Help Me Translate the Bible

First of all, the finale is up at Jewcy here. A bigger post, and an episode page will show up on this site tomorrow, around the time you’ll be able to download episode 22 in iTunes.

Second of all, I’ve launched an Indiegogo campaign to help ensure this podcast keeps going and gets better and better. Please, watch the video above and head on over here to contribute. Every little bit helps!

Nun Sings Flashdance, Wins Big Contest

Isn’t it crazy that only 20 years ago, if a singing nun won “The Voice of Italy” or whatever singing competition TV show we had back then, you wouldn’t hear about it until days later? Back in good ol’ 1994, you wouldn’t be able to immediately watch video of that nun singing “What A Feeling” from Flashdance? I mean, maybe you’d see it eventually, but it’d be on a weird video site called “Uncle Bobby’s Crazy Things” and it’d be a grainy realvideo file that you downloaded in a zip along with Arnold Schwarzenneger’s Japanese TV commercials and the unaired episodes of David Lynch’s sitcom. Also, this nun would’ve been 5 years old back then. It’s pretty wonderful that we live in world with ready access to so many insane things.

Here are some brief notes on this video.

  1. If our civilization is completely wiped out and this video is the only remaining artifact, I think future generations will actually do a pretty good job of piecing together how we lived
  2. Sister Cristina Scuccia’s English is very good. The only song I know in Italian is “Volare” and I’m pretty sure that’s not even what it’s called
  3. I really like #SisterAx. That is very clever.
  4. The nuns dancing in the audience are amazing. I am fascinated by the way they’re dancing. It’s almost as though they’re experiencing a never-felt joy that’s trying to burst through bones and joints that haven’t moved this loosely in ages
  5. The Times is already worried winning this singing contest will lead Sister Cristina to abandon Jesus: “The bigger question mark in a country where some polls suggest that a majority of Italian women aspire to television fame is whether success will go to the head of the 25-year-old nun, possibly leading her astray from her calling.”
  6. Also, what kind of polls are these? Television fame? Why are Italian woman aiming so low? Why not movies?

Also, here’s another video:

 

The Holiness of OMGWTFBIBLE

I don’t know if you’ve realized, but by making fun of religion, OMGWTFBIBLE is actually serving a greater sort of holiness. In The American Scholar, Brian Doyle writes about the benefit of weaving humor into religion:

For all that religion has been a bloody enterprise through history, and for all that religious people seem often the most almighty easy people to offend, and for all that there are many people in my faith tradition who think I am an idiot to grin over the most colorful of our traditions, I think we should grin over the more colorful parts of our faith traditions. For one thing, they are often funny—imagine the wine steward’s mixed feelings at Cana after the miracle, for example—and for another, it seems to me that real honest genuine spirituality is marked most clearly by humility and humor. The Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, Meher Baba, Flannery O’Connor, Sister Helen Prejean, Pope Francis—all liable to laughter, and not one of them huffy about his or her status and importance. Whereas all the famous slimy murderers of history—Hitler, Pol Pot, Stalin, Mao, bin Laden—what a humorless bunch, prim and grim and obsessed with being feared. Can you imagine any one of them laughing, except over some new form of murder? Think about it—could laughter be the truest sign of holiness?

Who knew?

<h/t: The Daily Dish>

Spider-Man Is Jewish

What a Spider-Mensch!

Finally confirming my life-long suspicions, actor Andrew Garfield, the man who bears the name of one comic book character but plays another, has announced in an interview that Spider-Man is a yid.

As Jewcy wrote:

Garfield told The New York Post, ““Peter Parker is not a simple dude,” Garfield told Time Out. “He ums and ahs about his future because he’s neurotic. He’s Jewish. It’s a defining feature.”

I definitely don’t want to face down Spider-Man this week, when he’s subsisted on nothing but matza and cream cheese for days.

Listen to Episode 19 on Jewcy

This is totally what Pharoah looked like back in the day.

Episode 19 is now available on Jewcy!

This month, Rabbi Joshua Yuter joined me as we read chapters 42-44. When we started, Joseph was stuck in jail. By the end of the episode, through some very unlikely dream analysis, Joseph ends up running the show in Egypt. Along the way, Rabbi Yuter and I discussed an Orthodox approach to Biblical criticism, what Pharaoh’s birthday parties must have been like, and alternate analyses of Pharaoh’s dreams.

Here’s my attempt to modernize the interpretation of those dreams:

At that point, people saw dreams as either telling about a thing that had happened, reflecting a thing that’s going on right now, or as predicting the future. And people immediately say “OK what does this dream predict?” Which is not something that we do. Now we tend to think of dreams as reflecting a vulnerability, reflecting our unconscious. So I thought about that and tried to figure out what, if we were to use that kind of analysis, what Pharaoh’s unconscious might be saying.

What was Rabbi Yuter’s analysis? Listen to find out. But not here! Head on over to Jewcy.com to listen there, the ONLY place on the Internet you can get new episodes of OMGWTFBIBLE. Until tomorrow.

Esther Werdiger’s Rejected Cartoons

Episode 5 guest Esther Werdiger once submitted a whole bunch of cartoons to the New Yorker. It’s true. She did. And then she never heard back. If you know Esther’s style, you know that she usually tells longer, more personal stories. So seeing her try to cram all of that into a single frame is very interesting. You can read them all at The Awl, but this one is my favorite: