Friday, November 04, 2005

GOLDBERG'S GALILEO. Weary of mau-mauing the flak catchers*, I went to the Corner to watch Jonah Goldberg put Oreos to their right use -- that is, stuffing as many as he can into his mouth -- but, to my chagrin, he was writing:
Derb - Must we revisit Galileo again? It was the scientists as much as anyone who really screwed him. I'm not saying the Church was blameless, but Galileo's scientific colleagues were back-stabbers while the Church bent over backwards to cut the guy some slack.
Having run out of current events to misrepresent, Goldberg reaches into the mists of time! Actually he's done this routine before, in a 1999 article obviously influenced by, if not cribbed from, the Catholic Encyclopedia Galileo entry. In the earlier article, Goldberg throws in a bunch of crypto-jokes ("the Church didn’t stop the publication or the debate, let alone sew a starving squirrel to Galileo’s pancreas") to distract from the essential idiocy of the premise; the non-cryptohumorous parts actually underline the essential idiocy of the premise ("The trial is very complicated but the result was that Galileo got house arrest, which is where he did all of his research anyway").

Nowadays, of course, Goldberg, seasoned by years of bloggery, simply emits such absurdities like wet farts and runs out the door. But the idea that the all-powerful institution that threatened and indefinitely detained Galileo, and forced him to publicly deny physical fact, is less culpable than a couple of jealous scientists is an intriguing one for an alleged conservative. Let us imagine Goldberg's Life of Galileo:
(POPE URBAN and GALILEO sit with their arms around each other, the theme from The Godfather playing in the background)

POPE URBAN: Look, Gally, ya gotta understand -- I don't wanna do this thing, but if ya keep tellin' people the earth revolves aroun' da sun, I'm gonna hafta wack ya -- the slow way. (Makes a wringing gesture.) Get me?

GALILEO: I understand, Don Urbano. Ya gotta do what ya gotta do. It's those bastards who ratted me out I can't forgive!

POPE URBAN: Okay, just sign the papers, then come over my house. My wife's making braciole.

GALILEO: I can't come over your house, ya mook! I'm under house arrest!

(Much laughter, curtain falls.)

If nothing else, taking blame off the Church seems like moral relativism, and that's still a bad thing with these guys, right?

*... but not too weary to point out this choice bit from the denunciation of me at Protein Wisdom:
Why is acceptable (or at least not racist) for a black man to call a white redneck, or cracker, or honkey, but it’s not acceptable for a white man to use nigger or other racial insults towards blacks?
If nothing else, I've raised their level of debate!

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