Bleeding Jesus Comes to the Home of the Cats

Mark Seymour blogs about celebrity branding.

Author: Mark Seymour.

Date: 5 April 2010.

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What was some scantily clad bloke doing drenched in what appeared to be his own blood, strung up to a cross in Geelong, home of the mighty Cats?

The Son of God was back! No surprises there you might think, especially given the religious fervour surrounding that western town after the beloved Cats won the 2009 grand final, courtesy of the genius of a man the locals refer to in hushed tones… as, shhh, “Gary, the Son of God”.

But what the hell was he doing strung up to a cross on the front page of the Age, Melbourne’s only daily-worth-reading? Rumours of Gazza’s move to the Gold Coast Football club for untold squillions might’ve left you wondering if he was trying to extract some forgiveness from the local believers but no… a closer look at the front page photo and you could see an unseemly level of suffering on the bloke’s face and though his body looked pretty trim and muscular and plausibly that of an AFL footballer, he was showing just a little too much enthusiasm for the job of re-enacting the last hours of Geelong’s beloved saviour, Gazza Jesus Ablett. Plus there was the full head of hair… which could have been a wig.

The truth is, Gazza’s just not into conspicuous displays of emotion like this. And why would he be? He’s already got the Brownlow. And there were two black clad women there too, kneeling at his feet weeping in consternation at the bloke’s apparent suffering, a la the two Marys’ of Mel Gibson fame. Gazza would never be so vain as to tolerate a couple of heavy goth chicks fawning over his apparent moment of doubt, smack bang in the middle of the Norlane shopping centre. And when all is said and done, the people of Geelong love Gazza to bits. He didn’t need to go this far. Gazza! You’re okay..

So it turned out to be none other than the very well endowed Leigh Clough, fitness adviser and friend of “The Heaven on Earth Church” of Norlane… who just wanted to show the locals what the Easter Bunny was really all about…and Boy did he go right over the top! Only thing was, he scared the bejesus out of the kids, who after all, were on their EASTER HOLIDAYS GODDAMNIT!!

The mums of Norlane weren’t happy JAN so naturally they complained…and that’s when the Victoria Police arrived and pulled the plug on his suffering. The church minister, Sarah Kenneally, called it a breach of religious freedom. And you have to ask, surely a little bible class couldn’t do any harm, especially given they had permission from the city council?

Well, all I can say is, it would have scared the shit out of my kids if they’d stumbled on some big muscular bloke clad only in a loin cloth, apparently nailed by his hands and feet to a wooden cross, writhing in agony while a couple of ladies dressed in black cloaks squirmed sympathetically below… while we were out buying easter eggs at the local mall.. but that would’ve been ten years ago when my kids were still in their infancy. Now of course, they are thoroughly schooled (by me) as to how morbid and screwed up the whole ‘suffering of Jesus trip’ really is…

I was brought up a Catholic, so I know all about feeling weird at the tender age of five after learning in catechism about how some Roman centurion stuck his spear into the side of the bleeding naked man hanging on the cross who was sent down by his Dad to save the world and then, right at the moment of the coup de grace asked his Dad, “Father, why have you forsaken me?”

But hey, I’d forgo the holiday if it really came down to it.. but that’s another story.