Ross Douthat on the Mirage of Eden by Queer Atheist

Ross Douthat's meditation on the Newton school massacre opens like a bad television melodrama: a scenic travelogue with a pretentious voice over, about the menace lurking under the veneer of bucolic small town America, the reality of suburbia’s quiet desperation wedded to the illusory search for an unattainable safety. Although he does manage, in a kind of mysterious literary alchemy, to create an atmospheric of a certain power, you must give him his due. Which then surprisingly, but inexorably turns to Dostoevsky’s Brothers Karamazov for some decorous curlicues, made up of the literary musings of a politically terrorized sinner, that lend this essay of tactless hackery some weight. What he's trading on is the usual Christian sadomasochism, God works in mysterious ways etc., and the fact that 'evil' exists, and that it can't be overcome: the 'fallen state of man', we are cursed beings, the usual shopworn chatter of both his Conservatism and his Christianity, they are synonymous. Mr. Douthat revels in this scalding bath of Augustinian self-loathing, as a kind of theological realism, abetted by his dour, self-hating Russian ally. Mr. Douthat articulates his message to the hungering throng that desperately needs answers! One can almost hear the faint echos of hosannas, as fitting ending of this cinematically inflected essay.

Queer Atheist

About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.'
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