Friday, November 11, 2005

In the Name of All That's Holy

My identical cousin has been at it again. I give you his latest work:

In the Name of All That's Holy
by Todd Wm. Ristau

(Lights rise to see TODD about to teach a science class. The audience are his students. Ideally he should have a large dry erase board or chalk board nearby.)

TODD: Alright class, what is today?

ROBB: Friday!

TODD: Technically, yes. What else is it?

LAURA: Veteran's Day!

TODD: Very good.

SIMON: My dad says there's only 50 WW1 Vets left alive in the whole world.

TODD: OK, let's try to relate our answer to the subject matter, shall we? What month is it?

ROBB: November.

TODD: That's right, and what happens around November every year?

LAURA: Elections?

TODD: Sometimes. Anything else?

SIMON: Autumn.

TODD: What’s that?

ROBB, LAURA, and SIMON: FALL!

TODD: That’s right. What happens in the fall?

SIMON: The leaves turn different colors.

LAURA: And they FALL off the trees.

TODD: That’s right. And do you know why?

ROBB: Because in the cold weather the tree shuts down and doesn’t make the stuff that keeps them green anymore.

TODD: And why does the cold weather come?

LAURA: Because….Because….

(TODD goes to the board and draws a woman and a little girl. Then he draws a horizon line. Then he draws a hole, and under the hole he draws a big man. Then he draws an arrow from the little girl to the big man.)

TODD: Because Persephone—who is the daughter of?

ROBB,LAURA, and SIMON: Zeus and Demeter!

TODD: Because the daughter of the ruler of the gods and the goddess of the harvest was out picking flowers one day and Hades saw her and fell in love with her. And he rose up out of the ground in his chariot and abducted her, taking her to the Underworld with him. Demeter was heartbroken and while she searched for her daughter nothing grew and instead of rain, the snow fell. Eventually, Demeter and Hades worked out a deal to share Persephone, and when she is in the Underworld with her husband, we have winter, and when she comes to visit her mother, we have spring.

ROBB: But, if Winter didn’t exist until Persephone went to the Underworld, how did people know when to harvest the crops?

TODD: What is that Robb?

ROBB: Demeter is the Goddess of the Harvest, right?

TODD: Very good.

ROBB: So doesn’t the harvest always come right before winter?

TODD: Of course. That is an observable fact.

ROBB: But you’re saying that the harvest used to come before there was a winter.

TODD: Well, Robb, if you’re so smart, what do you think causes the world to grow cold and the leaves to fall off the trees, and the snow to fall if it isn’t Demeter’s annual heartbreak over her daughter being in the Underworld?

LAURA: Maybe the Sun gets farther away.

TODD: Don’t be ridiculous. Helios does not get farther away.

SIMON: My dad says Helios is just a myth, and that the sun is the wheels of Thor’s Chariot.

TODD: I’m sorry, Simon, but your father is an ignorant heathen. You can’t possibly expect anyone in a SCIENCE CLASS to take seriously the idea that Helios, whose all seeing light we venerate, is in actual fact the wheel of a chariot pulled across the sky by a pair of goats while an oaf with a stunted hammer and a hat with wings on it holds the ropes and throws around his thunder hammer.

SIMON: Does so, the goats are named Toothgnasher and Toothgrinder.

TODD: Thor is at best a misunderstanding of Zeus.

SIMON: Liar.

TODD: Simon, you and your father can believe whatever you want at home, that’s a matter of faith, but here in this classroom you are going to be tested on what you are taught, and the reason we are teaching you what we are teaching you is so that you will have all the FACTS at your disposal when you go out into the world to compete in the global market place.

LAURA: What about the hemispheres?

TODD: What, Laura?

LAURA: You said that when Persephone is in the Underworld the world is covered in snow because of Demeter’s sorrow.

TODD: That’s right. Good.

LAURA: Then how’s come when it is winter up here in the Northern Hemisphere, it is summer down in the Southern Hemisphere?

TODD: There’s no such thing. I don’t know who has been filling your head with all these lies, but the only thing under the Northern Hemisphere, as you call it, is Atlas…except when he tricks someone else into holding it for him for a while.

ROBB: My dad says that the reason we’re falling so far behind the Chinese is that they actually study science in their science class.

TODD: Well, Robb, you tell your dad that maybe the reason we are falling behind the Chinese is that talk like that is turning the Gods against us, and that these Godless Chinamen are in fact instruments of divine justice. In fact, I have every reason to believe that if you fail your creation science test on Friday, you’re going to make Ares so sick to his stomach over your weakness that he won’t even lift his sword to defend us from the Chinese. He will let them destroy us utterly and we’ll deserve that destruction. Won’t we?

ROBB, LAURA, and SIMON: Yes, Mister Ristau.

TODD: Alright then…Let’s start again from the beginning, and this time take proper notes! (lights slowly fade throughout) In the beginning there was only chaos. Then out of the void appeared Erebus, the unknowable place where death dwells, and Night. All else was empty, silent, endless, darkness. Then somehow Love was born bringing a start of order. From Love came Light and Day. Once there was Light and Day, Gaea, the earth appeared....

(blackout)

Creation Myth text above from: http://www.desy.de/gna/interpedia/greek_myth/creation.html

10 Comments:

Blogger R said...

Did I die and reincarnate during the inquisition? What in the name OF GOD is going on? And why cannot God be responsible for EVOLUTION? Why did he have to have a cape and a magic wand when he created us? Do they not believe in symbols? This is so ridiculous. This is what happens when a small minority of zealots are given a whole lot of power. (like we didn't already learn that lesson thru out time) And the Presidents poll numbers are what happens when the rest of the world tires of the silliness. And Pat Robertson is what happens when you take away a womans right to choose.
I'm just sayin...

9:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah like the Chinese are ahead of us only because of science. Maybe alot as to do with the fact that this country is turning into a "give me","learned helplessness" society.
Getting a little carried away there? Yeah I'm back.
VET

1:27 PM  
Blogger Archie Levine said...

VET, VET...why do you so constantly miss the point?

I would try to explain it...but what's the use?

At least you didn't use the mere mention of China to launch into how Clinton gave them all our secrets for campaign money.

I guess I should count my blessings.

I'd say the Chinese are getting ahead of us because American businesses are sick of the American Consumer, the American Worker, and American Taxes. For all those reasons, China looks pretty good to them....but as I mentioned, this isn't a piece about CHINA, it is about trying to teach RELIGION as if it were a SCIENCE...it is about training our children to be mindless dolts who can't think critically and instead willingly accept whatever crap their leaders want to shove down their throats....and you, my friend, are the pudding with the proof in it.

2:11 PM  
Blogger Archie Levine said...

Oh, welcome home, by the way!
(and I really am glad to have you back)

2:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I got the religion part as noted in my last sentence about getting a little carried away. I think that mentioning(not teaching)creation will turn the kids into mindless dotes. I know how that upsets you so much but I don't think that is a main concern about education. It's thrown out there and kids can eiter believe(which alot do) or not. Makes them free thinkers is all I am saying.
VET
Thanx for the welcome back

2:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was a bad comment. I meant "will not" turn them into mindless dotes.
VET

2:24 PM  
Blogger R said...

Well hell, then lets just let them all learn about us coming from the planet Zee-non or whatever the hell the Scientologist believe earthlings originated from. While we are all free thinking and such. Good grief.
Or how about we tell them that black children are actually going to hell as the Mormons believe.
If we are going to forgo science for fucked up religious beliefs than lets go whole hog.

3:03 PM  
Blogger Archie Levine said...

Rhonda, you bring up a very good point...my great grandmother always used to tell me not to swallow watermelon seeds or I'd get pregnant. And that white babys came from white watermellon seeds and black babies came from black watermellon seeds.

Fortunately, science tells me that boys can't get pregnant and watermellon seeds carry no human DNA.

I think most of us would agree that here is at least one example where it is better to look for causation and demonstrablity of research than faith in the word of someone you love and respect deeply.

And why, even if I had the power to do so, it would be wrong to force your children to learn what my Great-Grandmother told me as a child.

3:13 PM  
Blogger R said...

Archie I see you get my point exactly! However, if your mee-maw were around she would slap your smart mouth. I have one little white baby that I got pregnant with RIGHT AFTER a fourth of July picnic. The same picnic where I swallowed white watermelon seeds. Coincidence?! I think not.
Oh, and I failed to thank you for the entirely sweet comment you left me a while back about why I'm on your links. Thanks bud! Your the rocker.

9:23 PM  
Anonymous Mike Allen said...

Archie, I know I come to this belately, but please convey to your twin how much I LOVE this skit.

1:25 PM  

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