Sunday, August 08, 2004

Priceless Wisdom

I don't get out much. My acquaintances tell me I was born 50 years old. Yesterday, for want of anything better to read, I picked up the local newspaper's Sunday supplement. "OUR MAN IN ATHENS," it read, "America's all wrapped up in MICHAEL PHELPS' quest for Olympic gold." That's nice, I thought to myself, I'd have hated to be wrapped up in something and not known it. It's the same reason I appreciate stories about how America's BUZZZING. I remember being told about the marriage / divorce / /terrorist bombing (it was a very confusing story, and I have to admit I wasn't paying lots of attention) between Jaylo and that Arab fellow Bin Aflic. I must have been BUZZING, but apparently I can't make sound or vibration. So stories like that help me stay in the loop. The bottom line is that I'm not as up on everything as I should be, whether or not it's good or bad.

That's preface to my saying I've just now found this great and well-known blog, called Mommentary. It's run by a lady who calls herself Elinor Dashwood, after a character in a Jane Austen novel:
Elinor Dashwood is the elder of two sisters whose troubles and actions drive the plot of Jane Austen's novel, Sense and Sensibility. "S&S" isn't Austen's best-constructed book; its two opposing ideas are perhaps too simplistically portrayed in the sisters, of whom Elinor is Sense and Marianne is Sensibility. Marianne is a Rousseauian, a passionately vivid spirit who lives for romance, emotion, perfect candor, freedom from societal constraints, and the World Well Lost For Love. That's why I'm Elinor: not only do people like Marianne do a lot of harm to themselves, to the family, and to society, but they also make me feel extremely unwell.
Bravo!! If any man deserved to live out his life in absolute, unremitted obscurity, it was Rousseau. "Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains." Bull. I can't stand Upstairs, Downstairs' Elizabeth Bellamy, or the legions of slogan-screaming, hairy-armpitted women who followed her. I went to college with Rousseauian people, and I helped restrain myself by giving them a theme song -- the Dead Kennedys' "Holiday in Cambodia."
So you been to school for a year or two
And you know you've seen it all
In daddy's car thinkin' you'll go far
Back east your type don't crawl
Play ethnicky jazz to parade your snazz
On your five grand stereo
Braggin that you know how the niggers feel cold
And the slums got so much soul

It's time to taste what you most fear
Right Guard will not help you here
Brace yourself, my dear

It's a holiday in Cambodia
It's tough kid, but it's life
It's a holiday in Cambodia
Don't forget to pack a wife

You're a star-belly sneech you suck like a leech
You want everyone to act like you
Kiss ass while you bitch so you can get rich
But your boss gets richer on you
Well you'll work harder with a gun in your back
For a bowl of rice a day
Slave for soldiers til you starve
Then your head skewered on a stake

Now you can go where people are one
Now you can go where they get things done
What you need my son:

Is a holiday in Cambodia
Where people dress in black
A holiday in Cambodia
Where you'll kiss ass or crack

Pol Pot, Pol Pot, Pol Pot, Pol Pot . . . . . .

And it's a holiday in Cambodia
Where you'll do what you're told
A holiday in Cambodia
Where the slums got so much soul.
Ahem. Well, anyway, I really don't like Rousseauian, Anna-Karenina, Madame-Bovary people. They make me ill, too, and that's why I've decided I like Mommentary.

Speaking of Madame Bovary and Anna Karenina, we get to the Priceless Wisdom I read over at Mommentary. Commenting on a story about Catholic marriages gone wrong, our heroine (oops, some melodrama slipped in there, sorry) writes the following:
I incline to the view that the most important factor [in an enduring marriage] after a well-formed Catholic conscience is grit. Anyone who can read a book or listen attentively to a lecture tape can learn in several hours what the Church teaches about marriage, its laws, and the graces available to the married state. It's another thing to have the discipline to remain faithful and calm when the teaching seems harsh and grace looks to be thin on the ground. All the knowledge in the world won't help if you're a spoiled princess who can't bear any kind of hardship, or a self-indulgent bum who feels aggrieved at being expected to postpone any pleasure. Knowledge is excellent and faith is superb, but they will fall without the self-command to look a problem in the eye and say that, whatever it is, it must be conquered, and giving up is not an option.
Too right. Married love is not something all couples are Wrapped Up In. It's not something they're always BUZZING with. It's work. Tough, hard work. That's why it's a vocation. No room for star-bellied sneetches who suck like leeches, nosir. In God's universe, the sweet comes after the bitter. Most human suffering is the result of trying to have the sweet before, or the bitter not at all. Madame Bovary, Lady Chatterley's Lover and Anna Karenina are novels about losers. So that's why I like Elinor Dashwood and her Mommentary, a blog about how to be a winner.

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