Belief, Stories and Marketing
One of the reasons I wrote the Rooster of Notre Dame piece is that I was struck by the story. In terms of marketing, it’s an excellent example of keeping something up there in the public eye:
Stage one – the fire – HUGE worldwide attention
Stage two – the fundraising – another WOW factor
Stage three – the amount of money!
Stage four – the thorn from Jesus’s crown, hidden in a weather vane
The press grabbed it and ran – even Wiki was already bearing the fact of the fire and who found the rooster – Wiki says the relic was saved by Jean-Marc Fournier, Chaplain of the Paris Fire Brigade. The Telegraph claims the rooster was found by a worker at the site. Another says it was a restoration specialist
In storytelling, anything is up for grabs.
As we all keep reminding ourselves – Brexit – you couldn’t make it up.
Which takes me to belief – we all know the saying “It beggars belief” – to be unbelievable or not deserving to be believed : to defy belief.
With a weird turn of my memory, I recall that when I was studying for a PhD I met another researcher who had a theory that Jesus was the first marketeer. Funny how some stories lingers in one’s mind. This now feels like a strange circle of thinking – here I am referring to marketing, in relation to one of the most iconic religious buildings in the world, and I recall that micro-fact.
The truth be told, (if truth exists), is I took a certain delight in hearing about the rooster. The majority of religions have failed to sell their story to me, I just find them impossible to believe. Yet here comes a charred cock, a metal weather vane that apparently holds a religious relic, and I am seduced by it. It drove me to explore the story behind it too, which is pretty plausible.
Maybe it is now gauging my own capacity to believe in something.
Here it is again:
The Rooster of Notre Dame
Fallen from the burning spire
Inside the battered blackened twisted body
Of the rooster
Lies one of the 70 thorns of the Holy crown of Jesus Christ
Concealed and protected
From weather, fire and time
Inside a spiritual lightning rod
The crown a plaited instrument of passion
“We may behold the thorny crown, which was only set upon the head of Our Redeemer in order that all the thorns of the world might be gathered together and broken” (Migne, LXX, 621)
Botanically known as Ziziphus spina-christi,
More popularly, the jujube tree
Tasting of apple
With the appearance of a small date
The pit like that of an olive
In 1238 the Latin Emperor of Constantinople
Anxious to obtain support for his tottering empire
Offered the crown of thorns to Louis IX
As security for a heavy loan of 13,134 gold pieces
But redeemed and conveyed to Paris where Louis IX built the Sainte-Chapelle (completed 1248) to receive it.
There the relic stayed, until the French Revolution
When, after finding a home for a while in the Bibliothèque Nationale
The Concordat of 1801 restored it to the Church, and it was deposited in the Cathedral of Notre-Dame
During the Notre-Dame de Paris fire of April 15, 2019
Two days later, while ash and the tang
Of charred timber
Both hang in the air
The fund to rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral has reached a billion euros
To house the thorn
In five years time
The rooster will be re-homed
The cathedral be restored