Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Charles Darwin and Kemal Ataturk have been spotted by devotees

As if to prove that modernization and secularization are not the same thing, as sociologist Peter Berger maintains, long-deceased cultural icons are "appearing" again. Darwin's face has been discovered in a tree and Turkish secularist Kemal Ataturk's face in a hillside shadow in a remote Turkish village. All the more interesting because Darwin is the icon of North American atheists and Atatürk was a devout secularist.

Apparently, the silhouette of Turkey's revered founder appears on the shadow that falls on these heights between June 15 and July 5. And thousands of Atatürk lovers, including military officers, bureaucrats and urban professionals, visit the region in order to observe this fascinating solstice.

Mr. Gülcemal Fidan, the mayor of Damal and a member of the ultra-secular People's Republican Party, or CHP, recently announced that the “Damal Festival in the Shade of Atatürk” will be observed every year, and his office has spared YTL 200,000 (about $163,000) for this year's organization — which is quite an amount for a tiny and poor area like his. Mr. Fidan also added that they expected Turkey's Chief of Staff Gen. Yasar Büyükanit to attend the celebrations.

Did Atatürk get "time off for good behavior" to come back and get his devotees favours from the Turkish government?
Now, I ask you, reasonable folk, does this - or does it not - beat the "Virgin Mary on a piece of toast"?

Toronto hack's view: Devotees - of Darwin, Ataturk, or kitsch Catholicism - "see" things.

The Florida toast cult claims that their piece of bread has mystical power. It never went bad in a whole decade - or anyway, no one ate it and got sick. Or got well. No one ate it at all. It was offered for sale.

Match THAT, Darwin and Ataturk!

(Note: The Catholic Church thinks that Jesus's mother Mary has sometimes appeared to help people. But read this for qualifying details. Do not phone the Pope about your toast. If you have not been living a really holy life, Mary prays for you. But if you are not listening to usual sources of good advice - why not start by listening to them, instead of waiting for a visit from her?)