I'm headed to God's country for a couple of days (i.e., the land of my birth, New Jersey) and won't be near a computer during this time in paradise.
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From McSweeney's: The Bible You Sold Me Is Clearly Defective and I'd Like to Return It, Please."
This has got to be a bad translation because the Book of Revelation, instead of very clearly explaining the end times, the Rapture, and the final war with the Antichrist, doesn't make a damn bit of sense. It's full of a bunch of obscure symbols that are so open to interpretation, they could be applied to anything.
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Big thumbs up for the new SciFi series Eureka. Both Max Headroom and the Brother from Another Planet seem to be having a great deal of fun. Blogosphere connection: I haven't yet seen his name in the credits, but I believe that John Rogers of Kung Fu Monkey is part of the show's stable of writers.
(N.B.: Eureka appears to be using the high school gymnasium from John Tucker Must Die — or at least they seem to have an identical "Kodiaks" mascot stenciled on the gym floor. Odd.)
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Another snippet from George Orwell's "Charles Dickens":
Roughly speaking, [Dickens'] morality is the Christian morality. … Where he is Christian is in his quasi-instinctive siding with the oppressed against the oppressors. As a matter of course he is on the side of the underdog, always and everywhere. To carry this to its logical conclusion one has got to change sides when the underdog becomes an upperdog, and in fact Dickens does tend to do so. He loathes the Catholic Church, for instance, but as soon as the Catholics are persecuted (Barnaby Rudge) he is on their side. He loathes the aristocratic class even more, but as soon as they are really overthrown (the revolutionary chapters in A Tale of Two Cities) his sympathies swing round. Whenever he departs from this emotional attitude he goes astray. A well-known example is at the ending of David Copperfield, in which everyone who reads it feels that something has gone wrong. What is wrong is that the closing chapters are pervaded, faintly but not noticeably, by the cult of success. It is the gospel according to Smiles, instead of the gospel according to Dickens.
Orwell's summary of what constitutes "Christian morality" is intriguing. He was not, himself, a Christian, yet what he writes here about Dickens was also true for him, so make of that what you will.
As literary criticism, this strikes me as dead on. Dickens does seem, on occasion, to "go astray," and here I think Orwell identifies precisely why.
But set aside Dickens and apply this instead to the public religious discourse here in America, of which it could also be said that "Everyone who reads it feels that something has gone wrong."
What is wrong is that it is pervaded, not faintly but overwhelmingly, by the cult of success. It sides with the upperdogs and goes astray.