Sunday, September 27, 2009

Google Jews

I am the kind of Jew who puts the -ish in Jewish.

Since I'm a Caucajewmexdian, of course, no one really expects any better of me--which is sort of a relief. Borrowing bits and pieces of three religions (the Sikhism and Judaism of my grandfathers' families, plus my own Mormon faith) makes it a lot easier to get through life in one piece, but I'm glad I'm not responsible for living all three religions completely.

On the eve of this Yom Kippur, though, I'd like to thank Google and the inventors of the internet (who according to legend, were actually 4th century rabbis who created a primitive version of today's web on paper) for making it easier to stay in touch with my additional faiths. Thanks to Google, I always know when Yom Kippur starts (tonight) even though I don't use the old Hebrew calendar. Thanks to Google, I can usually track down copies of the prayers and sacred texts I'm interested in: often in at least three different translations. Thanks to Google, I can learn more than what my what father passed down to me from his father, even though I live in a city in Utah that probably has a Jewish population of less than 12.

Does that make Google, in some sense, my fourth religion? The idea makes me sort of uncomfortable: can "googling" be a religious verb?


  1. There is actually going to be a lecture at The University of Iowa this week: "God and Google: On Seeking in the Digital Era." I wish I could check it out.

    I think googling has become a catch-all kind of verb, which is funny considering how as a word it feels like it should be linked to innuendo more than anything. I guess it's because it's so close to "ogle." I don't know what I'm still talking about this... :)

  2. The lecture sounds lovely. I think you should shrink yourself down and fly on the back of a bird, then turn yourself into a leaf and float away when you near campus (but before the bird careens blindly into that great glass riverside building).

    I think it's more than sound that links google and ogle for many Americans, unfortunately. And I don't just mean in terms of pornography: we use Google to flock around and stare at controversies the way people can't help staring whenever they pass a car wreck.

    Maybe that's why I'm so hesitant. It seems strange that the same process that can aid in culture and religion is so often used so voyeuristically. Ah, well. Not the first time religion has been tied up with things it rather wouldn't be, and it won't be the last.

  3. Big T little t what begins with t? Ten toggling tigers touting "truth" for "Truth." Google is a source of information and knowledge and therefore a means of arriving at truth. However, lacking any connection with a divine source it is unable to reach Truth independently and falls short as religion.

  4. There once was a reader, KP
    who said very wise things to me
    And he used Dr. Seuss
    for the voice of his muse
    And I gave him a slant rhyme for free


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