Button mashing

The IRC Bible

A couple of web guys are doing a version of the Bible as IRC-style chat. This, for example, is the end of Genesis; God has just arrived after Adam and Eve eat the apple:

* Jehova has joined #Eden

‹Jehova› what have you done?

‹Eve› it was the serpent!

‹Jehova› Serpent, schmerpent!

‹Adam› really!

* Jehova sets mode: -v Serpent

‹Jehova› fs

* Jehova sets mode: +b Adam!*

* Jehova sets mode: +b Eve!*

* Adam was kicked by Jehova (Get out!)

* Eve was kicked by Jehova (Get out!)

* Jehova changes topic to “and stay out!”

* Flamingsword has joined #Eden

* Jehova has left IRC (signed off)

Here endeth the lesson.

All joking aside, the Bible actually ports astonishingly well to the language of the Internet, partly because the central metaphors and conceits of each are oddly similar: Rooms opening and closing, access to elite areas granted or denied, obsessions with naming and true names, and everywhere the presence of language as an affective force. Computer code fits perfectly into the psychic headspace of Christianity, since it is a form of language that does things — like the word of the almighty, it’s both a metaphor and metonym. Northrop Frye called the Bible “the great code”, and only now am I realizing what a massively geeky in-joke that actually is.

(Thanks to El Rey for this one!)

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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