Saturday, November 10, 2012



Winefred's Well has been closed for business since September's attempt by the Taliban (that's "Tah-lee-bahn") to take out my kid in the attack on Camp Leatherneck.  That was the high point of my sheer panic in the event of another Obama term as Leader of the Free World [an office now ceded to Benjamin Netanyahu].  I guess I should be grateful that, at that particular moment, I switched all my internet activity over to Facebook, where posting one's fleeting thoughts and fears is so much faster and easier, and the feedback is immediate.  Thus, here at the Well, there is no evidence tracing my trajectory from panic to confidence that, November 6, we would be hailing the imminent arrival of President Romney.

To say that I was gob-smacked, shell-shocked, dazed and confused by the re-election of the most incompetent, disengaged, mendacious, nasty, anti-Semitic, juvenile slacker-president in American history is to have words completely FAIL.  I purposely did not include the words "uneducated, Marxist, America-loathing, anti-Christian" in my list of adjectives above, because I was comparing this specimen to his predecessors, some of whom have no doubt exhibited one or more of the first-listed traits in one degree or another. 

But I do think it is safe to say that never, in the 223-year history of having Presidents, have the people elected even one solitary example of an anti-Christian, or Marxist, or America-loathing man, or one so pathetically ignorant of the most basic facts of American and world history and economics.  Mr. Obama is one for the books.  And he's BA-A-A-A-CK!!!!!

So, in these days since zero-dark-thirty last Wednesday, I have searched for something appropriate with which to launch my return to the Well (of Despond?) -- some image, video, article, or quotation which would sum it all up very neatly.  At some point in the process I hit upon the music of Beethoven -- his 7th Symphony, 2nd movement -- and the brief scene from the 1981 Brideshead Revisited series in which Lady Marchmain's coffin is conveyed to the family plot in a full-bore funeral cortège with black horses wearing black plumes drawing a black hearse carriage draped in black crepe.  I couldn't find the image, and I wasn't satisfied with any of the musical arrangements.  But the hunt went on.

By happy accident, I lit upon a blog called Gem of the Ocean, and its posting from some years back with the picture of Charles Ryder genuflecting in the Brideshead chapel where the Sanctuary lamp had been re-lit even as the house surrendered its glories to the rough and rude forces of the British army, making camp to engage in training exercises in preparation for taking on the Nazis. 

All the melancholy of ages lost, beauty turned turned drab and ugly, time wasted in folly, culture repressed in quest of mere survival -- all the horrors, large and small, of the Age of Hooper, are summed up and put in their place in the closing paragraphs of the book, and the final frames of the film.  And I thank another American Catholic woman, resident across an ocean, for reminding me in the best possible way, of how we rebuild where we can, and accept when we must, taking courage from the small light in the Sanctuary. 

The builders did not know the uses to which their work would descend; they made a new house with the stones of the old castle; year by year, generation after generation, they enriched and extended it; year by year the great harvest of timber in the park grew to ripeness; until, in sudden frost, came the age of Hooper; the place was desolate and the work all brought to nothing; Quomodo sedet sola civitas. Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.

'And yet,' I thought, stepping out more briskly towards the camp, where the bugles after a pause had taken up the second call and were sounding “Pick-em-up, pick-em-up, hot potatoes”, 'and yet that is not the last word; it is not even an apt word; it is a dead word from ten years back.’

Something quite remote from anything the builders intended, has come out of their work, and out of the fierce little human tragedy in which I played; something none of us thought about at the time; a small red flame - a beaten-copper lamp of deplorable design relit before the beaten-copper doors of a tabernacle; the flame which the old knights saw from their tombs, which they saw put out; that flame burns again for other soldiers, far from home, farther, in heart, than Acre or Jerusalem. It could not have been lit but for the builders and the tragedians, and there I found it this morning, burning anew among the old stones.


i just discovered, to my surprise, that I have quite a number of draft posts in my files that never made it to the surface.  They date back several years.  But, interestingly, even as the universe (or mine, anyway) has experienced some techtonic shifts, certain things repeat themselves.  Put your minds, dear readers, to the crisis now being faced by the residents of lower Manhattan, Staten Island, and New Jersey [even as Mayor Nanny Bloomberg has outlawed unlicensed Samaritans from giving food to the homeless].  Substitute these recent victims for their southern neighbours in past years, in Georgia or Louisianna.  Add snow and freezing temperatures.  Rinse and Repeat.  Here's a classic from the hit-parade of 2009:




Kanye West apparently had no comment. He seems to have felt no compulsion to go on TV and display his extraodinary eloquence, as he once did in this memorable testimonial to the usefulness of writers.

This time Kanye was quiet. Chris Rock was strangely silent (unlike back in 2007 when he savaged Bush about Katrina at an Obama campaign event).