Utne Blogs > Mind and Body

Braying Rhetoric and Knee-Jerk Liars

by David Doody


Tags: Barry Hannah, William Giraldi, Christianity, Christ, Christmas, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Thanksgiving, church, God, spirituality, Paste, AGNI, David Doody,

MaryIn a beautiful remembrance of Barry Hannah, who died earlier this year, William Giraldi writing in AGNI tells of a fishing expedition the two shared as an escape to a writers’ conference they were attending. The piece begins with Hannah asking Giraldi if he’d been fishing lately. Giraldi replies,

The rest of the essay follows that fishing day trip and the return to the conference the two were escaping for a short time, exploring themes, from love to violence, in Hannah’s work.

It was a footnote near the end, though, that sent me away from the essay searching for a referenced piece Hannah wrote for Paste magazine called “The Maddening Protagonist,” as it seemed like it might give some answers to why the elder writer might have “become reinvigorated by Christianity.”

In a time when the date celebrating Christ’s birthday has been co-opted by marketers and sales folk and used earlier and earlier each year to hock their wares—Christmas songs playing in Macy’s well before Thanksgiving…soon, no doubt, before Halloween and then onto Labor Day!—I figure it’s never too early to give a dose of what that birth and life actually means, or could mean, when not bastardized for bottom lines and by those so called Christians on the right. And that’s exactly what Hannah’s essay does, so I offer bits of it here as a salve against Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and all the other shopping-named days to come.

To begin, Hannah sets the table for what is about to be served:

Then, on Christ:

And, Mary:

And, finally, on the faith itself:

It would behoove you to combat what will be thrust aggressively upon you this holiday season with Hannah’s exploration of his faith in this essay.

Source: AGNI, Paste