Tuesday, November 25, 2008

She did what????

Some like horror films. I do not but some do. These are unlike more positive films such as adventures and comedies where we envy the heroism or the wit of the characters. A horror film has much of its pleasure tied up in the fact that it is "Not You" going through this. There is a comfort in knowing that at any moment, when the terror becomes to much, you can get up to go to the bathroom (if you didn't inadvertently do so already). Gossip gets it perversity in that particular arena.

Our self interest is very pronounced. We are constantly measuring and wishing and working to make our Self the very best, the Nonesuch. We are ever conscious of what could be a failure in us. And here, the side sin of, and the pleasure of gossip is in the telling of failures. But there are many times when the telling of failure is good and godly; this is where it is not. If the telling of failure gets its currency from the fact that it is "not you" than it is gossip. It will never be a failure about you. Notice that it is impossible, self evidently impossible, to gossip about yourself. So if comparing notes over the failure of someone (be it folly or sin or just poor work by a business) that has none of its satisfaction in the "not you" category, then it will not be gossip. The failures considered and discussed, you may or may not take to the failing, and you may or may not share it with others whose interests are somehow invested. (The reason you only tell the invested of the failure is that without being invested, the only point of the information becomes how it was "not them".) You may even rejoice in the fall of the wicked or foolish but if you take no pleasure in it being "not you", you have not gossiped.

Now those of whom the stories of failure are told would like to have a much broader definition then I have given. Of course they would. A sinner, a foolish man, or a poorly handled business would like to control the bad press. They call that which is not, "gossip" to lower the damage by preaching a code that they might guilt their righteousness examiners into buying. These are of The Anointed Never Failing Clan and, although gossip does exist and is a sin, I would not determine its presence by the definitions they may give. I believe that the Obama campaign is and was a member in good standing of this set. If Obama said something socialist, you looked up a definition for socialism and subsequently referred to the president-elect as a socialist, they immediately called you a racist. The basic tack is to broaden definitions so that all that accuse would be instantaneously guilty of something horrifying.

Of course, when any of these failures arise in others, some tale bearing vultures do cluster around the dead to feed on something other than the measurement of evil, folly and error. This is a risk the wise must take for there would be no possibility of wisdom without the examination and measurement of evil, folly and error. Even when a church announces a righteous excommunication, someone in the pew will be feeling the pleasure of gossip. They will pass the information on with sincere tones of righteousness offended but their joy will be in that it was "not me".

The pleasure of gossip can thus be enjoyed all alone without ever telling anyone anything. That the news came to you did not make it gossip (because it could come to you in all innocence) but the song your heart began to sing on the hearing did.

Gossip traditionally is a chain of communication (sometimes vast) with guilt potentially at every step. That you gossip with others who are obviously "not you" does not pose a falsification of my claim. Those we tell are, at least for the current moment, less "not you" than the subject of the gossip. We embrace them with the "news" and an intimacy arises. Notice the feeling of the shared moment. Is there not a camaraderie? In a sense a club is formed called "Let us look together on this calamity of which the chief good is that it is not we" and we go about seeking new members.

Friday, November 14, 2008

I Don't Like to Post Quotes but....

The master of any claim I might have to heterosexuality has a post up here.
Go there and read, weep, point and laugh, or sit in stupefied disbelief.
When you are done, return and read these few quotes from C.S. Lewis' essay Lilies that Fester.
I don't think that I would ever have said this.... but Jason shares a solid insight with St. Clive.

"The loftier the pretensions of the power, the more meddlesome, inhuman, and oppressive it will be. Theocracy is the worst of all possible governments."

"Anything transcendental or spiritual, or even anything very strongly ethical, in its pretensions is dangerous and encourages it to meddle with our private lives."

"There are, as in piety, so in culture, states which, if less culpable, are no less disastrous. In the one we have the “Goody-goody”; the docile youth who has neither revolted against nor risen above the routine pietisms and respectabilities of his home. His conformity has won the approval of his parents, his influential neighbours, and his own conscience. He does not know that he has missed anything and is content. In the other, we have the adaptable youth to whom poetry has always been something” Set” for” evaluation”. Success in this exercise has given him pleasure and let him into the ruling class. He does not know what he has missed, does not know that poetry ever had any other purpose, and is content.
Both types are much to be pitied: but both can sometimes be very nasty. Both may exhibit spiritual pride, but each in its proper form, since the one has succeeded by acquiescence and repression, but the other by repeated victory in competitive performances. To the pride of the one, sly, simpering, and demure, we might apply Mr. Allen’s word” smug” (especially if we let in a little of its older sense). My epithet for the other would, I think, be “swaggering”. It tends in my experience to be raw, truculent, eager to give pain, insatiable in its demands for submission, resentful and suspicious of disagreement. Where the goody-goody slinks and sidles and purrs (and sometimes scratches) like a cat, his opposite number in the ranks of the cultured gobbles like an enraged turkey. And perhaps both types are less curable than the hypocrite proper. A hypocrite might (conceivably) repent and mend; or he might be unmasked and rendered innocuous. But who could bring to repentance, and who can unmask, those who were attempting no deception? who don’t know that they are not the real thing because they don’t know that there ever was a real thing?
Lastly I reach the point where my objections to Theocracy and to Charientocracy are almost identical. “Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.” The higher the pretensions of our rulers are, the more meddlesome and impertinent their rule is likely to be and the more the thing in whose name they rule will be defiled. The highest things have the most precarious foothold in our nature. By making sanctity or culture a moyen de parvenir [means of arriving, ed.] you help to drive them out of the world. Let our masters leave these two, at least, alone; leave us some region where the spontaneous, the unmarketable, the utterly private, can still exist."

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Be Still My Beatin' Heart!

At last!
Big Haus embroidery made available at Federal Bailout Prices!
Check out the Amazing Missus as she models this stylish bit of hauswifery. Think of how your reputation will be benefited, O chefs and chefettes. Others will look upon you (as you slave over the hot stove or grill) and note that you cast the ominous shadow of a thinky sort of cook.

Yes, you can buy one (or twelve) here.
They come in black, red and stone.

Do your part in making Big Haus a haushold name.
(There is also a briefcase for those types who need to carry the various bookish things they also purchased from BigHausLoot.com.)

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Futilitarian Thought for the Day

Not only will you age and die but you will age and die for a reason. And when you are older, it becomes easier to sicken and harder to shake. Cancers spring up. Guess you should not have drunk that carcinogenic Kool Aid that all the cool people were drinking. Once you realize the short distance between "cool" and "fool", you can fight it and, bless God, live to die another day of a more benign disease or just the wear and tear of age.

You know, like Great Britain.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Very Superstitious

The superstitious are an odd lot. They have fallen into post hoc ergo propter hoc in extremis and can't get up. For them, all things that precede are potentially causal to any thing that may follow. In fact, the selection of which cause on which they depend is more intensely valued for an absence of any degree on demonstrable causality. The nature of an epistemological truth bearing connection is a mystery to them but that mystery leaves them believing the least supportable.
If an intelligent person is one who can apply the information learned in the way which they were taught to apply it (in other words, a linear way) and an intellect is one who can validly connect information learned in ways not taught (a lateral way) then the superstitious, while they might be intelligent, are faux-intellects. They make unsupportable lateral connections. They claim causes and point to relationships for which there is no epistemological defense.
For the unbeliever in Christianity (who is "without hope or God in the world") and who is ignorant of where truth comes from, there is a desperate need to fill their world with explanatory notes. So superstition becomes a fake metaphysic and a fake intellection.

Within the Faith there is a similar camp ("who base their faith on visions and are puffed up without reason by their sensuous mind"). They are the "rocky ground" on whom the Word of God is sown and whose acceptance of the Gospel lacks root and depth. And just like the superstitious, they cast about for any proffered myth (as replacement filler) with Christian terms to also build a fake metaphysic and fake intellection.
II Timothy 3:6-7 For among them are those who make their way into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and swayed by various impulses, who will listen to anybody and can never arrive at a knowledge of the truth.

If they ever hold the truth, it is only by accident. It is never because they need the truth but because they need to believe and since they lack the guidance of truth bearing commodities they "listen to anybody" and fill their devotional library with the ridiculous.