Hiatus III — Philippics

My mode in these sporadic texts may seem opinionated, but it is the opposite: perverse. Give me an opinion, and I will disagree with it, because opinions are execrable. Every opinion is a little gravestone of the mind. How could we not rise against it? Thus sister has turned against brother; been turned — abused by history. How could it have come to this? We are consumed by froth, like the mermaid. Either take your side, and join the mêlée, or refuse, and leave the field to the barbarians.

We are all barbarians now. But this cannot be allowed to stand. We have it in us to do better.

What I would like to do is find a way to comment about these things without taking the “other” side, since to do so is no better. Jesus reportedly said, He that is not with me is against me (Matt. 12:30). In other words: join my cause, or get lost. Just a few years ago, bien-pensant liberals used to read the Guardian, and believe they were on the same side, within that broad church. Now we castigate one another for castigating one another with insufficient enthusiasm, over toilets, statues, or Hollywood transgressions. But that’s such a “culture wars” thing to say, isn’t it?

I refuse the choice between being an old fogey, and a righteous tribune. The only way between Scylla and Charybdis is to take refuge in the past, which is still all our birthright: that foreign country. That means reading between the lines.

1 comment
  1. To put it another way — more soberly — most of these posts display a whimsical dalliance with everything that is past, forgotten, recondite, emphatically not common currency. There is nothing wrong with that, though it will win me few readers. But the whimsy is only a display. This is the only way I have found to engage with the lamentable present, while refusing its terms of engagement. In saying even so much, I am “breaking the fourth wall”. Style is substance (“Le style, c’est l’homme même”). It is not there to sweeten the pill, which is designedly bitter.

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