Monday, December 31, 2018

Why I Do Not Work for the CIA / 我不為 CIA 工作的理由




Why I Do Not Work for the CIA

1.

I do not work for the CIA because I am too dumb
And I am not a Mormon

Besides my patriotism is lacking

I wouldn’t have passed any of their tests

It’s clear I do not work for the CIA

2.

Do I maybe, after all, work for the CIA?
It’s hard to believe I do

I begin my day later than them

And teach language at night

CIA people would be analyzing language
Arabic and Urdu and such

Documents of specs in Chinese

But me I teach language

The CIA wouldn’t be teaching anything
They’d be writing up reports to answer
Yes or No Yes or No

But me I teach and joke with students
Trying always to play out the Maybe

For as long as possible

3.

I keep to myself and drink scotch
This is very CIA

How long have I been CIA now?

4.

I'm damn good at what I do in fact

My Chinese is better than many a fellow agent’s

And my French was once good too

I still get the subjunctive wrong less often than many a Mormon
Who passes me sober in the halls at Langley

5.

I’ve never been to Langley

There's no way I'm CIA

I’d have cracked under pressure sooner
And told everything I know

6.

Though I’ve been under immense pressure at times
And have cracked twice or more
I’ve never quite told everything I know

But it wasn’t because I was holding back

Out of patriotism or to protect some asset
But because I didn’t quite know how to put it
How to frame it I mean

Everything I know

And sometimes I didn’t even know really
That I knew it

7.

This kind of thinking is definitely not CIA

Maybe that’s why I'm such a precious asset to them
They wouldn’t risk me on any small mission
Translating chatter from Urdu

Instead they coddle me

Keep an eye on my drinking

They’ve pared me down to one cigar a day

They’re encouraging me now to find a new health club
Get back in shape like I was

When we were winding down the Cold War

8.

In fact I will not find a new health club

I’m tired of this far-flung Asian assignment

I want them to know it too

I’m tired of the metro ride back and forth

The students half of whom are ADHD

I’m waiting for my station chief finally to have enough of me
And drop word that I’d be better off

Somewhere with more action

Berlin or Rome

Nice would be nice

But I’d settle for Damascus or Tel Aviv

As long as it wasn’t too dangerous

In short somewhere my skills can be used

9.

Now that it’s clear

I’m solid CIA

I must pay off those back taxes soon
Plan a visit to Langley

I must stop messing around with Maybe
And get back to basics

Yes or No

Me or You

One of us is in the wrong here

Eric Mader
* * *

我不為 CIA 工作的理由

一、

我不為 CIA 工作,因為我很笨
而且我不是摩門教徒
加上我那貧乏的愛國情操
鐵定無法通過他們任何一項測驗
顯然我不會為 CIA 工作

二、

又或許我,說到底了,就是在替 CIA 工作?
真叫人難以相信

我白天比他們晚起

晚上還有語文課要教

CIA 那幫人則忙著分析語言
諸如阿拉伯語和烏爾都語
和處理中文計劃書的文件
但我呢我有語文課要教
CIA 倒是什麼課也不教
只顧著把報導整理成文,好回答
是或不是或是或不是
但我呢我有學生要教還要跟學生開玩笑
也要試著沉浸在或許這又或許那的世界裡
越久越好

三、
我獨來獨往,會喝蘇格蘭威士忌
這很 CIA

我 CIA 多久了?

四、
我在工作上其實表現得可圈可點
中文比許多特務同事都要流利
法文也一度說得嚇嚇叫
不像許多經常錯用假設語氣的摩門教徒
後者總一派清醒地與我在蘭利的廊間擦身而過

五、

我沒去過蘭利
不可能是 CIA
稍被施壓我就會崩潰
大事小事都要脫口而出

六、
縱然有時得承受非比尋常的壓力
也崩潰過兩次或超過兩次
我卻未曾供出那些大事小事
倒不是出於愛國情操或是
為了守住某些資產才三緘吾口
我只是不太曉得該如何啟齒
我是說該如何表達
我所知道的一切
有時我甚至無法確定
我真知道那一切

七、

這種思考模式肯定很不 CIA
這或許便是他們視我為 CIA 之寶的緣故
他們不會冒險派我執行不起眼的任務
譯出截獲來的烏爾都語閒聊內容
他們會把我捧在手心
時時留意我又喝了多少
一天只准我抽一根雪茄
現在還鼓勵我找家新的健身俱樂部
好找回往日的健美
就我們準備結束冷戰那時期

八、
但我才不想找什麼新的健身俱樂部
我受夠這無窮無盡的亞洲任務了
我想讓他們也明白這一點
我受夠搭地鐵通勤往返
我的學生有半數是過動兒

我在等我 CIA 的駐派國代表終於也受夠了我
並呈報說為了我好
應該派我出去跑跑
看是柏林還是羅馬
尼斯的話就有意思了
但即便是大馬士革或特拉維夫我也絕無怨言
只要那邊不會太危險就好
只要是個能讓我發揮所長的地方就好

九、
既然一切都已水落石出
我就是如假包換的 CIA
那我得儘快繳清積欠的稅款
也該跑一趟蘭利
別再或許這又或許那地扯個沒完
我得回歸基本面
是或不是
我或你
總有一個人搞錯了

枚德林
* * *

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Sunday, December 30, 2018

OBASAN! 歐巴桑! (英/中)



Obasan #7

Taipei. I was sitting atop a cement traffic pylon near a busy intersection. It was just before class and I was smoking one of my mini-cigars before going in to teach. I had my umbrella leaned against the pylon—not a very good umbrella, the handle kept coming off and I needed to get a new one when I had the chance. 

A well-dressed 60-something woman came by me with a little caramel-colored dog on a pink leash. The dog was sniffing the base of my pylon and I was thinking: “This obasan is NOT going to let her dog piss on the pylon while I’m sitting on it.” 

Of course I was wrong. The dog started pissing, the stream of piss just missing my umbrella. I didn’t look at the woman, but kept my eye on the dog to let her know I saw how rude she was being. 

And the dog, no more than a foot tall, just kept up its pissing. Its piss flowed voluminously, amazing for such a small dog, until a broad puddle had formed just under me. 

Then the woman went on her way. 

As I stood up to go, not a minute later, my leg nudged the umbrella and it fell flat into the puddle. I decided to leave it there. 

I crossed the street and went into a little bakery to get something to eat. I hadn’t had time for dinner. Coming out, I saw the woman circling back with the dog. She looked at my umbrella lying in the piss, then looked round to see if I was still nearby, then reached down carefully to pick up the umbrella. She’d decided to take it! 

Pulling a few sheets of tissue from her high-end, oversized purse, she began to wipe the piss off the umbrella. I watched her from the shade of the bakery awning. When she was done wiping off the piss, she continued on her way, heading home with her dog and my umbrella. 

But she carried the umbrella by its handle. And the handle came off in her hand, the umbrella itself dropping to the ground. 

Surprised, she glanced round again, to see if anyone was watching, then looked down at the umbrella at her feet. Finally, in a gesture of frustration, she tossed the handle down next to it. She continued on her way home. 

Very OBASAN! Yes, very very OBASAN!

-----

我哈台灣奧巴桑

一、
好啦你最了不起啦擋在旋轉式柵門的入口前翻找包包裡的悠遊卡彷彿天底下就你一個人而已嘛後面六個人全都擠在那邊過不去嘛你還瞥了我一眼好像在說「我都五十六歲了一 手養大兩個兒子其中一個還是台大畢業的老娘讓個屁路!」哎喲台大是嗎啊不就好厲害陳水九騙的母校嘛我上班快遲到了一邊涼快去啦奧巴桑

二、
我每逢星期六就只能抓緊下課時間去買杯咖啡喝或許只 有三個人在排隊吧兩個奧巴桑加一個男人那兩個奧巴桑跟 櫃檯小姐說拿鐵會比卡布奇諾大杯嗎?對了刷什麼什麼卡是 不是可以打折?哦等等哦我有帶什麼什麼卡阿娘喂2%的折扣溜我來找一下卡什麼星巴克又出全新系列的隨行卡了哦那 我先前那張隨行卡裡面的點數還能用嗎裡面還有一些點數咦 有折扣嗎朵拉你看星巴克新推出的隨行卡溜(開始討論新舊 隨行卡哪張比較美老天饒了我吧)要不要買張新的你覺得咧 你覺得這張顏色好看嗎小姐你們有別的顏色可以挑嗎好了朵拉你要喝拿鐵還是卡布奇諾哎喲他們有聖誕節限定的噁心巴 拉摩卡溜這下好了已經有七個人被她們堵在後面了既然肢體 暴力在這個城市屬於犯法行為我就撤了我就兩步做一步直奔 Cama Café 去了我去你們的奧巴桑

三、
我要買體香劑就我太太只喜歡的那一款可現在是我的午休時間還有位要買兩小罐護膚乳液的奧巴桑就站在結帳櫃檯前然後櫃檯小姐說小姐(!)現在只要多花八百塊就能獲得這張價值五百元的折扣禮券明年就可以用啦奧巴桑在考慮了我還不清楚接下來會怎樣嗎老子二話不說揚長而去

四、
我在 7-11 正打算買點薄荷糖就發現結帳隊伍裡連續排 了三個奧巴桑而且最前面的奧巴桑已經跟櫃檯小姐吵了起來 說便當不是要比結帳金額便宜個三塊錢嗎那奧巴桑邊指著發 票邊說啊櫥窗上的海報不是寫便當只要多少錢喂喂我難道得 在這邊聽她高談闊論不成何況她後面還有兩個奧巴桑在等我 沒吃薄荷糖又不會少塊肉閃人了閃人了

五、
我有件包裹要寄去紐約結果人一進郵局就看見現場排了兩組人馬其中一排有五個人不過都是男性和女職員另一排則是兩個分別抱著一小件包裹的奧巴桑我可沒那麼傻我走向那 支排了五個人的隊伍然後哈沒想到吧我寄了包裹錢也找好了隔壁排的第二位奧巴桑還在那邊郵資哪個方案怎樣又怎樣問個沒完媽呀!

六、
隔天,我們一行七人緊緊挨在擁擠的捷運車廂裡面對車 門站著。我們這群人稍後就會一片黑壓壓地蜂湧而出,準 備下車轉乘綠線。我身後有個奧巴桑,穿著花俏橘襯衫。奧 巴桑這邊推那邊擠,試圖從我們之中開出一條路— 就因為 她已經,呃,五十七歲了?她好像迫不及待要下車,好像等 不及要奔向某個地方的收銀機,隨便什麼地方的收銀機。她 拚了命想擠過去,那可惡至極的超大 LV 包的金色搭扣也開 始勾住我樸素包包上的黑色帶子。我也下車— 我嘟噥著中 文。她沒抬頭看,也沒搭腔,倒是露出若有似無的淺笑。她瞇起了眼在計算,過分嫣紅的嘴角嵌著一小滴晶瑩剔透的口水。我知道她腦子裡正轉著會員卡、折價券、禮券、贈品的畫面。八秒之後,她又試圖從我們之中穿過去,即使用膝蓋想也知道我們會在這站下車。我也下車!我又說了一遍。我也下車,奧巴桑!

Eric Mader
枚德林

-----

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Monday, December 17, 2018

累死父路三段


C'est moi.

1. 是的,作為一個在這裡生活了數十年的西方人,我確實愛台北和台灣。但當然有一些事情令人討厭。這就是任何地方的情況。我有一些建議。今天我一直在記下他們。

2. 台北捷運不允許吸煙是合理的。但我認為每年應該有一天允許吸煙。事實上,在那一天,捷運上每個人都得吸菸,這樣才公平。

3. 這條規則將普遍適用。這意味著:在那一天,兒童 - 是的,甚至是嬰兒 - 都要在捷運上吸煙。

4. 吸著古巴雪茄的人可以免費乘坐。

5. 你能看如果我是台北市長的話會有多有趣嗎?

6. Louis Vuitton 的包包很醜陋。在台北有太多LV包包了。我知道在其他亞洲城市情況更糟。不過台北還是要改革。我自己不跟那些背著LV包的女人說話。我都不甩她們。LV包越大,這個規則就越適用。

7. Hermès,Michael Kors,Fendi - 這些品牌的是可以接受的。快丟掉你們的LV包包。你甚至在想什麼?

8.既然你的垃圾車已經有音樂,為什麼沒有一些有live音樂的垃圾車呢?卡車上設置一個小舞台,當垃圾車沿路開過時,樂團就會開始演奏。

9. 這樣可能還會創造出一種新的本土音樂類型。

10. 台北的交通不是很好,但並不是太糟糕。台北最差的車手是男人。這並不奇怪。但在台北,我發現,最糟糕的車手位於階級差距的兩端。所以:在台北,你會看到那些駕駛黑色賓士的男人,以及駕駛小藍色卡車的男人,在影響台北的交通。

11. 那些開黑色賓士的混蛋顯然認為他們太重要了,不用遵守交通規則。至於藍色卡車司機,他們似乎不知道這個城市甚至有他媽的交通規則。

12. 通過車輛識別這兩類駕駛員後,應該被法律強制每年在中央公共廣場聚集一次,只穿著內衣,進行公開體罰。

13. 體罰必須進行電視轉播。

14. Sogo 電梯非常慢。當電梯有電梯小姐工作時,電梯甚至動得更慢。沒有人他媽的需要電梯小姐,好嗎?

15. 幾天前,我突然意識到那個在羅斯福路上用木板拖車推著自己賣抹布的老人,他在二十年間完全沒有改變。太不可思議了。我開始懷疑他是一個被派到這裡監視我們的外星人。

16. 奇怪的是,今天早上我在廣福南路的車上看到了他跟他的小拖車。他們可能不止一個嗎?

17. 今天在捷運上,我看到一個約22歲,看起來傷心又面露恐懼的女人,她抱著一個藍色毯子,裡面抱著嬰兒,偶爾來回搖晃。這個女人衣著整潔,看起來很正常,除了悲傷的表情以外。

18. 當我靠近時,我意識到這實際上並不是真正的嬰兒,而是一個完全逼真的真人大小的人造嬰兒。它是某種塑料。我們目光接觸了幾秒鐘,我很想問她發生了什麼事,但由於她嚴肅的表情,我決定不這樣做。

19. 現在我不能不再想她了。當她搖晃那個嬰兒時,從她身上散發出一種奇怪的沮喪光環 - 讓她一直困擾著我。她正在做某種精神治療嗎?

20. 想著抱著假嬰兒的女孩比想著拖車上賣抹布的男人更難過。

21. 我在其他地方寫過關於家貓的邪惡,貓在台灣很受歡迎,所以我不會在這裡添加任何關於這個主題的東西。當然,一般來說,貓應該是非法的。

22. 我向北跋渉,天氣變冷了。河流被冰覆蓋,我釣不到什麼魚。當我受苦時,怪物很高興。他寫道:“這只是一個開始!你將遭受更多的苦痛!"

23. 噢,讚美寒冷的北方!

Eric Mader 枚德林

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Saturday, December 8, 2018

大腸王: Taipei Statements 12/07/18




1. Yes, as a Westerner who’s lived here decades, I do love Taipei, and Taiwan in general. But of course there are some things that irk. That’s how it is with any place. And I have some suggestions. Today I’ve been jotting them down.

2. That smoking is not allowed on the Taipei MRT is reasonable. I get it. But I think there should be one day every year when smoking is allowed. In fact, on that day, smoking should be required on the MRT, just to balance things out.

3. This rule would be universally applicable. Which means: On that day children--yes, even babies--would be required to smoke on the MRT. 



4. Those smoking Cuban cigars would ride free.  



5. You see how interesting things would be if I were in charge? 



6. Louis Vuitton bags are ugly and crass. There are too many in Taipei. I know it’s worse in other Asian cities, but still. I myself do not speak to women carrying LV bags. I will not give such women the time of day. The larger the LV bag, the more this rule applies. 



7. Hermès, Michael Kors, Fendi--all these bags are acceptable. But dump the LV bags. What were you even thinking?

8. Since your garbage trucks here already have music, why not have some garbage trucks with live music? There could be a little stage on top of the truck. The band would crank out tunes as the garbage collectors made their way from neighborhood to neighborhood.

9. A new local musical genre might arise. 



10. Taipei traffic isn’t great, but it’s not horrendous. The worst drivers in Taipei are men. No surprise there. But in Taipei, I’ve discovered, the very worst drivers are situated at opposite ends of the class spectrum. In Taipei, taking the cake as very worst drivers, there are the men who drive the black Mercedes, and the men who drive those little blue pick-up trucks. 


11. The assholes in the black Mercedes clearly think they’re too important to follow traffic rules. As for the blue pick-up drivers, they seemingly don’t know the city even has traffic rules. 



12. These two classes of drivers, to be identified by vehicle, should be compelled by law to gather once a year in some central public square, dressed only in their underwear, for a ritual public beating.  



13. The beatings must be televised. 

14. Sogo elevators are hellishly slow. When they have the elevator girls working them, they’re even slower. Nobody fucking needs elevator girls, okay?



15. A few days ago, I suddenly realized that the old guy who pulls himself along on a cart on Roosevelt Rd. selling washcloths has not changed one tiny bit in twenty years. Which is impossible. I'm starting to suspect he is an alien sent here to spy on us. 



16. Oddly, this morning I saw him on his cart on Guangfu S. Rd. Is there maybe more than one?  



17. Today on the MRT I saw a sad, frightened-looking woman about 22 who was cradling a baby in a blue blanket, occasionally rocking the baby back and forth. The woman was well dressed, and seemed normal, except for the sad look. 



18. When I got closer, I realized it wasn’t actually a baby she held, but a perfectly realistic life-sized artificial baby. It was plastic of some kind. We made eye contact for a few seconds, and I was tempted to ask her what was up, but because of her serious look I decided not to.  



19. Now I can’t stop thinking about her. The odd aura of dejection that emanated from her as she rocked that baby--it’s stuck in my mind. Was it some kind of therapy she was doing?   



20. To contemplate the girl cradling the fake baby is far sadder than to contemplate the disabled man on his cart selling washcloths.  



21. I’ve written elsewhere on the utter evil of house cats, an unfortunately popular thing in Taiwan, so I will add nothing on that subject here. Of course, in general, cats should be outlawed.



22. As I traveled north, the weather became colder. The rivers were covered with ice, and I could get no fish. The monster was happy when I suffered. In one message he wrote: “This is just the beginning! You will suffer much more than this!”  



23. Oh, for the frozen north! 

Eric Mader
枚德林

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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

吳音寧,無音寧 



我不確定一位詩人如何命名他的女兒吳音寧,不知何故沒注意到這個名字是 “無音寧” 的同音異義詞。父親希望女兒和平,而不是噪音。

但我在這裡是一個外國人,也許問題是我的:我不清楚台灣人聽到名字中的迴聲以及他們不知道的地方。

無論如何,我不是那些認為名字決定一個人命運的人之一。不過,在這種情況下,“吳音寧”肯定導致了幾個月的“無音寧”。

毫無疑問,不是她的錯,也不是她父親的錯。錯的是讓這個相對缺乏經驗的女人找到一份她尚未做好準備的工作,然後更大的錯誤就是讓她在這份工作中堅持這麼多個月的箭靶,在箭頭之後不斷接收箭頭—就在選舉之前。真正具有諷刺意味的是,她職位上所取代的那個男人帶著很大的喧囂和魅力,帶領選民贏了民進黨。

枚德林

>>>>買我的書《白痴有限公司》! 有犀牛、蝙蝠、obasans 、海豚、真英雄、台北秘史 and more. 你可以在台灣買到:

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Monday, October 29, 2018

公車站招親




我沒料到會在這個地方碰上這種事。有個矮胖矮胖的婦 女在公車站向我走來;她穿著破舊的 T 恤衫和運動褲,問我 想不想要她的女兒。她說起中文時有很強烈的抑揚頓挫,我 一開始還懷疑自己是不是聽錯了。婦女放下裝滿家庭清潔用 品的塑膠袋,伸出手要跟我握手。

「交個朋友好嗎?」她坦率地問,然後再度提出要不要帶走她女兒的問題。我沒向她伸出手。

「至少瞧個一眼嘛。」女人說,並示意我看看約莫五步 之外的女孩。

女孩看上去大概二十歲,顯然有智能方面的障礙。她靦腆地對我微微笑。她的身形比母親臃腫,模樣就如顆過大的肉包被強行灌進毫不搭調的家居服。

女孩的母親硬是跟我握了手,接著便解釋自己已經不曉得該怎麼辦了,說女兒都不聽她的話,老愛嫌她太嘮叨。

「你想把她帶走就帶走,想讓她幹嘛就幹嘛,我要的不多。」她邊說邊露出口中僅剩的四顆牙。

她也發現我邊聽邊注意她牙齒間的空隙,於是指著女兒告訴我:「哦,她牙齒沒我這麼爛啦,你放心。」

女孩一聽到這話就皺皺眉頭,還對我們吐了吐舌頭,不過沒一會兒就笑開了,好讓我們能順利看到她的牙齒。

而她的牙齒確實沒那麼糟:她還有牙齒。

「我上個月滿五十歲。我這輩子生了七個孩子,死了兩個兒子、一個女兒,現在只剩這孩子跟其他兩個了。」

由於她敘述的是件叫人悲傷的憾事,我就不便提出她數學方面的小小錯誤了。畢竟長期的心理創傷可能導致計算上的差錯。但滿不在乎也會造成同樣的結果。

我見公車即將進站,便說:「不好意思,我趕著去上 班。」

「拜託,你不能考慮一下嗎?」這位母親說道。「我只求你把她帶走就好。我要的不多。」

她伸手撫過我拎在手上的 Subway 潛艇堡牛皮紙袋,彷 彿在說:「把裡頭的火雞肉潛艇堡交出來,這女孩就歸你。」

公車車門打開之際,這母親便攬住她弱智女兒的肩膀, 打算奮力把她推上公車跟我一起走。無奈女孩比她強壯得多,所以這招並未奏效。

公車漸漸開走,我看著窗外的她們離我越來越遠,看著那母親咒罵那女兒,看著那女兒向我擺手揮別,看著那張弱智的臉上咧開了嘴,對我露出告捷的微笑。

枚德林

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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Elizabeth Warren: Who the Hell do you think you are?



Can’t you just smell the Dem sense of #Entitlement?

Claiming to be Native American, prominent Dem senator Elizabeth Warren benefited for years from special treatment. Now that it’s clear she’s no more Native American than most American whites, what does she do? She keeps defending herself.

It would never enter Warren’s head just to apologize, to say: "Actually I didn’t deserve those benefits, and I’m very sorry about what happened. Here’s what I intend to do to make it up.”

But Warren doesn’t think that way. She has the typical Dem entitlement bug. Being “on the left”, being “a woman”, and since “the patriarchy blah blah blah"--because of all this any concrete facts of Warren's behavior are irrelevant. Such "victims" aren't to be held to normal standards.

You've been living out a long-drawn-out falsehood? Taking special assistance at key moments in your education and career? So what? All that matters is that you're on Our Side, defeating the Enemies--who are apparently so very bad that lying and grandstanding and making false identity claims are no big deal.

We saw the same Dem entitlement at work in the clown show inflicted on Brett Kavanaugh and his family. For the Democratic Party, which clearly manipulated the timing of the release of Christine Ford’s accusations, it didn’t matter a whit that none of the accusations could be proven, that not a single one of the witnesses supported Ford’s claims. All that mattered, again, was the entitlement--here a supposed right, based on the vague claim that we must "listen to women", to get whatever one wants politically without the need to establish truth.

Now I don’t know what actually happened decades ago when Ford was in high school. Nobody but Ford knows. I strongly suspect nothing happened, and that Ford knows very well Brett Kavanaugh never did what she said. I suspect Ford was simply embellishing (if not outright inventing) a story and linking it to Kavanaugh. I suspect Ford was lying, and that she was doing so because, as a woman “on the left”, Kavanaugh simply had to be defeated. She convinced herself she was going to play a heroic role, that she could just ramp up her acting a bit and manage to win one for the Team. Not to mention the fame and book deal and maybe even a movie starring Meryl Streep as the adult Ford.

But what I believe about Christine Ford doesn’t matter. What’s important is that Ford’s case was indemonstrable according to sane legal norms, and that this fact didn’t in the least matter to the Dems, who just kept repeating the #BelieveWomen mantra. If you're part of the “victim” class, America should just go along because, I guess, Progress.

Demand actual evidence? You will be shouted down by the Dem mobs outside as "rape apologists" or "fascists". It's absurd, and decent people are disgusted by it.

On how many fronts is it now considered almost criminal even to question claims being made? How about the insane insistence that Americans virtually bow down to anyone who redefines their gender in any of 57 ways, that we use the language these “victims” demand, that we change laws to suit them, throwing out basic biology along the way?

One could go on and on underlining this same dynamic at work across the board. But the point today is the stench of #AbsoluteDemEntitlement that emanates from Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Meanwhile Rachel Dolezal is more black than Warren is Native American. Even the Cherokee Nation is disgusted with Warren’s antics.

And yet she won’t think to apologize. No. Because she’s “on the left”, she’s “fighting for justice”, the other side “must be defeated”.

Sorry, Senator, but that’s not how justice works. Look it up. If America were to allows such defective notions of justice to take root, the victimization would never end. Because our legal system would be kaputt.

Eric Mader

Have some deadpan with your coffee. Check out Idiocy, Ltd. Dryest humor in the west.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

蝙蝠 : 《白痴有限公司》



蝙蝠不就是一種會在月下忽然癲狂的肉蛾,一種隨時可能解體的小型鋪毛裝置?不然咧?

沒錯,蝙蝠是種中了邪,老隨著閃光燈舞動的橡膠玩具; 蝙蝠是赫卡忒* 收藏的手偶。

眾所周知,蝙蝠的性子拗得很,永遠走不出八○年代。

牠們的耳朵在生理上就是聽不到諸如布蘭妮、卡卡、肯伊等 名字。「你說哪位?」

牠們會從經年了無生機的樹木那中空樹幹裡一湧而出,一如自地獄手機發送出去的簡訊。

iPhone 10 能破解這些簡訊裡的軟語嘶情嗎?那 iPhone 15 呢?

「非常期待見到尼。相信粉快就能見面ㄌ。;)艾莉森」

不,無論是令堂、您患有焦慮症的姑媽,還是閣下年幼的妹妹凱莉在午餐便當裡發現了囊鼠的首級— 要比尖叫,誰也沒有最弱小的蝙蝠叫得尖厲。

Was denkst du, Fledermausmann? Müssen wir noch Heidegger lesen? **

(回想少年時,我做過這種夢;倘若我現在夠果敢,就能實現這些夢:有座單間的博物館,館內只陳列蝙蝠形形色色的上下顎骨和牙齒— 每副蝙蝠的上下顎骨和牙齒都經人清洗過並且安置在牆上,下方還附了對應的蝙蝠照和專屬的十四行詩。)

蝙蝠是躁狂發作的鼴鼠,鼴鼠是抑鬱消沉的蝙蝠。蝙蝠睡覺時倒吊。蝙蝠邊睡覺邊倒吊。蝙蝠倒吊著睡 覺。

第三句比較好。

而今,凱.蒂森胡森,你又在哪裡?

--枚德林

Notes:

*為希臘神話中總與巫術、鬼魂、魔法聯繫在一起,象徵幽冥 的月陰女神 Hecate。 


**此句德文意為:「如何,蝙蝠俠?這下我們還要讀海德格嗎?」 馬丁.海德格(Martin Heidegger, 1889–1976)為德國哲學家。 


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Thursday, September 27, 2018

My Little Spat with Caitlin Johnstone on "Rape Culture"


Yes, in fact Caitlin Johnstone is a leftist journalist I admire greatly. Her well-documented and witheringly logical reporting on the Dem/MSM Russiagate scam has been brilliant and essential. As is a lot of her writing on US foreign policy. Johnstone is a leftist who does not jump on just any left bandwagon to trash the Trump Administration, and because of this she's hated and mistrusted by much of our bandwagon left. She's even been called "alt-right", which is pretty hilarious given that she's a socialist, but par for the course in this climate.

But recently, and just now with the Kavanaugh Confirmation Clown Show going on, she put up a piece that referenced "rape culture"--the sophomoric and easily debunked feminist concept that claims women in America and other developed Western countries are living in cultures that tolerate rape.

Given that there are and have been actual rape cultures in history, that rape is a serious crime, and that, further, there are many men now in American jails who are there just because of bogus stories concocted by ethically challenged women--given all this, and the unprecedented Kavanaugh circus, I called her out. Below is her original post graphic and parts of the ensuing spat. I don't disagree with some of the points made in Johnstone's's original post, but do very strongly disagree with her irresponsible use of "rape culture".

On this topic, it is Michelle Malkin who talks sense, not Caitlin Johnstone.

E.M.























Oh, and by the way, GOP--CONFIRM BRETT KAVANAUGH THIS WEEK, YOU WIMPS.

Check out my Idiocy, Ltd. and begin the long, hard reckoning.

Monday, September 24, 2018

There's No Going Back from this #MeToo Clown Show


Diane Feinstein, who knows how to hold onto a letter.

So surprise. With Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation falling apart, another liberal woman has stepped forward to accuse Brett Kavanaugh of misdeeds in the distant past. Her name is Deborah Ramirez. Unfortunately, even the ultra-liberal New Yorker, has to recognize her new #MeToo story isn’t very compelling. Which didn’t stop them from printing of course. Read:

She was at first hesitant to speak publicly, partly because her memories contained gaps because she had been drinking at the time of the alleged incident. In her initial conversations with The New Yorker, she was reluctant to characterize Kavanaugh’s role in the alleged incident with certainty. After six days of carefully assessing her memories and consulting with her attorney, Ramirez said that she felt confident enough of her recollections to say that she remembers Kavanaugh had exposed himself at a drunken dormitory party, thrust his penis in her face, and caused her to touch it without her consent as she pushed him away. Ramirez is now calling for the F.B.I. to investigate Kavanaugh’s role in the incident. “I would think an F.B.I. investigation would be warranted,” she said.

Hey, me too, with legal standards like this, I’ve got things from my past, times I’ve been groped and abused and stolen from, that the FBI should investigate. I should call The New Yorker. Or my local Democratic member of Congress. Oh, wait. I’m white. And male.

Rod Dreher sums it up at his blog:

So the FBI is supposed to investigate whether or not a drunk college boy pulled down his pants at a drunken college party and exposed himself to a college girl who was so drunk that she can’t clearly remember the event, and had to take six days to think about whether or not it actually happened? It was so devastatingly traumatic to her that she had to ponder for a week about whether or not it happened, and whether or not it was Brett Kavanaugh?

This is what they’re throwing at Brett Kavanaugh now?

Let's be very clear. Both Ford and this new "accuser", as well as Diane Feinstein and her unhinged party, are doing irreparable harm to all the women who are actual victims of sexual assault. That's the real harm now sinking its claws into America's psyche. And given how this has all played out, there's likely no going back. Thanks to our identity politics left, the bar for accusation has gotten so insanely low that literally millions of Americans have been pushed, whether they like it or not, toward an attitude of deep skepticism regarding claims of sexual abuse.

For myself even, who tries hard to keep my judgment from being clouded by political considerations, I have to admit that going forward part of me, hearing an accusation made against a man, will pose the question, "Is this woman of the left-liberal persuasion?" and if the answer is yes, I will be dismissive of the accusation unless she has very concrete evidence. It's wrong finally, that it's come to this, but this team has brought it upon themselves. Too many of them, even the most prominent, are on the verge of explicitly acknowledging that if an accusation serves their political goals it must be treated as true. All sense of due legal process is lost.

Consider this tweet last year from a female columnist at a national woman’s magazine.


Say what? But it's clear what "slips" like this reveal. Namely, this attitude is already deeply entrenched in many American women's thinking. And in the verbal repertoire of many beta men who are in it for the hugs it gets them. If this attitude weren't so entrenched, after all, the absurdly belated and memory-impaired Ford accusation against Judge Kavanaugh wouldn't have been given the attention it has. How can there be any justice in a society that allows a clown show like this to put on the garb of justice? There cannot. Shame on these left-liberal women. Because the people they're harming most are women who have really been victimized.

All I can say is: VOTE IN THE COMING NOVEMBER MIDTERMS! Get your friends to vote. These unprincipled lefties need to be kept as far away from the reins of government as possible.

Check out my Idiocy, Ltd. and begin the long, hard reckoning.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Bats




What is a bat if it is not a meat moth having a fit under the moon; if it is not a small furred contraption on the verge of going unhinged?

Indeed a bat is a haunted rubber toy dancing to a strobe light; it is Hecate’s own hand-puppet.

Bats are defiantly stuck in the 80s, as you know. Their ears are physiologically incapable of registering names like Britney, Gaga, Kanye. “Who?”

They burst from the hollowed trunks of long-dead trees like text messages sent from the cell phones of Hell.

Will the iPhone 15 be able to decipher these floppy hissing missives? The iPhone 20?

“Look forward 2 seeing u. Sooner than u think. ;) Alison”

No, your Mother can never, neither can your anxiety-disordered Aunt, nor your little sister Carrie when she found the severed gopher’s head in her lunch box--none can shriek more piercingly than the smallest bat.

Was denkst du, Fledermausmann? Müssen wir noch Heidegger lesen?

(As a teen I dreamed such dreams, and if only I had such courage now, I would fulfill these dreams: A one-room museum displaying only the cleaned and mounted jaws of the various bat species, under each jaw a photo of the bat and a sonnet in its honor.)

A bat is a mole in a manic episode. A mole is a depressed bat.

Bats hang while they sleep upside down. Bats sleep while they hang upside down. Bats hang upside down while they sleep.

Sentence 3 is the best.

And you, Kay Thiesenhusen, where are you now?

This and 42 other important public service announcements can be found in my book Idiocy, Ltd.

Whether Dorky Dem or Sellout GOP, the Trump Opposition Dare Not Speak What It Really Opposes




A friend of mine was criticizing the New York Times for publishing the recent Anonymous Op-Ed purportedly written by a covert resister inside the Trump administration. The Op-Ed, if you haven’t read it, shows the writer gushing in self-congratulation about undermining the president’s agenda. Yes, the same president he or she works for.

My friend made his criticisms in an online thread and asked for comment. His basic position was that the Times “couldn’t be in the anonymous author business and remain credible.” And that whoever in the Trump administration wrote the piece, if indeed it’s authentic, isn’t doing American democracy any favors.

The discussion touched on Trump’s narcissism and then on how our different branches of government are supposed to function.

I post parts of the thread here.

E.M.

MYSELF: I agree with your basic assessment of why the NYT Op-Ed was out of line. As for the other issues, I suspect we’re in agreement too.

It's the legislative branch and judicial branches that are in charge of countering the executive when and if the executive is out of line. To praise anonymous "Resistance" operatives who brag in print about working inside the executive branch itself is to praise borderline traitors to our democracy. The voters elected Trump to fulfill his policy agenda, and neocons who think they know better and expatiate on how they're subverting what the voters want--well, you do the math.

As a Trump supporter, sure, I see the narcissism. But narcissism is often a personality trait of people who end up in leadership positions. Obama was and is a monumental narcissist. Obviously. But that said, how would the country be reacting if an Obama administration employee wrote something like that NYT editorial? Most of the media would be apoplectic, and the word "treason" would be popping up everywhere, especially on the NYT's Op-Ed page.

The thesis that Trump is somehow "more dangerous" than Obama is undemonstrable. Trump hasn't yet dragged us into a regime-change war, he hasn't decided to dictate trans bathroom policy to the whole country's public education system, he hasn't sat on his hands to allow North Korea nuclear and missile policy to shift into overdrive, or let China continue building military bases in the South China Sea.

Some narcissistic leaders are dangerous by being pussies too in love with the sound of their own "reasonable" and diplomatic speech. Neville Chamberlain. That gay Obama narcissism. Others narcissistic leaders sound dangerous, but aren't as dangerous in the long run.

FRIEND: Eric, this time, it appears the middle is in agreement with your perspective in terms of the actual people and their jobs. Regarding any president, there is the office and there is the man. They are not the same. Trump the man is a personal embarrassment to me. The Office of President is a great responsibility. If Trump’s hires are back-stabbing him, they should stop that, come clean, and front stab him. And get fired. If Trump orders crazy on rice, each person in the process who refuses to bring crazy on rice should be fired until someone either does the crazy or he wakes up. What Trump supporters need to wake up to is that none of these internal resistance people are Democrats or liberals. They are Trump appointees. They are Republicans. And that has to be galling.

MYSELF: The problem we Trump supporters see is that this back-stabbing to some degree is inevitable, given that Trump is going to staff his administration with Republicans, but at the same time most Washington Republicans are not on the same page as him. They're neocons in foreign policy and free-traders in economic policy. Whereas his voters support him, much of the Washington GOP sees the Trump presidency as a crisis for their party--not because he's "crazy" so as much as because he's not following the Agenda. If he were following the Agenda, they could live with the "crazy".

Similar with the Democrats. The line that Trump is "dangerous", a "threat to world peace", a "racist" is fed largely by a combination of two things: 1) Trump is not following the Agenda (that same Agenda the establishment GOP wants); 2) the Dems are the party of people with Daddy issues, and Trump sounds and looks like all the Daddies rolled into one.

On both sides, most of the people screaming opposition to Trump are not screaming about what they really oppose in him, but rather reaching for something else to scream about that sounds more marketable. The GOP establishment can't come out screaming "This guy is not following the Agenda, America!" because the public will respond "Yeah, that's why we voted for him." And the Dems can't come out screaming "This guy's a DADDY who just laughs at what I say about racism and he even told me to take of my pussyhat at the dinner table!" They can't come out screaming that because the non-Daddy-issues public will laugh at them and say "Take off your pussyhat, dork."

All in all, then, neither Dem nor GOP opposition to Trump dares speak honestly about why they are so opposed.

Check out my Idiocy, Ltd. and begin the long, hard reckoning.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Gay Apologetics, Ideology, and the Catholic Sex Abuse Crisis



Angered like many Catholics by the tsunami of depressing revelations that has hit this summer, I decided last week that we direly needed an online space where lay Catholics could gather and work together on ways to pressure the hierarchy. I created a closed Facebook group for Catholics only, and proceeded to promote it in different threads to build up membership. Yes, the group is growing quickly.

In one online thread however, oriented heavily leftward, I got pushback for my working title for the group--Catholics United Against the Lavender Mafia. I knew such pushback was inevitable, because wide swaths of the Catholic faithful are studiously committed to not seeing what the data on the crisis reveal, even as they are cravenly committed to that hardly Catholic 21st-century Rule of Rules--Whatever happens, never never never offend LGBT people.

Here I want to post the main dialogue from that heated left-leaning thread, a sort of struggle over terms between myself and a priest and canonist who joined in to “clear things up”. At issue was whether or not the data in the 2004 John Jay Report on clerical sex abuse indicated a pattern of homosexual men preying on male youths.

The priest’s answer follows. I’ve lightly modified his comments so as to protect his identity. (Not because there’s anything embarrassing in what he writes, but he may not want to be challenged on this or that by others who read my blog.) The thread in which our dialogue occurred was semi-public in any case.

Eric Mader

Father B. writes:

I’m a Roman Catholic priest, ordained in 1995 for the Archdiocese of H-----. After being sent for my canon law degree, I returned to Archdiocese of H----- just before the sexual crisis unfolded in our area. (I was spit upon in public while Christmas shopping because I was in the Roman collar.) I also soon became the primary canonist working on sex abuse cases. I learned things that no one should have to learn--much less endure; it was almost unbearable. My experience in the canonical prosecution of these cases is congruent with the conclusion of the “John Jay Study.”

The John Jay Study stated: “There has been widespread speculation that homosexual identity is linked to the sexual abuse of minors by priests, largely because of the high number of male victims identified in the Nature and Scope study. However, the clinical data do not support this finding. Treatment data show that priests who identified as homosexual, as well as those who participated in same-sex sexual behavior prior to ordination (regardless of sexual identity), were not significantly more likely to abuse minors than priests who identified as heterosexual” (The Causes and Context of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests in the United States, p. 74).

I understand it’s difficult to comprehend. However, sexual predation is not the equivalent of sexual attraction; please keep in mind that it is a mental illness. We often say the predator is “attracted to” but that’s somewhat misleading because they are not attracted to the person. The pedophile doesn’t want a relationship with the victim; once the child physically develops, the “attraction” ends. It’s more like an age-fetish. It’s why pedophiles often have multiple victims.

It’s true that the abuse includes a sexual release, but it is rooted in the perpetrator’s mental illness (self-esteem, rage, powerlessness, etc.). It is turned inwards. The journal of the California priest-abuser is chilling; he seems completely unaware that any of the children would not want to be abused.

In addition, the abuse often involves the victimization of those to which the abuser has access. This is why it isn’t difficult to find married men who abuse young boys, or why pedophiles often abuse boys and girls. More often than not, abusive priests had access to boys--as coaches or servers.

I fear that attempts to hang the sex abuse crisis on some “lavender mafia” or homosexuals or even clerical celibacy are misguided. To properly treat an illness, it absolutely necessary that it be properly diagnosed. The notion--which is understandable but mistaken--that homosexual identity is linked to the sexual abuse of minors is a red herring. The pursuit will be self-affirming but do little to serve the good of victims or the Church.

My Response (to Fr. B. and others in the thread):

As I’ve spent some time on this, and as I seek honest and direct discussion of difficult issues rather than easy soundbites, I hope those who’ve weighed in here will take the time to consider my response to Father B.’s comments. I thank him for offering such careful and detailed remarks. His general reading of the sex abuse crisis is more or less the established one. I myself, however, believe this reading suffers certain fatal blind spots and that it is mainly weakened by what are obvious (clinical, social) ideological reframings of the basics of sexual behavior.

So I intend to make a substantial claim, and need to provide a substantially different analysis if I’m to make the claim coherent. Which is why this comment will be a lengthy one by this thread’s standards. I hope people here will bear with me.

1.

Though I’m responding, as I say, to an established analysis, I submit that the burden of proof still lies with those who want to separate the horrors of clerical sex abuse from the sexual orientation of the abusers. In short, I remain convinced that doing so is intellectually bogus and ultimately a matter of deflecting.

Again, we are looking at a situation in which the sexual aggressors are 100% male and the victims are, staggeringly, 81% male. Which does not conform to patters of minor abuse in other social settings, such as public schools, where the data show it is girls who are more often victimized. Why is the gender distribution so markedly skewed toward male victims in our Church? Those promoting the established analysis cannot really answer this.

Let me begin by a clarification of terms which may seem lame but which has a point. Homosexual is the first term. It fundamentally refers to sexual behavior between those of the same (homo) sex. The 81% of documented abuse cases in our Church are thus in a sense already homosexual by definition. Yet, again, the establishment analysis repeatedly insists that homosexual “orientation” in the abusers should not (or rather must not) be seen as related to the pattern of the abuse.

I submit that this is a monumental deflection, and that the deflection is possible on the basis of two ideological claims. Since in this attempt to obfuscate, the homo half of the equation can’t be denied (81% of the cases involve male-on-male acts) so instead, in my reading, the sexual half is taken up and a claim is made something along the lines of: “But it’s not real sexuality!”

Briefly, we are told the abusive behavior is not actually sexual because of two supposedly mitigating factors: 1) the cases involve a kind of aggression; 2) the cases are examples of pathology.

I will take them one by one.

2. On “Relationships”

Let’s first note Fr. B.’s own words in his comments: “I understand it’s difficult to comprehend. However, sexual predation is not the equivalent of sexual attraction; please keep in mind that it is a mental illness. We often say the predator is ‘attracted to’ but that’s somewhat misleading because they are not attracted to the person. The pedophile doesn’t want a relationship with the victim….”

There is an absurd ideological claim lurking in your words here, Father. Namely, that real sexual attraction must involve a desire for a “relationship” with the victim. I’m sorry, but this claim is specious. It tames sexuality in an unscientific and ultimately irresponsible way.

Sexuality as a drive in nature, and thus in human beings as well, is not as domestic or polite as your words here would suggest. On the contrary, aggressivity is an inseparable part of human sexuality. For obvious biological reasons (which I hope I don’t have to lay out here) aggressivity is a strong component of male sexuality in particular. Study even “normal” sexual behavior between men and women, and you will see hints of this aggressivity everywhere: in flirting, in sexually provocative music, in gesture, in the sex act itself.

Aggressivity, then, cannot be arbitrarily separated out from the male sex drive; and it is additionally true, and obviously so, that very much male sexual attraction and action is not at all predicated on a desire for a “relationship” with “the person”.

So how could it even come about that you would frame things in these terms?

I would suggest that part of this reframing of human sexuality got its impetus from the feminism of the 1980s and ‘90s. It was then that Western feminists sought, as an ideological maneuver, to remove the sexual element from the crime of rape. And so, we were told, if a man rapes a woman that is not properly a sexual act, but rather an “act of violence”. We still hear: “Rape is not about sex! It’s about power!”

Sharper minds see through this feminist claim. Sharper minds recognize that regardless of what people might want to believe, rape is in fact “about” both power and sex. And this is no surprise. Given the heritage of millions of years of mammalian evolution, male sexuality remains inevitably a perilous mix of aggression and sex act. Although our third-wave feminists are wrong about nearly everything else, when they yell “All men are rapists!” they are stating something like a truth. Their mistake is only in implying that men can’t control their more rapacious urges. Thankfully for civilization, the great majority of men can and do, and thus we do not live in a “rape culture”.

In modern biology, the telos of sex for any individual of the species is to pass his or her genes onto as many viable offspring as possible. Since the male doesn’t need to carry the offspring to term in his own body, male sexuality naturally evolved in a more aggressive and multi-partner direction. From a purely biological perspective, we have some major winners in this game. If genetic researchers are correct, the biggest winner we know of is a medieval man who now has roughly 16 million direct descendants spread across Asia and Europe. His name was Ghengis Khan. Note: He wasn’t always interested in establishing “a relationship with the person”. Note 2: His behavior was still, by definition, sexual.

Abusive, predatory sex, then, is still sex. Thus, like it or not, the horrid instances of clerical sex abuse that recent decades have brought to light are in fact sexual crimes, which is why, after all, we refer to them as cases of “sex abuse” to begin with.

These are ugly truths. I do hope everyone here recognizes that I’m not in the least offering these paragraphs as an apology of some kind for male sexual aggressivity. Not at all. The reason most cultures evolved rigorous codes of sexual behavior is precisely because 1) the sex drive is very hard to domesticate and 2) our complex communities simply could not survive without such codes.

2. “Illness made me do it”

But aside from this “taming of sexuality” ruse implicit in your comments, there is a second ideological claim at work in the now standard reading of clerical sex abuse, and this second one appears in your comments too. And so: We see analysts and journalists everywhere attempting to erase the sexual element from the (mostly homosexual) clerical abuse by ascribing the acts to illness.

I think this ruse is also easy to dispatch with.

After all: Why is it that a man who suffers some neurosis that expresses itself in sexual acts somehow no longer engaged in sexual acts? Again, it is specious to claim so. Once an individual begins to suffer neurosis, his or her original sexuality is not thereby erased. It doesn’t simply become nonsexual. Rather, his or her sexuality is integrated into the whole complex of the disordered psyche.

And so, the mentally imbalanced heterosexual man will not suddenly change his normal choice of object and out of the blue start focusing his sexual attention on males. Same with the mentally imbalanced gay man. In both cases, however, the imbalanced and/or sociopathologically inclined man may very possibly begin to offend against this or that sexual taboo. For instance, the taboo against sexual relations with children. And this is what we see documented in the John Jay Report. We have men who finally broke that taboo. But the hard data of the John Jay Report nowhere proves that sexual orientation no longer existed in these men.

Indeed, the fact of mental illness or neurosis, aside from calling for treatment, mainly serves to dampen public fury against men who abuse children. We feel sorry for those who suffer mental illness. We also, in recent decades, feel especially sorry for LGBT people who have been stigmatized in the past. But you know what? I myself am not much impressed on either count. I do not feel sorry for the priest who couldn’t control himself and thus began abusing minors under cover of his “priest card”. I’m not sorry for him whether he’s gay or straight. And I also don’t much care if he or his doctors lay claim to some kind of neurotic obsession to explain his vile crimes. His vile crimes gravely damaged the lives of real victims, in many cases leaving those victims far more damaged than he himself was. Or, as the case may be, than he claimed to be.

One commenter here, Chris, asks me to reconsider using the term “lavender” and even suggests I need to think more about “the dignity of the human person”. Really? We are talking about scores of young people, mostly boys, whose lives were devastated in their formative years by men who couldn’t keep their hands off them. Many of those young people grew up to abuse drugs or alcohol, many others eventually committed suicide. And you, Chris, are worried I might be offending gay men by using the word lavender?

Sadly, I think the priorities of many commenters here have been warped in a truly sick direction by political correctness and the LGBT craze that now rules our society.

In any case, I don’t think the ascription of mental illness to the abusers manages to erase the fact that they were driven to act by sexual desire, and that for most of them their sexual desire chose objects according to their sexual orientation. As will be clear in the next section.

3. Pedophilia? Really?

I want to move on to what I consider the most important takeaway from the John Jay Report, one which, I’m sorry to say, Father, you entirely avoid addressing. You avoid addressing it because you only refer in your comments to pedophilia.

First, let’s acknowledge that any and every sociological or criminological report written is inflected to some greater or lesser extent by the regnant ideologies of the era in which it is written. That I hope goes without saying. Even if we do our best to escape from ideology, we will remain inscribed within it to some degree.

Asking about ideology, we can look at the John Jay Report in two ways. We can look at the hard data, and we can look at the analysis of that data. Of these two planks, where are we more likely to find ideological obfuscation, whether intentional or not? I would say, obviously, in the analysis plank. Thus, I’d also say that it’s the hard data that should concern us most.

The hard data in this report do not in fact portray only pedophilia. Not by a long shot.

Very obviously--and this is a fact that our journalists and commentators have worked overtime trying to ignore--what we see in these crimes is mainly what is called ephebophilia, the erotic attention of men not to young children, but to prepubescent and teenage boys. (Note, the technically more accurate term is hebephilia, but as ephebophilia is more commonly used in recent debates to refer to range I have in mine, and is more widely known, I use it here.)

The study indicates that in fact only 22% of the victims were under the age of 10. That leaves 78% falling in the usual ephebophile range. So why is this never mentioned in the public discussion?

Further, since the study also indicates that 81% of the victims were male, what we have in the John Jay Report is a portrait of a group of adult men who by large margin chose to seduce or engage in sexual acts with boys in the early or middle stages of sexual development. Sorry, but that’s what the data indicate.

The clerical sex abuse of the 20th century in America was thus not mainly a matter of “pedophile” men who indifferently chose little girls or boys as victims. Rather, as the data show, it was mainly a matter of men choosing boys in the early bud of sexual development. This is ephebophilia, “man-boy love”.

Do I need to point out that in the gay community such ephebophilia is in fact “a thing”--that although such relationships do not characterize all gay men’s sexual history, nonetheless a sizable subset of gay men acknowledge being involved in ephebophile relationships. This topic is widely discussed, an open secret of sorts, and one prominent gay political commentator (provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos) recently lost an editorship because he made the mistake of speaking candidly about it an interview. Yes, it’s dangerous stuff as public topic, understandably, but then on the other hand it seems to be getting less dangerous, doesn’t it, all in the name of LGBT “sexual liberation” of course. Call Me by Your Name why not?

The John Jay Report thus gives us in rough outline a type of sexual abuse/relationship (take your pick) that is known as common in the gay community. Are we to believe then that the maleness of 81% of the victims was somehow an indifferent fact in the abusers’ attention?

Because that, Father, is your claim.

Yes, you do mention that one thing accounting for the large number of male victims is the frequency of contact between priests and boys. OK, that is likely a factor too. But the same John Jay Report also specifies that much of the abuse or grooming began when an abusing priest was invited as guest to the family home of hospitable Catholics.

Did Catholic families in the 1970s and ‘80s lock up their teen daughters when priests visited? If not, why was it so often the sons that priests ended up grooming and abusing?

But you also mention altar boys, and it’s true the Catholic Church only began allowing altar girls in the early 1980s, so again this is another factor we might take into account. Still, all in all, I have to say these are not very persuasive ways to prove that the sex of the victims was indifferent to the large mass of victimizers portrayed in the data.

4.

Thus regardless of your comments, Father, I still have to stand by my thesis that in the main the problem of clerical sex abuse has been a problem of closeted and not-so-closeted gay priests who, breaking their vows, began to prey on or seduce male victims.

So how, in my reading, did it come about this way? Are gay men somehow innately immoral?

No, I wouldn’t argue that. Rather, I’d offer a story that I find, at the very least, plausible.

It’s commonly known that the percentage of gay men in the priesthood is higher than in the general population. I believe the best explanation for this is the one most often heard, namely: Many gay men growing up in Catholic families, rather than acknowledge their sexuality openly, were drawn toward their vocation as a way of escaping the nagging questions: “Why aren’t you interested in dating?” “Why isn’t a nice guy like you married?” etc. In addition to offering these men an escape route and cover identity, the priesthood also offered them membership in an exclusive all-male club, which was an added benefit. And so they applied. But after ordination, and after a number of years serving, some of these gay men began to resent their station. Not only were they living in hiding, but also 1) they were part of a Church that explicitly taught the sinfulness of their acting on their desires, and 2) given the vow of chastity and Catholic teaching, they were expressly forbidden from expressing their sexuality through any sexual contact. This naturally led not only to the anxiety always inherent in living a double life, but also to a resentment that they were not getting what the world owed them. Such resentment likely grew especially keen during the years following the 1960s when the sexual revolution was in full swing: “Everywhere people are engaging in free love. Meanwhile look at me.” Conflicted, suffering, resentful--some of these men began sexual relations with other priests in the same straits, or with men in the community. And some of them began to seduce and abuse minors as an outlet for their frustration and a release from their lust. Doubtless not a few of these latter naively told themselves that they were not really harming the minor in question, that they were actually offering him something in return: “I can be his mentor, his protector.” (Which was exceedingly naive, of course, but as everyone now knows, clerical immaturity on sex played a major element in this crisis.) When the deed was done, shame and failure usually followed, but also a terrified desire to keep the whole thing secret. And voilà, as most of these men discovered, even their superiors did what they could to help on this. So a system fell into place. And the double lives continued, many of the men even sponsoring or teaching a new generation of men to follow them. And over time--surprise!--the percentage of gay men slowly began to increase in the Catholic priesthood, and some of the older generation became very prominent indeed. And so we are brought up to the present, the era of Cardinal McCarrick and his robed cronies and the current woes of the Holy Father.

This is my own rough understanding of the dynamics behind most of the crisis our Church has suffered. Oh yes, there was also victimization of girls--but at a rate of 19%. What troubles me in this thread is that those who support the established analysis keep insisting, as if dogmatically, that homosexuality not be recognized as a key part of the crisis. I think at present this insistence is nothing but egregious special pleading, driven largely by the lock-step LGBT apologetics that now runs roughshod over our culture, but in part also by a Church hierarchy, again, trying to protect its image.

4.

I’ve written here at length on my understanding of the crisis. What I have not written about is the question of how our Church might proceed. On this, in case anyone suspects otherwise, I should maybe point out that I do not believe our Church should defrock gay priests just because they’re gay. That would be terribly unjust. Any gay man serving in the priesthood who is faithful to his vows and who upholds the Church’s teaching on sexuality deserves our respect. He is just as much a priest as any other priest. Obviously. As for a certain type of “openly gay” cleric, however, I am not inclined to tolerance. Any cleric known to have a gay lover must be first disciplined, then, if he persists, summarily defrocked. Also, if a cleric is known for teaching things at variance with Church teaching on sexuality--if he seeks to “reform” those teachings--he is already a problem and should be disciplined. Fr. James Martin SJ, to take one prominent example, is not at all helping our Church. But these are just hints of what I personally would hope to see in future Church policy. And in any case, my thinking on this is not the subject of these comments.

Finally, although I don’t accept your arguments, Father, for reasons I’ve indicated somewhat sharply, I’d like to again thank you for weighing in on this thread. I would hope a degree of mutual respect could animate debate between Catholics on these issues, but, alas, it mostly hasn’t here. In any case, I know the neighborhood I’m in.

Father B. Responds:

In our local experience, the primary abusing priest did abuse his niece when he had unsupervised access. The fact was that, in homes and family events, the access was fairly limited; he didn’t know when others were going to “walk in.” He was far more secure/confident in parish settings, where he wasn’t a peer/family member but an authority who could simply take boys out of practice or from the classroom. Social standards precluded him from being with a female alone in the parish settings (e.g. priests couldn’t even drive a car with a woman in the front seat, including their mother); those same standards didn’t preclude him from being with boys; they encouraged it.

When you say “sorry, that’s what the data indicate,” or “...that, Father, is your claim,” I’m left at a loss. You are claiming an expertise in examining the data, while at the same time seemingly dismissing multiple experts in the field whose job it was to compile and analyze the data. My only claim was this: the conclusion of experts matched up with my personal experience of prosecuting priests (13+ perpetrators locally, ranging from about 1950 to about 1990) who had sexual contact with minors. You are certainly free to disregard the experts and to respond to my observations as if there is a debate between us. I fear that you’re doing the equivalent of proof-texting; you suggest I’m making logical errors (engaging in the true-Scotsman, etc.).

At least we agree that everyone should be chaste and that a failure in this area--which we can label sin--harms those involved and the community around them. We also appear united in our desire to both (a) root out the sexual abuse of minors and (b) hold those accountable who--maybe with good intention but poor judgement--put the institution before the victims and God’s people.

My Reply:

Again, I appreciate your reply. Indeed, I am questioning the experts, but must do so because my reason sees glaring blind spots. And examples of what I interpret as an institutionalized special pleading abetted by weaknesses in the various professional discourses at issue. Again, as I’ve argued, the easy deflection to “pedophilia-as-illness” has made it far too easy for supporters of the established analysis to ignore that most of this abuse was actually homosexual ephebophilia--gay men preying on male youth. Again, I think the hard data obviously demonstrate this, so the resistance to writing about it, even as a possibility, is frustrating.

Still, I will carefully think through what you write here. And I apologize for the fact that in my own writing, when something deeply troubles me, I tend to be sharp. This crisis has troubled me for years. And it troubles me in new ways now, given that the Holy Father has been implicated via his poor choice of advisers.

***

This is my last comment in discussion with Father B.

Further Considerations

One commenter in the thread pointed out that according to the John Jay Report data many abusers did choose victims of both sexes, thus somewhat vindicating Fr. B.’s argument that the sex of the victims was unimportant to the victimizers. But note that from the same data, of those who targeted one sex, those who targeted only boys were roughly four times those who targeted only girls. So I would say that argument failed.

Also, yes, the John Jay Report indicates that most of the abusers, when questioned, did not “identify as homosexual”. The study authors make much of this. I do not. After all, is there any surprise in the fact that most of these men did not openly identify as homosexual? If my above interpretation is correct, many of them had already chosen their life path in part because it allowed them to avoid having to identifying as homosexual. Why would they suddenly shift course just because they’d been found out as abusers? If their whole public life was predicated on not acknowledging their homosexuality, how many of them under questioning would opt for a) “Yeah, I’m a homosexual man who desired sex with boys” rather than b) “I’m suffering from a neurosis I can’t control”? Given the shame of being caught as a sex offender, I submit that pleading b) offers the easier out.

Trying to make sense of the hard data, after all, we need to keep human nature in mind.

Conclusion

Students of history are aware that the typology heterosexual/homosexual is largely a creation of the modern West. Many argue that this typology is itself ideologically motivated rather than descriptive, and that we’d be better off in our quest to understand sexuality if we recognized individuals as just sexual. In this view, the individual comes to express his or her sexuality in ways more determined by culture and nurture than the apologists for “orientation” will admit. Anyone who reads Plato’s Symposium, with its detailed portrait of a sexual culture radically different from ours, comes away struck by just how much culture can determine the direction of sexual desire. Plato lived in a society where ephebophilia was the norm. To simplify things, we may say that much of the ancient world took for granted that human beings were generally neither straight nor gay, but rather something like our “bisexual”.

But I’ve ignored these considerations here because I’m now writing in a culture where people explicitly identify themselves as either straight or gay, with the smaller third group who claim to be “bi”. These remain the basic terms of the public debate, and they determine most people’s self-definition and likely behavior too.

So what about “gay men” in the clergy? Do they represent a problem for the Church?

If you’ve read what I’ve written here and conclude that “Gay priests are all abusing kids!” you are sorely mistaken. We don’t know for sure how many Catholic priests are gay, but it’s long been assumed that gay men are way over-represented in the Church. A conservative estimate would be 25%, but some claim it is actually much higher. In any case, if we assume it’s 30%, something should be immediately clear. Given that the John Jay data show that, over the time period covered, around 4.4% of American priests were accused of some kind of abuse, this would prove, even if nearly all the abusers were gay, that the great majority of gay priests never fell into abuse. Thus the accusation “Gay priests are mostly there to abuse kids!” is unfounded slander.

Still, the picture from the data, if my analysis is even partly correct, is not all rosy for the pro-LGBT camp. If we assume 30% of all priests were gay, and then note that 81% of victims were male, and in addition that much of that 81% block was pre-teen or older, it’s difficult not to recognize the takeaway, as follows: Any given gay priest was more likely to commit sexual abuse than any random one of his heterosexual colleagues. But yes, trying to determine how much more likely would be a mug’s game. Is it 35% more likely? Twice as likely?

Aside from being backed by the data, this assertion also seems psychologically plausible, given the consideration of the gay priest’s plight laid out above. Those who suffer from the pressures of living a double life are liable grow cynical, bitter, neurotic. Men in such a state are more likely to break this or that taboo, if only as a means of release or rebellion. It’s the same with many types of criminal behavior. Thus if many gay men in the priesthood took up abuse, it was not because they were gay, but rather because they were living a double life.

My own thinking on how the Church should proceed given this complex of issues is quite simple, so as I’ve written as much as I have, I might as well add it.

Of course the Church should not suddenly start to weed out gay priests as if they were a threat. Nobody with any sense of justice is arguing for such a thing. But I do think the Church has very good reason to begin enforcing its own policy regarding the unfitness of gay men for the priesthood. Why? There are four main reasons I would add in the current context, which I’ll give in random order.

First, gay men are already way over-represented in the Church, and this makes the Church hierarchy imbalanced in relation to the faithful.

Second, the evidence shows that gay priests are more likely to commit abuse than heterosexual priests, and the possibility of future abuse needs to be averted by serious measures.

Third, the Church’s teaching on sex and the family is now threatened by this liberal-leaning lavender contingent in the hierarchy, and if things keep “developing” as they are, the Church risks betraying tradition and falling into heresy.

Fourth, things have gotten so lopsided in this direction that many heterosexual men are now discouraged from entering seminary, or leave seminary early, because they have no desire to be part of a gay men’s club. For this last reason, contrary to what some others are saying, identifying and rejecting gay applicants for the priesthood may in the long run actually increase vocations, because heterosexual men would be more encouraged about a future life in the Church.

Finally, one of the most depressing aspects of this crisis for us lay Catholics, second only to the tragedy suffered by the victims, is that many in the secular world have come to assume our priesthood is a professional society of child abusers. This is a gross stereotype, of course, but it’s hard to blame the public at large for falling for it, given what they see in the news. Still, we need to keep pointing out that it’s a stereotype even so. As the statistics show, the great majority of Catholic priests, whether gay or straight, were not abusers. In fact, to go from our best data, the Catholic Church’s problem with sex abuse is no worse, and is probably somewhat better, than what we find in the wider society (cf. public education). That’s a pretty low bar to reach, yes, but we’ve at least reached that bar, and all indications are that things have gotten much better since the 1970s and ‘80s. Still, we need to do much better yet in the coming decades. Because we are the Body of Christ.

Join Catholics United Against the Lavender Mafia on Facebook.

***

Check out my Idiocy, Ltd. and begin the long, hard reckoning.

Monday, September 3, 2018

It's Called the "Lavender Mafia", and It's Time We Catholics Drove it from Our Church


Why did Pope Francis make this known abuser his right-hand man on American affairs?

Our Church has a serious problem, and it is not a problem with priestly celibacy, nor is it a problem with established Catholic teaching on human sexuality. The problem is with a specific cabal that has entrenched itself in the Church over the course of decades.

The cabal I’m talking about has come to be called the “Lavender Mafia”. This name is apt. It refers to a group of clerics made up of closeted and not-so-closeted homosexual men who have used our Church as a kind of private club. Over the years, members of this secretive club have managed to work their way up to the highest offices.

They must be purged.

Yes, this will be no easy task. The reality we face is an ugly one, it is heartbreaking, but we must face it both to save our Church and to prevent further victimization of the innocent.

Whereas in society at large the majority of victims of child sex abuse are girls, statistical study has shown that in our Church 81% of the victims are boys. Consider this carefully. 100% of the abusers are male, and 81% of their victims are underage males. Now ask yourself: What kind of men systematically abuse boys and male teens?

Our liberal media does not want you to answer this question, for obvious reasons. They have their agenda, and the flourishing of the Catholic Church is not on it.

Liberals have tried to argue that since pedophilia is not linked to "sexual orientation", thus homosexuality plays “no role” in the clerical abuse in our Church. Their arguments are patent nonsense. For one, though the research literature does show that pedophilia is not easily related to the "sexual orientation" of the abuser, that research says nothing about the abuse of teens. And it is the abuse of pre-teens and teens, and not strictly the abuse of small children, that is the main problem we face in our Church.

This is confirmed by the exhaustive John Jay Report (2004) on clerical sex abuse, which documents a fact that liberals inside and outside the Church have done their best to ignore: the majority of victims listed in that report were not young children (as would be the case with pedophilia) but rather boys in the early or middle years of sexual development--prepubescents and teens. In fact, as the report reveals, only 19% of all victims were female (!) and only 22% were under the age of ten.

So much for the argument that our Church's problem is a "pedophilia" problem.

The conclusion from the John Jay Report is inescapable. Most abuse that occurred through the latter decades of the century was not pedophilia, but what is called ephebophilia--"man-boy love". Unlike pedophilia, moreover, ephebophilia is easily linked to sexual orientation: it is a matter in this case of homosexual men preying on underage boys. [NB: Here I use the more commonly recognized term ephebophilia, though hebephilia is perhaps more accurate given the data. Anyone interested in the distinctions may look them up.]

The depressing truth is that we have in our Church a cabal of sexually active gay priests (many sexually active with each other in defiance of their vows) who have included teens and children in their sexual conquests and who protect each other with a vow of silence and cover-up.

This is un-Catholic. It is pure evil. It is an abuse of our Church and the faithful who make up the Body of Christ.

And no, I am not saying here that all priests who live with same-sex attraction are guilty of this terrible abuse. Many are faithful to their vows of chastity. These latter, like all Catholics who struggle to live in harmony with the teachings of the Church, should be supported. Nor am I saying that all clerics involved in the coverups over the decades have been gay men. Obviously, many of those involved were straight men who simply believed it was better for the Church's image to keep the problem from becoming public.

We know how that turned out.

Some Catholics fear that the publication of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s detailed letter outlining the sway of the Lavender Mafia under Pope Francis will lead to a bitter battle in the Church and may cause grave divisions. Sadly, this battle indeed seems inevitable. But though we deeply regret the coming conflict, many of us acknowledge that the need to protect our Mother Church makes it necessary. We cannot have a cabal of gay clerics on the one hand doing all they can to legitimize their disordered sexuality while on the other continuing a culture of secret sexual relations and abuse. Their lifestyle is hypocritical and intolerable, putting them in permanent rebellion against their vow of chastity. They are dyed-in-the-wool subverters of both the priesthood and Catholic truth.

This particular cabal of clerics, many American, over which Cardinal Theodore McCarrick sat as presiding demon, must be routed. Saddest of all, for many of us, is the recent confirmation from Archbishop Viganò of something many already suspected: our current pope has not only turned a blind eye, but has promoted precisely these men.

During this struggle we must remember: The Lavender Mafia is not the true Church, but a foreign body that has set up shop within the Church, to her great harm.

And really: How much damage needs to be done before Catholics call foul? How many future children and teens need to be “groomed”, how many need to be driven from the faith by the crimes of our own priests?

We have been played for fools too long. These men, simultaneously living off and destroying our Church, must not be allowed to weather a mere temporary storm and return to business as usual. We must begin, bravely and loudly, to insist that the whole of this group be given no quarter.

There are many many good men and women in the Church, most priests are dedicated to God and their calling, and even in the hierarchy there are many, such as Archbishop Viganò himself, who continue to struggle against this entrenched menace. We must stand with them. It is they, and us, who are the Church.

Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison, Wisconsin has been among the few American bishops brave enough to call a spade a spade. He describes the need to acknowledge there is a “gay subculture” in the Church that has caused “devastation”. Bishop Morlino deserves our strong support.

On November 12, 2018 in Baltimore, as I’ve indicated, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops will hold its General Assembly. I am confident that Catholics would like to see a group of American lay people show up to demand 1) a thorough investigation of the evidence offered in Archbishop Viganò's letter, plus 2) immediate resignation of bishops part of McCarrick's circle (Wuerl, Cupich, Tobin).

These are first steps.

If you are a Catholic on Facebook, we welcome you to the new group “Catholics United Against the Lavender Mafia”. This group will allow us to gather information about the developing situation as well as encourage other lay Catholics to link up and brainstorm ideas for addressing this serious threat to our faith.

If you agree that it is time for us saner Catholics to speak out, ask yourself what you can do over the coming weeks and months to serve our Church. Hopefully some of you will get some ideas through the Facebook page; hopefully there will be a strong new movement that proclaims: “We have had enough. Out with the fakes!”

September 1, 2018

Links:

Facebook Page: Catholics United Against the Lavender Mafia

Theodore McCarrick and the Seminarians

Bishop Robert Morlino Speaks Out

Rod Dreher Includes the Full Text of Archbishop Viganò’s Letter (at the end of this article)

Rod Dreher’s Early Assessment of Viganò’s Reliability (NB: Since this article, Viganò’s case has only gotten stronger)

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Wily Paul Wylie: Alphabet Squared



The inimitable Paul Wylie today sent me a scrap of alphabet squared he’d written. Alphabet squared is an Oulipian genre, and though Paul’s version doesn’t accomplish the squared, I think he’s managed a ticklish single run through.

The task in alphabet squared is to write a text in which the first letter of each word corresponds to a letter of the alphabet, the words running in alphabetic succession. And so “Although Bostonians can’t dance, …” might make a serviceable opening phrase for such a tale, the letters running A, B, C, D.

Although Bostonians can’t dance, each Friday Gwen had invited …
etc.

To pull off true alphabet squared, one must go through the alphabet 26 times. I nearly finished one such tale years ago, but tired of it before completion.

Part of the challenge of course is to write something fetching and natural enough that the tale succeeds and the reader doesn’t notice the draconian rule according to which it’s been written.

Wylie sent me the following.

NEWLYWED

And Brian cried.
      ”Dead?"
      ”Exactly."
      ”Fuck. Great.”
      “Here..."
      ”I just killed Laura! My newlywed."
      ”Oh, please.”
      ”Quiet!”
      ”Respectful silence?"
      ”Tomorrow…underground!"
      ”Villainous waste.”
      ”Xavier… Your zipper."

Oulipian challenges are a mug’s game, yes. But this one, alphabet squared—give it a try. It's harder than it looks. Wylie here opts for dialogue, and does it well. My efforts have been making a prose narrative.

E.M.

Update 8/27: Received a second one today. This time I think Wylie did a great job on the opening lines, but I'm responsible for most of the rest. So, a collaboration:

MARK OF CAIN

Abel’s brother Cain disappointed everyone.
      “Feeble guy," historians intoned.
      "Jealously killed livestock."
      “Murderer."
      “Never offered peak quality."
      "Really striking tattoo!"
      "Unusually vindictive. Wanker."
      "Xenophobe. Yammering zealot."

Have some deadpan with your coffee. Check out Idiocy, Ltd. Dryest humor in the west.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Flannery O’Connor’s Christian Realism



That many of Flannery O'Connor's early admirers had no idea they were reading the work of a deeply committed Catholic is little surprise: her stories are mordant and gruesome to a degree incompatible with the image of the "Christian writer”. The Christian writer is imagined to be a pious and blinkered sort, and must be, above all, inoffensive. O'Connor was none of this. Shot through with mania and black humor, often violent, her writing cuts to the bone, and left many early readers wondering how such narratives could also be Catholic. Where were the edifying homilies, the clean cut role models? It was a paradox they were unable to resolve. How could O’Connor’s Catholicism bring her to focus on such things?  

For O'Connor, such readers were taking things backwards. Her fiction, with all its darkness and perversity, was only possible because of what she could see through the eyes of the Church. Her task was to depict the world as seen through Catholic doctrine. That doctrine was emphatically not a matter of putting on rose-colored glasses. O’Connor called it “Christian realism”.

O'Connor's ideas of what she was up to in her brutally realistic stories make for one of the strongest Christian apologies for literature left us by the last century. Though she never wrote a book on this Catholic poetics, her ideas hold together compellingly. But one must look for them spread across her correspondence and in a few brief essays.

Ralph Ellsberg's collection Flannery O'Connor: Spiritual Writings is an excellent place to find some of O'Connor's strongest statements on the art of fiction. It was Ellsberg's wise decision as editor of this compact collection to include not only the writer's musings about the faith per se, but also her arguments on the technique and purpose of writing novels and stories. Spiritual Writings contains key passages from the writer’s letters, essays and stories, as well as one complete story, "Revelation."  There's also a biographical introduction by Richard Giannone. 

Readers wanting a deeper understanding of O'Connor couldn't do better than read the stories alongside the writer's statements on her beliefs and goals. Spiritual Writings is the best short collection available.

Below I offer a few key passages found in the volume, most of them from O'Connor's correspondence.

E.M.  

From Spiritual Writings:  

I am mighty tired of reading reviews that call A Good Man [Is Hard to Find] brutal and sarcastic. The stories are hard but they are hard because there is nothing harder or less sentimental than Christian realism. I believe that there are many rough beasts now slouching toward Bethlehem to be born and that I have reported the progress of a few of them, and when I see these stories described as horror stories I am always amused because the reviewer always has hold of the wrong horror. (1955)  

--.  

To see Christ as God and man is probably no more difficult today than it has always been, even if today there seem to be more reasons to doubt. For you it may be a matter of not being able to accept what you call a suspension of the laws of the flesh and the physical, but for my part I think that when I know what the laws of the flesh and the physical really are, then I will know what God is. (1955)  

--.  

Mystery isn't something that is gradually evaporating. It grows along with knowledge. (1962)  

--.  

The serious writer has always taken the flaw in human nature for his starting point, usually the flaw in an otherwise admirable character. (1963)  

--.  

In the gospels it was the devils who first recognized Christ and the evangelists didn't censor this information. They apparently thought it was pretty good witness. It scandalizes us when we see the same thing in modern dress only because we have this defensive attitude toward the faith. (1963)  

--.  

What kept me a skeptic in college was precisely my Christian faith. It always said: wait, don't bite on this, get a wider picture, continue to read. (1962)  

--.  

The novelist is required to create the illusion of a whole world with believable people in it, and the chief difference between the novelist who is an orthodox Christian and the novelist who is merely a naturalist is that the Christian novelist lives in a larger universe. He believes that the natural world contains the supernatural. And this doesn't mean that his obligation to portray the natural is less; it means it is greater.     

….     

The novelist is required to open his eyes on the world around him and look. If what he sees is not highly edifying, he is still required to look. Then he is required to reproduce, with words, what he sees. Now this is the first point at which the novelist who is a Catholic may feel some friction between what he is supposed to do as a novelist and what he is supposed to do as a Catholic, for what he sees at all times is fallen man perverted by false philosophies. Is he to reproduce this? Or is he to change what he sees and make it, instead of what it is, what in the light of faith he thinks it ought to be? Is he, As Baron von Hügel has said, to "tidy up reality"?     

There is no reason why fixed dogma should fix anything that the writer sees in the world. On the contrary, dogma is an instrument for penetrating reality. … The Catholic fiction writer is entirely free to observe. He feels no call to take on the duties of God or to create a new universe. … For him, to "tidy up reality" is certainly to succumb to the sin of pride. Open and free observation is founded on our ultimate faith that the universe is meaningful, as the Church teaches.    

The fiction writer should be characterized by his kind of vision. His kind of vision is prophetic vision. Prophecy, which is dependent on the imaginative and not the moral faculty, need not be a matter of predicting the future. The prophet is a realist of distances, and it is this kind of realism that goes into great novels. It is the realism which does not hesitate to distort appearances in order to show a hidden truth.     

For the Catholic novelist, the prophetic vision is not simply a matter of his personal imaginative gift; it is also a matter of the Church's gift, which, unlike his own, is safeguarded and deals with greater matters. It is one of the functions of the Church to transmit the prophetic vision that is good for all time, and when the novelist has this as a part of his own vision, he has a powerful extension of sight.     

It is, unfortunately, a means of extension which we constantly abuse by thinking that we can close our own eyes and that the eyes of the Church will do the seeing. They will not. … When the Catholic novelist closes his own eyes and tries to see with the eyes of the Church, the result is another addition to that large body of pious trash for which we have so long been famous. ("Catholic Novelists and Their Readers," 1964)

* * *

Have some deadpan with your coffee. Check out Idiocy, Ltd. Dryest humor in the west.