Friday, May 2, 2014

Rod Dreher's Blood Eagle


In this Dante post immediately following this Southern Gothic offering showing a paterfamilias reading Dante to his thralls over "filet of drum sautéed in butter, garlic, and fresh marjoram; preserved lemon risotto, green salad and Pommery Champagne", our Working Boy ceaselessly teases his hoped for book on Dante by referring again to his suffering, from which Dante has now saved him.

In a similar way, I am convinced that if I had not suffered as I’ve done, and in the particular way that I have done, these past two years, I never would have been able to understand the Commedia as it should be understood: not as merely an aesthetic object, but as a work of art that knew me better than I knew myself, and could reveal to me truths I needed to put my life back together.

Oddly, Rod has never specifically told us what his suffering consisted of or what he had to endure to finally fight his way through to the triumphal redemption of Pommery Champagne and insalate misto.

Fortunately, readers of EQE have bulldog reporter Keith to inform them, and I have finally run this mystery to the ground.

Horribly, it turns out that Rod Dreher has not only suffered through but survived the blood eagle having been performed on him by persons I have yet to identify, possibly disgruntled family members or local townies, or maybe even Biff from Back to the Future who heard he was back in town.

If you're squeamish about these things, you might want to skip ahead at this point, too.

Basically the blood eagle is like spatchcocking a chicken or turkey, except that it is performed on the opposite side of the torso.

The recipient (the sufferer, Rod Dreher) is alive and conscious at the outset. Cuts are made with a knife parallel to the spine on either side deep enough to expose the ribs, at which point the knife is exchanged for a war axe in order to chop the ribs free from the spine. The ribs are then popped free and spread out and up over each side of the back until they resemble the wings of an eagle in flight. Finally, the lungs are flipped up and forward to lay on the shoulders. Salt may be added, to taste. In the show Vikings, it is said that the recipient who doesn't cry out during the procedure is said to be welcomed into Valhalla, while those who do can never enter. My reporting on whether or not Rod Dreher cried out during his suffering is incomplete (he's a tough guy; I'll bet he didn't), but since Valhalla is probably not on his itinerary anyway I'm assuming it doesn't matter.

Others have suffered before, too, but I don't think anyone in history has suffered the way Rod Dreher has nebulously suffered and lived to tell us about it and tell us about it and tell us about it, a feat that is making me rethink my own suffering from my own vague and unspecified Existential Boo-Boo.

Without a doubt it's the renewed manliness and strength of character Rod gained from enduring and triumphing over his blood eagle which allowed him to create this second order, once removed, passive-aggressive post of concern for another human being, The Sarah Palin Who Might Have Been.

It's really important to closely examine the post's structure in order to fully appreciate the redemptive strength of character Dante has bequeathed Dreher in the shadow of his blood eagle.

This first thing to notice is that Dreher is not authoring the sentiment of the post, his role is only that of Pilateally purelled messenger. The sentiment itself originates with anonymous "reader Richard", a person few rightthinking people online have reason to doubt exists.

But, secondly, the sentiment itself is possibly the purest, most exquisite example of effeminate passive-aggressiveness ever produced by the hand of fey: Oh, what might you have been had you not been so terribly, terribly unfortunate as to have lived it as you?

This sort of formulation is mastery, people. This triumph of the self-diddling, ouroborean will is the sort of fingerprint-free, oblique, warrior manliness that can only come from the keys of a person who has personally endured the suffering I've reported on above and lived to tell about it.

Frankly, in my quest to become a better blogger in the manner of suffering-R-him Rod Dreher, it's pretty obvious I still have a long, long way to go.


  1. But Dreher tells us in that post you linked that it is the "particular way" in which he has suffered that has given him this special insight into Dante. No, those enduring the Blood Eagle wouldn't know -- that's not the "particular way". Nor would the poor woman (RIP) Dreher visited in Europe last year who died of cancer, nor Ruthie (RIP). Yes, they may have suffered, but not in a "particular way" that let them see Dante like he has.

    Nope, it is the "particular way" of suffering that only Dreher has endured, in combination with his particular journey into Catholicism and away from it (thus avoiding the collapse of metaphysics in the West of 1350), that enabled him to be our Very Special Guide through Dante, leading us "dwarves ... standing at Lonely Mountain, looking for the secret door that would open the tunnel into the heart of the thing" (oh yes, he really wrote that -- 2d to last paragraph) to go through the same portal he has gone through. Yes, only he, because of his particular path, can explain Dante to all "yes. Yes."

    At least that's what he's telling his publisher.

    1. I don't think I'll ever be able to adequately communicate the consumate vulgarity with which Dreher systematically converts Western Civilization and the activity of the mind into precious turds of his own compaction lovingly saved in a jar.

      Maybe the Russian term nekulturny comes closest. Frankly, given his easily documentable behavior with respect to it, I despair of ever fully expressing the irony of Dreher holding forth on culture at all. Perhaps a Yorkshire sow primly reciting from Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior in a bad British accent while devouring slops in mid rut.

    2. How about this: Like Miley Cyrus who, having discovered sex herself, now goes on and on and on about it, as though she invented it.

    3. Yes, much more elegantly put.

  2. P.S. I offer this comment to Dreher's post. To which I can only respond with "Far out, man."

    Discuss among yourselves.

    1. Anything that's attached to a post of his that doesn't claim outright that he's a doo-doo head is immediate proof of his discerning grasp of culture by the, uh, traditional, pre-Modern cultural principle of Nominal Blog Accretion.

    2. Oh, gawd.... KD is a little Dreher in training. "I believe this thought experiment gives us a sense of what needs to change politically and economically before we can better understand Dante." IOW, I understand things. Too bad no one else does.

    3. I think KD just spit up a little Western Civ 101 on his bib.

    4. They really need to watch Animal House. Maybe Spinal Tap, too, for good measure... I don't know... just some comedy that will help them see how hilarious their pretension and affectation is.

    5. This movie clip comes to mind also.

      Warning: the movie itself suffers from the same pretension and affectation that it skewers in that clip. Don't waste your time.

  3. Hey, Keith et al, I thought you'd be interested in this story. Of course your take on it is probably that Felicite' is a publicite' hungry maniac along the lines of our erstwhile Mozilla CEO.