Saturday, March 10, 2007

An Exclusive Interview with Pope Benedict XVI

You don’t even want to know what kind of red tape I had to go through to get this interview, or, hell, maybe you do. Let’s just say that I had 24 visitors to this site last week, and for those two who weren’t me, I’ll go to any lengths to provide something you can’t get at any other blog. Something besides my little caricature up there.

Transcript of my interview with Pope Benedict XVI:

Runes: Thanks for meeting with me, Pope. Now, it was reported this week—
Pope: Please—call me Your Holiness.
Runes: (laughing) You’re kidding, right?
Pope: It’s customary.
Runes: Ennh. Tell you what. I’ll do what I used to do when I needed to talk to my old girlfriends’ parents and couldn’t bring myself to call them by their first names: I’ll look directly at you when I want to ask you a question.
Pope: Fair enough.
Runes: Of course, it’s a one-on-one interview, so who else would I be talking to? Now, it was reported last week that you were unhappy about your predecessor, Pope John Paul II, attending a 1997 concert at which Bob Dylan performed. You, in fact, tried to talk him out of it.
Pope: That is correct.
Runes: What were you afraid of? Did you think Bob was going to change some of his songs around to make them more appropriate for the Vatican? Did you think he was going to sing “Lay, Laity, Lay”?
Pope: No, of course not—
Runes: “Leopard-Skin Pillbox Pope Hat”?
Pope: No, no—
Runes: “Changing of the Swiss Guards”?
Pope: I don’t even know the song that’s based on.
Runes: Yeah, it’s from Street-Legal.
Pope: No wonder.
Runes: Did you think he was going to do “Desolation Rome”?
Pope: What?
Runes: How about “Most Likely You Go Your Way And I’ll Go Talk Out My Ass About Birth Control”?
Pope: Now you’re just being rude.
Runes: Well, that’s also all the parody song titles I can come up with off the top of my head. Back to the question. Why didn’t you like the idea of Dylan singing for John Paul II?
Pope: Because rock music is a tool of Satan.
Runes: A tool of Satan.
Pope: That’s what I said.
Runes: (calling to an assistant) Could you check a calendar and see what year this is? 2007? No, yes, that’s what I thought, but I had a moment of doubt there. (turning back to the Pope) In a way, I agree with you—you should see the way this Elvis Presley character gyrates his hips onstage. It’s obscene, I tell you.
Pope: I was under the impression he died.
Runes: (scoffs) OK, you just keep telling yourself that. But seriously. Rock is a tool of Satan? Cite your sources, please.
Pope: I’ve long held the belief that electric guitars have no place in a house of worship.
Runes: Because—?
Pope: Well, when you think of the word “sacred,” do you think of loud music? Do you think of “waka-ja-wow-wow-weeeeeoooooww-deedily-deedily-deedily-deedily-deedily-deedily-waa-waa-wampa-ka-wow”?
Runes: Honestly, no. But may I just say that was a very impressive air guitar riff.
Pope: That’s off the record.
Runes: Right, right. Anyway. I and other Dylan fans would contend that his music has a positive message, even if it isn’t necessarily sacred—
Pope: Doesn’t matter. Tool of Satan.
Runes: It doesn’t matter what the message is?
Pope: Nope.
Runes: Even if it’s “Love your neighbor”?
Pope: Even if it’s “Love your neighbor.”
Runes: Even if it’s “Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you”?
Pope: Even if it’s “Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you.”
Runes: Even if it’s “Think for yourself”?
Pope: Even if it’s—especially not “Think for yourself”!
Runes: Yeah, I didn’t think you’d like that one. How about if the message is “Jesus is just all right with me”?
Pope: Was that Dylan?
Runes: No, it was the Doobie Brothers.
Pope: Tools of Satan. They’ve got “doobie” in their name.
Runes: So pretty much any rock or pop act of the last 50 years is a tool of Satan, according to you.
Pope: Try naming one that isn’t.
Runes: Elvis?
Pope: Tool of Satan.
Runes: Jimi Hendrix.
Pope: Tool of Satan.
Runes: Janis.
Pope: From “The Muppet Show”?
Runes: No, Janis Joplin.
Pope: Tool of Satan.
Runes: OK, how about Janis from “The Muppet Show”?
Pope: Tool of Satan.
Runes: The Who.
Pope: T-t-t-t-t-t-tool of Satan.
Runes: Cyndi Lauper.
Pope: Tools of Satan just wanna have fun.
Runes: Devo.
Pope: Are we not men? We’re tools of Satan.
Runes: You’re having fun with this, aren’t you?
Pope: I’m just callin’ ‘em like I see ‘em.
Runes: The Beatles.
Pope: Tools of Satan.
Runes: Queen.
Pope: Tools of Satan.
Runes: Emerson, Lake, and Palmer.
Pope: Pretentious neoclassical prog-rock with impenetrable lyrics and overblown production. And tools of Satan.
Runes: Is there any pop or rock artist or group I could mention who isn’t, in your mind, a tool of Satan?
Pope: Yes. There is one.
Runes: You’re kidding. Are you going to make me guess it?
Pope: No, I’ll come right out and tell you. I always enjoyed Musical Youth.
Runes: Musical Youth.
Pope: (tape runs out just as he begins singing “Pass the Duchy” and boogieing out of the room like the guy on the “Keep on Truckin’” t-shirt)

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