Cool, They All Melted!
I can’t resist adding another example – because it seems to me to be so grotesque. It’s from a column by Nicholas Kristof, whom Brian Leiter calls ‘one of the leading “no ideas and the ability to express them” columnists at the New York Times.’ (How convenient to happen on that description just after I read the Kristof column. Doncha just love it when things fall into your lap like that? Serendipity?) The column is a brief look at one of the Rapture books, a phenomenon I’ve talked about here more than once. It starts with a pretty passage:
Jesus merely raised one hand a few inches and a yawning chasm opened in the earth, stretching far and wide enough to swallow all of them. They tumbled in, howling and screeching, but their wailing was soon quashed and all was silent when the earth closed itself again.
Then there’s a bit more:
In Glorious Appearing, Jesus merely speaks and the bodies of the enemy are ripped open. Christians have to drive carefully to avoid “hitting splayed and filleted bodies of men and women and horses. The riders not thrown,” the novel says, “leaped from their horses and tried to control them with the reins, but even as they struggled, their own flesh dissolved, their eyes melted and their tongues disintegrated. Seconds later the same plague afflicted the horses, their flesh and eyes and tongues melting away, leaving grotesque skeletons standing, before they too rattled to the pavement.”
Nice, right? The kind of thing one feels really pleased to know that other people are reading and enjoying. Yes indeed. Kristof is critical, to be sure, but…note what he also says:
I had reservations about writing this column because I don’t want to mock anyone’s religious beliefs, and millions of Americans think Glorious Appearing describes God’s will.
Pardon me for a moment while I let fly with a stream of oaths. I mean, really! This is where this kind of thinking gets you. Millions of people think that kind of shit is God’s will – and we don’t want to mock them, or alternatively point out that it’s completely disgusting to believe and relish that? I hasten to point out that he does come down on the right side immediately after saying that – ‘Yet ultimately I think it’s a mistake to treat religion as a taboo, either in this country or in Saudi Arabia.’ – but why say it at all? Maybe the Times told him to say it – in which case my oaths are directed at the paper, not the individual. I don’t care which it is; the point is the deed, the thought and the expression of it, not who did it. Millions of people think the Rapture books describe God’s will. So what? So what, so what, so what? If they think that, and enjoy the thought, there is something hideously wrong with them, and no one should have a fraction of a second’s inhibition about saying so as loudly as possible.
You know what? I really hate knowing that millions of my fellow Americans read and enjoy that stuff. The god-bothering is bad enough, but then when the god-bothering combines with that kind of slavering lust for other people’s torture and instant elimination – it’s beyond a joke. It’s al Qaeda-ish, and it’s disgusting.
It’s odd, the Rapture series is one of the very first things I wrote about for N&C. Because there happened to be an interview with one of the ‘authors’ on ‘Fresh Air,’ so I commented on it.
And speaking of comments, I am going to do the Ten Books list. I haven’t forgotten. Things have been busy.