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Friday, January 12, 2018

THE GOOD BOOK

All of you by now have heard Trump’s characterization yesterday, during an Oval Office meeting on immigration, of the nations of sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America as “shitholes.”  At times like these, I reach for my Bible.  The deafening silence from the leaders of the Republican Party in Congress called to my mind what Jesus had to say about the Pharisees, as quoted in Matthew 23:27  “for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.”  We atheists are impoverished by the unavailability to us of the theological category of evil.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just when you think it can’t get more amazing, it does.

Anonymous said...

Insofar as Socrates maintained the involuntariness of error, and Plato continued to hold a version of that view as well (despite the parts-of-the-soul doctrine so beloved to contemporaries) they, too, lacked the notion of evil. But look what fun Plato has with depicting bad men in the "Gorgias" or "Republic" Book One.

Debra Campbell said...

I couldn't agree more. I am moved to tears on an almost daily basis by the random hatefulness coming from the Oval Office. My heart breaks for the denigration of the Office of the Presidency. I used to believe that the U.S. Presidency should represent moral leadership for the world. So, the world is suffering a tragic loss. I hope this ends soon.

RobinM said...

"The influence of the [Presidency] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished." [after John Dunning, House of Commons, 1780]

Maybe Trump should be thanked for his acts of diminution?

s. wallerstein said...

I notice that in the media in Spanish they translate "shithole countries" as "países de mierda", which really does not have the same meaning. I'm searching for the exact translation into Spanish.

My English is a bit rusty: does "shithole" refer to the hole in the latrine (or toilet) or to the hole (anus) through which one shits?

Thanks. That's a genuine question.

Andrew Lionel Blais said...

Google gets it right, I think, an extremely dirty, shabby, or otherwise unpleasant place. I think of Martha, in Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, walking in, and saying something like, "What a dump...." Or, to paraphrase, "What a shithole...." Not that the Whitehouse slumlord would know the reference; how does the Albee line get translated into Spanish?

s. wallerstein said...

Andrew Lionel Blais,

Thanks. I was looking more for the literal meaning of "shithole", for the etymology.

"Dump" in Spanish in the sense that you're using it above might be "pocilga". "Pocilga" literally is a place where pigs live.

LFC said...

s wallerstein

My English is a bit rusty: does "shithole" refer to the hole in the latrine (or toilet) or to the hole (anus) through which one shits?

If "shithole" has a 'literal' meaning, and without taking time to research I'm not sure it does, it would likely be the former not the latter -- because in slang English, the anus is the "asshole" (British English version "arsehole"), not the "shithole."

In any case, Trump has surpassed himself with this stupid, boorish, and racist remark.

s. wallerstein said...

LFC,

Thanks.

Warren Goldfarb said...

My Merriam-Webster unabridged English dictionary doesn't have an entry for this word. Let me note that Deutsche Welle translated it as "Drecksloch", which kind of cleans it up, although there are contexts in which "Dreck" could be translated as "crap". "Dreck" doesn't have the same vulgarity as "Scheiss".

s. wallerstein said...

Warren Goldfarb,

Thanks.

What Trump said is definitely very vulgar. That's why I quibbled with the translation used in the media in Spanish, since "país de mierda" isn't especially vulgar or obscene.