The Einstein sisters tackle
Christian Zionism

– more charming satire –
 
by G.S.  <george.salzman@umb.edu>  7 January 2008

this page is at http://site.www.umb.edu/faculty/salzman_g/S2/2008-01-07.htm

      Just three months ago, out of the blue I got a note that began,
 
George, Thank you for your excellent work informing the world about the courageous struggle in Oaxaca. You seemed dispirited in one of your last postings. Can I try to cheer you up?

“Well”, I thought in all modesty, “whoever this is must be a very intelligent person.” As my friend Kobi Snitz, an Israeli Jewish mathematician active in the protests by his group Anarchists Against the Wall wrote me, “my grandmother used to say, flattery will get you everywhere” [1] Thinking there might be more encouraging compliments, I read on. The message continued,

        I've written a jumbo political satire, The Einstein Sisters Bag the Flying Monkeys ... Albert Einstein’s precocious great-great granddaughters attack anti-Semitism, lampoon Christian Zionists, Likudniks (Benyamin Netanyahu and Ariel Sharon), and their neo-con bedmates (Bush, Cheney, Rove, DeLay, Wolfowitz, Perle, and Feith) — finally burying the bunch of them in a bomb shelter and claiming they were “Raptured”. The girls also logically and passionately argue for a bi-national state in Israel/Palestine. Readers applaud it as a hilarious, timely, and educational page-turner ...

      The timing for publication is perfect! The [Israel] Lobby is on the defensive and ripe for satirical skewering. You probably know that Bill Moyers devoted Friday night's PBS program to the threat of Christian Zionism. Saturday Ray McGovern attacked the Israeli Lobby over the USS Liberty for Consortium News ... Next week we’ll complete both the eBook and CD-ROM versions ... If you'd like, I'd love to send you a digitalized copy to review.
Keep up the good work! Respectfully,

—Irving Wesley Hall, 7 October 2007

        So I decided to take a look. So far the results are very encouraging.[2] I’m not averse to political satire, especially after once again enjoying Tom Lehrer’s songs to try to lighten up the mood a little in my last posting.[3] I replied to Irving that same day, saying in part, “Of course I’d like to see the text, and will read it if you e-mail it to me.” His optimistic ‘Next week’ lasted three months – his satiric novel arrived in the early hours of this morning. By now I’ve read the Preface,[4] Chapters 1 and 2, the Acknowledgments, his About the Author brief autobigraphical sketch,[5] and the very beginning of Chapter 3.

      I don’t trust my literary judgment enough (in fact I don’t trust it at all) to say with any assurance that The Einstein Sisters Bag the Flying Monkeys is fine satire. But from everything I’ve seen so far, Irving Hall’s political and social comments are right on target. I was particularly captured by seeing, at the very beginning of Chapter 3,

   “What would Grandpa Albert say about you’re making fun of a good-hearted African-American lady?
   Shamed speechless, both Norma and Maxine stared at the picture. Their famous ancestor smiled down benignly. Tina read the quotation in a confident voice.

    A human being is part of the whole called by us the universe, a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us.
    Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if manking is to survive.
—Albert Einstein

   “Tina’s right,” Maxine admitted. “We began our treatise on the Einstein Sisters’ Theory of Responsibility with that quotation.

      The Einstein Sisters Bag the Flying Monkeys: A Political Satire About Christian Zionism in Bush’s America is not only fun to read; it is a serious critique of a major American problem, one that will persist after the miserable Bush presidency ends. Here’s a bit of the preface:
      For centuries satirists have delighted readers by employing improbable characters, outlandish situations, and provocative humor to poke fun at the current conventional wisdom about religion, morality, and politics — and to arouse the citizenry to right the wrongs perpetuated by the rich and powerful of their times.
      In October 2000, Florida’s Shepherd’s Vale School represents a bizarre parallel universe. In the real world, public schools don’t stone students for violating the Ten Commandments. High school business majors don’t build Armageddon theme parks. The school’s loveable mascot isn’t sacrificed on an altar after a winning football season. The principal doesn’t send his Jewish students to Israel to worship Satan in order to speed up the end of the world. The nerds aren’t angry prophets who warn of eternal war, economic collapse, the destruction of the Constitution, and the shredding of the Bill of Rights — if George W. Bush steals the approaching election.

NOTES
[1] Kobi Snitz is a contact person for the Israeli group Anarchists Against the Wall. His e-mail is <ksnitz@gmail.com>.

[2] Irving Wesley Hall’s website is at http://www.notinkansas.us/ . His e-mail is <irvinghall@notinkansas.us>.

[3] My last posting, Raw Hate, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year — a Christmas rant, is at http://site.www.umb.edu/faculty/salzman_g/S2/2007-12-25.htm . The Tom Lehrer songs are linked to in Note 2 of that paper.

[4] The Preface is featured on Hall’s website, at http://www.notinkansas.us/index.html . Just scroll down a bit to get to it.

[5] Hall’s brief autobiographical sketch is at http://www.notinkansas.us/author.html .


All comments and criticisms are welcome.  <george.salzman@umb.edu>

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