doom Rock. Yes, he too hated Christmas. Upton always spoke eloquently and with nobility; others took this to mean he was a bit stuck up, a tad high strung. I know better. He’s a gentleman and a scholar. His demeanor is simply a by-product if his staggering and brutal intelligence. It’s hard to cope with that kind of Knowing. He is a paragon of honesty and introspection. He is a True Journalist of the first order.
After the conclusion of our drunken debate in that hole in New York, we took a walk in the bitter cold, smoking cigarettes and reefer. Finally we agreed that we should collaborate, and that he should join my venture on the interwebs: The New Apocalypse. Why it took so long for this to finally happen is another story. I’ll let him tell that one.
I am proud to welcome him now, these several years later, to The New Apocalypse. Look for posts from Upton Charles coming soon.
P.S. In other news, there is a pretty good chance that I will be starting a new blog in collaboration with another colleague of mine: Richard “Bingo” Little, also know as Comrade Bingo. This blog, called Disputationes, will be imbued with the Aristotelian ideal of debate and dialogue. Each post will take on a topic, and we will each argue one side of that subject, to its bitter and final conclusion. This is a bit more down the road, but look for it in the near-ish future.
Thanks. And keep up the good fight, dear Constant Reader. Don’t let them dull your mental blade. Keep thinking!
Yours, in dubious and brooding solitude,
Enough politics, I thought as I woke up in a pool of my own vomit under the Christmas tree in my living room this morning. I had been drinking heavily the night before and experimenting with… well… you get the idea. I had been planning on writing something for the blog today before I descended into the annual two days of living hell and oblivion that I call Christmas with my family, but until I woke up under my soiled Christmas tree, I only knew that I needed a break from arguing with retards about political maneuverings.
It was at that moment as I sat gathering my wits beneath the tree’s twinkling lights that I decided I would spend my blog today debunking the myth of Christmas as the birth date of Jesus Christ (pictured at left).
Some of you readers out there may be offended that I would even think of questioning 2,000 years of “beautiful” Christian tradition, but I assure you my assertions about Christ’s actual birth date are grounded in reason and research. I would never even think of debunking a thing like this in a disrespectful manner or without taking special considerations for the feelings of the people it might affect… Wait, yes I would.
You see, I know some things that many of you Christians out there may not know and in this post I’m going to tell you all about them. Yes, I’m going to burst the comfortable little Judeo-Christian bubble you seem to live in. To be honest, I’m amazed that in the wake of a so-called Enlightenment and with today’s technology and scientific reason that people haven’t thought of this sooner. It’s really common sense: how could a baby possibly survive a night of literally freezing temperatures in the middle of a Bethlehem winter in a fucking manger without dying of exposure? Bethlehem can be fucking cold in late December, and they think it used to be even colder back then!
In any case, an Australian astronomer named Dave Reneke (pictured at right) recently asserted that based on the night sky, the activities of people and the weather as described in the Gospels — as well as on advanced astronomical course-charting software of some kind or another — Jesus Christ was actually born on June 17th and not December 25th, as previously surmised by almost everybody. Turns out a couple planets (Venus and Jupiter) appeared very close together as one brilliant object in the night sky around the date of June 17th in the year of Christ’s birth. This is the most likely explanation of what the three wise men were following when they saw the “Star of Bethlehem.”
So why then would the Church have declared so long ago that they knew with certainty the birth date of Jesus Christ was December 25th and that we should celebrate it by throwing crap onto a tree and giving each other material possessions as gifts? (Never mind that Jesus repeatedly denounced material possessions as sinful and encouraged his followers to get rid of them.)
Well, it turns out that for a long time no one knew when Christ was born. It wasn’t even until around 500 C.E. that December 25th became popularized as the birth date of Jesus. The earliest record of a celebration of Christ’s birth actually occurs in Egypt around 200 C.E. when Clement of Alexandria wrote about a group of Egyptian Christians celebrating the birth of their Lord on May 20th (which is actually closer to our Australian astronomer’s date).
In different parts of the Christian world between roughly 400 C.E. and 600 C.E., Christian rulers started to decree that Christ’s birth should be celebrated symbolically by tacking it onto the end of another holiday called Epiphany on January 6th (though that holiday focuses on the baptism of Christ, not his actual birth). Not long after that, Christians started to spread like wildfire through the land, and quite a few heads of state started to become Christian. It was at this point in history that the early Catholic Church decided to use its political power to get rid of so-called “pagan” religions by absorbing their peoples and their holidays into the Christian faith when they were conquered and “converted.”
You see, Germanic pagans used to celebrate this thing they called Dies Natalis Solis Invicti (meaning “the birthday of the unconquered Sun”) roughly around the solstice (which they celebrated on the 25th of December). The customs of their celebration — which had been going on traditionally since the late third century — included many traditions we would recognize today long before Christianity ever got its hands on the holiday: the baked ham, the “yule” goat (where else do you think we got that weird ass word “yule”?), stuffing stockings full of trinkets, and the decorating of trees in the center of the village with candles to imitate the image of stars twinkling in the heavens (after all, “the birthday of the unconquered Sun” was a celestial holiday originally).
When Germanic pagans got their asses kicked by Rome and its Church, Catholics decided it was time to make the date official, and they started declaring publicly that crazy new “Biblical research” placed Jesus’ birthday on the 25th of December and we should all start celebrating it formally on that day. History is written by the victors, as they say…
Alright, I guess I’ve shattered the fragile little mental world of enough Christians for one day. It’s time for me to clean up the tree, get a shower, and wrap some more of this cheap shit I bought for my family. Maybe I should think about sprinkling some powdered milk inside this sweater I got for my uncle (seriously, best prank ever; look it up).
Hope you enjoyed this special Christmas edition of The New Apocalypse. Just wait for the special Valentine’s Day edition where I write all about how virgins used to be paraded around ancient Roman towns so single men could fling bloody animal innards at them to bless them for fertility rites during the festival of Lupercalia on February 14th… until Christianity came along to save the day and rewrite history of course. Coincidence? You decide, dear Constant Reader.
But seriously… happy fucking holidays, everybody. I’ll be seeing you in 2009.