A Ring Tailed Roarer (pictured above and below, standing second from the right) harangued an entire subway car on the 2 line for twenty minutes today. From his mouth streamed words about Jesus and Lucifer, Heaven and Hell, Sodom and Gomorrah; his guttural delivery was full of menace towards the current Pope, homosexuals, and Jews. The Roarer intoned “Jesus is coming, hunh/Repent now sinners, hunh” in a hypnotic sing-song manner. All in all it was a fine piece of bigoted religious performance art.
What causes a person like the Roarer to find himself in such a state of emotional disorientation that he is compelled to shout down complete strangers at 9:15am on a workday? What inner need caused the Roarer to ignore Mark 12:31: “‘Love your neighbor as yourself’”?
Perhaps it is explained by the fact that the Roarer needs the sinner as much has he needs Jesus. Without the sinner, the Roarer has nothing, is nothing. The Roarer hates the sinner passionately, but just as passionately he requires a sinner to exist as the object of his hatred. The Roarer and the sinner are bound together, like Sauron and his Ring of Power. The sinner is the lifeblood of the Roarer’s faith, the raison for his ressentiment.
It was not difficult to detect the utter joy the Roarer felt in delivering his good news of eternal damnation. His pleasure in denouncing the sinner, in predicting her destruction, and her imminent departure to hell, was palpable; his infantile orality manifested his displaced sexual aim.