Thursday, July 2, 2009

Rev. Tobias Fünke

Dragon*con is certainly a unique experience.

The only thing I can compare it to is the "Elvis burger" served at The Vortex restaurant in Atlanta:

-Both are far off the average person's beaten path.
-Both are pretty weird, by any standard.
-Both seem to have a little bit of everything: while the Elvis burger is made up of peanut butter, bacon, and fried bananas all on a think beef patty, Dragon*con is concocted of fantasy role playing, scifi television shows, and Japanese anime, all on a huge room of people playing board games.
-Both are things that I don't want on any regular basis, but I'm glad that I tried once.
- . . . also, Mickey Rooney is always at Dragon*con, which I've never quite understood. The Elvis burger doesn't have a good analog for Mickey Rooney, I guess, but it bears mentioning, simply to express what a bizarre universe the event creates.

When I did attend Dragon*con, I spent a lot of time on the science track, which is how I realized that the Flying Spaghetti Monster is really, really homoerotic.

I jumped ahead there a little, let's go back.

The Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM) is a deity invented, originally, as a way to criticize the idea of teaching intelligent design in schools. Since its inception, the FSM been picked up as a symbol for atheists and agnostics to mock theistic ideas.

Now let me be clear. I'm fully against teaching any sort of religion or "intelligent design" in public schools. And I'm not some militant anti-atheist, despite being a believer myself. And I'm certainly not against mocking the ideas of others . . . it's one of my very favorite things to do.

That's not what this is about.

This is about the moment when I was sitting in a little room, waiting for a skeptics panel to begin, and the picture below*, by far the most popular image of the FSM, was flashed up on the screen.

At the time, I wasn't familiar with the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or any of its religious connotations. So going into it tabula raza, here's how I interpreted this image:

-it's most prominent feature is two great big balls, hanging there right next to each other
-it is reaching out toward a naked man
-the caption reads "Touched by His Noodly Appendage." Not "touched by his pasta hand" or "touched by his noodle finger." But "touched by his noodly appendage." That's the phrasing they came up with. Seriously.

I was sitting in that room, full of people who like this image and think it's super-clever, and I was the only one laughing.

*The copyright holder of this file allows anyone to use it for any purpose, provided that a link to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster website remains with it. Having just demonstrated that they accidentally made something super-duper homoerotic, I gladly comply:

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