It may come as a surprise to many people that the cult of the celebrity, seemingly a modern phenomenon, has in fact been around since the earliest days of history. Indeed, BIBLE!, a weekly magazine specialising in celebrity news and human-interest stories, was first published in what is now the Middle East on October 22nd, 4004 BCE and enjoyed several thousand years as a best-selling title until its eventual closure in the middle of the 2nd Century CE. Despite this, demand for the magazine remained high and as a result the entire print run was collated into a compendium issue which remains in print and sells many millions of copies each year.
Issue 1 featured God, who had become the greatest star of the times due to His incredibly popular Creation of the Universe, with His photograph given pride of place on the front cover. By issue 2, published shortly afterwards, the magazine was already concentrating on the sensational celebrity news - the magazine paid several million dollars for exclusive rights to publish photographs of Adam and Eve's newly redesigned garden - and had adopted the easily-recognised format that, alongside its Spanish sister publication ¡LA BIBLIA!, now sells millions of copies every year. However, it was with the April 3rd, 33 CE issue that the magazine really took off, soon becoming the best-selling magazine in the world and within just a few years it was available in hundreds of different languages around the globe.
Notable Issues and Stories
The Crucifixion Issue
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Even though no new issues have been printed for 1,850 years, BIBLE! remains the most popular magazine in the world today with global readership of some 2.1 billion people, outstripping its closest rival KORAN! by around three quarters of a billion. With so many issues sold, the publication is able to pay high prices to celebrities in return for exclusive material and photographs that have allowed it, on several occasions, to be the first to publish stories that went on to become global phenomena.
One example of this is the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ in 30 CE, a story broken by BIBLE! in an issue devoted almost entirely to the event and featuring an interview with Christ on the Cross, with graphic photographs that proved to be the source of some controversy after complaints from the American Decency Association in the USA and British
pain in the arse decency campaigner Mary Whitehouse, who famously described the images as being "akin to the sort of thing you see only in the most hardcore and illegal-outside-the-Netherlands sado-masochist porn magazines...which I've never seen, of course." However, despite their efforts, courts found in favour of BIBLE! and as a result the magazine continues to be openly sold on the lower racks in shops (unlike adult-themed "top shelf" publications) and does not appear in "plain cover" versions as is common with other titles that may include objectionable content; despite comments from the judge presiding over the ADA and Mary Whitehouse v. BIBLE! case stating that the magazine features content of the sort unavailable in any legal British or US pornography.
Despite this, the issue proved to be a great success with readership climbing from a previous figure of a few hundred thousand - mostly confined to present day Israel - to the figures it enjoys today.
- His Lordship Justice Penfold-Farquhar, presiding judge during the case, summed up the court's findings thus: "Never before had I been aware that such shocking, degrading, perverse and vile filth was so easily available. So, erm, thanks for the heads-up, guys - this is going to save me a fortune. Dungeon of Sins Monthly went up to 30 Euros per issue last month."
The Pastoral Epistles
During 95 CE, BIBLE! editors made a notable break with tradition. Prior to this date, the publication had remained highly respectful of the celebrities it relied upon as a source of material and as such had not resorted to the invasive treatment of their privacy as is common among modern paparazzi. However, in the wake of Christ's second - and more permanent - death in 36 CE, the magazine found readership figures dropped sharply as vast numbers of fans were drawn away to newer titles such as Popular Cainitism, Carpocratianism Today, Thomasine Digest and various other publications that briefly flourished at the time and thus it was decided to publish a series of letters penned by teenage heart-throb Paul of Tarsus who had been voted Hottest Pharisee of the 1st Century by readers of Hasmonean Dynasty magazine after his "Mad Maximus" film series topped charts throughout the Ancient Mediterranean nations. These three letters, personal messages to Paul's close friends the saints Timothy and Titus , had been retrieved by a freelance journalist from among trash left out for collection at the million dollar mansion Paul purchased using the proceeds of his acting success - BIBLE! still refuses to state the journalist's name, saying it guaranteed anonymity as part of a deal in which it admits it paid over half a million dollars.
BIBLE!'s editor realised immediately that the letters, which later became known as the Pastoral Epistles were absolute dynamite, containing as they did a selection of the star's private opinions of well-known bishops, saints and church builders of the day and, in the letter to Titus, some highly questionable and apparently racist statements about Cretans - Crete was in those days the site of the enormous annual Apostlefest film festival and the majority of the 150,000 people who had bought tickets for that year's event had done so primarily because Paul's latest film, "Mad Maximus - Beyond the Thunderamphitheatre" was due to receive its world premiere there and, if the organisers decided not to allow the showing to go ahead, it could well have finished off his career once and for all.
For this reason, the title's managerial staff were at first uncertain as to whether or not they should publish the epistles - if they didn't, they would protect both Paul's future popularity and their own image as a decent and respectful magazine, but if they did they would see their weekly sales figures skyrocket, driving the newer rivals from the newstands into obscurity while making themselves rich beyond their wildest dreams. After a board meeting that lasted almost ten seconds and having taken advice from the company's legal department, they came to an agonised decision - publish and be damned. The effect was electric - within hours of going on sale, the issue had sold out and the company eventually had to run presses twenty fours hours a day in order to keep up with demand. Meanwhile, sales figures of rival publications plummeted, with Carpocratianism Today - which usually sold around 300,000 copies in Egypt alone and several million throughout the Mediterranean region - recording total sales for the week of zero and filing for bankruptcy shortly afterwards as a result.
- Whom Paul had personally circumcised - it's amazing what a true friend will do for you.
- Whom Paul refused to circumcise because he was a gentile, the putz.
- Because "Some Letters One Of Our Grubby Agents Pilfered Out Of A Trashcan, Proving Us To Be The Filthy Parasites That We Are" was said to lack glamour.
- It is said that the resultant article's co-writer, Joseph of Bethsura, made so much money from the piece and the subsequent book deal that he was bale to purchase a flock of 38 goats - and they were fucking nice ones, too.
- "It's, like, totally in the public interest so nobody can sue you. Oh, by the way, with the massively increased income you'll be getting, we might need to put our fees up just a tiny little bit."
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
Due to the enormous success of their rock and roll band The Apostles, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were the best-known - and perhaps even the most loved - people in the Middle East circa the second half of the 1st Century CE after Jesus Christ Himself, and a string of ubiquitously popular records saw to it that posters of their faces were pinned to the bedroom wall of every teenage girl (and quite a few of their mothers) in Christendom. Cashing in on the band's success, BIBLE! soon formed a sort of symbiotic relationship with them which saw to it that the magazine found a new, younger audience while the lovable Halo Tops (as they were affectionately known) received even more exposure.
- Not on the walls of teenage boys and fathers, however. Homosexuality was unknown at the time, having not been invented until the 1880s by Oscar Wilde.
- Though it must be admitted that, at the time, Christendom was a considerably smaller place than it is at present despite an aggressive guerrilla advertising and internet spam campaign conducted by Christ's marketing team.
Moses and The Israelites
Many years prior to BIBLE!'s relationship with The Apostles, the magazine had formed a deal with The Israelites, a rock group fronted by charismatic lead singer Moses in 1450 BCE. The group had, some time previously, signed a record deal with Pharaoh Records of Egypt but had since become unhappy with the contract and wished to end the deal, citing Restraint of Trade as their reason. However, as The Israelites were one of the best-selling acts of the period Pharaoh Records was unwilling to end the contract amicably, leading to a long and protracted lawsuit during which The Israelites claimed that the terms of the contract bound them for the remainder of their recording career to the label, effectively making them little more than Pharaoh's slaves. Eventually, Moses decided that if the deal could not be brought to an end, the band would simply refuse to produce new material or perform either live or in the studio. In an attempt to soften the band's attitude, Pharaoh offered to change the terms, allowing the band greater freedom but, when Moses agreed to this, the label without warning changed their minds and returned to the original contract. This was to be repeated ten times as the two parties battled it out in the courts until The Israelites delivered a signed statement to Pharoah's legal team from First Born Son, the other chart-topping band on Pharaoh's books, saying that they too would leave Pharaoh unless The Israelites' demands were met. Realising that if they continued to hold out against The Israelite's demands they would lose both their most profitable acts, Pharoah relented and finally agreed to bring the contract to a premature termination, allowing the Israelites to go free.
Moses and The Israelites celebrated their new freedom by recording an album entitled Passover, including a free advertisement for BIBLE! on the cover in recognition of the magazine's unwavering support during the lawsuit, in commemoration of their historic victory. In return, BIBLE! wrote up the story in great detail and devoted an entire issue, known as EXODUS! to collectors, to it. Passover remains a great commercial success to this day, and has been re-released every year since then.
Special Collector's Issues
From time to time, BIBLE! printed special issues that frequently fetch very high prices at auction after a few years. The rarest - and hence, most valuable - of these are the highly collectible are the so-called Apocrypha, printed in very limited numbers and not included in the majority of the compendium issues available today. These issues contain obscure facts about celebrities in which only the most avid fans could possibly have any interest. One example of this is the highly sought-after Clementine Vulgate issue, which features an article entitled the Prayer of Manasseh, outlining in full a series of torrid details concerning the life of King Manasseh whose notoriously idolatrous ways made him the subject of great public scorn and infamy during the 7th Century BCE Manasseh's lawyers were successful in preventing BIBLE! from printing further copies of this issue despite considerable public demand for the lurid details contained therein, though interest tailed off somewhat following Manasseh's rejection of his wicked ways in later life.
Another, slightly different, example would be the legendary REVELATIONS! issue penned by staff journalist Saint John of Patmos, the magazine's science and future developments writer, which was originally published as a one-off special edition for Halloween 95 CE . In it, John took a close look at the society and current trends of his time before making a series of predictions about events he foresaw taking place in years to come, including the emergence of a number of highly colourful characters such as a beast from the land, another beast from the sea, an assortment of angels, various strange creatures and - most notably - a woman clothed with the sun. Historians and others with an interest in the article have for many years put forward diverse theories as to what the fuck he was going on about but, to date, nobody has come up with any persuasive explanations. Recent archival discoveries suggesting that Saint John would often pick wild mushrooms from the hills at Golgotha and consume them without first checking the wisdom of so doing in a reliable reference book have only confused matters further, while attracting a number of non-scientific commentators with their own rather bizarre theories to the debate.
- Or frightening, frankly.
- Indeed, so shocking was his behaviour that modern historians have dubbed the king "the Marilyn Manson of 7th Century BCE Judah," likening him to the American shock rock singer (only not quite so much of a twat).
- Two years later, Saint John penned a follow-up article named "My Drugs Hell - I Was Out Of My Skull And Incoherent When I Wrote Revelations."
Many people have noted what appear to be a large number of similarities between early issues of BIBLE!, published prior to December 25th, 5 BCE, and arch rival publication TORAH!. Earlier attempts by BIBLE! to silence these claims have been criticised by some as heavy handed and an uneasy truce exists between the two publications today, though faithful BIBLE! readers - such as members of the magazine's fanclub, known as the KKK - have been accused of utilising unnecessarily harsh methods in an attempt to persuade TORAH! readers to switch allegiance.
Publishing Rights Infringement
BIBLE! has long been involved in a drawn-out legal battle with bitter rivals Gideons International, a group that it alleges makes illegal copies of its publications for free distribution in hotels, hospitals and other places where people might be so bored they'll read absolutely anything. However, Gideons argues that the copyright covering BIBLE! publications has not been renewed in over one and a half millennia, making all of the organisation's output - even newly published material - effectively public domain and uncopyrighted. BIBLE! executives are believed to be currently involved in discussion with the magazine's lawyers in preparation for the next round of this ongoing dispute.
All rights to the trademark BIBLE! remain under the control of BIBLE! International plc which, for many years, has been hinting that at some future date the magazine will go back into circulation with new and original stories. At present, the exact date - if one has been set - remains a close company secret. Various dates have been put forward, often based on "leaked documents" claimed to have been smuggled out of BIBLE! headquarters, but since these dates have passed it is to be assumed that the documents were forgeries. Meanwhile, a brief Internet search will reveal a host of future dates; but whether or not any of these will prove to be any less of a load of bullshit only time will tell. The only certainty is that, with rival magazine QURAN! increasing its readership figures each and every week, BIBLE! is going to have to do something very soon or risk being forgotten.