Mixed Bag

Life of an image: Our headline of the week is “Icon given a fighting chance,” in 6/2/09 Chi Trib business section for lead-off hard-copy story.

Yes, and Obama couldn’t have said it better. In fact, he did, on 6/1, calling his plan “viable, achievable,” one “that will give this iconic American company a chance to rise again.”

As did NYTimes same day.

Huh. Polly want a cracker?

Death’s sting: We are in remission, cancerly speaking, from the day we are born, playwright Simon Gray wrote, brooding over friends Alan Bates and Harold Pinter, in The Last Cigarette.

Or: At birth we are sentenced to death. The medieval monk kept a skull on his desk as a reminder. “Memento mori,” the ancient Romans said.

But “I’m never going to die,” says the self-absorbed adolescent.

“I’m so happy,” Gerard Manley Hopkins told his mother on his Jesuit death bed.

Ashes to ashes and dust to dust . . . .

Remember, man, dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return. (Old-time religion admonition for Ash Wednesday, sometimes discarded in favor of “Have a nice day” or its liturgical equivalent.)

White cells down, says one day’s blood test. False alarm, the doc says after re-test. “Were you sick recently?” he asks, seeking explanation.  He’s a lifelong learner.

Never say die: In his last year, Simon Gray had his daily after-dinner smoke, “that lifelong enemy who even towards the very end never lets him down.”

He recalls playwright Harold Pinter’s “rages” as he faced death. Yes. Dylan Thomas advised, “Rage, rage against the dying of the light,” which was edited out of my 1971 book on prayer by my careful Catholic editor, who had it right but might have asked me first.

Rather cool assessment: Monsignor Darcy in This Side of Paradise (1920) is “intensely ritualistic, startlingly dramatic, loved the idea of God enough to be a celibate and rather liked his neighbor.” Italics added to this from p. 16 of the Dover edition, 1996.

Abortive: Talked to a man of the cloth the other day about abortion, he referred several times to people of whom he did not approve who opposed it. I recalled years ago being told to abandon my racial-justice thinking because Communists shared it. The argument sells or it doesn’t, regardless who embraces it.

He and others in a group also held in contempt the abortion-as-murder argument advanced by pro-lifers, to which my response would be, are you sure it’s not murder? If we’re not sure and do it anyway, what does that say about our respect for life?

Not much.

Self-something: Heritage Foundation’s “Morning Bell” has this well-chosen phrase for Obama’s repeated confessions of American guilt: It’s “a ritual exercise in self-loathing.”

The sort of thing he got used to hearing from his spiritual guide Jeremiah Wright, who required self-separation from the totality which is us.

Union-made: If you’re looking for a boycott protest, consider this, also from “Morning Bell”:

According to Rasmussen Reports, Only 26% of Americans believe nationalizing General Motors was a good idea and 17% say that Americans should protest the bailout by boycotting GM and refusing to buy its cars.

Well. Our own vehicle is a Geo Prizm, built for the 1994 season with a Toyota motor, which our man on Madison Street praises to the skies, at the same time manifesting utter disdain for whatever comes out of Detroit’s UAW shops. He fixes them all the time and should know.

So what? Obama won,didn’t he?  Wall St. Journal Political Diary on the (expensive) GM-takeover caper:

Usually this kind of funding for big projects has to go through the powerful appropriations committees in the House and Senate, but now the power of the purse has been commandeered by the executive branch. It isn’t executing the laws, it’s making the laws.

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