Thursday, January 24, 2013

Don't have a cow, man

The Inspector, Karen Liebowitz
And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, This is the ordinance of the law which the LORD hath commanded, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke — Numbers 19:1-2 (KJV)

Robert Guffey's Cryptoscatology turned me on to the bizarre and frightening story of Clyde Lott, cattle breeder and fundamentalist Christian, who is seeking to breed an unblemished Red Heifer in order to bring about the construction of the Third Temple which will then bring about the Second Coming of Christ, along with the end of the world as we know it.

Why the Red Heifer?

The red heifer or red cow (Hebrew: פרה אדומה; parah adumah) was a sacrifice in the Hebrew Bible the ashes of which are used for the ritual purification of an ancient Israelite who had come into contact with a corpse.
In Daniel 12:10, God tells Daniel that in the last days, "many shall be purified and made white"; a reference to the purification ritual of the Red Heifer, "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow" (Isa 1:18, Num 19:6). The analogy appears to relate to a partner of the returning End Time messiah.
The absolute rarity of the animal, combined with the detailed ritual in which it is used, have given the Red Heifer special status in Jewish tradition. It is cited as the prime example of a khok, or biblical law for which there is no apparent logic, and is therefore deemed of absolute Divine origin. Because the state of ritual purity obtained through the ashes of a Red Heifer is a necessary prerequisite for participating in Temple service, efforts have been made in modern times by Jews wishing for biblical ritual purity and in anticipation of the building of The Third Temple to locate a red heifer and recreate the ritual.
The Temple Institute, an organization dedicated to preparing the reconstruction of a Third Temple in Jerusalem, has been attempting to identify Red Heifer candidates consistent with the requirements of Numbers 19:1–22 and Mishnah Tractate Parah.
During a March 2010 radio interview a Temple Institute representative claimed that there is now "definitely a kosher red heifer here in Israel."
The non-canonical Epistle of Barnabas (8:1) explicitly equates the Red Heifer with Jesus.
Some Fundamentalist Christians believe that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ cannot occur until the Third Temple is constructed in Jerusalem, which requires the appearance of a red heifer born in Israel. Clyde Lott, a cattle breeder in O'Neill, Nebraska, United States, is attempting to systematically breed red heifers and export them to Israel to establish a breeding line of red heifers in Israel in the hope that this will bring about the construction of the Third Temple and ultimately the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Not forgetting that for fundamentalist Christians such as Lott, the Second Coming will be preceded by the reign of the Antichrist.  The Second Coming will result in the Last Judgement, the end times thought by some to be described in the Book of Revelation.

His is what would be generally described as a "futurist" interpretation of Revelation:

Futurist interpretations generally predict a resurrection of the dead and a rapture of the living, wherein all true Christians and those who have not reached an age of accountability are gathered to Christ at the time God's kingdom comes on earth. They also believe a tribulation will occur - a seven-year period of time when believers will experience worldwide persecution and martyrdom, and be purified and strengthened by it. 

Those not included in the rapture will be condemned to hell on earth, forever.  Which is actually probably pretty accurate, for the reconstruction of the Third Temple must be on the Temple Mount where we currently find the Dome of the Rock, the second holiest site in Islam.  Destruction of this mosque would lead to such a violent Holy War that it could easily finish in nuclear holocaust.  Even after the Israelis trounced their Muslim adversaries in the Six Day War, they left the Temple Mount in the hands of their enemies.  Even in victory, they couldn't risk the all-out Jihad of the entire Muslim world should they have chosen to occupy it.

So breeding the Red Heifer is just one way to bring about the Apocalypse.

La vache qui rit
One happy heifer

Being the goofball I am, the words "red heifer" made me think of the only red heifer I know about: La vache qui rit, aka The Laughing Cow(Red Bull energy drinks don't count, a heifer is a female, a bull, a male!)

This brand of cheese dates to 1921, when brothers Leon and Jules Bel founded the company and created the first spreadable cheese found in individual, foil-wrapped portions.

The cow itself was trademarked in 1921 by Leon, becoming France's first brand-name cheese.  In 1924, friend Benjamin Rabier created the caricature of the cow which is pretty much the same version we see today.

Obviously, this jovial bovine is not the Red Heifer of the Book of Daniel.  For starters, her nose and hooves have white hair; according to the stringent standards of the rabbis, this disqualifies the Laughing Cow as a sacrificial candidate.  Furthermore, it's a cartoon character.

Funny thing though, is the name of the founders:  BelBel and the Dragon is an apocryphal book of the Bible, chapter 14 of the extended Book of Daniel, the very book in which the Red Heifer makes an important appearance in an end of days context.

In Bel and the Dragon, there are, curiously, two incidents related to food.  In the first, Daniel challenges the Persian King Cyrus's belief that his idol is a living God.  Cyrus says his proof is that the God consumes a ritual meal overnight.  By scattering ashes on the floor, Daniel is able to prove that the meal is in fact consumed by the priests who hide inside the statue and come out at night to gobble up the ritual offerings; their footprints give them away.  Cyrus then has the priests, their wives and their children killed on the spot and allows Daniel to destroy the idol.  Yahweh is a jealous god and when affronted, thinks nothing of allowing the murder of women, children, etc.  Remember the Apocalypse!

In the brief but autonomous companion narrative of the dragon (14:23-30), "there was a great Dragon, which they of Babylon worshiped."....  Daniel slays the dragon by baking pitch, fat, and hair (trichas) to make cakes (mazas, barley-cakes, but translated "lumps") that cause the dragon to burst open upon consumption.

So, given the family name and the centrality of food in these two stories, is it not possible the Bel brothers chose the Red Heifer as a sly nod to the Book of Daniel?

Also interesting is that Bêl is not a name but a title meaning "Lord" or "Master".  Feminized, it's Bêlit, meaning "Lady" or "Mistress".  As in....the Scarlet Lady?  More on that later.

I iz not the Red Heifer you iz looking for

L'Homme qui rit

The Man Who Laughs in French, L'Homme qui rit (1869) is one of Victor Hugo's more obscure novels, written after he had embraced Spiritist and Deist religious views.

Is it also possible that the vache qui rit is a comical nod to Hugo's novel?  The first major character in the novel is a snake-oil salesman who "dresses in bearskins and calls himself Ursus (Latin for "bear"). His only companion is a large domesticated wolf, whom Ursus has named Homo (Latin for “man”). 

I was only attracted to the novel because the title was an echo (or vice versa) of our lovable cow, but I was surprised that this animal/human transvestism is a feature of the novel, because what is the Laughing Cow but an anthropomorphized animal?

The second major character is a starving boy lost in the snow.  He encounters a hanged criminal, and takes the dead man's shoes.  He then walks some more and encounters another corpse, a women in rags, frozen to death.  He discovers an infant child clutching at the woman's breast, from which hangs a single drop of frozen milk. (OK, not to take things too far, but milk?  And cows?)   He realizes the girl is blind. He eventually stumbles upon the caravan of Ursus, the animal man.

A flashback later in the novel reveals that in this first encounter, Ursus thinks the boy is laughing as he holds the nearly dead blind girl; upon closer look, he sees the boy's face has been mutilated into a clown's mask, carved into a smile.  He is l'homme qui rit, Gwynplaine.

The girl is eventually named Dea (Latin = "goddess").  Due to her blindness, she can't see Gwynplaine's deformity and the pair fall in love.

As it turns out, Gwynplaine was the victim of court scheming, sent off to a group of kid traffickers who disfigured him in order to sell him as a freak to a travelling carnival or circus.  After intrigue involving an arranged marriage and investiture as the rightful Lord Fermain Clancharlie, Marquis of Corleone, he is ordered to take his seat in the House of Lords. "But, when the deformed Gwynplaine addresses his peers with a fiery speech against the gross inequality of the age, the other lords are provoked to laughter by Gwynplaine's clownish features."

Gwynplaine/Lord Fermain (fer = "iron" / main = "hand") renounces his peerage and returns to search for Ursus and Dea, who he eventually finds.

Dea is delighted that Gwynplaine has returned to her. She reveals her passion to Gwynplaine, and then she abruptly dies. Gwynplaine then walks, as though in a trance to the edge of the ship, speaking to Dea, and with the reflection of a distant light in his eyes, though the sky is starless. He throws himself into the water, and is thus reunited with Dea in death. When Ursus, who has fainted in Dea's last moments, comes to his senses, Gwynplaine has vanished, and Homo is staring mournfully over the ship's rail, howling into the sea from which Gwynplaine will not return.

So, the deformed clown is united with the goddess by throwing himself in the water, and the wolf/man mourns their death.  This paring of a laughing man and a goddess, whom Christians would automatically label a false deity, may have some importance in our unfolding poetic discourse.

Gwynplaine incarnated by Conrad Veigt

Don't forget the Joker

Hugo's novel and it's various filmed versions have inspired several Batman comics over the years:
    • 1940. Jerry Robinson borrows the physique and grotesque grin of Gwynplaine as his inspiration for the Joker, something revealed by Bob Kane in later interviews.
    • 1998. Artist Brian Bolland is inspired by The Man Who Laughs film for Batman: The Killing Joke.
    • 2003. In the "Wild Cards" episode of the Justice League animated series, the Joker uses "Gwynplaine Entertainment" as an alias.
    • 2005. Batman: The Man Who Laughs.
    • 2008. The Dark Knight. The Joker's permanent grin appears to be caused by a mutilation to his face.
    • 2011. Batman and Robin, writer David Hine introduced a deformed French supervillain named the Man Who Laughs. His backstory states that his father, a fan of classic art and literature, carved a smile onto his face as an intentional homage to Hugo's novel.
      The only reason these Batman references jumped out at me is because of the Aurora shootings, to which a host of Batman references have been associated by various Internet synchromystics, conspiracy theorists and people who pay attention.  Holmes himself said:  "I am the Joker" before opening fire on the apostolic dozen of victims.  This feeds back to our Red Heifer because I've recently run across a lot of references to a woman in red, but more specifically, with regard to Aurora shooter Robert Holmes:

      Loren Coleman has been writing about the symbolism of a "lady in red" (Holmes' Harlots, July 30, 2012).  He links several appearances of the red woman to the Aurora shootings in Colorado, itself one in a series of shootings with patterns pointing to what Coleman calls "Red Dawn" scenarios.  This follows a post of July 22, Blood Red Movie Massacres.  Back on May 3, The Sink Hole's Will Morgan devoted a post to the topic, unrelated to shootings, entitled....Lady in Red.  Morgan links the red lady to the Sacred Whore of Babylon.  Coleman links her to prostitution.  Old acquaintance Tate Bunker, who I haven't actually spoken to in 20 years or so, premiered his first feature film, Little Red at the Milwaukee Film Festival (September 30).

      If you will, the Whore of Babylon is also known as the Scarlet Woman. Interesting that the red women in Coleman's post are harlots, or whores. Echoing Hugo's "Dea" and the stories of Daniel, the word translated here as "whore" can also be translated as "idolatress." Is the Scarlet Woman the "partner of the returning End Time messiah" referred to in Daniel 12:10? Hard to say. "Apocalypse" initially meant revelation, prophetic literature. Like most prophecy, it's pretty garbled stuff, encoded, cryptic. Fun stuff, but this tends to lead to as many interpretations as there are interpreters. So really who knows what the fuck Daniel or St. John were on about. Different Christians traditions have different interpretations. Funny thing is, we've got synchromystics going on about the current ubiquity of a Scarlet Woman, many appearances pointing back to the Batman mythos. So, from the Scarlet Heifer of Daniel to the Laughing Cow, thenceforth to the Laughing Man and finally to....the Joker and the Scarlet Lady. But where is the Antichrist?
      Heath Ledger as the Joker

      Enter Obama

      A short time ago we posted Barack Obama is the Antichrist. We don't think he is, of course, but a lot of people do. may just be the best domain name, evah. We also looked at how Obama was depicted as the Joker in a post about the Batman links to Aurora (20 rosy fingers). This was all in the context of mass shootings, which for many on the conspiratorial right, are merely false flags to scare the sheeple into accepting gun control laws they might not otherwise push for or accept (see Cold, dead fingers). In fact, Obama has begun the process of issuing executive orders to regulate the access to firearms, a fact not lost on the right, to be sure. This is all a prelude, according to the BA is the AC crowd, for the pacification of the people, one more step towards One World Government/Religion and the New World Order of the Antichrist.

      Batrack Obama as the Joker
      If I don't get into whole Whore of Babylon thing, it's because no one knows for sure who exactly she is....each sect takes its prejudice and runs with it. Likewise the New World Order. Suffice it to say that for true believers, everything these days is a step towards that nefarious goal.

      I have no conclusion here, but it was an interesting trip down the path of association. From the Red Heifer to Barak Obama, via cheese, Victor Hugo and the Joker. Not too shabby!


      1. Awesome - in part for simply tying Hugo's novel to the inspiration for what has become a modern American icon, the Joker. Well done.

      2. Hey thanks a lot, Jason. I had a lot of fun with this one, but it could have been better. That list of Hugo-inspired Joker appearances come straight from Wikipedia, btw, so I'm not sure how much credit I can take!

      3. I really want to read this novel now. If there's a red cow in it I'll flip my lid.

      4. Nice!

        This line: "It is cited as the prime example of a khok, or biblical law for which there is no apparent logic, and is therefore deemed of absolute Divine origin."

        Ha! Me thinks there are many khoks.

        I didn't realize there was an extension to Daniel. I'll have to check it out some time.

        I'd heard about a guy trying to raise the red heifer to end the world before ... but I thought it was some dude in Texas. Maybe my memory's off, or maybe there's more than one breeder out there.

      5. A lot of khoks indeed! Don't you think, though, that breeding the heifer is cheating soewhat? Apparently it's only s'posed to have occurred 8 or 9 times, so tampering with that rareness seems to miss the point?

        In any case, the idea of being nudged towards Armageddon is not very comforting.


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