Friday, February 22, 2008
The Real Dorothy
I am greatly enjoying a collection of essays by the great Dorothy L. Sayers, creator of the aristocratic English detective, Lord Peter Wimsey. A woman as large and jolly as Chesterton, who, of course, also created a great detective, she enjoyed a good debate - and a good cigar! Like Chesterton, her debates, even with obvious heretics, kept Othello's maxim: "Nor set down aught in malice," advice the Owl attempts to follow, even when lampooning soft-rock crooner's from the 1970's. She has Lord Peter Wimsey say in 'Gaudy Night,' - "A facility for quotation covers the absence of original thought" - with that out of the way, and not an original thought in my head, I'll quote some goodies from the real Dorothy.
"We have very efficiently pared the claws of the Lion of Judah, certified him 'meek and mild,' and recommended him as a fitting household pet for pale curates' and pious old ladies."
"Surely it is not the business of the Church to adapt Christ to men, but to adapt men to Christ."
"It is the dogma that is the drama - not beautiful phrases, nor comforting sentiments, nor vague aspirations to loving-kindness and uplift, nor the promise of something nice after death - but the terrifying assertion that the same God who made the world, lived in the world and passed through the grave and gate of death. Show that to the heathen, and they may not believe it; but at least they may realize that here is something that a man might be glad to believe."
"Nothing is more intoxicating than a sense of power: the demagogue who can sway crowds..... the parliamentary candidate who is carried to the top of the poll on a flood of meaningless rhetoric...are all playing perilously and irresponsibly with the power of words, and are equally dangerous whether they are cynically unscrupulous or (as frequently happens) have fallen under the spell of their own eloquence and become the victims of their own propaganda." ......yes, we can....!