|Yummy Fur #21 (Vortex Comics Inc, 1990)|
by Chester Brown
Thanks for your letter of 04/01/06. I appreciate it especially with your present schedule. China seems to be cropping up everywhere in microcosm and macrocosm these days and it makes sense that as an English speaker you would ﬁnd a spot as intermediary. Sandeep Atwal recently got a job writing speeches for the president of the University of Waterloo and I asked him if there were any areas where he was uncomfortable -- writing words that he didn't agree with. "China" was his answer. The university is developing more links all the time with China at various levels and Sandeep counts himself in the "deeply ambivalent" camp given what China self-evidently is. Any thoughts on this score on your part?
Thank you very, very much for the Loreto material which I speed-read the day they came in (Election Day here, as a matter of fact -- yes, another one) and will be going back to read more thoroughly as soon as I finish the copy of the oral biography of Harry Truman, Plain Speaking, that D.B. Little sent me (among other books). On this ﬁrst go-through what jumped out at me was the fact that there is no tradition in Nazareth of there having been a holy house but that rather the "mother of God" lived in a cave. I defy anyone to speed-read past on observation like that. Say WHAT?! Seems to conform to my YHWHist theories. Where else would the "mother of God" live but inside the earth? I ﬁgured that the most interesting part of the story would be buried somewhere in all of the literature and that seems to be the case so, again I can't thank you enough for shipping all this ore over here so I could ﬁnd my nugget. More as I read the material more thoroughly.
My belief that the Jews hold The Writings as unscriptural and not just lesser Scripture enters in because of the demarcation. The fact that there's the Law and the Prophets and then there's The Writings means that they are different things, ergo one is superior to the other and when you weigh Genesis and Isaiah against Ruth and Esther it seems obvious to me which is which. In my own view there is no such thing as Scripture and Lesser Scripture. There is only Scripture and Non-Scripture. This is our same disagreement shaded slightly differently on the distinction between the Gospels and the Christian commentaries of Paul, both of which you consider Scriptural and only one of which I consider Scriptural. Likewise in Islam. There is the Koran which is Scriptural and the Hadith -- the sayings of the Prophet -- which are non-Scriptural. Most of the Islamic fundamentalists who call for the eradication of Israel are those who include the Hadith with the Koran as Scripture (Muhammad was a virulent Jew hater which I assume he got from those parts of the Koran which were dictated to him by YHWH who seems never to have gotten over the fact that the Chosen People chose to disobey him/her/it so relentlessly: "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned"). The Jews, I think, would be very wary of calling The Writings scriptural since the Book of Esther has been pretty definitively proven to be a Babylonian myth adapted during the Diaspora with the names changed from pagan names to Jewish names. Not quite as "over the top" as say the Apocryphal Book of Judith (which reads like Red Sonja) -- and edifying in its own archetypal way -- but quite a ways off the beaten track from what I think any sensible student of the Jewish scriptures would consider to be sound observance. My own suspicion is that the success of Christianity with the purity of the four Gospels compelled the Jews to amputate the chronology somewhere less self-evidently diluted (and deluded) than II Maccabees and Malachi was elected. I might take issue with their pick, but not the self-evident need to make a clear cut.
On the subject of "It was then that men began to call on the name of the YHWH" I enclose the relevant footnoted passage from Westerman's Genesis 1-11 26a, b and c -- which I think make the case pretty irrefutably given the perfect tense means that the action has already taken place. I also enclose Westerman's own dissembling and twisting and back-ﬂips and contentions to try to make the passage mean something else which is, evidently a popular pastime. Obviously I would maintain that my own views -- which developed from what the text says rather than what I wanted the text to say (something of a universal theological vice from what I can see) -- are the more accurate. Time will tell.
It's probably better that you don't celebrate Christmas given the content of Chester [Brown]'s Christmas card this year. A statue of Seth sitting on the commode is along ways from "O Holy Night" for those of us who lean more in the direction of "O Holy Night" as I'm sure you'll agree. As to picking up more of his work, well, it's all good. He's presently working on a new printing of The Little Man which you should be able to ﬁnd in late spring, early summer (his deadline is the end of January) in the better stores in the UK on your next visit. Of particular interest is the individual issues of Yummy Fur and Underwater (which you'll have to go schlepping for in the back issue bins) long out of print that contain his adaptations of the Gospels of Mark (completed) and Matthew (still to be completed). His angry Jesus of his Matthew adaptations is the one that I picture in my head now. A lot of his work has scatological and unattractive elements so you might want to read I Never Liked You before The Playboy and The Playboy before The Little Man and The Little Man before Ed the Happy Clown in descending order of -- in my view -- potential offensiveness to a Jehoah's Witness. The new book he's starting on is about his sex life which is exclusively with prostitutes which he sincerely doesn't think of as a bad idea or anything that is jeopardizing his soul. We've had many interesting discussions on the subject and neither of us has budged an inch in all the time I've known him. The Liberals have been floating trial balloons in this country about legalising prostitution for a few years. I hope we turn back from the brink and Chet would like to see its plunge over that particular falls. Stay tuned.
Thanks again for the Loreto material. Hope this letter ﬁnds you and Francesca and Kevin and Emily well.