Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Seeing the Madonna, the Messiah, and the Terrorist in Everyone

Riva Djinn is the quintessential urban hermit. She lives alone and listens to hours of National Public Radio.

Today she heard that the pop star, Madonna, tours her song “Live to Tell” while hanging from a mirrored cross and wearing a crown of thorns. Sure enough, this act stirs controversy.

A professor of religious studies from St. Michael’s College in Vermont shared her unique views on Madonna’s behavior: the professor said she admired what Madonna was doing. “Madonna has accomplished—in one performance—what I have been trying to do with my students for years. I’ve been trying to get them to see everyone as the crucified Christ. Usually, my students shudder or laugh when I ask them to imagine Christ as a woman. Madonna is claiming a woman’s right to pose as Christ.”

Riva listened to all this with an open mind. When the radio program turned up the volume on Madonna singing, “Hope I live to tell…” She sang along and humped the walls of her studio apartment, remembering the days when she and her fifth-grade girlfriends took naked photographs of one another while listening to Madonna’s “True Blue” album. Riva, to this day, doesn’t know what became of those photos.

The next NPR show to air was "Marketplace." The story discussed recent tightenings of airport security. A Commentator, David Frum, was yakking about how, “Aviation security operates on the assumption that all passengers present an equal and randomized risk. If MI-5 had operated on the same principle, they'd still be kicking open the door of every house in London to search for terrorists.”

Riva listened, but just couldn't suppress her urge to talk back.

As the radio continued to crash its foamless waves into her open ears, Riva, who was now chopping vegetables for her fish filet dinner, waved her chopping knife this way and that and said, “What a wild world! While the religion professor hopes that we see the crucified Christ in everyone, Aviation security is busy looking out for the terrorist in everyone! Now why wasn't I invited to this whoopee party?” She grins and returns to chopping.

Riva never frets. When she’s not listening to the radio and chopping onions, Riva Djinn loves to read novels. She feels so much more fortunate, you see, because she is able to see the epic narrative in everyone. The end.

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