‘We come in last in the human race’

‘We come in last in the human race’ December 2, 2021

• “Two years later, the couple would appear in Casablanca, a film about refugees seeking letters of transit to Portugal; he played the croupier Emil and she the young Yvonne, who famously sang ‘La Marseillaise’ while tears ran down her face.”

Chanan Tigay’s Smithsonian article, “The Untold Story of the Portuguese Diplomat Who Saved Thousands From the Nazis,” is a long read. It’s also beautiful, beautifully told, and full of unexpected details like the one above.

• In that story, Aristides de Sousa Mendes behaves heroically. He did the right thing when few others around him did. And so he did not live happily ever after.

This reminds me of an earlier story from history recently shared by John Fea:

In 1695, Thomas Maule, a member of the Society of Friends in Salem, wrote a tract denouncing his Puritan neighbors for their un-Christians behavior during the witchcraft frenzy. In Truth Held Forth and Maintained, Maule declares: “For it were best that one hundred witches should live, than that one person be put to death for a Witch, which is not a witch.” Maule’s words were a stinging and prophetic critique of the Salem witch trials; they also landed him in jail for twelve months.

“If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs” they may never forgive you for it. That goes double if you can keep your heart.

• So what do you do if anti-vax MAGA nutjobs try to sabotage your business by writing one-star reviews online? You print those reviews on T-shirts and sell them at your restaurant.

• It would be a Very Bad Thing if this headline were true: “Most White Evangelicals Still Believe the 2020 Election Was Stolen.”

Alas, the truth is even worse than that. It’s not that “60% of white evangelicals believe the Big Lie,” but that 60% of white evangelicals are so thoroughly immersed in bad-faith duplicity that they will pretend to believe whatever it is that they think their allegiance to white nationalism requires them to pretend to believe, regardless of what they know to be true.

They do not “believe the 2020 election was stolen” because they do not believe in anything. They are no longer capable of belief.

• Here’s the first piece from Jacob Alan Cook in the series we looked at recently, “What if your ‘Christian worldview’ is based on some sinful ideas?

We can put that essay in the same file as these posts from 2008, 2013, and two months ago:

I’d also add this: It’s theoretically possible that someone might, someday, argue that their perspective merely represents a “Christian worldview” without a hint of sanctimoniously pompous condescension. But this theoretical possibility has not yet been proven to exist in any real-world example.

• MAGA-QAnon Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert is refusing to apologize for her use of hateful Islamophobic slurs and her nasty attacks on the legitimacy of non-right-wing-white-Christian members of Congress.

“They want public humiliation,” Boebert says, “and that is not going to happen.”

Boebert, like everyone else complaining about “cancel culture,” fails to see that her public humiliation is what’s already happening. She is — repeatedly and perpetually — humiliating herself. The only way to end this public humiliation is to offer an apology and stop saying the nasty things that are the cause of her self-induced humiliation.

Complaints about “cancel culture” almost always reflect this same obtuse failure to connect shameful behavior with shame. “I refuse to be canceled” is just another way of proclaiming “I am shameless.” No one pointing out Boebert’s shameful behavior disputes that. Of course she’s shameless — that’s just a restatement of the problem.

The word “disgrace” is helpful here in part because when it is employed as a verb it is almost exclusively understood as self-inflicted. That cuts through the confusion addling “cancel culture” critics like Boebert. No one else is “disgracing” you. You’re doing this to yourself. And you’re free to stop disgracing yourself at any time. But that’s entirely up to you, yourself, wholly apart from what any alleged “mob” of others has to say about anything.

• The title of this post comes from the Cramps’ “Twist and Shout,” which is the second-to-last song in the band’s frenetic 20-minute set in the video below.

The reign of God is like unto a free psychobilly concert at a state mental hospital.

Punch up; reach down. Find whoever it is that is being told they don’t matter and show them that they matter.

 

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