Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Nothing in his life became him like the leaving it

Tuba self-immolating to protest
Belgian atrocities in the Congo
According to tradition (or an old charter or something) the suicide method of choice for protesting against a colonial war or a foreign occupation is self-immolation. Partly this expresses the Buddhist concept that the cycle of reincarnation is a burning building from which one strives to escape; partly it recognises the importance of petroleum resources in motivating the wars and occupations; and partly it's an excuse to huff some fumes.

Escalating protests against 'Walloons'
and 'Phlegms' as names of nationalities
So far no convention has evolved about the appropriate exit method if, like Dominique Venner, the purpose is to complain about the legality of same-sex marriage. Given Venner's admiration for the Japanese fascist Mishima, seppuku would have been one option. But shooting yourself in the head at the altar in Notre-Dame Cathedral is just wrong. Quite apart from inconveniencing 1500 tourists and hunchback cos-players, people will not see it as a symbolic wedding between man and fire-arm. They will think that it's a Network homage, or is part of a sponsorship deal with the NRA.

Venner was a member of the OAS in his youth, a terrorist organisation sufficiently murderous as to be viewed by Al Qaeda with a mixture of admiration and awe. He moved on to writing tendentious far-right histories intended to rescue the reputations of WW-2 collaborators such as his father. What exercised him most -- before gay marriage became the final straw in the needle-stack that broke the camel's back when clutched after -- was the presence of too many French persons with North African ancestry. Apparently he had forgotten that the whole rationale of the OAS was to keep Algeria as part of the French state, i.e. to maximise the number of French persons with North African ancestry. In other words, Venner wasn't using his brains for anything constructive, and I can't dispute his decision to redecorate the Notre-Dame interior with them instead.

"Not many people know it," Chapman observed, "but special punishments are reserved for those who sully the sacred precincts of Notre-Dame with the vile crime of felo-de-se. To begin with, they forfeit their identities..."

"Becoming anonymous in death?" said Keats. "Fair enough."

Chapman continued despite the interruption. "For added ignominy, their bodies are hoisted up into the bell-tower, to swing head-down within the bells as human clappers."

"Ah," said Keats. "So you don’t know the name but the face rings a bell."
Must credit Gary Ruppert and subsequent discussion

BONUS John Sladek:

17 comments:

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

So far no convention has evolved about the appropriate exit method if, like Dominique Venner, the purpose is to complain about the legality of same-sex marriage.

It's obvious- two wetsuits, one dildo.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

I wish we could get a bunch of our teabaggers and other assorted fascist wannabees to follow his example.
~

Smut Clyde said...

"Liberals are trying to take away your right to kill yourself in a church!!"

ckc (not kc) said...

...that'll show those gays!

mikey said...

Of COURSE self-immolation is the accepted methodology. They figure that they have to prevent the rabble from rousing, and to whatever extent they can force-feed the hunger strikers, they can allow people to set themselves on fire, despite the problematic historical events in, say, Vietnam and Tunisia, because it HURTS really fucking awfully bad and you have to be half outta yer flippin mind to do that kinda shit...

Another Kiwi said...

Armed priests woulda stopped that guy!!

Righteous Bubba said...

Fortunately it only messed up a church. There are plenty of those.

Another Kiwi said...

Ah I think RB has gotten out of the cellar again!

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

I remember that guy...
~

Anonymous said...

I hope we don't have to all use our old nyms now.

Substance McGravitas said...

Jerk!

Narad said...

"The ultimate sacrifice any Buddhist can make is to give his life for the dharma, as we saw above in the story of Sadaprarudita. Perhaps the way of performing this sacrifice that seems most appalling to Westerners is self-immolation (punsin or sosin; atmaparityaga).... The locus classicus for this sacrifice is the story of Bhaishajya-guru Bodhisattva in the Lotus Sutra...." (Buswell, The Zen Monastic Experience)

While self-immolation appears to be rare in the Seon tradition, there also seems to have been an undercurrent of competition to see who could torch the most fingers.

Smut Clyde said...

they can allow people to set themselves on fire

It seems to freak out the Chinese authorities no end.

ckc (not kc) said...

...who could torch the most fingers

Lawrence of Arabia was Buddhist?

Narad said...

It started as a method of avoiding conscription and then turned into a monastic fad, as I understand the situation.

ckc (not kc) said...

How does a monastic fad differ from a monadic fast? Discuss.

Smut Clyde said...

Here, as in many things, a citation from the inimitable Kai Lung is in order:

A wandering monk from the Island of Irredeemable Plagues was the first to step forth in response to Tung Fel's plainly understood suggestion.

"There is no necessity for this person to undertake further acts of benevolence," he remarked, dropping the cloak from his shoulder and displaying the hundred and eight scars of extreme virtue; "nor," he continued, holding up his left hand, from which three fingers were burnt away, "have greater endurances been neglected [...] "