While Lil Nas X’s “Satan Shoes” have drawn the attention of aggrievance-seeking Christians and lawyers for Nike, another “hype” product release from the opposite side of the theological conflict has gone under the radar. Jon Buscemi, the designer known for his work at Oliver Peoples and eponymous brand Buscemi, has released what he’s calling “the most beautiful Bible in the world.”
The aesthetically modernized holy book was made in collaboration with the artist Eric Haze and has been published by the newly formed The Good Publishing Company. Done up in what looks like McDonald’s colors at the right angle, the luxury Bible features a “soft touch” cover with gold foil text, hand-dyed ribbons, and two different shades of paper to correspond with the two testaments. If you think that sounds expensive, you’re right. Buscemi and GPC are charging $300 for it.
Hawked by an actual Christian, the exorbitantly priced Bible is far more audacious than Lil Nas X and MSCHF’s custom Nike Air Max 97s that have sparked outcry. While critics argue in bad faith that the sneakers were made to worship Satan, the reality is an act of subversion against the people who have targeted Lil Nas X for his sexuality. The gay musician has been told he’s going to hell, and in an act of subversion he went just there to romp with the devil in his “Call Me By Your Name” music video and released a limited-edition run of sneakers to coincide with the single.
A man who’s been persecuted by religious zealots is under no obligation to respect the sanctity of their religion. Instead, more scrutiny should be levied against Buscemi, who’s touted the importance of the good book in his life. While he could argue that releasing a Bible is an act of service to his god, the pride required to think it needs an upgrade at your hands is the characteristic that stands out far more.
If someone is willing to remix the bible for $300, then nothing is really sacred.
Having sold an estimated 5 billion copies worldwide, The Bible is in no need of an upgrade, let alone from a designer who peddles gaudy sneakers to the wealthy. Hype culture seems to touch everything these days, from McDonald’s to bobsleds, but you’d think the supposed word of god could be spared from the treatment of high prices and streetwear visual cues. If someone is willing to remix the Bible for $300, then nothing is really sacred.
Selling the holy book for a price few can afford is an act of service not to above, but for oneself. Even as an atheist, I find the idea of selling The Bible for such a high price gross. A publicist confirmed 10 percent of the proceeds will be donated to Compassion International, a child-advocacy ministry. Setting aside the morality of indoctrinating children, a nominal amount of the profits will go toward charitable efforts. That leaves the rest of the margins to GPC and the man whose sneakers have won favor with the likes of Justin Bieber and 2 Chainz.
To be fair, Buscemi isn’t the first person to try to modernize the appearance of The Bible. Alabaster Company saw sales for its Instagram-friendly Bible explode last year, and it’s broken up the book into volumes that sell for up to $70 a pop. In a Washington Post profile, co-founder and recent convert Brian Chung says he didn’t want to read The Bible at first because he thought, “This is not good design.” Jokes at the expense of millennials write themselves here, and it’s even funnier that this frustration led to the Kinfolk of Bibles.
Buscemi’s new product offering may not have actual human blood in it, the number of the beast on it, or any other overt signs of sacrilege. Instead, it’s just a self-serving, self-aggrandizing act made in the name of god. This kind of behavior should warrant its own backlash, but then again it’s hardly foreign to the world of Christianity.