Indifference masked as Compassion

The other day, I made a facetious post about the passing of Amy Winehouse on the old Spacebook (or was it MyFace?)   At any rate, I textually intoned a quick summation of my thoughts on the issue.   “‘They try to make me go to rehab…’ Well, maybe you should have listened.”   That’s what I wrote.    Some people simply “Liked” it, others criticized me for tastelessness and uncharitableness and a shoddy understanding of what it was like to go through a drug addiction.   Someone else said I didn’t go far enough in what others called my “meanness.”

My intention was never to be mean or disrespect the dead.  What I saw, and what I wanted to quickly bring attention to, was a bit of sour-tasting irony wherein a young woman whose break-out single was her affirmation that her drug problem was under control proceeded to die from abusing drugs.    My tone may have been flippant*, and for that I did apologize to my Facebook friends and acquaintances.   But my initial point, I stand by.    As people began to profess a love and devotion to Winehouse, I can only see that her musical “genius” and the ensuing fame was based on a lie.   “They try to make me go to rehab, and I said no.”   And that was your undoing.

Some might think I am being a bit unmerciful, a bit uncharitable, or even just plan crass and prickish about her death.    That might be the case, though I plead that that crassness is a necessary acidic counterbalance to the base offered by mostly everyone else.

I think there is a real distinction that needs to be made here about what is and isn’t a charitable and compassionate response to this very public news.   To call out Winehouse’s destructive choices as foolish and stupid isn’t being uncharitable, but rather the opposite.    The choices she made shouldn’t be lauded, or even respected, or even timidly whispered about well away from the public sphere.   They should be unanimously and publicly condemned, for the good of everyone, and especially young people who erroneously flirt with narcotics.

Her death should be a clarion call against the “do what thou will” relativistic nihilism that has gripped our society by the throat and that prohibits any sort of moral judgement against these sorts of destructive behaviors.     It is a war-cry against a materialistic culture that sees drugs as hip.    It is an admonishment for young people to put down the mobile phones for 5 minutes to consider that their mortality, like everyone’s, is tenuous at best and that every tomorrow is a gift, and not a guarantee.

Some people are mistaking withholding judgment of Winehouse for compassion, but that really isn’t the case.   Winehouse is dead, and no amount of political-correctness or pussy-footing about the circumstances of her death can change that.  Calling drug addiction what it is, a pitiable and pathetic** state that we shouldn’t wish anyone to be in, is ultimately the most compassionate and charitable and just thing to do, and it may ultimately lead to saving lives. To call this a “tragedy” or an “accident” does a disservice to drug addicts and future-drug addicts everywhere.   Tsunamis are accidents, this death was the result of poor choices and a destructive lifestyle FREELY chosen.

The answer to this young woman’s death isn’t to white-wash the reality of the situation out of some feigned desire for “respect of the dead.”   The answer is to say, “Look, she made really poor choices and she paid dearly and ultimately for them.   Don’t do that.”

Winehouse’s mistakes “irrelevant?”   Not in the slightest.   They underline and raise the important social and political questions about how we look at the drug problem.   They bring to light the complex relations between individuals, the community, and the state and their relationship and duties with one another.   They underline the very dire need for a more humane, less materialistic society.   Winehouse’s pointless death is just another symptom of the internal festering of our society, and, I think to ignore that, to stick our heads in the sand and pretend that her death was some irreversible fluke of nature, is the real disrespectful route to take.   If her death is an impetus for dismantling the drug culture and all the frills and bells and whistles associated with it, if it wakes even a small part of the Web 2.0 generation out of their MTV-induced stupor, then this young woman’s untimely end might bear some final good fruit, and I think that would be the greatest honour to her memory, rather than an indifference masked as compassion.

Rest in Peace Amy Winehouse, and may you find some peace in the next age that you could not find in this one.

* C S Lewis, in the “Screwtape Letters” has a lot of nasty things to say about flippancy, and I agree with him wholeheartedly.
** “Pathetic” in the traditional, more etymologically correct version of term; IE being emotionally moved by someone’s suffering.

Logical Inconsistencies in light of Casey Anthony Case

Folks are, understandably, perturbed at the whole Casey Anthony case.   The not-guilty verdict has elicited frustrated reactions across the popular media.   Harder to swallow than the verdict, though, is the visceral and gut-churning singular fact that a mother might actually harm a defenseless child.

That response is the right one.   It is good and just and merciful and charitable and human.   The loss of human life should never be celebrated; not when it is the assassination of an unarmed, half-asleep, elderly mujahideen and most definitely not when it is the murder of an innocent and adorable two-year-old little girl.     Though my point isn’t to bring up poor Caylee Anthony.   She is long gone from this world, and nothing will bring her back, certainly not a few keystrokes and pixels on a screen.

But the death of Caylee brings forth some pertinent and burning questions.   Questions that I personally feel aren’t being raised as often as they should be.   Questions pertaining to the lives of children living today, of children who might live tomorrow.   These children are in danger of facing the same fate as Caylee.

The simple fact in all this is that, had Casey Anthony decided to murder her lovely daughter, Caylee Anthony, 1095 days earlier, it would have been perfectly legal.

Here in Canada, abortion is legal for the entire 9 months of pregnancy.   Over three million Caylee Anthonys were dismembered and discarded in Canada from abortion’s legalization in 1969 to the present day.

We have all heard the so-called “pro-choice” arguments put forth in favour of such legalization.     The right to abortion is paramount, say self-proclaimed feminists in organizations like NOW and Planned Parenthood, if women are to enjoy legal and economic equality with men.   They say that women have the right to choose whether or not to share their bodies with their fetus, often referring to these fetuses as “diseases” or “viruses.”

Indeed, here are some women accurately summing up much of the pro-choice rhetoric by sharing their own feelings after having an abortion in an older article (circa 2006) from the British newspaper, The Guardian.    Zoe Gillard says:

Despite the trauma of the experience, I have still always known it was the right thing for me to have done and have never regretted it. The fact is that, for me, it was the only thing I could have done. I don’t know who I would be now if I hadn’t been able to make that choice.

Kat Stark shares:

There hasn’t been any point when I have regretted my decision. The pregnancy was a moment when my life could have gone in one direction or another and I feel really happy with the decision I came to.

Cath Elliot’s experience was thus:

I had already had four children – aged between two and 10 at the time – and when I realised I was pregnant again, I knew almost instantly that I didn’t want to go ahead. My husband and I had felt so happy during my earlier pregnancies, but when we discussed this one, both of us were thinking the same thing: what on earth are we going to do?… For me, the whole thing was an absolute relief and I have never regretted my decision.

Another woman wrote after her abortion:

I have no regrets, just a bit worried. I just want for everything to work out OK. I completely trust my own judgment and know that I made the right decision. I just hope that the end justifies the means. I just want to know what the future will hold for me. I guess I will soon see – This is the happiest that I have been in a very long time.

Can’t find that last quotation in article I linked?  That’s because it isn’t from the article, but rather from the diary of Casey Anthony in an entry dated for June 21, five days after Casey and Caylee’s 30 day disappearance began.     I do not think it is reaching to suggest that Casey Anthony simply engaged in a very-late-term abortion.  After all, I think a strong argument could be made that a two-year old is more of a drain, physically, financially, and sometimes emotionally than a fetus in the womb.    If a fetus is such a barrier for women, how much more is a child?   If inconvenience is the only necessary criteria necessary for eliminating children (or indeed, humanity), then no one is safe under such a moral code.

Allow me to be abundantly clear, my purpose isn’t to demonize women who choose abortion.   They’re a product of the culture, as we all are, and are constantly under the yoke of an increasingly materialistic and amoral society.   Nor is my intention to demonize the norms and values that have lead to legal abortion-on-demand; for those have always been demonic.

At any rate, logical consistency on the part of pro-choicers would demand that pro-choicers support and laud Ms. Anthony for her decision to destroy her child.   It was the right decision “for her”, she had “no regrets” afterward, and her decision made her “the happiest that [she had] been in a very long time.”    Why haven’t pro-choicers acknowledged their poster-girl?

Ethicists (and I use the term lightly, for calling Singer an Ethicist is like calling someone with no knowledge of the periodic table a chemist) like Peter Singer have already gotten to that point.   Parents have the right to kill their children at their own discretion, Singer says.   On that, Dr. Singer and Ms. Anthony have an entente.    Are you, reader, among their camp?

Have you fallen prey to the hair-splitting and double-think that are the brick and mortar of the destructive philosophy that is gripping our society and culture?    Indeed, on the issue of making a synthesis between post-abort mothers (like those shared above) and those who lose their babies to complications like miscarriages, one pro-choice blogger writes:

Legally, fetuses are not infants, are not considered persons, and thus, having an abortion is not murder. But we must remember, the personal is different from the legal. Pregnancy is different for every single woman- and one woman may experience multiple pregnancies in very different ways. A woman may consider her fetus to be ababy, or already a person, because she plans to carry to term. Another woman may consider her fetus to be a baby  even though she is planning to have an abortion. Those feelings and beliefs are normal, valid,  and should be perfectly acceptable.

The criteria necessary for someone to be deemed human?   Clap your hands if you believe.   Convenience is the cornerstone of post-Christian ethics; convenience and consent and equality (though the “equality” of today could perhaps more accurately be called “conformity” or “bland homogeneity.”)

I think the media and our society should be taken to task on this contradiction that the horrible murder of Caylee Anthony has brought to light.     Either killing children is evil and reprehensible, or it isn’t.

Food for Thought: Words from George RR Martin

 

One thing that you may be noticing about me as you follow this blog, is that I am nerdy to the core.   Some of my earliest memories are of Batman movies and cartoons.   I grew up playing with Fisher Price knights, and swinging sticks around with (and sometimes at) my friends.    On the surface, super-heroes and fantasy and sci-fi are just pulp.   Fun, gimmicky stories to distract us from the real world, right?

Wrong!   For me, at least, these kinds of stories are very significant representations of the human psyche.   There is always good and evil (and they are often, though not always, clearly defined.)   The grandiose stories of fantasy and super-heroes help us to hone in on some truly important questions about morality, justice, and what it means to be human.    Only in these genres (and perhaps murder mysteries) are the characters really forced to deal with the most fundamental and important issues of life and death, good and evil, and what it means to be human.   It is no coincidence, for example, that a devout Roman Catholic, JRR Tolkien, revolutionized and some would say even created the fantasy genre.

George RR Martin has often been called “the American Tolkien.”   There might be some truth to that, but I doubt it.   Perhaps in terms of critical acclaim, but not much else.   While Tolkien’s world had clearly defined good and evil, George RR Martin’s fantasy series “A Song of Ice and Fire” (also a critically acclaimed television show on HBO entitled “Game of Thrones” after the first novel in the series) resembles much more closely our own.     There are no hobbits or orcs in Martin’s world.   At least not explicitly; some men and women in Martin’s world behave much like hobbits and some are worse even than orcs, and the vast majority spend much effort trying to figure out which of the two they are.    Like we all are.

Anyway, enough of my ramblings.   Here are some few choice quotes from the mind of George RR Martin.   Keep in mind, though, that these quotes come from different characters; not everything (and perhaps not anything) reflects GRRM’s views on life, justice, power, morality, and so forth.   But they are fine quotations from a fine piece of literature, and I implore anyone lurking to read them.   So without further ado, here’s some Food For Thought.   All credit goes to George RR Martin and his publishers.

 

American author George RR Martin

 

“What do you think a knight is for, girl? You think it’s all taking favors from ladies and looking fine in gold plate? Knights are for killing.”

“Mercy, there’s a bloody trap. Too much and they call you weak, too little and you’re monstrous.”

“Never forget who you are, for surely the world won’t. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armor yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.”

“When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies but the pack survives.”

“That’s no law, just a sword. Happens I got one too.”

“There is no creature on earth half so terrifying as a truly just man.”

“Rhaegar fought valiantly. Rhaegar fought nobly. Rhaegar fought honourably. And Rhaegar died.”

“Fear cuts deeper than swords.”

“If you would take a man’s life, you owe it to him to look him into his eyes and hear his final words. And if you cannot bear to do that, then perhaps the man does not deserve to die.”

“A harp is as dangerous as a sword, in the right hands.”

“All these kings would do a deal better if they would put down their swords and listen to their mothers.”

“A ruler who hides behind paid executioners soon forgets what death is.”

“The dead are likely dull fellows, full of tedious complaints – ‘the ground’s too cold, my gravestone should be larger, why does HE get more worms than I do…'”

“Do you have any notion what happens when a city is sacked, Sansa? No, you wouldn’t, would you? All you know of life you learned from singers, and there is such a dearth of good sacking songs.”

“All men are fools, if truth be told, but the ones in motley are more amusing than the ones with crowns.”

“True knights protect the weak.”
He snorted. “There are no true knights, no more than there are gods. If you can’t protect yourself, die and get out of the way of those who can. Sharp steel and strong arms rule this world, don’t ever believe any different.”
Sansa backed away from him. “You’re awful.”
“I’m honest. It’s the world that’s awful…”

“Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?”
“That is the only time a man can be brave.”

“He was always clever, even as a boy, but it is one thing to be clever and another to be wise.”

“You are an honest and honorable man, Lord Eddard. Ofttimes I forget that. I have met so few of them in my life.” He glanced around the cell. “When I see what honesty and honor have won you, I understand why.”

“Broken men are more deserving of our pity, though they may be just as dangerous. Almost all are common-born, simple folk who had never been more than a mile from the house where they were born until the day some lord came round to take them off to war. Poorly shod and poorly clad, they march away beneath his banners, ofttimes with no better arms than a sickle or a sharpened hoe, or a maul they made themselves by lashing a stone to a stick with strips of hide. Brothers march with brothers, sons with fathers, friends with friends. They’ve heard the songs and stories, so they go off with eager hearts, dreaming of the wonders they will see, of the wealth and glory they will win. War seems a fine adventure, the greatest most of them will ever know.
“Then the get a taste of battle.
“For some, that one taste is enough to break them. Others go on for years, until they lose count of all the battles they have fought in, but even a man who has survived a hundred fights can break in his hundred-and-first. Brothers watch their brothers die, fathers lose their sons, friends see their friends trying to hold their entrails in after they’ve been gutted by an axe.
“They see the lord who led them there cut down, and some other lord shouts that they are his now. They take a wound, and when that’s still half-healed they take another. There is never enough to eat, their shoes fall to pieces from the marching, their clothes are torn and rotting, and half of them are shitting in their breeches from drinking bad water.
“If they want new boots or a warmer cloak or maybe a rusted iron halfhelm, they need to take them from a corpse, and before long they are stealing from the living too, from the smallfolk whose lands they’re fighting in, men very like the men they used to be. They slaughter their sheep and steal their chickens, and from there it’s just a short step to carrying off their daughters too. And one day they look around and realize all their friends and kin are gone, that they are fighting beside strangers beneath a banner thatt they hardly recognize. They don’t know where they are or how to get back home and the lord they’re fighting for does not know their names, yet here he comes, shouting for them to form up, to make a line with their spears and scythes and sharpened hoes, to stand their ground. And the knights come down on them, faceless men clad all in steel, and the iron thunder of their charge seems to fill the world…
“And the man breaks.
“He turns and runs, or crawls off afterward over the corpses of the slain or steals away in the black of night, and he finds someplace to hide. All thought of home is gone by then, and kings and lords and gods mean less to him than a haunch of spoiled meat that will let him live another day, or a skin of bad wine that might drown his fear for a few hours. The broken man lives from day to day, from meal to meal, more beast than man. Lady Brienne is not wrong. In times like these, the traveler must beware of broken men, and fear them…but he should pity them as well.”

“A knight’s a sword with a horse. The rest, the vows and the sacred oild and the ladys favors, they’re silk ribbons tied round the sword. Maybe the sword’s prettier with the ribbons hanging off it, but it will kill you just as dead. Well, bugger your ribbons, and shove your swords up your arses. I’m the same as you . The only difference is, I don’t lie about what I am. So kill me, but don’t call me a murderer while you stand there telling each other that your shit don’t stink. You hear me!”

“A craven can be as brave as any man, when there is nothing to fear. And we all do our duty, when there is no cost to it. How easy it seems then, to walk the path of honor. Yet soon or late in every man’s life comes a day when it is not easy, a day when he must choose.”

“Death is so terribly final, while life is full of possibilities.”

Food for Thought: Advertising

Only a very soft-headed, sentimental, and rather servile generation of men could possibly be affected by advertisements at all. People who are a little more hard-headed, humorous, and intellectually independent, see the rather simple joke; and are not impressed by this or any other form of self-praise. Almost any other men in almost any other age would have seen the joke. If you had said to a man in the Stone Age, ‘Ugg says Ugg makes the best stone hatchets,’ he would have perceived a lack of detachment and disinterestedness about the testimonial. If you had said to a medieval peasant, ‘Robert the Bowyer proclaims, with three blasts of a horn, that he makes good bows,’ the peasant would have said, ‘Well, of course he does,’ and thought about something more important. It is only among people whose minds have been weakened by a sort of mesmerism that so transparent a trick as that of advertisement could ever have been tried at all.

– G. K. Chesterton

What I Saw In America (1922)

Food For Thought: Leo XIII and Economics

The President of a farmer's cooperative in Guinea works in the field.

“Men always work harder and more readily when they work on that which is their own; nay, they learn to love the very soil which yields in response to the labor of their hands, not only food to eat, but an abundance of the good things for themselves and those that are dear to them.” – Pope Leo XIII, Rerum Novarum (1891)

Eugenics and Other Evils

As you are no doubt aware if you’ve spent more than 5 seconds talking to me or on this blog, I’m a big fan of the great English writer, Gilbert Keith Chesterton.    GK is, hands-down, one of if not THE most underrated, under-studied, and under-read authors in our funny little Germanic tongue that was once the lingua franca of this spinning, green-and-blue planet of ours.

Anyway, I’ve just finished reading his excellent book, Eugenics and Other Evils.    And I plan on sharing some choice passages with you.

For the most part, eugenics has receded as a respectable academic discipline.    But while one would have a hard time finding blatant exponents of the idea of eugenics, the principles of eugenics are very much alive today.    The common misconception is that they died with Nazism, but even a cursory glance at the social and political landscape proves that to be false.

Films like Maafa 21 argue that eugenics is still alive, and working, amongst the abortion mills of the Western world; where minority and the poor children are aborted at asymmetrical rates to their more wealthy (and sometimes, more WASPy) counterparts.    Ayn Rand’s “philosophy” (I would be remiss to leave out the quotation marks) of Objectivism is experiencing a resurgence, especially among the Tea Partiers of America, much to the disdain of Christians and liberals everywhere.   Though it should be said that it is the former who should be more appalled by this resurgence than they are.   It is telling to see just how at odds Rand and Christ are, and I can only begin to marvel at the mental gymnastics necessary for these people to invoke the name of a woman who thought charity was the greatest sin and greed the highest virtue, and still attempt to claim to follow the guy from Galilee who gave the Sermon on the Mount, and told his followers that their position in the afterlife was dependent on how they treated the poor and the weak.

So, while much has been done to discredit eugenics, its spectre still hovers around us today, threatening to snatch up the wage-earners, the poor, those in debt, and those considered feeble.    I think, though, that as racism declines (and make no mistake, it is), the eugenicist will be more influenced by the net worth of the so-called “undesirables” and not their skin colour.   Indeed, Chesterton even began to note this himself, a hundred years ago.    It should be said of Chesterton that he was challenging eugenics when few others were.   H G Wells, who enjoys more fame than his jovial contemporary, was a proponent.   Certain Canadian provincial governments were involved in the forced sterilization of “undesirables.”    Before Hitler, before the grisly details of Auschwitz and the other camps were engraved in the collective brain of Western society, eugenics was more popular than Dancing With The Stars.    And it was Chesterton, ever forward-thinking and prophetic and astute, who took eugenics to task before Hitler even applied to art school.

Enough babbling from me, let’s read some Chesterton.   Primarily, Chesterton’s critique centre on the reality of economic injustice in late-19th and early-20th century England, and how poverty (the primary targets of eugenics being the poor) had little to do with genetics and more to do with poisonous and destructive economic policies.

The curious point is that the [editorialist] concludes by saying, “When people have large families and small wages, not only is there a high infantile death-rate, but often those who do live to grow up are stunted and weakened by having had to share the family income for a time with those who died early. There would be less unhappiness if there were no unwanted children.” You will observe that he tacitly takes it for granted that the small wages and the income, desperately shared, are the fixed points, like day and night, the conditions of human life. Compared with them marriage and maternity are luxuries, things to be modified to suit the wage-market. There are unwanted children; but unwanted by whom? This man does not really mean that the parents do not want to have them. He means that the employers do not want to pay them properly.

[The capitalist] sees a slouching tramp, with a sick wife and a string of rickety children, and honestly wonders what he can do with them. But prosperity does not favour self-examination; and he does not even ask himself whether he means “How can I help them?” or “How can I use them?”—what he can still do for them, or what they could still do for him. Probably he sincerely means both, but the latter much more than the former; he laments the breaking of the tools of Mammon much more than the breaking of the images of God. It would be almost impossible to grope in the limbo of what he does think; but we can assert that there is one thing he doesn’t think. He doesn’t think, “This man might be as jolly as I am, if he need not come to me for work or wages.”

To-day the rich man knows in his heart that he is a cancer and not an organ of the State. He differs from all other thieves or parasites for this reason: that the brigand who takes by force wishes his victims to be rich. But he who wins by a one-sided contract actually wishes them to be poor. Rob Roy in a cavern, hearing a company approaching, will hope (or if in a pious mood, pray) that they may come laden with gold or goods. But Mr. Rockefeller, in his factory, knows that if those who pass are laden with goods they will pass on.  He will therefore (if in a pious mood) pray that they may be destitute, and so be forced to work his factory for him for a starvation wage.

It may be said of Socialism, therefore, very briefly, that its friends recommended it as increasing equality, while its foes resisted it as decreasing liberty. On the one hand it was said that the State could provide homes and meals for all; on the other it was answered that this could only be done by State officials who would inspect houses and regulate meals. The compromise eventually made was one of the most interesting and even curious cases in history. It was decided to do everything that had ever been denounced in Socialism, and nothing that had ever been desired in it…It did not enable any man to build a better house; it only limited the houses he might live in—or how he might manage to live there; forbidding him to keep pigs or poultry or to sell beer or cider… It does not send food into the house to feed the children; it only sends an inspector into the house to punish the parents for having no food to feed them. It does not see that they have got a fire; it only punishes them for not having a fireguard. It does not even occur to it to provide the fireguard… After all, it was easy to inspect the house without having helped to build it; it was even possible, with luck, to inspect the house in time to prevent it being built.  It was was easy to restrict the diet without providing the dinner.

Even if I were a Eugenist, then I should not personally elect to waste my time locking up the feeble-minded. The people I should lock up would be the strong-minded. I have known hardly any cases of mere mental weakness making a family a failure; I have known eight or nine cases of violent and exaggerated force of character making a family a hell. If the strong-minded could be segregated it would quite certainly be better for their friends and families. And if there is really anything in heredity, it would be better for posterity too. For the kind of egoist I mean is a madman in a much more plausible sense than the mere harmless “deficient”; and to hand on the horrors of his anarchic and insatiable temperament is a much graver responsibility than to leave a mere inheritance of childishness. I would not arrest such tyrants, because I think that even moral tyranny in a few homes is better than a medical tyranny turning the state into a madhouse. I would not segregate them, because I respect a man’s free-will and his front-door and his right to be tried by his peers. But since free-will is believed by Eugenists no more than by Calvinists, since front-doors are respected by Eugenists no more than by house-breakers, and since the Habeas Corpus is about as sacred to Eugenists as it would be to King John, why do not they bring light and peace into so many human homes by removing a demoniac from each of them? Why do not the promoters of the Feeble-Minded Bill call at the many grand houses in town or country where such nightmares notoriously are? Why do they not knock at the door and take the bad squire away? Why do they not ring the bell and remove the dipsomaniac prize-fighter? I do not know; and there is only one reason I can think of, which must remain a matter of speculation. When I was at school, the kind of boy who liked teasing half-wits was not the sort that stood up to bullies.

Food for Thought: Grushenka’s Onion

From Fyodor Dostoevsky’s “The Brother’s Karamazov.”

It’s only a story, but it’s a nice story. I used to hear it when I was a child from Matryona, my cook, who is still with me. It’s like this. Once upon a time there was a peasant woman and a very wicked woman she was. And she died and did not leave a single good deed behind. The devils caught her and plunged her into the lake of fire. So her guardian angel stood and wondered what good deed of hers he could remember to tell to God; ‘She once pulled up an onion in her garden,’ said he, ‘and gave it to a beggar woman.’ And God answered: ‘You take that onion then, hold it out to her in the lake, and let her take hold and be pulled out. And if you can pull her out of the lake, let her come to Paradise, but if the onion breaks, then the woman must stay where she is.’ The angel ran to the woman and held out the onion to her. ‘Come,’ said he, ‘catch hold and I’ll pull you out.’ he began cautiously pulling her out. He had just pulled her right out, when the other sinners in the lake, seeing how she was being drawn out, began catching hold of her so as to be pulled out with her. But she was a very wicked woman and she began kicking them. ‘I’m to be pulled out, not you. It’s my onion, not yours.’ As soon as she said that, the onion broke. And the woman fell into the lake and she is burning there to this day. So the angel wept and went away.