For those of you who don’t know, Mr. Deity is an ongoing series on YouTube, featuring Brian Dalton as writer, director, and star of the eponymous series. Mr. Deity is a fast-talking 21st century take on Yahweh, complete with his son, Jesse/Jesus, Larry, the omnipresent holy ghost, and adversary Lucy (fer), doing three to four minute sketches, usually riffing on various shortcomings of the bible and its god. Frequently highlighted are Mr. Deity’s cluelessness about the impact or consequences of his master plan (such as it is), script checks with Jesse/Jesus regarding his dad’s plans for him, and frequent friction with Lucy, who comes across as far more pragmatic and grounded than her heavenly counterpart. Guest stars have included such secular lights as blogger P. Z. Myers, author Michael Shermer, and geologist Donald Prothero. The scripts bristle with well-written repartee, double-entendres and horrid puns, usually with a kicker last line just before roll-credits. It’s first-drawer stuff which should have Dalton & Co.’s audiences rolling in the aisles.
With one notable exception (the author tips a cap he’s not wearing). I watched perhaps a couple dozen episodes on YouTube recently. Certainly there were more than a few lines that jerked a chuckle out of me, but little more than that. Someone might accuse me of having a poor sense of humor and they wouldn’t be far off at all. My problem (if it is one) is that I have never been much for humor at someone else’s expense. That includes blond, fat-guy, Polish or other ethnic humor, embarrassing surprises, practical jokes, and variations on those themes. One might deduce that I have been the butt of such shenanigans, and one would be right, but that isn’t the point here. The point is that, if the bible is to be believed, we’ve all been the butt of the most comprehensive, ongoing marathon of practical jokes ever conceived, the jokester being the aforementioned Mr. Deity, and no, I do not mean Brian Dalton. H. L. Mencken once suggested that god was a comedian, playing to an audience too afraid to laugh, and in part he was quite correct. That portion of the world which belongs to his fan club might well not laugh easily, but then laughter is unlikely with a gun to one’s head. In my case, however, I’m not laughing because:
While watching those vignettes, there were too many times when I wanted to kick that smarmy Deity’s nuts through his nostrils, because of his self-involved attitude, lack of empathy, and monomaniacal obsession with a “plan” which has all the organization of the Keystone Kops. True, what I’m really mad at are the snake-oil salesmen who push their misconceived joke book on an unsuspecting public and the fatuous dolts who swallow it all whole. That doesn’t change the fact that I find nothing remotely funny about religion in general and Christianity in particular when I consider the harm it has brought and continues to bring while simultaneously being held as an essential part of society by too many of its members.
I’ll stipulate that what Brian and his troupe are doing is very well crafted satire, ridiculing a most deserving target. His work may very well cause people to recognize the foolishness of faith and its proponents, and I hope it does.
Just don’t ever expect me to laugh at it.