The outraged reaction of the Christian leadership to The DaVinci Code is another in a long list of examples of this simple truism about humanity: There are two types of people in the world-people who take themselves too seriously and people who think people who take themselves too seriously are silly people and should be antagonized.
I belong to the latter phylum.
I believe there are way too many people out there who take themselves and the things they think and say way too seriously, and I can't help but antagonize them. It's how I'm wired. I'm drawn to exasperating the hyper-serious the way ants are drawn to dead bumblebees. That is why I wrote my Jesus-will-kick-your-ass-for-the-children column and my Matisyahu-is-a-big-stupid-Jew column and my Hey-kids-have-sex-and-take-drugs series of columns. I enjoy agitating people who take themselves too seriously, and who takes themselves more seriously than members of religious orthodoxies and people who over-love the children?
I know, I know. Some of you are thinking, Where's the challenge? Making sport of people who take themselves too seriously is like shooting fish in a barrel. And you're right. But you must admit that sometimes it's fun to shoot fish in a barrel. You should try it some time-the gun going blam blam blam, the water splooshing into the air, the smell of gunpowder wafting toward your nose as dead, bloody fish rise to the surface.
It's a blast! That's why so many people do it. Indeed, there are lots of people who belong to the phylum of people who like to antagonize people who take themselves too seriously-people like Steven Colbert, Dave Chappelle, George Carlin, Larry David, Matt Stone, Trey Parker, Howard Stern (though Howard is also a person who takes himself too seriously), Kathy Griffin, Al Franken, Triumph the Insult Dog and, of course, our man of the hour, Dan Brown.
I believe Dan Brown not only knew what the reaction of the highly serious Christian patriarchy would be when he wrote The DaVinci Code, but that he was counting on it. He was counting on the death threats, and boycotts and demands for him to sit on the naughty step-and if you're one of those people who think religious people who take themselves too seriously are seriously silly people, then you couldn't help but be amused by the whole bally-ho.
It's like this sorta feud I'm having with a local musician named Jefferson Jay. It's not an official feud, as we have never actually met, but I know he's been talking shit about me. Jefferson hosts an open-mic night at O'Connell's, where my wife, W., happens to bartend. Apparently, he took offense to something I wrote in CityBeat a couple of months ago. It was just the tiniest of blurbs for our local-music issue. In it, I wrote, “Open-mic night = Hell on Earth.”
Apparently, Jefferson Jay took it personally. One night, after talking shit about me on the O'Connell's stage, W. confronted him.
“Ed Decker is your fucking husband?” he blurted, and went on to bitch about how could I have written such a terrible thing, and that open-mic nights are not Hell on Earth, especially not his mic night, which, apparently, is superior to the other open-mic nights, for what reasons I don't know-maybe his open-mic night features flying trapeze artists reciting poetry while swinging above a vat of boiling singer-songwriters, because that would truly be an open-mic night to beat all open-mic nights.
Don't get me wrong. I respect the open mic. It serves a valuable purpose, and I commend anyone who has the nuts to climb upon that stage and expose their intestinal meat to a vulturine audience. But, really, Jefferson Jay, you gotta be huffing helicopter fuel not to acknowledge the hellish aspects of an open-mic night. And getting yourself all riled up about some stupid shit I said just reveals to me that you are one of these people who takes yourself way too seriously, and I therefore have no choice but to disparage you in public.
Come to think of it, there's probably a third type of person that exists in the world: People who don't take themselves all that seriously but don't disparage those who do. Maybe I could learn something from them. Because sometimes I do wonder if it's wrong to make sport of the Overly Self-Serious (OSS). I wonder if I'm going to Hell for besmirching the spiritually serious, and maybe the only reason God hasn't already struck me with lightning is because I haven't signed an organ-donor card yet.
But then I think, Bugger that. We live in a world full of OSSes. Everywhere you turn. And these OSSholes are messing everything up for the rest of us. That's why bars have to close at 2 a.m., and why strippers can't take off all their clothes, and why weed is, unbelievably, still illegal. That's why you can't criticize a war without being called a traitor, gays can't marry, Lenny Bruce got persecuted and Star Jones is permitted to exist. It's why I can't have a goddamn beer on the beach on the Fourth of July anymore, and why hotels turn off the Jacuzzi at 10 p.m. when everybody knows the best Jacuzzi hours are after midnight, and why you can't see a little black nipple on Super Bowl Sunday without shredding the moral fabric of society, and why it's illegal to be drunk in a bar, why Steve McWilliams is fucking dead, and Bill Maher got booted off Comedy Central, Tommy Chong got thrown in jail, Lady's Night is a thing of the past, bar owners need a license for dancing, certain sex acts between consenting adults are banned, and so on-and why Dan Brown should've got a medal for writing The DaVinci Code. Visit Jefferson Jay's open-mic night at O'Connell's, 1310 Morena Blvd., every Sunday night. E-mail ed[at]edwindecker[dot]com and editor[at]SDcitybeat[dot]com.