Captain Hastings



If you have seen the wonderful Hercule Poirot television series from England you will remember the portrayal of the Belgian sleuth’s sidekick called ‘Hastings’.

What a fine fellow he is! He’s the archetypal English twit. He’s arrogant and bigoted, but isn’t even aware of it. He affects a cheerful bonhomie, he’s always there by Poirot’s side, loyal as the day is long, and thick as marmalade. 
Poor old Hastings always has a riddle to solve, and never quite solves it. He always seems to grab the stick, but gets the wrong end of the stick. Enthusiastic and lovable in a way, he is also annoying and exasperating. You always wonder why Hastings just doesn’t get it. Is he stubborn or just stupid?
Of course smart detectives always need the dull sidekick in order to have someone to explain things to. The Hastings of this world are therefore a useful foil, a necessary nuisance, a positive problem.
So here’s a toast to all the Hastings of this world!

About Fr. Dwight Longenecker
  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12410703712664494697 Thursday

    you’re about as subtle as a Sherman tank! but that’s ok that’s why I love reading this blog. I suppose that would have to make you Hercule Poirot right? That doesn’t sit well, I’ve always seen you as more of a Columbo type. You present the evidence and let the suspect convict himself.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05765959701992923298 Jeffrey Smith

    I’ll stick with Miss Marple.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12373317560249811006 Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    Actually, Lootenant Columbo is my favorite TV detective.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00447929797019147894 james hastings

    Dwight,Heh-heh!Love it – but I’m Scottish, not English and I would NEVER be seen out in such ill-fitting hats. Please!So, let me challenge you once more, to please supply an answer or explanation to your nasty attack on the Roman Catholic Bishops of England and Wales, an attack worthy of a Bob Jones University graduate.You write England has so few priests because: “One of the reasons is that certain liberal bishops actually discourage vocations.”You add:“I can name the bishops, for instance, who refuse to ordain any former Anglican priests, both married and celibate.”You go on:“Furthermore, (and I have this straight from the horses’ mouth) they have an open agenda to discourage vocations to the priesthood.”You finish: “The Catholic Church in England is far too moribund, unimaginative and incompetent to manage such an innovation.”Now, Dwight, every time I’ve posed a question on your blog, you have ALWAYS rushed to reply. Why so shy now?Is it because you wrote in anger and are now embarrassed? Is it because you can’t justify your statements and are trying to deflect them with poor humour? Is it because I am told you presented yourself for ordination in England but were refused? Bitter? Surely not you, Dwight. I’m all for jokes. Your vindictive attack on the English Catholic Bishops implies you believe they are a joke. So, let the whole of blogland read this challenge from me to you:“Which bishops? Name them.”I’ll take my well-fitted hat off to you.Yours in waitingJames

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12373317560249811006 Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    Dear James, naming the people to whom I was referring will not do any good, and is likely to do harm.If you are as knowledgeable about the Catholic Church in England and Wales as you claim, you will know who they are anyway.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00047406888409874960 Victoria

    I have read all of Agatha Christie’s novels and I don’t remember Hastings being arrogant and bigoted. Not the brightest bulb on the tree I grant you but generally nice I thought. Could you give some examples of his more oafish side?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00447929797019147894 james hastings

    Dwight,I feel somewhat soiled by this whole episode.Sometimes, I get angry with leaders in my own denomination and with those in others, but I try to curb my language, although I admit I often fail.Scripture warns us in many places that the tongue has the power to kill as well as heal.I wonder why you as a Catholic can speak so ill of your Catholic brothers in England, labelling them “moribund, unimaginative and incompetent” as well as accusing them of some sort of secret anti-ordination programme so the Catholic church in the UK flounders. Do you sincerely believe that? I pity you if you do.Then you insert a post entitled faith doesn’t heal, almost rejoicing in saying faith is nothing, when many, many Catholic friends of mine are healed by faith, as Jesus often told people: “Your faith has healed you.”Again, you’ve picked out an extreme sect as if they are a model for Christians to follow. That would be like me pointing to paedophile priests and claiming the whole Catholic priesthood is rotten. That is not the case. I know many Catholic priests who give their life in service to the Gospel in a beautiful way.Ugh! Your whole attitude strikes me as someone who has moved from true Roman Catholicism which I admire, to the setting up of your own little sect within that great denomination, sniping at your fellow Catholics and poitning to extreme religious sects as somehow being Christian.Yet you admire Protestants like C. S. Lewis and there are others like Billy Graham who are true sons of God, just as Pope John Paul II was.I wish you well on your trip to El Salvador.God blessJames

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10372364893458254021 bernadette

    James – you partake in your fair share of mud-slinging as well. That should qualify you to accept some of it in return. You are not the only one with deeply held beliefs.The quite disgraceful things you have said about Catholics on this blog and your own are not only distasteful, but they are sinful. You have 2 personas – the “I write for the Catholic papers, therefore I must be OK really” face and the “I`m going to stick the knife in. I`m entitled to. I was brought up Catholic after all.” face.Neither are particularly pretty, and here`s a thought before you fire off yet another defensive and yes, dishonest response: a lot of us have been “soiled” by YOUR violence against US. If anyone has done more to put Catholics off the Charismatic Renewal and Healing ministries, it`s you buddy. You have caused a great deal of hurt. And you could start by saying “I`m sorry” instead of “I`m right”.Fr Dwight has been patient enough. I’ve never been very patient.Fire Away.Ready.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12520325224585096747 Éstiel

    Good characterization, Father. A kind of Michael Wilding face with a Bertie Wooster mind. Yeah.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12520325224585096747 Éstiel

    Oh–and note to Bernadette re her reply to James:Hear, hear!To James:The Holy Roman Catholic Church has some false shepherds. We know them by their voice. His real sheep do not have to depend on something so trivial as “good manners.” He knew we’d have such hirelings; that’s why he gave discernment to those who love Truth above all else. That’s what makes us His real sheep, and that’s how we know a real shepherd when we hear one. Sorry you’re not among the flock. If you “feel soiled,” perhaps it’s because your own hands have been handling mud. Look up “projection” as a psychological phenomenon common among those who can only see mirrors.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00447929797019147894 james hastings

    A house divided cannot stand. Dwight (and I presume you his cult following)label English Roman Catholics, including bishops to whom canon law demands you treat with respect, as “moribund, unimaginative and incompetent.”Dwight also accuses them of some sort of secret anti-ordination programme so the Catholic church in the UK will flounder.Amazing! Now it not just me you consider outside the one true Catholic church – its the English Catholic bishops as well! Hilarious!I pray you all find some sort of warped spiritual comfort from your little brand of cult catholicism.The Tennessee snake charmers to whom Dwight so fondly refers, are closer to Rome and Pope Benedict than any of you.May your god (whoever she is) be with you.James

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01379244511897838006 Marcus Aurelius

    Estiel,I think that commenters already responded to Fr. L’s post ‘Last one out turn out the lights’ or whatever it was with some challenges regarding the orthodoxy of the catholic bishops in a nation 90M+ people. Fr. L clarified that he had a bad experience with a small subset of Bishops and conceded that point if I understood him correctly. I thought it was abundantly clear from the post that Fr. L, correct me if I am wrong, was venting frustration in large part, and dismay at recent events in the UK with gay ordinations and what not.This James fellow seems to have a strong need to interrogate Fr. L for the names of the Bishops and so forth as if the venting piece was some sort of formal accusation of heresy or something, which is not how I perceived it.In any event, Fr. L’s current post is clearly about a detective story and a character that happens to be named Hastings. I would like to point out that Chief Superintendent Detective Foyle, and his hottie assistant, by far and without contrast, represent the greatest detective series of the modern era. Anyone who disagrees with me on this has poor taste in fiction, acting, cinema, and well-dressed women. Or if the cinematic heretic happens to be female, my wife informs me that the dashing young pilots in Foyle’s War are nothing to sneeze at either.At the end of the analysis, anyone who doesn’t realize Foyle’s War is the greatest detective series ever written needs to be beaten gently with a heavy object.By the way, CDS does not require an idiot character to make him look smarter.Also, CDS Foyle sometimes has to wrestle with phony and corrupt blockheads in his ruling magisterium, but at the end of the day is always loyal and faithful to the home office.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12520325224585096747 Éstiel

    Golly. People who talk on these things really do have issues of their own, don’t they? Makes it hard to deal simply with the one issue posted–which is often very interesting. But all things, including blog sites, have their ultimate purpose, which he alone knows. He takes all things and turns them to good–seldom in our time, lest we commit the sin of vanity in achieving some perceived “self-vindication,” but in eternity, the only place it really matters. It seems (and I could be wrong–I often am) that our biggest problem nowadays is not hate, as in the past, but rather “hatefulness.” The two things are different. You might have to be a southerner to know that difference–maybe not–but the difference is a big one. I enjoyed your posts, Father. I’ll drop in sometime–and try to resist the temptation of reading the comments, or contributing my own! There is a place in Heaven specially reserved for those who walk onto a stage, naked, into a spotlight. (“Constantly Risking Absurdity,” by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, lovely poem.) The audience remains in the dark, safely anonymous. That used to be where hatefulness lived, but now it seems to be rearing its head in places we never thought to see it, very public places like supreme courts, “human rights commissions”, and the like. And, I guess, on mere blog sites.You are very brave, Father.Vaya con Dios.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01379244511897838006 Marcus Aurelius

    Hi Estiel,I hope my post did not offend you. It was supposed to be funny, at least for any Foyle’s War fans out there.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10372364893458254021 bernadette

    Wow. I didn`t expect Hastings to over-play his hand quite so soon. I enjoy flushing them out.(Impatience.)But somehow I expected more of a fight.Bye James.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00447929797019147894 james hastings

    Bernadette,Eh?James


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