Ho ho ho

A member of our Commentariat complains about our misuse of the word, “issues.” But it is part of our “Gangnam style.” It is among the demotic expressions in which we delight. It casts light, or can do, into deep wells of unhappiness & misfortune. We heard once a young lady speak of an uncle who languished on his deathbed. “He has cancer issues,” she explained, as if it were some little fuss putting him out of his humour. Perhaps we should explain that she loved this uncle, & visited him almost every day. And that, to the end, he never approved of the way she dressed. (At his funeral, she appeared in Goth. )

Another for example is the word, “whatever.” We have heard it abused with real genius, & this excites the spirit of rivalry in us. The applications in theology, philosophy, & the other sciences, are downright stupefying. From how many mantraps could we have been sprung by the judicious insertion of this word, “whatever.” The mind buckles!

There are also complaints, in our email, about our promotion of pop videos, can you believe it?

We have a Moravian friend, Aegidius, who is, or at least was before he seemed to lose his television, our authority on pop videos. A man of learning, gravity & grace, he assured us that these videos must be seen; that they were hilarious. In truth, perhaps YouTube is too much of a good thing. But Aegidius kept that television only for the MuchMusic channel. It was thanks to him we discovered, those years back, so inspiring a video as this one.

Of a mediaeval disposition of mind, Aegidius is disinclined to condemn anything. As Dante, he is moved instead to arrange the phenomena of history, lovingly, each into its correct hierarchical position; thus in the Divine “Comedy” making use of all the rungs in Hell. Or lest we be taxed for too narrow a focus upon the heritage of Christendom, let us adduce the wise counsels of that Yogin of Amdo, Shabkar Tsodruk Rangdrol. Follow in the steps of this “laughing philosopher” through the fields & footpaths of a mediaeval Tibet (actually early 19th century), & one will hear echoes of our own wandering scholars, & their laughter in the face of the dangers of the road. And feel with them the great beauty of a world without cars, or televisions; only low-tech highwaymen.

We have lost, as a consequence of that Reformation, & in the scowls of the Puritans, that wonderful mediaeval sense of humour, so simple, even childish, & yet so profound. Verily, we have heard the echo of that breach in Christendom, in the excruciating feminist motto: “That’s not funny.” We have even lost this sense of humour ourself, & would be trying to recover it.

They had parades, for instance, in which they celebrated Fools, & the Lord of Misrule.  Confronted himself with a Gay Pride Parade, our Moravian friend did not flinch. He laughed heartily. He found the whole thing hysterically funny.  “Let us not be sombre, in the presence of a farce.”

Rabelais could laugh merrily at the spectacle of bad men getting their just deserts, even in this world, through some trivial accident or miscalculation. We read him today & are appalled that he could take such pleasure in great human pain; we scowl. But there was none of this modern censoriousness in Rabelais.

Meanwhile, do good & abjure evil. But not as the Pharisees, or the Pagans.