Thursday, April 5, 2012

John Carter and The Gods of Mars (plus Easter On Arcturus)

With Passover and Easter almost upon us, what could be more natural than for our thoughts to turn to godly matters?  This was my high-minded reason for seeing the new movie John Carter, based on Edgar Rice Burroughs’ classic Martian novels. 
(Four or five callow teenagers sitting in the last row, throwing popcorn and yelling out jokes and comments and laughing hysterically, may not have been there for the same reason.  Aside from these kids, and a guy with a broom who came in from time to time to tell them to quiet down or else get thrown out, I was the only other person in the theater.)
One of the things I always liked most in the first three books is the nested web of false religions that pervade the Barsoomian (Martian) culture.  The red men and the green men of Barsoom may be immortal.  No one is sure because most often they die in fierce duels or in battle, but if they reach the age of 1000 years they take a voluntary pilgrimage down the river Iss to the sacred Valley Dor (i.e. heaven), presided over by the holy Therns and the goddess Issus. 
But it turns out [spoiler alert!] that the bald, white holy Therns are corrupt priests who enslave the pilgrims (especially women) or feed them to the plant men or the great white apes.  Therns, in turn, worship the beautiful and glorious Issus, who turns out to be a hideous, ordinary ancient black woman.  She believes in the First Born (the black men of Barsoom) who dwell on the far side of the moon Thuria, but who are revealed to be pirates who actually live in a vast hidden city under the Lost Sea of Korus beneath the Valley Dor, and who periodically kidnap and enslave the Therns and their captives.
John Carter (gentleman soldier of Virginia, USA, Earth), with the help of a few companions, defeats all of these enemies and exposes this vast religious Ponzi scheme.
Could something similar to this be true on Earth (a.k.a. Jasoom)?  Does Jesus worship Yahweh, who believes in Zeus, who is a devotee of Odin, who follows the Buddah, who bows to Queztalcoatl, who is beholden to Jove, who secretly lights candles to Ahura Mazda (Zoroastrian lord of light and wisdom), who receives revelations from Loki, who is just a big joker?
This is more confusing than Inception.
To be on the safe side, I think I'll lift my kiddish cup to the Gods of Arcturus.  Here's another page from my old notebooks.  Frankly, it contained some pretty disgusting stuff, so I cut out the whole middle.  Maybe you won't be able to tell.  The missing section can be found in a cave somewhere near the Dead Sea.