Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Pop Goes Your Heart!

So it's a slow news day. Things are filtering in slowly and I can't bear to wade through all the 'highly available' opinion which is mostly stilted so I'm pouring myself a nice glass of sloe gin (it's now ready!) and watching this cartoon. It's the sort of cartoon I always looked forward to when I was a child.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

No you haven't missed the video. It's right below

Badger, Badger, Badger

In a slightly less jerky format

Monday, February 12, 2007

Kate heads out...

I've never worked in the American Church (other than a summer internship in Ketchikan, Alaska when I was in seminary) but I am filled with a tremendous admiration for +KJS not having lost the plot in the midst of all this bother. I'd have checked myself in for a 'little rest' long ago. Her comments and her approach to this conflict have, so far, been open and gracious.

It's where the rubber hits the road, isn't it - being in the midst of people who dislike and mistrust you - making your case surrounded by a host of opponents? There are many quick roads to resolution - one of which is to simply state the case aggressively and let the 'opposition' hang - another, to withdraw at a moment of your own choosing. But Christians - more than mere nationals - are citizens of something greater and Americans should not be immune to sobering lessons in international citizenship - even good Progressives.

It's not enough to present a faultless position and to leave such a meeting with one's Talent intact.

Part of me hopes very much that stasis is not preserved in Tanzania. But cutting the lines which connect one to the rest of the world and retreating to the 'known' has always been one of the arrows in the quiver of our American chums in centuries past and it doesn't work in the long run. The world is not built that way any more. There are no islands. The theologian Langdon Gilkey, writing about his experiences while interned by the Japanese in China where he'd been a schoolteacher at the outbreak of the war, writes in a journal article:

Since life's moral structure is continually distorted, more than intelligence and good intentions are needed, though modern idealistic culture does not believe this. In order to counter the conflict, disorder and violence that result from our imperfect responses to the circumstances in which we find ourselves, new and deeper commitments are necessary, hope even amid hopelessness is needed, and above all again, courage. Courage is the basis not only of the conquest of anxiety and fear, but also the ground of any reflective repentance, self-criticism, and reconciling gestures to those who threaten us. Justice and self-control may be as necessary as reason for creative community; but trust, humility and the capacity for love - what has frequently been called faith - are also needed.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

It's that fear thing again!

The latest round in the great British 'get scared until we feel alive' game is the announcement today in The Times that doctors will require police or military protection when they walk around deciding who gets to live and who will be left to die once the Great Epidemic takes place - all this due to some dead turkeys south of the border in England. That the virus which will kill us hasn't even evolved yet is apparently just a detail. It's been a slow week for global warming. The latest roundup of muslim terrorists is a week old and starting to go green around the edges like something left in the fridge for too long. The second article in the Times this morning went one step farther. Doctors, it appears, will need their own guns. Will it be this bad? Of course it will. The British public clearly has no control. The people who survived the Blitz and the IRA and Margaret Thatcher were another race of men who bear no resemblance to the weaker and less worthy crowd which presently inhabits our island and can be depended on to murder any doctor who makes hard decisions.

When I was ten or eleven there was an American serial horror show on television called Dark Shadows. My sister and I weren't allowed to watch it because our youngest sister Ruth would have wanted to watch it as well and she was far too young. The show was genuinely scary and therefore far too good to miss so we simply invented homework parties at the homes of a couple of feral children we knew whose parents wouldn't take any notice. Feral friends are, of course, the salvation of bored suburban youngsters but that's the subject of another post.

So when Barnabas Collins was about to bite the neck of one of his victims or when Quentin Collins had finally been turned into a zombie and appeared from behind the door we children were able to feel something queer and primitive rising up in us. Something akin to what our ancestors would have felt in the presence of a genuine opponent or a wild animal. Fear is a thrill and we are short on bona fide thrills these days. With more money to spend than we've had before and with life expectancy rising we would need a frisson or two. The only thing falling as quickly as the genuine crime rate is the percentage of people who vote. You see, we're not passionate about very much and therein, I think, is the problem.

A problem which the media (like a helpful call-girl with nimble fingers) has identified and will be pleased to help us with.

Also: We could all fall into the sea!