The race to become the next Chosen One heated up yesterday as the 2008 Messiah Debates kicked off in Baltimore, MD. While they were originally scheduled to be held in Mississippi, the venue was moved at the last minute to be closer to Washington D.C., as both participants felt the pressing need to be closer to the nation’s capital in this time of financial crisis. Quite why this was is unclear, as neither holds a US passport, much less a position with the federal government, and after last night, it’s quite obvious neither of them really has a clue how the economy works.
Last night’s debate was moderated by the always ineffective and self-obsessed Larry King.
Larry King: Well we ran over budget on the decorations and totally unnecessary emergency change of venue, so we couldn’t hire another guy to do the introductions. I guess that one’s down to me, even though everyone knows I’m an interviewer, and it’s not really my job. Geez… First is a man revered worldwide for his great work and lifelong commitment to improving society. He is loved by the rich and poor alike. He is friends with presidents and has his portrait on children’s nightstands. His very presence resonates for miles around, and a radiant aura precedes him. Ladies and gentlemen, he is a man who needs no introduction. Well, that seems a little belated now... May I have the pleasure of introducing to you tonight… Larry King!
Ok, let’s get this show on the road. Yoda, Frodo. Frodo, Yoda. Froda & Yodo, audience. Audience, Frododo.
My first question is for Mr. Yoda. What makes you think you’re qualified to be anyone’s messiah, much less, The Messiah?
Yoda: If messiah I am, news to me this is. Humble is the Jedi’s life. Ambition, greed, power: jealousy these cause, and anger too. Hatr-
Larry: If I could just stop you right there. I’m going to have to ask you to speak normally. People are already getting up to leave.
Yoda: Patience should my subjects have, or anger it will cause. And lead you down a dark path anger will, and abandon you to hatred, hmm. [Clears throat] Excuse me Larry, to answer your question, I’m all about transparency. Transparency and accountability: they’re key. My followers have seen my films. They know I’m a stand up guy, even though I might not stand very high! [Laughs]. But seriously, I’m a bit of a Christ figure, and I think people can relate to that.
Larry: Yes, very modest. The same question, Mr. Frodo?
Frodo: Well, Larry, I think my accomplishments speak for themselves. I walked to Mordor. Walked to Mordor. By myself. And destroyed the One Ring. I destroyed it.
Larry: … I think we were all under the impression that you had some help…
Frodo: By myself.
Larry: … and that you road a horse at least some of the way…
Frodo: Walked. On these short legs. All the way.
Larry: … and I’m pretty sure there was a boat at one point…
Frodo: With respect Larry, you weren’t there. I was. Me. You destroy Sauron’s ring, we’ll talk. But ‘til then, that’s how it went down.
Larry: 'With respect', right. Well you certainly have stamina, I’ll give you that. But is that enough to be The Messiah?
Frodo: Don’t forget the whole resurrection thing.
Larry: Wasn’t that Jesus?
Frodo: I cured that one guy’s leprosy.
Larry: Jesus again.
Frodo: And I survived being stabbed by a cave troll. A cave troll, Larry.
Larry: I seem to remember something about a bullet-proof vest, or stab-proof at least…
Frodo: So taken together, I think it’s easy for people to see how godlike I really am.
Larry: … and then you spent the whole of the next day bent doubled over retching. Yes, well, perhaps we could focus on defense. Mr. Yoda, we’re stuck fighting two wars that don’t seem to be going as smoothly as one unnamed president’s slightly premature ‘mission accomplished’ speech would have us believe. With the economy as it is, increasing defense spending doesn’t seem to be an option. What is your position?
Yoda: Wit and cunning a Jedi needs, and these things he can only get from the Force. Greedy, your President is, hmm. Victory comes not through impatience. Anger only will he find down that road. Embraced by the dark side, will he be.
Larry: Some might accuse you of being vague.
Yoda: More troops, Kabul needs. Introduce mandatory conscription, we must. Ages 16-55, hmm.
Larry: Your response, Mr. Frodo?
Frodo: Is it too late to ask you to call me Lord Frodo?
Frodo: Fine. Larry, the problem is really very simple. We need to find Bin Laden’s Ring of Power, take it to Mount Doom, and destroy it. And I think everyone will agree I’m the messiah for job, having extensive experience in that field already.
Larry: How do we know Bin Laden even has a ring? A Ring of Power, that is?
Frodo: I heard it on CNN. Bin Laden has a Ring, a Ring from which he draws all his support and power.
Larry: Are you sure they weren’t referring to a ring of confidants? You know, trusted advisors? Like a campfire circle?
Frodo: …. Ohhh. Yeah, that would probably make more sense.
Larry: Well what do you propose we do now?
Frodo: Sorry Larry, I have no idea. We could still throw them in a volcano I guess.
Larry: … that might work. Ok, let’s talk about the economy. It’s a mess. The government's $700 billion bail out package was rejected. Would you support a revised package, Mr. Yoda?
Yoda: Honest a life is, if money it is without. The source of greed, money is, hmm. And greed leads only to jealousy, and anger, hmm. To hatred, does the dark road of anger lead.
Larry: I think the audience has probably heard enough about hatred.
Yoda: The dark side, I sense in you.
Larry: Bite me.
Frodo: If I may, Larry, I would like to ask Mr. Yoda to clarify his position. Are you saying we don’t need money?
Yoda: A Jedi needs only the Force, and money it provides not, I think. Hmm.
Larry: Well that’s fine for you, but I have a mortgage, kids to put through grad school, my HMO to pay for! Isn't your position a little untenable?
Yoda: Hmm, Jedi [Sound of light saber extending]
[Grumbling increases, sporadic hisses]
Larry: Alright, calm down. Quiet, quiet... Mr. Frodo, perhaps you can give us your opinion.
Frodo: Well Kent-
Frodo: Larry. Again, it’s simple. Our physical policy is totally irresponsible. Everyone’s focused on lending, but hasn’t anyone ever heard of giving? And people are complaining about losing their homes, but I see it as a great way to get back in touch with nature. Also, taxes only make people angry, so I think we should scrap them altogether to really bring some clarity to our physical policy.
Larry: … excuse me, physical policy, you keep saying that. What is that?
Frodo: You know, physical policy. Money and junk.
Larry: Oh, fiscal policy.
Frodo: Right, that’s what I said. Physical policy.
Larry: Tremendous. Right, let’s turn to the last topic on our list, religion. Mr. Yoda, some argue the role of messiah is already over-subscribed. How can you distinguish yourself?
Yoda: In touch with my subjects’ needs, I am, King Larry. Good relations with the human race, have I.
Larry: But, Mr. Yoda, you weren’t even born on this planet. You’re thousands of years old. I mean, you inhabit an entirely different and parallel fictional universe! How is this debate even taking place?! I think the audience is going to want more than existentialist forays into whimsical thought experiments as justification for total suspension of their disbelief.
Yoda: If believe my audience cannot, then fail themselves they will. [Light saber extends again]
Larry: Ok I'm going to have to ask you to put that away. So you’re asking the audience to just believe everything you say. You want them to simply believe that you exist, despite giving no real evidence as to why they should, other than a vague threat of harm if they don’t?
Yoda: A Jesus figure I said I was, hmm.
Larry: Touché. Mr. Frodo, how would you respond to the criticism that people who look like space freaks and ten year old children aren’t fit for being The Messiah?
Frodo: I would say ‘screw them’, Larry.
Larry: ‘Screw them’?
Frodo: [coughs] … Yes.
Larry: Right, well it looks like we’ve covered pretty much everything tonight. It’s been an illuminating debate, although I can’t quite understand why we’re even having a debate, since neither is being voted for, and neither can properly be called a candidate. In fact, the whole thing seems contrived and just slightly improbable. Like a self-indulgent attempt at social commentary through clichés and borderline copyright infringement. I mean, I'm sitting here talking to two narcissistic fictional characters when there's a Presidential election going on.
Frodo: Woah, woah, woah. Don't start going all righteous on me. You're the one who has your portrait on children's nightstands. That's kind of messed up.
Larry: I never-
Frodo: Yes you did. I heard you. Yoda heard you, the audience heard you. That's sick man, just sick. You need help. If you were one of my followers, we'd have you lopped and stopped.
Yoda: Hmmm... yes.
[Commotion as Larry King bounds from his seat and runs to the exit]