Iconic books are texts revered as objects of power rather than just as words of instruction, information, or insight. In religious and secular rituals around the globe, people carry, show, wave, touch and kiss books and other texts, as well as read them. This blog chronicles such events and activities. (For more about iconic books, see the links to the Iconic Books Project at left.)

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Waving Bibles, Protesting Bathrooms

The Bathroom Wars of North Carolina continue on.

Raw Story posted this piece, with clickable headlines about the "angry bible-waving" mother of 12, screaming questions to Target customers like "Are you gonna let the devil rape your children?"

The video to which it referred is a great example of "performative texts." If you care to watch the clip, you'll hear the woman screaming a lot of what basically amounts to nonsense, with family in tow, but note how there's really nothing "biblical" in her soliloquy (if I might be excused such a term to describe what's going on here). She doesn't quote scripture, nor does she really even claim anything particularly "Christian" (reference to the devil aside).

What she does do is firmly hold high a bible. The camerawork shows the set up here: in the first two seconds the family is stopped, as they are just getting the protest going. As soon as they begin walking she raises the book up in the air. It stands as a visible beacon that guides them, not unlike a tour guide in NYC with a red umbrella. But the bible is never mentioned, never quoted from, never used for anything other than a visual display of some, unknown, power.

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