Tuesday, August 24, 2004


The Seven Deadly Harveys

Nearer, my Couch, to Thee

(sez The Modern Word: In 1993, the NYTBR ran a series in which various authors were asked to write about one of the Seven Deadly Sins. Thomas Pynchon's subject was "Sloth.")
Unless the state of our souls becomes once more a subject of serious concern, there is little question that Sloth will continue to evolve away from its origins in the long-ago age of faith and miracle, when daily life really was the Holy Ghost visibly at work and time was a story, with a beginning, middle and end. Belief was intense, engagement deep and fatal. The Christian God was near. Felt. Sloth -- defiant sorrow in the face of God's good intentions -- was a deadly sin.
Perhaps the future of Sloth will lie in sinning against what now seems increasingly to define us -- technology. Persisting in Luddite sorrow, despite technology's good intentions, there we'll sit with our heads in virtual reality, glumly refusing to be absorbed in its idle, disposable fantasies, even those about superheroes of Sloth back in Sloth's good old days, full of leisurely but lethal misadventures with the ruthless villains of the Acedia Squad.