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Like a La Brea Tar Pits of the Entertainment Age, the videotape bin at the Tower Records Outlet preserves, with grand indifference, the slow, dumb, and unlucky media animals of our times. Amateur cultural anthropologists with a few bucks to spare can always find some telling fossil from the not-so-distant past; on a recent dig there, I unearthed a videotape entitled Addicted to Jesus. Released in 1992, it is the work of a blandly bombastic singer known as Carman, who is, judging from his appearance and a few key biographical details he drops during the course of his performance, an Italian-American man in his late thirties, born in Trenton, New Jersey and now performing mainly in the Midwest.

Because I live in San Francisco, where the craven media elite struggle mightily to shield their audience from traditional American values, when I first spied Addicted to Jesus amongst the other bargain-priced videotapes I knew nothing of Carman, nor even of Christian rock, which is, as the title Addicted to Jesus so forcefully implies, Carman's domain. In fact, having grown up godless in the suburbs of Silicon Valley, I know relatively little about religion in general. From haphazard reading, however, the religious concept with which I am most familiar is faith--the faculty one exercises as an act of free will to overcome doubt concerning God's existence; because I found the disjunction between this concept and the notion of having an addiction to Jesus so marked, I decided it was certainly worth $1.98 to hear what Carman had to say. So instead of buying a videotape of the Ringling Brothers Circus, I purchased Addicted to Jesus.