In 2008 Dick Cheney declined to pursue a third term due to his failing health. A delegation of the nation’s civic and religious leaders entered the National Archives after several days’ fasting and purification and, after lifting the Shroud upon the Constitution, declared that the proper thing to do in this sort of situation was to hold an election.
Genesis 4:5 says that “The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor.” The situation is kabbalistically reenacted every four years, when a candidate named some variant of “Cain” must lose at some stage in a US Presidential election. In 2016 it was Tim Kaine. In 2012 it was Herman Cain. In 2008 the unlucky role fell to war hero John McCain, who ran a strong race based on a platform of campaign finance reform and military leadership.
On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton originally looked set to sweep the national vote based on her connections and name recognition. Then things got interesting. People all around the country started talking about “hope” and “change” and “yes we can”. New political phenomenon Barack Obama inspired huge crowds wherever he went. The older, stodgier candidates were swept aside in the wave of enthusiasm at the revolution he promised.
Me, I figured he was probably a demon.
I mean, I’ve read enough folktales to recognize the basic arc. A mysterious tall dark stranger arrives in the capital and quickly gains the ears of the court. There’s no particular reason why anyone should like him, but everyone who listens to him can’t shake the feeling that he’s a trustworthy, intelligent figure. When he’s out of earshot, the nobles of the land plot against him, wondering how such a relative lightweight could dream of usurping their power – but as soon as he speaks to them in his smooth, calming voice, they immediately forget what they were going to do and join in the universal chorus of praise.
And in every one of those folktales, the stranger turns out to be a demon.
Obama laughed off people’s fears. But when his detractors asked him to produce a birth certificate, to prove that he had in fact been born, he expressed outrage and declined as a matter of principle. He said that his father had been a goat-herd from rural Kenya but was now dead – a claim which was suspiciously convenient, even ignoring the symbolic connotations of goats. He tried to prove he was a family man by showing off his daugher Malia, then categorically refused to answer questions about what kind of person would name their firstborn after the abstract concept of evil.
Luke 10:18 says “And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.” “Lightning” in Hebrew is “barak”. Isaiah 14:14 describes Satan’s fall from “the height of the clouds”; the word for “height” in this passage, referring to Heaven, is “bama”. Thus “lightning and heaven” would be “barak o’bama”. Sure, all of the bigshot Bible scholars point out that Jesus would have been speaking in Aramaic rather than Hebrew, and that there are many terms for Heaven more common than Isaiah’s idiom, and that you would have to be a raving lunatic conspiracy theorist to make the connection. But did not Jesus say only three verses later, that “You have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children”? And that “I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it”?
On the other hand, the previous president had been Dick Cheney, so all of this sort of paled in comparison and Obama was elected in a landslide. Some people vaguely remembered that before it was Shrouded the Constitution had received an amendment saying something about a medical examination to make sure the president was human. But everyone agreed this would be extremely racist under the circumstances and could be skipped.
Only a handful of scholars and kabbalists remembered the words of the poet, who had prophecied almost eighty years before:
And at the last from inner Egypt came
The strange dark One to whom the fellahs bowed;
Silent and lean and cryptically proud,
And wrapped in fabrics Red as sunset flame.
Throngs pressed around, frantic for his commands,
But leaving, could not tell what they had heard:
While through the nations spread the awestruck word
That wild beasts followed him and licked his hands…
Or that the same prophecy ended:
…then, crushing what he had chanced to mould in play,
The idiot Chaos blew Earth’s dust away.
The poem referenced is Lovecraft’s, and is about Nyarlathotep. Also I wonder who Kaine lost to in 2016.
The election was the same as in our world; a vice-presidential loss counts for the symbolism. He just has to be on the ticket.
Which means DJT is a thing in the Unsongverse too. “We have the best Names”?
Well, we still have one interlude. And since nothing is ever a coincidence, Tav stands for Trump*
*Not really, it’s usually spelled with a tet. But close enough.
Tav = Trump is also found in Chapter 37.
I find that tet offensive.
Dammit, that took me way too long to get.
We’ve already heard about Trump Tower is Las Vegas a few times.
So it looks like the end of the world comes under Trump?
Can we keep talking about Unsong here, please?
It is about Unsong! Chapter 37:
Well, Revelation does have a lot of references to Trump/Pence, including seven very special ones.
Man, those angels just will not let up on them.
Do we have a date on the present-day part of the narrative?
My guess is Trump gets reelected in 2020, and drags the entire Untied States down with him when the Curse of Tippecanoe strikes.
May 7-10, 2017.
Most chapters have a date at the top of them.
But wait, if you wrote this in advance, how could you know Tim Kaine would be Hillary’s choice for VP, much less that he’d lose?
probablydefinitely been asked before, but are you a witch?
Not all details fixed in advance, presumably. That’s probably reflected in the changelog chapter as well (though that’s not exactly canon). .
Maybe in Unsong, Marco Rubio won the election, due to the Sword of Chang? 🙂
Didn’t Reagan also have that sort of charisma, but turned out to be a golem instead of a demon?
The golem of an angel, so it still sorta fits within the same mold.
“but when his detractors asked him produce a birth certificate” – missing the word “to”
A reminder that shirt orders are now open for another week. (Looks like we’re also doing a white-on-green “I went to theodicycon and all I got was this shirt and I don’t understand how a just God would allow this to happen”, which I’ll keep open a bit longer since it’s a late addition).
Is there a way to pay you that doesn’t involve PayPal?
I can do Google wallet if that’s easier. (Or if you know some other way that’s reasonably easy to use).
Is there an image of the TheodicyCon design? Trying to decide between that one and the Watchmaker, and I haven’t found the design in the order form or comments.
Not yet, I’ll try to get to it this weekend.
(Also as mentioned before, design suggestions welcome).
This is roughly what I’d imagined (without any real skill, effort, or design software) – basically, color and text per canon, text centered and in one block, a font that looks decent in all caps.
Would really love to see much larger images of all the designs. Also would prefer to pay via Google Wallet.
Link to higher quality images
You can pay through google Wallet at the rot13 of funxrq.xbcyrjvgm (at gmail).
Lovecraft would have had a major mental breakdown if he had known about Obama.
Remember “On the Creation of N——“?
That was seriously horrible.
Just looking at The Outer Gate Interlude – ‘And it’s not just Adam. What about Noah’s sons, who right after they were saved from a giant flood caused by God being really really vengeful about sinners in the most conspicuous way possible, decided to celebrate with some kind of weird debauched incestuous rape orgy?’
This isn’t quite right as 1) it was Noah who got drunk, not the sons, so they hardly were in an ‘orgy’ 2) Ham didn’t have sex/rape Noah, just mocked his nakedness 3) the sources say it was just Ham who transgressed, not the other two sons. But it would fit perfectly in it became Lot’s daughters.
I just realized, I didn’t know this story and the Noah story that I subconsciously assumed it was referring to was the joke about the adders who need logs to multiply.
Goat herd? This part does not happen in our world, right?
Yes, IRL Obama’s father was a Harvard graduate, and a politically important economist in Kenya.
Economist, Goatherd. Who can be bothered distinguishing the two.
(though, there might be a connection, economist always being foiled by those who do not follow thier nice rules. Just a thought)
As per Encyclopedia Britannica: “Obama’s father, Barack Obama, Sr., was a teenage goatherd in rural Kenya, won a scholarship to study in the United States, and eventually became a senior economist in the Kenyan government.”
Listing all of the facts that fit your theory while conveniently ignoring any that don’t – this is the kabbalah. The rest is just commentary.
This is probably a coincidence (famous last words) but we know another Malia…
This is not a coincidence because nothing is ever a coincidence.
Holy euphemism, how did that not occur to me before? Good catch.
The root of Malia is Lia, not Mal. I’m not aware of Lia meaning evil
I mean, I’ve read enough folktales to recognize the basic arc. A mysterious tall dark stranger arrives in the capital and quickly gains the ears of the court. There’s no particular reason why anyone should like him, but everyone who listens to him can’t shake the feeling that he’s a trustworthy, intelligent figure.
1907 Catholic religious apocalyptic (literally the End of the World) novel by Robert Hugh Benson, “The Lord of the World”:
And maybe this has some bearing on the Trump election? (This is about the English politician character in the novel) 🙂
More about Felsenburgh, who turns out to be literally the Anti-Christ:
Julian the Apostate, last heathen emperor of Rome. Too obvious.
Reminds me of Jack Burden’s instructions to Willie Stark (essentially Huey Long, Depression-era proto-Trump):
He tried to prove he was a family man by showing off his daugher Malia, […].
I can’t rember where I found this – maybe a sig quote somewhere. It seems appropriate.
This appears to be the origin.
I mean, It’s hardly an inauguration without communicating with birds.
He who does not wear patriotic label pins. I love fictional dwarves.
Oh god, if Lovecraft counts as prophecy, there is absolutely no way this will end well.
Cthulhu might destroy hell, though. Accidentally.
So, besides Obama, “what kind of person would name their firstborn after the abstract concept of evil”?
Hard to say. But Lyndon Johnson’s second-born was named Luci.
Could she have changed her last name for some reason? A marriage perhaps? But the timeline doesn’t seem to work, you’d think that would have been mentioned, and Ngo’s description doesn’t match Obama…
Anton Szandor LaVey named his son Satan Xerxes Carnacki LaVey. I can’t imagine what was school like for this guy. It’s worse than “Boy named Sue”
People forgot that elections were a thing after just eight years of Cheney?
Perhaps they didn’t forget. But were scared to let him know, and so pretended to have done so.
Malia is the Hawaiian equivalent of Mary and there is a Jewish tradition of naming children after deceased relatives…
Kabbalah is like racism: you ignore the historical background and just go with the face value.
Alternatively, kabbalah is like racism because you focus solely on historical background and ignore the facts of the matter.
It’s also apparently a word for “spell” in Italian.
Whose daughter is Malia Ngo?
Malia Ngo is almost certainly Lilith, noted devourer of babies and bride of Satan; now that Malia Obama might be the daughter of Satan, it seems plausible that it’s the same person. (Bride of Satan, daughter of Satan, whatever. For it is written, “I want to defy the logic of all sex laws.”)
The bride of Satan and the daughter of Satan are the same if Milton is to be trusted.
I’ve been assuming the 2016 election is not a thing in this story since it seems extremely unrealistic for people not to be talking about Trump all the time in 2017. Including Tim Kaine here breaks that somewhat :/
Well, the writing of the story began before the real world elections. In-story, why would people in California Republic talk about Trump that much? Trump is all the way across the continent.
(plus, we don’t know who won the 2016 election in-story)
Yes we do
— previously, on LiveJournal
Well Richard Burr, the last living relative of Aaron Burr, did win a competitive senate race when Trump got elected.
Funny, I’d read this linked somewhere else (perhaps in the comments on an older chapter?) and completely forgotten about it until now. Thanks for the reminder!
Note, as well, that “barack” means “blessing” in Swahili. Backwards it is hiding an “Arab.”
“Obama” is “amabo” backwards — Latin for “I will love.”
His full name — Barack Hussein Obama — anagrams to “SHAMANIC AURAS EBB, OK?”
The kabbalistic implications of this are obvious.
Barack backwards is kcarab, or carab – the tree on which Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai and his son lived while they were trapped in a cave writing the Zohar. The kabbalistic implications are obvious.
Love the anagram. Amazing, really. The whole discussion and community and coming here. Moving forward, it’s hard to say what will happen. But all the Blake and Milton references are fantastic! And it’s current – as far as recent comments. This is an active site.
“and whatever” certainly wouldn’t be “o’bama”. “And” in Hebrew is “ve”, “ו”. When the following letter has dagesh, then “ve” pronounces as “u”. So “and scene” would be “uvama”. Gematria in Hebrew can be the same, but you already employed English gematria(which I consider nonsense) so the meaning is totally different. Ulpan Aleph 😉
“Lightning and heaven” doesn’t seem like it completes the link correctly anyway. The verse says “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.”
Clearly the apostrophe used here must—instead of the Hebrew conjunction—invoke the Irish-style O’ meaning ‘son of’, making him literally ‘lightning descended from heaven’.
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