Voices from Russia

Monday, 30 November 2009

I Aims to Please, or, It Hits the Spot, Doesn’t It?

Here’s a good illustration for what I am… a happy sort fulla P and V!


One of my friends sent me a heartfelt e-mail. It seems that my “militant imagery” upsets them. People can differ… for legitimate reasons. Indeed, my most valued friends are those who differ radically in approach and expression from my usages. I’d go so far as to say that my interaction with friends who had deep personal differences with me forged my conception of respect and decency. As per usual, I’m loath to name individuals… not only to protect people, but, also, so that we can use their words not as personal communication, but, as general exemplars. Let’s call him “Peaceable Jim”, or PJ for short. Let’s look at what he said (I did remove a reference that would be a drop-dead giveaway to his identity, though).

As you might guess, I am sometimes a little distressed by your verbiage that is on the…shall we say, combative side.

It is certainly not your forthright denunciation of what should be denounced, or even your “pass the ammunition” attitude (which is very refreshing), to which I take exception. It’s just that there are so many loonies in this world who are quite ready to make such things literal — taking up arms against a sea of troubles by really taking up arms against those whom they see as culpable for them — that I wince whenever someone’s language veers toward the militant.

If all were committed to seeing the Christ in each other person and treating them with compassion, then free-wheeling debate could wax hot and feisty without presenting a problem — I would never suggest that you start sugar-coating your opinions or pulling your punches in argumentation. But, because there are so many who see their adversaries as less than human (much less partaking of the divine), unintended actual destructiveness and bodily death are always a possibility.

There! That I’m feisty, ornery, and more than a little combative, I’ll not deny! PJ… I’m a FIGHTER. You’re not. God love ya, but, can’t you see that my imagery is a vital part of what I am (just as your personal imagery flows naturally from what you are)? Look at the saints of the Church… there’s all sorts there, and rightfully so. There are fighters, there are elders, there are martyrs, and there’s ordinary folk like you and me. That’s the way of it. If we don’t see that, we don’t see the plenitude of God’s creation, and we end by replacing the beautiful world of His creation with a dreary and cramped construct of our own fancy and imagination (as one sees with the lot at SVS, Jonas Paffhausen, New Skete, Nashotah House, and the HOOMies). One of the most important components of respect, in my worm’s-eye-view, of course, is that you don’t try to “change” your friends in order to “improve” them. God loves them the way that they are… and so should all of us! You can’t make a fighter into a peacemaker… or, vice versa (although I would argue that the fighter, because they know the cost, would be more against a conflict than most… politicians make wars, after all, not soldiers). Let’s not forget that we’re the “body” of Christ. Each “member” (or “organ” in Elizabethan usage) has a SPECIFIC function. We don’t get upset if the eyes don’t hear or if the mouth doesn’t see. It’s not in their God-given nature. So it is with us, I’d argue. I’m a fighter, PJ… that means that my imagery is bright, full of vigour, and (at times, when necessary) uncompromising.

However, one of the hardest things to learn in the art of friendship (for, like conversation, cooking, politics, and story telling, it’s an art) is that one can’t do a single thing about one’s friends. We know, already, that it’s impossible to change one’s enemies… but, our friends, they’re such GOOD people… can’t they see the light? SHEESH! To my mind, it’s how God teaches us about His ways (and they’re not ours, not by a long shot)… there are multitudinous ways of being good… there are only a few ways of being bad (most forms of badness are only variations on a few known themes). I know… it’s so DIFFICULT… but, friends aren’t objects… they aren’t subjects… they’re (to use ten-dollar words, but, none other shall do) substantial ontological realities that one can’t modify for fear of throwing their balance out of kilter. In short, my conclusion is that the ultimate disrespect that I can show to another is to try to “improve” them… it is why the entire “therapeutic” apparatus is evil and without warrant. Of course, I don’t believe that you meant such, PJ… you did spend time on the fringes of the “caring professions”, and some of it (inevitably) rubbed off.

What matters to me is that you enjoy my company and I enjoy yours. Full stop. There needn’t be any other explanation or any other reason. Love NEVER needs a reason… it’s how you can spot phonies a mile away. There is a putrid simulacrum of love that everybody smells at a distance… except for those peddling it. It is why SVS, the Syosset apparatchiki, JP, BP, Lyonyo, Hatfield, Garvey, Jillions, Kishkovsky, Garklavs, Velencia, Burdikoff, and their associates are beyond help. They believe that if they repackage the corruption of the past in a shiny new box it’ll be acceptable. Love, on the other hand, needs no reason… love acts in a straightforward fashion, without guile. These grasping thieves lecture us on “love” and “forgiveness”… forgive me whilst I hurl to clear the foul taste from my mouth.


THIS is what you need to face the world, PJ. A STEAMIE (all you Canucks out there know the reference)! How ’bout two of ’em, dear?


As long as we live in a fallen world, PJ, we’ll need fighters… for there’ll be no lack of phonies and charlatans afoot. We’re what we are, PJ. Just as you are what you are, and I love you for that. In any case, you love coming here to Tyotya Vara’s Diner and Hash House… you could’ve gone to the Syosset Fern Bar or the Hatfield House or Tuckahoe Epicurean Delights or Ray’s Suburban Palace just down the street.

We aims to please and it sure does hit the spot, doesn’t it, PJ? Want me to freshen up your coffee?

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Monday 30 November 2009

Albany NY

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