From: A Blue-State Democrat
Dear God: Before I begin, let me say that I pray this e-mail gets through your spam blocker. Lord knows (or, more precisely, You know) that your in-box is probably jammed, what with offerings of discount Viagra, entreaties from money changers to refinance your mortgage, and heart-breaking supplications from beleaguered Nigerian civil servants asking for nothing more than your bank-account numbers. Not to mention all those missives from red-state Republicans thanking you for their answered prayers.
But then, I suppose all this stuff comes with the territory. So, speaking as a blue-state Democrat, let me get right to the point: Congratulations on the Presidential election. You appear to have triumphed-at least if one puts any faith in the exit surveys showing that “values” (read: You) carried the day.
But at the same time (and I hate to point this out, so please don’t go all smote and locusts on me), your numbers weren’t exactly anything to brag about.
A mandate? Debatable. Especially in New York City and Los Angeles, where it appears that large numbers of voters have given up the (holy) ghost.
So with all due respect, it occurs to me that you’re missing out on a vital constituency here on Earth. And you’ve got an opportunity-before the next election-to reach out, move to the center and broaden your base.
With this in mind, I’d like to offer a few suggestions-a few tweaks, nips and tucks in the Ten Commandments-that will surely bring these people back into the fold.
Herewith, then, my annotated notes on the Ten (Amended) Commandments, Version 2.0.
1) I am the Lord thy God …. So far, so good. No argument here. We’re with you . … who delivered thee out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Still pretty good-Egypt is trendy. But I wonder if you’re missing an opportunity for relevance here. Think upscale New Yorkers vacationing in Cairo and the all-important West Village constituency. Perhaps you need to remind them: ” … delivered thee back to Egypt, into the house of bondage.” Your call. It’s just a suggestion.
2) Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Alas, our first major problem. As you well know, New Yorkers worship at the house of Prada, genuflect in front of maître d’s, and fall prostrate before preschool-admissions officers. Plus there are all those local deities to contend with: architects, magazine editors, celebrity chefs, shoe designers, plastic surgeons, film directors and various rock ‘n’ roll gods. Solution: temporarily drop this commandment-at least until you hire a publicist, open a restaurant, throw some velvet-rope parties and get yourself on top of the Vanity Fair power list.
3) Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord in vain. Fine. Done. Finished. You clean up the traffic, improve the quality of dry cleaning and send us some domestic help who can actually follow instructions, and we’ll stop cursing. Agreed?
4) Thou shalt honor thy father and mother. Highly problematic. Sure, it’s a nice idea in theory-but one with potentially devastating economic consequences to Manhattan and Los Angeles, given our huge indigenous population of analysts, psychotherapists and psychiatrists. Suggested rewrite: “Thou shalt try to work things out with thy father and mother, or thy stepmother, as the case may be.” You see? A word here, a word there, and everybody’s happy.
5) Thou shalt not kill. With the occasional exception of certain high-profile society murderers, this is obviously a red-state commandment. (Hey, we’re the pro-gun-control states, remember?) But on the other hand, there’s a small vocabulary problem here: Everyone from real-estate agents to investment bankers to comedians are not only lauded for killing, but paid commensurately for it. So there are two options: either issue separate commandments (“Thou shalt not kill” in the red states, and “Let the other guy think he won” in the blue) or work out a compromise to cover the whole country: “Thou shalt always attempt to find win/win solutions for any dispute.”
6) Thou shalt not steal. We can live with this, so long as it excludes the relentless pursuit of sales, bargains and undervalued real-estate properties-as well as any shoplifting that can be diagnosed as a personality disorder.
7) Thou shalt observe the Sabbath. This, I suppose, depends on what your definition of “observe” means. We work 24/7 here, pal. City that never sleeps. An economy that depends on everybody buying, shopping and working all the time. So how about this compromise: “Thou shalt observe the Sabbath with a light brunch, a short shopping trip, a few contemplative moments with the Sunday Styles section of The Times, and then-perhaps-an intellectually challenging independent film at the Angelika at, say, sixish”? I can’t speak for you, but it sounds divine to me.
8) Thou shalt not commit adultery. Sorry, but simply too much of the local economy depends on this-from that first drink in a bar to the lingerie shop, the hotel concierge, the marriage counselor, divorce lawyer and, finally, the furnished-apartment rental agent. Suggestion: delete.
9) Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. Fine. We’ll give you this one. But it would be nice if you could work in some phraseology here about “imminent threats” and “weapons of mass destruction.”
10) Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his house, nor his manservant, ox, ass, nor any of his possessions. Hmmm. I don’t want to get into some kind of major theological argument here, but pray tell: What precisely were you thinking when you created Park Avenue, the Porsche Carrera, Pilates and all of that beachfront property out on eastern Long Island? In a world fueled by pure envy, this is a test no one can win. So how about a compromise where everybody gets to feel good about themselves and you: “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s ox.”
In closing, I just want to say thanks for listening. These are all just suggestions, of course; none of them are set in stone. I look forward to hearing your thoughts after Thanksgiving.
PS: If you get a chance, I’d like some clarification. Does “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” mean that everybody’s supposed to be a victim?