Saturday, September 10, 2011

Book Review - “God is for real, Man!” By Carl Burke, with illustrations by Papas. 1962

Found in a Bendigo Op Shop, this book is incredible, and it does actually exist. It attempts to move past the “Sundays only” type of church life, sit backwards on a chair, and just like, rap about the lord, man.

Firstly, it opens with a wonderfully innocent opening sentence. The authors were surely not aware of the post-modern savaging it would be prone too; “This gay book, with its bright shafts of light, is for literally everyone”

Again, nothing weird about an illustrator simply known as Papas

In an attempt to appeal to the youngsters, the author retells well known biblical stories in a colloquial language that swings from dancing street gangs to 80’s Detroit hustlers. In the story of Noah, “God finds a cool cat” who seems to be the only one to react to God’s “hollerin’”. After the floods pass and Noah saves the animal, author Carl Burke drops another straight faced mistake; “Noah was so glad he made a shrine like you see at St Bridget’s, and later he got stoned”. Again, Carl misses so many opportunities that might actually attract a teenager.

The interpretation of the Ten Commandments are also best read in the style of a Californian Beat Poet. The evidence that this is squarely aimed at greasers  with cigarettes rolled up in their t-shirts becomes more evident;

1. You shall have no there gods before me
Nobody, but nobody, man, gets in his way. He is Mr Big, real Big.

6. You shall not kill
a. No holding up people with a switchblade
b. No playing chicken in the freight yards
c. No real rough fighting

7. Neither shall you commit adultery
a. No messing around with the girls in the park
b. No whoring around

I could go on, but I might just leave you with a glossary, yes, a mother flippin glossary to help priests in regional Victorian towns know what all the kids are saying. My 60’s street lingo isn’t the best, but I think a lot of these translations might be incorrect.

Big Daddy : Chief person in an organisation
Golden Ager : Senior Citizen
Con artist : Good Talker
Long hair stuff : Classical music
Retard : Retarded person (!)

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