Tyrades! By Danny Tyree
*Sigh* The whole Noah's ark experience used to be so simple.
Not just in childhood Sunday school, but even in college, when my classmate Mary Beth Heeney produced a short animated Noah film complete with the bouncy 1964 Gale Garnett hit "We'll Sing In The Sunshine."
Now, with the Russell Crowe-starring "Noah" in theaters, members of the Judeo-Christian-Muslim and nonbeliever communities alike are raising controversies about literalism versus metaphor, script deviations from the Biblical text, environmentalist agendas, logistics and righteousness. Every day it's another can of worms to open. ("Shem! Ham! Don't open that can of worms yet. The ravens will —oops!")
"Real Time" host Bill Maher spoke for many people (both religious and nonreligious) when he called God a "psychotic mass murderer" for "throwing a temper tantrum" and unleashing the Flood.
(North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un was more concerned about the eight survivors who had to repopulate the earth. He couldn't imagine the agony of a family with no uncles to feed to wild dogs.)
Apparently some people think our antediluvian ancestors were abruptly, capriciously snuffed out for tearing the tags off of mattresses or wearing white after Labor Day. The way I read it, the Creator gave all those people 120 years (!) to achieve some semblance of distancing themselves from their continual, universal addiction to rape, pillage, idolatry, human sacrifice, etc.
(Granted, the class syllabus didn't EXPLICITLY state that the Almighty wouldn't be "grading on the curve.")
I suppose people would be satisfied if God had conjured up some ink blots and a psychiatrist's couch and asked each sinner something like, "So you boiled your neighbor's toddlers alive after he eloped with your ox. How does that make you FEEL?"
Yes, there were some rough characters back then. The last known pre-Deluge murder occurred even as the flood waters were rising, when a villager strangled an eternal optimist who kept singing "Let A Smile Be Your Umbrella."
According to Genesis, Noah didn't really find his purpose in life until he was nearly 500 years old. Understandably, parents don't want their slacker, won't-move-out kids seeing the movie.
Feminists are miffed that Mrs. Noah and the three daughters-in-law are not given names in the Bible. It's all part of the patriarchal society. Noah lived for 350 years after the Flood, and sources said he spent much of that time performing currency conversions, trying to turn "78 cents on the dollar" into "x number of shekels on the drachma," etc.
Most people "know" that Noah saved two of each animal; but the Bible says he preserved seven (or seven pairs?) of each ceremonially "clean" animal. Most of these lucky animals spent a year on the ark before being offered for sacrifice. The Noah estate still receives a royalty for each use of the phrase "out of the frying pan and into the fire."
A curiosity about the Flood narrative: we're told all the things Noah faithfully DID, but there are no direct quotes from the prophet.
I'll bet he has a lot to say now, up there in heaven.
"A myth! They treat me like a myth — right there alongside 'George Washington wore wooden teeth' and 'You can't get pregnant the first time'! After all the elephant dung and zebra dung I shoveled for the sake of mankind! I'm glad I saved the mosquitoes — glad, I tell you! Hahahahahaha..."
©2014 Danny Tyree. Danny welcomes reader e-mail responses at [email protected] and visits to his Facebook fan page "Tyree's Tyrades". Danny's' weekly column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. newspaper syndicate.