Friday, January 13, 2006

Touching on Touchstone...a few items

--- Except for the first one, which is a self-advertisement. I've got an essay up over at the New Pantagruel. They asked for something so I gave it. Longtime readers might remember it, but it's worth a second go-round. (In my opinion. Thank you, Terry).

--- I have (for reasons I don't wish to go into because they make me look senile) another free Touchstone subscription to give away. This is not for people who already have one, or who forgot to renew their old one. It's for people who don't have one but would like to. All you need do is say so in comments or via email. After about a week I'll put the names in a hat and draw out the winner. Then I'll ask you for a name and address so's you can get it in the mail.

--- And number 3, which is a self-reference. One line of my article in the current issue was forced to undergo a vasect...I mean it was edited. The original said, "I wonder if he believed in the seventy-odd virgin reward, like Mohammed Atta, who at this moment is having his entrails torn slowly and eternally from his body by taloned succubi." The new version says: "...Atta, who at this moment is finding the reward for mass murder is not at all what he expected." Apparently some of the editors discovered at the last minute that the original was rather, well, "blunt," and seemed to "come out of the blue," and therefore wanted to know if what I really meant was that, if the Koran is correct, this is what might happen. To which I replied that perhaps some folks had forgotten what Atta accomplished,

"which was to blow over a thousand people in a single building to little tiny pieces...I saw a picture of one fellow, a man in a business suit, lying on the pavement below, the lower half of his body missing, entrails extruding. I don't know whether he jumped or was cleaved in half by a piece of plane or a steel girder. The image in the essay came from my imagination, the products of which emerge sometimes from the blue, sometimes from the darkness. It is a Christian's hope for some kind of eternal justice, possibly for revenge. I want him to suffer, the way he made others suffer. I have no idea what goes on in hell. Maybe Atta was sent to 'time-out.' And maybe a Christian shouldn't wish upon a fellow human any kind of horror. I'm working, as time permits, on becoming a better Christian. I just thought the succubus - a demon of lust in female form - an interesting counterpoint to the unblemished virgins he hoped to defile in heaven, as though it were a whorehouse and God the head pimp...if you think it speaks too frankly in places you can modify it as you see fit. I can certainly understand your reluctance to alienate any part of your readership. And you can stick in the "if the Koran is correct" if you wish; it's just that I have no idea what the Koran says about punishment in the afterlife, because I've never read it and never will.

There, see how cooperative I can be?

--- An item in their "Pro-Life Update" relates the irony that "A doctor acting for the Swiss euthanasia group Dignitatis committed suicide after learning that a German woman he euthanized was not terminally ill." The woman was apparently depressed and gave the doctor falsified medical records showing that she had cirrhosis of the liver. An investigation has begun, but Dignitatus' founder claims that "every person in Europe has the right to choose to die, even if they [sic] are not terminally ill." The organization has killed 453 people "since its launch in Zurich in 1998."

--- In their "News" section, we find that there are over 400,000 frozen embryos being stored in in vitro fertilization centers, but that most couples - even if they have stopped paying the annual storage fee - do not want their "surplus embryonic children adopted by others." Early on in the treatment they seem willing to donate, but after a few years this dissipates into a hardened reluctance, such that 9 out of every 11 couples refuse. One reason is that should one of their currently walking-around children die young...

--- "A little over half of men and a little under half of women between 18 and 24 have returned to live with their parents." (Momma's boys). But in my case, Daddy's girls returned only ever so briefly before heading out on their own. Unlike most parents, I am not happy about it.

--- Increasing evidence of Anthony Esolen's brilliance: "Who says that poets can't be prophetic? I found these alternative verses of the Dies Irae in an old hymnal. They're obviously intended for Roman Catholics offered the Gather and Worship II hymnals and songs like 'On Eagles' Wings,' but from what I've heard of the suffering of my Protestant brethren, I think their appeal can be truly ecumenical":

Day of Wrath, O day of mourning!
Earth to ashes now returning!
Gather, by the millions, burning!

Cleansed at last by cataclysm
Butchered rhyme and battered rhythm,
Neopagan narcissism!

On that day, Lord, when thou comest,
And our dreadful hymnals thumbest,
Smite the ugliest and dumbest.

Smite them, Lord, yet of thy pity
Take their songsters to thy city:
Even Haugen, Haas, and Schutte.

It goes on for many more stanzas, till you find this toward the end:

Hush me, too, Lord, when I grumble:
In thy mercy make me humble,
Lest On Turkey's Wings I tumble.

Though this was intended only for amusement, I see promise - and, wouldn't you know, an acquaintance tells me he's actually published a book of poetry. I'll find out more.

(Update: I see that notice has been taken here.)

--- A brief but enlightening book review by Shawn Tribe tells us that in early Christian churches - as evidenced by ancient diagrams, the witness of the Fathers, and liturgical texts - the priest and worshippers faced in the same direction. Not only that, they faced east. The modern arrangement of having the priest and congregation stare each other down in an effort to "relate" and to "dialogue" is "rather novel by comparison."

Concerning which relation between the early Church and whatever came after, I am led to another post, which should appear down there below this one ↓ any day now.

Wait, I mean up there above this one. ↑


Anonymous said...

OK. Put me in the Lottery for Touchtone. Enjoy your site.

William Luse said...

Okay, you're in. Only I'll put you in for Touchstone, which is a magazine, not a phone.

Anonymous said...

re #3, I liked the original image with the taloned succubi.

And whatever happened to Bern's dog?

Anonymous said...

Hi Bill,

I'd like to get in on the Touchstone Lottery.

I say Dying by Degrees at TNP and I read it again, just 'cuz. It's worth several reads, if you ask me.


William Luse said...

Peony, we will be revisiting Bern's dog soon.

Chris, you're in. Thanks for reading that thing.

alicia said...

I haven't gotten my hardcopy yet! Am salivating to read it in ink on paper.

DP said...

If it's not too late, count me in in the Touchstone lottery as well.

If it is, c'est la vie.

William Luse said...

It's not too late.