eNewsChannels COLUMN: God has quite a sense of humor, once you get past all the smiting, tormenting, and killing. Whether setting things straight, settling old scores, or showing humankind what horrors are coming if we don’t buy enough copies of this book, the one-liners and stories in The Last Testament will have you ROTFL (which means something else to God, BTW).
In the beginning was the joke and God saw that it was funny, as long as it was written by David Javerbaum. There. That’s my opening for my review. It’s good to have a snappy opening line. Trouble is, a book this funny leads you to consider a whole bunch of different lines.
Snappy opening line number two: God is on Twitter. (See for yourself @TheTweetOfGod.) Snappy opening line number three: God is in favor of homosexuality. (He admits that he originally created Adam and Steve, not Adam and Eve.) Snappy opening line number four: God gets high. (“…I support marijuana; I created it to be smoked; indeed, I meet many of the nicest, hungriest people that way.”)
There are so many LOL lines and situations in The Last Testament that it was a delightful difficulty choosing what to use as a grabber. Which is why I used four of them.
The Man Behind the Deity
David Javerbaum is identified as God’s amanuensis, which is a fancy-schmancy word that means “guy who writes down stuff and cashes the checks.” Javerbaum is a man who knows from funny. According to the Internet Movie Database, he has writing credits on more than twelve hundred episodes of “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” a program that manages to be consistently mirthful while providing commentary on politics, sex, communication, and the human condition in general. Which it has in common with The Last Testament, come to think of it.
Right from the Prologue, Javerbaum gets into the mode of God writing in the first person. He begins with a scene between literary agent Daniel Greenberg and our anti-hero, an entity who often refers to himself as “the LORD thy God, King of the Universe.” And it should be pointed out that Greenberg is one patient guy to tolerate a client who has such a killer ego problem. So anyway, God is telling us about his conversation with the ten percenter:
“…But lo, it has been nigh on 14 centuries since thy last book,” the agent tells God. “Forget not The Book of Mormon,” God says. “Thy last serious book,” the agent continues.
Which is not to say that God disparages the Broadway musical of the same name. No, God loves that, and musical theater in general. But he’s downright contemptuous of writings by upstart cults.
Politics, Religiosity and Profits
Considering the current state of things in the USA, of which an all-seeing all-knowing all-smiting God should be aware, the book contains remarkably few mentions of the drawbacks of the GOP in general and conservatives in particular, although the disgusting Rush and the silly Sarah come in for their fair share of ridicule.
And, in context with all the plagues, earthquakes, pestilence, and so on, it can be easily assumed that the terror of things like the Tea Party, Karl Rove, and Roger Ailes are just more “tests” that decent people must suffer through to get into heaven.
Then there’s the matter of killing every firstborn son in Egypt while letting the Jews in on the secret way to mark their homes in order to save their own sons. “This ritual of course became the basis of the sacred eight-day Jewish festival celebrated unto this day, ‘Lamb-Blood Doorframe Rub-a-palooza.’ (We later changed the name to ‘Passover,’ on the advice of Marketing.)”
God points out how copiously he has blessed the United States of America, including “the spaciousness of its skies, the purpleness of its mountains, and what I think any observer would concede is the unusually high level of its plains-fruitedness.” And he adds some special words for “the tobacco farmers of Jamestown, who showed the world that the new ‘land of opportunity’ could bestow success on anybody willing to rely on hard work, the free market, and millions of black slaves growing a death-crop.”
Eternal Questions Examined
There are some portions of the book that address the issues that have plagued every kid who has ever been forced to attend any kind of religious instruction. For example, when Jesus conducted the first Communion, he offered bread, saying, “Take, eat; this is my body.” Then Jesus offered wine, saying, “Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood.” At which point God is rather nettled, thinking that his son is some sort of “cannibal vampire.”
Many other wonderful viewpoints of God are revealed in the book, including: God’s opinions about most religions and cults; his rewrite of Martin Luther’s The 95 Theses; his decision to sink the Titanic; and his understanding that “I am he to whom people turn for comfort after being devastated by acts of me.”
In addition to the Adam and Steve deal-e-o, God also explains a few more of our earthly misconceptions, mistakes, and mishegas, which is a Yiddish word meaning something that is several cans short of the full six-pack or even: wow, that sure is freaky-deaky, dude.
For example, there was a Biblical translation error concerning the ark. God did not say “Put two of every animal on board the ship,” he said “Put two of any animal on board the ship.” God actually recommended dogs and Noah chose cocker spaniel puppies. There is a photo of them in the center of the book, along with the caption: “Sparky and Pillow, the only two animals Noah took with him on the ark. (If thou countest not the 3,000 fleas and ticks.)”
Lot’s wife is not named in the Bible, but God reveals that she was called Trish. “Not short for Patricia, either; just Trish.” Continuing in a family way, God discloses that he resides in heaven with his wife, Ruth, and their three kids, Zach, Jesus, and Kathy.
Perhaps surprisingly, you’ll learn that God has self-realization moments:
But I remained alone, staying aloof for a time from the affairs of men, to contemplate the truth about myself I had discovered while observing Abraham. For lo, I had destroyed the world in a Flood; I had razed the Tower of Babel; I had leveled Sodom and Gomorrah; all manner of catastrophe had I already visited upon you, in the name of righteousness;Yet it was only then — after finding myself enthralled by the slow, silent agony of one I greatly loved; I say, it was only then, that I first began to consider the possibility, that there was something seriously wrong with me.
God also reveals some of the oddities he has observed over the course of eons, such as seeing the Black Eyed Peas studying new music to figure out the best way they can turn it into rot.
Oh, BTW, here’s snappy opening number five: God intends to follow the Mayan calendar and unleash the apocalypse on December 21, 2012. Which is why I am now happy to direct your attention to some money-saving ideas here on eNewsChannels: http://enewschannels.com/2012/02/07/enc14249_153122.php
God wanted us to have nice things. Unfortunately, he kinda-sorta got caught up in the fun of taunting, torturing, and terminating millions of humans. Like with the whole Inquisition thing and the Catholic pedophilia thing and the Crusades thing and the Republican thing and the nearly non-stop war thing.
But he intended us to live long and prosper, except for the living long and prospering part. And although he planned to give us bountiful gifts, he sometimes didn’t get around to the actual gift-giving, as you can see from a page torn from his Creation Weekly Planner where such items as heaven, earth, firmament, light, etc. are all checked off but such things as “fairness,” “justice,” and “wormholes to other dimensions” are crossed out.
Oh, and while we’re on the subject, God points out that “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” but adds that “actually it is mostly paved with human skulls; but the good intensions serve as a thickening agent.”
Just perusing the book’s index is fun, and it will lead you to enjoyable stories, japes, tales, jabs, zingers, and jokes. Quickly running through the back-of-the-book entries reveals these listings:
Aaron, in incident with golden calf
Alley, Kirstie, Russian dressing made by
Bible, errors in
Bieber, Justin, as porn star
Bunuel, Luis, battle of Jericho as directed by
Christianity, as similar to Walmart
Craigslist, al-Qaeda’s use of
devil, unlisted number of
Islam, as similar to Starbucks
Judaism, as similar to Blockbuster
Loch Ness Monster, existence of
You get the idea. In the book, but left out of the index, are mentions of Frank Sinatra, the Ashley Madison web site, Satan, and Young Jeezy.
Some of the humor is wickedly clever while some of it involves fair-to-middling wordplay, with the occasional groaner thrown in at no extra charge. I’ll leave it to you to decide where something like this falls:
And I made a covenant with Noah never again to destroy every living thing with a Flood, as it is written: “And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.” That is Genesis 9:11; and lo, everything changed after Genesis 9:11. For the survivors of this new, post 9:11 world had learned through bitter experience, that behind daily life’s peaceful facade there lurked always the potential for unimaginable horror, at the hands of a religious extremist with little regard for human life.
As if to hammer that idea into our noggins, God answers a time-honored question: “Why do bad things happen to good people? To balance out the good things that happen to bad people. Lo; it’s only fair.”
Finally, God notes this about his favorite son (that’s the middle child, Jesus, in case you were wondering) whose “faith is so deep, and his hope is so pure, that on occasion I have heard him say, ‘The day the Cubs win the World Series is the day I return to earth!’ But in the end I dissuade him from this; for humanity cannot wait a billion years for the Second Coming.”
“The Last Testament: A Memoir”
By God with David Javerbaum
Simon & Schuster, Hardbound, 400 pages, ISBN-13: 9781451640182, $23.99; http://books.simonandschuster.com/Last-Testament/God/9781451640182
God has a message for the world (and you may be surprised that God has chosen animation instead of live action for his presentation).
Article is Copr. © 2012 by John Scott G, and originally published on eNewsChannels.com – all commercial and reprint rights reserved. No fee or consideration was paid to JSG by the book’s author, publisher, publicist or other in preparing this original critique.