Friday Night at 8: Smashing Idols

Abraham hung out at his father Terah’s idol store one day, while Terah was out doing some errand or another.  Abraham wasn’t terribly impressed by the idols.  He had some other ideas about what made the world go round.  The story goes that while Terah was gone, Abraham smashed all the idols except the largest one.

When Terah came home, he asked Abraham, “What happened?”  Abraham replied that all the idols had gotten into a big fight and the largest idol won!

Now of course Terah knew this was hogwash but he couldn’t very well respond that it was impossible for idols to get into fistfights without admitting that idols were not real and not worth worshipping.

I like Biblical stories.  Even though I am hardly a Biblical scholar of any kind, I find them useful as basic descriptions of so many of the joys and miseries of humanity.

Imagine being Abraham.  Imagine knowing something that no one else knew or talked about.  Imagine realizing that all your neighbors and friends and family really knew that what they were hanging on to was false but somehow they all tacitly agreed, not even consciously really, to continue the charade … and not only that, but to fight with and ostracize anyone who tried to break that tacit agreement.

Imagine challenging that, confronting your community, or the powers in your community, with what you had discovered, that everything underpinning this society was a lie.  The idols were just pieces of plaster or wood and had no meaning or power whatsoever.

That would take a lot of courage.  But I think it would take an equal amount of courage to admit this to oneself to begin with.  No one wants everyone yelling at them, and I think often we gloss over uncomfortable truths for the sake of social harmony.  And maybe that’s not always a bad thing.

But to take on the taboos, oh that takes a lot of courage, both towards oneself and others.  For after all, if no one agrees with you, there could be big doubts — have you gone insane?  Are you deluded?  How can you be so arrogant as to proclaim someone else is wrong when everyone disagrees with you?

American idols.  No, not the TV show, heh.  Money.  Youth.  Fame.  Power.  These are the things our society virtually worships.  Those individuals who possess these qualities are treated differently, better than others.  We have all seen that.

Talent?  Oh that’s funny.  If we look back at our great artists, musicians, writers, so many of the really great ones suffered tremendously in their lifetimes and only afterwards were given respect by society.

So ability itself is really not valued so much in today’s idol-worshipping America.

I don’t use the word “worship” lightly in this context.  We see this happening with our present misAdministration.  We see it with our media.  And we see it with our powerful corporations.  Those are, of course, only a few examples.  Americans believe we can appease these powerful idols by looking away from the truth, buying into the lies we are fed every day.  We do this for the best of reasons — to protect our families, to keep our friends, to help our communities.  We feed into false hopes and pay homage to our American Idols, never questioning why we do this, what it is in our own minds that lets us swallow these lies and call them truth in our very actions.

Janis Joplin sang “freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.”  Americans are now losing a whole lot … homes, jobs, chances for health care, air to breathe and water to drink.

At times like these, freedom starts to have a bit more resonance to folks.

I read that the French Revolution started when women came to the bakery one day and there was literally no bread at all to be had.  They were pissed off.  They had nothing left to lose.  The structure for the Revolution was there already, folks were very discontented and angry with the “let them eat cake” monarchy.

But it was not having any bread that sparked the whole thing, something very mundane and necessary and homely.  This realization broke through not only the idolatry towards the royalty of the time, the sense that it was true the King and Queen were somehow “better” and “more deserving.”  It also broke through the whole notion of going along to get along.  Folks realized that even with their own sacrifice of the truth for lies, it still didn’t give them even the minimal food they needed to stay alive.  At that moment they were free.

I think it’s time to smash some idols.  America is ready to hear the truth.

Happy Friday to one and all.


Skip to comment form

  1. … with Sticks McGhee at the moment.

    But when I tried to post the YouTube …

    … I got thrown off the net.


    Rainy night here in NYC … good to be home … glad it’s Friday.

    I smell freedom in the air.

    (Will try to post the tune, it’s a good one)

    • kj on May 10, 2008 at 2:27 am

    not as in smashing posts, but past-smashing. it was done before we were out of bread, metaphorically speaking. i think i would only go through it again if we actually were out of bread. or else i’d do it like Thelma and Louise.

    i honestly don’t know if i care enough anymore to stand up and smash idols, let alone American ones. i’m afraid all i would do now is cuss the biggest blue streak an ex-Catholic girl could.  

    • Robyn on May 10, 2008 at 2:34 am

    have you gone insane?  Are you deluded?

    I have expert testimony that I am sane.

    Or at least was.

  2. Stay away from markets tonight!


  3. America?

    Still consumes 35% of the worlds resources while having 5% of the worlds population.

    A nation of spoiled whiny children who threaten revolution if they can’t have their choice of bread, but that are afraid to even face the fact that their government tortures, since it might threaten their personal self image and ego based comfort. Truth? You want the truth? The truth is America has sucked the blood of the world for so long that when they look in the mirror they project a reflection, even though like all vampires, their is nothing there, nothing at all. Except for a few brave souls who still manage to CLING to the sacred principles that founded this nation and have been purposely corrupted since the second day of Washington’s presidency, while they somehow manage not to break down and cry at the wasted and destroyed potential that the founders gave us…and that we have squandered…..The Truth????

    Americans are PUNKS!

    High on hubris and privilege


    Oops, damn….I hate it when I start channeling Jack.

    Sorry folks! Sorry Kitty!

    < blush >

    Good essay, NPK!

    • jim p on May 10, 2008 at 2:53 am

    Such an abstract word. I always wondered what in human experience does it refer to actually? I couldn’t get with it meaning “Hey God you are the Best! Even better than Best!” I’m pretty sure any God worth their salt wouldn’t really be all that thrilled with people saying that all the time.

    Then a wise man told me “Worship means ‘the state of giving worth.’ Of giving value.”


    Then I was presented with the context “We give value to things either external or internal, and then we react to the values we give.” And “we are the value-givers.”

    Put that all together, and a lot about life–both our inner and our social–starts to come into sharp focus.

    • kj on May 10, 2008 at 3:17 am

    went off one day on the phone about the show Gray’s Anatomy.  about how it was immoral (well duh, the characters are nicknamed “McDreamy” and “McSteamy”; JBK calls it “Sex in the City Hospital”) and how she didn’t want her grandchildren (her grandchildren?  her grandchildren are 4 and 3 and 1 years old!) to watch the show because of all the sex and stuff.  ohhh, bad, bad sex.

    well, i’d just landed from our ordeal in bum-fuckville where everybody believed in creationism, even the biology professors. plus all the stuff that goes with that. which i don’t have time to mention in one comment.

    so i was sort of raw. and you know, it was my sister. and she pissed me off.  so, i started ranting about the war.  ranting! cussing, mocking the stupid idiot Americans who wore their stupid American Flag But Made in China sweatshirts to the grocery store to support a war against a country that didn’t do jack shit to us. (She had one of those sweatshirts.) and about all the maiming and head injuries and no proper care when the vets came home. and killing civilians and things that her God said not to do. Ever. anyway, i went on for a good five minutes, basically blasting the fabric of her life and pretty much our relationship in the process.

    she didn’t speak to me for several months, freaked out, went into a depression, and almost called off a family reunion.  

    i am not a nice person when i’m angry.

    and honest to god, i think the reflection back is exactly what Buhdy said it was… nothing.  Vampire soul suckers.  and probably not worth my energy.  

    • jim p on May 10, 2008 at 3:24 am

    I was happy, snarking and potshotting at DKos. Took a few minutes of my day. Move along, nothing to see there (at least during primary season). The occasional Brandon Friedman, Meteor Blades, clammyc, OPOL, Budhy, etc.

    Now here I am needing rest in a big way, and spending four hours here.

    Could you all just stop writing for a day or two so I can chill a bit? I don’t think that’s an unreasonable request. Maybe slightly fevered.

    Shoulda stayed away. Grumble grumble.

    G’night all.

    • kj on May 10, 2008 at 3:45 am

    i smashed another idol with the same sister.  she’s big-time Catholic and so are her kids and son-in-law. one of her daughters has three kids under five-years-old.  my sister was telling me how she thought her daughter was preggers again, but wasn’t, and how cool that would be to have another grandchild. i sort of (gently, but said it anyway) ‘omg you’re kidding, bring another child into a world that is already overburdened?  our environment is strained!  we can’t support the people we have!’  (something like that)

    now, anything that devalues motherhood is a crime in my particular family with our particular quirks, so i knew i was treading on very thin ice. basically my sister reply so that was pretty much the end of the overpopulation discussion.

    but she did call me on Arbor day because it was about ‘the environment’ and she had thought of me!  

    🙂  l.o.l.

    and then there are the racist in-laws.  but i’ll stop now.  ;-b

    • kj on May 10, 2008 at 4:17 am

    This is probably what love would do.  But does America have any more time to wait?

Comments have been disabled.