Most of this is lifted directly from a comment I posted at Pam’s place regarding a “youth ministry” that recently offered a “free” Bible to anyone willing to send in five bucks to cover shipping costs.
They ran out of Bibles!
Hmm. Wonder where all those Lincolns are going.
Anyway, a commenter there mentioned the Youth Bibles of the 1970s, which I actually remember. They were a Zondervan-style production done up in ways that would appeal — presumably — to the disaffected boys and girls living in a post-Beatles America, trying to make sense of how the Summer of Love had gone so terribly weird all of a sudden.
That reminded me of a specific Bible phenomenon of the 1980s: The Book. This was another modernized Bible done up in language accessible to late-20th-Century readers. Overall, not a bad idea necessarily, since knowing the one book that dictates so much about American culture isn’t a bad thing; however, there was a much more popular extrusion called The Story, which was given away for practically nothing ($2.99, if memory serves).
This was a very condensed form of The Book, was released as a pulp-sized rack edition, and was covered in yellow-colored stock that featured a hologram of a dove. (It was the 1980s. Printed holography was Teh Kewl then.) It was 300 or so pages long, written in novel style, with dialogue in quotes, and skipped over a lot of the begats to sort of get to the point, which was of course that Jesus is the Light of the bla bla bla.
Well, it seems the most current edition is something called the Teen Extreme Bible, which reminded me of the time, a couple years back, when the Bible was released as a pair of magazines.
True story. It came complete with slick “ads” and teen-angsty articles such as “The Top Ten Ways to Score Your Perfect Mate” (or some such) — and there was a version for teen girls, with a separate one for teen boys, all done up in high-graphic ultra-wannabe-cool Cosmo/Maxim style.
The graphic-artist/PR geek in me had its internal cynicism meter1 pegged at 100 for a while before it just burned right out. (I now have a much more resistant one installed, but even still it gets strained from time to time.) TTBOMK the Bible-as-magazine craze fizzled about as fast as Ted Haggard’s homosexuality when confronted with a load of men on their knees.
I haven’t seen the Teen Extreme Bible, but I was reminded of the throwaway line from Office Space2 wherein the waitress (Jennifer Aniston) is describing the food offerings at her Chili’s/TGI Friday’s style restaurant, and mentions extreme fajitas.
Extreme fajitas? What exactly is that? I mean, as opposed to regular, or maybe not-so-extreme, fajitas? Were they once called Fajitas To The Max before a menu reprint?
So … what precisely might a Teen Extreme Bible actually be? Does Jesus collect his disciples from his choicest clan of Halo II players on His Holy Xbox 360?3 Does he cast out demons not by putting them into herds of swine, but via bungee-jumping?
Does he IM graphics to the multitudes, feeding them LOLoaves and fishes? Does he offer the Lord’s Prayer as Our Father, who Blogs in Heaven? (“Give us this week our Open Thread, and remember our Carnivals, even as we remember the A-listers who HREF toward us…”)
Does he say, “Lazarus, come forth, for yea, there are bitchin’ slopes out there, and lo we must snowboard them, and go for the Sacred 720″?
How long do you think it’ll actually be before someone does the Bible as a blog?
Jesus wept. Now we know why.
1. This is the meter that records how cheap, sleazy and low a given ad campaign is. It usually gets a workout most when I see an ad for an SUV that proclaims itself “green” because it uses dual-fuel.
2. Mike Judge was pitch-perfect when he did Office Space; it wasn’t just a sendup of cubicle life. It was a pretty well-done indictment of pre-packaged, ludicrously-commercialized America; it hit exactly the same kind of pressure points as Fight Club, but in very different ways.
3. And is Halo III therefore his second coming, or his third? Was Halo I the Old Testament? Discuss.
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