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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

P.J. O'Rourke mulls his mortality.

A funny and touching piece at the L.A. Times about his reaction to a cancer diagnosis.

God knows this stuff. He's God. He's all-knowing. What am I telling him, really? "Gosh, you sure are a good God. Good -- you own it. Plus you're infinitely wise, infinitely merciful, but ... look, everybody makes mistakes. A little cancer of the behind, it's not a big mistake. Not something that's going on your personal record. There's no reason it can't be, well ... reversed, is there?"

No doubt death is one of those mysterious ways in which God famously works. Except, on consideration, death isn't mysterious. Do we really want everyone to be around forever? I'm thinking about my own family, specifically a certain stepfather I had as a kid. Sayonara, you s.o.b.

Napoleon was doubtless a great man in his time -- at least the French think so. But do we want even Napoleon extant in perpetuity? Do we want him always escaping from island exiles, raising fanatically loyal troops of soldiers, invading Russia and burning Moscow?

Well, at the moment, considering Putin et al, maybe we do want that. But, century after century, it would get old. And what with Genghis Khan coming from the other direction all the time and Alexander the Great clashing with a Persia that is developing nuclear weapons and Roman legions destabilizing already precarious Israeli-Palestinian relations -- things would be a mess.

Has he become one of the tribe? He was raised Protestant and explained why that happened in one of his books, but he seems to be giving off beadsqueezer vibes in this one. Starting with the beadsqueezing reference.

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