Friday, April 26, 2019

In which the pond settles for flaming pigeons and our Henry for a Friday ...

The pond has been having a terrible trot with movies lately.

There was Burning, a slow-burning South Korean show that only dullard art house movie buffs could learn to love (there was, gasp, a metaphor involving the main villain), and Thoroughbreds, essentially a two hander, which should have stayed in the theatre where it belonged.

In the end, the pond went back to The Last Picture Show, but north Texas always reminds the pond of north Tamworth, and the fate of the Royal always reminds the pond of the poor old Capitol theatre …

It's been a bit like that with the reptiles too … and so the pond finds itself amongst the dregs, with ancient Henry 'hole in the bucket' Ergas, gone a tad off in the noon-day sun …

Of course there were alternatives, but why do the reptiles torment Dame Groan so by reminding her each day of the onerous, burdensome task at hand?

Talk about pitiful battles, but away she groans, hope always triumphing the graph ...

Even worse, the reptiles set SloMo up for the Hawkie pub test, or even worse, SloMo set himself up, the silly doofus, as if getting pissed in a pub still stood for something about manliness and the ability to go out the back of Maguires and have a mindless brawl …

Talk of getting pissed as a parrot also reminded the pond that the parrot was out and about today, still squawking on about Folau …

But the parrot is a mindlessly repetitive bird, and his squawks always verge on the hysterical. If rugby union's constituency is barking mad fundamentalist Xians, at last the pond understands why it's never had much time for the professional bum sniffers …

No, there was nothing for it, the pond had to bite the bullet and go down the cathedral path with our Henry.

Now the pond is a cathedral devotee, but it should be clear that the pond draws strange lessons from any visit - like a trip to St Peters, where the enormous astonishing vulgarity of centre stage is a genuine wonder.

If that isn't gigantic narcissism and vanity at work, why perhaps only a splendid frock is needed to complete the picture. And of course everywhere there is marble stolen from the ancient Roman heathens, and everywhere signs of the looting of Christendom for benefit of assorted conniving, corrupt Popes … such that if Christ, with his blather about poverty and rich people and camels, were ever to come back, he might wonder if he'd landed on the right planet should he visit the Vatican…so much worldly power, so deeply corrupted ...

But enough of the pond's meditation on cathedrals, it's time for Henry getting right down with Western Christendom, the divine right of Kings, the right of lords to collect taxes, and in due course, it's not the meek that will inherit the earth, it's the one per centers ….

You see? Our Henry was blessed by the divine pigeon of chip stealers, thanks to the cult master Eric Lobbecke, confirming the cult status of our Henry's piece … as we go about the business of  finding an elevated meaning in the likely way that French workers managed to ignite the building (in much the same spirit, it should be noted, as Thomas Farriner aka Farynor's bakery, managed to produce the Great Fire of London …)

Of course the pond could have gone the metaphysical route and marvelled at the sublime indifference of God towards religious property, but then She's always been absent when it counts, and the pond finds it hard to rabbit on about the greatness of civilisation, when it might all boil down to a carelessly tossed cigarette butt, or perhaps a fire in the oven of the kind that reduced London, or in the kitchen of the Happy Chef in King street, ruining Chinese takeaway forever in Newtown …

But no, we must now put up with Henry embarking on some kind of scholastic crusade, which is admittedly better than another reptile offering, Brendan the valiant, ready to head off to Palestine…

Acts of terrorism aren't unprecedented, not in terms of scale or impact, since one minor one helped produce the major disaster of the first world war, and another fake one was used to help install Hitler in power, but in the end, O'Neill as crusader is as useless as an outdoor dunny without the lizard Oz tree killer edition for bum wipe, and his proposal as helpful as a jihad against Christians because of Christchurch …

So glumly the pond returned to our Henry, blessed by the immortal Lobbecke pigeon of peace and love and glowing phoenix spirit …

It takes a singular ability as an historian to conflate medieval times with the spirit of the Renaissance, and the Reformation, and even the counter-Reformation, but when it comes to the crunch, our Henry is that sort of historian … and where our Henry sees the seeds of a splendid Western Christendom, the pond sees the French hastening slowly towards the French revolution, and the invention of the guillotine …while cathedral dwellers embraced the lunacy of chastity, and gradually developed a taste for fiddling with whatever warm flesh happened to pass their way, as the young fell victim to their unholy power ...

So it goes when it comes to taking different views of history, and for a moment the pond was tempted to step away and take a look at SloMo making a goose of himself by pretending, in the style of all politicians, to be what he's clearly not …

Foolish, foolish SloMo and it reminded the pond of that cartoon that has been doing the rounds of late, though perhaps more inspired by the Donald …

Yes, it's a discursive outing for the pond, but it's Friday and the pond has the ultimate excuse - reading our Henry is like listening to the mad uncle dragged out of the attic to blather on about great wonders and glories, when the rest of his family just want him to eat his porridge and return to watching Fox News  …

Oh dear, perhaps that's due to the very rag that our Henry furiously scribbles for, it being part of a Murdochian empire which has sent a great beast slouching towards Bethlehem to be born …

Turning and turning in the widening gyre 
The reader cannot hear the Murdochian; 
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold at Fox News; 
Mere Murdochian anarchy is loosed upon the world, 
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere 
The ceremony of Lobbecke pigeon innocence is drowned; 
The best lack all conviction, while the worst Murdochians
Are full of passionate O'Neill intensity.

Yes, and the pond has no excuse for defiling great poems in the cause, but Greg Hunters can find the original here, as we return to our Henry, at least those of us who managed to make it through that summary of The Phantom of the Opera, and some bizarre notion that Andrew Lloyd Webber represents the triumph of Western Christendom …

Oh okay that was Gaston Leroux, but our Henry's melodramatic blather about villains and sweet damsels in distress took the pond back to the good old Capitol Theatre.

So now Western Christendom is just an over-ripe fruity drama, and we should recall Charles Laughton at his fruitiest?

And so we should all yearn to be serfs slaving away for the Lord of the Manor and content with being illiterate, for fear of getting hold of a book or three with alternative ideas?

The pond decided it didn't have the first clue as to what our Henry was banging on about, except that generally it sounded like the sort of stuff that would gladden the hearts of Luddites everywhere.

Perhaps our Henry didn't have much of a clue about what he really wanted, unless it was a chance to do dress-ups in some cathedral, since it's the intertubes that brings his thoughts to the pond this morning, while once upon a time in Tamworth, the pond would have relied on a flaming, ethereal Lobbecke pigeon …

So everything is lost, and and yet somehow everything might be found, and our Henry imagines himself as some kind of biblical prophet calling on us all to repent our folly …and return to medieval times.

Well the pond started out with dud movies, and sure enough, our Henry delivered his usual dud column, peddling the usual tripe about persecution and suffering of the Xians, as if nobody else scores the odd raw prawn in this veil of tears …

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in Murdochian clothing, but inwardly and outwardly are ravenous wolves of the Donald kind … (perhaps the pond misremembers Matthew 7:15)

The pond wished it had been better fun, but as we've been talking of pigeons and dances with the devil, why not some cartoons celebrating the dance, with more Rowe here, more Pope here, and hapless Kudelka trapped behind a paywall …


  1. "The pond decided it didn't have the first clue as to what our Henry was banging on about"

    Neither do I,DP. Does anyone ? Least of all 'Bucket' Ergas himself, I suspect, after his disjointed 'stream of consciousness' tirade.

    Now here, for instance, Henry says: "By 1300, scholars such as Adelard of Bath were convinced ..."

    Considering that Adelard died in 1152, I guess that yes, he was "convinced by 1300".

    Then we come to this: "With that unity shattered, faith, unmoored from reason, has all too often degenerated into fanaticism, particularly but not only in the Islamic world, unleashing the hatred that massacred more than 300 Christians in Sri Lanka."

    So there we have it, folks: because, obviously, the unity was never "shattered" in Western Christendom, then a couple of world wars - both of which impinged on the Islamic world to a significant extent - and later some Gulf wars and Afghanistan wars and Iraq wars - just don't count at all. No "fanaticism" here folks, none whatsoever.

    Of course, the "Islamic world" isn't entirely blameless, after all what were the Turks doing around Vienna in 1529 and again later in 1683 (if at first you don't succeed ?). But it's so very satisfying to know that nothing "moored Christendom" ever did resulted in the "massacre of more than 300 Islamists", isn't it.

    So how many Islamists were killed and wounded and had their lives destroyed in the totally pointless and appalling invasion of Iraq ? About 405,000 direct war deaths weren't there ?


  3. I would argue that the kind of left-brained reason that Henry ur-gas champions created a very direct line to the Pentagon death star that now dominates the entire world.

    The Pentagon is actually shaped like a pentagram with its five (star) arms cut off. Historically the pentagram was/is a sacred space in which magic was/is practiced. When the pentagram is used for white magic the principle arm is oriented to the north.
    When it is oriented to the south it is used to create black magic. Such is the case with the Pentagon.
    Furthermore, as far as I know the Pentagon was built on a degraded piece of land which was formerly known as HELL'S BOTTOM.
    When its site was chosen some classical scholars mounted a futile protest against its shape, orientation and location.

    In his book The Pentagon of Power Lewis Mumford includes some very interesting images which illustrate the dramatic change in the Western mind and thus perspective/perception that occurred during the "age of reason" that Henry ur-gas champions. A perspective/perception which consolidated the power drive at the root of Western culture - or what Mumford referred to as the Invisible Megamachine.

  4. Aside from getting the name of Hugo's book wrong (it is simply Notre-Dame de Paris - the cathedral is the subject, not the bellringer), Henry's very special grasp of history includes some very special lacunae. While Notre Dame may have been paid for by priests (and their flock) and used by the same, it was designed and built by craftsmen. So rather than wondering what religious people were thinking, wonder what a medieval master mason was thinking. Quoting a priest to illustrate something about the design of Notre Dame is a bit like quoting a Third Class passenger about the design of the Titanic.

    The Romanesque period was notable for the rediscovered ability to capture volume, to enclose enormous spaces, in ways that had lain within the capabilities of the Romans, but no one (in Christian Europe) since.

    The Gothic architects took that volume and filled it with light. Notre-Dame was the first great fully-mature example of the new style, which is why for mine, it has claims to being the most important building in Europe (or its offshoots) between Charlemagne's chapel at Aachen (peak-Romanesque) and the Flatiron building in New York, when skyscrapers revolutionised the city as we know it.

    Creating a great space, and filling it with light, remains a key aspiration of many, many modern architects - the techniques, the style, the materials have all changed, but the fundamental aspiration remains the same as that of Jehan de Celles and Guillaume de Sens.

    The stones of Notre-Dame tell us much, but not about religious thought. The better guide to that is the array of trinkets rescued from the fire. The Crown of Thorns, a piece of the True Cross and other similar juju. That's what the religious people wanted to have a home for. For them, Notre-Dame might as well be the Ark of the Covenant.

    1. Taking all of that, with Nick's contribution above (and ignoring the Roman wonder of the Pantheon, which is my personal favourite, and also the Byzantine Santa Sofia), do you think that any of it could ever find a home in the left-brain of reptile Henry ?

      He wrote as much from actual ignorance as from the usual reptile desire to propagandise and mislead, didn't he ?


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