Always the Last to Know

Don’t I feel stupid. Sometimes I miss comments here. I don’t have one of them there RSS things, so no little bell goes off, no stoat leaps out of a hole in the corner of the screen, no spark ignites a small charge of powder to explode the ‘k’ key and get my attention. In short, nothing alerts me that a new comment has been posted, and so…if some days have passed…and I’ve forgotten what number they were on…then I overlook them. I feel guilty sometimes, as if I’ve been snubbing people, or ignoring them when they say something interesting. And I miss good stuff, too. I should get one of them there RSS things, I suppose. But I’ve been busy, and…

Anyway, I missed two valuable ones on a post last month. First of all – Brett – The Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes. There. I mentioned it. Never mind feeling guilty – just read it! Actually – here’s a helpful thing. Just start it. The bulk of it is illustrative – and it’s great stuff, and you should certainly read it if you have time, but it’s illustrative of the basic point. In other words you shouldn’t miss the first part because you don’t have time to read the whole book. I hope Jonathan Rose wouldn’t mind my saying that. It’s not that it’s not all worth reading, but that if you have time only for part, you should read part!

Second item – hardindr (you don’t mind if I call you hardindr do you?) – thanks for telling me Bérubé had struck back! Too bad it took me two weeks to notice, but I got there in the end. And laughed a lot when I did. Inexplicably, he didn’t seize the opportunity to say what a self-satisfied preening buffoon I am (probably figured it was too obvious to need saying). Anyway apparently my recommendation to refrain from reading his blog caused such a stampede of eager readers that his server immediately collapsed in a smoking pile of htmls. Well great. Am I humiliated or what. I tell people not to read a blog so what do they do they all rush off to read it. There’s authority for you! Fine. Fine. Don’t listen to me. I don’t care. Hey, go spend all your time reading Keith Burgess-Jackson, it’s no skin off my nose.

No but seriously, to be fair, Chris Martin had a point: Bérubé does have a terrific style. The rattlesnake line is hilarious. So don’t listen to me. (I seriously don’t recommend K B-J though. Just look back at that ‘dispute’ he had with Richard at Philosophy Etcetera if you wonder why.) Bérubé is funny, and he spends energy rassling with Horowitz.

What’s especially curious about this most recent spike in readership is that it comes just after Butterflies and Wheels did not recommend this blog…When I read that, my heart just sank. Butterflies and Wheels does not recommend my blog – and it was personal, not business! Readers, you know perfectly well there’s no way for me to keep the style and bag the preening. So I figured I might as well fold my little blog-tent and go home. I mean, sure, this humble blog has been, from time to time, smugly self-satisfied and absurdly self-aggrandizing, but self-infatuated? Ouch! Surely my days were numbered. Imagine my surprise, then, to be hit not only with Ms. Benson’s stern disapproval (which hurts quite enough on its own), but with a series of overage charges to boot. April is indeed the cruellest—and the busiest—month.

Mock mock mock, as Margo Ledbetter liked to say. Some people like to aggrandize themselves, other people like to dispense stern disapproval, especially if they then get to have little girls’ beloved tiny dogs killed. I am proud to say I am one of the latter. We are what we are.

But a comment I did not miss came in today and alerted us (thank you, Stewart) to this gorgeous item at the Onion.

“Unlike Scientology, which is based on empirically verifiable scientific tenets, Fictionology’s central principles are essentially fairy tales with no connection to reality,” the AIR report read. “In short, Fictionology offers its followers a mythical belief system free from the cumbersome scientific method to which Scientology is hidebound”…Fictionology’s central belief, that any imaginary construct can be incorporated into the church’s ever-growing set of official doctrines, continues to gain popularity. Believers in Santa Claus, his elves, or the Tooth Fairy are permitted—even encouraged—to view them as deities. Even corporate mascots like the Kool-Aid Man are valid objects of Fictionological worship.

Exactly what I’ve been waiting for all this time. Now I can pray to the Pillsbury Dough Boy and Kramer and the Mercedes hood ornament. Bliss.

“Scientology is rooted in strict scientific principles, such as the measurement of engrams in the brain by the E-Meter,” Kurz said. “Scientology uses strictly scientific methodologies to undo the damage done 75 million years ago by the Galactic Confederation’s evil warlord Xenu—we offer our preclear followers procedures to erase overts in the reactive mind. Conversely, Fictionology is essentially just a bunch of make-believe nonsense.”

Remember a couple of months ago when some Vatican honcho (no, not Ratzinger, some other honcho) pitched a fit about people believing all the silly nonsense that’s in The DaVinci Code? Dang, that was funny. I bet that’s what gave the Onion the idea. Way to go, Oniers.

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