Jesus in Persia

Those ‘big people I know’ write-ups are draining you know. One has the difficult task of choosing from a meagre list and then stretching it to such an extent that the only thing between The Pope and a place in this blog is one’s conscience. One also has to be constantly careful not to offend ’em. Though I have made every effort to keep the blog discreet – having  posted about it in only 200 social networking sites – there’s simply no trusting the Internet.

So while I still figure out the potential booby-traps of that series, I will write  about a far less potentially vindictive – but no less famous – category of characters. Animation heroes. Though I haven’t “touched” any of them, which I had placed as a qualification for really “knowing” famous people, they have touched me, and in places that this blog is meant to show off. Also, they are all really famous, and when I met them – mostly on TV or on my laptop – there was no one else around. Which I guess makes the experience private? And even when I met them in the theatre, I wasn’t talking to anyone else, so that should also count. In any case, I just realised they are not really “people“, so I guess I don’t have to be so scrupulous about following the old rule anyway. Aah, relief! We are going to discuss Jesus in this post you know. Can’t afford to be frivolous.

Here are my medallists. Whoever said split personality was an abomination?!

1. ..and as promised, the top spot goes to Jesus. If the writers of the Bible were people of our generation, they would have surely placed the Christ-David Blain faceoff somewhere right after the Fall of Man. What better way to kickstart the story but with sex followed by violence?! Would have covered the two biggest sins of mankind within the first five pages, and everybody would live happily ever after. Anyway, for those still wondering, I am of course talking about the friendly neighbourhood resident Jesus the Christ of South Park, he of the adjustable wire halo and beleaguered facial expressions.

Holy Christ!

Holy Christ!

He is the underdog son of god in South Park’s pantheon, mostly confused about what he is still doing in the middle of the 21st century. In the David Blain episode  I referred to, Blaintology has become a mass movement (claiming for tax exemption) and is threatening to enslave the whole nation’s youth. South Park needs Jesus to show the world that he is the greatest miracle-worker ever and that Blain is just an upstart charlatan.  Jesus reluctantly takes on his more confident and contemporay wizarding rival in the South Park auditorium. Blain’s gory opening act consists of cutting himself up in pieces and returning before anyone can serve him hot with a coriander garnish. “Close your eyes!”, an embattled Jesus orders the audience when his turn comes, holding one fish in hand, as an aide rushes to the stage and unloads a cartful of fish next to him. “Now open your eyes and behold!!”

2. Marjane ‘Marji’ Satrapi is my silver girl. Now she is different from the other two in the list in that she is also a real person. And what is really cool about this Academy Award-nominated beauty is that she is the great-granddaughter of Nasser al-Din Shah, Shah of Persia from 1848 to 1896 (Wiki). How many animation stars can boast of a lineage like THAT?! What is infinitely cooler though is that she got a Master’s degree in Visual Communication from the Fine Arts department of the Tehran Islamic Azad University. An ‘Islamic University’ conferring degrees in Viz Com?! Sheer fantasy, baby!

Meri Mar-ji

Meri Mar-ji

Marji figures in this list for one more reason though. She is an Everywoman in a schizoid world, the soul of Persepolis. Probably as ‘homeless’ in Vienna as Jesus is in South Park. In one of the many amazing tropes of the film, she invokes her white-bearded cloud-riding ‘god’ (Monty Python, anyone?) along with Karl Marx to glean some answers. Only after heavy metal has failed to do it for her though. For a ‘revolutionary communist’ reading of the character, see this.

3. He is heavy. He is naive. And it’s a pity that Jeff Garlin isn’t in Bollywood and that Wall-E isn’t a Hindi masala movie. As it stands, he will only be remembered as the voice of Captain B. McCrea of the spaceship Axiom and not the winner of a Filmfare Best Supporting Actor award. Remember Captain McCrea? Maybe this will help:

Captain: “Earth is amazing! These are called “farms”. Humans would put seeds in the ground, pour water on them, and they grow food – like, pizza!”
Auto: [shuts off information display] Good night, Captain.
Captain: Aww!
[starts to move away from workstation, but stops and turns around slightly]
Captain: Psst – Computer, define “dancing”.
Computer: [WALL-E and EVE are seen outside a window in space, flying around] Dancing: A series of movements involving two partners, where speed and rhythm match harmoniously with music…

Man is back!

Man is back!

Though the whole world prostrated before the eponymous hero of this year’s Oscar winning animation, to me the all-too-human Captain McCrea is the real winner, overcoming not one but two deadly sins to restore hope and courage in a dying Earth. After all, even Superman did not have to deal with the demons of Sloth and Gluttony a few thousand light years from Earth. And not even Superman could move us in the same way if he ever were to say “We can go HOME!”


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