Another Good One

Here’s Charles Pierce again, the last paragraph of his Friday piece in Altercation:

For those of us of the Papist persuasion, Good Friday services always came as two hours of existential dread. Purple swatches all over the sanctuary. Gloomy hymns. Latin intoned with an extra-special kind of lugubrious Lugosiness. More to the point of the past week, the Good Friday liturgy was a carnival of anti-Semitism, an extended exercise in Jew-bashing so egregious that even the Vatican came to notice it several centuries on. Now, I know I sat through this. I know Russert, and Matthews, and Maureen Dowd, and Pat Buchanan — and JFK and John Kerry, as well — also did. This wasn’t the improvised rhetoric of one pastor in one church. This was the formalized celebration of Christ’s Passion, performed in exactly the same way in front of millions of people in thousands of churches all over the world. So here’s the thing, Mo and Tim and Chris. (I leave out Buchanan because, hell, he probably thinks the liturgy was too diverse.) Did sitting through this make you anti-Semitic? And to what degree? And have you ever rejected and renounced 2,000 years of popes — to say nothing of the church over which they presided — because they authorized this dangerous thooleramawnery? If you haven’t, you should probably lay off Barack Obama and his minister, is all’s I’m saying.

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  1. Brian Donohue’s avatar

    Hey you Maine-iacs — I’ve got a book recommendation for an author from your lovely state. Mr. Nicholson Baker has written a truth-seeking missile of a book, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Links to the first chapter and more at the second part of this post.

  2. Mardé’s avatar

    Egads! Egads! No longer can I go back to WWII as the “only good war”, a war I missed serving in by a year or two. Instead, I toyed with plane spotting in our town hall tower as a silly, unknowing high school kid in 1943. But part of me hated the war, helped on by my mother’s pacifist leanings. I always had my doubts about Churchill — my right-wing bombastic uncle Donald was a fan — but grew to admire Roosevelt, only to find out from reading the first chapter of Baker’s book, thanks to Brian above, that Roosevelt and even the blessed Eleanor had strong anti-Semite leanings. Whether FDR encouraged the Japanese to bomb Pearl Harbor is still something I can’t quite accept. But the point of Human Smoke is to force one to confront the horrors of war in all their specificities, and ask whether it’s not better to be a pacifist, whether the same accomplishments might not be achieved through non-violent means. Ghandi is a prime example of that.

    Be sure to read Brian’s post McCain: Worse Than Bush? There you’ll find the links to Baker’s book, as well as great reasons for not voting for McCain.

    UPDATE: There’s an extensive interview with Nicholson Baker on Amazon here, and the reviews of Human Smoke on that same Amazon page have many comments, far more than I’ve seen for most books on Amazon.


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