The Septic Sanction of the Sacred
When you hear a ranting lunatic out in the street, screaming about his phobias, fantasies, and flaws, you expect the authorities will take care of the problem and you only cross the street to avoid the bad craziness. But what if the loon has religious attachments? He will follow you then.
This is a cycle of irony. It involves bad craziness and old John Steinbeck, born on this very day. The Great American Novel may have been Grapes of Wrath, featuring the hardy and plucky Joad family, plucked out of their dustbowl farm during the Depression (the earlier one) and sent as immigrants to the Promise Land, California, where there was a wealth of work for fruit pickers at high wages. Only, what they found was little work and the American Legion sent by the land barons who owned the country to roust these "reds."
Here’s Ma Joad, replying to the despair of her son, who thought they might not make it.
Why, Tom, we’re the people that live. They ain’t gonna wipe us out Why, we’re the people — we go on.?
And so the Joads and others would set up their tarpaper shacks all in a row and the American Legion would swarm and burn them down and the Okies must move on. They finally settled in the Central Valley, one of the most fertile farmlands anywhere, and converted it into one of the dwindling redoubts of the Repugnant party, which had hounded them so dreadfully when they first arrived. The circle is unbroken. Yesterdays’ victim is tomorrow’s oppressor.
One of the prime ingredients in controlling the brownshirt brigade is inspiring a sense of selfless mob mentality. Hitler said of his own hordes, the mind is best utilized in marching. So be it with the transplanted Okies. (Remember of course the author of "Okie From Muskogee" was actually from Bakersvield.)
Now, religion is, like other mental problems, either acute or chronic, moderate or severe. In Bakersfield, we have some of the worst of the bad craziness.
I remember reading in Texas Monthly years ago about an ordinary couple near Austin who operated a daycare center. They were accused, charged and convicted of Satanic Sexual Abuse of children. The chief accusor had a history of mental troubles, and her peers exhibited the same symptoms. As did they all, because the couple was convicted of such feats as transferring children through the air at night to be horribly tortured by satan and then miraculously brought back by dawn. There was of course absolutely no evidence of abuse of any sort, but the ready answer was, if the demons could take them far away to be tortured and then bring them back, they could surely hide the wounds. If.
There is an Independent movie now on exhibit relating to these crimes and their victims. The zombies are on rampage, and it’s very disturbing how enabling the judiciary has become. It’s easy to think of some forlorn outpost as furnishing the seedbed for this psychosis, but sometimes the show opens in a theatre near you. For instance, this idiocy infected a village near my own old home town. Just remember that objects in the mirror are often closer than they appear, especially if the mirror is in your church.
(Extended version of this diary appeared in