A brief life by Eliot Weinberger: “When [Ilona] received the stigmata, a circle of gold appeared on her right hand and out of it grew a white lily.”
Ambrose, who “dozed and dreamed over his books” attempts to explain evil to Cotgrave in the prelude to Arthur Machen’s “The White People”; he says,
What would your feelings be, seriously, if your cat or your dog began to talk to you, and to dispute you in human accents? You would be overwhelmed with horror. I am sure of it. And if the roses in your garden sang a weird song, and you would go mad. And suppose the stones in the road began to swell and grown before your eyes, and if the pebble that you noticed at night had shot out stony blossoms in the morning?
Is it a waste of time to calculate the number of angels, if angels speak, if angels eat, if angels were aware of Jesus’ existence before humankind, if angels have free will, if angels have sex with each other & or with humans, if angels have gender, if guardian angels like the people they’re assigned to guard, how many faces or arms or wings angels have, or if angles have names? Is contemplating angels, as St. Paul warned, “an obstacle to the worship of God” (43) or is such contemplation of spiritual use? An angel dictated the Qur’an to Mohammed & an angel directed John Smith to the Book of Mormon. I admire St. Thomas Aquinas’ logic but not its application.
No, I don’t think [facts] have any limits, I mean that’s, I mean that’s my one rule of writing an essay is that all the information in independently verifiable. So, it’s not that it’s necessarily true or not true but somebody believed it not me and I don’t invent anything.
So this book [Angels & Saints], like all things, started with Donald Trump, really. As you mentioned I write about politics for periodicals abroad and about American politics and because of that I have to follow the minutia of the news which you know kind of drives one crazy so I like to have a project that’s kind of timeless and that’s news that stays news.
How long does it take for fake news to become “kind of timeless” & “news that stays news”?
[ illustration: a poem by Hrabanus Maurus in praise of the holy cross, circa 810 CE. ]