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by Douglas Wilson
The other night, on New Year’s Eve it was, I turned on the television shortly before nine in order to see 2017 stride confidently ashore on the east coast. What I actually got was a few minutes of a standard issue pop star with nice teeth, encouraging everyone to sing along with a traditional favorite . . . and you know, I am enough of a schmuck to wonder if we were going to get some auld acquaintance, or something like that. But no, what we got was the treacle-enriched nihilism of John Lennon’s Imagine. “Da dum da dum da dum . . . you may say I’m a dweemer . . .”
And it occurred to me that what that song desperately needs is some extended commentary. It could be a scholarly annotated commentary with extended bibliography, which I will leave to others more qualified, or it might be the kind that someone in my position might be able to do—you know, Mystery Science Theater kind of stuff.
I would approach it this way because I like to think of myself as sort of a C.S. Lewis, only without the scholarship, intelligence, humility, grace, or deftness of touch. Other than that, the parallels are almost uncanny. When Lewis dealt with a subject, all would simply stand back in wonder and say, rem acu tetigisti, “you have touched the thing with a needle.” In my case, it is more like rem salix alba tetigisti—you have touched the thing with a cricket bat, and we are not quite sure that tetigisti is the right verb.
But one wonders sometimes—doesn’t one?—whether there are times when all public-spirited apologists think to themselves that nothing but a cricket bat will do.
Imagine there’s no heaven…
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