Friday, June 02, 2017

Joan Jett and the Jesus Christ Pose

As I mentioned earlier (see here), Soundgarden's Chris Cornell (July 20, 1964 – May 18, 2017) explained the term "Jesus Christ Pose" and his song of the same name, thusly:
You just see it a lot with really beautiful people, or famous people, exploiting that symbol as to imply that they're either a deity or persecuted somehow by their public. So it's pretty much a song that is nonreligious but expressing being irritated by seeing that. It's not that I would ever be offended by what someone would do with that symbol.
In looking into the deaths of prominent figures in the Grunge community, I came across the story of Mia Zapata (August 25, 1965 – July 7, 1993), who was the singer of the Seattle indie band The Gits, formed in Yellow Springs, Ohio in 1986.

After Mia Zapata's move to the West Coast, she became very successful and a surprise spokesperson for women's music in Seattle.

But the flame burned out quickly. In Seattle on July 7, 1993, Zapata was tragically raped and murdered.

How the body was left seemed highly symbolic.

A woman discovered Zapata's body in the street near the Comet Tavern, at around 3:30 a.m., near the intersection of 24th Avenue South and South Washington Street in Seattle's Central District.

Zapata’s body was found with her arms out and her legs crossed, and she was placed between two Roman Catholic buildings on either side of the street. Zapata’s body was found, as Unsolved Mysteries noted, "lying face up in an almost Christ-like pose."

"A Christ-like pose"?

In the aftermath of Zapata's murder, friends created a self-defense group, Home Alive, which organized benefit concerts and released albums with the participation of many of Seattle's music elite, including Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Heart, and the Presidents of the United States of America. Joan Jett also recorded an album with the surviving members of the Gits called Evil Stig ("Gits Live" backwards). 

Joan Jett and Kathleen Hanna (pioneer of the feminist punk riot grrrl movement) wrote a song called "Go Home" that was later released on Jett's 1994 album, Pure and Simple.

Jett also recorded a single, "Bob," whose earnings were contributed to the investigation of Zapata's murder. To this end, the band Gits and Jett appeared on the television show America's Most Wanted, appealing to the public for information. The case was solved in 2004, when Zapata's murderer, Jesus Mezquia, was brought to trial and convicted. (Yes, his name is Jesus.)


Intriguingly, on July 13, 2008, Joan Jett guest-starred in Law & Order: Criminal Intent. The episode was named "Reunion," and Jett played a fading rock musician named "Sylvia Rhodes." 

"Rhodes" ends up dead on her apartment floor.

Lost on the 2008 audience, of course, was that the pose Jett took on the television drama appeared to mirror how Zapata was found in 1993.

Looking closer at the promotional photograph from the episode, the positioning also duplicates a side view of the Thoth Tarot card of The Hanged Man.

The Thoth Tarot is a divinatory tarot deck painted by Lady Frieda Harris according to instructions from Aleister Crowley. Crowley referred to this deck as The Book of Thoth. Lady Harris was invited to meet Crowley on June 9, 1937, and on May 11, 1938, Lady Harris became Crowley's disciple and also became a member of Ordo Temple Orientis.

And, I must observe, Chris Cornell went from the Jesus Chris Pose to The Hanged Man.














1 comment:

Guillermo Zepeda said...

"12th Man" connection?

- Loudest fans, Louder than Love?

Why does it seem so many of Seattle's beloved music stars die such tragic deaths?