Sunday 14 June 2015

ABC doodlings

Good writing begins with a bold lack of self-confidence.

If reading is power, writing is kenosis.

Nothing scares the shit out of a writer like the next sentence.

Many wicked actions proceed not from people doing wrong but from people being afraid of doing wrong.

The best antidote to the sin of pride is self-memory. 

Who is my favourite comic book Christ figure? That’s easy: Alfred E. Neuman. “What, me worry?” (Matthew 6:34).

US racism is a lock: carceral lockdown, conservative lockstep, and collective lockjaw.

Are white people devils, as Elijah Muhammad suggested? No, white men. Which is particularly evident in war (particularly colonial wars – if that isn’t a tautology): “war is a man’s game – … the killing machine has a gender, and it is male” (Susan Sontag, citing Virginia Woolf).

American Sniper Is Officially the Highest-Grossing [Out] Movie of 2014” (Huffington Post, 8 March).

Of course, we have moved on, morally, from destroying indigenous peoples. Now we have migrant populations in our sights.

Poor old Just War Theory. All those theological cosmetic surgeons trying to save it from terminal ugly.

The thing to remember about empires is that they all eventually become expires.

If the denizens of Rivendell had smartphones, they’d take elfies.

If there were cameras at Calvary, Christianity would be a cliché.

That “God is dead” doesn’t worry me. What worries me is that, synecdochically, Shakespeare is next on the hit list of our terminally techno-consumerist culture.

“Those who are destitute of wisdom and goodness … are carried on the downward path, it seems, and wander thus throughout their life.  They never look upwards to the truth, nor do they lift their heads, nor enjoy any pure and lasting pleasure, but like cattle they have their eyes ever cast downwards …”
 – Plato in the Republic, anticipating the smart-phone crowd at Starbucks 

Whereof one lacks imagination, thereof one postures and shouts.

Reflecting on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (the Carroll classic is 150 years-old in 2015), Amanda Craig observes that in Wonderland, “almost everyone is offended, rude, patronising or angry.” And I thought, New York or what!

Robert Oppenheimer said of the “Manhattan Declaration” that he felt “I have blood on my hands.” Oops, sorry – that should be “Manhattan Project”.

A new dating app in the US is providing a service called “The Invisible Boyfriend”, which lets you text an imaginary partner. It should immensely enrich the prayer-life of teenage girls in conservative churches.

Parishes seeking a new vicar are sometimes told by their bishop that only the Archangel Gabriel would meet their expectations. Right, so biblically speaking, they’re looking for a priest with a habit of appearing unannounced in the room of a teenage virgin … 

The saints are like baseball’s greatest hitters: they too no doubt fail more than two-thirds of the time. So if, Christian, you’re batting a buck-and-half, relax and remember that “without heroes … [we] don’t know how far we could go” (Bernard Malamud, The Natural).

So, praying against a gay-friendly Russian win in the Eurovision Song Contest (which would entail Moscow hosting the event in 2016), the head of the Russian Orthodox Church inveighed at the thought of “all of those bearded singers” converging on the Motherland (yeah, beards – sick), piously adding that what she now needs is “patriotic songs” (and more tanks, please). Nice one, (Patriarch) Cyril.

When you’re 20, being 30 is a joke, 40 a rumour, 60 a myth, and over 70 Grandma.

How is it that I’ve travelled my whole life hoping to meet myself only now to see him in the rear view mirror waving good bye?

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