Readers and bloggers wondering what effect being acquired by AOL would have on The Huffington Post may now gaze with awe and dismay at one: Huff Po has abolished religion.
Or, rather, it’s eliminated “Religion,” its category for articles about what one authority, whose name not only has escaped me but has gotten away clean and now lives a normal life in an unknown location, defines as “matters of ultimate concern.”
Instead, topics of a religious nature are now listed under the namby-pamby, nanny-state eat-your-peas heading “Healthy Living,” within its question-begging, lowest-common-denominator topic “Spirit.”
What the Hell (so to speak) does religion have to do with “healthy living”? Religion represents the institutionalization of unhealthy living: celibacy, martyrdom, suicide bombing, homicide bombing, pederasty, sexism, female genital mutilation–shall I go on? Okay!–”honor killings,” anti-Semitism, Crusades, Catholic-vs-Protestant, Hindu-vs-Muslim, belief in the Rapture, belief in the Messiah, and the ritual drinking of Manischewitz “wine.”
As for “Spirit,” I say “fooey.” ”Spirit” is what good thoroughbreds show, or what teenage girls in cheerleader outfits want to coax from the fans in the bleachers at high school basketball games. We want RELIGION: magical (and wishful) thinking, hellfire and damnation, centuries of war in the name of love, dolorous saints riddled with arrows (or just fucking skinned alive), symbolic cannibalism (that’s the best kind), clapping-for-Tinkerbell, praying-to-God, and all the rest of it.
Instead, turn to Aol Healthy Living.Spirit, and it’s all New Age feel-good nicey-nice: “Love: It’s What You Are.” ”Seven Secrets to a More Joyful Existence.” ”The Spiritual Power of Dance.” ”Channel Your Inner Wisdom” (by the author of Your Orgasmic Pregnancy, noch). ”Can We Be Both Divine and Human?” And, of course, “How to Apologize” by a “happiness expert.”
These aren’t matters of ultimate concern. They’re matters of a therapist’s concern–worthy, yes, but not scary, which is what religion is supposed to be. Think James Joyce would have written Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man or Ulysses if his childhood had been full of “Forgive Yourself and Let Go” or “Deepak Chopra’s Yoga Routine Now an iPhone App”?
Or put it this way: How can I feel courageous for being an atheist, when I click over to Aol Don’t Worry Be Happy (or whatever it’s called) in search of something to mock, and all I find are “Show Yourself Some Love” and “How Our Consciousness Affects the Environment”?
Keep your Spirit. Gimme that old-time “Religion.”