Monday, October 08, 2007

In Which I Make a Theological Argument

Here's something that originated as a reading I did on Fist City a few months back...

Blessed Are the Vulpine
In 1965, Presbyterian minister Robert L. Short saw the publication of his book, The Gospel According to Peanuts, which used characters and episodes from Charles Schultz’s long-running strip Peanuts to illustrate lessons about Christian philosophy, and to teach theology through the easily accessible medium of the comics page.

While I admire the work of the honorable reverend Short, I cannot help but think he backed the wrong pony, allegoric-crypto-graphically speaking. For I believe that the truest moral lessons can be gleaned from a close examination of that chaplain of the comics page, Slylock Fox.

For what is more key to any religion than the law? Whether it be the Torah in Judaism; the Ten Commandments in Christianity; or the Criminal Code for the United Federation of Anthropomorphic Animals in Slylock Fox, the law is the cornerstone of an ethical society. And who upholds the law? Not Max Mouse, the ineffectual but well-meaning everymouse. No—while virtuous, Max is unable to combat the evil forces aligning against him, whether they plan to steal boxes of cupcakes or to distribute counterfeit bubble gum cards. Max must seek solace in a higher power—specifically a Fox smart enough to notice that known counterfeiter Kopy Kat seems to be chewing a lot of gum these days. Through Slylock, I have learned that God helps those too incompetent to help themselves.

Slylock Fox is filled with such lessons. Consider The Parable of the Empty Room With the High Safe, wherein a safe is found burgled, despite being several feet off the ground, in a room with nothing to stand on. How was it done? Would it surprise you to learn that the thief stood on a block of ice to crack the safe, and then allowed the ice to melt, thus eliminating the evidence? Of course it wouldn’t. You’ve read a locked-room mystery before. But the solution only yields more mysteries. Like: why isn’t there anything else in the room? Is putting a safe on a pillar in the middle of an empty room really an effective security strategy? Isn’t it difficult to attempt delicate safe-cracking while atop a slippery ice block? And where did the ice come from? If the thief had access to ice, couldn’t they procure something slightly more useful, like a ladder? The moral is: sometimes that which seems most pressing is the simplest mystery to solve, while we are constantly surrounded by evidence of the universe’s ultimate unknowability. Also, if you’re gonna steal, you should find some way to work ice into it.

From Slylock Fox, I have learned that all bad people have curly, old-time-serial moustaches, and/or black eye masks. And they have names like Count Weirdly, Reeky Rat, Slick Smitty, Wanda Witch, and Shady Shrew, making them easy to be identified and avoided. On the other hand, if you encounter someone named Extraordinary Egret, or Likestagiveablowjob Lynx, you should pursue their friendship ardently.

We followers of the fox, or Zorroastrians, as we like to be called, know that even the virtuous can be tempted, and that sin can come in pleasing forms, namely that of comely thief Cassandra Cat. Still, despite the temptation of her two, full, human-style bosoms, rather than the traditional four cat nipples—and despite the tight catsuit that she wears, which manages to emphasize her shapely hindquarters, while de-emphasizing her tail—Slylock knows that she is evil at heart, and that for him to couple with her would be as wrong as a human man going on and on about a cartoon cat’s full bosoms. We mustn’t give into temptation, no matter how well-drawn.

Some may take issue with my position, believing instead that the meek will inherit the earth, and thus Ziggy is the true cartoon messiah; or that the truth can only be found in the Zen koan-like unfunniness of Fred Bassett. Beware these false idols. Some may question the seriousness of Slylock Fox as a comprehensive system of religious teachings, noting that its full title is Slylock Fox & Comics for Kids. But did the prophet Whitney Houston not proclaim the children are our future? Checkmate, doubters.

All I know is that any creature who would willingly, and without species prejudice, help out Aaron Aardvark, Cliff Cat, Dumpty Dog, Buford Bear, Bradford Bloodhound, Carl Cardinal, Stewey Stork, Basher Bull, Earl Elephant, Don Dove, Bobby Beaver, Terry Turtle, Chester Chick & Mrs Chicken, Henry Hippo, Kenny Kangaroo, Tompkin Tapir, Charlie Chimp, Dippy Duck, Roxy Rabbit, Oswald Ostrich, Horace Hippo, Edward Eagle, Robert Raccoon, Fred Flamingo, Andy Anteater, Manny Monkey, and Penrod Penguin, is truly a fox to be emulated.

Please join me in giving solemn offering of 500 fish a day, plus expenses.

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