Obama and Jesus 18 March 2009

I’ve just added a new album that I’m sure will grow as the trip continues.  You can view it on my Photos page or click the link here:

Obama and Jesus

Walking around D.C. I was struck by the cult-like images of Obama that I saw everywhere.  Driving around Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas I was struck by the cult-like images of Jesus that I saw everywhere.  John Lennon was excoriated when he declared the Beatles “more popular than Jesus.”  I don’t think there’s much of a contest between the President and J.C.  Right now, the Lord is clearly in the lead.

Hailing from the place Jon Stewart has called “the land of Jews and Sodomites,” I must admit that I find all these public displays of faith perplexing.  In a part of the country where the vast majority of the population is Christian, it seems unnecessary.  Of course, I am not so naive about cultural politics as to pretend that I don’t understand why this is happening.

Christ of the Ozarks was built in the mid-1960s atop Magnetic Mountain as a giant advertisement for a local Passion Play.  The virginity billboard near Carthage isn’t, technically, a Christian symbol but has a certain inflection.  The Twice Born shop in Eureka Springs reminds me of what cynics used to say about the mainstreaming of gay merchandising: “it’s not a movement, it’s a market.”

Missing from the album is a photograph that I didn’t take yesterday.  I was about five miles out of Eureka Springs on Highway 62 when I passed a man walking slowly by the side of the road.  He looked to be in his mid-60s, with short gray hair and a relatively trim physique.  He was wearing jeans and a t-shirt.  He was carrying a seven-foot wood cross on his shoulder.  He had a small knapsack tethered to the base of the cross which was bumping across the ground as he walked.  He smiled and waved as I passed.

I drove a bit further and then was moved to turn around.  I pulled up along side and asked the penitent how far he was going.  He told me he hoped to make it to Eureka Springs that day.  He seemed chipper despite his obvious exertions.  I asked if he was carrying the cross for Lent.  He said no, that he would carry it everyday if he had the chance.  I should have given him a bottle of water as the day was getting warm.  Instead, as a truck pulled up behind me and honked, I drove off.  When I turned back around and passed him for the final time he waved at me even more vigorously.

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Marc Jahr March 19th, 2009

G.: It’s an interesting phenomenon. Kennedy, MLK…Obama. Somehow I have three photos/prints of the World Trade Center in my study.

But Obama hasn’t been martyred. He’s been sanctified and let us pray that that is how it remains.

Another photo project: Obama memorabilia: signs, headlines throughout the United States. On Fulton Street, I’ve shot a sidewalk vendor’s table full of Obama stuff: T- shirt, sweatshirts, towels, buttons, decals, stickers, photographs, drawings, an avalanche of stuff. What’s it look like out there, beyond the Hudson?

Happppppy Trails!


Joan March 28th, 2009

Hi G. Thinking of you out there, been in Newark a lot and will explain later. Re those restrooms, Saul’s favorite from a road trip — a bunch of guys on line… to pee on a wall. Maybe that was Puerto Rico.
Let me know what the (my) next car should be from your best sightings. Will check in before Chicago. J

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