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Volume 11, Issue 3: Meander

Rattle and Hum

Douglas Wilson

If you read enough of him, T.S. Eliot grows on you after a while. Some of his poems aren't that great, but many of his lines are stupendous. "Ash on an old man's sleeve...." But to spend massive amounts of time with his poetry one has to have the kind of mind that enjoys staring at the wallpaper. His essays, on the other hand, are consistently outstanding. How's that for a mixed review?

For those who are interested, I am currently engaged in an Internet debate with an atheist philosopher named Theodore Drange. The debate is posted at The fact I am telling you about this means that I think I'm winning.

By the time you receive this, our local police will probably have forgotten all about it, so a little bragging is now safe, and perhaps it is even in order. But first some background. Our local city council, through a series of ridiculous circumstances, decided to quit restricting female toplessness. The noble senior editor of this journal, encouraged by some winks and nudges from me, not that he needed any, made up a flyer which announced a topless and proud lecture series by topless feminist scholars. The titles of the talks were the typical postmodern hoohah-"Topless Shadows: A Personal Narrative," "Destabilizing the Topless/Bottomless Duality," "Breasts as Embodied Intuitions," you get the drift. Some of our stalwart young Christian men, majoring in Christian culture and skylarking, papered the university with these flyers, and the next morning a bunch of them were faxed all over campus. Now you know that we live in sad days, days when satire is increasingly difficult, and almost impossible. The radio station announced the lectures all day, an instructor out of the women's center announced the lectures to a class, and the English department (listed on the flyer as sponsor) called the announced location to find out if they were in fact going on.

Well, some authorities at the University of Idaho went sideways, and had the cops out looking for the culprits. When they demanded to see the film from the security cameras at Kinko's (whence the faxes had been sent), our noble editor contacted the established authorities (Rom. 13), who told him it wasn't funny. He responded that on the contrary it was, and the next day gave out a press release on how the university was trying to repress the true, the good and the lovely.

Needless to say, lots of people showed up for the non-event, and all this happened on April 1. All in all, it was a bad day for the tight-lipped fundamentalists of the left.

If you haven't had a really good laugh in a while, get a hold of Mark Twain's essay on the literary offenses of James Fenimore Cooper.

Some time in the forseeable future we are planning an issue on Roman Catholicism. The subject is enormous, of course, and so I have an inquiry to make of our knowledgable readers (a query which may seem innocent) to help us cut to the chase. Does anyone know the whereabouts of the canonical list of infallible pronouncements made by the Roman church? There's gotta be one, or the debate on church authority is over.

The possibility of true reformation throughout the Church is of course dependent upon the good pleasure of God. But we will not know the day has come until the Truly Reformed quit holding their Calvinism upside down. We will not see reformation until the TR community quits glowering, and becomes as sunny as their theology is. Cranky Calvinism-the strongest possible fortress and refuge for the Arminian heart. But the grace of God can overthrow anything.

Movies. I would like to make cultural comments on various movies in this space from time to time, but given the state of the industry, my problem is that I haven't seen any for a year or so. What a thundering waste of breathing time. A good movie from time to time would be nice. He said plaintively.

My title up top is obviously from U2, whose music is sometimes played in my presence through the desire of some of my descendants. So let me just say this about U2's musicólong stretches of tedium and obnoxiousness, punctuated here and there with moments of sheer loveliness.

Y2K remains a problem, so stay wary, and keep preparing. But also notice that the key doomsayers are starting to hedge their bets. So prepare for anything, including the possibility that the whole thing will be a yawner.

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