Your Own Personal Jesus… for only €95,00.
As we all know, Google collects data. They do that to characterize your individual interests, in order to more effectively display advertisement which suits those interests. If you’re familiar with my blog, you may have noticed that some of my main interests are alternative medicine, mythology and religion – unfortunately, the Google-ad-machinery does not distinguish between those who are interested in mythology in order to practice it, and those who are interested in it in order to debunk it. As a result of this insufficiently discriminatory process, people who are as ferociously anti-religious as me get to see ads like “Holy Land Pilgrimage – explore the origins of your faith”, “ChristianDating – Find true happiness with a partner who shares your faith” and so on.
Today, I one of these ads actually managed to catch my attention. Behold “FreeJee – the snuggle cross”:
The product statement from the company’s homepage (My translation from the German original) is pure comedy gold:
With the subtly provocative project FreeJee I would like to offer a new approach to the christian symbol of suffering and a way to break the acquired shyness of touching Jesus on the cross. If you try and touch one of these handmade objects you will feel the pleasant and almost peaceful effect. Religion to touch…
…and to reconsider?
Maybe it’s even possible, through the pleasant touch of the SnuggleCross, to get closer to your “own cross” – meaning the earthly everyday challenge of the individual. FreeJee wants to be a dissenting object, liberated from suffering, with its place in everyday life – be it in your hand, on the couch or on the wall.
These bizarre things sell at 95 EUR a piece (that’s about 130 USD), 24 EUR of which are donated to charity, which is laudable, even though a bit obscure because the charities remain unnamed. We are assured that it will be charities that focus mainly on providing medical care and education for children. Neat.
The whole project is still pretty fucking creepy. It seems to be in utter disregard of the very essence of the cross: It is an instrument of torture. There is a body on it with nails through hands and feet. Being unwilling to touch it does not speak of an “acquired shyness”, it is quite simply respect for the dead, or revulsion at viewing a body that has been slowly tortured to death. It is the natural reaction of a mentally healthy human being, and I’m not sure “breaking through” that “shyness” is a cause worth supporting.
EDIT August 1st, 2011: The developer of FreeJee commented on this post correctly pointing out that, contrary to what I have written, the name of the charitable organizations to which he donates some of the profit are listed on the project’s homepage. I seem to have missed that the first time around – I stand corrected, and apologize for my mistake.
He also points out that the statement that I translated doesn’t exist any more in its original form. That too is true, but as the statement used to be on that homepage exactly as I translated it above, I see no reason to change anything about this post.
I sincerely thank the developer of FreeJee for taking the time to comment here in such a kind and open-minded manner.