Humanist Homily Homunculus

In the beginning, I wanted to call the book I’m working on Cogitate instead of Generation Special.

When I was in London for graduate school my mother made me go to church and the sermon was about misdirected charity. Basically, in the 1800s in London (and presumably elsewhere) there were public baths. Above the public baths, (the sermonizer claimed that) some rich English people had inscribed “COGITATE, COGITATE, COGITATE” because poor people were poor because of some moral failing that would only be redeemed through reflection. So, those of us made poor, desperate, etc. because no one wants to hire us because of the economy and the fact that no one prohibited us from majoring in philosophy, should also cogitate? But, not because we are to blame for our sorry state. Definitely not that. And then, someone said cogitate sounded a lot like masturbate, which I counted as a plus.

So, a potential agent asks, “Why don’t you have a blog? Why haven’t you written for blogs?” Well, until a year ago, I thought I was supposed to go to law school and become a wealthy ambulance chaser and then run for office in my home state of North Carolina and then rise to national prominence because of my undeniable handsomeness and then impregnate my videographer. All of which might have been endangered by an extensive record of snarkiness to be later classified as evidence that I am not the homophobic, hawkish, creationist curriculum endorsing, anti-tax, anti-spend, conservative type of blue dog democrat that I would have to pretend to be to win votes in my state that has newly turned deep red.

Thus, I have no blog presence. Potential agent says that I should work on being more present. We start talking about how I would do that. I say I want to become The Hairpin’s Humanist Homily Homunculus. She says that she has no idea what that means and that the alliteration alone, to say nothing of possible content, might only confirm potential publishers’ worries that my writing may not appeal to a very broad audience.

But, I do want to be The Hairpin’s Humanist Homily Homunculus because that would be an awesome line on my resume even if it would only make it that much harder for me to get a real job? Also because, while I have been agnostic since I knew what the word meant, I think homilies are great. They make people think about very large, heavy things on a weekly basis. And, people are made to think about those things together as a congregation, which always struck me as powerful. Also, according to the Wikipedia entry, “homily” is derived from a Greek word that means verbal intercourse, which sounds like the best kind of intercourse?

All of that is a long way of saying, my first homily will be up on The Hairpin later on today. Hurray!

3 thoughts on “Humanist Homily Homunculus

  1. You say “no one prohibited us from majoring in philosophy”.

    Now, if somebody had told you that you were silly to spend all that $$$ going to Dartmouth to get a degree that would almost certainly not lead to a job, how would you have reacted? If they had forced you to get an engineering degree or a degree in computer science, would you have called them narrow-minded goons? Would you have felt that they were overly focused on monetary gains and under-focused on art, love and life?

    • Well, that was a non-serious-meant-to-be-funny throw away phrase of sorts. You’re right, I likely would have majored in philosophy (or a similarly “useless” major) anyway and for the reasons you offer. But, I might have done it in a different venue, like at UNC- Chapel Hill for free. I do think the recession has precipitated a very healthy conversation about the absurd cost of (some) higher education. While my education was phenomenal, without the promise of a great job after grad, $600 per month in student loan payments (not to mention my parents’ debt) on a paralegal salary is rough.

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