Friday, August 08, 2003

A Wish For Lileks

I wanted to write about the 58th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which seems to be passing by relatively unremarked, and I just might, though I'll be late as usual. I've got until the 9th, but will extend the deadline because there's no one to stop me. I was even going to present both sides - those who call it mass murder, and those, like the naval officer on a ship menaced by kamikazes, who referred to the victims as " the best burned women and children I ever saw." And then, of course, I'd sum it all up with my own take in order to settle the matter once and for all. Hmm? What's that you said?

But because of a minor turbulence in my family's flight plan, I thought I'd do one of those Lileks type posts - a touch of politics, perhaps, a touch of morality in the mire, and a whole lot of the personal, both the good and the bad, the copacetic and the crummy, the lovely and the un-(mostly un- right now), even if lacking in that writer's charm, verbal dexterity, and his one million (I'm guessing) readers a day to my...fewer than that. Speaking of whom (Lileks) I paid a visit yesterday and found out he can't spell Schwarzenegger. Easy mistake to make. Forgiven. Living in a state once governed by Jesse "the Body" Ventura, he wrote in an insightful and entertaining manner about Arnold's appeal, nicely pinned to the paper the narcissism at the heart of the Reverend (now bishop?) Robinson's hierarchical ambitions, and led from that into a powerful defense of fidelity in marriage (the normal kind), in which capacity, I suspect, lies the heart of Lileks' own appeal - his deeply held, virtually militant impatience with those who would toss aside, in some quest for self-"discovery," and with those who would even destroy, the institution that gives succour to the children of the world, protects their life and limb, shields their innocence, and nurtures their need to trust, children like his own beloved three year old, Gnat. And all of this marred only by a few paragraphs on the manufacture of his daughter's birthday cake, his visit to a new Target store, his server problems, some kids making masks, and his visit to the Hugh Hewitt show - which I frankly found hard to read. But then he's capable of this (in light of Reverend Robinson's abandoning his family): "There's a word for people who leave their children because they don't want to have sex with Mommy anymore: selfish. I'm not a praying man, but I cannot possibly imagine asking God if that would be okay. Send them another Dad, okay? Until you do I'll keep my cellphone on 24/7, I promise." And: "I'll tell you this: my nightmare is losing my daughter. The idea of leaving her on purpose is inconceivable...I made a promise when I married my wife, and I made another when we had our daughter." This stuff hits home.

But I think I read recently, perhaps in his own words, that he doesn't talk about abortion. I hope I'm wrong. Unlike, it seems, 99.9 to some exponential percentage of the blogosphere, I'm not a daily visitor, stopping by usually when some other blogger links to a particularly arresting piece, which happens with some frequency. I can see that he gives his readers delight in the company of depth. But if it's true, it just strikes me as very odd. It reminds me of the libertarian talk radio host out of Atlanta, Neal Boortz, who won't discuss it either on the grounds that "you won't change my mind and I won't change yours." This is undeniably true and neatly evasive - true, for I certainly won't change your mind if I don't know what's in it to begin with, and evasive because it dispenses one from having to make an answer in the end. In fact, its basic premise is that there is no end, and further, not one worth arriving at. There's nothing to be done.

That's the amazing thing about this issue, the way it demands an answer without admitting of one. A baby's life hangs suspended between minds that won't change, minds locked forever in fierce forensic combat, but only the babies keep dying. Our comfort level remains remarkably unperturbed by this state of gridlock. It's been going on for thirty years. What's one more?

It's not possible that the mind of a Lileks has not pondered the genesis of his beloved Gnat, that he has not asked, "When did she begin?" - and less possible yet that he has not found an answer. Home seems to be where his heart is, but from a writer with less flair for language, fewer insights to wake me up, and less of a feel for the sobriquet that skewers, I can get as much and more if that writer confesses to one great insight: that behind the promises we make to each other is the voice of One who never breaks them. Maybe Lileks has that insight, if only he'd share it. I've learned to take from a writer what he can give you, not what you would demand of him. It's just that, given his readership, he'd seem to make a mighty powerful voice on behalf of all the little Gnats in utero, and a persuasive one as well. So I'll be back for more now and then. One can hope for more without demanding it.

Enough of him. His life is charmed compared to mine. Actually, mine's not that bad compared to those I've made the promise to. A family's just a little mystical body. What affects one reverberates in the souls of all. That long trip north my wife made to retrieve the children has turned into something of a disaster. But that will have to wait until tomorrow. Or the next day. Who knows? Hiroshima and Nagasaki aren't going anywhere either, frozen, as they are, in time. The past has incredible patience, waiting for us to return to it. It is we who run out of time.
I'll be praying for a decent resolution of the disaster and peace of heart for all involved!
Posted by KTC email at August 8, 2003 07:09 AM

Me too!
And I'll add that I feel that same about Lileks.
Posted by Paul Cella email at August 8, 2003 07:19 PM

Good to see you guys dropping by. You're good people.
Posted by William Luse email at August 9, 2003 01:44 AM

Another excellent set of musings. I hope that you will be up to blogging on the (barely alluded to) disastrous trip to get the girls.I was discussing the culture of abortion with a fellow parishioner last night at our cursillo meeting (ultreya). I find that many pro-life advocates are hopelessly naive about the attitudes and beliefs of the pro-abortion forces. Many seem to think that if we (pro-life) could just convince the abortion lobby that the embryo/fetus/unborn is truly human, actually alive from the moment that the egg and sperm united - if we could be more persuasive, present incontrovertable truth - that somehow abortion would cease.The reality is that most abortion supporters will agree that this is a human life. This fact, however, is irrelevant to the 'needs' and 'choice' option. As long ago as the legal arguments that lead up to Roe v. Wade, the pro-abortion lobby stipulated that the unborn was alive and human - but argued that the needs and wants of the 'unwilling host'(mother) superceded any rights that might be granted to this non-person. Quite chilling, when read through, and the current situation (infanticide, euthanasia, etc) would have been quite predictable, too.
Posted by alicia the midwife email at August 9, 2003 09:21 AM

ARTICLES OF FAITH : A Frontline History of the Abortion Warsby Cynthia Gorney is a book that documents much of the attitude I describe in the comment above.
Posted by alicia the midwife email at August 9, 2003 09:25 AM

Thank you Alicia.
Posted by William Luse email at August 9, 2003 02:57 PM

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