Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Adventures of Satan n'Friends, or Switzerland Loses its Daggone Mind

(Cross-posted at Ricochet.)
A couple weeks ago, I saw an article from the Foundation for Economic Education that was hyperventilating about the opening ceremony of a train tunnel in Switzerland, describing it as “paganistic rituals of pre-Christian Europe”, a “ghastly production”, and “like little pharaohs”. You can video of the ceremony in two parts of roughly thirty minutes each, here and here. Personally, I thought the ceremony was less “Satanic human sacrifice” and more “The Rite of Spring and Cirque du Soleil had a baby, and that baby grew up and had a baby with the sort of salute to blue-collar work Mike Rowe would come up with if you gave him acid.”
The first ten minutes are dominated by a group of people in orange construction uniforms marching around. Perhaps this is an allusion to some plot by Donald Trump and John Boehner to take over the world and make us all as orange as they are. I just got through a move, so I haven’t had time to keep up with the latest new conspiracy theories. The highlight comes about seven minutes in, when a bunch of people in their underwear enter, led by what appears to be a white, winged, angry Ewok. (Apparently Ace of Spades is in on the conspiracy.) 
Ten minutes in, a railroad car appears carrying a dozen-odd Cousin Itt clones and a guy in a goat costume, which must be where all the accusations of the ceremony being Satanic. Satan, for his part, seems pretty indecisive. When a bunch of women enter carrying a stuffed lamb, antlers, and cow skulls, he decides he’d rather dance with his pals than accept the sacrifice, at one point pulling a “Blurred Lines” move with one of the Cousin Itts:
gotthard 1 
(To be fair, comparing Satan to Robin Thicke might not be entirely fair to Satan.)
Seventeen minutes in, Bernie Sanders shows up in a top hat and starts yodeling. As it turns out, Bernie Sanders is really bad at yodeling. Eventually, a band shows up and everyone, including the devil, waltzes:
gotthard 2
A bunch of cars, carrying (among other people) the Pope and Miss America, show up, as well as a train. Bernie Sanders gets bent out-of-shape and sits down on the tracks to eat a sandwich, blocking the train. This may or may not be an allegory of the 2016 Democratic primaries. For the last few minutes of the first half, a choir sings the word “Gloria” over and over again while riding into the glorious future. The ceremony has pulled off the impressive feat of combining three major religions (Paganism, Christianity, and high-speed rail) in five minutes.
The second half of the ceremony is even less coherent than the first half. They’ve moved outside and the Orange Army is back. A picture of a mountainside appears on a screen, and some of the orange people rappel up and down it while the mountainside is blasted away. Finally, something actually related to the process of digging a mountain tunnel! Eventually, though, the orange people strip to their underwear and dance (or fight, it’s hard to tell) with sticks, get into a talcum powder fight, and start rolling down a ramp. Some angels, the devil, and the Cousin Itt clones join them for what appears to be an orgy conducted by people who have no idea how sex is supposed to work. Eventually, the devil has a seizure while a bunch of extras from Monty Python and the Holy Grail  laugh at him:
gotthard 3
Almost seventeen minutes in, Satan lies down and takes a nap, a wise move under the circumstances. A babushka woman starts singing a song while another Satan shows up in the back. Just when you thought some order had been restored, everyone from a female Satan to a couple Uncle Sams and some refugees from the Washington Nationals’ Presidents race shows up:
gotthard 4
After a few minutes, the characters give up on Satan entirely and start worshipping a clock instead:
gotthard 5
Finally, the train appears and Satan n’Pals run over to greet it, mercifully ending the festivities. Overall, I don’t think it proves that Europe’s elites are in league with Satan- the goat dude in this ceremony doesn’t pose much of a threat, and you’d think a deal with the devil would’ve at least prevented Brexit. Still, as someone with Swiss ancestry, I have to agree with Muhammad Ali after his fight in the Congo: “Thank God my granddaddy got on that boat.”

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