Friday, February 18, 2005

Recommended | "Upon This Rock" by John Jeremiah Sullivan

GQ magazine has a story about a writer's experience at Creation East, the Christian music festival. It's fairly long, but it's a good read. Is it cynical? Hell, yeah. But it's also earnest, thought-provoking and perhaps a tad nostalgic. Now, I must warn you that the story contains language; that means there are ideas and even a few words that might be considered offensive to some people. There, I've told ya. If you go and read it and get all offended over it ... screw ya, because I already warned ya. I'll tease you with a few short excerpts... Renting an RV:
The reason twenty-nine feet is such a common length for RVs, I presume, is that once a vehicle gets much longer, you need a special permit to drive it. That would mean forms and fees, possibly even background checks. But show up at any RV joint with your thigh stumps lashed to a skateboard, crazily waving your hooks-for-hands, screaming you want that twenty-nine-footer out back for a trip to you ain't sayin' where, and all they want to know is: Credit or debit, tiny sir? Two days later, I stood in a parking lot, suitcase at my feet. Debbie came toward me. She was a lot to love, with a face as sweet as a birthday cake beneath spray-hardened bangs. She raised a meaty arm and pointed, before either of us spoke. The thing she pointed at was the object about which I'd just been saying, "Not that one, Jesus, okay?" It was like something the ancient Egyptians might have left behind in the desert.
The pain of an 80s flashback:
I stood in the center of a gravel patch between the food and the crowd, sort of gumming the straw, quadriplegically probing with it for stubborn pockets of meltwater. I was a ways from the stage, but I could see well enough. Something started to happen to me. The guys in the band were middle-aged. They had blousy shirts and half-hearted arena-rock moves from the mid-'80s..."Oh, shit. It's Petra."
Baldwin and Busey:
In the midst of all this, I began to hear, through the shell of the twenty-nine-footer, Stephen Baldwin giving a talk on the Fringe Stage -- that's where the "edgier" acts are put on at Creation. If you're shaky on your Baldwin brothers, he's the vaguely troglodytic one who used to comb his bangs straight down and wear dusters. He's come to the Lord -- I don't know if you knew. I caught him on cable a few months ago, some religious talk show. Him and Gary Busey. I don't remember what Baldwin said, because Busey was saying shit so weird the host got nervous.
All this and more can be found in JJS's article. Enjoy!

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