Didja Know Christ Spoke English?

In the February Harper’s, in the Notebook essay, Mark Slouka writes an essay on the prevalence and worship of ignorance in America.

The Lion’s favorite bits:

“Way I see it is,” a man in the Tulsa Motel 6 swimming pool told me last summer, “if English was good enough for Jesus Christ, it’s good enough for us.”


Communicate intelligently in America and you’re immediately suspect. As one voter from Alaska expressed it last fall, speaking of Obama, “He just seems snotty, and he looks weaselly.” This isn’t race talking; it’s education.


Millions of others, however, are adults who don’t know what the Bill of Rights is, who have never heard of Lenin, who think Africa is a nation, who have never read a book. I’ve talked to enough of them to know that many are decent people, and that decency is not enough. Witches are put to the stake by decent people. Ignorance trumps decency any day of the week.

My kind of writer, Slouka. Of course I would have uncharitably added that the fellow in Tulsa should be discouraged from breeding.


13 Responses

  1. The same stuff has been said about Bush and McCain. Just because there’s ignorant people on both sides proves nothing.


  2. The fellow from Tulsa sounds like the guy Philly is responding to over at You Made Me Say It.


  3. Among my more conservative friends, using the English language correctly (or at least close to correctly) is a sign of elitism.

    And don’t be too hard on Tulsa. The guy was in a hotel, so he may have been from, say, Kansas City. Actually, Tulsa is in Oklahoma, so be hard on Tulsa. But remember, this guy may be an import.


  4. () –

    I wasn’t being hard on Tulsa. I know nothing about Tulsa, other than it’s in fundoland. I was just using nice clear English to identify who I was talking about. You’ll understand when you mature.

    evo –

    Different guy, I think. Smelly runs a wingnut blog, which may be why I can’t figure out what the hell he’s saying in his comment here. Philly’s guy is overtly idiotic and easy to understand. Smelly apparently suffers from a bit of subtlety. Or maybe he simply doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Most likely the case. It’s the Limbaugh Syndrome, marked by motormouthing while flapping your arms with your brain disengaged.

    Damn, I must have mixed up my nasty pills with my nice pills this morning.


  5. evo –

    Apparently I forgot my brain pill too, because I mixed up the Tulsa guy with the Smelly guy. Sorry about that, evo. Perhaps you could say something nice about Smelly to balance my petulant nastiness?


  6. My point is it seems this columnist is insinuating only idiots vote against Obama. I disagree–uninformed persons voted for both candidates.


  7. smelly –

    Not so on your first point. Consider the following paragraph from the essay:

    “Next, consider the numbers. Of the approximately 130 million Americans who voted this past November, very nearly half, seemingly stuck in political puberty, were untroubled by the possibility of Sarah Palin and the first dude inheriting the White House. At the same time, those of us on the winning side might want to do a cross-check before landing. How many of us – not just in the general election but in the primaries, when there was still a choice – voted for Obama because he was the It thing this season, because he was so likable, because he had that wonderful voice, because he was black, because he made us feel as if Atticus Finch had come home? If nothing else, the fact that so many have convinced themselves that one man, thus far almost entirely untested, will slay the culture of corruption with one hand while pulling us out of the greatest mess we’ve know in a century with the other suggests that a certain kind of ‘clap your hands if you believe’ naivete crosses the aisle at will.”

    But let’s not forget that it is the Republicans and Conservatives, with their blind ideology uninformed and untouched by facts and reality, who got the country into this pit, and who would simply dig the country into a deeper hole had they won the election. And that it is the Republicans and the Conservatives who encourage ignorance and blind faith, for two reasons – they are blinded themselves by their ideology, and it serves their political lusts to promote an ignorant electorate.


  8. Well he considers it, but I still see that last paragraph


  9. The last graph in my comment is mine, not Slouka’s.


  10. Of course Jesus spoke English. Good King James was the scribe who thoughtfully put all the savior’s words in red ink so that readers could more readily cherry pick their favorite quotes.

    Geez. I thought you knew everything, Ric.


  11. chappie –

    I knew that!


  12. Nice one, Chappie. Do readers of political blogs know what ‘Red Letter Christians’ are ?
    The dummies aren’t the only ones to get confused, Ric. Some dude named Emmanuel from Galilee or Naza-Reth was colloquially called Yeshu(a) – we think, vowels aren’t written in Aramaic notation – and somehow became conflated with some Greek ideal called Christos.
    Don’t look at me – I don’t get it either !
    But – isn’t the name of that traders’ patois from the UK more properly thought of as ‘Anguish’ ?


  13. Ah yes, the Anguish dialect of English!


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