Dubious Dan's "Bishop's (?) Corner" may be silly, but it's often a picture window on his psyche. Hunched in that shabby nook, he wrestles with his demons, airs his grievances, and encodes his intentions. One psychologist-friend pronounced the column a "therapist's dream." Most of the time, it's good for a laugh, but last Sunday's message left us unsettled.
Five years ago, around this very time of the year, the infamous SGG School scandal began to spin out of Dannie's control. The pressure for reform was so great that the cult masters promised to replace the embattled lay principal with a priest, insisting that clerical leadership had always been their dream. As you may know, the "priest" whom they appointed ended up with the pink slip, not the principal at the center of the crisis. After Wee Dan's calamitous miscalculation, SGG shattered ... never to be put back together again.
The haunting memories and the terrifying angst brought on by so much lost income must make these late September days appear especially dark. Therefore, it's no surprise that last week Dannie gave the culties a hair-raising meditation on SGG School and the virtues of corporal punishment. We'll try to parse what he wrote.
Right after "One Hand" noted the school-children's "making good progress in many fields," he found it necessary to scold the crumb-crushers, compelling them "not to bring food or drink back to the classrooms, or indeed, around the building." Then he bitterly snarled, "We don’t have a janitor anymore, and I do need each of you to do your part." You can almost feel the seething anger about to erupt, can't you? He lost his apostolate because of sniveling urchins, and now they're littering his decaying cult center. From what sounds like a vicious reproof, we gather there's no money to pay -- or no one to volunteer -- for the sorely needed custodial services.
Immediately afterward, Dannie reveals what's really getting his goat: "Crumbs left in classrooms, and cups of coffee spilled in the school wastepaper baskets create unnecessary Monday morning work for our teachers, who already have so much to do." Ah-HA! Now we get it. The "teachers" don't want to be janitors either, so they must have complained about Dannie's poor people-management skills. He and the principal can't even supervise a few scrawny kids and addled adult catechists at Sunday school. Now that's incompetence!
(Just one small observation on our part: On leisurely Sunday afternoons, why was it too much to ask for the principal -- the proximate cause of so many of Dannie's woes -- and the doubtfully ordained "priests" to take a couple of minutes to police what few classrooms the cult center has? Perhaps these eminent theologians consider basic hygiene to be servile labor, but fixing stacks of flapjacks isn't.)
The complaints must have really made "One-Hand Dan" angry, because he then lashed out at Gertie parents, who, if the collection statistics are accurate, aren't doing their part either with the collection basket to allow SGG to hire custodial help:
The old discipline of eating neatly, and in one place, is a precious one to pass on to our children. Encourage them as well, by word and example, to clean up after themselves, even in Helfta Hall (or at home!) Don’t leave a mess for the nonexistent janitor. You probably don’t have a janitor at home either.If we're not mistaken, it looks as if the low-class cultling adults, like their uncouth offspring, aren't cleaning up after their slovenly selves. It's a pity Dannie doesn't understand the effects of the financial demands he makes on the suckers. If he did, he'd know that they're flat broke from supporting all the cult masters' excesses. They have to leave crumbs around at home as bait for cockroaches: How else can their runt offspring get the protein they need to grow up to be the Traddie thugs of tomorrow? C'mon, Dan: They were just trying to be helpful by leaving food waste. Empathize!
No matter. Dannie was in a fine funk about it all. He used the NFL's Adrian Peterson (not Petersen) scandal as the springboard for what read like some wistful thoughts on the bodily punishment of children. Appealing to no less an advocate than Fulton Sheen, Dannie archly quoted the archbishop's one liner,"' Everything in the American home is controlled with a switch, except the children,'" cheerfully adding that Sheen "went on to praise the efficacy of giving children a good pat on the back, provided it be low enough and frequent enough. "
And that's what's got us unnerved.
Is this convergence of (1) the ominous fifth anniversary of the ruinous SGG School scandal, (2) the cultie children's and adults' barnyard manners, (3) the pathetically insufficient contributions, and (4) the aching nostalgia for the "use of a switch" a mere coincidence?
Or does it herald the return to pre-2009 SGG School policy?
You know, almost all the decent people left in late 2009 and early 2010, so mostly the dregs remain. (The few downright scumbags who did exit at that time have since returned to the cult with their tails between their legs.) Some of the brainwashed zombies might not object if the school resumed its former hard-line, hickory-stick ways.