For the first time in five years, the KAMP MAYKR household was not outfitted with its customary Christmas Thing. With my return from Geneva coming so close to the holiday, and my attention drawn to reflecting on that experience, I simply couldn't get the job done.
However, to make up for the lack of a xmas assemblage, I want to share a discovery I made which I think may have an impact on current Christmas scholarship.
In the days leading up to - or immediately following Christmas this year, I was at the gym, working up a sweat on the stair step-py machine while watching a 2009 rerun of SNL. During the Weekend Update segment, a photo of a fur-wrapped Aretha Franklin was shown, accompanied by a punchline about her being eaten by a bear.
I recognized the image immediately as being directly related to the mural restauration-gone-awry that has come to be known as Beast Jesus. Last Summer in Zaragosa, Spain, Cecilia Gimenez, in an effort which would bring the issue of art restoration and conservation to the consciousness of much of the world, sought to "repair" the damaged mural of Christ entitled Ecco Homo painted by Elias Garcia Martinez in around 1930.
There must be something mysterious and magical afoot. The uncanny likeness between the two images, the relation to the sacred in both (the mural's depiction of Christ in a church, Aretha's appearance occurring at that most sacred of Christmas observations; the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, in 2009). Aside from the conscious internet memes, might we inadvertently see more images of this nature? It all makes me think that something greater was at work when Mrs Gimenez put brush to mural last year.
Perhaps the one of the greatest painterly fuck ups in history might really be the primitive stirrings (channeled through an 80 yr old Spanish woman) of a more profound vision/message of the divine.
A cursory search online makes me believe that this connection has gone unnoticed until now, and that's why I've decided to publish my finding now. I don't know what it means, but I leave it to those so inclined to pursue the trail which may well advance the quest for the elusive true meaning of Christmas.