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Wednesday, 29 May 2013

The insulting postcards of Mr Bingo

People clamour for the insults of Mr Bingo.

The London-based artist, who creates illustrations for a range of companies including Nike and MTV, says that he receives emails every day "begging" him for hate mail.

For just £5, you too could have him design and send a postcard such as the one below to your loved (or hated) ones:
In an interview with The Guardian, Mr Bingo provided commentary on a few of his postcards which will be exhibited at the KK Outlet in London from June 7th to 29th.

One of the most interesting postcards he discussed was this one:

He told The Guardian that,

“This is one of the first ones I did and one of my favourites because it’s so horrible; it’s too close to the truth for 90% of people. It makes them think about their lives.”

The extinguishment of hope is a theme in many of his most devastating postcards.
It's noteworthy that Bingo identifies dark visions of one's personal future as both horrible and also instinctively true for many.

We know little about what the coming years will bring and sometimes it seems as though all that holds back our complete implosion is an active choice towards optimism rather than pessimism.

But does that choice have any grounding in reality, or is 'staying positive' just a survival tactic which serves to keep us going on the off chance that things will indeed turn out well?

Richard Wurmbrand (right), a man persecuted during the darkest days of communist Romania, spent years in solitary confinement and kept from all human contact.

His wife was also imprisoned elsewhere, and at times his only human contact was the tapping of Morse code through the walls with his follow inmates.

He writes frankly about the challenges of this for his own sanity and well being, and in one of his later books reflects that "every year of our life is a new step toward death".

This statement, which on the lips of others would be a mark of severe depression, is followed by these words: "Let us make this step joyfully and hopefully".

It's surprising that someone living in bleak circumstances, and possessed by so stark a vision of death's inevitability, could maintain such positivity.

Was Wurmbrand just choosing optimism for the sake of his own survival?

He would say not. 

The next sentences, after his words about stepping towards death with joy and hope, are these:

“Jesus was resurrected. Those who believe in him will be resurrected too.”

Wurmbrand's optimism, then, was grounded in a past historical event: The resurrection of Jesus.

Because death and the might of the Roman Empire did not defeat Jesus, neither can any hostile force (or even the prospect of our final breaths) ultimately be victorious against us.

Wurmbrand sat in his prison cell and read the resurrection as if it were a postcard from God.

Wurmbrand's postcard didn't say "give up your unrealistic dreams", but instead read "your future is beyond anything you can dream".

"You will never amount to anything" was replaced by the resurrection postcard of "your life stretches on beyond this life and on beyond the visible horizon".

These sorts of messages, of course, read like flights of fancy to many of us.

The bleakly entertaining scribblings of Mr Bingo seem somewhat closer to the truth... to 'reality'.

But if Wurmbrand is right, and Jesus really did rise from the dead as a way of opening the door to our own future resurrections, then there is the possibility of an optimism towards the future which is grounded in something other than wishful thinking.

Many religions will tell you to trust the sacred texts, or feel your way into an experience.

The religion of Jesus is far less esoterically grounded.

It asks you to look at history: Did a murdered man rise from the dead in Palestine in 29AD?

If he did, then even at the lowest moments we have a reason to listen to Wurmbrand's postcards rather than Mr. Bingo's.

Richard Wurmbrand's memoirs are currently 
 77p on Kindle and are available here.

220 of Mr Bingo's postcards will be exhibited at
the KK Outlet from June 7th-29th. Details here.

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