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  • Arthur Bacon

The Birth of Fake News

Needless to say, there were hundreds, if not thousands of guys wandering around the Fertile Crescent preaching the gospel in the early years of the Roman Empire (circa 10 or 20 BC). From hill tops to street corners to pulpits these sandaled, bearded, haggard, fellows trumpeted their theories about existential piety to the swarms of ignorant shop keepers, fishmongers, housewives, children and whores desperate for some assuaging message suggesting an end to their quotidian travails. These evangelists came and went with nobody giving much notice of their pretense to prophesy, stories of hellfire and brimstone and eternal damnation. Most people simply shrugged and went on their laborious way bent over with heavy amphorae, bags of grain and staves herding obedient sheep. 

Around the time of Caligula, a young translator named Demetrio Cristopolus was hired by the authorities to write a history of a particular evangelist named Jesus of Nazareth based on the Hebrew diaries and papers left by the Roman Publican Mathew, aka, Levi.  Demetrio’s task was simple enough; just translate the ancient Greek into modern Hebrew. 

Well, the Papyrus sheets were already falling apart and the heavy, inscribed stones were hard to move around and the light was terrible in the little cell where Demetrio worked day and night by candle light shivering in winter, sweating in summer, hungry always, seldom earning enough to feed his small family. “Where would the world be without us translators”, Demetrio mused. “Even with the most brilliant translation some other dude, who actually does not write as well as I, will get all the credit; I’ll be lucky if I get mentioned in a bloody footnote”. Month after month Demetrio struggled while the quill shook in his hand that shivered from the bitter cold blowing across the Sea of Galilee in February. 

Demetrio was a freethinker and the more he read about these fellows preaching stuff about whales swallowing people, burning bushes, slingshots, Jericho and father’s killing sons and an angry Jehovah playing tricks on poor devils like himself and Job the more frustrated he became in this tedium of begats, burning bushes and bulshit. He was not a happy camper, to use an ancient academic expression. 

One day, deep in despair, a woman came to see him in his work cell. She was covered with a dark blue shawl that came down to her waist over her long black robe that covered her bare feet. She introduced herself as the niece of the man everybody was calling Jesus the Christ, The Savior, Emanuel. Demetrio expressed some surprise in his face when she told him this and the woman said, “Well, my grandfather Joseph and his wife Mary had several children who became professionals while Jesus was off in the deserts meditating and wandering around from town to town preaching. We all thought he was crazy but then, as you know, a bunch of other crazies began leaving their families and following him talking about ancient prophesies and doing little magic tricks. It’s a pretty big deal now and this guy Mark has gone so far as to claim that uncle Jesus was not actually a Jew but the son of god and the followers have taken to calling themselves Christians and . . .” Here she paused and looked down and said softly, “The thing is Demetrio, these so-called Christians really want to believe this shit but there is a problem which actually puts me in some danger and that is that grandpa was actually with an under-age girl; Mary was only 13 when uncle Jesus was born. This does not sit well with the authorities and I have been asked by some people to see if, for a tidy some of money, you would be willing to write something that will make Joseph look like an innocent bystander rather than a lecherous old man, if you know what I’m saying”. 

Demetrio thought for a long time and then said, “Well, just this morning I was reading and translating the Septuagint story about the night in Bethlehem where it says, ‘a young girl gave birth blah blah blah’, and it occurs to me that we could change everything if we fucked around with the biological facts and said it was a ‘virgin” that gave birth. I mean, ever since we eviscerated that whole marvelous Greek pantheon of mischievous gods and goddesses and replaced them with this weird father-son-holy ghost guy who hates science and knowledge I have been troubled. Next thing you know they will be saying the earth is flat and was created by a god guy a few thousand years ago along with the dinosaurs, deep canyons and high mountains; I have read stories like that and people are beginning to believe anything. So fuck ‘em; if they want to believe any godam thing then they might as well that believe that their man-god, father-holy ghost guy came out of a virgin”.

The woman who had been so melancholy moments earlier jumped up and clapped her hands and said, “Oh would you? That is brilliant. Grandpa Joe would be so happy. I know he always felt badly when we teased him about ‘robbing the cradle’ and now he will be forgotten with a whole new cult of Mary-lovers. Thank you so much Demetrio”! 

And thus it came to pass that in the year 71 AD Demetrio Cristopolus wrote, “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary, a virgin, had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit”.  

Having gotten away with the virgin fake news it was only natural that over the years these ancient scribes would support ever more outrageous happenings surrounding Mr. Christ. It was reported that the Roman authorities did indeed check Miss Mary’s hymen and determine that it was, in fact, whole. Well then, Demetrio conjured up the fantastic notion of “multiple personages”, a father, a son and a holy ghost all wrapped up in a single being. Demetrio had stumbled on the main ingredient of fake news; unconscious sublimation conditioning. USC allows an individual to see but not see, hear but not hear anything but omnidirectional telekinesis, otherwise known as virtual reality. They SAW the Red Sea part and they SAW a man walk on water and they TASTED the water He had turned into wine. They claimed that they SAW Mary ascend into a cumulo nimbus cloud and it wasn’t long before people were experiencing re-births, leprosy healings, small guys beating up giants, candles burning forever and then, the biggest thing Demetrio came up with was THE BEGINNING story. Turns out the man-god-holy ghost guy was/is the same dude who created EVERYTHING! 

People loved this shit! They couldn’t get enough of it and early in the 16th Century whole new flat-earth societies were formed as off-shoots of the original virgin-birth, man-god-holy ghost societies and the human imagination was unexcelled in coming up with more and more cockamamie bullshit. Somebody came up with the idea of predestination and then somebody else spoke about free will and hanging over all of it was the story of the snake and a Garden of Eden and a stupid woman eating an apple from The Tree of Knowledge. How stupid is that? Why would anybody want to be smart? So, no matter what kind of implausible news people kept coming up with they always had to deal with snakes, sin and death. Yeah but if you get on your knees, eat some crackers and drink some wine which is supposed to be blood, you will be forgiven for your original sin AND all the sins you have committed since then. You can rape a little girl and then go to one of these god agents who will put his hand on you and feed you a cracker and voila, all your sins are forgotten. 

The Big Thing was DEATH. Even children were dying and thus the leaders of all the fake news sites had to come up with something to assuage everybody that virtually all death was not actually real.  I mean, if you can believe that the earth is flat, then you can believe that there are multiple existences, here on the flat earth, down below in hot caves and high above in billowy, sunny alpine cumulus cloud regions. The man-god-holy ghost guy who made everything figured on over-population and arranged for more lebensraum. Some societies were sort of vague about stage-two environments and spoke of places like the right hand of god with uncomfortable vagueness while other societies established assiduous environments where you would actually own your own planet with your family and friends as neighbors all gamboling about like a bunch of twenty-year-olds after you died. 

Everybody embraced all these cockamamie man-god-in-heaven characters calling him Allah, Jesus, Joseph, Emanuel or whatever. If you did not believe in a loving god you were burned at a stake, boiled or tarred and feathered as a way of showing the rest of the community how much god loved THEM. Plagues, pestilence, wars, floods and famines only increased the worship of the people all over the earth for these loving gods. Every god sees all and knows all, so EVERY time you jerk off, steal a hotel towel, double park or say HIS name in vain when you have just cut your finger off with a chain saw, a god will punish you. If you are really, really bad like fucking another man’s wife or looking at some pornography, then god who loves you, might kill everyone in your village with a 9.5 seismic event or wipe you off the face of the earth with a small tornado. He does these things to show you how much he cares about you and even after your wife and daughters have been raped and dismembered in front of you, you will give alms to your loving god. 

Fake news is nothing new.

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