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Saturday, July 30, 2011

My secret investigations as a pseudo Gonzo reporter from the heart of the protestant establishment. Part 1

(this picture was actually taken a while ago, in Knoxville, TN, but i felt it was appropriate for this post)

Boulder, CO. the last stop. Stayed with Gabe, my couchsurfing host for the night. The usual Quizrael questions, but more intellectual than the usual, he knew more than the “average American”. Sent out some more futile couch surfing requests, and left for Rocky Mountain National Park. I left pretty late in the day, and by the time I got to the park I was informed that all the camp sites were full. Bummer, where to now? “The closest National forest where I can set up camp is just a couple of miles back” the kind ranger explained to me, “ and of course you can fill your water jugs here” he replied my inquisitive questions, while mentally preparing myself for another welcome evening of solitude in the woods. “And it’s great cause I really want to start my new book – The Protestant Ethics and the “Spirit” of Capitalism” I thought to myself, little did I know that I would experience it first hand in just a matter of hours. I was on my way to leave when Kourtney, later I would learn her name, asked me if I would fill in a questionnaire about park transportation. She was pretty so I said yes. Da. I filled it in, we talked for a while, she claimed to have a tattoo in Hebrew. The reason I say claim, is that it said, timshel, and she claimed that it said “thou Mayest”. I started looking into it with some help from my good friend google, and the bible narrative of the day was getting stronger, and yet still how little did I know. I left Kourtney to allow her to get back to fill her daily quota and I promised her an answer on the Steinbeck’s false translation of Kane and Abel in “East of Eden” and left for my inquiries and solitude. Driving up the side of the mountain towards the national forest I noticed, maybe for the first time since getting into Colorado, how truly beautiful the rocks here were. But the forest rode was inaccessible. The rode was not designed for my Nissan Sentra to pass through. Somewhat frustrated and hungry, I started driving around looking for a place to just put up my tent, and cook a nice meal, before hopefully going back into town to meet Kourtney. Which never happened. I drove around looking for a single living person to ask if I could just set up my tent in their backyard for the night, because I know these Americans have issues with private property and trespassing, and I didn’t want to get shot during the night, so a kind driver pointed me in the direction of the small bible school up the hill. I drove up the hill with my usual pleasant expression while meeting new people hoping to find a place for the night. Clint, the first person who approached me, the long-haired hippie driving into their clean cut bible school, asked me what I was looking for and I explained that I was looking for the national forest. Now, when I think of it I can’t really remember how the conversation started, but between being Jewish from Israel and a bible school, I understand how the conversation went on for several minutes before I was offered dinner. “Free dinner” I said half to myself, but apparently out loud “ I can never say no to that.” Clint, came out with a plate of Brukwerst (or whatever they’re called) hotdogs, and I was grateful. Truly grateful. He introduced me to Drew, a minister at the school, who would later compare homosexuality with stealing as I nod silently, and we just kept talking. While still baffled and trying to understand the comparison, which I did, on a theological-intellectual level, I came to an understanding with myself that it was time to play a game. Later, while taking a shower in the room they put me in, I named the game “My secret investigations as a pseudo Gonzo reporter from the heart of the protestant establishment.” But once again, I’m getting ahead of myself. So Drew and I talked for an hour or so, and I think the combination of me being a good listener and asking genuine questions about Christianity, and him being a minister “given God’s gift to teach and speak” allowed the conversation to go on for quite a while. I truly was fascinated. When I asked about the Mormons I had recently visited in Salt Lake City he explained that “those quacks aren’t really Christian, and that they thought of themselves as becoming Gods through Gods work. Psychos.” I felt reluctant to explain to him that the notion of Jesus existing in you, thus creating the holy trinity, which he had been explaining to me for the past 45 minutes sounded as insane as becoming a God, but I held my tongue. The code of Gonzo Journalism is to get involved, to become part of the group which you are studying and to report from within. That’s why some people claim that it isn’t journalism because it isn’t objective, but I just don’t give a fuck about definitions of this sort. Drew invited me to stay for evening group, and listen to the guest lecture, the theme for the convention was “Why trying harder, doesn’t help”. I think I’m starting to get it, to understand how the mechanism of control works. For Jews it’s simple, God is the essence of everything, he decides what happens and you accept, well at least religious Jews. You practice as many mitzvas as possible and you’ll get closer to God, your actions are the measurement for your proximity to God. “that’s exactly the difference” Drew tried to explain to me once again, “it is not your actions in Christianity, in true Christianity at least, it is your relationship with Jesus, as the scripture says “accept Jesus into your life, and confess your sins and he will love you” (I think I trashed the original quote)”. I need more practice on my Jesus terminology. So while the guest lecture was asking us about temptation to sin, explaining how we are all fallen and sinful beings by nature and about bringing Christ into your life, I spoke my mind. Of course I did, while reminding myself my job as a pseudo Gonzo journalist, I asked only questions of tact and intelligence, not giving away my secret mission. After the service, or whatever it’s called, I was extended an invitation to join for coffee and cake “once again, can’t say no to that”. I talked to the people present, spoke my mind and told stories of my travels, and started getting ready to go to my tent that I had set up in the mean time on the grass behind one of the buildings. Clint, then asked me if I wanted to join tomorrow too, they were having breakfast at eight, and if I wanted he could get me a bed. Well, you already know what my answer to that was. I’m not sure if they’re trying to evangelize me, well actually of course they are, but I’m not sure they understand who they’re dealing with. So tomorrow I think I will have more to report on. Maybe some theology, and a better understanding of mechanisms for control of the masses. But I must get back to reading my book, to further prepare for a new day and intellectual battles happening apparently only in my own mind, which is exactly how I like them.

Until tomorrow,

I. N. Trigue. (my new gonzo name)

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