Looking at Tumblr is a constant act of masochism. I stay for the vintage puke-colored VHS gifs and copious amounts of retro systems art. But the unavoidable deluge of guilty high-schoolers trying to revise history to fit with some fantasy liberal standard is constantly blaring. Art school turned me onto Tumblr, but it might turn me off, too. So here’s to this little classic I found on my glowing gray screen yesterday:
Jesus was a homeless Palestinian anarchist who held protests at oppressive churches, advocated for universal health care and redistribution of wealth, before being arrested for terrorism, tortured and executed for crimes against the state, now go ahead and explain to me why he’d vote conservative. I’ll wait.
What do you think these kids are rebelling against? I hope they’re in middle school. I hope there’s still time for them to have actual thoughts. But until then, I can make fun of them at my liberty. Here are five reasons why Christ wasn’t a commie, besides the obvious fact that these sheltered art-school kids don’t actually know what conservatism is and have developed their idea of the left in between sips of coffee.
1. Christ Was An Israeli
Back in my day, kids loved to tell their parents that Christ was a Jew. You’d sit there at the dinner table on Christmas day, carving the roast with your family before you’d smile a knowing smile and say, “Did you know Christ was actually Jewish?”
“Yes,” your parents would say.
Apparently, that isn’t enough. Since the dawn of the neocon, the hepcats haven’t been able to use the example of Christ the Jew to piss off their parents. Now they have to actually pretend that Christ was part of an ethnic group that didn’t claim any national existence until the 19th century. Sorry, chaps, that’s a bit of a hard sell for me.
It might also be worth noting that Palestinians don’t want him. The Palestinian National Charter defines Palestinians as “Arab nationals who, until 1947, normally resided in Palestine regardless of whether they were evicted from it or stayed there. Anyone born, after that date, of a Palestinian father—whether in Palestine or outside it—is also a Palestinian.”
As you can see, Christ was a few years late—about 1,947 to be exact—to be considered a Palestinian.
Christ was a Jew. Christ was an Israeli. He was an Israeli Jew. You are allowed to have any thought you wish about the Holocaust of the Palestinian people and the legitimacy of the state of Israel, but this has nothing to do with a dead Jew’s ethnicity or his non-adherence to a nationality that didn’t yet exist. And don’t say Palestinians and Israelis are the same thing. Walk into Brooklyn, find a rabbi, and start using the word “Palestine” liberally. I bet you he won’t be amused. You can try the same thing on a pile of corpses in the West Bank.
2. Christ Was An Undesirable Person
Jesus was tortured and executed by the state. So to avoid that happening again, we should…vote for the pro-statist left? Huh? I guess you’ve never heard of China, Cuba, the Soviet Union, or any of those other countries that have existed on the planet with you. Say what you want about the West’s dismal culture or its dwindling economy or the fact that it always thinks it’s going to collapse, but we don’t torture and kill you if you try to leave.
This confusion of totalitarianism belief systems can partially be blamed on young adult books. There’s some sad affliction of my generation that kids are continuing to pick them up later and later—say, into their twenties, embarrassingly enough—so that Jennifer Lawrence’s tits on a poster can keep kids from reading Orwell and Huxley for years. To paraphrase Chuck Palahniuk, “pop science as a coping mechanism” has eclipsed any actual historical knowledge as a pastime for young people. The Giver and The Hunger Games are the defining political works of these kids’ lives. These kids don’t have a Marxist phase until much later in life than our parents did, and it takes them longer to get past it.
3. He Wouldn’t Be Famous Without The Death Penalty
Honestly, would Christ be Christ if he hadn’t been killed? Fuck, no. He’s fucking dead, and that’s why he’s famous. I think that’s the plot of a Scorsese movie, but I forget which one.
The Tanakh is a lot more fun than the Gospels. The Old Testament is like a borderline incoherent epic novel filled with sex, violence, rape, revenge, additional rape, some more sex, plus violence, and some other stuff, all centering in on a bunch of sad Jews in the desert. Great, right? I’d rather sit down with an artsy pulp-detective novel, but the Old Testament is still a good read. The New Testament is more like a nineteenth-century Russian novel, something that Dostoyevsky would write. It’s not the beautiful slaughterhouse that is the Torah, but it culminates in one of the greatest literary murders of all time.
4. Christ Was More Mystical Than Political
I’m not really sure in which Gospel Christ becomes this political force you see him as. I don’t recall his pleas for the Romans to redistribute wealth or his firm belief in universal healthcare. As I recall, Jesus was more of a Charles Manson than a Che Guevara. Maybe he didn’t get laid as much as either of them. Your Che T-shirt makes you look really urban and probably more well-read than you actually can truthfully claim to be, but the fact is that Christ was less of a political militant than a homeless delusional mystic.
5. Faith Is Antithetical To The Leftist Utopian Ideal
Maybe you skipped over this line when you were reading Kierkegaard and Burgess, but there’s not really a point in being saved if the state forces you to be good. For all of you edgy teenagers who just love the movie version of A Clockwork Orange but haven’t read the book or really thought about it, it’s sort of hard to find personal salvation when the state forces everyone to act humanely. This is also why Kierkegaard hates factory Christians; there’s no leap of faith. They are born, baptized, and are functioning Christians for the rest of their lives. That is leftist utopianism, and that’s why Marx didn’t make exceptions for Christians. He knew they had no place in a post-struggle society.
That being said, Christ wasn’t that great. He had some fun ideas, but he never wasted away an evening on cough syrup. Although he was nothing like what liberal-arts youth claim him to be, this isn’t to say that he would be a conservative today. He’d probably be pretty liberal. He’d be the old Unitarian lady who lives in the apartment next door to yours and talks to herself a lot, listening to NPR too loudly and muttering “Daddy” while masturbating on the other side of the wall. You’d probably smile at Christ when he was coming down the stairs, muttering to himself about his pops before he got onto his bike and road to work at the co-op. That’s Jesus. Not a conservative icon. Not a socialist star. Just another center-left liberal-arts loser like you.