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May 8, 2006

Historical re-creationism
Posted by Patrick at 07:58 AM * 148 comments

The Fort Wayne News-Sentinel offers a contribution to the immigration debate:

The Vatican has for decades promoted excessive immigration in the U.S., both legal and illegal. Vast numbers of immigrants are Catholics intended to increase the Vatican’s political influence. Most Hispanics marching in rallies are pawns of a church that promotes violation of immigration laws. […] Immigration issues run deeper than most are aware of. Most Hispanics are unaware of how the Vatican uses them as pawns. The Vatican is slowly destroying the U.S. with excessive immigration to advance the Vatican’s own power in the U.S. and the world. […]

It is not mere coincidence that our middle class is disappearing. There are those who plan to do away completely with our borders so they can put our middle class in competition against the world’s most impoverished masses. Our borders provide the “protected environment” in which we may experiment and excel to make our country great. Without such a “protected environment,” we will be enmeshed in a world-wide sea of muck. The U.S. cannot be a beacon to the world if we allow ourselves to be dragged down into that muck. It is the solemn and absolute duty of our government to preserve and control our borders. Refusal to do so is tantamount to treason.

Leaving aside the fact that the author photo made me briefly wonder if I was reading the Onion, this blend of nativism and anti-Catholicism reads like it parachuted in from 1886. Note in particular the repeated references to vastness, masses, and being “dragged down” into “muck.” I guess if modern America can have a years-long temper tantrum about the perfidious French (the French? Hello? What century is this?), it’s no more outrageous to revive the rhetoric of “rum, Romanism, and rebellion”. Still, have we so thoroughly run out of history that all we get is repeats?

Comments on Historical re-creationism:
#1 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 08:19 AM:

(Thanks to Snarkout for the link.)

#2 ::: Cynthia ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 08:33 AM:

I'm confused. Is this all-powerful Catholic church he's referencing the same one that is scrambling to pay multi-million dollar sexual abuse lawsuit awards at the same time they can't find enough priests to fill the pulpit?

If the Vatican is truly controlling all the hispanic population unawares, a. they could get them each to pony up a few grand and wipe out this monumental debt and B. surely they could find some aspiring clergy types out there.

After they fix those problems, then yeah, sure, world domination. But first, tidy your own yard. Especially if you've got all these minions!

This is the same crap that comes up every time a politician is Catholic - and now an interesting variation is the scrutiny surrounding Mass. Gov Mit Romney's Mormonism.

#3 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 08:43 AM:

It's not that we're running out of history, it's that a whole lot of people would rather not deal with the new stuff at all, so they need a source of noise and confusion to distract themselves therefrom.

Widespread bad insecurity management. This isn't new, alas, but it hasn't been an historical universal, either.

#4 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 08:53 AM:

The author most likely has a deep-seated fear that the Pope is not only better educated than he is, but smarter.

Ex-Governor Bush, on the other hand, may have gone to one of those fancy Eastern colleges, but he acts reassuringly dumb.

#5 ::: John Farrell ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 08:54 AM:

Still, have we so thoroughly run out of history that all we get is repeats?

Sadly, yes.

#6 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 08:54 AM:

History may not repeat, but it sure rhymes a lot. I think Mark Twain said that. Say, didn’t we get rid of this “the Catholic Church is just trying to run all the governments of the world through puppets” conspiracy when we elected Kennedy to President? Whoops, forgot, we’re trying to go back to simpler times. My guess, this is from the Evangelical political movement that’s so close to grabbing the reigns of power directly, instead through their puppet-president, that they fear somebody else is muscling in on their turf. Or am I mixing conspiracy theories like metaphors?

#7 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 08:55 AM:

It does sound as if it were written by James G. Blaine's campaign manager (or, for that matter, by Millard Fillmore's when Fillmore ran as a Know-Nothing).

You should remember that as recently as 1960, John F. Kennedy had to state publicly that he was not taking orders from the Pope, just to run for president. Anti-Catholicism has a long and disgusting history in the United States. I'm just surprised that the editorial writer didn't blame Al-Qaeda for the immigration bogey that is currently obsessing the right. Or, perhaps, we will see shortly the same writer asserting that there is a Jewish-Catholic-Islamic-Freemason plot to deprive Americans of their liberty.

#8 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 09:03 AM:

Fragano Ledgister, you forgot to include Dan Brown in the Jewish-Catholic-Islamic-Freemason triumvir.

#9 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 09:12 AM:

Steve Buchheit: You're right. Make that the Jewish-Catholic-Islamic-Freemason-Templar plot.

#10 ::: Will "scifantasy" Frank ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 09:13 AM:

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Those who can learn from history are doomed to get deja vu a lot, because of those idiots who can't.

#11 ::: Paul ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 09:14 AM:

Steve, a triumvir consisting of four entities is slightly unorthodox... :-)

#12 ::: Paul ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 09:15 AM:

> Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Those who do learn from history tend to repeat each other...

#13 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 09:33 AM:

Paul, I was going to say quartet but then I wasn't sure who was playing viola. Adding Dan would make a quintet, but then who's on drums? Plus, those words don't have the sinister connotation I was going for. :)

Ugh, brain hurt. That's enough Latin for this Monday morning, time for coffee.

#14 ::: Scott Martens ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 09:33 AM:

Richard Sloan has an interesting publication record. He's got issues with religion in general from the sound of it. Try The horror! Atheists try to better the world and Scientists seek God, too, through inquiry. I'd see him not so much as anti-Catholic but as anti-church. Not very novel in that line of thought, but still.

#15 ::: Fmguru ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 09:39 AM:

What makes this doubly weird is the general cultural embrace of Catholicism among the more strident Protestant sects over the last few years, with the general love-fest for JPII, the outsized celebration of the ascension of conservative Benedict XVI, and thunderous response to The Passion (which, with its emphasis on the suffering of Christ, was a very Catholic and not at all Protestant movie). Watching various Evangelical leaders and spokescritters wax rhapsodic about Ratzinger's elevation was one of the stranger moments of the last few years.

It seems that Catholicism is in vogue right up until the moment it espouses something outside the neo-Confederate Dobson/Robertson axis - then it becomes good ol' Romanism and Popery again. They'll embrace the Church when it supports their policies on gays, abortion, and contraception, but when the subject turns to social justice or immigration, it's back to 1886.

#16 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 09:41 AM:

...have we so thoroughly run out of history that all we get is repeats?

Only through the summer season. Rest assured we'll get new programming in time for the fall.

#17 ::: JonathanMoeller ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 09:49 AM:

Still, have we so thoroughly run out of history that all we get is repeats?

The first time is tragedy, the second time is farce.

#18 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 10:04 AM:

Maybe people have always repeated history, but now we're better able to notice it.

Those who take history personally are doomed to repeat it. Santayana sounded so definitive it's easy to believe he's right, but it's quite possible that a forget-history ray would improve a lot of the world.

#19 ::: Ilona ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 10:04 AM:

::braces for the evil Vatican catholics parachuting down from the black UN helicopters::

#20 ::: Grant Barrett ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 10:06 AM:

This article by Edward T. O'Donnell from Sunday's New York Times talks about the exact same sentiments—from the last decade and earler. He writes,

Some anti-foreigner hostility was expressed with brickbats and fists, but the most potent weapon was the pen. Samuel F. B. Morse, of later telegraph fame, was among the first to sound the alarm. In 1834 he wrote a series of articles for The New York Observer—later published in a best-selling book titled "A Foreign Conspiracy Against the Liberties of the United States"—that in hysterical prose detailed an alleged papal plot to flood America with Roman Catholic immigrants and overthrow the republic.
#21 ::: Grant Barrett ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 10:07 AM:

Should have written "last century and earlier."

#22 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 10:07 AM:

What they said, especially Fmguru....

Reading that piece was eerie. Like you, Patrick, I wondered at first if it was satire. Obviously someone on the Sentinel is trapped in a time warp. What ugly stuff. But at least it gets the anti-immigrant strain of thought out there into the light. As the election draws closer, watch for similar stuff about gay people, and lots, lots more rants about patriotism.

#23 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 10:24 AM:

I wonder if he thinks I am one of those who are dragging America into the muck. I am an immigrant after all, albeit one from Canada. I guess that makes me OK. Meanwhile, there are people who, even though they were born in America, probably are not acceptable to his kind. Hmmm... Would he have the guts to spew that crap to LA-born Edward James Olmos? Based on what I saw on Battlestar Galactica, the latter knows how to use boxing gloves.

#24 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 10:40 AM:

Maybe people have always repeated history, but now we're better able to notice it.

Maybe we take better notes.

#25 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 10:42 AM:

I thought it was a reprint from the 19th century at first! (What's next, 'no Irish need apply'?)

It's my understanding that a lot of Hispanics are Pentecostal or other flavors of non-RC (Jehovah's Witnesses are frequent, as also Assembly of God).

#26 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 10:50 AM:

So where does the writer of that piece stand on all the Protestant Hispanic churches out there? Or are those outside his ken, as he never strays from the gated community except to go to work and church? Do they not count, as so many are Pentecostals and Seventh-day Adventist and such? Or are these attempts to set up a fifth column and bore from within, by cleverly disguising the dangerous Hispanics as harmless non-Papists?

Of course, the louder the Vatican yells about War Is Bad, the more the evil priests need to be undermined as Reliable Voices, no matter how helpful they may be when it comes to condemning abortion and the Dangerous Homosexual Agenda.

#27 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 10:51 AM:

The "enmeshed in a worldwide sea of muck" bit reminded me of The Iron Dream.

#28 ::: Emily Cartier ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 10:55 AM:

It's my understanding that a lot of Hispanics are Pentecostal or other flavors of non-RC (Jehovah's Witnesses are frequent, as also Assembly of God).

IIRC most Central and South American countries haven't yet hit the tipover point, where Protestants have taken over, but yeah, they've got a *massive* convert rate. Usually the more conservative someone of that background is, the more a very fundamentalist faith will appeal to them. The average US newspaper is only just now noticing that all Hispanics aren't Catholic, and it hasn't really sunk in. Way to pay attention, the Church started noticing this trend back in the 80s.

(Keep in mind that very fundamentalist includes a lot of attitudes that get in the way of assimilating into US culture, and that *really* get in the way of getting out of poverty. This trend is really Not Good for everyone.)

#29 ::: John League ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 10:55 AM:

protected environment

I can see the author raising the first two fingers of each hand in air quotation as this phrase first comes to his mind. What other phrase was he trying to "euphemize?"

"Ethnic sieve?" "Cultural bulwark?" "Fortress Xenophobe?"

#30 ::: theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 11:04 AM:

Two of those fancy Eastern colleges, if you count Harvard Business School as a "college"...

#31 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 11:21 AM:

"Sea of muck" == "mud people"?

#32 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 11:26 AM:

Catholic parachutists from black helicopters?

It sounds as if the USA is about to discover Fifth Columnists of the Jackbooted Nun variety.

What was that Nuns on motorcycles game which expanded Batwinged Bimbos From Hell?

#33 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 11:30 AM:

I think you hit something really good there, Dave. This is the "Jackbooted Nuns" theory. Makes it sound as ridiculous as it really is.

#34 ::: yup ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 11:31 AM:

repeats of history;

let's see--we have an incompetent monarch named George who has set in motion a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, sc. evincing a design to reduce the people under absolute Despotism.

So, yeah, maybe it does feel a bit like deja vu.

#35 ::: mrb ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 12:38 PM:

Wow... Fort Wayne, you break my heart.

#36 ::: Rachael de Vienne ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 12:42 PM:

I'm convinced all evil plotting starts in a basement in the Vatican, followed by a quick phone call to Paris. The Knights Templar now have control of the Vatican and most online travel sites. They are all French except for a few token Americans and Scotts. And, they are all either members of Skull and Bones or an animal rights group. A few renegades have formed a cell deep within Green Peace. They're hell-bent to control the world's ocean resources!

Also, a sleeper cell of Knights of St. John is hiding out in Brooklyn. They're waiting for the Knights Templar to stumble. Their intention is to endlessly raise postal rates to make it harder for struggling writers to query! That way they will take control of the world's literary output.

Say .... You aren't part of that group, are you?

Rachael de Vienne

#37 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 12:43 PM:

Fmguru: Catholicism is fine with the Protestant fundies as long as it shares their anti-sex, women back into the kitchen values. The moment it departs from them (opposition to the death penalty, interpreting the Bible so that scientific development doesnt' automatically lead to cries of 'Heresy!'), then it's back to 'Down with Popery!'.

yup: Yup.

#38 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 12:52 PM:

have we so thoroughly run out of history that all we get is repeats?

As is well known, America became Top Nation long ago, and History came to a.

#39 ::: Rose Wilde-Irish ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 12:58 PM:

Huh. I was raised Catholic until I gave it up at age 19; nowhere in catechism or the Sunday sermons (nor the many collections for charities) did they mention trying to flood the U.S. with Catholics.

The rabid hate that still exists for Catholics puzzles me. They're mostly harmless; hell, even the Catholics don't usually follow their own dogma 100%.

#40 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 01:23 PM:

Cynthia: Indeed, I can think of many reasons to dislike Mitt Romney without ever worrying about whether he's "taking orders from Salt Lake City".

#41 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 01:26 PM:

Well the Protestants and Catholics were never all that close. Talk about history rhyming

Remember, remember the fifth of November,
the gunpowder, treason and plot,
I see of no reason why gunpowder treason
should ever be forgot.

(deleted stanza)

A penny loaf to feed the Pope.
A farthing o' cheese to choke him.
A pint of beer to rinse it down.
A faggot of sticks to burn him.

(deleted stanza of burning the Pope)

Ah, the good old days.

#42 ::: lightning ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 01:48 PM:

This stuff is ugly, but it's good to drag it out occasionally so evreybody can get a good look at some of the attitudes behind the current debate.

Sunlight is, after all, the best disinfectant.

Perhaps after it's been out for a couple of years, we can use it to grow flowers.

#43 ::: Cynthia ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 01:49 PM:

Christopher D: I can safely say I Disliked Mit Romney long before I ever knew he was a Mormon. But that's based on his policies (or nonsense that he proposes under that name) and has nothing to do with faith issues whatsoever. I think it's odd to see the media talk about his Mormonism as a scandal but gloss over his hate-filled rhetoric.

#44 ::: neotoma ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 01:58 PM:

Did this fall out of the research for the making of "Gangs of New York"?

Or is this the rise of new Know-Nothings? Hey, if it's that, maybe they'll split the Whigs again, and we'll get a new Lincoln out of it!

#45 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 02:22 PM:

Hey, if it's that, maybe they'll split the Whigs again, and we'll get a new Lincoln out of it!

There's a saying here in Nashville: "Everybody wants to be Hank Williams, but nobody wants to die." The same attitude applies to Presidents wanting to be Abe Lincoln.

#46 ::: JoshJasper ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 03:01 PM:

Without such a “protected environment,” we will be enmeshed in a world-wide sea of muck. The U.S. cannot be a beacon to the world if we allow ourselves to be dragged down into that muck. It is the solemn and absolute duty of our government to preserve and control our borders. Refusal to do so is tantamount to treason.

Not only an oblique "mud people" reference, but also a threat of death by execution for anyone who disagrees.

Woohoo!

Q: Who is the publisher of The Journal Gazette and The News-Sentinel?

Steven Broas has overall responsibility for news and opinion pages and all business activities of The News-Sentinel. Additionally, Steven Broas is the CEO & President of Fort Wayne Newspapers, the business agent for both newspapers.

Julie Inskeep has overall responsibility for news and opinion pages and all business activities of The Journal Gazette.

Q: Who are the main newsroom and editorial contacts?

Craig Klugman
Editor
The Journal Gazette
260-461-8853 cklugman@jg.net

It may interest you all to know that Ms. Inskeep is on the AP board of directors.

#47 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 03:05 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz : Those who take history personally are doomed to repeat it.
Santayana sounded so definitive it's easy to believe he's right,
but it's quite possible that a forget-history ray would improve a lot of the world.

The 80's update of The Twilight Zone did an episode
based on a story by Joe Haldeman (sorry, can't recall the title) ...

It starts with the viewpoint character
undergoing hypnotic 'past life' regression.

Various things happen,
and she finds herself in another world (similar to our own),
where she is hunted down by the authorities.

In their world, everyone has memories of their past lives,
and grudges never die. Past life murders are avenged,
past life battles are refought.

Having learned that she truly has no past life memories,
the authorities seek her out because they see her
as the answer to their problems.

The final scene ends with the protagonist as hypnotherapist,
working with a patient, saying to him:

"When you awake, you will have no memory of any life but your current life..."


#48 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 03:11 PM:

fideleo,
My coven brother Steve has long advocated that if we are going to have a Sacred King, he should take the job knowing he will have to perform the Heiro Gamos, the sacred marriage, and be sacrificed at the end of seven years. I don't think W is willing to do either one.

#49 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 03:23 PM:

In their world, everyone has memories of their past lives, and grudges never die. Past life murders are avenged, past life battles are refought.

back when we could all remember our past lives, it was actually a benefit, not a hindrance. The thing was that you could remember everything, but you couldn't control into what family you were born and you were the only person who was aware of your past life. YOu couldn't prove that you were Churchill last time around, because you're the only one who can access your memories, so there wasn't much point in whinging about it endlessly.

And it actually was a benefit because you still couldn't control how you came into this world. So, generally, what would happen is that Churchill came back born in India, KKK'ers came back black, sexists came back the opposite gender as they were the time before, and after a few cycles, you got to the realization that there are a lot of surface things that have nothing to do with being human.

Then the third war between the gods and humans broke out and humans won the war but lost the ability to remember past lives.

well, most of us anyway.

#50 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 03:42 PM:

"The U.S. cannot be a beacon to the world if we allow ourselves to be dragged down into that muck."

So the US can only serve its function as a good example as long as we make sure that everyone else suffers in comparison? If we grant others access then there will be no untouchable stronghold of virtue for the masses to gaze at yearningly as they are ground down into the muck? Convincing!

#51 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 03:43 PM:

the Heiro Gamos

Hieros gamos. These are things you want to get right. Someone might be watching, and being turned into a tree or a sacred spring or a traffic light in Columbus Circle can ruin your whole day.

#52 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 04:01 PM:

"::braces for the evil Vatican catholics parachuting down from the black UN helicopters::"

Oh, don't be silly.

The Vatican will invade via their subsurface tunnel network.

There's an outlet in every Catholic church in the land; it's how they send money and kidnapped children to Rome.

#53 ::: Ian Myles Slater ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 04:16 PM:

The dredging up of naked anti-Catholicism is dismaying, but hardly surprising. (It has never gone away, of course, although it has been marginalized in contexts where it used to be more overt.)

A lot of people on the (self-described) Right have gotten used to thinking that the Catholic Church was always in "their corner" on issues like abortion, birth control, sex education, homosexuality, male authority, and prayer in schools. Allies in the "Culture Wars."

So some of them are astonished, and angry, to find the Church opposing them on *anything,* instead of following the Party Line; the explanation must be something sinister!

Investigating the Catholic positions in detail probably didn't seem necessary, so long as "cultural" issues meant more of them could be counted on to vote Republican in the future.

(That any Church might actually be concerned with ideas like, oh, compassion, charity, or brotherhood, seems to be out of the question. Presumably, to paraphrase what is said of the Tories and the Anglican Church, their proper role is to be the Republican Party at Prayer.)

(Judging from Los Angeles media, the Church taking a position really is important. Fault-lines between older, more established, generations of immigrants and newer arrivals, and along national and ethnic divisions, some to have contributed to an "I'm here, now close the borders to *them*" attitude in some circles. Now -- again, actually -- they are hearing something very different from the pulpit. Those most open to the message willl presumably be those most inclined to respect authority....)

#54 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 04:42 PM:

This stuff is so common it's scary. Just type nimrod catholicism into Google and start reading what turns up. That string will get you a solid sample of the hate literature that's derived from Alexander Hislop's The Two Babylons (1858), which is arguably anti-Catholicism's equivalent of The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion.

Look and see how many websites have been put up by people who believe its libels.

#55 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 04:53 PM:
What was that Nuns on motorcycles game which expanded Batwinged Bimbos From Hell?
Macho Women With Guns was the original game to which BBFH was a supplement. You may instead be thinking of the Motorcycle Aztec Wrestling Nuns game, which was a joke on an old The Space Gamer mailing cover.

As for Mitt Romney - I live in Massachusetts, and I can't recall a whole lot of talk about his being a Mormon. It's been mentioned, certainly, but not in a derogatory way, at least not in major media outlets that I have seen. Maybe I've just been oblivious. As has been noted, there are plenty of actual reasons to dislike him.

#56 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 05:00 PM:

The Two Babylons is currently in print, including in an unabridged audiobook edition.

It's a farrago of poor scholarship, false etymologies, bogus citations, and skewed logic. Nevertheless, it is, as Miss Teresa puts it, the Catholic version of the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion. (The Protocols, incidentally, were quoted as valid historical data by the guys who wrote Holy Blood, Holy Grail, so it all comes around in a circle.)

Want to see something scary? Read the Amazon.com customer reviews of The Two Babylons.

#57 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 05:03 PM:

I remember in the mid-1970s talking with a young woman whose church leaders said that all the smart Catholics became priests and nuns. (The immediately-obvious conclusion is left to the listener, and she had bought it herself.)

#58 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 05:06 PM:

I'm with Xopher, the Christian Identity "mud people" rhetoric sprang instantly to mind.

For those who have not sampled its gourmet delights: http://www.splcenter.org/intel/intelreport/article.jsp?aid=450

And a comparison of the language about race and immigration from respectable and less-respectable sources:
http://www.splcenter.org/intel/intelreport/article.jsp?sid=174

#59 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 05:45 PM:

What I really want to know about Richard D. Sloan:

When did his forebears arrive in North America?

#60 ::: alex ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 05:46 PM:

Some people go to horror movies.

Some people ride roller coasters.

Some people read books wherein the human race is dissolved by intelligent viruses.

Some people indulge in racial and class-supremacist fantasies.

All of these are methods of dealing with fear, and reinforcing self-identification as a survivor. The first three, however, have few negative effects in the real world.

#61 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 06:08 PM:

I'd thought the anti-Catholic equivalent of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion was Fifty Years in the Church of Rome by Charles Chiniquy an ex-priest.

#62 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 06:35 PM:

Let me give you an example of the reasoning from The Two Babylons.

Nimrod was a mighty hunter. As a hunter, he undoubtedly hunted for leopards. After he killed them, he must have worn their skins. Leopards have spots. Another animal that has spots is the fawn. Priests of Bacchus wore the skins of fawns. Therefore, Nimrod was a god of drunkeness.

I am not making this up.

#63 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 06:40 PM:

Jim Macdonald: By the same logic... James IV of Scotland was described as a 'grete legister'. I am a great Ledgister. Therefore, I am King of Scotland. You should, therefore, be making obeisance to me.

#65 ::: FMguru ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 07:48 PM:

The collected works of Jack Chick are an eternally-renewing source of old-school anti-Catholic wingnuttery. I recommend The Death Cookie to start with, and then moving on to Are Roman Catholics Christians (the answer just might surprise you!), Man In Black, and Is There Another Christ. Primo Chick stuff, except that none of them have his classic "sinners burning in the lake of fire while a devil laughs HAW HAW" scene.

#66 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 08:17 PM:

I'm Catholic (check).

I protested when the shrub came to town (and not in any goddamn "free speech zone" carefully situated away from his motorcade route) so I guess I'm in rebellion (check).

Sooooo...where's my rum? An ounce or 2 of Captain Morgan, either with a tad of water or in a nice big mug of spice tea, would hit the spot.

#67 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 08:29 PM:

Christian Identity stuff underlay the Posse Comitatus? Yeah, that makes sense.

Those people are scary crazy. *shivers* I speak from personal familiarity. (And it's even worse somehow that they seem perfectly amiable normal people until they come out with this stuff in conversation, once they've decided you're probably one of them, or should be.)

#68 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 08:31 PM:

Another from the wonderful world of Alexander Hislop:

He derives the word "cannibal" from "kahane Baal," that is to say, "priest of Baal." Thus proving that the priests of Baal ate people.

In actual fact, the word cannibal derives from one of the letters of Christopher Columbus, writing of "los hombres cannibales," (where the -al is the Spanish ending meaning "of or pertaining to"). The Canib, or Carib, Indians did, in fact, eat people. (So did some early Spanish explorers, but leave that aside.) Cannibal-the-word dates to the early 16th century, not to ancient Israel.

(At yet another place Hislop concludes that an ancient Middle-eastern god and a Polynesian god must be the same, since their names, when transliterated into English, both start with the same letter.)

It's truly astounding, and all to prove that the Church of Rome is the Whore of Babylon, founded by Satan, the master schemer behind all the schemes of the world (particularly those oppressing Alexander Hislop).

(As you might expect, Jack Chick is one of the publishers who's reprinted The Two Babylons.)

#69 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 09:05 PM:

Jim Macdonald: Of course, we could, using that same logic, conclude that Meir Kahane ate people...

#70 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 10:49 PM:

Or that Meir Kahuna was originally a Hawaiian deity.

#71 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 11:02 PM:

Teresa: I knew there was a reason I stopped reading ML over supper....

#72 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 11:15 PM:

Y'know, a kahuna is a Hawaiian priest/teacher. And Kahane is a form of kohen, a Jewish priest. Did Joseph Smith know about Hawaii?

#73 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 11:33 PM:

There are those who plan to do away completely with our borders so they can put our middle class in competition against the world’s most impoverished masses.

Well, hell, sure.

But WalMart has low, low prices.

Imagine how much you could buy if you still had a job.

#74 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2006, 11:39 PM:

There are also a lot of puns in Sanskrit, which is the sacred language of Hinduism. Therefore Pele is really Kali (because Kahuna starts with the same letter as Kali) and Hawaii and Hindu start with the same letter too, so they're probably the same thing.

Also, Jews "sit shiva" when a family member dies. This is obviously from "sutra Shiva," which means a line about Shiva, who is the Lord of Destruction (thus Death, who is clearly present during the mourning period). Therefore Jews are really Hindus. They're both from over East there somewhere too, aren't they?

#75 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2006, 12:02 AM:

Avram/Teresa/Xopher:
You do realize, don't you, that it is Mormon doctrine that Polynesians are all American Indians (it's obvious, just look at them!) and as American Indians are all Jews (equally obviously!) so the Polynesians are more of the Lost Tribes of Israel.

That's why the Mormons are so active proselytizing throughout Polynesia - they are not only a major force in rural Hawaii (BYU Hawaii, anyone?) but in Western Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, and I expect the Cook Islands and Tahiti too, or at least any of those places they're allowed in.

#76 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2006, 12:12 AM:

[The Passion] ... with its emphasis on the suffering of Christ, was a very Catholic and not at all Protestant movie

Well, Mel Gibson is a Tridentine all right, and he was basing it on C16th German mysticism. But I think it's a strain of Catholicism that fed very nicely into the various beliefs that split off during the Reformation. I've been teaching a course on ancient Christian asceticism this semester, and it was interesting to note that the more extreme strains were focused on Scripture at the expense of the institutional hierarchy, and of course on inflicting suffering on the (temporal) body - which is often interpreted as a re-enactment of the passion. The Scripture/authority thing was obviously part of Martin Luther's programme; as for the mortifications - well, the emphasis on admitting or even expunging sin through self-denial and self-flagellation strikes me much more as a salvation-through-works theme than anything distinctively Catholic. Those monastic strains which have survived into the modern Catholic church were generally the more moderate ones (Benedictines, Franciscans, Augustinians). I can't speak for Opus Dei, though.

This is done without a vast amount of theological knowledge (not my field, or my period), but it was interesting to me that images of the temptations of St Antony were far more popular in northern Europe around the time of the Reformation than in Catholic countries then or later; and that when Catholics took up the theme, the focus was on Christ protecting Antony, whereas the Protestant (or proto-Protestant?) images presented the suffering as the main theme. Which raises the vital question: is Mel Gibson really a Protestant?

I fully expect to be corrected on some of this. I only came on to this idea during the speculative last few lectures of the course. Incidentally, yes: I am part of an insidious Catholic conspiracy to take over the minds of your young people, what with being an immigrant with an Irish Catholic background teaching religion at a Methodist foundation. Sorry.

#77 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2006, 12:14 AM:

To correct any misleading implication of the previous post: I suspect Teresa is very well aware of Mormon doctrine on the Polynesians, given the depth of knowledge of Mormonism.

Bonus footnote: For Hawaii tourists or residents, if you ever went to see the Polynesian Cultural Center's "historical" show on the settlement of Polynesia and wondered why it seemed excessively vague and handwavey, the above is why. They don't want to present anything that contradicts Mormon doctrine, but they also don't want to present a version of things that's obviously and blatantly false, so they just get all vague and general.

#78 ::: Robert L ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2006, 12:38 AM:

"The zealous protectress of the missions obtained from De Monts, whose fortunes, like those of Poutrincouirt, had ebbed low, a transfer of all his claims to the lands of Acadia; while the young King, Louis the Thirteenth, was persuaded to give her, in addition, a new grant of all the territory of North America, from the St. Lawrence to Florida. Thus did Madame de Guercheville, or in other words, the Jesuits who used her name as a cover, become proprietors of the greater part of the future United States and British Provinces. The English colony of Virginia and the Dutch trading-houses of New York were included within the limits of this destined Northern Paraguay..."

--Francis Parkman, Pioneers of France in the New World

Obviously, this is all part of a carefully laid Catholic plot that his been kept hidden for centuries...

#79 ::: Mike Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2006, 01:05 AM:

Ex-Governor Bush, on the other hand, may have gone to one of those fancy Eastern colleges, but he acts reassuringly dumb.

I'm not at all convinced that it's an act.

#80 ::: Juli Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2006, 01:07 AM:

Clifton,

Interesting info about the PCC! Are you one of the posters who lives in Hawaii?

The last time I was there, the rest of my group went to the Polynesian Cultural Center. I didn't, opting instead to have lunch with Ian Lind (iLind.net). It was fascinating, and fun, and at the Art Institute, so also visually stunning. (Hm, we were in Hawaii, that's probably redundant.)

He made me feel better about not going by telling me about the working conditions there. The "performers" are college students at BYU-Hawaii who work at the PCC as their work study. Nevertheless, every few years they get fed up and form a union to protest the horrible conditions. The PCC fires them all and starts over, and despite the dire precedents, the workers eventually get fed up and form a union again. Not at all the happy place it appears on the outside.

#81 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2006, 01:53 AM:

Coming from a country where rum and rebellion are inextricably linked, I would ask for Bundy OP, unless there was Mount Gay available. (The latter is the name of the distillery from which it originates, not an instruction.)

#82 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2006, 02:21 AM:

Juli, that sounds like something Ian Lind would be up on, as a former Star-Bulletin reporter. I kinda wonder about the "form a union, get fired" story, though; this state is about as unionized as you can get outside of the Rust Belt, and stories of that sort would, I'd think, get publicized.

I'm not a real close observer, though, since I'm about 30 miles from the BYUH campus and despite living in Hawai'i for 28 years I've never made it to a PCC show.

Clifton is indeed a fellow resident.

#83 ::: Per Chr. J. ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2006, 03:52 AM:

To be fair, I've seen quotes from late 19th/early 20th century books by Irish and Spanish priests that went on about how the Mother Church would soon 'humble' those Protestant, Masonic, liberal and Germanic nations. Sort of Jack Chick in reverse. And there were certainly attempts here in Europe by Catholic clergy to get parishioners to vote 'their way'. As several others have already commented, such attempts did not always meet with that great a success.

As an agnostic this isn't really my quarrel (well, maybe I'm culturally a Lutheran agnostic as opposed to those who are Catholic agnostics...), but I also sometimes wonder why we always hear about the sufferings and discrimination against the Catholic minorities in Protestant countries, but so seldom about what went on in the massively Catholic countries. Norway, for example, allowed the reentry of the Catholic church in the mid-19th century, it took much longer for Lutheranism to be allowed in certain Southern European countries.

#84 ::: A.R.Yngve ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2006, 05:28 AM:

The pattern is that people say immigration was fine and dandy UNTIL NOW, and the current wave of foreigners are THAT FATAL TIPPING POINT that will slide the country into chaos.

And it has been said about practically every ethnic group or nationality.

If aliens landed, they'd hear the same thing: "Well, immigration's been a good thing UNTIL NOW, but we can't have these aliens come and ruin our country with their foreign ways and steal our jobs!"
:)

#85 ::: Keir ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2006, 06:59 AM:

Of course, hating the Catholic Church has been a good `left-wing' virtue for a long, long time.

By the way, it isn't so much Nativism and 1886 that I think of; it is the Armada, and 1588. (Not that Hispanic immigrants are an Armada, but many on the American Right would love such imagery.)

Um, I agree with large parts of the Chick pamphlet on `are the Catholics Christian'. Not the conclusions, but many of the points about the various sacraments, Purgatory etc. Quite a lot of people do. It is called Protestantism. Alleging that the Vatican controls the world is nonsense; so is alleging that Satan runs the Vatican, or that the Pope is the anti-christ.

To state that many of the Catholic Sacraments are unscriptural is perfectly fine, and shouldn't be placed in the same category as `Pope = Satan', and `Vatican = World Government'.

ALthough, devil cookies? Surely a simple explanation of Platonic Idealism would do as an attack on the Catholic Church's doctrine of transubstantiation.

There are those who plan to do away completely with our borders so they can put our middle class in competition against the world’s most impoverished masses.

Yes; we call them Free Traders. They are the direct intellectual descendants of the Liberals, and the efforts to repeal the Corn Laws. Nowadays, they tend to be accounted Tories, in what I must say is one of the weirdest twists.

Their way of thinking, as the British Ambassador to Japan is reputed to have said, goes like: `Jesus Christ is Free Trade, and Free Trade is Jesus Christ'.

#86 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2006, 07:24 AM:

Well,I'm now convinced: Hindus and Jews are really Hawaiians. All of them, clearly, tools of Satan,which is very similar both to 'satin' and 'Stan', which means that luxury-loving Poles are also tools of Satan. And since poles are made of wood, and trees are sacred to Thor, very clearly the Norse are also Satanic Hindu-Jewish-Hawaiians.

#87 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2006, 08:06 AM:

Of course, hating the Catholic Church has been a good `left-wing' virtue for a long, long time.

No scare quotes necessary. Hating a large, rich, unaccountable, authoritarian, unelected organisation that preaches obesiance to kings and dictators is a good left-wing virtue. Hating Catholics isn't. Hating Catholic beliefs isn't. But the church itself? Crack on.

#88 ::: Marina loves pictures ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2006, 08:34 AM:

Never heard Vatican to promote imigration.
Imigrants would not leave their home town even if Vatican says it.

#89 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2006, 08:37 AM:

Hell, as Garry Wills points out, hating the Vatican has a long and honorable history among practicing Catholics.

#90 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2006, 09:07 AM:

Anti-clericalism has a long history among Catholics, that's for sure.

#91 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2006, 09:08 AM:

Dave, Dan: the Macho Women With Guns nun supplement was Renegade Nuns on Wheels. It was essentially the land vehicle rules. Batwinged Bimbos From Hell was the flying rules.

Glad I could help clear that up for you.

(Why do I remember this stuff? Taking up the brain cells that I could have used to understand long division, or American electoral politics?)

#92 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2006, 09:41 AM:

Well, Jo, at least the game stuff is useful.

#93 ::: Captain Slack ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2006, 09:46 AM:

Yngve skrev:
If aliens landed, they'd hear the same thing: "Well, immigration's been a good thing UNTIL NOW, but we can't have these aliens come and ruin our country with their foreign ways and steal our jobs!"

That story's been told, yeah.

o/` eet ek nas naj, na sus ga nil pa et eet ek nas naj o/`

#94 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2006, 10:27 AM:

It would appear that the circulation of the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel is around 30,000. It's an afternoon paper, too, which generally means that news commentary and analysis of social issues is not, shall we say, its heart and soul.

Nor would I have thought of Fort Wayne, Indiana, as being a great melting-pot of immigration, either of the poor, the dispossessed, or of the sacerdotally-enhanced. Of course, I speak under correction. Maybe the editor was frightened by a monstrance. Or perhaps someone waved a biretta in his face. Or tried to censer him.

#95 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2006, 10:30 AM:

Still, have we so thoroughly run out of history that all we get is repeats?

History is fractal, and chaotic. It never repeats exactly, but takes forms that are remarkably similar, yet different, from the previous ones. Small factors can cause tremendous differences -- or none at all. And it scales, both up and down, in terms of its self-similarity.

Unfortunately, this holds true for historical idiocy as well as historical genius.

#96 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2006, 10:47 AM:

Fragano, not only that, but all those countries that end in '-stan' are obviously Satanist outposts too. And since many of them have become democracies, that proves that democracy is a tool of Satan, along with roses and oranges, and anything pink (rose) or orange (I'll be launching my crusade against safety cones and lifejackets shortly).

Not only that, but since Christians believe Jesus rose from the dead, Christianity and Jesus and the Bible are all tools of Satan!!!1!!!11!!

#97 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2006, 11:10 AM:

Gee, my dad's name was Stanley, so what should I think? (Ducks and runs for cover before anyone can answer that.)

#98 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2006, 11:19 AM:

Given that the Allen County library, in Fort Wayne, has one of the better genealogical collections in the US, I would have thought the people who live or work in the city would know better ... the people who come to visit the library aren't going to be all white or protestant.

#99 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2006, 11:22 AM:

Faren, it means that you're a Child of Satan. It also means that Millers are Satanic as well. And therefore that all milled products (flour, for example, or wood pulp) are Tools of the Devil. Therefore bread and houses and fire (which burns the Evol Wood) are Hellspawn.

But we can go further. Textiles are also produced in mills. That means that all clothing is reprobate, and should be discarded.

That leaves the truly pious naked and shivering in the rain—which is, of course, God's Reign. And shivering is a kind of trembling, which all pious folk ought by rights to do before the Awesome Power of the Lord.

Those pains in your hands and feet (if you're of European descent)? Those are cryostigmata! They're a sign you're about to become one with Christ! Stay out in the Holy Reign just a little longer, and you won't have to wait for the Rapture!

#100 ::: Chryss ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2006, 11:35 AM:

Wait: Polynesians = American Indians = Jews?

Gotta craft a series of "poi vey" jokes IMMEDIATELY. Must dash--

#101 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2006, 11:41 AM:

Actually I think 'cryostigmata' is a damn good name for the sensation you experience when the A-V Shunt goes off. Especially but not only if you also get a headache and a stitch in your side at the same time.

#102 ::: Gag Halfrunt ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2006, 12:03 PM:

Avram/Teresa/Xopher:
You do realize, don't you, that it is Mormon doctrine that Polynesians are all American Indians (it's obvious, just look at them!) and as American Indians are all Jews (equally obviously!) so the Polynesians are more of the Lost Tribes of Israel.

That's why the Mormons are so active proselytizing throughout Polynesia - they are not only a major force in rural Hawaii (BYU Hawaii, anyone?) but in Western Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, and I expect the Cook Islands and Tahiti too, or at least any of those places they're allowed in.

According to the List of temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Wikipedia, there are temples in (Western) Samoa, Tonga and Tahiti. If the Polynesians are lost tribes, I imagine that New Zeland must be on the to-do list.

#103 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2006, 12:04 PM:

Xopher: Certainly, that's where this logic leads. All Christians are tools of Satan, except Unitarians. Hmm. Are there other possibilities?

Your handle begins with an ecks, add a 'b' to that and you get 'Becks'. You are therefore a lover of beer. Beer sounds like 'bear', an animal sacred to the Norse gods. The Norse gods are Satanic creations. Ergo, you are Satan.

#104 ::: Gag Halfrunt ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2006, 12:10 PM:

Ahem, there is already a temple in New Zealand, but I didn't notice it on the list.

#105 ::: Rachael de Vienne ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2006, 12:53 PM:

I've read The Two Babylons. It represents some of the very worst scholarship produced by an Anglican. It's a fun read though, and very interesting.

Characterizing the Pope as the antichrist did not originate with Protestants, though it was a common theme among them until the early 20th Century. The earliest identification of the Pope as Antichrist of which I am aware was by Arnulf, Bishop of Orléans in 991.

Arnulf summarized recent Papal history (Concupiscence, murder, assassination, nepotism, conspiracy) and concluded with this comment: “The observance of His holy religion is despised by the sovereign pontiffs themselves.”—Francois Villemain Life of Gregory the Seventh, volume 1, page 176.

Arnulf was probably not the first Catholic to identify the Pope as the Antichrist. He was certainly not the last to do so.

Didn't know we Pixie Princesses knew this stuff, did you?

Pixie

#106 ::: Gareth Rees ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2006, 12:58 PM:

Um, I agree with large parts of the Chick pamphlet on "are the Catholics Christian". Not the conclusions, but many of the points about the various sacraments, Purgatory etc

That's the way propoganda works: lies, hatred, bigotism and unreason are mixed in with elements of truth and reasonableness. People who are disgusted by the former try to ignore it proceeding to the latter, but Chick hopes that the subliminal message will stick and that the next time you see a Catholic mass, images of the priests of Osiris and evil Catholic priests with the devil at their shoulder chanting mumbo-jumbo will leap unbidden into your mind and reinforce whatever legitimate and reasonable anti-Catholic views you already had. Goebbels worked in just the same way.

#107 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2006, 02:46 PM:

GODWIN!

#108 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2006, 03:05 PM:

It represents some of the very worst scholarship produced by an Anglican.

Is there a prize for that? There ought to be.

Didn't know we Pixie Princesses knew this stuff, did you?

With a name like Rachael de Vienne, I'd have placed you in the ninth century anyway. Or else as the secret Vatican assassin from a Dan Brown novel. Unless, of course, that was the joke.

#109 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2006, 01:26 AM:
Dave, Dan: the Macho Women With Guns nun supplement was Renegade Nuns on Wheels. It was essentially the land vehicle rules. Batwinged Bimbos From Hell was the flying rules.

Glad I could help clear that up for you.

Thanks. I think.

(Why do I remember this stuff? Taking up the brain cells that I could have used to understand long division, or American electoral politics?)

Tell me about it, he said with feeling. My brain is stuffed with great wodges of stuff that will never be of any use unless Jeopardy! not only deigns to have me on but has categories on "Hobby Games of the '80s" or "The Novels of Alan Dean Foster." Meanwhile, I distinctly remember taking classes in calculus, chemistry, and many other useful subjects, but I'd be hard-pressed to prove it.

I suppose in order to make this on-topic I'll have to find a way to blame the Vatican for it. Must ponder.

#110 ::: Racahel de Vienne ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2006, 01:28 AM:

With a name like Rachael de Vienne, I'd have placed you in the ninth century anyway. Or else as the secret Vatican assassin from a Dan Brown novel. Unless, of course, that was the joke.

That would be late 10th century. See, the way it works is this: the first century was 1-100. All second century dates except 200 start with 1. So 991 AD (or CE if you're picky) was at the end of the tenth century.

You pickin' on my name? We princess/ goatherd/ booksellers don't take kindly to havin' our name picked at, Bub.

And assassin? The only things I've ever assassinated are an occasional mouse and a rattle snake. That's all the confession you get from me.

Pixie

#111 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2006, 05:05 AM:

Is it Silas the Secret Vaticassassin who is possibly the worst covert operative in fiction? Not is he a) immensely tall and strong and b) an albino - thus making him extremely unlikely to blend in, er, anywhere - but also he has had both legs deliberately amputated, in order to allow him to alter his height by switching between prosthetic legs of different lengths.

#112 ::: A.R.Yngve ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2006, 07:50 AM:

I once heard a guy in my hometown complain about the immigrants who ought to be chased out of the country...
...and when I asked him where HIS parents came from, he admitted they were not "native born" but he didn't see any contradiction in that!

Bigotry has nothing to do with logic.

#113 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2006, 11:08 AM:

This year at least, all my "cryostigmata" (or should that be "cryptostigmata," since they're hidden under my clothes and aren't chilly?) can be blamed on allergic arthritis. Being devilspawn, I don't get ordinary sneezing fits from pollen. But gee, that's not much in the way of sinister superpowers!

#114 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2006, 11:16 AM:

Fragano, it's easier than that. Either a) my handle is substituting 'X' for 'Christ' thus "taking the Christ out of Christopher," which is anti-Christian and therefore Satanic; or b) 'X' stands for 'Christ' and that's Christian, and as we've already established, all things Christian are by definition Satanic.

Also, your handle (possibly your actual name) contains 'Ledgister', which sounds an awful lot like words that mean 'lawgiver'; but Gawd Awlmahtee is the only TRUE Lawgiver, so you're trying to set up laws contrary to His, and therefore you're a Satanist.

And 'Fragano'? O Lord! It sounds like it ought to mean 'one who frags (throws fragmentation grenades)'. That's not only Satanic, it means you're Objectively Pro-Terrorist! Better stay away from Little Green Footballs.

ajay, you're right. In fact I suspect the phrase 'immensely tall and strong albino' may be a unique identifier...or is it an urban myth that albinism is often correllated with sickliness?

A.R.Yngve: Bigotry has nothing to do with logic.

Yes, in exactly the same sense that bacteria have nothing to do with antibiotics.

#115 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2006, 11:18 AM:

Faren, 'cryptostigmata' is delightfully oxymoronic. In fact, "The Secret Stigmatization of Faren" sounds like a great title for a novel I have no intention of writing.

#116 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2006, 05:56 AM:

ajay, you're right. In fact I suspect the phrase 'immensely tall and strong albino' may be a unique identifier...or is it an urban myth that albinism is often correllated with sickliness?

Really? I've never read the damn book, just flipped through it in a bookshop, and I was convinced I must have imagined that bizarre detail.
I mean, an albino assassin with no legs?
a) Come back here, I'll bite your knees!
b) No wonder he only murders very old renowned curators; anyone else can easily outrun him - unless he has Steve Austin-style bionic prostheses, or just little powered wheels in the sole of each foot
c) presumably he must carry an immense case around with his array of different-length legs, which must raise eyebrows at Customs
d) I don't think the police rely exclusively on height when chasing murderers - "That's him, Sarge!" "No, leave it, son - our albino suspect's 6 foot 2 and that albino's only 5 foot 11"
e) I suppose that if he were assigned to murder someone in the Scottish Highlands, he could mix and match to get one leg longer than the other, which would allow him to run round the sides of hills faster
f) presumably, like a Terry Pratchett troll, he must cost his employers a fortune in sunblock

Albinos, as far as I know, have the obvious health problems - sunburn and eyes very sensitive to bright light - and generally various other visual problems such as nearsightedness. But other than that they're as healthy as non-albinos.

Incidentally, it is not a unique identifier: Bigboy, the villain in Stephen Hunter's 1950s Deep South thriller 'Pale Horse Coming', is also an extremely strong albino. Respect my superior pulp-fu.

#117 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2006, 11:03 AM:

Thanks, ajay. But actually I meant a unique identifier in any one world. Which probably isn't true either given what else you said about albino health.

And the leg thing is really stupid. Shoes with lifts can make a dramatic difference in someone's height, enough to make people see them very differently. Dan Brown, as established elsewhere, is a bad writer.

#118 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2006, 11:55 AM:

Xopher: Fortunately, I'd put down my mug of tea before reading your post! Clearly, it has been onomastically proven that everyone's a terrorist.

#119 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2006, 12:39 PM:

also he has had both legs deliberately amputated, in order to allow him to alter his height by switching between prosthetic legs of different lengths. Ajay, I know you aren't making this up, but I have to say this is one of the silliest things I've ever heard. Yet another reason why you couldn't pay me to read this book. (The clunky prose alone would make it torture...)

#120 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2006, 12:39 PM:

*bows*

Thank you. May I now proclaim myself an Onomaster?

#121 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2006, 01:06 PM:

An albino assassin... Wasn't there one in Chevy Chase's Foul Play?

#122 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2006, 01:16 PM:

I suppose a fictional albino could be both sickly and strong. As I recall, Elric was both, though his strength came from a performance enhancing sword and drugs, so it came and went. Tall, too, but he had both legs attached.

#123 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2006, 01:43 PM:

Xopher: You clearly are. Also, I suspect, an onomasticator.

#124 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2006, 01:48 PM:

Tracie, that may be where I got the idea that albinos are sickly. Elric could hardly stand without magical help IIRC.

Well, that's embarrassing. These days I'm hardly even willing to admit reading a trashy writer like Michael Mostcock. I don't anymore, btw, not since I realized that there Really! Is! A Secret! Formula! to his novels..."oh, gods, not another goddam Eternal Fucking Champion!"

#125 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2006, 02:29 PM:

That would be late 10th century.

Oops. I knew that, honest. (What with being employed as a professional ancient historian and all.) My excuse is that I was just picking the ninth century at random, or rather as the time the name reminded me of, and hadn't actually registered the AD 991 reference. Or else I was just tired. Still, I am duly embarrassed.

But I wasn't picking on your name. It's a very nice name. Just notably medieval.

I'm with Lizzy on the albino amputee assassin. Does he have any other character traits that begin with an "a"? Are we getting an insight into Dan Brown's writing methods here?

#126 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2006, 02:34 PM:

You credit it more than I, if you think there be method in't.

#127 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2006, 03:07 PM:

All right, "method" in the sense that weekend gamblers going to Vegas have a method.

#128 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2006, 03:20 PM:

You mean that Dan Brown really did write about an albino assassin who had had his legs surgically removed, so that he could change his height?

It's not a joke?

I take it that when they catch the editor, Patrick, Teresa, and their assembled co-professionals in the publishing business will be formed up, in hollow square, while... No, Patrick will be off to one side, with the rest of Whisperado, playinmg Danny Deever as the idiot has his buttons snipped off, his keyboard broken over the publisher's knee, and then thrown into the Central Park lake with an antique cast-iron Underwood chained to his ankles.

#129 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2006, 03:22 PM:

It was the implication, after Shakespeare, that I was after.

#130 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2006, 03:25 PM:

Dave Bell, you forgot the little circle with a loop branded on his forehead.

#131 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2006, 04:17 PM:

I suspect Bruce Sterling probably has a case for plagiarism against Dan Brown over the assassin with the semi-detachable legs. There's clear prior art in the Mechanist/Shaper stories, except Bruce knew better than to throw in the Vatican.

I wonder what you'd get if you turned Mr Brown onto some of the more recondite ravings of Nesta Webster? (Particularly Secret Societies and Subversive Movements, the book that first popularized the Masonic/Illuminati conspiracy.)

#132 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2006, 04:20 PM:

taking the Christ out of Christopher

In the fashion that will be familiar to all the Making Enlightened, this points an obvious direction:

Taking the Christ out of ChristML
Taking the Christ out of OS Christ
Taking the Christ out of Christ-Ray Spechrists

Obviously, this is the reason that Our Lord in His Infinite Wisdom created global replace. Further examples are left for those daringly unwise enough to try.

#133 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2006, 04:58 PM:

"No, Patrick will be off to one side, with the rest of Whisperado, playinmg Danny Deever as the idiot has his buttons snipped off, his keyboard broken over the publisher's knee, and then thrown into the Central Park lake with an antique cast-iron Underwood chained to his ankles."

And the SNL skit will have Chuck Connors as Dan Brown. (What? No one remembers "Branded?")

#134 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2006, 04:59 PM:

Sechristual Healing? Homosechristuality?

Echristchriston? Christtreme Sports?

I tried making the pun some years ago that the MicroSoft codename for XP really should have been Cairo, but nobody got it. Except a few of the Making Enlightened.

And perhaps I've been given too much credit here. I really did devise 'Xopher' by regular substitution of my first name, based on the pattern observed in 'Xmas'.

#135 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2006, 05:15 PM:

I am rapidly developing the habit of not believing second-hand reports about anything.

I found an online pirated copy of The Da Vinci Code, and grepped through it for every occurrance of "legs". Here, in Chapter 93: "His legs still ached from being bound all that time, but Silas had endured far greater pain." That's all I could find, nothing about amputation. In fact, the string "amput" doesn't occur on that page.

#136 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2006, 05:50 PM:

Bu...but these are funny second-hand reports. You have to believe the funny ones.

Mongo the killer albino monk also had several interchangeable brains which he kept in jars hung on his Rosary beads, so that he could alter his stupidity level to suit the exigencies of the plot, if it be lawful to call it a plot.

#137 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2006, 06:20 PM:

Echristchriston?

That would be a *great* company name. Trademark it immediately!

You may, or may not, be pleased to hear that I have some books which I bought in Cairo six years ago and monogrammed with a chi-rho. Up until now this has been the very definition of a private joke, in that I didn't actually tell anyone about this or even lend the books out. Oh well. If a thing's worth doing, it's worth boasting about.

And I for one will believe anything bad about the Da Vinci Code on principle. It isn't a very good principle, but I'm short of them at the moment.

#138 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2006, 07:38 PM:

And I for one will believe anything bad about the Da Vinci Code on principle. I'm with Candle. And I am also mildly disappointed to think that the book is not quite as dumb as I had been led to believe... or maybe it still is?

#139 ::: HP ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2006, 07:58 PM:

The Albino Code -- Opening any minute now in Boston, and then available online for download, apparently. Check out the trailer.

Also: related article in the Boston Herald.

#140 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2006, 08:14 PM:

And I am also mildly disappointed to think that the book is not quite as dumb as I had been led to believe... or maybe it still is?

Well, there's still all the crap research hektographed from crap sources, and more importantly, pasted in without the slightest creativity or imagination in its use.

Tony Robinson's documentary on the book's sources (which is the one to watch if you're going to watch anything on the topic) had a very interesting aside: Robinson said that he believed that Brown had every right to use whatever he wanted to as source material for a fictional thriller. He didn't explicitly say that Brown did not have the right to pretend that this junk was real history, but he had not long earlier run a clip of Brown talking about the "real" Priory of Zion, followed by a detailed demolition of the silly hoax.* I rather think I feel the same way. If Brown had said, "Look, this is a fantasy based on other fantasies; if you can't figure that out, I've got some palantiri to sell you." But he didn't do that.

Brown refused to be interviewed for Robinson's program; it was said that he was "researching his next book." Since, from the evidence of his prior books, this could not have taken more than half an hour, perhaps he just didn't want to talk to someone who had done some actual research.

*I almost called it "stupid," but the guys who put it together were actually rather clever -- not honest, but they found a way to use their skills as con men and forgers to separate les fous from their francs without breaking any specific laws.

#141 ::: Richard Anderson ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2006, 08:32 PM:

I'll take the unpopular position here and say that for all of The Da Vinci Code's flaws as a work of prose, I still found it a page turner and, yes, a diverting read. In other words, light entertainment for beach or hammock. The book isn't necessarily worth buying, but given the number of copies sold you can probably borrow it from one of my fellow philistines.

#142 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2006, 08:34 PM:

candle, I'm pleased but not surprised. You're the best ever!

*wears candle's favor into battle*

#143 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2006, 08:45 PM:

Mr. Anderson, I bought it in paperback and read it all the way through without throwing it against the wall. I found it filled with horrid writing (and I'm no expert), but I kept reading it as light entertainment.

The ending was about as slapdash an effort at tying up ends as I've ever read, though.

#144 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2006, 05:19 AM:

Avram: Huh. I am confused and worried. My apologies. Am I going bonkers? Or is that particular idea in another Dan Brown book? (Angels & Demons)? I'm sure I came across it somewhere.
The Sterling reference worries me. If I have conflated a Bruce Sterling book with a Dan Brown book then I doubt I will last long enough to get the hollow square treatment; I'll probably be found sprawled on the floor of the Santa Fe Institute, having been battered to death with a spime.

This, by the way, is a classic example of what journalists mean when they say something is "too good to check".

Mongo the killer albino monk also had several interchangeable brains which he kept in jars hung on his Rosary beads, so that he could alter his stupidity level to suit the exigencies of the plot, if it be lawful to call it a plot.

Mongo only supporting character in improbably successful airport thriller of life.

#145 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2006, 11:26 AM:

Ok, first I'll admit I read the stupid book (shaking my head and groaning most of the way through.)

Ajay, what you may have interpreted as amputated legs was a device strapped to one of Silas' thighs. The object in question is something SUPPOSEDLY used by members of Opus Dei as a form of personal mortification (i.e., sharing the suffering of Christ).

Where the book fell apart for me was the word used to open a certain object was in English, while the French form of the same word is also five letters...sheesh!

#146 ::: Rachael de Vienne ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2006, 01:02 PM:

But I wasn't picking on your name. It's a very nice name. Just notably medieval.

I'm only vaguely medieval. We pixie princesses transcend time, and aren't associated with just one era.

Sha'el, princess of pixies, queen of goats
AKA/Rachael de Vienne
WarDancingPixie.blogspot.com

#147 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2006, 03:13 PM:

For those who want to know, John Allen Jr, Vatican reporter for National Catholic Reporter, and a very knowledgeable man, has written an interesting book about Opus Dei, titled -- yes. Opus Dei. It's quite readable. And for those of you who might possibly be wondering; no, I am NOT.

#148 ::: Dave Bell sees spam @148 ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2009, 07:32 AM:

And writing English like that, they don't stand a chance.

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