One of the more soul-destroying tasks at The Newspaper is subbing the holier-than-thou Christian column. Cutting a preacher's column is like slicing offal. It's slimy, and it stinks. Give me a column written by an emo any day - they cut themselves.
The only thing worse than sanctimonious godbotherers telling you how to live your life is when they preface their unctuous drivel with the word "friend". Our weekly columnist, who for legal reasons must remain - for the moment - anonymous, does precisely that. "Friend, the story I am about to share with you" or "Friend, perhaps you’d like a small booklet that could help you experience a better relationship with those who have hurt or disappointed you."
Friend, perhaps you would like a small glass of shut the fuck up.
Friend, this self-righteous preacher rails against hypocrisy. Friend, this ingratiating predicant tells us the Better Life is when word and deed come into alignment. He bags out a particular writer who wrote a 'historical' novel under a false name, and takes her to task in one of his columns over her deception. Which, as we shall see, is quite ironic.
Truth’s credibility is tied to the integrity of its messengers.
- April 4 column.
How illuminating. In his April 18 column, which i am subbing even as we speak, this magniloquent ecclesiast relates the story of 79-year-old Melvin McDonald, who walked into a police station in Winnipeg "recently" to dispose of a live grenade, a keepsake he'd kept for the past 50 years. Hmmm, ok. The oleaginous godbotherer then goes on to recount how we all hang on to grievances and grudges, and the dangers these pose:
The reality is, that if something isn’t done to deactivate those feelings, there could be a major explosion. There will be casualties. A business could be ruined. A marriage might be destroyed. A church could die. Innocent souls will suffer for someone’s folly.
And, of course, we must turn to god and/or this pharisaical bible-thumper's pamphlets to find the best way to defuse these potentially deadly feelings that torment us. The god squad is our soul's bomb squad ... you understand the metaphor. As a literary device, it's not bad. Not explosive, by any means, but not bad.
All well and good. Apart from a couple of things which drop a blip the size of a turd on my bullshit detector. Like, why is this small town Australian preacher talking about a friend in Winnipeg? Are stories about his Australian friends not good enough? I google. And guess what.
Firstly, Melvin McDonald did not walk into a police station in Winnipeg "recently" - he did this over five years ago, in January 2003. Secondly, this entire bombastic moralism which masquerades as a column is lifted, almost word for word, from the internet. Well, glory be.
I pull up three more of this saccharine devil-dodger's previous columns on my computer, and google some carefully-chosen key words. Sure enough, every single one of these columns has been thieved. Plagiarised from copyrighted columns and sermons on various Christian websites. A wee bit of adjustment here and there, a careful removal of the Americanized spelling - but basically every piece of material i examine from the past month with this smarmy gloryroader's byline on it is just plain outright stolen.
One of the plundered sites outlines guidelines for the use of its material. Hallelujah. It says, in part:
1. Don't change the material (this sycophantic pulpiter has)
2. Keep the copyright/author information (this haranguing pedagogue hasn't)
3. Link to us (this hypocritical sin hound hasn't).
This clearly is the worst blessed case of cheating since the evangelist and used car salesman Johnny Lee Clary visited Carnarvon.
I approach my editor, who promises to send a polite email to the wheedling sky pilot asking where, precisely, he gets the material for his columns. These pieces of writing we publish each week at The Newspaper, under the heading "Wisdom", which elevate our glutinous padre to his tightly-held position of grace within our community.
Stolen. All stolen from authors who publish on the internet. The authors' names removed and another one replaced.
OK. So i've stolen a tin of tuna and a loaf of bread once or twice when i've been out on the streets and hungry. Like, real hungry. But as we all know, devoted readers, i aint no saint. But neither do i purport to be.
People who misrepresent significant realities with trumped-up, self-serving false claims actually tarnish the truth.
- April 11 column.
God damn right, sunshine. Praise the lord.