Other Things I Would Do with a Bronze Prognosticating Robot Head

Whew, I have been giggling about Pope Sylvester all day. I guess, in all fairness, that accusing a reform-minded pope of consorting with demons makes a certain amount of sense if you are anti-reform. But I’m perplexed by the bronze prognosticating robot head. Is this supposed to tell us something about an anxiety about science and technology coupled with a resistance to reform?

I’ve been picking through a book about the priests who came to the Americas in order to learn more about God. They considered themselves to be scientists and by figuring out how the world worked and how things were create and are relate, they felt like they were literally learning the mind of God, getting to catch a glimpse of how His mind worked, anyway.

I admit, I don’t often realize how much the dominant Christian message in my community seeps in and curdles my feelings about Christianity. But this book is kind of making me realize my own prejudices in reverse. You know what I mean? I find it so mind-boggling that Christian church leaders could be so excited about science, so delighted when they get a glimpse of how vast the world of unknown things is, and so enthusiastic about figuring things out.

I wonder if this is because there really isn’t a separation of the sacred and the secular in their minds. They could catch glimpses of what we’d later understand as evolution and not feel like it undermined their belief that God created the universe. Of course He did. They were merely better clarifying the blueprint He used to do so.

I guess this is one of the reasons I find feminist discussions about religion in which we are all advised to just stop being religious because it is inherently sexist to be unsatisfying. I know this is pretty ironic considering that my dissatisfaction with Christianity at the time I left did pretty much center around my lack of a desire to keep fighting for a way for me to be non-self-loathing as a woman and Christian. But I do think it’s possible. I think that’s part of why it was so hard to just give it up and why it’s been important for me to find a way to make peace with it.

But I feel an intense longing for transcendence, you know? And I feel close to my dead relatives in mystical ways. I feel like magical things have happened to me and that I have done, sometimes by accident, magical things. And this belief, more like a core feeling, that I am a spiritual being of great value to Great Powers does inform and feed my feminism.

I don’t have any desire to give that up.

Anyway, the very first thing I would do with my bronze, prognosticating head, if I had one, would be to set it on top of my actual head and wear it like a hat.

Bad News, Historians! There Was No Middle Ages! At Least, Not the Cool Part

You know, there are conspiracy theories that you can kind of see how, through a combination of wishful thinking and squinting at the evidence, a person might come to believe that, say, Ron Ramsey is actually a balding Bigfoot.

Today, in fact, just a second ago, I learned about The Phantom Time Hypothesis, which states that European history from 614–911 is just made up. It didn’t happen.

Why would someone, say a couple of Popes, just make up the early Middle Ages? I don’t know. Why would Otto and Gerbert need to make up the early Middle Ages? Yes, both of their Wikipedia articles make it seem plausible that they could have been bored. I guess. I mean, if I were playing dice with the Devil and carrying on an affair with the demon Meridiana and carrying around a magic bronze head that gave me answers to life’s mysteries, I would be too busy to make up the early Middle Ages. But I am not Pope Sylvester the Second.

See, this is my first problem with this conspiracy (I mean, after the obvious problem). Okay, I might buy that Emperor Otto is a bit of a snob and, fine, he liked to shuffle body parts of various saints around Europe, but he doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who’d be all “Oh, hey, sure, Pope Sylvester, I’d love to hang out with your creepy talking metal head and your demon girlfriend and make up a whole world for Tolkien to plagiarize only to have Dungeons & Dragons plagiarize it from him. Shoot, roll those Devil Dice and let’s get our quest started.”

And that seems to be what this conspiracy theory hinges on: that Otto, Mr. Good Christian, would want to play Dungeons & Dragons with a Pope just the invention of electricity away from being Slayer’s bassist.

I’m not buying it.

But boy howdy, do I love this. In fact, I think this may be my favorite conspiracy theory, ever.

Edited to add: I don’t know for a fact that Slayer’s bassist sits around making up alternative European histories in between consorting with the Devil, talking to his robotic pet head, and having an affair with a demon, but I feel like it would be unfair to assume otherwise.

Two More Good Things

1. Yet another great post at Feministe–this time about Erica Badu’s magical pussy. Especially astute analysis of the way anxiety about traditional Southern Black folk magic is caught up in this who anxiety about women using our vaginas to control men. I’m not black, Southern, or particularly keen on keeping a man and even I, in the time I’ve lived in Nashville, been advised to just drop some menstrual blood in a dude’s coffee to make myself irresistible to him. Now, granted, I think folks know I’m interested in folk magic of all sorts, but still, if that’s trickling out to me, you know it’s a pretty strong living magical tradition.

2. Very interesting post on Hel’s pond. I do wonder if there’s something more that can be teased out about Hel offering up bulls to the land of the living. That sounds to me like some kind of reverse sacrifice and I’m going to have to think on this some, but it seems to me that there’s something here, something maybe about how the land of the dead is just like the land of the living, but in reverse. Something.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve got for this morning. You’re still looking a little tired though. Why don’t I pour you a cup of coffee? It’ll perk you right up.

I Think the New Kitty is Feeling Better

Now getting her to wash off her wound and let us fill it with gunk and then stuff her full of antibiotics has gotten to be… shall we say… not as easy. It’s good we have a system and that I have someone like the Butcher who can hold her. But she escaped outside on me on Sunday and on him yesterday. Both times, she was only outside for a minute or two, but obviously, she’s bored in the house and feeling up to snuff.

The wound looks better, for sure, but her paw pad is still kind of loosely flopping around. I should have figured that would be the last thing to heal up, being the heaviest part, but I still feel like it’s taking forever. I should have taken pictures so I could look and say, “Oh, right, huge inch and a half long gash in which you could not help but see a cat’s innards and with which we thought her paw pad was missing” to “ugh her paw pad just isn’t attached yet.”

Still, I think we’re all ready for this to be over.

But also, thank the gods that this was easy enough to take care of.