Sunday, October 18, 2009

Random Book, Random Passage #2

I went left last time, so right this time. I reached for a middle shelf last time, so this time a little lower. Eyes closed, fingertips run over the tops of several pocket size paperbacks and the first one I bump into and pull is Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose. This is a book club edition, one I got back in high school, probably 1985 or 1986. I don't remember if I saw the Sean Connery/Christian Slater film in theaters, but I'd be willing to bet this was right around the time of its release. Don't recall what else I got in that introductory special offer ... whatever they were, likely sold them to used book stores long ago. I watched the movie recently, so the memory files of reading the book are partially and indistinguishably overwritten by scenes from the movie. For example, I knew full well that William of Baskerville was the investigating monk, but couldn't recall the narrator's name; it's Adso, of course, but I easily recalled he was played by a still fresh-faced Mr. Pump Up the Volume.
Jorge sneered. "Even in the episodes the preachers tell, there are many old wives' tales. A saint immersed in boiling water suffers for Christ and restrains his cries, he does not play childish tricks on the pagans!"

"You see?" William said. "This story seems offensive to reason and you accuse it of being ridiculous! Though you are controlling your lips, you are tacitly laughing at something, nor do you wish me to take it seriously. You are laughing at laughter, but you are laughing."
Baskerville goes on to go reference Biblical passages from which one could infer the Christ character was written with a sense of humor, infuriating bitter, twisted old Jorge.

Random reflection: every year around this time some religious leaders get their undergarments in a twist about Hallowe'en and the danger of kids frolicking around dressed like devils.  Hallowe'en, of course, being the gateway drug to Satanism, blood sacrifice, ritual murder, and the like.  Parishioners are warned, fun-loving parents and teachers chastised, and every attempt made by the pious to shame normal people into feeling like they do -- guilty and repressed. There are still plenty Jorges out there who would poison the page of any book that makes people laugh because they can't laugh themselves.  Fear of laughter is fear of self-knowledge.  What are all these religious nutters so afraid of?

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