Cross about hot buns
Also, my brother in Christ, you buy them before Good Friday
Hey just a heads up that the last story in this edition contains a screenshot where a transphobic joke is visible. I considered not including it, but I’ve decided it’s better to be exact about what was offensive and include this content warning because I don’t know exactly who will read this.
Also my publishing days will continue to be chaotic over the next few weeks – sorry! Please share this newsletter anyway!
Forbidden hot cross buns
Every year, immediately after Christmas, there is an uproar in the media and online about the too-early sale of hot cross buns (which I call HCBs). While it’s true that Boxing Day HCBs on supermarket shelves cause some holiday whiplash, I don’t know if a theologically-approved timeline to sell Easter-themed baked goods has ever been established. Aren’t you technically only supposed to eat them on Good Friday?
To compound the controversy: Take a look at the picture above. What’s in the buns that angry, flowery note is stuck to? It’s chocolate.
Traditionally, HCBs are made with spiced fruit. Alternate flavours of hot cross buns provoke surprisingly strong reactions, even within my own group of friends, where opinions are split largely down religious lines. One Christian member of a group chat described fruitless, chocolate and apple-cinnamon HCB’s as “abominations”. He got this response from an athiest:
I do not understand why hot cross buns provoke such strong emotions, but bottom-tier news websites wouldn’t write stories about it every year unless it generated traffic across social media. Does this post make me also bottom-tier? I don’t care.
Not all Christians are traditionalists. In the Guardian, Church of England clergyman Fergus Butler-Gallie says exotic HCBs are good, actually:
Even if the symbolism of the bun is warped by different flavour, Christians believe that the symbolism of the cross cannot be. … Essential to Christian belief is the idea that the cross embraces all and that the cross conquers all. It is a symbol of torture and pain and death that changes into one of hope and joy. In the light of that leap of faith, the flavour of the dough it’s made from seems a secondary issue at best.
I agree, because I do not enjoy traditional fruit HCBs! And when I tried to get some apple and cinnamon HCBs at the supermarket they were all sold out, so in that sense, plenty of other people agree too.
Uniting Church chaplain Bradon French also agrees. He gave these jalapeño and cheese hot cross buns (lol) a positive review and promotes HCB sales year round — what he calls “#hotXbuns365”. He’s in good company: Bishop Umbers of the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney (and a member of Opus Dei) tweeted he was already eating HCBs on 8 January 2021.
More from Fergus
Guardian contributor Fergus Butler-Gallie also happens to be the priest on Twitter who drew my attention to this job ad for “chaplain of Sexey’s Hospital”. I obviously now follow him on the platform.
“My brother in Christ”
There’s a lot of people on the internet referring to each other as “my brother in Christ” right now. As far as I’m aware, Twitter hasn’t undergone a Christian revival, so what’s going on here?
Know Your Meme says it originated as a humorous way to replace the n-word on memes ripped from (I presume) black creators.
Since then it’s taken off on Twitter as a standalone catch phrase in posts about people who actually contribute to the problems they are complaining about online. “You don’t like that thing? My brother in Christ, it is the way it is because of choices you have made.”
A deal of a lifetime
Angels, and other horrible things
An artist called Alex Howard (@xalexhoward) produced a short video of a giant skeleton titled “The tall”. It was ripped by a meme account and went viral under the caption “wyd in this situation ?” (My favourite answer: “debate him in the marketplace of ideas”)
His other work is what I can only describe as celestial horror — plenty of ‘biblically accurate angels’, but also lakes of grasping hands, inwardly lit otherworldly figures slinking through swamps and a “Regular ol soul harvesting portal”.
Anyway, turns out he was selling the videos as NFTs, but deleted most of his posts about that after a negative reaction online. I hope he still finds the motivation to make weird stuff.
I don’t know what to make of this either
Sorry about the title of this section. Right-wing Christian satire site the Babylon Bee effectively banned itself from Twitter after making a tasteless, transphobic joke it refused to delete. Ryan Broderick explains over on Garbage Day:
The way most Twitter suspensions work is that Twitter will allow you to come back after 12 hours, but you first have to delete the tweet that triggered the suspension. And the clock doesn’t start ticking until the tweet is deleted.
The Bee’s CEO Seth Dillon has announced he won’t be deleting the tweet because “truth is not hate speech” and is using the controversy to fundraise for the website. This effectively bars them from ever posting on the site again.
I gave a short history of the Babylon Bee in my first edition of Relics – it didn’t always used to be this way. It’s turned into a horrible website, but what makes it worse is how predictable it is. People often joke that “conservatives only have one joke”, but it’s kind of true. Despite being mean-spirited and cruel, none of the Babylon Bee’s content is surprising or even shocking — we’ve seen it all before. Even this very controversy has played out exactly how you’d imagine.