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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Still alive

The masses seem to be getting impatient. Or at least two of them. Bless your 'earts, guv'nors.

So, greetings to the world from the fine city of Curmudge (from OE 'Grumpabrica'). We thank our well-wishers, and can report a generally satisfactory move. We are substantially unpacked, though the process does seem inevitably subject to the law stating that the final 10% of boxes will create 90% of the headaches.

Contact with the blogosphere has been re-established. In setting up our broadband access I suffered the mortification of realizing only several minutes into my call to the tech support wallah that I had conjured up the scary error message merely by dropping a digit when I entered my PIN. Grumpy the idiot user - oh, the shame of it! Well, such humbling experiences make for a good Lenten discipline; plus, who says us blokes no longer have a role in the home?

Anyway, back to the serious stuff. Thing is, I haven't really been able to concentrate on the news properly, so am still a little hazy about what's been going on. I did pick up on a story about my Spiritual Leader saying it's no good expecting our local Sicilians to have that warm included feeling if we don't give proper legal recognition to the cultural traditions embodied in Omertà. Or something to that effect.

Some people seem to have got their knickers in a twist over this, but they must be the ones who weren't paying attention when he was speaking. Otherwise they'd know that he was only talking about family conflict resolution and the like, all strictly subject to universally accepted human rights and nothing whatsoever to do with concrete overcoats, Gats in violin cases, etc etc. Honestly, these journalists, eh? And don't get me started on bloggers...

I'm reminded of an anecdote about the eminent Victorian theologian James Martineau. A leading light in his congregation was asked if she had understood his latest sermon. 'I would not presume to understand Dr Martineau' was her poker-faced reply. Truly, an example to today's scribblers.*

Coincidentally, I had the opportunity to experience the S. L. at a live gig last night. He delivered a lecture which resolutely avoided the topic of Omertà, but inevitably it came up when questions were invited from the audience. When it did, he basically offered a repeat of what he said in his address to Synod last week. Superficially, the stance is wryly apologetic, but the substance is a non-apology: sorry for being so clever, I should have realized that I needed to say it in words of one syllable for the benefit of those dreadful oiks in the media. And since Curmudge is of course a place where the entire pecking order is founded on perceived cleverness, he got a handsome round of applause for this. I couldn't help finding him likable on a personal level; there is a real air of holiness, and when he sticks to theology there are nuggets of genuine wisdom buried among the woolly verbiage. But I'm afraid that non-apology again betrayed the touch of intellectual arrogance complained of here.

OK, the Sun gave us the inevitable 'Bash the Bishop' headline over a picture of the S. L. next to one of a woman in a burqa. That's an easy target. But some of us have read the speech, have managed to unscramble what he's getting at, and think it's dangerous nonsense. To use an expression of which the S. L. is fond, we would like him to engage with us.

*Martineau's prose can be sampled in, of all places, one of the Jeeves stories. In fact it's the one where the demigod first makes his appearance, 'Jeeves Takes Charge' from 'Carry On, Jeeves'. 'Types of Ethical Theory', the indigestible tome foisted on Bertie Wooster by his terrifyingly brainy fiancee Lady Florence Craye, is one of Martineau's efforts. 'Quite unsuitable', thinks Jeeves, and the only thing to be said in its favour is that the prospect of being started on the 'fundamentally unsound' Nietzsche is even worse.


Anonymous said...

Welcome back to the world of the virtually living.

Paul M.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Yes, good to see you back with this superb post. The trauma of moving your household (Russians have a saying that three fires are preferable to one moving) seems to be wearing off.

Re Bertie Wooster, who always have been my golden standard when measuring up against the more boring volumes: using him as a judge could become addictive, I feel it more and more with age...