• The Hub

    News, Notes, Talk

    I think I’ve been demonically possessed by this Bible App ad.

    James Folta

    June 13, 2024, 11:46am

    If you’ve been on the New York subway lately, you’ve probably seen this ad, imagining Satan leaving a zero-star review for Bible App: “Zero Stars. Would not recommend.” And if you’ve been on the New York subway with me lately, you’ve heard me popping off about this ad.

    It’s such a confounding ad. If you see me on the train, dissociating while looking at this ad, here are some of the thoughts that might be rattling around behind my glazed-over eyes:

    – The central joke is pretty good, to be honest. It’s sort of riffing on that online, banner ad language—“Doctors HATE him for this one simple trick”—but instead it’s the Christian embodiment of evil complaining about a free phone app.

    – I love to see an ebook being advertised so prominently! Publishing is so back.

    – I gotta stop thinking about this or I’ll miss my stop.

    – I get that in movies, Satan and his demons are repelled by the Bible and other holy things, but do apps have the same power? Does it have to be open on my phone to beat back hell beasts? Or is it enough to just have it downloaded?

    – This is setting up the troubling precedent that some apps are holier than others: Is iMessage sinful? Do I need to mention Candy Crush in my confession? Does Slack walk in the light of the Lord?

    – I should tell this person I’m not staring at them, I’m staring at the ad behind them.

    – My big issue is that this read on Satan feels a little off. Pride and vanity are big-time sins, no? Wouldn’t Satan want people to be reading the book that features all his best, most dastardly stuff? Satan definitely would want to show off all the evil stuff he did. He’s like a guy who can’t be in a room with a guitar without eventually playing “Wonderwall”—if you’re hosting a party and Satan’s coming, you have to hide your Bible or else Beezlebummer’s going to be reading aloud from it all night.

    – Why this Bible app? There are so many of them. Maybe Satan just prefers another one?

    – Satan’s definitely got a demonic management team around him, and he needs to start listening to them. There’s no way a publicist is advising Big Red to get into the comment section on the App Store. The third most famous character from the Bible has better things to do with his time.

    – I do think it’s accurate to imagine Satan as a guy who leaves a lot of reviews online. Evil doesn’t have to be all volcanoes and smiting—being petty and annoying are bad too. You know Satan is a tyrant on Yelp. He’s 100% one of those people who leaves negative reviews that have nothing to do with the restaurant, and are just a litany of strange personal grievances. I can imagine Satan as the last person in his friend group who’s still using FourSquare.

    – What is Satan’s favorite app? Probably Nextdoor.

    – Is it even possible to leave zero-star reviews for apps? I think the lowest you can go is one star. Well, I guess one star is the lowest a human can go. But the Dark Lord knows no such limits—he can blink out all the stars in the reviews.

    – Is thinking too often about a subway ad one of Lucifer’s tricks? Have I been ensorcelled by demonic forces?

    – Damn, missed my stop again.

  • Become a Lit Hub Supporting Member: Because Books Matter

    For the past decade, Literary Hub has brought you the best of the book world for free—no paywall. But our future relies on you. In return for a donation, you’ll get an ad-free reading experience, exclusive editors’ picks, book giveaways, and our coveted Joan Didion Lit Hub tote bag. Most importantly, you’ll keep independent book coverage alive and thriving on the internet.

    %d bloggers like this: