Thursday, October 25


Whereupon the half angel Gabriel knocks John Constantine flat on his back and, placing her foot on his neck, lectures him on why she is unleashing the Son of Satan on humankind:

Gabriel: You're handed this precious gift, right? Each one of you granted redemption from the Creator - murderers, rapists, molesters - all of you just have to repent, and God takes you into His bosom. In all the worlds and all the universe, no other creature can make such a boast, save man. It's not fair. If sweet, sweet God loves you so, then I will make you worthy of His love. But it's only in the face of horror that you truly find your noble self, and you can be so noble. So -- I will bring you pain, I will bring you horror.

Constantine: [raising his head off the floor to study the ultimate God groupie] Gabriel, you're insane.

* * * * * * * *
Bill and Ted challenge Death to a variety of games including Battleship, Clue, and Twister, all of which Bill and Ted win.
* * * * * * * *

It is said that "Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey" is a loose parody of "The Terminator" movie, but Bill and Ted was made before the last Terminator, which finds the machines victorious over humankind.

Anyone who has followed Keanu Reeves's movie career from Bill and Ted onward -- cross off "Speed" and various silly attempts to make him a romantic lead -- knows that if Keanu rather than Arnold Schwarzenegger had played the Terminator, the machines would have lost. The director would have looked at Keanu's portrayal of the Terminator cyborg and said, 'We have to change the script.' (Of course in that event -- following the plot forward or backward in time -- there would have been no Terminator.)

Keanu's greatest roles have been men who figure out that no system, no matter how powerful, is infallible and that forgetting this allows seemingly invincible evil to arise. Whether as John Constantine outwitting Gabriel by setting both God and Satan against her, as the Buddha provoking the Lord of Illusion into revealing his entire bag of tricks, or as Neo Anderson patiently setting up a war between machines and a ghost in their software, Keanu's characterizations save humankind again and again from the worst effects of sleepwalking.

I thought of those characters last night while contemplating a recent photograph of Aung San Suu Kyi, who now looks more wraith than human, holding onto life by the thread of steel resolve to resist Burma's oppressors.

I thought of them again later that night, while listening to John Loftus interview an Egyptian-American human rights activist, Dr. Robert Mikhail, who recounted the persecution of Coptic Christians in Egypt.

John's radio show is not for those who wish to fall to sleep at night while listening to something pleasant. Over the weeks since I've been tuning in regularly, the show is a parade of nobodies hurling pebbles at what John Loftus clearly sees as the juggernaut of our age: a merciless clanking machine made of indifference and double-dealing by the economic powers, repressive governments that profit from the deals, and filthy-rich Muslims wedded to the insane idea that God is an emperor who must be pandered to.

The night before last, Loftus interviewed a Saudi-American who is fighting for human rights in Saudi Arabia, and the night before he spoke with an Iranian woman fighting for women's rights in Iran. Rich Barlow was a guest last week -- the poor fool who tried to take his employer, the US government, to task for helping Pakistan get the Bomb.

Of course, the keepers of the engine eventually notice the pebble pings, then the nobodies get wiped out or somehow silenced -- sent off to live in a trailer park, in Barlow's case. But eventually more nobodies arise and pick up a handful of pebbles. Ping! Ping!

And this goes on and on, until one of the pebble throwers turns out to be someone like John Constantine. Then things right themselves for a time, then we fall asleep again, then come the pebble throwers and people like Auntie Suu and John Loftus, whose sinew and bones are Resolve.

World Without End, Amen. But where is your pebble pouch?

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