Chapter One – Chapter 5(b) Socrates, Jesus and John Wayne

“Four centuries earlier Socrates at Athens observed that a really righteous person would be so unacceptable to human society that he would be subjected to every humiliation and crucified”

I would like to be The Lawnmower Man at times. I buy books because I want to know everything. I forget that if I buy five books in a day I have bought four more books than I could possibly read in a day, and that would be a day without distractions. Arthur Schopenhauer wrote “Buying books would be a good thing if one could also buy the time to read them in: but as a rule the purchase of books is mistaken for the appropriation of their contents.” I have read that because Penguin handily put some of his work in a very small book it was possible to read quickly. I have still not read The World as Will and Representation (bought in York on my honeymoon). So I started reading Chapter One of The heavy and heavily illustrated Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity[1] and I was honest with myself (the book was that potent). I’m really never going to read this book from cover to cover. I would like to read all 707 pages and enjoy the illustrations of Filipino recreations of The Passion and photographs of Antim, the first leader of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, but those long and empty sunny days are not going to happen. And so it will be left on a bench somewhere near a gathering or hall (probably a Quaker one).

I do not like westerns unless they are Clint Eastwood or Henry Fonda westerns. I don’t know why. I enjoyed pretending to be a cowboy when I was 5 I think. I know had a holster. Perhaps this was just the peer pressure of youth. If you haven’t got a felt Stetson then you’re not coming to buy sweets with us in Chorleywood. After a while I preferred pretending to be Robinson Crusoe. I didn’t like my action man having companions either. Once I saved up enough stars to get a new action man figure, I would just see what they looked like if you tried to melt them with matches.

So why do I own John Ford’s The Searchers?

Because it’s meant to be a classic and there were some extras about John Ford.

Before chapter one I watched Patrick Wayne present this new print with oak like countenance. Then the opening credits had a song. I am rarely keen on songs at the beginning of films, especially if it’s a western and the song seems to be about what makes a man a man. The film begins with a beautiful shot of Monument Valley. The camera looks out through an open doorway. People really lived in Monument Valley in the 19th century? Having been through there this seems like a very stupid idea. A man rides in from the distance. It is John Wayne. The residents seem happy to see him, already that is the end of Chapter two (chapter one rarely counts as it is usually just the titles). John Ford directed The Grapes of Wrath. I am keeping this.


[1] Bought for £1 at a secondhand book fair in Berkhamsted.

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5 Responses to Chapter One – Chapter 5(b) Socrates, Jesus and John Wayne

  1. @stephen_mc says:

    I don’t really know who you are yet but I like your writing.

  2. kateweb says:

    I clearly shouldn’t be encouraging you to buy any more books, but Karen Armstrong’s A History of God is considerably shorter and covers Judaism and Islam as well as Christianity. Probably with fewer pictures.

    • Henry says:

      I concur with Kateweb about Karen Armstrong; she really is brilliant, she’s like the ‘atheist’s monotheist’. I read her ‘Battle for God’ all about fundamentalism; she believes that before Darwin religious peeps had no difficulty separating ‘mythos’ (myth) from ‘logos’ (reality) – and were thus totally cogniscent of religious writings as a set of myths. Armstrong reckons that before Darwin there was no literal interpretation of the bible. Seems hard to believe, maybe its a faith position!

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