Commonplace Thoughts of a Residual Welshman: The First Influencer

#trendingnow: Instagram influencers.  These folks, influencers on Instagram, are, it would seem, doing just what their title implies: influencing. Recently an Instagram influencer from Byron Bay, Australia by the name of Ruby Tuesday Matthews indicated in an interview with a news outlet that she kept her weight down by subsiding on a diet of tapas and cocaine.  “‘…basically, I just smoked cigarettes, had [black coffee] and did coke;’” she suggests, too, that other influencers follow a similar regimen.[1]  Of course, one might well wonder to what extent groupthink among these influencers influences them. But sadder yet, one has to wonder how many teenage women these influencers have sway over.

File:Menelaus Proteus engraving achillis 1574.jpg
Menelaus grasping Proteus

There are a lot of stories about influencers.  The master storyteller of antiquity, Homer, writes about Menelaus influencing Proteus, a god virtually impervious to being influenced, by laying hold of him and not letting go (Od. 4).  One might say that, similarly, Jacob “influences” God to give him His blessing after a deeply spiritual wrestling match, or, perhaps less famously, there’s Seth.

Seth is the often overlooked younger brother of Cain and Abel.  Cain is famous for being the first fratricide in the Bible, a fallen man, seemingly more fallen than his father, who is the father of fallen humankind.  Abel, of course, if one remembers one Sunday School lessons, is the righteous brother who offers a more pleasing and sincere sacrifice to God than his brooding, stingy older brother.  But years later, or at least the Genesis narrative seems to suggest, along comes a third child of Eve, Seth.  And because there’s no violence associated with Seth—we tend to focus on the violent stories rather than the tender ones—it goes unnoticed that, it would appear, he grows up to be influencer. 

Tapas: Food for Thought

Now Seth was not the kind of influencer who lived off tapas, which, in Spanish cuisine, are appetizers of various kinds such as “chopitos”, i.e. Spanish calamari, or cheese and other bite-sized snacks.  Of course he did not; there was no Spanish cuisine.  Nor did he use cocaine, or at least there is no hint of his abusing substances in the Bible.  Rather, Seth comes along and, the Bible suggests, it would seem that he simply has a family and raises his child thoughtfully. The details are admittedly scant: “And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the Lord” (Gen. 4:26).  It would seem that Seth didn’t spend his days feeling sorry for himself—Cain, after murdering Abel, had done that very thing a few verses before, 4:13f.—because now he and all Humankind were “east of Eden,” doomed to difficult lives. Rather, he got on with the business of life, having a family and teaching his family and, it would seem, even influencing some folks beyond his family, to call upon God’s name.

Therapy Chair, aka Barber Chair

Why?  Many rehabilitation programs, some psychologists, and many a barber or bartender will point you in the direction of an answer to that question. They will tell you that when you believe in something bigger than yourself, an Omnipotent Being more powerful than yourself, when you recognize that you alone are not sufficient to handle all your problems, that’s when you can really begin to turn things around in your life—or maybe that’s when things simply start to turn around.  The Jew knows God’s name but is forbidden to say it or write it because it is so holy; the Christian only presumes upon a torn curtain to do so.  And both Jew and Christian, and probably even many a person in a therapy session or a barber chair, can do so, can learn to say, “I’m not enough by myself” because of, well, the little brother, Seth.  Seth, I think, was the first influencer.  And he didn’t need Instagram, Twitter or tapas to do so.  #coollittlebrotherSeth

[1] 10 January 2019 by Shireen Khalil

Loading Facebook Comments ...

Leave a Reply