Wish I’d come up with that.
I once knew a man who was a deacon in the Catholic Church. During certain ceremonies, his job was to raise his hand in a gesture of blessing over a church member and say some Latin words. The problem was, this guy had become a fairly serious atheist. So, instead of the prescribed Latin blessing, he would say the Latin words for “can’t help you, can’t hurt you.” No one noticed, not even the priests.
I feel like I’m watching something similar when I see the beginning of a sporting event and hear thousands of people singing “the land of the free” as a benediction over themselves. They don’t assimilate the words that their mouths are forming; they may as well be singing Latin.
What I mean about not assimilating the words is this: People understand these words as a type of self-blessing or self-praise, but they never examine their actual meaning. “The land of the free” has become holy dogma—an uncritically accepted truth. To critique those words is to reveal yourself as a heretic.
So much for our progress from the Middle Ages. Reason has again become treason.
But if reason makes us heretics, let’s at least be explicit heretics.
Good Friday read for you, the rest here.
Bonus round: America: Land of the Whipped and Whimpering. That reminded me of about just a week ago, crossing the border in Tijuana by car. US Border Patrol Agent looks at our passports, asks a couple of routine questions (why Mexico, where, how long: “R&R, Rosarito, 2 nights”). He pauses, hands back the passports. Says nothing.
“Is that all?” I ask.
“Unless you want to hang out,” but he says it in a kind of condescending tone.
Mark 1, Mod A intimidation for the fun of it. Just because he can, just because we’re subjects in our own land and that needs constant reinforcement.
Your life, your terms. And nothing else matters.