Columns » Bob Lancaster

Hateful things



Don't you just hate smear politics, and the little slime weasels who plot it and execute it, and their contemptible media running buddies who promote it, and the beneficiary candidates who go along with it while pretending that it's beneath them?

Don't you just hate liars who use people's vanity to defraud them? I'm thinking of a TV commercial for a certain brand of hair dye. It says, “The generation that swore it would never get old, didn't.”  Shows a bunch of old-timers with dyed hair cavorting at the beach, guitaring in rock bands, not having aged a day since they were teenagers doing the same mindless stuff. Still as young, still as dumb, still as full of whatever. Mick and Keith still Beavis and Butthead. All you have to do, Ponce, is use the right hair dye.

Don't you just hate it when otherwise tolerable people use such phony-sounding expressions as “spot on”?

And what's a zup dog anyway?

Don't you just hate this: That while the defining quality of Christianity is supposed to be selflessness, mostly what passes for Christianity today is exactly the opposite, pure selfishness, a way for mortals to buy immortality cheap and easy, or to pretend that they have. Hardly even have to leave the pool or gym.

Don't you just hate the small-mindedness of these literalists who have commandeered the discourse? I was thinking about the Ozarks just today. They're some of the world's oldest mountains — except that they aren't mountains at all. They're remnants of an eroded plateau. It once stretched for hundreds of miles flat as a tabletop, and it has taken the elements hundreds of millions of years to sculpt it down to hills and valleys. Time is awesome in its immensity. Say that all the rain and all the wind together managed to reduce that big old Ozark plain only by an inch a year. At that rate, it would've taken 12,000 years to get it down a thousand feet. That would take us back to when the first humans entered the Ozarks region, and according to the literalists Creation itself has been extant only half that long. Well, if my eroded ciphering skills are still anywhere close to operable, the geology contends that the plateau has eroded not at a rate of an inch a year, but about ten thousand times slower than that. It's been patiently wearing away nearly 200 times longer than the span between now and when the first hominid walked upright.

Don't you just hate all these murdering bastards that are out and about? Where do they get off, thinking they can just waltz out and kill somebody and it'll be the answer or the solution to something? How is it possible to go on believing that an individual human life means much of anything, when, say you are Bill Gwatney, doing what you do, making a positive difference in the advancement of the race, and some nut in Nut Town over the horizon yonder gets a wild hair and half an hour later truncates the developing story  of your life like it was something that belonged to him? It could happen to you just as easily — it could happen to me — I was within a few minutes of those Washington D.C. shopping-center snipers a few years ago, and it surely made no difference to them, or to God, whether it was me who wound up in their crosshairs at just the right moment, or wrong moment, or one of those unluckier ones — and not all the piety in the world can save either one of us if our number chances to come up.

Sunday school lesson last week posed this question: When the script starts scrolling on yet another murder like the one in Little Rock last week, why doesn't God intervene? It was generally agreed that He could intervene if He took the notion. Sometime He does, sometimes He doesn't. He included Himself out at the West Memphis toddler carvings, for instance, And at the Jonesboro schoolgirl shootings — though the one thing you heard over and over from relatives of students who were targeted there but escaped unshot was that they survived because The Lord was watching over them. Over them but not over the ones who did get shot. Over Huckabee, maybe, off somewhere vacationing and deploring it all and getting his notes together for the for-profit book he'd write about it — but not over the dead children. He watched O.J. Simpson do the deed and go on his merry way. And only He knows how many other OJs went just as merrily. Not what you wouldn't expect from One Who in the Book of Joshua not only exults in unprovoked massacres but orders them up. And how about a little perspective here: what's one more little podunk  divine non-intervention anyway, compared to the 40 million of them when Stalin shot somebody in the back of the head for no reason or the 6 million when Hitler gassed another undesirable.

The Sunday School answer was, Whether He does or not, it's not for us to understand the why or why not.

My thought about that was, Not a good enough answer.


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