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Language Log

Monday, Feb. 23, 2009 - 7:29 a.m.

We went to St. Louis this weekend to meet friends and see a show. I don't really like musical theater, but the rest of them do. Spring Awakening. It was okay, though not as interesting as it could have been. Later J read a bit about the original play and we discovered that they had removed pretty much anything that would have made it actually controversial or thought-provoking, f-bombs and bare hineys nonwithstanding.

We walked around in a gallery district, saw a contemporary jewelry exhibit. I was reinvigorated. I made J talk about aesthetics.

The trip was characterized by a quantity of striking religious signery. First, on the way in, the semi truck emblazoned on all available surfaces with "Jesus is Lord-- not a curse word". I got a picture. Also the Effingham cross-- we drive by that all the time, but I finally managed to get a picture. Then the St. Louis Scientology temple, which was in an over-the-top Masonic lodge. I did not get a picture of that, because I didn't anticipate I'd run into anything so amazing in the St. Louis suburbs. Hadn't brought the camera along on that particular jaunt.

Then on the way out of town, a billboard that just said "Jesus". That was interesting because usually there's something being predicated of Jesus-- not so this time. I did get a pic of that one. And then my favorite, which took me off guard and hence remains unphotographed-- an industrial-looking church near the highway bearing the legend "Jesus completely saves". Completely! Dude.

I've decided to make this a thing, this photographing of religious signage. I always wonder what people are thinking when they did this-- and there's quite a range, from the well-funded to the rather more folksy (guy with paint can under overpass; guy with cardboard sign and tree). Maybe I'll open a new flickr account just for these photos. It's a good sort of purpose to have on a road trip. Lends coherence.

So overall, I'm feeling more artsy now than I did on Thursday. That's a good thing.

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