Part V, Media:
Click here for the biography of media theorist, author, documentary filmmaker, and journalist Doug Rushkoff. I’ve followed his work since discovering him in 2003 courtesy of the Disinformation media company’s books and DVDs. We met in 2005 when he came and gave a talk at Ball State during my undergraduate years. We’ve stayed in touch over the years and he’s remained friendly and encouraging even though I know he doesn’t agree with most of what I write and probably even less of what I edit.
Rushkoff doesn’t fit on either Right or Left. He’s a counterculture intellectual in the tradition of his friend, the late Robert Anton Wilson who also filled himself with ideas from all over the place. And here’s some that I’ve taken away from his books over the last few years and re-purposed for myself.
16. Testament by Douglas Rushkoff
Graphic Novel Publication Date: July 26 2006-August 19, 2008
From the imagination of best-selling author Douglas Rushkoff, one of the most iconoclastic and acclaimed minds of our era, comes a graphic novel series that exposes the “real” Bible as it was actually written, and reveals how its mythic tales are repeated today.
Grad student Jake Stern leads an underground band of renegades that uses any means necessary to combat the frightening threats to freedom that permeate the world. They employ technology, alchemy, media hacking and mysticism to fight a modern threat that has its roots in ancient stories destined to recur in the modern age.
Why Tea Party Occultists Should Read It:
Testament is a 22-issue comic book series published by DC’s mature Vertigo imprint. It’s not yet available as one single volume but perhaps someday this criminally underrated series will be reissued as such and receive the recognition deserved. Currently, four trade paperbacks collect the series of Rushkoff’s juxtapositions between graphic Old Testament stories with a dystopian future narrative. The series argues that the stories of the Bible provide the universal archetypes of our lives. The tales of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses — all the biblical characters — continually reoccur over and over again throughout human history and personal experience. And the more we start to recognize and understand it the more we can make the right choices this time around, hacking the narrative and rewriting the stories so as not to repeat the same mistakes as the Biblical characters who lived and wrote The Story the first time around.
Testament features nudity, profanity, and death, serving up an important reminder that we don’t hear enough: The Bible is really about sex and violence.
Specifically, it’s about the ancient Israelites’ battles with nature-worshiping death cults who practiced human sacrifice and ritualized sex slavery. In the ancient world worshiping Moloch meant throwing a human being — often a child — on the fire. Worshiping Astarte meant paying for sex with one of her priestesses. She literally was the goddess of prostitution. And the Old Testament is just one long story of the Jewish people continually drifting back to idolatry and sex worship. It’s actually pretty embarrassing.
When one understands this then it makes perfect sense why today most self-identified Jews in this country today remain slavishly loyal to the Democratic Party and progressivism while only the more conservative and Orthodox Jews stand with America and Israel against the Islamic Jihad. That’s just the status quo — at any given time vast numbers of Jews will live enthralled to idolatry, denying the transcendent God of their ancestors.
All that’s really changed today are the names of the gods and the rituals. But the fight remains the same against those who treat other human beings and themselves like objects instead of living people created with rights, and dignity, in Abraham Lincoln’s words, “stamped in the Divine Image.”
(Future editions of the list will have more on the subject of slavery, both ancient and modern, as well as abolitionism.)
Why Capitalist Wizards Should Read It:
What is a media theorist with books about internet counterculture, Generation X, and viral media doing writing a comic about the Bible? Jews studying the Torah, and later Christians reading their Gutenberg Bibles, functioned in Western Civilization as the original form of media analysis. Through studying the juxtaposition of the myths, histories, poetry, and wisdom of the Bible we learn a method for how to analyze and understand the world. The more one understands, the more connections one can make, the more value out of nothing one can manifest into existence.
But we must understand that the same magical methods of creation can also be used for destruction. Rushkoff’s next big project after Testament would reveal the capitalist wizards’ natural enemies, those who had learned to use language and writing not to create laws to protect the individual and his property rights, but to subvert them and steal from the fruits of his labor.
In Life Inc. we confront Capitalism’s evil twin Corporatism and learn the secrets of how it functions today…