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GORE VIDAL – LIVE FROM GOLGOTHA. (1992) Random House. 

 

A dark uncompromising and savage satire on Christian Fundamentalist religion and mass media communication. Vidal consciously set out to offend just about everyone with this book, which is gloriously funny. A television crew decide to go back in time to film the crucifixion. They have the technology to transmit the footage back live to the present day. Their motives are clearly set on high ratings and viewing figures rather than altruism or spiritual enlightenment. Things  predictably fail to go smoothly. For one thing, Jesus is grossly overweight.- but then, he isn’t really Jesus at all, but Judas, tricked into playing Jesus, who has high-tailed it to the present day in the time machine that came to watch him die, and now manipulates events from the benefit of hindsight. His second coming in effect precedes his first one. The time travelers also have problems in that the time lines are blocked by the number of other time travellers making their way around events in their own ways – Channellers, including Shirley Maclaine can come and go as they please, as well as Holographic time traveling tourists. St. Timothy, who is introduced as literally being sodomised by Nero, and who will later be sodomised even more by St. Paul, narrates the story…. The implication that nothing changes other than who gets behind you is very clear. The novel twists and turns in complex and unpredictable ways with relentless pace. Worse, Japanese technology and investment through sponsorship turns the whole thing very oriental in the end with the final crucifixion images. American televangelists denounced Vidal for the work, calling him the Antichrist, a label he sported himself with some pride, even calling himself Gore Vidal AC for a time. His views may well have been regarded as scurrilous and blasphemous, but he leaves one of the best satires on modern Christian beliefs that it is possible to find. http://www.pitt.edu/~kloman/vidalfintro.html

 

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