Selected Teachings Of Jesus Markoving Christ
December 17, 2011 8:26 AM   Subscribe

cortex's Incoherent Savior says the most interesting and beautiful things.

Mark 17:36: And Yet You Didn't Care For Me

Mark 3:20: Jesus Christ Lagerfeld

Luke 9:30: In Praise Of Humble Key Account Manager

Luke 3:34: Christ The Darkness

John 4:5: Appeal To Authority

Luke 5:45: Horticulturist Horror Story

Matthew 11:14: Again With The Choking

Luke 8:10: The Wise Garderner

Luke 12:22: Daddy Issues (It's Complicated)

Luke 2:17: Enter Christ

Mark 10:38: In Vino Christe

John 17:37: Jesus Pinkerton Undercover Agents

Luke 9:36: Sanctification Inflation

Mark 12:27: His Father's Judgement Still Awaits

Matthew 1:47: Christ The Contractor

Matthew 25:11: Canticle For Lazarus

Matthew 23:44: In Praise Of Personal Financial Officers

Luke 20:35: By Divine Command

Mark 13:27: A Suffering Christ

Matthew 5:2: The Folly Of Ambition

Luke 4:19: Jesus And The Amish

Matthew 17:6: Eyes Full Of Death And Destruction

Mark 14:3: Parental Advisory

John 1:47: Christ Hates Black Friday
posted by Foci for Analysis (55 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
I stand by my comment when this was posted to projects:

Now do one for the Prophet Muhammad!

Be a bit harder to find pictures though.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:36 AM on December 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


Yay, It has my data set!
posted by Blasdelb at 8:55 AM on December 17, 2011


This one isn't that incoherent. I WANT MY MOENYS BACK
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:56 AM on December 17, 2011


Luke 5:45: Horticulturist Horror Story


Awesome. I'm just imagining the emails cortex will get over this though.
posted by drezdn at 8:56 AM on December 17, 2011


Proselyte from the 7 woes is a dead giveaway. Its in a passage where Jesus talks about clerical hypocrisy that I think most mefites would appreciate. The greek word translated into "woe unto you" is really a lot closer to "fuck you"
posted by Blasdelb at 8:59 AM on December 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


I love this one. It made me religious. Damn you, cortex!
posted by cjorgensen at 9:04 AM on December 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


I like the Star Trek version. We're in a new direction.
posted by obvious at 9:06 AM on December 17, 2011


whoa
posted by jquinby at 9:15 AM on December 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Kind of symptomatic of today's culture.
posted by arcticseal at 9:21 AM on December 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh hi!

This one isn't that incoherent. I WANT MY MOENYS BACK

That's sort of an interesting wrinkle with this one, which I talked about a little in the comments on the Projects post—the available corpus of Everything J. C. Said is a lot smaller than the corpus for something like nine seasons of X-Files, so you get a lot lower degree of crazy mashup inflection in these than with Fox Mulder.

But there's also a kind of plausibility to even the slight nonsense stuff because the flow of religious text is kind of archaic to begin with and there's so much tendency toward allegory and symbolism in the original text, parables and such, that stuff that is mangled can read as totally legit out of context because who knows? So it registers somewhat differently for the lay reader vs. someone who is really seriously familiar with the biblical source material.

I like the Star Trek version.

Oh man, the Next Generation one totally did not get proper ready-for-primetime treatment. I kept meaning to get back to that and keep forgetting. I mean, it functions obviously but I've got like one or maybe two portraits for each character and they're all just scummed from screenshots on Google Images so it's a lot less polished than the X-Files or Lebowski versions.
posted by cortex at 9:50 AM on December 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


You should add a Jesus Seminar-style rating system and compile the winners into The Post-Modern Gospel of St. Markov. It'd probably be more accurate than The Message.
posted by jedicus at 10:01 AM on December 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


You know, if you combined this with the Big Lebowski Lorem Ipsum generator, you'd have something more than just bowling.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 10:02 AM on December 17, 2011


It's like Bad Lipreading meets Teh Jeebus!

But it could use some more big potato moths and pooing in space
posted by briank at 10:04 AM on December 17, 2011


The one I got isn't incoherent either. It's something much better.

Naked syllepsis is best syllepsis.
posted by darksasami at 10:18 AM on December 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wow: John 22:45 "In vain such people worship me, teaching as doctrines what are merely the inventions of men."
posted by Aquaman at 10:25 AM on December 17, 2011 [14 favorites]


What you really need to do is pair the Markov version with the actual verse randomly cited and make a test to see if people can tell the difference.

Will the real John 5:37 please stand up:

"And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form"

"No one knows that you criticize me for healing on the grounds he installed a winepress."
posted by straight at 10:33 AM on December 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Are there any implementation notes? I remember writing a Markov-chain generator for class once and it was much, much more incoherent. But then again, we only tested 0th, 1st, and 2nd-order chains, and ours was seeded with all the Bush v. Kerry debates.
posted by d. z. wang at 10:42 AM on December 17, 2011


Luke 25:7 You instead have both seen and heard all of your hearts.

I didn't know that Jesus was acquainted with the Doctor.
posted by colfax at 10:49 AM on December 17, 2011


I can't decide whether this is hideously blasphemous, harmlessly hilarious or actually a pretty nice way of familiarising yourself with what Jesus did say. Either way, I have to admit the 12-year-old in my brain finds this far too funny.
posted by ZsigE at 10:54 AM on December 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


A+ for cortex. The use of the phrase "permalinked Jesusism" and the use of that background image are just stunning together. This thing just flows.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 11:00 AM on December 17, 2011


You know, if you combined this with the Big Lebowski Lorem Ipsum generator, you'd have something more than just bowling.

That freakin' lorem ipsum thing was, in its lameness, indirectly responsible for this existing, because it made me put together The Big Markovski out of spite and that got me thinking about my markov/imagemagick codebase again and along came this.

Actually, I played briefly with incorporating the lines from The Big Markovski's corpus into the Jesus database, before deciding I wanted to keep this more of a purist project.

But it led to stuff like this and this and this and so forth. Which was funny enough in its own right and I might try and do some robo-messiah thing some time that pulls messianic or prophetic or zenlike or just rambling quotes from a wide variety of sources and creates a real solid mishmash of pop culture and religion.
posted by cortex at 11:08 AM on December 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think I win the Big Markovski
posted by The Whelk at 11:12 AM on December 17, 2011


(Link fail, argh)
posted by The Whelk at 11:16 AM on December 17, 2011


Suggestion: Why only Jesus? Start throwing in proverbs from all the major religions....
posted by empath at 11:20 AM on December 17, 2011


Jesus sets a few priorities.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 11:37 AM on December 17, 2011


Christian koans.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:02 PM on December 17, 2011


This is pretty disrespectful.
That is all.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:08 PM on December 17, 2011


Well, I'm sold.
posted by Prince Lazy I at 12:10 PM on December 17, 2011


Is it ok to self-link in comments?
self link
self link
self link
self link
self link
and pastprestidentially
self link

That's almost half of them.
posted by hexatron at 1:12 PM on December 17, 2011


Nice. Often reads like a remix of the Thomas Gospel (text).
posted by meehawl at 1:37 PM on December 17, 2011


This is pretty disrespectful.

In what way? I mean, obviously it's using scriptural text for something other than worship, but I don't think there's anything inherently mocking about it, and I say that as someone who doesn't really have a problem with explicitly and pointedly mocking aspects of religious text or religious belief in specific contexts. Is it inherently disrespectful to do anything with Jesus' words other than reiterate them prayerfully?
posted by cortex at 2:13 PM on December 17, 2011


Well, it's the word of God.

Mind you I know you don't see scripture the way I do but in my eyes this is taking something sacred and making mockery of it. So of course I would see this as offensive and disrespectful.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 2:27 PM on December 17, 2011


St. Alia: This is pretty disrespectful. That is all.

It may be disrespectful, arguably, but that is certainly not all.
Do you think it's disrespectful to Catholics such as myself to call yourself Saint Alia of the Bunnies, making a mockery of, well, sanctity?
posted by msalt at 3:23 PM on December 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well, again, the intent isn't mockery; it's a pretty neutral exercise in decontextualization across a corpus of words from one of the most well-known figures in literary history. Jesus is an extremely accessible source of text, for believers and non-believers alike; the format of chapter-and-verse quotation in somewhat archaic prose is immediately recognizable even to people who have no idea whether a given quotation is real or not.

That's the interesting thing, to me: not whether a given markov synthesis comes out staid sounding or not, but how the cultural context of Jesus' speech, of the Gospels as a common referent, makes something that is fundamentally unreliable—randomly reconstituted text rather than verbatim, in-context quotations—have a greater or lesser patina of authenticity to it, depending on the biblical literacy of the reader. I talked about all that a bit in the comments of the original Projects post.

Does it matter to you whether mockery is not the actual intent? Do you see mockery in it as inherent in or inseparable from the nature of the project, and if so can you explain why?
posted by cortex at 3:23 PM on December 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not to speak for St Alia here, but a possible source of assumed disrespect might be to do with the great emphasis placed on words in Christianity. Jesus himself is referred to as "the Word" in a number of places in the Bible (notably the opening of John's Gospel), and Paul was very hot on the importance of Scripture (the classic reference here is 2 Timothy 3:16). Combine that with verses like Revelation 22:18-19 and I think it's pretty obvious that many Christians take the Bible seriously enough that pretty much any chopping and changing of it is going to be seen as disrespectful.

Now, that said, I can personally appreciate the intent, and in fact I enjoyed seeing the mixes that came up - not least because I keep noticing bits of Jesus' words that I'm familiar with, and it's quite fun playing spot-the-reference. But, for the reasons mentioned above, it does walk kind of a fine line, and I know a number of people who would have reactions similar to St Alia's.
posted by ZsigE at 3:35 PM on December 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


@msalt-in my faith tradition all believers are saints. Besides the username is more a tip of the hat to Dune.

@cortex - I understand that your intention may not have been to mock but practically speaking the project has certainly encouraged a certain disrespect for the Lord and his words. After all one of the titles of Jesus is that of The Word of God. He and His word are one. So yes I think this sort of thing has to be intrinsically disrespectful at the very least.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 3:36 PM on December 17, 2011


The words are still there, they're just in a different order.
posted by empath at 3:52 PM on December 17, 2011


The words are still there, they're just in a different order.

And to be fair those aren't Jesus's words anyway. If you could travel back in time to hear Jesus speak, you wouldn't understand a word (well, I'm guessing none of us would). We're relying on others to translate those words for us. If there is a serious intent to this project (and I'm pretty sure that there isn't), it might be to prompt us not to question whether everything someone calls the word of the Lord really is -- to actually pay attention and decide for ourselves how seriously we should take what we're being told.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:32 PM on December 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


And of course there is a stray "not" in that last sentence, because I am trying to do last minute Christmas shopping as we have this involved conversation about Christ, who I am relatively convinced wasn't thinking about me finding the best deal on a portable DVD player as he did his thing.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:34 PM on December 17, 2011


THE POWER OF CHRIST COMPELS YOU TO EXPERIENCE TREMENDOUS SAVINGS
posted by DoctorFedora at 4:49 PM on December 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


empath: "The words are still there, they're just in a different order."

This is really not a big deal unless you tend towards syntactic fundamentalism and believe some translations of some books are supernaturally favoured over others. If this Jesus did live, he was probably speaking in Aramaic, a semitic language with quite different sequencing and verb usage to Germanic languages such as English. To take just a single example, here's a line (from the Thomas Gospel I ref'd earlier) rendered into English, and below it the Coptic (also semitic) and Greek renditions from the source manuscripts:

English:
Yeshua says: The person old in days will not hesitate to ask a little child of seven days concerning the place of life—and he shall live. For many who are first shall become last {and the last first}; and they shall become a single unity.

Coptic:
Says Yeshua: He shall question not viz the man *old in his days *to-inquire-of a little *child small *he of seven *days concerning the place of the life; and he shall live For there-are many *first shall be-made last and *they shall become one alone
Greek:
Says Jesus not will hesitate man, human old of days to ask child seven of days concerning the place of life and he will live for many will be first last and the last first and into one they will become
How tricky does translation sense get? Here's a single note explaining how the words for "man" and "old" are linked:
The adjective follows its noun but is linked to it by n. This is the most usual construction; e.g. pe3.4hre n.ouwt ‘His only son’, ne.profhths n.nou` ‘The lying prophets’. In point of fact the adjective is treated as if it were a noun, and as such follows the normal construction used to form adjective equivalents, i.e. noun-n-noun; e.g. 4a`e n.4lo3 ‘Shameful saying’ (lit. Saying of shame), bw n.`oeit ‘Olive tree’ (lit. Tree of olive).
This whole para seems to be quite commensurate in tone meaning with Matthew 18:2-4.
(NIV):
2 He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
Wycliffe:
2 And Jhesus clepide a litil child, and putte hym in the myddil of hem; 3 and seide, Y seie treuthe to you, but ye be turned, and maad as litle children, ye schulen not entre in to the kyngdom of heuenes. 4 Therfor who euer mekith hym as this litil child, he is gretter in the kyngdom of heuenes.
Given the difficulties in translating these ancient texts, it's a 'miracle' any of them can be made to seem like they make any sort of sense. This is probably an artifact of their literary DNA being embedded and recycled and re-interpreted throughout Western culture for so long. For a person removed from the culture, contemporaneous Buddhist or Hindu writings are much less comprehensible even when rendered into modern English.
posted by meehawl at 6:45 PM on December 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


Needs more black Jesuses.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:13 PM on December 17, 2011


After all one of the titles of Jesus is that of The Word of God. He and His word are one. So yes I think this sort of thing has to be intrinsically disrespectful at the very least.

The Bible has long been used as a textual lucky dip - find the sentence or two that fits your circumstances most clearly, rather than reading the whole text. I've got a Gideon's Bible here that has an index of helpful passages ("Divorce: Romans 7:2,3"). There's also a tradition of out-and-out divination that requires randomness.

What we've got here is a Burroughs-style cut-up. For me the cut-up is a tool that helps our minds free-associate and gain a new perspective... I wouldn't dismiss it out of hand.

(As an aside I just finished listening to Alan Moore's Unearthed, where he riffs briefly on what might happen if you cut two sacred texts together.)
posted by Leon at 7:37 PM on December 17, 2011


St. Alia: in my faith tradition all believers are saints.

Which is a direct rebuke, and intentional disrespect to Catholicism. (So is calling the Pope the Antichrist, as several fundamentalist sects do too.) I guess that kind of selective umbrage is what I object to. Cortex's actions are far more respectful than that.

Sure, some Christians do idolatrize the [English translation] words of the Bible. A lot of Moslem believers idolatrize the words of their holy book as well, as well an any image of Mohammed. But the umbrage you choose to take in your religious beliefs does not undo my right to freedom of speech, or make me disrespectful. That's your choice, and you own your reaction.
posted by msalt at 9:26 PM on December 17, 2011


Disrespectful or not, this is simply a prudent action to take.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 1:15 AM on December 18, 2011


This talk about the post or cortex' JMC being disrespectful is nonsense or MeTa as far as I am concerned.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 6:48 AM on December 18, 2011


I said my opinion and other than responding to cortex' honest questions I leave it at that. No need to meta in my opinion. Any further discussion of my view can go t memail if desired as I have said what I needed to say as far as I am concerned.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 9:45 AM on December 18, 2011


So, you want to attack an OPP and then stop the discussion if someone challenges your attack? Gotcha. Happy holidays!
posted by msalt at 10:07 AM on December 18, 2011


People, please. I love me some Prophet Jesus, peace be upon him, but if there's anything about this to be offended by (other than the aforementioned exclusion of Black Jesus) it's that Markoving things is lazy humor.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:37 AM on December 18, 2011


Not what I said, msalt. I did not refuse to discuss this . Just saying that memail is preferable to meta if you feel my opinion was a derail. If cortex didn't get his knickers in a knot about it I fail to see why anyone else should.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 11:02 AM on December 18, 2011


It's obviously disrespectful, if only gently so. The silly background and "Jesus Markoving Christ" make it clear that part of the fun is looking at Jesus in a campy way. If you believe that X is a really serious thing, then you are naturally going to detect some disrespect if someone makes a website treating X in a campy/ironic/humorous light. The same would be true if the subject was Martin Luther King or Anne Frank, for example, and the background image was some flashing symbol associated with either of them.

Ask yourself - is the website humorous? I don't mean only the manipulation of Jesus's text - I mean the website design itself, with pictures of Jesus and flashing crucifixes, etc. I think the answer is yes, the website is obviously campy and humorous. Is Jesus a concept that some significant number of people take very seriously and not with humor? Obviously yes. Then, naturally, you are treating Jesus in way that will be perceived as disrespectful by a significant number of people.

Should you care? Are you a bad person? None of the above. But if you're going to crack wise about another person's holy figure, don't be surprised at the likely reaction you are going to draw.

Cortex: it's a pretty neutral exercise in decontextualization across a corpus of words from one of the most well-known figures in literary history.

That ignores entirely the visual design of the website, which is campy and ironical w/r/t to Jesus.

I have no truck with Jesus, by the way.
posted by Mid at 12:21 PM on December 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Mohammed is crying out for neutral decontextualising. And Moses too.
posted by the cuban at 1:25 PM on December 18, 2011


And Darwin.
posted by Grangousier at 1:38 PM on December 18, 2011


I can't tell if Markov Jesus supports the 99% movement or not. Supply Side Jesus certainly wouldn't.
posted by homunculus at 2:00 PM on December 18, 2011


Darksided.
posted by h00py at 3:34 AM on December 19, 2011


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