Sunday, June 30, 2013

At Every Turn, an Angel with a Flaming Sword

Emily Eakin:

He abandoned his faith as a teenager and eventually completed a Ph.D. with Roland Barthes, by which point he'd concluded that Christian concepts of guilt and redemption were inescapable. "Baudelaire said that civilization is the abolition of the original sin," he told me. "In fact, it's not true; we haven't abolished original sin but rather spread it all over." In Bruckner's scenario, Marxism transposed the idea of Christ onto the working class; paradise would come after the revolution. Then, with third-worldism, colonized peoples became the embodiment of virtue. Now, he says, it's Mother Earth: "She is suffering, the metaphor of all victims." Or, as he writes in The Fanaticism of the Apocalypse, in reference to the ubiquitous phrase "carbon footprint": "What is it, after all, if not the gaseous equivalent of Original Sin, of the stain that we inflict on our Mother Gaia by the simple fact of being present and breathing?"