SPOILER ALERT: FANS OF THE HISTORY CHANNEL SERIES "VIKINGS" WHO ARE NOT CURRENT SHOULD STOP READING NOW.
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.