Friday, February 8, 2008

Ask Satan

Reader Übermilf asks:

Do you like Mardi Gras?

It seems like your kind of thing, but it's a precursor to what must be your least favorite time of year.

What are your feelings?

Dear Übermilf,

I love Mardi Gras. A holiday based essentially on an excuse to go out and follow all your wild impulses in one big blowout? It’s a field day for me.

Lent, now, that’s an interesting time. With a lot of holidays, the original purpose has to a large extent been flipped, and I come out ahead in spades. For example, is Thanksgiving more about people being thankful for what they have, or it is about gluttony? On balance, for more people its about gluttony. Is Christmas about the birth my old debate buddy Jesus, or at least about the giving of gifts? Nope, more about consumerism now. But Lent isn’t quite so easy, being a season rather than a single event, and other than Easter itself it hasn’t been as easy to spin about.

It’s not all bad. There are some, like FranIAm, who really follow the themes of sacrifice and introspection, and in their cases my influences are a little less. At the other extreme, there are those who deliberately flaunt the whole thing, who break and mock the silly rules, generally playing the part of the Jews eating bacon cheeseburgers during Passover. For them, Lent gives me a little extra edge.

Overall it’s a wash at the extremes, but in the middle I think I win incrementally. Most Catholics follow the rules a little, but they’re just playing along. A little insincerity, a little hypocrisy, a little guilt when they realize they just ate bratwurst for dinner Friday night. The little crumblings of the soul around the edges. It’s not as flashy as Mardi Gras, but both dynamite and erosion can bring the mountain down.

Cheery, eh? Well, don’t worry about it too much. Have a cupcake!

-- Satan

Ask Satan will be back next week at lower frequency due to a shortage of questions. Send some in! Any topic welcome, not just politics, religion, and the soul trade. Email Satan or write in the comments.


Übermilf said...

I will have you know, I am JUST as committed to sacrifice and introspection as Fran!

And know you went and made me feel envy, so I hope you're proud of yourself.

Wait, I guess you would be, seeing as that's what you do for a living.


Satan said...

Why thank you! It's always nice to hear that I've reached someone, this is what really makes it all worthwhile.

But tell me - are you envious of FranIAm for being single out as an example, or of eating bratwurst on Friday during Lent?

-- Satan

FranIAm said...

Oh my, I must somehow have misrepresented myself.

As I am wont to say "Simul iustus et peccator".

And I think I may have found some missing sister in Ubermilf, truth be told!

Satan said...

FranIAm - I must confess to being confused. I assume I should take you quoting Luther to imply that you're Lutheran. On the other hand, your comment on this Übermilf post states that you're Catholic:

I think I read that you are Catholic.

I am. Here is what I wrote on the topic recently.

What have I missed?

-- Satan

Übermilf said...

So, because she's Catholic, she can't find any truth in what Luther says?

We're not petty like that. Intolerance comes from your side of things, even if it warmly embraced by those who claim to be on our side.

Satan said...

Übermilf -

Who's "we"? Just you and Fran? Because historically, there's been a hell of a lot more intolerance and sectarian violence due to the Catholic/Protestant split than mutual appreciation. People are petty like that.

Why do you think I encourage schisms and splinterings? Care to take a guess as to how many fun little theological points came from me?

As for my misunderstanding, hey, I never claimed to be omniscient. That's the other guy.

-- Satan