Conspiracy Guy: I’m Just Say’n

Conspiracy Guy:  I’m Just Say’n

Every now and then, there is an article in The Montreal Gazette which manages to overcome The Gazette’s increasing mediocrity and is surprisingly substantive.  Hubert Bauch’s “Clinging to Conspiracies” was in this weekend’s paper.  Quoting psychologist Patrick Leman, he writes:  “…belief in conspiracies…is a coping mechanism for the insecure….on the one hand, convincing ourselves of conspiracy theories wishes away the stark, terrifying arbitrariness of life on this Earth, or, on the other, compensates for a sense of disempowerment and enables people to blame personal failures on the clandestine machinations of a malevolent governing system that conspires to keep them down….”  Towards the end of the article, Bauch quotes comedian Dennis Miller’s view as a sharp corrective to such milquetoast self-absorption:  “the biggest conspiracy has always been that there is no conspiracy.  Nobody’s out to get you. Nobody gives a shit whether you live or die.  There, do you feel better now?”  

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Desperately Seeking… Cynthia (Anyone can Knit)

Desperately Seeking… Cynthia (Anyone can Knit)

It was my “animus prodigious”…like Churchill’s “black dog”…the thing that consumed me, rendered everything I achieved pale by comparison (and, let’s face it:  I’ve been on radio, cable TV–known in two provinces for a skill I will speak of later), and yet, I look at this book I’ve published (to no little acclaim), and all I can think is:  what next?  The gumshoe voyageur must live still within me because what never seems to satisfy me is the thing itself whereas what drives me onward is pursuing the next thing.  No rest at the destination, the achievement itself; there is rest only in striving, reaching for the next thing. In the movie, “Doubt”, the Meryl Streep character says:  “In the pursuit of wrongdoing, one steps away from God.”  This is ambiguous. I think the writer meant “the prosecution of wrongdoing”, not “the pursuit”.  In Ground Manners, Volpone and Rash “pursue” wrongdoing as if wrongdoing were, in and of itself, a thing to be desired and therefore, chased after.  
In that way, yes, they step away from God:  Volpone in his congenital madness, not ever knowing good from evil, just following the lights he was born with, miscreant that he is.  Volpone “pursues” wrongdoing unawares; in his mind, he pursues, avidly, the gratification of pleasure which, for him, is the ultimate good, independent of the moral:  his pursuit is the truly amoral.  Volpone is like a man with no hands desperately wishing to play piano. He is like the limbless but hopeful snake about to read a how-to book on knitting called, “Anyone Can Knit.”  Rash, on the other hand, has found power, seated himself comfortably within its limitless bounds, and pursues wrongdoing–not because, like Volpone, he knows no better–but just because it pleases him to do so.  

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