virus: missa viriis

Wade T. Smith (
Sun, 27 Jun 1999 20:04:41 -0400

During the funeral ceremonies for my mother- my daughter shaking with sobs beside me, the ex-wife's mother strolling outside with my 7-month old other daughter, and I had done the hand-shaking and the nodding, and was sitting with the immediate family in the first row, the priest and his assistant (my mother retained some miniscule attachment to the Methodist institution) beginning the small rites- all I could think about was how any scene like this required ritual, and it required some semblance of competency within this ritual. As an atheist with a theatre degree and a deep interest in aesthetics, I didn't give a pair of fetid dingoes' kidneys what sort of ritual, and, in fact, ultimately, I don't think anyone else does either. But the fact that a ritual was necessary was what I saw. And then, I saw the ritual that this particular church, for this particular occasion, had to offer, was, in its essence, acceptable, but the presentation was feeble, inadequate, and amateurish, and my hatred of priests rose once again to my brow.

And I don't give that same pair of fetid dingoes' kidneys about inner councils and group participation and signing up and voting and indeed, if nominated I will not run and if elected I will not serve, and I contend, not without having sat on committees and followed Robert's, that there is nothing we could do here to prioritize this organization that would be worthwhile, but that what would be worthwhile, what would fill a need, what would be a source of solidity to this church and to the site within us all that puts churches up- (and, as Pollyanna said, no-one owns a church), would be to create and instigate some rituals.

As you may have noticed, the Futurist, the Surrealist, the Communist, and other wonderful manifestoes, are active documents, filled with contact with the world, filled with actions, and the members of that movement moved to it with art.

Memes need to be seen.

Why are we here?

I am here, personally, because I don't give a flying fuck for any other church and never will. And as soon as there is any sort of edifice for this one, I'll spit on it and move on.

And I will spit on any saint as well. It's the ideas that need the structure, not the institution.

And, to me, the rituals that offer us a fact from science, and an art from feeling, are the most competent. Those I can and will celebrate, and hear the songs to sing.