Re: franny and zooey [authorial intent, etc.]

From: Scottie Bowman <>
Date: Mon Jan 20 2003 - 15:34:32 EST

    I feel for Robbie. There was something dreadfully familiar
    about that sense of baffled rage & futility that overcomes
    normal people when faced with the indomitably benign.
    I couldn't remember when, in the past, I'd encountered it
    so vividly. Then it all flooded back. Of course, that was it.
    The Bishop of Cork.

    This was many, many years ago. I was minding some
    of his disturbed prelates & he would occasionally visit me
    to discuss their future management. (It was characteristically
    generous of this Mohammed to come to the mountain;
    his less recalcitrant sheep would have been expected to go
    to the Palace.)

    He was vast in every way - great purple front cushioning
    the biggest pectoral cross you ever saw, great purple head
    surmounted with foaming grey curls, great purple brain filled
    with an absolutely Alexandrian library of theology, philosophy,
    metaphysics, & God knows what learning - but the most massive
    thing about him was his smiling, knowing, endlessly forgiving
    patience with me, yet another of those callow agnostics,
    the wearisome kind he had to deal with every day of his life.
    He was up to the task, though. None of us got him down.
    Every sentence continued to end with an invisible smiley &
    his kindliness was pervasive as an incense aftershave.

    He was, of course, passive aggression on two gaitered legs.
    Everything I might stand for, he loathed. Behind each smile
    you could discern the snarl & under the paternal handshake
    the strangler's grip. As his distaste deepened, the smiling mask

    Once I understood, of course, I was free. He no longer irked
    but became, instead, a vivid illustration of one of those commoner
    mechanisms of defence that Miss Freud first taught me about.

    Worth considering.

    Scottie B.

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Received on Mon Jan 20 15:34:57 2003

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