The Master said, A fierce expression outside and cowardice within: if we seek an analogy among small men, such a one would be like a robber leaping over a wall or boring through it. Analects of Confucius (R. Eno's translation)
Unwittingly, PL set off a landslide of e-mails after a Reader commented that MHT's January schedule revealed Tradzilla himself would be at the Highland, MI, cult center on the 29th. As far a we know, the Donster had previously invaded St. Dominic's only for Bp. McKenna's Requiem, which reportedly had been closed to non-family and non-"clergy." But this week the Highlanders, who founded their chapel as the Flushing Rat was following the Big Boss to the Swampland, must suffer the arrogant, filth-obsessed sermonizing of someone they at one time in the not far distant past condemned in the harshest terms possible. (Click here for a little more background.)
Virtually every single message we received voiced outrage at the flagrant hypocrisy of the Jellyfish and the Highlanders. None believed this melancholy rapprochement to be the result of a Christian desire on the part of former blood enemies to make peace and forgive. The feelings of resentment must still be brutally painful on both sides. How could it be otherwise following all the vicious accusations, many unprintable in a family blog like PL?
This cynical union seems to be one of self-serving convenience: The Jellyfish may need a vacation or a visit home, while Tradzilla and his Tradpanzee "clergy" probably need another satellite. There could be a big payoff in it if the Jellyfish propels itself back to its native habitat after surrendering the corporation. (Rumor was that the chapel was sitting on a substantial building fund. Maybe it's still intact, at least in part?)
Tradfolks' indignity over hypocrisy surprised us. IOHO, PL's correspondents should've been more disgusted at the spinelessness of it all. Over 12 years ago, one of Highlanders cheekily confronted Big Don with a challenge to practice "humility, justice, prudence and financial stewardship to the betterment of [his] followers." (The letter was classified as "mortally sinful.") Another insolently called out the Donster with the insult, "'the fish stinks from the head down.'" But in 2017, the Highlanders, who used to have nothing good to say about or to Tradzilla, must eat their words by tolerating his sneering, scolding, strutting presence in what used to be their chapel. (And the collection on January 29 will probably pay for his stipend and travel expenses, too.)
Their rolling over like whipped curs is something we can't quite understand. After all, we were sure they weren't fools. They remember the Donster; they're aware he hasn't forgotten how his "own household...[was] silently working against" him. The bill for payback hasn't yet been mailed, but when it does arrive, it'll be high. That's why anyone would've thought that hypocrisy would be the last thing to stir up folks' ire. (At the top of our list is poltroonery and alarming forgetfulness.)
That got the Readers to thinking and, naturally, to reading (that's what we do best). Just what is it about hypocrisy that inflames moral fury so?
We found the answer in new research from Yale, which will be published in the journal Psychological Science. In brief, the investigators (Jordan, Sommers, Rand, Bloom) found that observers can't stand it when others convey a false sense of their own virtue by self-righteous moralizing. Our correspondents, we surmise, don't buy that everybody up in the Wolverine State is forgiving and forgetting out of Christian charity, moved by the divine imperative to patch things up with a wayward brother who's caused grievous offense. We agree. In the first place, the Donster hasn't done penance. Therefore, our correspondents must suspect that something else, something far less virtuous, is afoot.
Applying the Yale researchers' conclusion that it's better to admit your shortcomings rather than wrap yourself in a mantle of morality, PL thinks it would've been safer to confess the renewed relationship between the Jellyfish and Tradzilla has everything to do with expediency and nothing to do with Christian behavior. Tradistan has been under assault since Dannie and Checkie brought on the 2009 SGG School Scandal. It will never be the same again. For both parties, then, there's a pragmatic benefit in Highland's submission, even if it means its subsequent absorption into the SGG-Swampland cult. That's not too noble sounding, we know, but it's something students of Tradistan can accept as grounded in reality. Then they can forget the blatant hypocrisy and move on to the real reason for burying the hatchet with Tradzilla:
We had always considered the Highlanders a breed apart owing to their die-hard antagonism to the despised Tradzilla. (Very few families escaped some form of pain.) For that reason, we can't help concluding they're now as scummy as the Gerties. However, all's not lost yet. There's still a chance for them to redeem their violated personhood and bruised self-esteem ... if they follow these three steps:
First, no one should assist at the Highland chapel tomorrow (Jan. 29). Let the Donster just stare in defiance at the grimly frowning "nuns," as he smirks back at their glowering, tear-filled eyes: their only real champion and protector is dead, so Tradzilla's home free to do or say whatever he wants without risk of exposure. The Highlanders' staying away will be then an act of charity: the "sisters" won't have to suffer mortification in public while the Donster won't have an audience to witness his gloating triumph over these humiliated women.
Second, have a delegation waiting at the Jellyfish's office the day it floats back in town. Better wait in your cars in the parking lot so the Dragon Lady can't warn Its Gelatinacy to stay in hiding.
Third, when the human hyrdozoan arrives, tell it to grow a backbone. Then demand it get rid of Tradzilla as well as Junior. Inform the Jellysfish that you, the laity, will be taking over Saint Dominic's. If Jelly hedges or tries to sting, tell the icky little creature you're prepared to be very nasty, if it won't coöperate. That'll get its attention! (Don't worry if it undulates back to Long Island: there are plenty more "priests" and "bishops" willing to take Its Mucilagency's place.)Tomorrow and the following week are make-or-break for the Highlanders. They can stand up now, or lose it all. Let's see if they can reclaim their independence, save their chapel, and show they're higher-order mammalian vertebrates, not galliformes.