"But, but Jesus... there's so much proof!"

This was also posted over at Cubik's Rube, my skeptical/atheist blog.

Okay... I think we can all relax.

I didn't watch it the first few times I saw it linked, because I read the summary and it just sounded depressing. Eventually I caved in and witnessed the nightmare for myself.

It really was hideous.

Yes, it's that video of the American girl sitting down for a chat with "one regular [friend] and one Indian one", and getting caught up in an extended argument about whether she's African (and, if not, why she's so dark) before moving onto religion. The Indian girl, Saraa, is a Hindu, and this fundamental difference in belief is handled with tact and sensitivity by her Christian pals, as they ask searching questions about this unfamiliar faith in order to better understand the worldview and experiences of someone they care about.

Questions like, "Krishna? Is that what you call Jesus in your language?" and "So... you want to go to Hell?"

For a couple of days now the whole internet has been finding it hilarious, in the same way as they might find a fatal traffic accident deeply engrossing. All the obvious stuff has been said, about how worrying it is that someone could be so out of touch with what others think, and so unable to comprehend any alternative viewpoint. And, of course, there was debate as to its authenticity.

I mostly bought it, at first. They all do seem really sincere, and their geographical ignorance certainly plays into my expectations. I was slightly suspicious of the neatness of the comic timing with which they cut away after the "India, it's an African country in Asia" line, but mostly it seemed depressingly genuine.

Looking at this girl's profile, she's also set up an account which seems to be solely for parodying their detractors, in a way which would seem to fit with their image as ignorant, self-absorbed teenagers.

She's favourited an Edward Current video, but she seems like exactly the sort of person who would entirely fail to spot the satire in his work, and be proudly declaring "Checkmate, atheists!" whenever the chance arose.

But - unless I've seriously misunderstood the way YouTube works - the slam-dunk evidence would seem to be in the tags she's attached to the video. (I'm assuming that they could only have been added deliberately by her when it was uploaded, and not come later from anywhere else.) As people in the comments have pointed out, the tags of interest are "poe's", "law", "Henry", and "Fielding".

Poe's law describes how hard it is to create a parody of religious fundamentalism that won't be taken seriously, because there are bound to be some fundamentalists who honestly believe even crazier stuff than whatever you can make up. Henry Fielding was a famous 18th century satirist.

So... that has to clinch it, right? Until further analysis explains why I'm wrong, I'm going to assume they're joking. It's not the most hilarious parody of Jesus-thumping lunacy I've seen, largely because I suspect it's too accurate a re-creation. The piss-taking is too subtle. But I'm sure I see it in there somewhere. They were lampooning me. It was a simple lampoon.

So, it's okay everyone. We can all calm down and rest easy, safe in the knowledge that... well, the knowledge that there are thousands of people out there who really are exactly like this, but probably not the ones in this particular video. I guess.


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Comment by Johnsky on August 15, 2009 at 10:51pm
I don't know what's worse, this being real... or that it wouldn't surprise me if most American children really were like the characters in that video.
Comment by Michael Howard on August 15, 2009 at 7:57pm
If it is a POE and I suspect it is, she is F-ing brilliant. I was convinced she was a fundi initially.
Comment by Chrys Stevenson on August 15, 2009 at 7:15pm
She also says in her comments that the video is as real as God. ;-)



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