Through our discussion on Sozaboy on Tuesday we ran into statements all about salt from a preacher. There are other statements as well that focus on salt, but I would like to isolate specifically this one.
“’You people are the salt in the soup.’ Salt in the soup! Have you heard anything like this before? Porson is salt in the soup?” “Because if salt is not inside soup, then it cannot be soup at all. Nobody can fit to chop it. Therefore, that salt is very important to everyone. To the soup and to the people who will chop the soup too.” (42)
Another statement on the following page “Don’t forget that you are salt. And salt must be inside your salt otherwise they will throw you away like mumu, foolish idiot. Amen.” (43)
The lines in question about salt are from Mark 9:50, here’s the King James Bible’s version. “Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness wherewith will ya season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace with one another.”
The question here becomes how are we supposed to take the meaning of salt within this and what does it mean in the context of Sozaboy? From the evangelical standpoint it’s clear that peace in general is the ideal point of this with the last statement from Mark 9:50, but from Sozaboy it brings up the question of how salt within salt works. The first quote seems to fit with the soup itself being part of the society and the need for salt, the men of Dukana, to preform their role as sozas. The second one however brings up the question of how we are meant to view it because we don’t have the “peace with one another” part mentioned in Mark 9:50. We have instead that if you don’t have your salt within salt you will be thrown away like an idiot.
So from my standpoint salt here is used as a meaning for manliness or gumption, but how does one not have salty salt? Salt is sodium chloride by today’s standard, but in biblical times it had more to it than just sodium chloride, it had many other minerals included, which means you really could have salt without the salt, it would just be gypsum which is used for cement, plaster, soil conditioning, and a hardening agent, all of which are entirely useful and not useless. The only way in this situation that they could be useless would be if the “manliness” of salt is the only factor by which it has any meaning. I could easily change out manliness here for culture or heritage, sense of purpose, any real rhetoric and I think this is possibly the commentary on the confusion of war and value that we see here in Sozaboy. There is no clear allied line or community with the constant shifting, but at least if you have “salt within your salt” you can then claim some form of identity. I would argue that Mene is gypsum. He’s being used by all sides because he has no salt to stay on one or the other.