And yet, AA’s ugliest billboard belongs in the Louvre compared to this eyesore


I can’t imagine anyone of any taste or refinement choosing Branson, Missouri as their vacation hotspot. But it’s about to get even more tasteful, with the planned construction of a 20-story cross on a mountain nearby. Obviously, it would have been a complete waste of effort to put the millions it will cost to build this thing into improving schools or feeding the homeless.

Okay, so it’s a free country and all that, but good grief. In this scintillating video, the partially embalmed Pastor Dean Brown explains his vision, often helpfully gesturing to the green screen behind him when he worries his viewers might need a little help understanding what he’s talking about. The country, it would seem, is being overrun by pain-in-the-ass malcontents like us, who insist that that darn church/state separation thing mentioned in the Constitution actually be respected, and that the Pledge of Allegiance, if we really have to have one, should revert to its original language rather than the revised version that privileges theists and makes everyone else second-class Americans.

The persecution complex is strong with this one. Why, his beliefs simply aren’t being validated everywhere he goes, every day, by everyone he meets! So clearly, the answer to this cultural crisis is a “spiritual monument,” which Brown, in a glorious display of delusion of grandeur, likens unto the Statue of Liberty and Washington Monument, only more Jesusy. I really don’t see why he doesn’t seal the deal by offering tourists photo ops with Pat Boone or Kirk Cameron.

Scratch the surface, peer beneath, and what you see here is fear. That’s all. The fundamentalist old guard realizes, deep down inside, that it’s old and in the way. The values they hold dear are being relegated to history’s dustbin, as new values of inclusion, tolerance, diversity, education, and humanism supplant those of conformity, dogma, superstition and self-obsessed piety. The cross isn’t so much a monument for the people, as it is a retreat, a sanctuary, a wagon-circling way to convince themselves that their beliefs still matter and have a place in a future that is already leaving them behind. By peering up into the sky to see their ancient Roman torture device silhouetted against the horizon, they can briefly forget about those monsters under their beds: the gays and lesbians, the scientists who want to (shudder) educate their kids, the minorities and the peacenik liberals. It’s a sad last gasp that recalls Shelley’s memorable Ozymandias.

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away”.

Comments

  1. 'Tis Himself says

    AA’s ugliest billboard belongs in the Louvre compared to this eyesore

    This is just another piece of Francophobia. Granted, that Branson Cross is fucking ugly, even compared to AA’s “assault on the senses” billboards, but what did the Louvre do to you that you would wish St. Silverman’s pieces of shit billboards on them?

  2. machintelligence says

    I agree that what we are seeing recently is not a resurgence of religion, but the death throes. I submit that when you observe a coalition of Evangelicals, Mormons and conservative Catholics–each of whom believes that the other two members are hell bound–it is not a friendly alliance, but one of desperation. We have them on the run. Just try not to get squashed as the edifice crumbles.

  3. sinceretheghost says

    The best point is, how much money they are wasting on such things. Especially in the part of the country this is happening. Unfortunately they convince their followers money isn’t important when it comes to things that actually matter like, school, food, medicine..as long as they have absurd gestures to their god and Jesus knows they love them. They will be taken care of.

  4. Max Entropy says

    What are those things on the cross that look kind of like giant Hershey’s Kisses? Are they supposed to be windows, lights or what?
    I see from their website that people can pay for bricks and paving stones and have text of their choice inscribed on them. That could be fun, but I bet they would heavily censor the content.

  5. michaelbuchheim says

    Of course a giant cross is the solution. The Statue of Liberty ensures no one forgets liberty. Without the Washington Obelisk we would have forgotten Washington. If not for the Space Needle who among us could remember overpriced restaurants. Giant monuments are a proven and effective way of preserving legacies and ideas. The Pyramids were built to honor the god-kings of Egypt, still worshiped to this day thanks to their symbolic tombs. The Flavian Amphitheatre ensured that although centuries have passed, the roman empire reigns supreme. Stone-Henge reminds us all of its obvious message and ideas even against invading religions.
    Obviously a giant cross will ensure Christianity’s dominion for centuries to come.

  6. Zengaze says

    Duh the t structure is obviously an early twenty first century spacecar docking area signifier.

  7. 'Tis Himself says

    If not for the Space Needle who among us could remember overpriced restaurants.

    You win one internets.

  8. Muz says

    That guy’s tie is probably the best special effect in the film.
    Even better than the dressed up Disneyland animatronic weatherman it’s attached to.

  9. says

    Maybe he should start a kickstarter project. And make a video where he’s turning and pointing at things in the background 4-6x more frequently.

  10. says

    I’m wondering that myself. Are they supposed to represent the drops of blood Jesus shed for our sins? Then why not just have them at the nail points? My fear is that whatever they are, they’ll be lit at night, thereby raping the natural beauty of the landscape that much more brutally.

  11. chrisj says

    No,no. If they made it that tall, god would have to smash it down and make them all talk different languages so they didn’t become a power equal to himself. There’s a story about it in the bibble.

  12. RickRay says

    Time to replace crosses with a monument of the earth! That way we can all celebrate trying to save our world.

  13. Art says

    A twenty story cross with an elevator inside, presumably because he couldn’t afford to follow Chairface Chippendale’s lead and carve a giant cross onto the face of the moon. Twenty stories, come on, the Empire State building is one hundred and two stories, built way back in 1931, and all this guy can manage is twenty? You are celebrating the one, and presumably only, God, your God, and you offer a lame and halt twenty stories? That isn’t a monument. It is a slap in the face. An insulting half-measure.

  14. Zinc Avenger says

    Come on Christians! Pool all your money and begin construction on a cross which is INFINITY STORIES HIGH!

    God will tell you when to stop building!

  15. says

    Well, remember what happened with the Tower of Babel. I guess he figures 20 stories is enough without God thinking they’re overdoing it.

  16. fullyladenswallow says

    Yes. You’d think they might have chosen a spokesperson that knew how to gesture. George Bush comes to mind.

  17. F says

    How many storeys does the cross need to be in order to crucify a 900 foot tall Jesus?

    If we go with a storey of about ten feet, this gives us 90 storeys to start with. Let’s take out maybe ten storeys for the bend in the knees, but add seventy for the amount of crucifix that extends beyond the body. (We can adjust for historical accuracy versus an average of conventional representation later, plus or minus whatever we want a storey to measure in this case.)

    So, we probably want, conservatively, an one hundred fifty storey cross. Just in case the nine hundred foot Jesus returns.

  18. Max Entropy says

    In this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTIZgKDaXSs there is one cutout (a tear drop? a drop of blood?) in a small version of the cross. There are also at least three glory holes either for donations or awkward mountain top hand jobs. I hope that the 20 story cross won’t be as reflective as the small one because it will be located right next to a highway. Reflected sunlight could definitely cause some visibility problems at certain times of the day.

  19. Warp says

    Such a monstrosity would never fly on most European countries (and I’m assuming many other countries as well). There’s such a thing as a building code here, which not only dictates how to build things to be safe, but also limits the visual impact that a new building has on the landscape (for example, in many towns buildings cannot be higher than a certain height because they do not want it to the landscape to be ruined by towering blocks of cement).

    Apparently no such codes exist in the US?

  20. Andrew says

    How? How could you possibly parody that? The whistling dentures; the surfboard tie; those oh-so-natural gestures. The subtitles which either failed to correspond to what he was saying, or to be coherent sentences or both. All this before you even get to the subject matter. This is beyond parody! Which – now I think about it – worries me a little.

  21. razzlefrog says

    Idiot. He’s gonna build a cross, eh? An enormous multiple-story beast? Dude. Someone with enough pity in them needs to email the nut and inform him building monuments requires a lot of concrete, metal under-wiring, tremendously heavy material, glass, wood, etc. He wants to make a fucking cross! Those horizontal components are an example of the shittiest possible kind of engineering out there.

    Honestly. Do these people never think? Never? Wouldn’t those arms reach at least 10 meters in both directions? That image looks like he himself designed the structure.

    I say build it. Good luck, bro.

  22. B.R. says

    LOL. That was always a weird story. Apparently, really tall towers make you omnipotent. Or something.

  23. Ignacio says

    I am not so sure it wouldn’t fly in Europe. A VERY similar concept already did, not so long ago… and much more nicely done, in my opinion. Sorry, man… if you are going to build something, at least be original, or do your research on how to get it right. Do you want to see how it is done?

    Here, THIS is how you do it: http://blogs.canalsur.es/lamemoria/files/2009/06/valle-de-los-caidos.jpg

    The guy is not even original. This monument (with a whole impressive cathedral underneath, excavated in the rock of the mountain) was built in Spain in 1958, and it looks MUCH better than the eyesore he is planning.

    I am an atheist, but I can’t deny the artistic value of this monument. I live close to that church and although I may disagree with the place getting government money, I think it sure looks majestic, and the cathedral underneath is impressive as well.

    A lot can be said about the Valley of the Fallen (as it is called) being a monument of the Spanish dictatorship. You can say it is an insult for separation of church and state (separation that did not exist during that time) and you can argue such monuments should not have been built… but at least it looks quite nicely done. Even to an atheist.

    If you are going to build an outrageous monument, and waste millions of dollars in making a point in favor of your petty agenda, at least do it right.

  24. Ignacio says

    I realize I linked to an image of the back of the monument, which is a bit plain compared to the front.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/be/Valle_de_los_Ca%C3%ADdos_(San_Lorenzo_de_El_Escorial)_02.jpg

    Also, I want to make this clear before anyone takes me wrong:

    I am NOT advocating that church, much less the dictator who built it. I am making the point that the idea of a giant cross (492 feet high and 152 feet wide in this monument) is not new at all, and has already been done in a way I consider better designed and executed than his idea (in my opinion, and mine alone).

    It has already been done… no need to do it again. Specially not if you are going to do it badly.

  25. Ignacio says

    I agree it takes a great deal of engineering skill to build such a thing. A cross is an incredibly unstable structure to build in such a scale. Does this guy have the skills, or the common sense to hire those who has them? I doubt it. However, it has been done before and it could be done again. It is not impossible, just difficult and VERY expensive.

    The arms of the cross at Valle de los Caidos, in Spain, span 152 feet wide. That is 76 feet (23 meters) each way. That was quite a challenge for Diego Mendez, the architect who designed it. The thing weighs about 200 thousand tons… but it stands.

    The structural problem was surely difficult but the cross was built using concrete, and the task was not cheap at all. The cost of that cross (making a rough conversion to current currency) was about 30 million $. Just for the cross. Not even counting a cathedral larger than St. Peter’s, an abbey, all the gardens… The cross was probably the cheapest part of the entire thing.

    HOW MUCH does this guy expect to raise, exactly? WHO does he intend to hire to handle this project? I sure would like to meet the architect who intends to take the challenge.

    He could make history, even with such an ugly construction as this… although he still has to make it about three times larger than he is planning now, and I can think of MUCH better uses for that kind of money.

  26. Steve says

    I visited the website and was amazed at the lack of important information on this project. The executive team is made up of sales guys, but no technical people. They say they have bought the land, but there is nothing about a cost estimate or feasibility study. You would think they would have some sort of idea about how much money they need to raise mentioned on the website. I would guess something as complex as this structure would cost something between $100 and $250 million dollars, and that is why they need a feasibility study. Since it is not mentioned, I can only suppose they have done one and the numbers are astronomical, so they do not mention it because that would shut down the project immediately. Anyone else smell scam?

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