[Note: I’ll get back to the “WARM” series in a while---it’s time for a little change of pace. - R.W.]
THE WILLFUL UNIVERSE -
A year ago, on December 12, 2010, in a “Parade” article (Anchorage Daily News Sunday magazine) entitled “Personalities of the year,” actress Sandra Bullock had this quote featured: “Everything works out the way the universe wants it to work out.”
After a year of personal triumphs, topped off by winning an Oscar, Ms. Bullock had decisively divorced her straying, and very embarrassing husband---Jesse James of "American Chopper" fame.
“…she handled Jesse James’ stunning betrayal with just the sort of grace and dignity we’ve come to expect from her,” said the gushing Parade article.
“Stunning?“ Let’s see…Bullock married a guy named “Jesse James”---who designs custom motorcycles, was a former bouncer, is liberally tattooed and is related to the legendary outlaw of the same name. What could possibly go wrong… Well, he had an affair with one Michelle "Bombshell" McGee---a “model and spokesperson” with tattoos right across her forehead and all over the rest of her. And with several other women as well. Ms. Bullock blames “the universe.”
Reminds me of that old cliché: “Everything happens for a reason.” That‘s a quote from just about every amateur philosopher who has just been kicked in the pants by circumstances of their own contrivance. It’s pure nonsense. Most “things” don’t happen for reasons---they happen because of reasons. Events are caused by causes---and those causes are usually mundane and often quite obvious.
THE TATTOOED UNIVERSE -
Now I don’t mean to imply intellectual shortcomings or cast moral aspersions on the devotees of body art, but it is a theme here with Mr. James. It seems, after cheating on Ms. Bullock with Ms. “Bombshell,” he cheated on that luscious lady as well. The busy Mr. James then (concurrently or subsequently) became engaged twice to the even more thoroughly tattooed Kat von D---who, after breaking their (presumably final) engagement, reported that he had cheated on her with 19 (nineteen) other women. Ms. Bullock, at least, obtained a clue---and had a personal limit of 18 or so fewer allowable indiscretions for her mate!
IT’S A MECHANISTIC UNIVERSE AFTER ALL -
Sandra Bullock is an actress…we can excuse her sappy view of the universe. But Linda Campbell is a newspaper columnist who manages to grotesquely trivialize her own personal deity and her own personal religion in an opinion column. Regarding the fortuitous timing of a mechanical breakdown of her family’s Hyundai Santa Fe, Ms. Campbell says, “I saw God’s hand in it” (“Spread God’s love, and leave it at that,“ Anchorage Daily News 12-4-2011).
The Anchorage Daily News---having decided for some inexplicable reason to print this bland, disjointed column---apparently replaced the best part of it. Ms. Campbell‘s own Star-Telegram newspaper used the heading: “Finding God in a busted transmission.”
Hearkening back to the old “mechanistic universe” hypothesis of Hobbes and Laplace, God…or the hand of God…apparently intervened to manipulate Ms. Campbell’s Hyundai to break down, mechanically, at just precisely the most opportune moment to suit her family convenience! She laboriously cites all the various inopportune moments when the vehicle could have, but did not, break down! Unbelievable---but it gets worse!
Ms. Campbell then uses this dubious automotive miracle as an improbable literary prop to develop her theme for a morality ploy. In a segue even more clumsy than my own, she says: “At Mass last Sunday, Father Luke reminded us that God’s world might not be one most of us would like, what with the last being first and first being last. The meek, not the millionaires, are supposed to inherit the earth, after all.
“And that made me think again about this continuing conundrum of modern American politics: How can people of faith condone the growing disparities in our society — or demonize those who earnestly advocate more fairness?”
Minus that “God‘s hand” laid-upon-the-Hyundai thing, this would have been just another of those insipid columns lamenting the fact that some of those other religionists don’t behave according to their own basic moral principles.
Okay, but here’s what I want Ms. Campbell to elucidate upon: What does she think God was doing fiddling with her Hyundai when he could have been fiddling with some of those “growing disparities in our society” of which she speaks?
More to the point, what was “God’s hand” doing while priests of Ms. Campbell’s religion were fiddling with young boys?
What was “God’s hand” doing during those many years when bishops, cardinals and a future Pope were using all their earthly powers to actively cover up the sexual abuses of children within their church?
And, as he was tinkering with Ms. Campbell’s Hyundai, what was “God’s hand” doing while her church continues to call its cover-up a “sin” but “not a crime?”
Ms. Campbell needs to discuss these red-hot moral questions with her “Father Luke” and get back to us. One would think that a God---able to intervene on this here Planet in order to actively delay or fortuitously time a total mechanical failure involving a “torque converter and busted axle and broken engine mounts” could somehow do just a bit more about matters far less trivial but seemingly more organically amenable to the touch of a divine hand. And I don’t want to hear the old bromide about how God (or the universe) works in “mysterious ways“…or is simply “testing” our faith. Those are just ways of saying you don’t know what you are talking about.
Now, if God could only fix transmissions…
- Rudy Wittshirk