Sunday, December 18, 2011

Pareidolia of the-- hey, wait a minute....

If you're just too impatient to see Jesus or the Virgin Mary's face appearing in bird poo, a cliff face, or a testicular tumor, for just $32 you can see one of them appearing reliably in an easily accessible location-- your toast. Jesus and Virgin Mary toasters are apparently a hot commodity this holiday season, with 50 to 100 of the Jesus variety reportedly being sold daily by Vermont entrepreneur Galen Dively.

Fairly straightforward, huh? I thought the aura around Jesus' head was a nice touch. Turns out the image is formed by an insert that slides into the toaster and can adjust the heat applied to imprint virtually any image on the surface of bread, from happy faces to peace signs (apparently the second most popular design after Jesus) to other religious symbols including the Star of David and the Hindu god Ganesh. I can't help but think that in addition to most Americans not being Hindu, Ganesh doesn't show up more often because it's harder to detect an elephant face in a door or block of concrete than a human one. Hmmm...

Anyway, in CNN's video interviewing people about the Jesus toaster, nobody appears offended by the product. Is that because they don't view the deliberate placing of the face of the holy figure on a slice of toast as a mockery of the "real" incidences of it appearing in such places? Or because they do view it as such, but don't care? I think it's fair to call the toaster irreverent in that regard, but perhaps even more so in that as Ed Brayton points out, "nothing says religious piety like spreading peanut butter over your savior's face." 

Don't get me wrong; I love toast. But I think I'll stick with plain ol' boring evenly toasted bread, thanks.

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