Sunday, February 09, 2003

Old news, a lovely film star from the past and spiritual hokum

While surfing the Web this afternoon I learnt these facts: Richard Bach, who wrote what has been described as 'one of the wettest artefacts' of an insipid decade (the ’70s), Jonathan Livingston Seagull, 1) married, fathered six children and then dumped his wife and kids ’cos he ‘didn't believe in marriage' (quite a guy), 2) met ’50s-’60s bombshell Leslie Parrish in the ’70s, married her (‘I don’t believe in marriage unless it's to a hot ex-model'?) and wrote a book (popular but unknown to me before now) about their romance called Bridge Across Forever — whence American popular culture got notions about finding one's soul mate, etc., and finally 3) despite the aforementioned soul-mate thing, the couple divorced after about 20 years.

Hello? The man abandoned his wife and children — wasn't that fair warning he wasn't husband material? Based on Parrish's bodaciousness ISTM ol’ Rick (Dick?) really talked a good game with that soul-mate business. I'll admit that years ago during a brief 'secular' phase I actually read Seagull (easy to do if you've got half an hour) — (yawn) nothing memorable. I also once heard an orthodox Catholic priest describe it as gnostic. And I will concede there is something to the whole notion of soul mates. God made each person unique and some are well suited to each other. Nothing unorthodox about that. But Bach seems like a fraud. (BTW, FWIW, apparently he is a descendent of J.S. Bach.) Purveyor of narcissistic crap in a decade when orthodox Christianity was under attack, the scepticism of the elite and of the counterculture having filtered down to mainstream, middle-class society (in about the same way hippie couture was recycled about five years after the hippie fad, but in polyester form). Feh.

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