Book Notes: Claudia Piñeiro’s Cathedrals

Cathedrals is supposed to be the Argentinian novelist’s big anti-Catholic and pro-abortion novel. The Catholic characters in Cathedrals are so cartoonishly horrid that you don’t know whether to laugh or to cry. Who knew the Catholic Church was still so powerful that people needed to write novels arguing that religion turns people into perverted, sick sociopaths?

What I find interesting, though, is that the atheist characters who are supposed to be the good guys of the novel are quite disgusting, as well. They aren’t blood-thirsty maniacs like the Catholics whose sociopathy isn’t even believable because, without dropping any spoilers, it’s very hard to imagine such extraordinary dysfunction in a random bunch of Catholics. The atheists in the novel are scary in a much more convincing sense. They are incapable of sustaining a normal human relationship. They are self-referential and sterile in every sense of the word. These atheist characters aren’t howling at the moon and chain-sawing relatives’ corpses for fun (OK, one little spoiler) but who’s more likely to hurt us in our real lives, a raging narcissist or a religious fanatic with a chainsaw? And if your answer is ‘a religious fanatic,’ I sincerely congratulate you with having led a very sheltered life. I haven’t been similarly blessed and so I fear cold bastards who use people a lot more.

On the positive side, Piñeiro was trying so hard to show what disgusting bastards religious people are that she accidentally created a female character who isn’t a pathetic, wobbly victim. This woman is a very religious Catholic, which for Piñeiro is clearly the worst thing a person can be. Of course, in order to be as consistently evil as this character, one has to have an uncommon strength of personality and a fierce dedication to one’s goals. And that’s how the unexpected feat of putting a woman with a personality into a Latin American novel was finally achieved.

I don’t think this novel has been translated yet but it will be because Piñeiro always gets translated. She’s very popular. And deservedly so because in spite of the ridiculousness of the plot and the cheap, tacky efforts at lecturing the readers on the badness of religion and of abortion bans, the novel is imposible to put down.

When Cathedrals gets translated, I highly recommend reading it because it’s very good and because there is no better illustration of what I call the neoliberal mentality than what you is in its ‘good,’ atheist characters.

15 Years Together

N and I are celebrating 15 years together. I want to reiterate that the people who say that the intensity of feeling necessarily fades over time and the excitement goes away are wrong. Everybody’s story is different but the transformation of passion into friendship is absolutely not a given.

I spent 15 years, terrified of marriage because everybody said that love runs its course in 3 to 6 months, and then you are stuck living with a roommate. And I’d rather live with a family of alligators than a roommate. Then it turned out that everybody was wrong and marriage is the best thing that could have happened to me.

There’s so much “common wisdom” surrounding these topics that’s completely stupid. I wish I had never listened to it.

Movie Notes: Matt Walsh’s What Is A Woman?

It’s s great documentary, my friends. Please watch. Walsh travels around the country, asking people a simple question, “what is a woman?” The number of people who are incapable of answering because they are afraid of saying something politically incorrect is scary.

The documentary explores the trans delusion. Walsh talks to several gender therapists, physicians, and theorists, and soon discovers how extraordinarily weak and vapid their theories are. A woman is anybody who feels like a woman. But how does being a woman feel? Like being a woman, of course! And on and on we go. Nobody would care if there weren’t a whole cottage industry of child mutilation that brings increasingly delightful profits to a bunch of gender peddlers.

The most poignant part of the movie is an interview with a woman who underwent six surgeries to look like a man. She had terrible things done to herself, destroying her health and shortening her lifespan. She is trying to warn people that if she got caught up in this insanity as an adult, it’s so much worse for kids who get lured into the gender cult.

Another really important moment is when Jordan Peterson is interviewed and he says that it’s absolutely not a therapist’s job to “affirm” the patient’s beliefs. Many people don’t know this. Apparently, many therapists don’t either and they end up not doing anything of value for the patients. The only functioning form of therapy does the exact opposite. It frustrates and keeps the patient on a low simmer. What soothes doesn’t heal.

Excellent movie. I know Walsh is annoying but he worked hard to keep his annoying personality in check as much as possible for the movie.

Basic Capitalism

At the farmer’s market, everybody sells garlic scapes in jumbled, messy piles except one smart woman. Here’s how she sells hers:

Of course, she sold out faster than anybody and at a higher price because she’s selling product + additional labor. There was one seller who charged 25 cents per shoot, and you are supposed to stand there, in the scorching heat while your kid’s exhausting her already thin stock of patience as you dig shoots out of a messy jumble one by one and count them. It’s worth a premium not to have to do that. I happily paid $3 a bunch, which comes to 30 cents a shoot.

I remember how hard it was for the post-Soviet people to learn this lesson in basic capitalism. We had been trained for generations to take every shortcut we could think of and expend the least amount of effort. If competition doesn’t exist, nobody learns to take an extra step and do a little bit better than strictly necessary.