} The key to resolving this issue is to understand the essence of the
} Oracle. Contrary to the image presented in many of the Oracularities,
} the Oracle is not a person -- it is an ethereal awarness, infinite and
} ineffable. However, to communicate with humans, the Oracle has to
} possess an Incarnation -- who is, in the end, human. The guises humans
} assume in time shape their thinking; similarly, the Incarnation chosen
} by the Oracle defines the answers given.
} Normally, this wouldn't be a problem. However, throughout history,
} whenever deities have chosen to speak to humans directly, a mythology
} has sprung up, perverting the original ideals. The Oracle is no
} exception. These "inside jokes and references" are the trappings of a
} complicated, gratuitous religious structure obscuring the reality of
} the Oracle. For the purposes of this study, we will refer to this
} religion as Rhodism.
} Luckily for you, the Oracle has chosen an atheistic, skeptical student
} of world religions for an Incarnation this time round. (Either that or
} a pathological liar. The Oracle sometimes has a problem telling the
} > [W]ho is this Lisa person?
} In the mythos, Lisa is the Girlfriend of the Oracle. Note the use of
} "girlfriend", rather than "bride" or "wife", as is more traditional.
} Almost certainly a reflection of the decay of the institution of
} marriage in modern society. Lisa is normally portrayed as beautiful,
} seductive, and lustful; she is sought after by all. It is interesting
} that, despite this, she avoids the "Harlot" label that many religions
} affix to women who express their sexuality. This is attributable to the
} demographics of the Rhoditess; net.geeks fantasize about and desire
} sex. In many respects, Lisa is the Rhodite substitute for the Christian
} > What's the problem with woodchucks?
} Historically, the aversion to woodchucks was, in fact, an aversion to
} the question, "How much wood could a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck
} could chuck wood?" Given that this is a fairly obvious question to ask,
} and that the original tenets of the Oracle were rooted in the concept
} of original and creative humour, this aversion is quite understandable.
} Modern Rhodites, however, have ceased using "woodchuck" as a referent
} to the chucking wood question, and have vilified the woodchuck in its
} own right. Now, The Woodchuck stands as the Evil One of Rhodism, the
} Anti-Oracle, the scapegoat for all evils in the world. This is hardly
} surprising; every western religion in history was eventually forced to
} adopt or create a Devil figure.
} > What does 'Zadoc' mean?
} Zadoc is the High Priest of the Oracle. He is portrayed as a
} snivelling, stupid, grovelling worm; in fact, "Worm" is a common
} pseudonym. One myth tells of the time that Zadoc betrayed and abandoned
} the Oracle, taking Lisa with him; this incident clearly highlights that
} Zadoc is the Judas figure of Rhodism. As is traditional with the Judas,
} Zadoc returned to the Oracle and begged forgiveness. While the Oracle
} did return Zadoc to his original position, it was following this
} episode that the "Worm" persona was fully established. The message is
} clear. Neither forgive nor forget: subjugate. It is one of the uglier
} sides of Rhodism.
} > What the hell is 'Zot', and why does the oracle deem it to be an
} > appropriate response to so many questions?
} A "Zot" is the blast of energy inflicted by the Oracle's "Staff of
} Zot". Zeus had lighting bolts; Thor had Mjolnir; the Oracle has a Staff
} of Zot. Some type of divine punishment of any violoations of the
} precepts of the relgion is common. Thus, a failure to grovel, any
} reference to the Woodchuck, an improper reference to Lisa, etc. can all
} earn a Zot, just as taking the Lord's name in vain will earn a Catholic
} a Hail Mary or two. The irony, of course, is the Oracle was originally
} devoted to original humour -- the constant reusage of the Zot is only
} of the inconsistencies of modern Rhodism.
} > What's the deal with Bright Red Siamese Fighting Fish?
} Some Rhodites have Bright Red Siamese Fighting Fish. They're cool. They
} have no religious significance. They don't need them. After all,
} milligram for milligram, they are the fiercest fighting creatures on
} the planet.
} > What is Og, and why is it so frequently here? (Same goes for
} > mysterious 'Thag', 'Ogwa', 'Oglings', etc.)
} Og (masc.; Ogwa, fem.; Ogling, young Og or Ogwa) is supposed to be a
} Neanderthal figure who occasionally petitions the Oracle. Here, Rhodism
} shows its pagan influences in the inclusion of a tribe of beast-people,
} similar to the dwarfs of the Norse mythos. Likely, Og is intended as a
} lesson in humility: to the Oracle, no supplicant is any more than a
} primitive caveman beating lizards with a club.
} Thag is rather anomalous. He is an Incarnation of the Oracle who has
} been incorporated into the mythos, in violation of the usual anonymity
} of Incarnations. His origins are misty; likely, he started off as one
} of the first Rhodites. As time progressed, and more converts joined,
} there would have been a tendency to refer to him, jokingly perhaps, as
} a "caveman," due to his longtime presence. The Priesthood, which
} historically has shown little hestitation for manipulating the
} Rhodites, would have seized on this and incorporated stories of "Thag,
} the first Incarnation" into indoctrination, in an attempt to make
} Rhodism seem older than it actually is. The fact that the Incarnation
} Neanderthal is obviously brighter and superior to the supplicant
} Neanderthal serves as reaffirmation that practioners of Rhodism are
} superior to the rest of humanity.
} > Why are questioners of the Oracle (apparently derisively referred to
} > as 'supplicants') supposed to grovel?
} Requiring explicit homage to the focus of a religion is the simplest
} method to establish the supremacy of that religion. Again, this
} practice was likely encouraged by the Rhodite Priesthood. If you must
} submit to the Oracle, then you must also submit to the Priesthood by
} implication, as they are the Oracle's agents. Using "Fear-of-God" to
} establish secular power is nothing new. The corruption of the term
} "supplicant" is another example of this. Since you are asking the
} Oracle a question, you are, by the definition in the OED, a supplicant;
} but Rhodism has inextricably linked "supplicant" with "cringe",
} "inferior", and "snivel".
} > If you're so omniscient, don't you
} > *know* how (allegedly) great and magnificent you are?
} See above. As well, since Rhodites are also Incarnations, the
} insistence on grovelling ensures that the Rhodites themselves will
} receive benefits, emphasizing the supposed superiority of Rhodism.
} > And who in their
} > right mind thinks a 5:1 scale model of the Titanic, filled with
} > garlic flavored cheez-whiz, is appropriate recompense for the fifth
} > through fortieth decimal digits of pi?
} Offerings to the deity are a traditional manner to express worship;
} very often, the offering demanded is one which relates to the essential
} humour of the Oracularity. In many ways, the offering is the facet of
} Rhodism which is closest to the original spirit of the Oracle. However,
} the complexity of the offering demanded has shown a tendency to
} increase as the influence of Rhodism spreads. As mentioned above,
} Rhodism is not a "nice" religion. It draws strongly on the premise that
} the supplicant is strictly less than the Oracle, and always at the
} Oracle's whims. Demanding herculean efforts to repay the Oracle's
} answers is simply another way to highlight the inequality of the
} There you have it, supplicant, the mythology of Rhodism revealed. As
} for the true message of the Oracle, it is best summarized as follows:
} You owe the Oracle an answer and another question.