Thursday, March 14, 2013

Francis I, King Charles, Rand Paul, Jackson “Jax” Teller

By Bernie Quigley
For The Hill on 3/14/13

Through the glass darkly we gaze into the unknown ahead, spear  in hand at the front of the boat, and the new pope seems an auspicious beginning. Not a profane New York globalist, a "rock star" marketing agent which the Wall Street Journal calls for, but possibly a true holy man, one to which the world might instead be naturally drawn.

The Vatican has learned its lesson.  It has left behind the marketing paradigm of world conquest and returned to itself. Symbolism and myth is most important in a pontiff and anthropologist Joseph Campbell had criticism of the famed John Paul II, so beloved by Fox News. When they dropped the Latin mass, Campbell suggested, they broke the cohesion of every Catholic in time and history who prayed in the same voice the world over. And when the priest turned to the people representing God at the sacrifice of the mass, he became a tyrant. To the most ancient beginnings the priest had faced God with the people's offering, representing the people.
Picasso, it has been said, was once asked to design a refrigerator. I don't know about the shape, he said, but the color should certainly be white. Likewise, the Pope should certainly be Italian. This one,  Jorge Mario Bergoglio, is Argentinean, but close enough. And in this cloistered gnostic world where all is symbol which speak in silence has anyone noticed that Francis I possibly bears the "Christ wound"? He is said to have only one lung. If it is the right one missing, he will have a handsome surgical scar, probably between the third and fourth rib, just like in Fra Angelica's masterpiece of the Savior and Salvador Dali's.

All is symbolism in the inner life. Dali, a devout Spanish Catholic who took a 30-year sabbatical, gave these things much thought. In a variety of his paintings he projected - prophesied, possibly, - the rise of a holy man in the desert of the “new world” marked  by the Christ wound. And, incidentally, in one painting – “The Temptation of Saint Anthony,” 1946 - he had the entire Vatican transported by Holy Elephants here to the “new world”. North America appeared then as it does today, a new axis; the world swirled now between east and west with Chicago and the Great Lakes at the center. Riding Dali’s elephants, Argentina would be a better place for the Holy See perhaps for the millennia rising. And would Prince Charles, when he becomes King Charles, consider moving London to Ottawa? Too cold? Possibly Asheville, NC.

The primal symbols and archetypes of the West are shifting like plate tectonics. The pull back to Victoriana couldn't be more pronounced in the polite classes’ recent devoted today to “Downton Abbey.”
But the world will find its center again in the rising century and the “new world” – which begins actually, somewhere near the New River in western Virginia, will fulfill its promise.
 I myself am more concerned with those constitutional conservatives on the coast, Jackson “Jax” Teller and the “Sons of Anarchy” and Rand Paul, the Jacksonian upstart from Kentucky - from Cassius Marcellus Clay to Ashley Judd, a land of upstarts. This week Paul gathers the highest praise from every corner – including the editorial pages of the New York Times - except the Washington Post. Because if America is to begin again it will begin in its middle, as vital and alive as a snake-handlin’ preacher from Harlan County. Otherwise it will default again to “old world” and the East, and to popes and kings and Bushes and Kennedys.

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