Tuesday 17 May 2016


 M. alphons was saying, a few minutes ago, that the US was full of crap and indeed it is but historically it breeds heroes and  Father Daniel Berrigan, SJ,
who died recently, was one of mine.
 I had his book for a long time, America Is Hard To Find but it went down in the Flood, like much else, and I can't even remember what it was about, except America being Hard To Find. 

There were a few bold US radicals at that time: 
before he OD'd in Phil Spector's toilet, crazy-saint Lenny Bruce, well, he perfected the art of How to talk dirty  and influence people.

 I only heard Lenny's records long after his death but he was a profound influence, his raps accenting  much of what appears here.

The late Bill Hicks, too, took up Lenny's cause

and there have been a handful of others, satirists, novelists and lawyers.

Berrrigan's sometime attorney,  William Kunstler, a fierce opponent of the death penalty,

"We have become the charnel house  of the Western world with reference to executions; the next closest to us is the Republic of South Africa." Kunstler, 1996

 defended the Chicago Seven - a bunch of harmless anti-war dopers - as well as those wrongly accused of the Attica Prison riots and Berrigan himself, with his brother and other co-accused, Phil Berrigan, second right, a WW2 vet turned priest, who campaigned into his eighties;

 Kunstler saying that he wasn't a lawyer-for-hire, he only defended those he loved. 

If only the Birmingham Six  and the Guildford Four and the Hilsbro Hundreds had secured such representation. We don't seem to produce that type of lawyer, here. 

Gareth Peirce of Birnberg and Co, 
was one such, a civil rights lawyer representing, notably, Judith Ward and the Guildford Four but British lawyers who care about their clients are like rocking horse shit, civil rights ones especially, look at Imelda Blair, QC, our most prominent civil rightser. 

 Civil rights lawyer, Imelda, QC.
Gimme me money, that's what I want, yes, from tyrants, yes, from despots and torturers, yes, just gimme money, that's what I want.

Berrigan was a New York Jesuit priest, poet and anti-war activist who became famous for his opposition to the Vietnam War, joining protests, burning draft cards and going to jail, as priests should.  In his later years he campaigned against torture, as priests should 

but it was his legitimising of the anti-Vietnam War protests for which he will be remembered, almost before my time, Berrigan, but for a while he and others like him, in South America,  promised a better Church and a better world. 
Berrigan here, 
in old age, campaigning with his niece against his country's torture policy.
 The Noncing Monsignors, though, of Popes John Paul, Benny Nazi

JohnPaul2's Man In Boston, Benny, managed to get the Boston Diocese into Voluntary Protective Bankruptcy before those pesky children could claim compensation.

and Frankie Fray Bentos, they've got things back on track, now, while here at home our insipid, Godlessheathenbastard clergy, 

happy to splash holy water on the Tornadoes,  claim Christianity is now antique, almost irrelevant, just one aspect of   FaithCorp, worthless fucking bastards.

It wasn't always crap, M. alphons, the States; once, there was a way to get back home. Where once, though, they had Berrigan, Bruce, the Washington Post, the Black Panthers  and the Yippies to tweak Power's nose they now have  Family Guy. 
America is hard to find


Bungalow Bill said...

A fine man he was. Another priest, a radical Dominican, Herbert McCabe said: "If you don't love, you're dead and if you do, they'll kill you". Seems about right.

mongoose said...

Meanwhile in Scotland, the great and good of the Kirk have had the wizard wheeze of online baptisms. It will save all that unpleasant going to church business.

call me ishmael said...

The Incredible String Band sang.....For rulers like to lay down laws and rebels like to break them, and poor priests like to walk in chains and God likes to forsake them. I am glad the Berrigans lived long, slipped their chains and walked in Freedom's noble path.

I have not heard of McCabe, mr bungalow bill, I will give hinm a good wiki-ing.

call me ishmael said...

Tush, mr mongoose, all our prayers are needed for the sinners deliciously at the rotten heart of the Tribesmen; expenses scams, property scams and now triangular adultery in the cabinet. They'll need a fucking miracle to surpass the Parting of the Red Sea, the Scottish Nationalists, should Mr Trump become PROTUS.

SG said...

That picture of Imelda QC really puts the hook in me Mr I... The horror, the horror!... As for Pope Nazi, well, I wonder how many of the 266 Popes had clean hands?... That said, there was Pope Pius IX, the first 'liberal' Pope who in his first month in office amnestied 1,000 political prisoners, established something close to a free press, encouraged investment in railways and numerous reforms such as introducing laymen into papal government. However, I rather like Metternich's observation in relation to the conduct of said Pontiff - "God doesn't grant amnesties - God pardons" (robbed and paraphrased from John Julius Norwich's excellent 'The Middle Sea: A History of the Mediterranean').

call me ishmael said...

I think that's actually a portrait of Her Holiness sitting as a Recorder, mr sg, in judgement on we, the inferior.

I tried that JJN's book on Venice, on the recommendation of someone here but it was fucking huge, and in tiny print. Went back to Central Lending Library, in Glasgow.

I am sure that many if not all of the Popes have been monsters but the thing with Benny is that he's our monster, Hitler Youth AND consigliere to JP 2, the greatest-ever Nonce Protector General AND the first-ever retiree, Emeritus or whatever he calls himself, the rotten Holocaust-supporting friend to global beasting hypocrisy. It's worth going to Hell, just to see how Mr Satan hot-pokers Benny's arse, in ghe name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

SG said...

Copy that re: JJN's books Mr I - huge and tiny printed indeed but rewarding tapestries nonetheless - though perhaps best digested after a remedial visit to 'Specsavers' - very necessary in my case! I found myself somewhat bemused by the current occupant of the Cathedra Romana's selection, by lot, of twelve Muslim migrant apostles for sanctuary in the Holy See. Meanwhile, across the Near and Middle East and into the badlands of Pakistan, members of his 'flock' are, near daily, bombed and burned - and they say 'charity' begins at home...

mongoose said...

You've got to love 'em. The churches. The EU. Even the fucking Republican Party. They have long since been passed over as being anything other than yesterday's pageants. Births and Deaths, and temporary marriages and delivering ebay tat and OAP's Farmfresh Frozen Ick Dinners. "Do you renounce Satan and all his works?" Guilty, m'lud. They'd all fit right into one of those zombie series. The one with the dragons perhaps and the pie contests. It is really no wonder is ot, dear that the children are porkers with 40,000 pie references on the Beeb, and fucking cooking contests everywhere you look. I blame that fat Jamie Oliver drizzling bastard. The Post Office, you say? What deliver slips of paper around the world? Are you daft? How will we spin that out for a couple of more decades? Well, let's make it ruinously expensive and complicated so that the customers fuck off even more quickly, shall we? A steelworks is a strategic industry? In Wales, look you? I am sorry to be unkind but the last time I was in a steel works was about 1985 and it was fucked for sure then. Perhaps we could build a white elephant railway to us eup at least a couple of year's worth of steel! Yay! Doubles all round. Fines, you say, for not rendering your kids to Caesar 9-5 every weekday just like that nice Mr Orwell or that nice Mr Pol Pot would have recognised. They're going to vote for Donald? Are you mad? We'll have to tell them that the sky will fall and that the children will starve and that Angeal will cry. Oops, sorry, wrong disaster. He's a liberal I tells yer that Donald! You can't vote for him! And you do know that one of the popes is a real Nazi? The good old days of multiple popes, eh? It's been a while.

call me ishmael said...

Before Kirsty Crow started cooking on Newsnight, tonight - honest, not invent, linguini, scallops and tinned tomato sauce, served-up looking worse than a dog's dinner to some crazy old Chinkess whose parents had been done to death by Chairman Mao's Cultural Revolutionaries, so, as if she didn't have enough problems, therefore, she was expected to eat, on telly, this wrtetched mess, most of which Kirsty had dropped on the fucking studio floor - before she started play-cooking, there was an item about people being experimented on with LSD and I thought for a moment, fuck me, I can feel it all over again, maybe they're squirting it out from the telly at me. Having read your above comjectures, mr mongoose, I am now convinced they were.

call me ishmael said...

I do believe, mr sg, that migrant muslims are the new stray dogs for those with an unfulfilled charitable impulse and a festering need for publicity; you'll soon find every gobby do-gooder bastard's got one or two, sleeping in his orangery, just til they get ion their feet and that the indigenous homeless are just so very last year.

Doug Shoulders said...

You can get it on kindle or paperback Mr Ishmael - A History of Venice – should you ever want to try again.
Who needs a Zombie series or that Game of Thrones shite written by a committee of airheads. Characters and events based on real happenings…that’s the ticket.
You couldn’t make this shit up? No actually it isn’t made up it really happened. We’ll be telling our grandchildren’s children…yeas Blair and his missus were real. Bush..oh yeah I saw him as president….I was there.
Pol Pot yep…other side of the world, but in my lifetime.

Alphons said...

I can remember watching a programme on TV, several years back, that concerned the investigations by a number of professors at a Jewish University some where in the "holy land". They were trying to ascertain if the contents of the Torah were fact or fiction. They dug very deep into history and also the ground, and used a lot of logic and sensible reasoning and after months of excavating and research came up with the conclusion that the entire contents of the Torah had been dreamed up by Jonas the first king of the then newly combined Judea. They decided the sole purpose of this was to strengthen his claim and to also put the populace on the back foot and make them more malleable to his will.

I wonder what things would be like if he had never come along.

call me ishmael said...

I do believe, m. alphons, that the need for God would remain. Five thousand years ago, God, priests Heaven AND astronomy were invented just a few miles from where I sit, huge stones erected in perfect cosmic alignments, the idea of Above and Beyond and Afterlife sprang, in Orkney, from nowhere.

And even we, the avowedly agnostics, here, cherish the idea of the pursuit of Divinity and its attendant art and ethics, duties and obligations and are suspicious of Richard Dawkins' worship of Reason, it still being worship, indeed, in his case, self-worship.

Alphons said...

The need for a power higher than those who would be "boss" will always be necessary for those who would be "boss"as far as I can see, Mr. I.

Most of us as children, having just broken a "house rule" have been told by mother, "Just you wait till your father comes home."

call me ishmael said...

But that is only part of it; smarter people than, I fully conscious of its misuse, find comfort and inspiration in praying and liturgising, in contemplation and fellowship. The clergypersons of all faiths are an accretion, like barnacles, most of them a bit dodgy, one way or another, good, then, to see those, like Berrigan, who choose the prison cell over the bishop's palace.