October 1st, 2011

Bent Flying Devil

by Wayno & Piraro

Bizarro is brought to you today by Simple Concepts.

This “stooped” cartoon got a range of mail from “Love it! Can I buy the original art?” to “I am offended by your mocking bone disease.” That disparity is fairly typical. Sorry to anyone who thought I was mocking them. I just thought it was a funny pun when you compare the word “stooped” with the usual T-shirt that says, “stupid.” Now, don’t get upset all over again, I am not saying that people with posture problems are stupid. Some of them are, some of them are not. Their posture has nothing to do with that.

So what can we say for sure about this dinosaur cartoon? Well, it’s a cartoon and it’s got a couple of dinosaurs in it; whether or not it is funny is a matter of personal opinion. If you know that modern-day birds are thought to be dinosaurs’ closest relatives, you’re a few steps closer to finding it funny. If you didn’t know that until you read this post, you are perhaps having an “aha” moment. Whatever you are experiencing right now, I hope you enjoy it.

This final cartoon is a shout-out to my Catholic (or former Catholic) readers. After several decades of soul-searching and education, I am atheist. But I was raised Catholic and remember very well attending “confession” when I was a kid. Our church’s confessional booths looked very much like those in this cartoon. For the unindoctrinated, here’s how they worked: A priest sits in the middle booth with small windows on either side of him, each with a sliding wooden panel so he can alternate between sides and hear the sins of the adjacent booth’s occupants. Unlike in the movies where you can see through the window, they are usually covered by a tight screen or curtain so that the priest can hear the confessor, but not see his or her face. (Which would render this comic irrelevant because the confessor would never be able to see the scary mask.) If you were a “good” Catholic, you would enter one of the outside booths, kneel in front of the window and wait until you hear the window panel slide open, which means it’s your turn. You then recite some preordained mumbo jumbo like, “Forgive me Father for I have sinned. It has been x days (weeks, months, years) since my last confession…” then you would list your sins and how many times you committed them. When you’re finished with your list of shameful acts, the priest says something like, “In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, I absolve you of your sins. As penance, say x Hail Marys and x Our Fathers. (Those are colloquial names of popular Catholic prayers.)

To be honest, most of my sins were made up. I was in grade school and did not yet drink, carouse, embezzle, or murder, so I would just say “I lied to my parents two times, I fought with my sister 800 times,” etc. We were required to go to confession once a month, so we had to say something. I confess I have not been to confession since I was a child so I don’t know how they do it now. I’m sure some still do it this way, while more modern churches probably have you sit face-to-face with a priest and talk about your filthy alter ego, the way you would with a therapist. I’m just guessing about that, though.

Churches of all kinds have used fear of eternal torture to control people for centuries, as anyone knows, though they are loathe to admit it. I think it would be a refreshing move toward honesty if they wore a scary mask while doing it.

Finally: Most of my family is still Catholic, so I don’t wish to offend the faithful with this post. If you’re interested in a startlingly eloquent and intelligent discussion of the sort of damage organized religion does to societies, watch this speech by famed actor Stephen Fry, given during a debate with Catholic officials over the question of whether the Catholic Church is a force for good in the world . Video Clip.

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