A Digital Interview with Jonah bar Amittai
We've secured an exclusive digital interview with Jonah bar Amittai, biblical prophet and recent Twitter personality, following comments he made about planning to attend (and perhaps speak at) the ARCH-HIVE's panel at the 2020 Sunstone Digital Symposium for "Grief and Gratitude". We hope his answers will be informative for us and for you, and we'd like to clarify that our posting of this interview is not to be construed as an endorsement of any of the views expressed in it, or any of his other public statements. As he makes clear, Jonah speaks with no approval or oversight from any reviewer whatsoever. For the sake of authenticity, we're posting the full unedited interview transcript here. Caveat Lector!
Q: So you've posted on Twitter about being excited to appear on our Sunstone panel. We just wanted a quick clarification: You're not on the speaker list. We organized this panel and we do not remember inviting you.
A: Oh, yes! Sorry for the misunderstanding. I'll just be there to provide moral support for my close friend Mattathias.
Q: Which raises another question actually. How do you two know each other? And why are you running his Twitter account?
A: We go way back. He's been my agent and stunt double for a while now, and during the Pandemic, I've also contracted him to be my roommate, valet, and personal chef.
Q: Okay. But how did you meet?
A: It's been a long time. He probably remembers the details better than I do. If I recall correctly he just showed up on my hill one day and asked if I'd be interested in doing another speaking tour. I hadn't done any traveling in a while so I jumped at the offer.
Q: Interesting. And what exactly does being your agent entail?
A: He sets up speaking engagements for me. These days it's mostly stand-up comedy, or gourd maintenance trainings for large agribusiness firms.
A: Also he books all the travel. It's much easier to book plane tickets in his name. I've been on a no fly list for a while due to suspicion about my role in the destruction of Nineveh. A thing for which I am completely innocent, by the way.
A: I was just sitting on a hill minding my own small gourd business the entire time, I swear. I can't be held responsible for everything my Boss chooses to do.
Q: Uh, well… alright. And Mattathias is also your stunt double, you say?
A: Yes! He's fantastic.
I used to do all my own stunts, but after you've been swallowed by a Great Fish a few times, it really starts to put some wear and tear on the body.
He's quite a professional. We also look stunningly similar. It really is astounding. The only way you can tell a difference is that he is younger and more handsome than I am. Also, he wears glasses more often these days.
Q: What kind of stunts are involved in your line of work?
A: There are plenty of things that are just too dangerous to be doing at my age and my condition, and he takes care of all of them: Walking trips of longer than 3 days, hunger strikes, meetings with large crowds, bus travel, too much time in large open spaces, anything with a risk of heat-stroke or dehydration, and anything that involves shaking hands with members of the public.
Q: That's quite a list! Do you know if he's taking on any new clients?
A: Oh, no! He often tells me that working for me is more than demanding enough for one person, and he still has a day job as well. Also, he was actually injured doing a stunt for me last year. Really terrible. I feel absolutely awful. But that's just the business.
Q: Oh! Condolences. And the Twitter account?
A: Oh yes. He hasn't been using it much since the accident, and with the Pandemic, Most of my normal doomsday prophet speaking gigs have dried up. He tried to book me a flight to get to New York City in April, but he was too tied up with work to come along, And I'm still on that no fly list. What a shame! To have an Apocalypse and the prophets can't even prophesy in the streets! I've been speaking to Management about it, so hopefully it will all be ironed out soon.
But anyway, since he wasn't using the account much, and I needed a new way to reach my audience, I asked him if I could borrow it for a bit, and he was fine with that.
Q: Okay. Does he approve the things you post?
A: Oh, he doesn't want to bother with all of that. He just told me not to burn the whole place down while he's gone. I told him I'll try my best, but I can't be blamed for what other people decide to do :)
Q: All right then! Moving on.
Tell us more about this panel. What will Mattathias be talking about there?
A: I really couldn't say. It's not in my area of expertise. I'm not a Mormon myself. I have nothing against it though. Any church that has the support of my friend Eliyahu HaNavi is good in my books! Now there's a man who knows how to bring down fire from heaven when it's needed!
Q: Huh. Okay. Anyway, in the years you've been working together have you heard him at any of his other speaking engagements?
A: Once or twice. We do a lot of shared travel, but usually once we're off the plane he does his business and I do mine, and then we go home together at the end. We did speak together once, back in happier times. The US state department paid for us to go to Bulgaria and lecture a group of radical youth about the power of poetry as an Insurgent art. That was one of the first trips he booked for me. Oh, the goat cheese in that hostel? I still have dreams about it.
Q: The US state department? Really? Do they know the sort of things you say about them?
A: Hah! It wasn't the first time they funded muhajideen and it won't be the last. But funding like that has been harder to come by over the past few years. They look a little bit more closely at brown guys like me now. Mattathias does his best though. He really is a wonderful agent.
Q: Any other trips you'd like to tell us about?
A: Oh, there have been plenty of great ones. With travel shut down, I've been thinking back on a lot of them. We did a great cross country road trip in 2012 where he played me Steve Peck's "A Short Stay in Hell". Now there is a book written by someone who's seen things, if you know what I mean. I'm a big fan.
We've taken a few trips to D.C., the Imperial City, over the years. We usually do a monument tour together, so that I can imagine the day when they all come crashing down. The last time we went, I had a literature conference to attend, so I just spent three days walking through the city praying for the downfall of the Empire.
I do love the National Basilica though. That's a landmark I'll be sorry to see burn in the Day that's Coming.
Q: … well, ummm… hmmm.
A: And I went with him last year to Berkeley, when he drove out for the Association for Mormon Letters Conference there. That was a good trip. He told me he was moderating a panel on cataclysmic revelation in the work of LDS playwright and screenwriter Melissa Leilani Larson. Apparently she was winning a big award. He was very excited about it.
I did enjoy her play 'Pilot Program' when he took me to see it in September. That was actually the first Sunstone event I ever attended. Really classy. We drove through the Canyon together afterwards, and I thought about the day when every mountain shall be laid low and every valley shall be exalted. It was wonderful!
Q: Well thanks for joining us. I think that's really enough for today.
A: Oh, before I go, I should note for your readers one other big difference between us. Mattathias is a very eligible Mormon bachelor. I keep trying to set him up but so far nothing has taken. If you know any Jewish-Mormon-Sikh revolutionary widows who are looking for a healthy bridegroom, let me know!
If any women ask about me though, tell them I'm flattered, but I'm in a very happy consensually platonic covenental marriage with the Queen of Heaven.
Q: … Sorry, what?! …
A: Yes I also thought it would be awkward, especially since her First Husband was already my supervisor at work by then. But it's been wonderful! I wouldn't leave her for anyone! My heart is locked and my lips are taken!
Q: … What?!? No. What?! …
A: It sounds strange, I know, but for divine beings, the largest and smallest number is One, so they have a hard time distinguishing between monogamy and polyamory. Funny, no? Anyway, I have to run! I have an important appointment at the garden supply store. Shalom Aleichem, friends! See you on the Last Day!
Q: Well, that was… something alright. Whew!
Thanks for tuning in for our exclusive digital interview with internationally recognized speaker and gourd-awareness activist Jonah bar Amittai.
Tune in later for authorized excerpts from his forthcoming pandemic memoirs, right here on HIVE-BLOG!