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Author Topic: PC174: The Parable of the Shower  (Read 23576 times)

Talia

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on: September 13, 2011, 02:36:09 PM
PodCastle 174: The Parable of the Shower

by Leah Bobet

Read by Laurice White

Originally appeared in Lone Star Stories

The angel of the LORD cometh upon you in the shower at the worst possible moment: one hand placed upon thy right buttock and the other bearing soap, radio blaring, humming a heathen song of sin.

Fear not! he proclaimeth from the vicinity of the shampoo caddy, and the soap falleth from thy hand.

Motherfu—thou sayest, and then thou seest the light, the wings, the blazing eyes like sunlight and starlight both at once, and since thy mother raised thee right thou coverest thy mouth with one hand and makest the sign of the cross with the other. It is the soap-hand which covereth thy mouth: thou gett’st soap in thy mouth, and spittest—away from the angel of the LORD—and do not curse again though it is terrible hard.

The angel of the LORD he does laugh.


Rated R for language, sex.

ETA: Added a link to Laurice White's website.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2011, 01:54:24 PM by Talia »



ToooooMuchCoffeeMan

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Reply #1 on: September 13, 2011, 06:33:59 PM
This comment isn't actually about the story. What I want to know is if a transcript of Dave Thompson's introductory rant is available. Thanks for calling out OSC.



ElectricPaladin

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Reply #2 on: September 13, 2011, 09:54:24 PM
I really loved this one, in part because I've had my own negative experiences with angels. I mean, they mean well - to whatever extent they are capable of free will - but they can't help it. They tend to be authoritarian. They want the job done right and they want it done right now, and they aren't good about human things like "feelings" and "freedom." It doesn't help that one perspective has dominated their point of view for a long time. The angel in this story probably didn't want to come off like a rapist/cop, and it shows in the end. If you're persistent, they come around in the end.

I have to admit, though, that I couldn't help but read this story as "the parable of the shower," as in one who shows, as in opposed to a grower - as in somebody possessed of the dubious blessing of a penis that is impressively large when flaccid (rather than simply becoming so when aroused - a more common condition).

I don't think the version in my head would have been better, but it certainly would have been different.

Anyway, I enjoyed this story immensely. I thought the characters were excellently expressed in very few words, and the switch between modern and badly translated bible-talk (I was a religion major in college - don't get me started) was hilarious and added a lot to the piece.

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kodermike

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Reply #3 on: September 14, 2011, 12:27:51 AM
*wow* Just *wow*. I've been listening to podcastle and pseudopod for a year or so now, but I've never been so moved to leave a comment as I have for this story. The voice acting was superb, as we've come to expect from Laurice White, but Leah Bobet's story made me laugh hard - which might not be such a great thing in traffic on I-95, but let the other drivers writhe in jealousy. I'm sure there will be flak for this one, there always is when religion is involved, but I think Dave's intro set the mood and the story sealed the deal. Keep it coming!



DKT

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Reply #4 on: September 14, 2011, 04:56:06 AM
This comment isn't actually about the story. What I want to know is if a transcript of Dave Thompson's introductory rant is available. Thanks for calling out OSC.

Oh, hey - glad you liked it. Here's what I said:

Hello, and welcome back to PodCastle. I’m your host and co-editor Dave Thompson. Today - let’s talk about blasphemy. Specifically, of the Judeo-Christian variety. I’ve mentioned in the past that I’m a Quaker, and perhaps because of that, or perhaps because I’m a weirdo, I have a different perspective as to what I find blasphemous. Here’s where it comes from: what I genuinely dig about Jesus Christ is when push comes to shove, he said there are only two things that matter: Love God, and love your neighbor as yourself. That’s it. Everything else? Falls beneath those – the two greatest commandments. I guess John Lennon really was right according to JC. All you need is love. Now, we could spend hours talking about what loving God actually means, but love your neighbor as yourself? That’s a lot easier to interpret.

And so, when I log on to the old internets, and read that Orson Scott Card, a mormon, has a novella coming out soon that, as a plot point, suggests that since Hamlet’s daddy was gay and thus the ghost that sets all things in motion was actually a malevolent spirit – because again - he was gay and thus, said gayness caused the evil spirit to be the real bad guy in Shakespeare’s play, well, I not only call bullshit, but I call blasphemy too. To me, that sounds like ignoring one of the greatest commandment - loving your neighbor, and instead spewing hate. I know, I know. It happens a lot. But if we want to talk about blasphemy, I don’t have to look any further. Love your neighbor. There are no conditions placed on that. Love your neighbor as yourself. It's written in red folks. Don’t just talk about it, don’t try to convince anyone you know better than they do how they were really born, who they should love and who they should fuck, that you love the sinner, but hate the sin. Blah blah blah. That kind of shit isn't Christian. Just love.

So, with that definition in mind, I don’t particularly see this week’s story as blasphemous in the least.  This week at PodCastle we’re proud to present “The Parable of the Shower,” by Leah Bobet, and originally published at Lone Star Stories. We’ll link to the text in our show notes.


For those that are interested, here's the review I read of OSC's book, pointed out to me by friends on my LJ.

*wow* Just *wow*. I've been listening to podcastle and pseudopod for a year or so now, but I've never been so moved to leave a comment as I have for this story. The voice acting was superb, as we've come to expect from Laurice White, but Leah Bobet's story made me laugh hard - which might not be such a great thing in traffic on I-95, but let the other drivers writhe in jealousy. I'm sure there will be flak for this one, there always is when religion is involved, but I think Dave's intro set the mood and the story sealed the deal. Keep it coming!

Thanks so much for signing up! Glad you liked this one, and I hope we see you around more often :)

Also, just a general note - I'm going to beat Fenrix to this and point out that if you like Laurice White's readings, you should check out the latest Pseudopod - The Eater. I'm really excited to check it out myself :)


lorax

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Reply #5 on: September 14, 2011, 05:27:12 AM
Mr. Thompson,

     Hello, I had to write and comment because I love this podcast, and greatly enjoy your contribution to it. I wanted to let you know that I am a Mormon, and as one I Know that the greatest law Jesus gave us is to love God and next to love each other. We as Mormon are taught to love everyone, but none of us are perfect. We are all still learning to love our neighbors more!



iamafish

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Reply #6 on: September 14, 2011, 10:46:51 AM
you and everybody else, pall. :P

I took a bit of time to get into this story - the writing style didn't do much for me - but once, i did, i really enjoyed it. I like that we can write and listen to light hearted - but still with a serious point - stories about religious. Nothing is and nothing should be sacred when it comes to fiction. I like stories that challenge conventional religion, conventional ideas and conventional assumptions, as well as making you laugh. Good story and fantastic reading.


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Reply #7 on: September 14, 2011, 12:48:29 PM
Win.  Utter win.

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dragonsbreath

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Reply #8 on: September 14, 2011, 06:39:41 PM
As a convert to Catholicism I had to put aside my initial reaction of disgust at the play on the Annunciation. Once past that, I enjoyed the story. The voice characterizations, the surprisingly supporting role of the neighbor and the fact that the "angel" seemed to display some disappointment at having to copulate with an elderly lady versus a young, pretty girl. It was quite a clever way of showing that angels are not always so pure, in the confines of this story.

My only qualm with the ending was the suggestion that a "new God" be molded according to human will.

BTW - The intro was really helpful in setting the stage for recognizing the dangers of judgementalism. And thanks for using my favorite quote from St. Francis to end the program.



ElectricPaladin

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Reply #9 on: September 14, 2011, 06:50:10 PM
My only qualm with the ending was the suggestion that a "new God" be molded according to human will.

Why is that a qualm? I'm a heathen Jew here, but would it be incorrect to say that Jesus was shaped by the experiences of his mortal life? I think that's what they are going for here, that the child will be a new God in the sense that he will be a new incarnation of God born as a human, in the same way that Jesus was an incarnation of God born in mortal flesh in Christian mythology. The character is referring to a chance to shape and mold this new incarnation of God, just as Jesus was certainly influenced by his parents, friends, and so on.

As I wrote above, I was a religion major in college, which is why I find your reaction so fascinating. I totally get needing to get over the not-so-gently mocking tone of the angel's arrival, but not needing to get over the idea that if God is going to be born as a human he's going to be molded by the humans in his life.

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FlowerFancier

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Reply #10 on: September 14, 2011, 08:15:52 PM
Wow, agree with Kodermike! I'm a recent convert to Podcastle. Listened to this story while I worked this morning and was transported into another body, in another world, the writing and the reading were so vivid. I wonder whether is sometimes a great reader I mean voice actor..like this who makes the difference between a story being perceived as blasphemy or inspiration? Not to shortchange the writing by any means, which I loved too and which made me laugh out loud. Enjoyed the concept of taking responsibility for shaping our own Deity and the form in which He/She can act on the world. Oh, and loved your intro too, so just a whole lot of love for this episode... Amen :)



danooli

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Reply #11 on: September 14, 2011, 09:29:09 PM
Glad I'm not alone in my opinions on this weeks story  Absolute brilliance both in the story and in the reading. 

Like others, I literally laughed out loud a number of times.  "THOU CANS'T USE DAYCARE?!?!;D



Wilson Fowlie

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Reply #12 on: September 14, 2011, 11:05:27 PM
This had me laughing out loud, too.

My favourite line: Yes, thou repliest, and diggest in the drawer.

Like others, I literally laughed out loud a number of times.  "THOU CANS'T USE DAYCARE?!?!;D

This one actually bothered me a bit, and I'll explain why.

First of all, though, I need to say that I really enjoyed Laurice White's performance. Her deadpan delivery of the KJV-like language (Early Modern English, if anyone cares) contrasted with the street-wise (and utterly differentiated!) deliveries of the main character and Missus Van Metre* were lovely to hear. This goes into my set of readings that I will listen to again as much for the narrator as for the story.

That being said, she did have a few missteps in pronunciation and delivery, and danooli's example was one of them.

The original text is:
I’m only twenty-three, I can’t raise a kid right now—
THOU CANST USE DAYCARE, the angel boometh.

In other words, it is telling her (or at least suggesting to her) to use daycare, not asking her why she can't. This is because 'canst' is Early Modern English for can, not — as many people think — can't. So Ms. White's intonation of it as a question was contrary to the meaning.

There were one or two others — such as pronouncing 'inexorable' as 'inexonorable' — that distracted me a little. But they were small, nitpicky things that didn't detract very much from the masterful performance.

(Also, I note, on checking the text, that another of the bits that niggled at me was from the author, which is a bit of a relief. In the passage Thou stand bemused for a moment it seems to me that it should be 'standest' or, perhaps, 'standst'.)



*Haha, it's actually spelt that way — 'Missus' and all — in the text! Brilliant.

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InfiniteMonkey

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Reply #13 on: September 15, 2011, 01:49:22 AM
I don't usually cotton to modern world/ancient faith mash-ups like this, but this was done so well, with both humor and dignity, that I loved it.

My only problem was before the story started. See, I kept hearing the name "Lorena Bobbit", and was expecting something very different.

(though I'm not *exactly* sure how this is a parable).

And as for Dave's opening rant - GO MAN GO!!! (I know several people in the skiffy community who are agitated by this).



Kconv

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Reply #14 on: September 15, 2011, 03:52:02 AM
This VERY much reminded me of Good Omens.

I could almost picture Crombey bursting in on this scene any moment, with Queen playing on his ipod.



danooli

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Reply #15 on: September 15, 2011, 10:54:13 AM
This is because 'canst' is Early Modern English for can, not — as many people think — can't.

Another new piece of knowledge I've gained from the Escape Artist forums!  Thanks Mr. Fowlie!

Although, literal meaning of "canst" aside, I still love the thought of "An Angel Of The Lord" suggesting daycare!


Also, please let me echo those who say Dave really nailed the intro.  DKT, you're alright in my book!   ;D



NomadicScribe

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Reply #16 on: September 15, 2011, 12:00:07 PM
I'm going to go against the grain on Dave's opening here. Not because I disagree with his point about Orson Scott Card; believe me, I am on board with the belief that "Hamlet's Father" is all kinds of wrong. Heavy-handed social politics are one of the reasons why I don't read very much Card, and adding insult to injury is hijacking a Shakespeare play in order to fill it with a blatant anti-gay message.

But I also have to take exception to Dave taking it upon himself to call Orson Scott Card "blasphemous." This may or may not be true; I am not a religious person, and many such theological details escape me. However, I believe that preaching should be left off of the podcast. It's one thing to take a moral stance, but another thing entirely to judge someone based on a disagreement about the way some old holy book is interpreted.

As for the story, it was short sweet and entertaining. I enjoyed the narration, and the twist of using scripture to argue with an angel. Well done.



ElectricPaladin

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Reply #17 on: September 15, 2011, 01:31:52 PM
I'm going to go against the grain on Dave's opening here. Not because I disagree with his point about Orson Scott Card; believe me, I am on board with the belief that "Hamlet's Father" is all kinds of wrong. Heavy-handed social politics are one of the reasons why I don't read very much Card, and adding insult to injury is hijacking a Shakespeare play in order to fill it with a blatant anti-gay message.

But I also have to take exception to Dave taking it upon himself to call Orson Scott Card "blasphemous." This may or may not be true; I am not a religious person, and many such theological details escape me. However, I believe that preaching should be left off of the podcast. It's one thing to take a moral stance, but another thing entirely to judge someone based on a disagreement about the way some old holy book is interpreted.

I don't think it's for anyone to take exception or not. Like right and wrong, good and bad, and all other judgements, blasphemy is in the eye of the beholder. You don't want to hear Dave's beholding, don't listen to his podcast. I see no reason that this - or any - topic should be off limits to our various hosts' meanderings.

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InfiniteMonkey

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Reply #18 on: September 15, 2011, 03:05:25 PM
P.S. I didn't even mind that it was in Second Person....  ;)



NomadicScribe

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Reply #19 on: September 15, 2011, 03:35:38 PM
I don't think it's for anyone to take exception or not. Like right and wrong, good and bad, and all other judgements, blasphemy is in the eye of the beholder. You don't want to hear Dave's beholding, don't listen to his podcast. I see no reason that this - or any - topic should be off limits to our various hosts' meanderings.

With all due respect though, I think Dave cancels out his own message by saying, "It's not OK for OSC to judge people's sexuality. But it's OK for me to condemn his eternal fate (or whatever) because of the way he reads his holybooks differently from the way I do."

I'll keep listening to this podcast, obviously, but I'm just hoping that sermons aren't going to become a regular thing. If I wanted preaching I'd go to church (or mosque or temple or Fox news....)



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Reply #20 on: September 15, 2011, 03:40:20 PM
You had me at "Motherfu—thou sayest, "

Awesome story and I appreciate Dave's calling out of OSC in the beginning. What really attracts me to PodCastle in particular is the personal nature of the introductions to the stories. If I get bored, well, thats why I have a fast forward button.

The story itself was great. I loved the reading and the humor in the story was absolutely awesome. I've been going through a rough spell lately and this story gave me a much needed laugh. With that all said, is september's theme "Stories from the Restroom/ Bathroom month?" If so, I think thats awesome!

Keep up the good work!

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dragonsbreath

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Reply #21 on: September 15, 2011, 04:03:37 PM
In response to Electricpaladin – I thank you for your thoughtful response and appreciate the opportunity to clear-up “my qualm.” My initial take on the ending was that it was trying to justify moral relativism. Your take seems quite understandable. The child’s human nature would certainly be influenced by its family, but its divine nature as a reflection of God would remain pure to its form. This is an interesting metaphor to religion itself.

Now, I know this next comment on moral relativism will seem like trying to thread a needle with a sledgehammer, but I will give it a try. One the main aspects of the Church that I (as a recent convert) have come to love and appreciate are its steadfastness to its ideals over 2000 years. I do acknowledge that the human part of the church has failed to live up to them, but her spiritual component has remained pure to its foundation. That being said, I accept the moral precepts of the Church and try my best to live up to them, but I try not to push this on others. To give an example of my acceptance of the moral authority of the church and the rejection of moral relativism, but taking into account the influence of modern times on its practices, I offer this. A heterosexual man, who wishes to be a priest, takes an oath of celibacy as part of becoming a priest. No problem. But suppose an openly gay man wishes to be a priest and takes an oath of celibacy in order to be a priest. Should this be a problem? It should not be, in terms of the spiritual aspects of the Church. But for the human part of the Church, it would be a problem. This is the Church practicing moral relativism by denying a man from fulfilling his calling, by being judgmental against his sexual orientation, dismissing his earnest promise to remain celebrant like his straight brethren. This is moral relativism at its worst.



ElectricPaladin

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Reply #22 on: September 15, 2011, 04:14:18 PM
With all due respect though, I think Dave cancels out his own message by saying, "It's not OK for OSC to judge people's sexuality. But it's OK for me to condemn his eternal fate (or whatever) because of the way he reads his holybooks differently from the way I do."

I love the phrase "with all due respect." It doesn't really mean anything, does it? :P

Anyway, I think you're reading a lot into Dave's statements that he didn't actually say. Dave never commented on Card's eternal fate. He expresses his opinion about Card's reading of a shared text. That's exactly what we do here on this forums, isn't it? Talk about a shared text.

Now, this is a text that both Dave and Card care a lot about. And, it's a highly controversial text, because unlike a short story, its interpretations have caused both great joy and advancement as well as great sorrow and pain. In my mind, that doesn't mean that we shouldn't discuss our interpretations - in fact, it means that we should discuss them more often.

Keep in mind that I was a religion major in college, so I love this shit.

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DKT

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Reply #23 on: September 15, 2011, 04:14:56 PM
I'm going to go against the grain on Dave's opening here. Not because I disagree with his point about Orson Scott Card; believe me, I am on board with the belief that "Hamlet's Father" is all kinds of wrong. Heavy-handed social politics are one of the reasons why I don't read very much Card, and adding insult to injury is hijacking a Shakespeare play in order to fill it with a blatant anti-gay message.

But I also have to take exception to Dave taking it upon himself to call Orson Scott Card "blasphemous." This may or may not be true; I am not a religious person, and many such theological details escape me. However, I believe that preaching should be left off of the podcast. It's one thing to take a moral stance, but another thing entirely to judge someone based on a disagreement about the way some old holy book is interpreted.

As for the story, it was short sweet and entertaining. I enjoyed the narration, and the twist of using scripture to argue with an angel. Well done.

What?!?! You dare defile and/or judge my sacred intro! BLASEPHEMY!!!

 ;D

Nah, that's cool.

With all due respect though, I think Dave cancels out his own message by saying, "It's not OK for OSC to judge people's sexuality. But it's OK for me to condemn his eternal fate (or whatever) because of the way he reads his holybooks differently from the way I do."

Um, just for the record, I didn't suggest condemnation of anyone's eternal fate, because that's not my thing or my place. Just, I find it...more than problematic that when someone who professes to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ contradicts what is supposedly one of his greatest commandments.

I've obviously got no idea what happens after we die, nor who goes where (if anywhere). But if there is a heaven, and both me and OSC are lucky enough to end up in it, I hope that I can spend a small fraction of eterntity by buying OSC a beer or a Sprite (preferably, in a gay bar).


DKT

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Reply #24 on: September 15, 2011, 04:18:40 PM
P.S. I didn't even mind that it was in Second Person....  ;)

I was actually waiting for this, the real controversy of this story, to appear here on the forum!

NOT SECOND PERSON!!! OH GOD IT BURNS!!! IT BURNS!!!

 :D

Glad you maybe kind of enjoyed it! I, uh, guess I'll keep waiting ;)