Wednesday, June 12, 2019

The Conservative Case Against Witches, and Other Arcana

And don't even get me started on those bloody Tarot readers! Tower, by Vera Petruk.

Shorter David Brooks, "The Age of Aquarius, All Over Again!" The New York Times, 10 June 2019:
These young people today with their belief in astrology, witchcraft, and (shudder!) mindfulness, take it to a point where I can't even laugh at it, in spite of my normally wry and urbane disposition. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez allowed her birth chart to be done! Thirteen thousand witches got together to put a curse on Brett Kavanaugh! Plus they are all woke! In fact the ones I talk to don't literally believe in astrology and are ironical while the witches are surprisingly normal, giving standard self-help advice, but I won't let that stop me from flying into a panic. The worst is that in their hodgepodge spirituality each person borrows practices from, say, Native American, Buddhist, Christian, Jewish and SoulCycle traditions and blends them in a way he or she finds moving. There is no grand narrative, no specific way one is expected to live, no set of laws you have to obey or even a specific cult leader! This must not stand!
Unlike David F. Brooks, who in his recent well-publicized divorce from any mainstream religion (The Second Mountain:The Quest For a Moral Life, Random House 2019) has adopted a hodgepodge spirituality borrowing notions from Catholic, Jewish, Prosperity Gospel, Civic Americana, and self-help psychology traditions and binds them in a way he finds moving with no grand narrative (well, except Lincoln existed at one time, that was undeniably grand), no specific way he is expected to live, no set of laws he must obey, and not even a cult leader, though he's clearly available for the job if anybody's interested, but don't expect him to give you a set of laws to live by, or even a repertoire of spiritual practices even as doctrinally attenuated and indisputably good for you as mindfulness, because he can't be bothered by any of this pettiness. His interest is in actualizing himself on the climb up that second mountain on his own, taking an occasional breather to scream at the beastly individualists in the lower altitudes, because there's nothing worse than beastly individualists with their self-actualization and hodgy-podgy list of spiritual practices and lack of cult leaders.

Fucking hippies! Why can't these low-life dillettantes learn to be serious, like David F. Brooks?

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