Catching bits of Pope John Paul’s passing, funeral and associated rituals (unavoidable it seems if one has a tv) - it reminded me of another such event in the early 90’s. Albeit this latest one was on a much larger scale, there were uncanny resemblances to the passing, funeral and associated rituals of North Korea’s Kim Il Sung. To see women crying in public and crowds gawking in disbelief at the death of a man who represented a tenacious belief in a ruinous ideology was bad enough, but to realize that this very leader was responsible in large part to making these people’s lives miserable was even harder to fathom. Women praising this pope for whatever reason they can muster in spite of his specifically denying them an equal status to that of men in the church seems as absurd as women praising President Kim for his humanitarian policies.
Both spectacles reveal a level of delusion in the flocks (of sheep) that “baaaa” at some p.r. version of the truth (he was so kind, he loved everyone, he brought peace to the world), while the reality of his backward policies ensure that the world of their children will be no better than their own, perhaps even worse.
Both scenes paint a picture of large crowds of delusional people who have bought into a false ideolgy and have raised their respective leader to the highest firmament of that fictional cosmos. I do know that there are definite differences (political vs. religious; forced belief vs. chosen belief; etc,) but the response of the followers in relation to their leader seem about the same, especially when one considers how the true actions of that leader and the real consequences of his policies stack up against the imagined greatness of John Paul 2 and Kim Il Sung in the eyes of the mourners.
This funeral was such a pathetic sight (of being clobbered over the head by having to witness first hand the stupidity of so many people) that it left my hopes for humanity temporarily descimated. I honestly couldn’t watch for more than 5 minutes without feeling a great sense of disillusionment pressing down on me. Comedy Central to the rescue!