Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Worldwide Ham Wrestling Communion

As usual, Diogenes says it better:
The difficulty faced by the synod is the difficulty encountered whenever a farce is played successfully before a live audience: the struggle of the principal actors to keep a straight face while enjoying the nonsense themselves. Poor Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, twisted himself into a pretzel in his efforts to hide his mirth. Three years ago Bishop Tom Wright had reminded his colleagues of the value of pretending a real debate was occurring and that the conclusion was not rigged from the outset, but in the hilarity of the moment his cautions were ignored.

For all its predictability, there's something morbidly pathetic about this C of E stagecraft, inasmuch as the hopes of a dwindling number of un-cynical Christian Anglicans are abused so cavalierly. Think of it this way: imagine you'd trained as a (legitimate) freestyle wrestler, and qualified for the Olympic Games. On your arrival, you find that the medal competition is to be conducted by the World Wrestling Federation -- the professional ham-actors, that is -- who have scripted beforehand all the results according to their own notions of viewer-appeal and revenue generation. The WWF magnates patronize you by trying to make you feel part of a real competition and by using the language of amateur athletics -- which they never entirely grasp. They key point is that you know the folks in charge of the pageant are secretly laughing at anyone who takes their enterprise seriously. So which option do you choose? Do you don a blue-sequined leotard and crawl into the cage to do battle with Rowan Williams, or do you give Lambeth a miss, and look for humbler but authentic accomplishment among the genuine amateurs at GAFCON?

No comments: