Cellar door

Cellar door July 2, 2012

Seventeen years of tireless labor by a mind blessed with a profound understanding of human vanity, with unparalleled gifts of sensory perception and the figuration thereof, and with one of the greatest prose styles in the English language produced a work that all too often, and for long stretches, can remind the reader (when not recalling Yertle the Turtle) of the Spike-Milligan- meets-Edward-Lear prose tossed off by the Writing Beatle in five minutes between tokes and takes of ‘Norwegian Wood.'”

“What is it about Bruce Springsteen that causes conservatives to so spectacularly miss the point?

“He’s been called the father of nonviolent struggle. He could be also described as a revolutionary’s best friend. Or perhaps, more accurately, as a dictatorship’s worst nightmare.”

“If you are a straight Christian who believes that you are doing God’s work by continuing to condemn same-sex relationships, please read these letters.”

“Birth control, marriage, divorce, married priests, female priests, same-sex marriage — it’s all sex, sex, sex. They’re sex maniacs.”

“My hope is that when those confused old shepherds have passed away, a new generation of Catholic priests, bishops, cardinals, and popes will include openly gay, straight, single and married men and women — people who will not be interested in sticking their noses in Catholic bedrooms but will instead be focused on amplifying the unconditional love of Jesus.”

Why do you deny the people cleaning your buildings a living wage?

“Republicans in North Carolina’s Senate do not consider forced sterilization by the state a great crime against personal freedom and liberty.”

The loving Christian values of the “Teavangelicals.”

He is as rotten a human being as can be found anywhere under the flag; he is a shame to the American nation, and no one has helped to send him to the Senate who did not know that his proper place was the penitentiary, with a ball and chain on his legs.”

What happens to a body exposed to outer space?

“Jesus, we know, was a darn good debater and wins every exchange recounted in the gospels. Except one. Jesus loses once.”

On her best day, she can lift more than 568 pounds — that’s roughly five IKEA couches, 65 gallons of milk, or one large adult male lion.”

“This is our story. We get to decide what to take from it.”

What it costs to keep Lord Ray looking like Jesus” (via Bilgrimage)

“Closet cases terrified of being exposed. A hall of shame

This Is Climate Change

(“This famous linguist once said that of all the phrases in the English language, of all the endless combinations of words in all of history, that Cellar Door is the most beautiful.”)


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  • Ethics Gradient

    Famous linguist and author:
    “Most English-speaking people … will admit that cellar door is ‘beautiful,’ especially if dissociated from its sense (and from its spelling). More beautiful than, say, sky, and far more beautiful than beautiful…Well then, in Welsh, for me cellar doors
    are extraordinarily frequent, and moving to the higher dimension, the
    words in which there is pleasure in the contemplation of the association
    of form and sense are abundant.”

  • No, Bobo, I can’t imagine why the young Spaniards would sing along to a song about being betrayed and left to scrape by on nothing by your government. Certainly would have nothing to do with the FIFTY PERCENT YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IN SPAIN OR ANYTHING.

    At least “Did it occur to them at that moment that, in fact, they were not born in the U.S.A.?” can be turned into a fun little game, I suppose.

    “Did it occur to them at that moment that, in fact, the only card they needed was not the Ace of Spades?”

    ….love is not all you need?

    …they were not a wall, wonder or otherwise?

    …they were not in a tube station, nor indeed, was it midnight?

  • Tricksterson

    Except he doesn’t look like Jesus, he looks like an elderly Transvestite.

  • Jessica_R

    I love that the idea that European young people are cosmopolitan and multilingual and curious enough to know about American artists and sing along in English is somehow a bad thing? Really? We should be so lucky here. 

  • Lori

    I was thinking “batty aunt”.

  • Lori

    There are plenty of lily-white American from birth kids in California who know a lot about Spanish-language music*. I suspect the same is true in a lot of other places. The US is still not as open to music from other places as other places are to US music, but I think that’s changing.

    *Personally I have more of a fondness for Rai.

  • Donalbain

     Speaking a foreign language is a BAD THING. Remember?

  • Robyrt

    If Jesus putting someone off, hearing their reply, and rewarding them for their answer is “losing a debate”, that happens way more than once. That’s an extremely generous reading, though, which smacks of self-congratulation. We’ve talked about this passage before and it is definitely not as easy as it looks.

  • friendly reader

    That’s sort of the article’s point

    My friend and minister back in Kansas has shoes in the colors of the liturgical calendar to match her stoles, but I think cheap colored shoes you get at Payless or Famous Footwear wouldn’t quite add up to that bill. You can be liturgical/sacramental/traditional without spending an average person’s annual income on your wardrobe.

  • Anonymous

    That guy with the bodies-in-space pictures is a really good artist, and is one of the better I’ve seen of the subset of ‘pinup-style illustrations of people dying in agony.’

  • Tricksterson

    I think what we can all afree on is what he  doesn’t look like and that’s someone who’s taken a vow of poverty.

  • Vermic

    It almost goes without saying, but they played “Born in the U.S.A.” at our local fireworks display again.  I’m sure mine isn’t the only town where this happens, every single year.  What’s next on the playlist, “Fortunate Son”?