A friend told me his favorite movie of all times was “The Ten Commandments.” I wondered what would happen if they tried to remake it now…
EXECUTIVE VICE-PRESIDENT FOR MEDIA PROJECTS FOR THE WARNER-PIXAR-DISNEY-GENERAL MOTORS-MICROSOFT-STARBUCKS-COUNCIL OF ALLIED RUTABAGA GROWERS MEGA-CONGLOMERATE: Moses, baby, love your book! As you know, we’ve bought the screen rights. But financing an epic these days isn’t easy. Between the PETA people having meltdowns every time we do the tiniest little ritual animal sacrifice to the stuntmen’s union demanding one chariot chase scene after another, we need to make a few brand-name onscreen product placements. Also, our people in the PC Control Department have asked you to make a few corrections. They think it would make more of a statement if your mom Jochebed was an illegal immigrant and a homeless single mother. Also, our focus groups said we need to change the title. They thought “Commandments” was just so Old Testament.
EXECUTIVE VICE-PRESIDENT FOR MEDIA PROJECTS FOR THE WARNER/PIXAR/DISNEY/GENERALMOTORS/MICROSOFT/STARBUCKS/COUNCIL OF ALLIED RUTABAGA GROWERS MEGA-CONGLOMERATE: Let me give you the elevator pitch the producers have been shopping. You’re gonna love it!
We open with a montage of news stories from the Daily Papyrus, you know the bit. Pharaoh has just enacted welfare reform, mandating cuts to Dreamers (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minor Slaves) Act, ordering their mothers into the federal job-training program down at the brickyard, yada, yada.
So your mom puts baby Moses (securely strapped into his Coast Guard-approved baby flotation device from Orphans-R-Us) into his Martha Stewart designer bulrush basket. Then she floats the basket in the pool of a rich Republican couple highly placed in the current administration.
The Republicans hire your real mom to be nanny, and little Moses grows up with the best of everything: Petit Bateau robes, Prada baby sandals, exclusive prep schools, legacy admission to Nile U, his own convertible chariot as soon as he turns sixteen…
But when Pharaoh appoints Moses’ foster mother to the Supreme Council of Court Magicians, the Daily Papyrus reports that she never paid her nanny-taxes. In the hue and cry which follows, young Moses’ nanny/mom takes him aside and explains his true identity. “Son, we’re actually the Chosen People. Liberals. From Brooklyn.” When Moses’ foster family casts him out after discovering that he’s been secretly volunteering down at the Democratic Party headquarters, he becomes a voter-registration organizer.
One night as he’s working late, Moses notices the apple on his MacBook case is glowing, so he opens the screen. The Angel of the Lord appears in full color graphics, and Moses looks and lo, the system is overloaded, yet his hard drive does not crash. And (because Moses has the latest Bose Companion Series III speakers) he hears the Angel of the Lord cry out, “Check your email!”
So Moses logs on and sure enough, there is a message:
SUBJECT: What are you doing for the next 40 years?
Tell the Republicans that though they have ruled for lo this one year (give or take 56 days, 9 hours, 13 minutes and 20 seconds), the time has come to let my Democrats win midterm elections. But if they refuse, behold, I will send plagues unto them. There shall be sixteen-year-old hackers planting bugs in their computers, and their firstborn shall throw out really big Clearasil-resistant facial blemishes just as they go for their Ivy-League school interview, and torrential rains shall cause their beach houses to slide into the Nile, and if they still do not yield, Special Prosecutor investigations shall grow, and those little gnats that swarm around their heads shall get up their nostrils, and there will come a great darkness on their wide-screen TVs during the Super Bowl. And if their hearts remain hardened, I will even send unto them John Oliver and Samantha Bee.
Moses’ party begins to win seats in Pharaoh’s parliament, and his first act is to get the Army Corps of Engineers to build a dam across the Red Sea, even though it means that every year the seasonal flooding will overwhelm the levees of upriver Republicans.
Finally Moses grants an interview with NPR in which he reveals he’s received a heavenly tweet telling him to download God’s Word onto two tablets. (This takes two tries, because he drops the first ones—Samsung Galaxies—when their batteries catch fire, and has to repeat with a couple of his kids’ iPads.) This time, he’s able to download and display the Ten Suggestions.
- Thou shalt honor thy Gold Card above all others, and thou shalt not leave home without it.
- Thou shalt not mash thy face (or other parts of thy person) unto the copier screen and then use thy office fax to send copies to thy brother-in-law’s biggest client.
- Thou shalt not take the names of any members of traditionally underrepresented communities in vain unless thou art referring to a DMDEMs (Dead-Melanin-Deprived-European-Males).
- Thou shalt rest from thy labors and not permit any of thy family to interrupt thee during Major League playoffs. Or basketball season.
- Thou shalt not talk on thy phone in the theater.
- Thou shalt not spray-paint cars and buildings in Singapore. (In American cities, however, this shall be called self-expression and thou shalt be eligible for community arts grants.)
Thou shalt not kill.NRA sponsorship has revised this commandment. Thou shalt not interfere with anyone’s god-given right to arm bears, or to buy and stockpile semi-automatic weapons and massive amounts of ammo thereto even if it means arming kindergarten teachers and really, anyone who goes out in public.
- Thou shalt not commit adultery if thou planneth to become President, and if thou does it anyway because hey, why not, thou shalt make damn sure thou remembers to sign that Hush Agreement.
- If thou art shamed on a #MeToo tweet, and forced to quit or get fired from thy job, and thou giveth some half-assed “I’m very sorry if my actions were misunderstood” faked apology, thou shall be trapped for eternity in Hell’s Bathroom, surrounded by people with questionable hygiene standards and no respect for personal space boundaries.
- Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, although it is legal to anonymously turn him into the IRS as a tax-dodger and then when they seize all his assets for forced sale, to make a really low bid. When he files for bankruptcy and his wife leaves him, you can also covet her. Thou shalt not covet his ox though because that’s just icky and anyway, thy subdivision’s by-laws don’t allow non-domestic pets. (And we won’t even discuss coveting thy neighbor’s ass.)
MOSES: I’ll have my people get back to your people.