An Open Letter to Charlie Daniels  

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Dear Charlie,

I couldn't help but think that M. Night Shyamalan would have been better served to take a cue from you, and end his recent crapfest "Devil" with a fiddle contest between Satan and his would-be victim.

But as I imagine the logistics of such a scene, I am overwhelmed with questions. I would appreciate your clarification.

How can the devil be "way behind"? The implication being that the devil is not meeting his soul quota. Who sets the devil's quotas? Assuming the devil is not an all-consuming perfectionist utterly committed to self improvement (for reasons which will soon become apparent), the only imaginable force that could literally compel the devil to meet a regular soul quota is god. But this really just raises more questions than it answers. Why does a loving god want the devil to steal souls at all? Why is he pushing him to be the best devil he can be by enforcing a quota system, which apparently is unobtainable?

Moreover, what exactly is god's leverage on the devil? Apparently, the devil is "in a bind," which would imply that there is some consequence for failing to meet his soul quota. But what's god going to do, send him to hell? If god could do something worse to the devil than he's already done to him, why hasn't he done it already? But maybe I'm looking at this wrong; is this a case where god is using positive reinforcement? Is the devil in the running for some sort of demonic employee of the month award? It's hard to imagine that god would reward the devil for stealing souls, but then again, there's the Book of Job.

Now, Charlie, I suppose it's possible that the devil being "way behind" is a comparison relative to the souls god is collecting. Sounds like a pretty reasonable answer, right? I just have a hard time reconciling the chorus of your proto-Tea Party anthem "Simple Man."

"What's wrong with the world" -- not just the United States, not just a couple states or a particular political or religious ideology, but the world damn world -- is that people "done gone put their Bibles away." So there's really no reason why the devil should be "way behind," especially considering that a vast majority of the world's population has never read and does not believe in the words in the Bible. Add 1.5 billion Muslims, another billion Hindus, another 500 million Buddhists, 13 million Jews and safely another billion atheists, pagans, Jains, Shintos, Wiccans, Rastafarians, Scientologists, Mormons, cult, native and folk religious believers and good handful of Christians who are doing it wrong, and that should give the devil a pretty comfortable advantage. That's not even counting the literally trillions of people who lived and died before the completion of the Christian Bible. Charlie, I'm not going to suggest that you're one of those unitarian types who believes these people would all be godly souls simply on the merits of being good people. That would be an insult both to you, and to the universalists.

Just how far behind is "way behind," anyway? If he's really that far behind, shouldn't he probably be working on a larger scale than trying to con bumpkins one by one? It seems that he would be better served by turning kids onto some hip new form of blasphemy, or drug addiction or buttsex. Maybe he could post links at message boards claiming to have a video of Lindsay Lohan blowing a dolphin which actually directs viewers to a video which will take them to hell.

But then again, your devil isn't very bright, is he Charlie?

He's spent ten god damn years preparing for a rematch and he gets beat by the same fucking song? This is why I can't believe that the devil is in the least bit self-motivated. Anyone who would hold themselves so strictly to a quota system would have learned to play a better song before demanding a rematch. If god weren't give him a quota, he'd be sitting around in hell playing Shaq-Fu on his Super Nintendo while subsisting on an all-Cheetos diet.

Furthermore, if he were already "way behind" 10 years ago, wouldn't spending a decade pacing around hell fuming about one bad bet either put him hopelessly out of the running for the soul contest or somehow even more on god's bad side for having failed to meet his monthly quota?

I'm afraid I also need some clarification on the devil's betting system. Just how much is this guy bound by his word? Just enough that he can admit when he's been defeated, but not enough to keep him from go back for a consent-free rematch? Why not just keep going back and challenging Johnny at really inopportune times until he finally loses? Why not wake him up at 3 a.m. screaming "fiddle contest, bitch!"? How about right after a double shift at work? Mid-coitus? For that matter, why doesn't the devil just go back to Jesus and ask if he wants to try that whole crucifixion thing again?

Is this the same devil who took on Daniel Webster? At least that one was bright enough to use a third party arbiter. He even had the foresight to stack the jury. And he decides this fiddle contest can be settled by mutual acclamation? Is the devil getting dumber?

I'm having a hard time understanding why you would challenge a kid to beat you at something you know he's good at. Twice. How fucking stupid is the devil? Has this idiot ever managed to steal a soul? Hell must be filled with the most gullible people imaginable, and even they're kicking themselves for falling for the same old shit again.

Come to think of it, Charlie, there's no need for you to waste your time answering my questions, because I already know the answers. You see, I've been to hell. I was in the theater showing "Devil."

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