Friday, October 31, 2008

The Bible: a book review

Literary critics make a living out of cutting arrogant writers down to size. It seems only fitting that a tome whose author had the audacity to call it ‘the Book’ should eventually come under the microscope. How it escaped for two millennia without eliciting much in the way of derision is nigh on inconceivable. Perhaps minority religions go out of their way to avoid offending Christians in the hope that they will be spared the universal reach of God’s gnarled pointy finger. Does Frodology have such compunctions? No, it does not.

Lacking in character

Contrary to the misleading subheading, one of the biggest problems with the Bible is its overabundance of characters. In contrast to The Lord of the Rings, which has a tightly knit cast of a dozen or so main protagonists, the Bible is filled to the gunnels with Semites, Messiahs and whores. It has more characters than War & Peace, which has so many names to keep track of, I’ve never even read it.

And seven tribes of Israel is far too many. A quick scan of the literary canon reveals that great stories thrive on dialectics. Montagues v Capulets, Greeks v Persians, Confederacy v Union, Americans v Indians, Columbus v the convention of naming civilizations according to where they actually come from. Things aren’t much clearer in the New Testament either, with Romans, Jews, Gentiles, and Jedis all vying for control of the galaxy.

Fig. 1, Episode VII: Return of the Jesus

Suspending disbelief and sheer boredom at the same time

Since the fantasy genre only came into being centuries after the Bible was written, much of it reeks of implausibility. One character reaches the ripe old age of 950, which stretches the imagination a little. Unless it was set on Mercury, which has quite short years. Perhaps it was set on Mercury.

It wasn’t set on Mercury. And worse still is the all too frequent literal reliance on deus ex machina to get the story going again. When the hero of the New Testament meets his end too soon, the author makes the novice decision to resurrect him, putting the book on par with day time soap operas. And when Moses is leading his people out of Egypt, the author was stymied by his own poor geography, cornering the Jews against the Red Sea. “What now?” the author must have thought. “I can’t just have Moses part the Red Sea. Oh wait, no, I can just have him part the Red Sea!” Faced with such cheap tricks, I would have been happier with an aborted exodus.

Fig. 2, The Red Sea defies gravity while God defies talent

The New Testament also employs a narrative device whereby it retells the same story from four different perspectives, subtly changing details at times and outright contradicting itself at others. Its cleverness has perhaps been diminished by the recent box office mediocrity of the movie Vantage Point, which employed a similar device ad nauseam. Readers will therefore probably tire of the trick, as it has been executed more ably by authors such as, off the top of my head, J.R.R. Tolkien. The Dead Sea Scrolls suggest that the author already disposed of the worst of the offenders, but the tedium is such that editors of subsequent revisions would be advised to cut these ‘Gospels’ down to just two, or perhaps even one. Zero is also a good number.

Plotting and scheming

The plot itself is predictable, but this is as much to do with the protagonist’s tribulations being revealed as ‘prophecies’ much earlier in the book as it is to do with it just being a crappy story. One of the critical elements of the story feels so contrived one suspects the author of reverse engineering it. In the protagonist’s eyes, copulation is such a heinous sin that he later has to become a martyr in order to exculpate everyone for their own existence, begging the obvious question as to when and why progeny inherit the guilt of their own parents for sins which they weren’t alive to prevent. It would have been far more realistic for all concerned to celebrate rather than mourn his death. After all, nobody asked him to die for them. And this brings me to another point: whence the immorality of sex? The protagonist’s demonic obsession with the dirty deed is such that one smells a severe case of sexual repression. The character was clearly a closet homosexual. Why didn’t the author make more of this avenue?

Fig. 3, 32/M, loves cooking, Sex & the City, and spin class

All's well that shouldn't have been written in the first place

All in all, this novel is poorly written and stretches the imagination too far at times. It also comes across as too preachy. By contrast, Frodo’s message can be so subtle that many ignorami have been unaware until recently that Frodo is a prophet and a God, and worthy of worship as our Messiah. While the movie adaptation may be more accessible to modern audiences, its overt anti-Semitism is still a little off color. The crash of the Hindenburg is more surprising than Mel Gibson’s dislike of Jews. By way of advice to the Bible’s author as regards a sequel, I will say only this. Don’t presume you’re above editing, respect rather than resent your audience, and for Frodosake, get your head out of the clouds!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tips for surviving the Rapture

We recently reported that we believe the Frodocalypse to be imminent. While we still believe this to be so, there are approximately a lot of other religions out there all racing to the bottom. For reasons unfathomable to us, Christianity seems to be the current favorite. That's approximately 33.06% of the world all clamoring for the End of Days.

Should that come to pass, we have compiled this handy guide for Frodologists looking to survive the Rapture. With any luck, you'll be safe and sound when the streets start running with blood!

I'm not sure why that's funny.

  1. Head to the closest yacht club, or better yet, country club. There should be a high enough concentration of wasps there that God will just beam them up without paying too much attention. Women should wear several kilos worth of pearls, and men should pretend to be totally disinterested in their wives and children.

  2. Avoid universities, museums, observatories, zoos, this blog, and other places of learning. Since he is a monkey, God is envious of our ability to learn and better ourselves. These locations are all ripe for a smite.

  3. Since people were shorter in Biblical times, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are expected to be riding Shetland ponies. These are easily outrun by everything from Segways to tumbleweeds. They also lose confidence at the sight of water. The Horsemen themselves are also expected to be laden down with heavy armor and the burden of their own non-existence.

  4. Fig. 1, The Rapture is easily survived even by fat people

  5. If you're getting desperate, you might have to prepare yourself to kidnap Jesus. After all, they can't carry out the Rapture without Him. If you're organized, prepare a kit beforehand. Rope, chloroform, and mace are staples of any kidnappers' duffel bag. Ironically, since it appears that Jesus may be a vampire, try taking a cross and holy water along. If you find yourself unprepared, a blunt 2x4 is always worth a shot.

  6. Fig. 2, Things that go bump on the Semite

  7. If all else fails, bury your head in the sand.

Fig. 3, This gentleman has the right idea

Monday, October 27, 2008

Scholars discover killing not a sin

Talmudic scholars revealed today their discovery that the famous 6th Commandment, "thou shalt not kill", is actually a misnomer. It resulted from a mistranslation of an early Hebrew text, documenting Moses' ascension of Mount Sinai to transcribe the Ten Commandments as dictated by an apparently illiterate God. The text has always been difficult to decipher, due to the abundance of Bronze Age coffee stains on it.

It is now thought that the correct translation is "thou shalt not sugar thy grapefruit".

Grapefruit enthusiasts worldwide have soured at the news. However, local apple eater Chester Graves opined to reporters "if you want a sweet fruit, eat a sweet fruit!" His sage words have grounded what was threatening to turn into an escalating debate on the nature of sweetening citrus fruits.

Theology professor Jill Hall, from the University of British Columbia, commented on the rationale behind the Commandment. "It's quite clear that grapefruit are the result of an early attempt to design oranges. The much more successful orange, being both sweet and succulent, has spawned many spin-offs and is in many ways the poster child for citrus fruit. It's probable that God just doesn't want to be reminded of His earlier failure." Asked whether this jeopardizes the Almighty's claim to be omnipotent, Professor Hall responded "I think He has bigger problems since he was revealed to be a monkey."

The scholars do however fear that the revelation will turn areas of religious distrust into battlegrounds. "The commandment not to kill isn't found anywhere else in the Bible, Torah, or Qu'ran. I guess it's just not a sin," remarked one of the researchers. However initial reports from Palestine, Kurdistan and Kashmir show that militants are not fazed by the news, and that the situation is "essentially unchanged".

Fig. 1, With a conscience undaunted by murderous revenge, many now anticipate the early second coming of Christ

There is one surprising result from all of this which has emerged in the entertainment world. As an incentive to portray the role of Moses in a powerful and convincing manner in the 1956 film The Ten Commandments, actor Charlton Heston was contractually entitled to a pecuniary award to reflect moviegoers' more ethical behavior after watching the film. Since it is no longer a sin, Mr Heston's estate now receives a stipend every time someone is murdered.

In the wake of the revelation, state and federal legislatures in the United States are reviewing their statutes to bring criminal law into line with the new Judeo-Christian stance on killing. "Basically, we're allowing it," said a junior senator from Nevada. The mayors of Detroit and New York were reportedly pleased as this would certainly ease the burden on police resources. From prison, the recently incarcerated OJ Simpson is cursing his luck. "All this time, I've been named after the wrong fruit."

This development has surprisingly overshadowed the discovery made earlier this week that all Ten Commandments were actually an ironic attempt at satire by a Biblical-era comic, Jezebel the Amuser. Jezebel was thought to have modeled the Commandments on morals totally opposite to that which pervaded at the time. Indeed, in the Levant of ancient history, it was commonplace for children to disrespect their parents and for spouses to cheat on each other. People stole, killed, and forgot the Sabbath. It was a place where people worshiped false idols and did things in archaic language to their neighbors. In other words, it was a lot like modern day, suggesting that Christianity has failed to make a lasting impact in its two thousand year run.

Fig. 2, God handing down the Ten Commandments, as traditionally conceived of by Christians

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Women not discriminated against because they deserve it

Frodology made headlines today following boisterous outcries by recently admitted clergy members accusing the Faith of sex discrimination. The allegations involved a wage disparity, and were met with earnest care when they came to the attention of Faith authorities. The authorities then discovered that the claimants in question were women, and quickly dismissed the complaint, as women are neither able to hold clergy positions nor allowed to complain about anything.

This is just the most recent episode in a series of complaints against the Faith accusing the authorities of sex discrimination. Only last month, a group of female activists sent a petition to their local Fro'Moe regarding the lack of educational opportunities for women in the Faith. Certain sections within the Faith hierarchy are concerned that women will be less informed on issues such as Intelligent (But Not Perfect) Design and the inspiring story of Frodo's life. However, the overwhelming decision was that attempting to educate women to the level of men would be an undue burden on Faith resources. This decision was reached following the revelation that women were designed by a god evolutionarily inferior to that which designed men.

Fig. 1, The paramecium, the slowest of the single cell gods

Following that discovery, all women holding a decision-making capacity within the Faith were replaced by men. Further restricting the permitted activities of Frodologist women then became much easier. Some critics accused the Faith of filibustering. The Council of Fro'Moes, or Fro'Moe'Co, has however concluded that 'filibuster' was probably coined by a woman, and as such, has no place in the dictionary.

Fig. 2, That would probably have looked better filigreed

Other activities women are preventing from taking part in include going outside unaccompanied and talking to males to whom they are not related. While perhaps appearing heavy-handed, the measure is in fact for their own protection. Many religions around the globe are right in concluding that women need saving from themselves.

This is reflected in the clothing that Frodologist women must now wear. In a survey conducted amongst Frodologist men as to what one thing they found least sexually attractive, the overwhelming response was a sack of potatoes.

Fig. 3, The pie chart itself was found to be more attractive than Bristol Palin

A sack of potatoes was thus the obvious choice on which to base compulsory female attire. The clothing was however designed with a humane ethos in mind. The sack is dark in color, often black, so that women can blend into shadows and not feel self-conscious for looking like a sack of potatoes. Also, since all women will look essentially the same, they will not be tempted into vain pursuits such as makeup and exercise. The sack also features cutting edge wicking nylon, an integrated iPod pocket, and reflective panels.

Fig. 4, But it's also ugly as hell

Some critics have noted that the potato sacks make women look like Ringwraiths, the soulless, withered hell spawn that hounded Frodo's every step on his quest to destroy the Ring. Faith authorities have hinted that this may not be a coincidence. "Evil has but one face," was the enigmatic response of one Fro'Moe.

Groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union have decried these measures as deplorable sex discrimination. Frodologist officials are however of the opinion that it is not discrimination since women deserve it. "Frodo was clear about the vices of women when he said 'Women should [not] be treasured and adored. Every man worth his salt knows he's ... the better half of the marriage.'" It is expected that this caveat will cleverly skirt equal treatment legislation on both sides of the Atlantic.

In any case, Frodology is not the only religion to be concerned with claims of sex discrimination. The trend is generally not recent, and in some is thought to be tied in to the very fabric of the faith.

"No, YOU listen. Your mother promised me a daughter!"

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Is my child becoming a heathen?

It is an irrefutable fact that as time marches on, the frequency of global calamities increases.

Fig. 1, The shit is getting real

We confidently presume that this is indication of the impending Frodocalypse. That being the case, prudent parents will want to ensure their children are fit for service in the afterlife. Did I say service? I meant holiday.

But what if you suspect your child is becoming a heathen? How can you tell? Our guide will help you detect apostasy under your roof in any guise.

Scenario 1
If you're watching The Lord of the Rings and your child comes in and tells you that it's either (a) trash, or (b) fiction, you've got an apostate.

What should I do?

Your child needs to see that you are in control, but also that you are a rational person with rational beliefs. The best way to communicate this is to throw the remote control at your child. Accompany this gesture with shrill yelling. The yelling need not consist of coherent thoughts; in fact, if you shriek in gibberish, your child may be convinced that you are speaking in tongues and see the true divinity of your plight.

Scenario 2
If your are getting ready to go to evening mass, and your child says that he or she would prefer to stay at home and watch TV, you've got an apostate.

What should I do?
Depending on the degree of obstinancy being displayed by your child, several escalating tactics may be necessary. First, try cutting the power cable to the TV with scissors. Since you now have a handy piece of cable in your grasp, try using this to whip some sense into your child. Ultimately it may be necessary to put your foot through the TV screen. Ensure you are wearing closed toe shoes when doing this. Note that 'footing the screen' is more effective on older, CRT televisions. If you own a modern plasma or LCD TV, you should first consider explaining to your local Fro'Moe why you have so much money to burn. Always remember that it's possible that you could be the sinner in any given scenario.

If after all this your child is still sitting watching a blank screen, he or she may be deaf or retarded, in which case you've got a bigger problem.

Scenario 3
If you are collecting the weekly stipend from your child in accordance with Frodo's tithing laws, and he or she suggests that it be given to a 'worthier cause', you've got an apostate.

What should I do?
Usurious interest is frequently a crippling tool for those looking to gain control of a situation. Frodo's Law allows aggrieved parents to repossess their children's property and sell it to make up outstanding payments. To ensure it doesn't happen again, we recommend taking a physical lien over your child's favorite possessions. For those unfamiliar with the jargon, a lien is essentially hostage-taking. For more information on heavy-handed coercion and how to use it to your advantage, we recommend From Duress to Success, available for $21.95 from any good bookstore .

Scenario 4
If you discover your child reading the Bible, Koran, any other purportedly holy scripture, or anything by Carl Sagan or Richard Dawkins, you've got an apostate.

What should I do?
As in all of these scenarios, it is best to act quickly and assume your child is guilty rather than lose time while he or she attempts to explain the situation. He or she may claim to be merely 'confused' or 'expanding his horizons'. Since the Faith is a Universal Truth which obviates the need for external fulfillment, your child is clearly mistaken. Replacing the book with The Lord of the Rings when your child is not looking may be subtle and effective. If not, try hollowing out the book and filling it with the remains of a dead pigeon. Most importantly, DO NOT read the heathen book yourself since heresy is contagious.

Fig. 2, Your pigeon may not have a tongue

Scenario 5
If your child refuses to join hands with your family in prayer before eating a meal at a restaurant, you've got an apostate.

What should I do?
Do not let the public setting throw you. Being vocal and demonstrative in front of strangers will only help your child to see the error of his or her ways. Repeating the same question louder and more frantically each time is a good way to start. For example: "Do you reject the Lord Frodo? Do you reject the Lord Frodo? The Lord Frodo?! Do you REJECT Him?!! Do you?!? DO YOU REJECT THE LORD FRODO?!" For added emphasis, try standing up as you reach a crescendo. If this causes your milkshake and basket of home style fries to fall to the floor, so much the better. Finally, don't be afraid to be inclusive. Try to involve neighboring tables by adding their indignation to your own. If this still doesn't work, punctuate your performance with a visceral, blood curdling primal scream.

We would be remiss in our duties if we suggested that this was in any way a complete list. Please look upon it as guidance only, as your child could demonstrate his or her unbridled heresy in countless other ways. However, the techniques suggested can serve as useful starting point. And remember: don't forget to improvise!

This website in general and this article in particular are and are intended to be entirely humorous and satirical. The content of this article is not serious, and is not endorsed or intended to be acted upon in any way. No responsibility is assumed for those failing to heed this message.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Intelligent (but not perfect) design

Fig. 1, Not that intelligently designed

The credibility of a belief, be it theological or otherwise, is often made or broken by its stance on evolution and creationism. There is an enormous amount of pressure on deities to take credit for designing species past and present, and many find the prospect of glory too much to resist. Just last week, Tom Cruise buckled and admitted to creating a species of nematodes in his image.

Fig. 2, Scientists believe that egg thing next to the worm
is probably Katie Holmes

The source of this pressure is twofold: first, it lends credence to religious dogma that may not have been written contemporaneously. Second, it helps to demonstrate the omnipotence of the deity in question.

But Frodology is not bound by Christian dogma, and Frodo can prove His omnipotence in other ways, such as through His mastery of Rock Band.

The Faith’s ethos is best summed up by the views of our resident scienceism expert, Frodologist Prof. J. Toss, who has read an entire book on the subject. “At first glance, the creatures of the planet do seem intelligently designed. The inclusion of breathing and sight in many organisms was really quite clever. Making reproduction fun was certainly a coup, and the inclusion of the appendix in our own species demonstrates a certain divine sense of humor”.

However, to take just our own species, we certainly aren’t perfect. Prof. Toss points to our shortgevity and susceptibility to diseases by way of example. “Including a ‘sleep’ button might have been helpful to people suffering insomnia, and ‘plug and play’ organ swapping would be a real boon.”

Fig. 3, Hot swappable stomach, ISO13485 compliant: "a real boon"

Professor Toss thus concludes that, while we certainly show signs of intelligent design, there’s a lot left wanting. After all, a dog shows signs of intelligence. The lack of such obvious attributes as described above suggest that we are in fact not the work of an omnipotent being. Instead, it is now obvious that we were designed by an evolutionarily primitive god.

Some observers have called our Creator the “special needs god”, but Prof. Toss prefers the analogy of the baboon. “He was probably too busy playing with His own ass to fix a lot of obvious flaws in His designs.” The professor suggests that His failure to stamp out human vices such as jealousy, hatred, and transfats, demonstrates considerable lack of emotional maturity on the part of the Almighty.

By contrast, more evolutionarily advanced gods have created things like quantum physics and conceived of the seventh dimension. Our God appears on burnt pieces of toast.

Fig. 4, Evolution of the gods

As can be seen from the illustration, the most advanced gods obviate the need for their own existence through achieving utter perfection.

At this point, Frodologists will be concerned to know how evolutionarily advanced their Messiah is. We are proud to report that Frodo has never even considered taking credit for designing humans. He is of the opinion that if Jehovah wants that ignominious distinction, He can have it. Frodo is however hard at work on designing the Human 2.0. Reviving a German project initially begun in the 1940s, Frodo has gone back to the drawing board to overhaul our species’ design. The US Army has expressed interest in funding the project, while Georgia Tech is providing the necessary expertise. Frodo is confident that the new model will be a success. "As a hobbit, I'm much more evolutionarily advanced than the Creator of the Human 1.0. Natural selection actually finished off all His ilk yonks ago. He's the last one left!"

Unfortunately, as lack-witted as our Creator may be, He has got a crack team of lawyers. They are currently threatening to sue Frodo for an injunction over copyright and patent abuses in connection with the design of the Human 2.0. As the Creator of the Human 1.0, He is believed to have exclusive rights to the design.

The case continues.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sun angry God credited for beautiful sunsets

The sun spoke out today for the first time about the increasing number of its beautiful sunsets which are being attributed to God. The outburst occurred today at a Mormon wedding reception in Oahu, Hawaii. Witnesses agree that it occurred shortly after the mother of the bride exclaimed that the sheer beauty of the sky's celestial palette reassured her of God's magnanimous beneficence and reinforced her devotion to Him. Actually, it was more like "gee, that sunset sure is super. It really makes me feel closer to the Lord Jesus Christ. Like I feel like I really know him when I see that."

Confused onlookers admitted to being surprised to hear the voice coming from above. Not knowing any better, they attributed it to God, only angering the sun more.

The sun was pissed

Later on the sun calmed down and tried to explain the nature of its grievances. It became clear that he does not understand why the credit for all his hard work is continually given to God. Frustrated at the lack of appreciation, the sun finally decided to speak out. "Who is this 'God' anyway? I've never even met the guy, but I'm up there all the time in the sky working my ass off. People show their friends their holiday snaps, and it's 'God' again. I'm right there in the freakin' picture!"

The sun alleges that is him there in the freakin' picture, not God

With the sun setting somewhere on Earth during every second of the day, the frequency of mistaken praise received by God must be enormous, and the sun's chagrin should perhaps not come as a surprise. The sun wanted to make it clear that he is not angry at God per se, but he certainly feels He could be doing more to set the record straight. "At least humans have dropped the whole Apollo thing. I'm not a deity, I'm just a flaming ball of gas."

The sun believes that taking all the credit when something goes right smacks of double standards when everything’s just sort of ho hum the rest of the time.

Three notes in harmony

The sun’s angry outcry against the Almighty follows on the footsteps of other disenfranchised groups such as the Coalition of Independent Ova and Snowflakes for an Atheist Tomorrow. A representative for CIO explained that many ova worldwide feel that they deserve more attention for the role they play in creating foetuses. “Conception? Yep, that’s us. Babies’ smiles? Us again. Haven’t a clue why people think God has anything to do with it. Never even met the guy.”

Frodo however spoke out on behalf of God. "Yeah, he could be doing more, and I'll grant you he's not perfect. But he is pretty old, and in spite of that he's doing a reasonable job. Plus you can't really blame him for pulling out of Michigan. It was a lost cause." At this point the interviewer asked Frodo what the hell he was talking about. "Oh, I thought you were talking about Senator McCain." When prompted about God, Frodo admitted "actually, I've never even met the guy."

God was not available for comment.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Frodo's Story, Part I: Life Before Deity

He is one of the world’s greatest heroes. His deeds form the foundation of his reputation as a person who does great deeds. He has inspired millions, and some say it was He who started the whole capitalization of pronouns thing when referring to supreme beings. Others say it was Jesus. Still others say it was a typo. And a few maintain Jesus was a typo and the correct spelling is ‘Jebus’. Regardless, the story of Frodo’s life before He became a deity is often misunderstood. Hear it now for the first time from his own lips – well, read it, I suppose, would be more accurate – as an F! exclusive.

It might help if you imagine you’re listening to Barbara Walters.

Growing pains

From an early age Frodo believed He was adopted. He was at least aware that he didn’t take after His father, and attempts to connect with him felt false. His ‘father’ was a carpenter, or a shoemaker, perhaps a barber, or some damn thing, and was later driven to suicide when Frodo did not love him in return. From the age of two, it was already clear Frodo would make a big impact on many people’s lives.

His relationship with His mother was not much better. He always suspected she was not a virgin, as she claimed. “Whenever I brought it up she started to panic. She made excuses, and started cleaning our hobbit hole obsessively." It was only when He realized that He was God incarnate that his childhood began to make sense. “I always felt Gandalf was trying to push the virgin thing too hard, like they all had something to hide. He said it was important for the integrity of the Faith." When asked whether this betrayal by His mother could be responsible for the diminished status of women in Frodology, He calmly responded “No. It’s because they’re evil."

Before becoming the Ring Bearer, Frodo was by His own admission a lay about. “I sort of just hung about the Shire, criticizing people for their flaws. I didn’t even try to get a real job. I’d say Bilbo tolerated me, at most. Of course, when I became God, he couldn’t be prouder, but he just wanted a piece. Everybody did." But even when Frodo was initially given the task of destroying the Ring, He was reluctant. “The Biannual Star Trek Convention was coming to town. I had my Spock costume ready. It would’ve been great. Also, Taco Bell had just launched a new spicy super burrito – full, human sized, not the tiny hobbit things they usually sell in the Shire."

"Bilbo gave foster parents a bad name"

From hobbit to hero

When asked about the quest itself, Frodo grows silent and introspective. Finally, He speaks. “Tolkien, he was a great writer, but he glossed over a lot. Peter Jackson too. Glorified some pretty messed up stuff. If they do it again, my choice would be Oliver Stone. Have you seen Platoon? Incredible." One senses that Frodo is avoiding the subject. Finally, He settles down to talk. “Initially, there was a lot of tension in the ranks. It was racism, plain and simple. The dwarf called us ‘whiny little children’. Have you seen him? Body of a dwarf, heart of a midget."

Frodo had troubled relations with Aragorn too, long considered the mission’s key leader. “He came to me one night after the campfire had died down, and told me a story about how ancient Spartan warriors were all pederasts, and how they were better fighters for it. There was definitely a loss of trust at that point." Aragorn also gave Frodo a rare edition of the Marquis de Sade’s Complete Works. “Why do I still have it? Sentimentality I guess. I’ve never read it."

Frodo is touchy when it comes to the subject of the destruction of the Ring itself. “A lot of people have said that I wanted the Ring for myself at that point, or at least that I would have given in to its powers if it hadn’t been for Samwise chucking it into the volcano." He pauses, thinking. “I’d say Sam jumped the gun a bit, I definitely would. I’m not saying he wanted it for himself, or even wanted the credit. All I know is I woke up from my coma at Elrond’s place a few days later, and Sam had already told his story. And that’s how everyone assumed it went down."

After seeing Jackson’s trilogy based on Frodo’s incredible story, much of the audience was convinced that something had happened between Frodo and his faithful manservant during the trip. “Happened? Yeah, something definitely happened. We made plans to launch a small business together, but when we got back home, we found out the funding had fallen through. Our investor told us he couldn’t see a Ben & Jerry’s franchise being profitable. But he was from Rohan, so what does he know? I hear their women mate with horses."

From hero to the Almighty

So it was a twist of fate that led Frodo away from entrepreneurship and down the path of deification. But settling back into life at home after destroying the Ring of Power wasn’t easy on Frodo. “It was then that people started to worship me. It was a little uncomfortable at first, but I began to see its uses." Often forgotten is the fact that at that point, many saw his co-adventurer Samwise as deserving of worship too. What caused Sam's fall from grace? "People saw the film and assume he got married and everything was peachy. All soft focus filters and golden hues. But he couldn't handle being a husband and a god at the same time. He was all wrapped up in his image. Then the wife starting giving him stick for neglecting the family. On top of that I think he was jealous of me. And then there were the drugs."

At that point Frodo still considered himself more of a demigod than a full on deity. “There was a lot of pressure for me to die young though. I think people wanted to idealize my memory. There was talk of crosses and unsealed tombs. It’s not for everyone though."

In the end though, Frodo did become a God. Unfortunately, we’re out of time for today, so tune in next time on F! for the next chapter in Frodo’s incredible story.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Atheist blogroll

Frodology has joined the Atheist blogroll in a valiant attempt to find a wider audience. It should in no way be considered whoring, prostitution, or any other seedy analogy involving harlots.

On a more serious note, we feel this will be an excellent way to touch base with many would be-Frodologists. The site provides a running list of popular and frequently updated atheist-themed blogs. Feel free to take a look.

Why am I still using the royal 'we' when everyone knows it's just one person responsible for writing this blog? Call it smug self-importance.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Religious beliefs protected by secret forcefield

Researchers at the University of Chicago reported today their findings that religious beliefs are protected by a secret forcefield. The discovery is a breakthrough as it goes a long way to explaining a question which has consistently troubled academics. Political views, culinary trends, African American baby names, and musical preferences are all considered by most to be debatable and dissectible in the public forum. Whence the invulnerability of religious dogma?

The Force be with you

How the defense mechanism was discovered is currently the question most frequently fielded by the team. The breakthrough occurred during a debate hosted by Temple University on the matter of evolution v. intelligent design. When, halfway through the debate, the representative for evolution asked “how do you explain the fact that vestigial leg bones in whales clearly show the gradual loss of posterior limbs across the fossil record, in favor of fins more suited for submarine locomotion?”, his opposite number exclaimed “spatula!” and began to whistle the theme from NBC’s Cheers. Spectators described seeing a green flash, and then reported a cozy sensation as they unanimously accepted his rebuttal.

The nature of the forcefield is hard to fathom by those who have not experienced it. Protected individuals describe it as a warm, fuzzy feeling of self-righteousness, not unlike being drunk. Long term forcefield enthusiast Janet Gates described it as far preferable to being without a field. “Once you’re protected, you no longer have to think for yourself. We all just sort of hold hands and pray, knowing nothing can ever harm us”.

The researchers were also quick to warn that they suspect the forcefield to be deflective, in that the energy of an assault on it can bounce off in any direction at all. Singed Danish ambassadors have remarked that they were surprised that lighthearted jokes which they didn't even make ricocheted off the forcefield and burned down their embassies.

Strength in numbers

Interestingly, the strength of the forcefield seems to depend proportionally on the popularity of the belief. Thus, claiming over 33% of the world’s population for itself, Christianity enjoys a forcefield 63% stronger than that of Islam, which represents only 20.3%. While a Mormon spokesman argued today that their forcefield was strengthening faster than any other religion, this view has been derided by the University’s team. The team’s leader, Professor Jeffrey Spencer, qualified the findings by saying that:

“About 97% of the Mormon growth rate is attributable to extreme levels of breeding within the faith, known as hyperprogenization. Two percent of converted Mormons are thought to be barnyard animals, and there is a one percent margin of error. Since converted followers comprise only zero percent, we can conclude that Mormon views are not at all popular. Relying on that 97% to strengthen your defenses is like raising yourself by your own bootstraps”.

He concluded by saying that Mormon beliefs are thus completely open for ridicule. “It’s like a turkey shoot”.

A force to be reckoned with

The discovery of the forcefield could be just the answer for politicians trying to shore up their credibility. A junior senator from Texas has admitted that the Republican Party is considering adopting heraldry and arcane rituals to increase the chances of it surviving after imminent defeat on Election Day. But junior senators anxious about this strategy are resorting to proliferating ‘In God We Trust’ wall hangings around the Capitol by way of extra insurance.

A believer demonstrating the forcefield

Frodo is reportedly pleased with the discovery. Having lost His invisibility after destroying the Ring of Power, He has had to make do with His own wits and rhetorical skills. But the prospect of invincibility is tantalizing, and He believes it will go great with His magical elvish cloak.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Pope Benedict XVI to Star in Hollow Man 3

Fans of the Hollow Man film franchise were surprised today when Columbia Pictures announced it would cast Pope Benedict XVI in the supporting role of the third installment, due to be released next February. Both of them have written letters to the studio protesting the choice as uninspired and predictable. Why Hollow Man 3, they ask? Because apparently Hollow Man 2 came out two years ago, without anybody noticing.

Director Ted Walsh was quick to defend the choice of the Pope. "In the previous two films, we took a very literal approach to the whole idea of being hollow. With this one we want to explore hollowness from a more metaphorical angle". Walsh feels that the audience will be able to relate to the Pope on this level since they are used to his empty promises and the hollow foundations on which his religion is based. "What good is the threat of punishment in the afterlife", he asks, "when most people don't plan to have one?"

A tangle with the producers has however forced Walsh into a compromise with regards to how the Pope will be portrayed. Hesitant to overestimate their audience's intelligence, they have convinced Walsh to portray the pope as actually hollow.

Pope Benedict in Hollow Man 3

Viewers will of course remember the Pope from his teenage performance in the Hitler Youth. While some moviegoers have expressed concern that the Pope has limited acting experience, Walsh spoke out in support of the choice. "He's done a pretty good job so far convincing tons of Catholics that someone's up there watching their every move, you know, like Santa Claus or something. He almost had me believing my sperm had souls for a while. He's good, you know. Really good". Walsh also voiced his opinion that this role will be a change of pace for the Pope and will help to avoid him being typecast in the grumpy old man role.

Pope Benedict will be playing the role of an elderly, jaded hollow man, as the reluctant mentor to a young, upstart hollow teen, to be played by Shia LeBeouf. At first unwilling to leave retirement, the Pope's character decides to shepherd LeBeouf's as he begins to see what damage hollowness can wreak in untrained hollow hands. Under the Pope's guidance, LeBeouf sees how he can gain the unwitting trust of a solid society for his own personal hollow gratification, without offering them anything in return. Asked whether there was a positive moral to be drawn from the story, Walsh assured reporters that no, there was not. "You might say it's a hollow film".

A spokesman for the Pope said that he was excited to be working alongside LeBeouf, although he was reportedly disappointed to learn that the young actor is now legally an adult. The Pope has also expressed interest in playing the role of Frodo in a potential fourth installment of The Lord of the Rings. "I like the whole patriarchal, savior role," he said yesterday, "but I get tired of this whole Pope gig. It would be nice to play a more believable role. You know, something historical, something important". Asked whether he thought the lack of anything new to bring to the audience would hinder the development of a fourth Rings movie, he joked "it hasn't stopped Catholicism!"

Some Christians are wondering whether casting the Pope in such a flippant role constitutes blasphemy, or at least a cheapening of the Vatican brand. Actor Mel Gibson has however helped to dispel these fears by assuring followers that it's not about slander. "What's important for the faith is that people see me as a Jew-hater. I really do hate them, you know".

Photo of Pope Benedict XVI used under creative commons license, and reproduced and adapted lawfully thereunder. The original author of the photo does not endorse the adaptation in any way. See here for details.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Satellite finds end of space

Frodologists have been forced to re-examine their world view following some recent developments from above. In a mission designed to explore space beyond our solar system, NASA launched a satellite, named "Are We Still Calling Them Voyager or Explorer or What?", from its facility in Cape Canaveral three years ago.

It became apparent a few days ago, however, that the mission had come to an end much earlier than expected. Following a large crashing noise and a sudden deceleration of the satellite from 840,000 mph to zero, it is believed that the AWSCTVEW has reached the end of the universe. NASA scientists were reported to be "surprised" that the satellite had accomplished its task so quickly. That there is an end of the universe, and that it seems to be demarcated by some sort of big wall, was described as "an interesting development".

A big wall

Scientists are turning to reels of data to try and determine exactly what happened. A source inside NASA leaked that the last communication from the satellite exclaimed that "everything's starting to look pretty samey". The satellite then began to whistle "The Long and Winding Road" up until the crash. Engineers at mission control are thoroughly perplexed by this, since they had believed it to be an unmanned mission. The team responsible for on board electronics responded to queries by admitting that they had outsourced the job to Bangalore, but maintain that they are shocked by the choice to swap the computer out for a human being.

The satellite has been out of contact since it arrived at the big wall. The location of the wall is especially surprising for scientists since it appears to be situated in space, an area of the universe previously thought to be empty of walls. NASA has released an artist’s impression of the celestial obstruction.

NASA was reportedly impressed with the quality of masonry

Not everyone believes the wall to be the end of space. Starbucks CEO Jim Foley noted that it could easily be one of their franchises. “We’ve got new branches opening pretty much everywhere”. While he didn’t have the details at hand, he said that opening a new branch beyond the Oort Cloud would be “entirely commensurate” with their corporate strategy.

Rethinking dogma

The implications for Frodologists are far reaching. That the satellite got so far is clear indication that the universe is actually larger than we believed. Indeed, it now seems undeniable that space stretches beyond Mars, at the very least. However, we see no reason to question the principle that the world is flat as the mission offers no compelling evidence otherwise.

Frodology is not the only religion rethinking its place in the new zeitgeist. A Vatican spokesman said “It’s like a party in here at the moment. Scientists have been telling us for centuries that the universe is infinite and chances are we’re not at the center of it. But now they find this wall! We’re elated. Benny’s been breaking out all these old maps with the sun revolving around the Earth. Venus is there too. It’s great. Oh and we’ve already put a copy of The Truman Show in the mail to NASA. Psych!”

NASA scientists are already discussing a new mission to send a satellite with a chisel and hammer to the wall to break a hole in it and see what’s on the other side. Religious leaders around the globe are unanimously against the proposal, the unspoken reason being a belief that their god or gods are probably resident behind the wall. A Frodlogist leader had this to say:

“We’re fairly confident that Frodo is behind that wall, but we are completely against the mission to knock a hole in it. It would be like breaking into the teacher’s lounge. I think Frodo would be pretty cheesed off if we tried”.

Wall of sound

Among those to subscribe to NASA’s email updates on the wall is Roger Waters, formerly of Pink Floyd, who has expressed interest in using the wall for a gig “within the next year or two”. He may have difficulty, however, since slaves in Bono's Kilkenny sweatshop are already churning out "Don't Exploit the Wall" t-shirts. Teaming up with the Irish rocker is Bob Geldof. While talk of Wall-Aid is rife in the blogosphere, Geldof has denied interest, admitting that he wants to spend more time in the studio thinking of ludicrous names for his children.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Virgins – just how hard is it for them to give birth?

Part II of the I Believe in Miracles series, or "I don't believe in this one"

Over the past few months, we haven't spent too much time trying to debunk other religions' creation myths and basic tenets because we want to be a positive, constructive influence in the world. Well, besides lambasting all other faiths for their comparative infancy, criticizing Catholicism for being so harmful to the environment, showing how Christians have the wrong end of the stick when it comes to homosexuality (heh), bashing the Vatican for its love of genocide and snobbish elitism, proving conclusively that Jesus has insufficient blood to feed his greedy followers, and arguing forcefully that creationism has got it all wrong when it comes to dinosaurs, it hasn't been too much time at all.

But today we're going to divert from our usual non-confrontational stance and address an issue which has recently come to our attention. Thanks to the crafty infiltration of a Frodologist spy into a service last Sunday, we have learned that Christians believe that Jesus was born of his virgin mother. That probably needs repeating. They think Jesus, a man, popped from the uterus of a woman who had never, ever been in a position to get so much as indecent, let alone pregnant.

Generally of the opinion that only pregnant women give birth to human babies, our trusty team of scientists set off on another mission to discover just how easy it is for a virgin to give birth. To that end, they followed around a group of purity ring-wearing teenagers for a week. Following a minute misunderstanding with the police and a hairy overnight stint in jail, their first discovery was that it's probably a good idea to ask someone's permission before following children around with binoculars and a camera. Undeterred, they felt triumphant when one of the chaste little teens did fall pregnant. If it really is so easy, what's so great about Jesus?

Disappointment then struck our heroic team when one scientist stumbled across the Wikipedia entry for purity rings and discovered that they are in fact just fashion accessories which could only be worn with less sincerity had they come from a cereal box. No immaculate conception, no miracle baby, and more to the point, no virgin.

The team then surmised that there were two possible conclusions. First, Mary was a virgin and thus there was no Jesus. While we're absolutely titillated by the track that train of thought could lead us down, we must admit the second possible outcome has equal merit. That is that Mary was more seasoned than the Gospels would have us believe. Perhaps she had an acquaintance in the Nazareth Postal Service. Maybe her name wasn't even Mary, but Mary the Harlot. Regardless, if Christians want to believe she gave birth, they have a hard truth to swallow.

Scientists suspect the culprit looked something like this... a 90s computer mouse

Immaculate conception, really? You know what would be more immaculate? Fertilization. Some Christians argue that it's a metaphor. That's right. A metaphor for a load of crap. Plus it sort of defeats the purpose of a metaphor when you proceed to take all of the conclusions that follow as literal fact. Obviously back when the Bible was scrabbled together from bits of irrelevant folkore and the inside cover of the Lonely Planet guide to Tel Aviv, sex education was somewhat lacking. Perhaps people thought virgin births were possible then. But since that time we've learned to wear sunscreen to prevent skin cancer and to run away from volcanoes when the island gods get angry. I feel like there's scope for improvement in the whole virgin birth department.

There is of course a third solution. Once again, it could have been a miracle.

But that's total bull: everyone knows only hobbits can immaculately conceive.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Frodassic Park

Dinosaurs have long been a sticking point for creationists ever since they entered stage left in the 19th Century and started taking Victorian logic for a joy ride. It’s been wildly entertaining watching Christians pour through the Bible ever since, trying to account for how these petrified skeletons could have ended up on Earth when, as everyone knows, the planet is no more than 10,000 years old.

Here is a selection of a few favorite chestnuts:

  • Since God created every creature on the 6th day, He must have created Dinosaurs that day too. He was just a little preoccupied when he wrote it all down later and neglected to tell anyone about it.
  • Before Adam & Eve’s little transgression, all animals were vegetarian and none died, making the choice of claws and sharp, pointy teeth purely an aesthetic one.
  • Two of every kind of dinosaur found their way onto Noah’s Ark, having presumably discovered a way to improve the vessel’s buoyancy first.
  • Having survived the flood, they sort of just, well, died out, in a manner much more precise and conclusive than that suggested by evolutionists. One possible candidate behind the extinction is hunting by man, despite the fact that the latter had just been decimated by unseasonal floodtides too, and presumably wouldn’t have risked the survival of their own species by hunting creatures with 12 inch-long teeth.

Feel free to check the accuracy of these summations at Incidentally, if all the answers are in Genesis, presumably that makes the rest of the Bible redundant.

Frodology does not take this route. We do not attempt to squeeze a whole epoch of capricious, prickly reptiles into the pages of a book where they have no wish to be. It would be like trying to make a monkey wear a hat that’s too small. As nice as it might look, it just wouldn’t fit. The fact is that Frodo spent his time on Earth with some pretty crazy looking creatures, but we can’t conscionably call any of them dinosaurs.

Instead, what Frodologist scientists have realized is that dinosaurs are actually totally fake. Indeed, early classifiers must have agreed, as ‘dinosaur’ is Latin for ‘just a pile of bones’. Their sudden appearance in skeletal form in the 1820s seems just a little transparent. Have you ever noticed how the combination of an alligator, a giraffe, a rhino, and something with a really long tail looks kind of like a dinosaur?

Looks kind of like a dinosaur

Paleontology isn’t even a genuine discipline, as it was invented by Joseph Smith in the middle of the 19th Century following the issue of a warrant for his arrest for fraud. At that juncture in his life, Smith was between cons and beginning to despair of ever parting thousands of gullible people from their cash. He initially coined the word ‘paleontology’ to cash in on the dinosaur craze, but later abandoned it to focus on starting Mormonism, as even he felt that the deceit was a little insidious.

But no one can get away with such an ambitious hoax indefinitely. In the end, it was the Victorian appetite for the ridiculous that gave the game away to our team of scientists. In an era where all walks of life readily swallowed ideas as preposterous as cure-all elixirs, Dracula, socialism and penicillin, is it any surprise that dinosaurs were readily accepted as plausible? Of course all of those ideas are totally preposterous by modern standards, dinosaurs included. Even the names are a bit loopy. Stegosaurus? Sounds like a plastic toy. Velociraptor? Yeah, it's fast, we get it. The same goes for the megalosaurus, tyrannosaurus, and thesaurus. If those wily tricksters had set the bar of credulity just a little lower, we might still count ourselves amongst the duped.

I just thought you should know.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Dyslexic voters unconvinced about Sarah Palin and Tall

Reassuring news has been thin on the ground for Frodologists supporting the Republican Presidential ticket. Some McCain staffers are attributing it to the unpopularity among dyslexic voters of Mrs Palin, the Vice Presidential candidate. Many are unfortunately confusing her with the fictional character Sarah Plain and Tall, and consequently losing interest in anything she has to say about politics.

Still others are leaning left since they are unsure whether Mrs Palin herself is a fictional character. Many believe that her uncanny inability to answer any question posed and bullish opposition to intelligent dialogue is actually a crude attempt at satire by the Democratic Party. Certain that the Republican Party would never be foolish enough to put forward such a mannequin of a candidate, undecided voters are still waiting for the real vice presidential nominee to be announced.

Other groups of traditionally staunch Republicans are faltering in their support for the VP hopeful since they couldn’t dissect the quip about pit bulls wearing lipstick. The general consensus among these voters is now that Mrs Palin is a supporter of homosexual dog fighting rings. Her strongest base is consequently comprised of weekend bestiality enthusiasts, namely the pressure group Canophiles for Palin.

Another source of confusion for voters is Mrs Palin’s constant references to herself and her running mate as ‘mavericks’. While this moniker itself appeals to America’s legions of would-be gunslingers, supporters are baffled by the total absence in the race of Tom Cruise.

Mrs Palin is arguably doing nothing to woo dyslexics. They have been barred from Republican rallies across the country after accidentally screwing up a “U-S-A! U-S-A!” chant by constantly misspelling it. As the respite from cheering allowed independent thought to re-establish itself, the hall emptied as crowds filtered through the exits.

Furthermore, her responses in interviews to nearly everything barring ‘knock knock’ jokes have been totally unintelligible. Her position on healthcare, taken from a recent interview, is that “it’s great, you know, because what John McCain has said, and what I have said, is that, with job creation, we can make sure the Russians stay out of Wall Street – and Main Street – I want to emphasize that, it’s just as important that they hunt down the terrorists there on Main Street as it is on Wally’s Street – and the enemies of America and its allies won’t stand a towelhead’s prayer of stopping Tina Fey”. Senator McCain later issued yet another statement assuring voters that he never, ever said that.

Her position was obfuscated by a later attempt to explain what she meant by “towelhead’s prayer”. She said: “Oh, you know, a lot of people have jumped on that, pointing their fingers and saying it’s um… I don’t know, you know… [Reporter: “racist?”] … Yeah, racist, I guess is the word. See, it’s just a little ditty we use up in Alaska. Because, the maritime border that we have between our airspace, and Barack Obama’s airspace, I mean I can see it from my house, and it’s given me a lot of experience in raising a family”.

On the other hand, pundits argue that her inability to speak English is forgivable in a state where most government jobs are held by moose. Plus, support from stalwart conservative Republicans remains as unwavering as ever, since her position on the ‘Big Three’ remains clear. Mrs Palin wants to allow baby Jesus to carry a gun. Or she wants to gun down Jesus’ baby. Or maybe Jesus gunned down a baby, and she wants to keep it quiet. I forget which. It’s not important.

However, the one positive for concerned Frodologists in all this is that not all undecided voters will be voting for the Democratic ticket, because Diben isn't a word.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Jesus - out of blood by now?

Part I of the I Believe in Miracles series

Frodologist scientists inadvertently made great inroads into explaining the Christian faith today. Long puzzled by the sustainability of Christian hematophagy, the team first began by searching for hidden blood reserves. When this proved fruitless, they then followed up reports that the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro was actually a massive vessel of the vintage red stuff. At first discounting the theory as ridiculous, since the statue clearly wasn’t a ship, they then discovered a second meaning of the word, and set off for Brazil.

The team began to search for a giant tap, dubbed the ‘holy spigot’, which they hypothesized would be used to access the holy blood. When no tap could be found, however, the theory was abandoned for the much more logical conclusion that Jesus is permanently attached to a blood transfusion machine. Red Cross confidentiality being what it is, the scientists were at a loss as to how to begin the search.

It was then that the breakthrough occurred. The team went back to basics and began crunching numbers. They reasoned that the average human adult has approximately 5 L of blood in their system at a given time. Discovering then that each communion sip measures in at around 10 mL, they concluded that Jesus would be completely drained of blood within just 500 sips. Even with a robust immune system and healthy bone marrow, they found it would be impossible to replenish the requisite amount in the weekly ten minute orgiastic bloodletting that is a Catholic communion. Even with a small congregation, Jesus would struggle to feed it all before becoming a useless fleshy sack of bones. And that’s ignoring the thousands of years for which Catholics have practiced the art of vampirism.

Some Catholics argue that Jesus isn’t exsanguinated on a weekly basis because wine is simply transformed into blood before each communion. But that seems strange. Grape DNA hasn’t been irradiated into human DNA since that episode of The Simpsons that never got made because the plot was too absurd.

This track of reasoning has led the team of Frodologist scientists to an uncomfortable conclusion. Since Jesus’ seemingly inexhaustible supply of blood is inexplicable by science, it is clearly the result of a miracle. As an alternative to science, miracles of course benefit from enormous explanatory power. They can tie a premise to any conceivable conclusion without the tedium of scientific investigation, and best of all, are unassailable by critics. Anything seen as preposterous by science is much more easily swallowed when it becomes a miracle.

This inadvertent discovery thus bolstered Christianity’s hold on humanity. There are however two positive outcomes for Frodology in all this. First, through harnessing the efficacy of miracles, the team was able to reanimate the petrified corpse of Frodo’s pet ferret, Mungo, from orange peels and old newspapers. The scientists offered their thanks to Frodo that miracles are so egalitarian and non-discriminatory in their performances.

The second outcome is that, thanks to the abovementioned miracle, Catholics really are gorging themselves on blood every Sunday. The unavoidable conclusion is that, having supped from the blood of Christ, the original poster child for the resurrected undead, all Catholics have forsaken their bodies and souls to join Jesus’ burgeoning army of vampires. This makes them fair game for silver bullets and sharpened stakes wherever they’re found. In response to the study, Alan Greenspan recommended garlic to futures traders as a sound investment this quarter.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The 2008 Messiah Debates: Frodo v Yoda

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?

Larry: Yes.

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?

[Audience grumbles]

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-

Larry: Larry.

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]

[Audience hisses]

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]