We took our group today to the Chiemsee, the largest lake in the region, and, via boat, out to the Herreninsel (roughly, “Gentlemen’s Island,” which sits not far from Fraueninsel, “Ladies’ Island”). The most famous feature on the island is King Ludwig II’s Schloss Herrenchiemsee, his Versailles-inspired palace. I’ve passed by the Chiemsee on numerous occasions and even gotten off the freeway to look around. But, although I’ve visited his other castles, for some reason that I can’t now recall I’ve never before visited Herrenchiemsee. Maybe it’s because I’m not particularly a fan of Versailles and certainly no fan of Louis XIV.
Owing to the abbreviation of his life, Ludwig II only stayed in the palace once, for ten days. He had intended to spend two weeks there each year. A whopping two weeks. So the palace seems, umm, rather extravagant, especially considering that Ludwig never married (he was gay) and never entertained (he was quite reclusive) and thought it an unfair imposition on him to request that he perform any governmental duties as king. And what we see today is but a fragment of what the king intended: It was to have two massive wings. One of them was never constructed at all. The other was basically built but never completed and was ultimately torn down, leaving today merely the center portion of the palace.
But I quite enjoyed the visit today. The finished portions of the interior of Herrenchiemsee are breathtaking even when I don’t actually much care for them, its gardens are impressive, the boat ride is very enjoyable in glorious weather (like today’s), and the level twenty-minute walk from boat landing to palace is beautiful. Moreover, the museum dedicated to Ludwig II is fascinating.
In other news:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is often portrayed as profoundly misogynistic. I think that the charge is false and unjust. But would you like to meet a real misogynist? Please consider this fellow, who was born not very far from where I’m writing at the moment:
“Very intelligent men should take themselves a primitive and stupid woman.”
Though Hitler carefully crafted the image of the elegant charmer, dog-lover, and friend of children while on the Obersalzberg, he nonetheless delivered this insult in the presence of ladies (among them his companion Eva Braun) at one of his lengthy evening monologues.
On another occasion, during an evening monologue at the Berghof, he lectured: “The intellect of a woman makes absolutely no difference whatsoever. In comparison with educated, intelligent women, my mother was certainly an insignificant woman, but she has given the German people a great son.”
Hitler considered marriage as unbearable for his “historic mission”; it forced him to squander his powers. “That is the worst thing about marriage: it creates legal rights! Thus it is much more proper to have a lover. The burden is removed. It is fortunate for me that I have not married. That would have become a disaster.”
As his mistress, Eva Braun, confided to her diary, “He only needs me for certain purposes.”
[See Clemens M. Hutter, Hitler’s Obersalzberg: Stage of World History, translated by Ted Hassinger (Berchtesgaden: Berchtesgaden Anzeiger Publishing House, 1997), 32.]
Now, I’ll readily grant that being less misogynistic and exploitative than Adolf Hitler is rather like being the tallest mountain in Kansas. It’s not much of an achievement. But I was struck by the frank and unashamed contempt expressed in his sentiments, and by the fact that what he said is so diametrically opposed to the actual doctrines and attitudes of the Restored Church, despite what some critics assert.
Finally: It scarcely needs to be said that I am a villain without a conscience. After all, this is universally recognized among those who believe me to be a villain without a conscience. And now, yet another aspect of my total and comprehensive villainy has been exposed by the small corps of obsessively dedicated sleuths who daily monitor my manifold crimes, cruelties, and buffooneries. Their investigations reveal that Patheos, the company that provides the platform that hosts this blog, was purchased some time ago by a company that is connected in some not altogether clear way to a company whose leadership includes somebody who works for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Or something like that. Which makes me an employee of the Church. And — here’s where my black-hearted depravity comes in — I have failed to publicly reveal that the Church has been paying me (fairly handsomely, no doubt) to do apologetic blogging here and that, to a considerable extent, the Church dictates what I can and cannot write on my blog. Or something like that.
Now, I realize perfectly well that there’s no actual point in my responding to such claims, since the people who make and love them (see Revelation 22:15), believe that I never speak, put pen to paper, arrange electrons on a computer, or breathe except to lie. For the record, though, I’ll respond:
Whether the Church owns a company that owns a company that owns a company that owns Patheos, or whatever, I don’t know. I don’t know it to be true; I can’t prove it false. I think that somebody once made such a claim somewhere before, but I’d forgotten about it until now. I am vaguely aware that Patheos was once independent but now belongs to some other operation, but I know nothing further about that. The question of who ultimately owns the company that owns Patheos makes and has made no practical difference to me whatsoever. There has been no direction from anybody, before or since, regarding the content of my blog entries. Nobody at Patheos or the Church has ever told me to write on politics or not to write on politics, what position to take on any religious or other topic, or anything else of that sort.
At one point, quite a while ago now, my then-contact at Patheos (a non-LDS professor in Colorado, I think, whose name I don’t recall; we only had contact three or four times) told me that posting entries that were less than four hundred words in length earned them no ad revenue and requested that I post entries of at least that size. (I had been in the habit of posting multiple entries a day, most of them much shorter than four hundred words.) Later, I was told that lengths of a thousand words or more were optimal for their revenue model. I have absolutely no idea whether those communications came before or after the alleged Church takeover of Patheos; in any case, I can see nothing particularly Church-related in either of them.
So, although it’s obviously true that I’m a complete, unprincipled, and cruel villain, this particular matter may not provide particularly compelling evidence of my villainy. It would probably be more effective to collect photographic documentation of my evicting an aged widow from her humble cottage, pushing a small child under a bus, deploying poison gas against poor Third World farmers, or tying a beautiful young maiden to the railroad tracks before an oncoming train. There should be plenty of material.
Posted from Ruhpolding, Upper Bavaria, Germany