Come let us smother the living together: Question! How does a reader finish a column if it has started like this?
COLLINS (8/8/13): Let’s talk about Gov. Chris Christie. Everybody is; he’s the politician of the hour. At the top of the latest poll of likely Republican presidential primary voters in New Hampshire. (Just two-and-a-half years to go until the Iowa caucuses!)How does somebody force himself to read to the end of that column? Just for starters, Christie isn’t the politician of the hour.
Everybody isn’t discussing him. In fact, almost no one is.
More punishingly, Collins is citing a poll about the New Hampshire primary, which is currently scheduled for the year 2016. Even she seems to see the inanity, since this primary won’t take place for almost three years.
As we’ve often told you, Collins has nothing to say. There is nothing she wants to discuss.
She doesn’t have any ideas; she’s interested in nothing. And so, she has to waste everyone’s time this way, especially since she’s already written three columns on weiner.
This is the state we’ll call death in life. Joyce explored this state in Dubliners, which ends with the famous story, The Dead, and with the famous lines about the snow, which “was general all over Ireland,” “falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.”
Collins could be numbered among those dead. You can see it in her columns. You can see it in her dead eyes when she speaks in public, discussing the books she hasn’t bothered to research, making her vile and grossly inaccurate claims about the millions of American children she doesn’t quite care about.
You can see it in in her hacking jokes, which the dead will often tell as a way to deny their state. Joyce starts exploring this death-in-life in The Sisters, the first story in Dubliners.
Collins isn’t East Coast Irish Catholic, like Dowd and the rest. In her case, Cincinnati (and then Marquette) seem to have been close enough.
What is the paralytic state—call it death-in-life—explored all through Dubliners? In The Sisters, Father James Flynn has just died at age 65. He has been living in a semi-paralyzed state in an upstairs room at the home of his two sisters.
Joyce’s young narrator and his aunt come to pay their respects. As they sit with the slumbering Nannie and the garrulous Eliza, this paralytic aspect of Dublin culture gains its first exposure.
As Father Flynn lies in “the dead-room,” his sister speaks of his “beautiful death.”
“He was quite resigned,” she says. “He looks quite resigned,” says the young narrator’s aunt.
At this point, the body blows descend. “No one would think he’d make such a beautiful corpse,” his sister says.
Praised by the narrator’s aunt for all the care she has provided, she then delivers the final blow:
“Ah, poor James! He was no great trouble to us. You wouldn’t hear him in the house any more than now.”
Irish Catholic culture of the past century sometimes included this highly familiar attachment to death and the state of death in life. Joyce explored it all through Dubliners. Transported to our own East Coast, this culture sometimes lingered.
Most of Us Irish have long since moved on from this less helpful part of our culture. Those of us who can’t move on are all employed at the Times or by NBC News.
(Needless to say, Irish culture also contains many superlative elements. Our sainted mother and all our aunts were East Coast Irish Catholic!)
The culture of death in life reeks from the Times op-ed pages. We Americans seem to sense that something is wrong in a wider sense, with our weird pop fascination with zombies and vampires, the living dead.
In our view, the endless pointlessness of Collins’ columns makes her the walking dead. We’re sickened by this endless publication, by the tolerance from all sides for this state of death in life.
Is Collins a party to death in life? If you doubt that in any way, just try to read her new column, in which she pretends to discuss the latest poll for a primary which is three years away.
Gail Collins has no interests. Despite her very high platform, there’s nothing she wants to discuss.
She doesn’t care about black kids. She doesn’t care about inequality. (She's on the bright side of that line.) She doesn’t care about the gigantic looting in our health care system, which her necrotic upper-class newspaper is now pretending to discuss, producing complete total silence.
When she pretends to write her books, she doesn’t look anything up.
This is the soul of the New York Times. This culture reeks from its op-ed pages. It also reeks from its paralytic news reports, as Joyce described long ago.
Collins has nothing to say again today. When she tries to make a point late in her piece, her point doesn’t make any sense.
Gail Collins has nothing to say once again. Why is this serial indifference to the living so widely, so greatly accepted?
This point doesn’t make sense: “In that New Hampshire poll, Christie got 27 percent of the male vote and 14 percent of the women. All the other candidates mentioned were pretty much gender gapless. It’s just one little poll, but maybe we’re onto something. Maybe quiet and sane trumps loud and crazy, even in Republican primary politics.”
That point doesn’t make sense. As Collins notes two paragraphs earlier, Christie is ahead in that poll!
They don't award delegates based on the size of your gender gap. Despite her obsessive attention to weiner, we'll guess that Collins has heard that.