The Dubliners Review; Grace By James Joyce

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I’m aware that the ending of the story takes place in the Jesuit chapel on Gardiner Street in Dublin but I googled images of the chapel and it looked, well, for lack of a better word; Shit.

That’s why instead I chose to include a photo of one of my local chapels in Dungiven;

dungiven chapel

I always liked that chapel cause it’s fucking massive and it’s quite nice looking. It also has comfier seats than the one in Feeny so that’s a step up.

My Dad still frequents this church every Sunday. But he goes alone because all my sisters have fucked off to live somewhere else, my mother values her sleep more than her afterlife and I don’t believe in God so there’s not much reason for me to sit in a crowded yet obscenely cold room every week while the Priest yammers on about some shite and no one is even paying attention.

Last time I was in that Church the priest was yammering on about the the obscenity of Pornography and I just rolled my fucking eyes- I guarantee you that every fucking man there didn’t fucking listen to that.

My Dad, like most Catholics, doesn’t know anything about his own religion. He didn’t even know who St. Steven was until I brought it up to him while we were out in Australia. St. Steven of course was one of Jesus’ disciples and a few years after Jesus had been Crucified and “Resurrected” he’d be captured by the Romans and sentenced to be stoned to death by Saul, who would later become St. Paul- the biggest Cunt in the New Testament.

Now I’m not surprised by this lack of knowledge with the Bible; it’s a hard book to read. It’s been translated from Hebrew and Latin and Ancient Greek and Arabic and so many other languages that a lot of its original meaning has probably been lost to translation. That’s why in the Old Testament they can’t tell you where Moses is buried, alongside the different accounts of the death of Aaron- Moses’ brother and the several different accounts of the death of King Saul, the King before David.

Fucking hell, they’re not even sure upon whether or not Moses split the Red Sea or the Reed Sea. That’s right, Moses’ biggest miracle could have just been making a path through a fucking field of wheat.

suncheon-bay-cyber-ecological

That’s not even bringing up the gigantic historical inaccuracies prevalent throughout the Bible. Like if you asked an Egyptologist (a historian dedicated to the topic of ancient Egypt) whether or not the Egyptians at one point were able to enslave 600,000 Hebrews, suffered a series of plagues that would have caused a Goddamn famine and at some point one of their Pharaohs went missing in search of these said 600,000 Hebrews they’d tell you;

…No, the Egyptians kept records so accurate that we can tell you how much wheat they had in the year 420 B.C.E…they would have written down that they experienced all these plagues and held all these slaves (which by the way would have been impossible to maintain due to the lack of reliable food sources and the terrain of the area) and losing a Pharaoh would have been a huge fucking deal

Granted there would have been some Hebrew slaves but not 600,000. Also these 600,000 Hebrews were wandering the desert for forty years/a long ass time and there is nothing outside of the Bible that suggests that there was a mass migration of this number moving about in the Wilderness. There’s no Egyptian records, no Arabic records, no Babylonian records, no Greek records- Nothing.

No source outside of the Bible claims that there was a population of over 100,000 people wandering about the place looking for the “promised land”. That means the source is so unreliable it’s almost guaranteed to be bullshit. I’ll give you example; this is like the Syrian refugee crisis happening but the only record about this humanitarian crisis came from J.K. Fucking. Rowland.

This whole fucking Book makes no fucking sense. It’d be fine if people saw it as a record of the skewed morality that were ascribed in Mankind’s intellectual infancy and a gateway into a long lost culture- I’d be fine with that. But people turned it into a religion and it fucks people over- especially when they think of good and evil.

Take the invention of Satan. Now, he’s not really in the Bible that much. In the Old Testament he’s referred to as “Ha Satan” or “The Adversary” an Angel sent by God to test the will of the Hebrew people. He’s not necessarily evil, he’s just working for God and…wait, yeah God’s a massive fucking Cunt so Ha Satan by definition is also a massive fucking Cunt. Take the example of Job.

In the book of Job, Satan goes up to God and tells him that his servant Job (It’s pronounced “Joeb” and he’s a Hebrew) only worships him because he’s in a good place in his life and he is content and therefore is thankful for God’s blessings. But if he were to lose all these comforts; lose his farm, lose his family, lose his wealth and his health- he would abandon God and would no longer worship him.

So God is like “pffft, Job fucking loves me man” and Satan is like “You wanna bet?” and God sits there for a second and thinks about how much of a bad idea this is and ultimately declines the offer out of an ethical duty to both himself and to Job…I’m just kidding, God accepts the bet and then proceeds to fuck up Jobs entire life; taking away his farm, killing his family etc. All to see whether or not he’d still be loyal to God.

Yep. God fucked up a devoted follower just to win a bet.

Then there’s the origin story of Lucifer (Satan/ Ha Satan) where most Christians believe that he was once an Angel. A good angel but he got greedy and tried to revolt against God to steal his throne. So God fucked him up and banished him from Heaven.

zichymihaly_-_lucifer_az_urral_szemben_madach

But in the Bible there’s no mention of Lucifer ruling over Hell. I mean they say he’s been to hell but they don’t say he actually runs the joint. No, that comes from writers in the Dark Ages and Renaissance period who just made shit up. Like Dante Alighieri who wrote “The Divine Comedy” where he described the Nine Rings of Hell in the part referred to as “Dante’s Inferno”. The book was so recognised that the Church just adopted it as Cannon.

For Christians they found the origin of the Devil in Isiah 14;

12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:

14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

16 They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms;

17 That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?

18 All the kings of the nations, even all of them, lie in glory, every one in his own house.

19 But thou art cast out of thy grave like an abominable branch, and as the raiment of those that are slain, thrust through with a sword, that go down to the stones of the pit; as a carcase trodden under feet.

 

Paradise_Lost_13

Now that sounds pretty damn scary now, doesn’t it? Fire and brimstone and all. Everything wrong we’ve ever done is one man’s fault; Lucifer’s. His evil has corrupted the soul of man because he was greedy enough to think he could oust God but he flew to close to the sun and fell and…

It’s bullshit.

Isiah 14 wasn’t talking about Lucifer as in Satan; the Big Bad Devil. No, Isiah 14 was talking about Lucifer as a metaphorical description for King Nebuchadnezzar II who was the king of Babylon, who was occupying the Kingdom of Israel at the time in which the author wrote this.

This is the equivalent of taking some Irish poet from the 19th Century who was shit talking about the King of England or the Prime Minister and suggesting that “Oh, he was actually talking about a giant inter-dimensional transgender gold fish that controls our Penises” No, you can’t just cherry pick things out of a book and make that quintessential to your world view; Bad things will happen.

It’s like what Bill Maher says; “Here’s the problem with believing the devil exists; it means you see the world divided into teams of good and evil- and suspect the wily one being on the side of them. And when you start seeing compromising with your opponents as a compromise with evil…well, there’s your Tea-Party.

But anyway, 1400 words later, lets get on with the review:

So the story of Grace revolves around this guy who whilst drunk fell down the stairs in a pub and bit off a chunk of his tongue. His friend brings him home and his wife is furious that he got drunk and injured himself. We find out he was a fairly successful salesman but things went bad and he became an alcoholic. Again, Joyce is projecting his own alcoholism onto the the story.

So the injured guy (Tom Kernan) heals up and eventually he can talk without sounding like he was gargling blood. His friends come to visit and they conspire with his wife to take him on a retreat with the Church to make him a proper christian and cure his alcoholism (which doesn’t work cause the poor bastard is drinking Gin in Ulysses which is based after the Dubliners) and they go to mass and that’s the story and by fuck is it dull.

Like it was so fucking dull I stopped paying attention when I first read it. I got glances of it and I was like “Oh, fell down a stairwell at a pub…was he pushed? Fucking hell this is a lot of boring details about the church and- WAIT- Conspire! They said Conspire! They’re gonna kill him and split the insurance with the wife and….Nope. They actually went to mass….well that’s fucking shite then

Jesus fucking Christ Joyce, why the fuck are you such a dull fuck?

Yeah this story is pretty fucking dull, I’m not gonna lie. It’s kind of like Ivy Day in the Committee Room in which the entire story takes place in one room and is heavily dependent on dialogue and it’s pretty alienating to people who are foreign to this land with it’s very unique colloquialisms and aren’t aware of the history of Ireland or the history of the Catholic church- and apparently that’s a big deal in the story because Tom’s friends keep going on and on about the history of the church and they’re saying Latin phrases- and apparently it’s all incorrect but I wouldn’t fucking know that.

Bringing up the history and legal issues of the Catholic Church to people who know fuck all about the catholic church is like bringing up the chemical compounds of water to people who live on the fucking moon.

But Des, people don’t live on the moon” Fuck off it’s a metaphor.

The guy who was talking about the history of the church (Mr.Cunningham) reminded me of my old Spanish teacher in GCSE who was also very religious and would always talk about his time when he was in Spain doing a Christian retreat. He was a very knowledgeable and religious man. Unfortunately I was completely and utterly shit at Spanish because up till then I was barely taught a lick of Spanish.

I mean I had a Spanish teacher for three years but he never taught us anything. He didn’t even teach us the Spanish alphabet- a crucial part to learning any language.

So I failed Spanish, cause I wasn’t very smart. I’ve never been very smart, I mean I can sound quite eloquent and I can “Write words real good” but I’m not a smart man. In Primary school I was put with the kids who had a slow reading level and in Secondary school I was in the second lowest intelligence class- the lowest class actually had students with learning disabilities.

So GCSE Spanish was refreshing cause I was never in a class where there were actual smart people who said actual smart things. I recall my Polish friend used to be in the same class as me up until second year when they were like; “Oh, you’re actually smart” and moved him up to the top band- the smart class, the one with the good spanish teacher. It might have just been the tests at the start of school that assigned you to your classes, or they might have thought; “Oh he’s a polish guy so he probably knows fuck all English so we’ll put him in the dumb class- with the Irish people who know fuck all English” so that’s a possibility.

But my Spanish teacher did have a down side; he only really got on well with the smart classes because he was a smart man. Like when the smart classes are taking the piss it’s more along the line of intellectual banter, when the dumb classes are taking the piss it’s more along the line of a monkey throwing it’s own faeces at the wall. I remember he covered us for RE one time and he couldn’t handle them because he couldn’t understand them and they didn’t respect him so they treated him like utter shit.

He couldn’t understand them the same way most people can’t understand why a monkey would throw it’s own shit at people. But I do; it’s because it’s in their nature and that’s the only thing they know how to do. Everything outside of it’s own nature is useless.

Jesus Christ I’m having a hard time focusing on this story; there’s fuck all. It’s literally just a bunch of cunts sitting around this one cunt who bit his tongue cause he’s an alcoholic and they’re just sitting around and conspiring to set him right with a healthy dose of holy water and a good hour long mass.

Like there’s a wee bit of Antisemitism afoot cause one of Tom’s drinking “buddies” works for a Jewish guy at the Bank and that somehow makes him; “an Irish Jew” …fucking hell the Jews get a rough ride in classical literature. No fucking wonder the Holocaust happened- if people had been talking this shite for fucking years. Even after World War Two there was still a lot of Antisemitism in America, it got so bad fucking Frank fucking Sinatra starred in a Short film to combat it. It’s worth a watch.

The Jews are alright.

Then they talk about Protestantism and it’s fairly interesting (being how Tom is an ex-Protestant who converted to Catholicism) and they say shit like;

” ‘There’s not much difference between us,’ said Mr M’Coy. ‘We both believe in-‘

He hesitated for a moment.

‘…in the Redeemer. only they don’t believe in the pope and in the mother of god.’

‘But, of course,’ said Mr. Cunningham quietly and effectively, ‘Our religion is the religion, the old, original faith.’ ” 

I fucking laughed at that. It’s just typical; “Awww. Aren’t we the real ones father? Aren’t we now?” logic. And it’s not even true; if we were to go by the legitimacy of age then Judaism would be the proper religion and if you were to argue “Oh no we mean Christianity as the proper religion” then you have to pick the Orthodox Church because that’s older than Catholicism. But maybe you want to argue some bullshit about “Oh no our Bible is the write one cause it like…makes the most sense or something” and that’s bullshit because if we were to argue about the legitimacy of a holy book dependent on its accuracy and lack of fallacies in translation then Islam would be the winner because the Qur’an was written in Arabic and therefore it’s never needed that much translation.

There’s really not much to analyse with this story because it’s just about religion and religious people. The main character Tom is down on his luck and has turned to alcoholism so his friends and family try and get him to turn to spirituality but there’s not much there that can help him because while he’s a believer he’s not a believer. He doesn’t even believe in the whole lighting the candle thing, dismissing them as “Magic Candles”.

His wife is religious out of habit, again not exactly a true believer. All the other lads seem to be true believers but they’re apparently very misinformed about the history of the church and their faith doesn’t seem to help with their lives. Mr. Power still has an alcoholic wife who keeps selling all their furniture for some reason and Mr. Cunningham just seems too have faith just so he can boast about all the stuff he knows and maintain his reputation as a “intellectual“.

Catholicism seems to be a toxic element in Irish culture and not an enlightening one. That’s why in the Savage Eye each episode detail why the Irish are the way they are and each episode always starts out the with the same two points:

  1. British Occupation.
  2. The Catholic Church.

Joyce was a Catholic but denounced the Church after they abandoned Parnell who cheated on his wife with a married woman. You can read that in the Ivy Room link up at the top. So he abandoned his faith over politics and not his own reason which is…weird, I guess. Some people argue about whether or not Joyce ever rekindled his relationship with the Catholic church but I just want to declare, for once and for all, I do not give one slimy little fuck about James fucking Joyce.

Personally I can’t remember when I abandoned my faith but I assume I abandoned it over Greed. I remember when I was younger I didn’t give a fuck about mass and then I suddenly did and then I decided to become an alter server and it was great. I got to hit this bong during the Eucharist (I think that’s when the priest blesses the bread and wine) and I always hit the bong as fucking hard as I could. Like if you were a deaf old man you’d have heard me hit the bong. It was great.

I got paid to be an alter server too. Yep, fiver every mass- occasionally a tenner and sometimes we got £20. It was great. Until we got a new fucking priest and he was like “Oh, children- you don’t serve as an alter server to get paid-you do it to serve the lord” and I was like ‘fuck that‘ I know I got into the alter boy game cause they were like “Oh if you are an alter boy you’re like super virtuous and therefore you have like a higher chance of getting into heaven” and I was like ‘fuck yeah, if I serve my time as an alter server I can do whatever I fucking want when I’m older and still get into heaven‘ but after they stopped paying me I quit.

I didn’t get in for the money, but the money fucking helped keep me in.

Like I was biding my time thinking “Oh, he’ll pay me eventually” but he never did. Even when I worked on a wedding as an alter server I didn’t get paid. I spent three fucking hours on my knees and I didn’t get a penny…and then I did the mass and he still wouldn’t pay me!

It’s fucking bullshit man. You can’t just start paying a seven year old and then decide “actually no, I’m not paying you anymore” that’s fucked up. Fucking Catholicism. Pope Francis you better give me my fucking Money or I swear to God I’ll push you over- how you gonna be infallible if you just fell over, bitch?!

Then later on down the road at the ripe old age of twelve I was a chubby little fat fuck and one of those fucking “edgy” atheists. I recall at some point when I was getting a communion I told the priest to “Go fuck himself” and…well, he didn’t like that. He said “Are you alright sir?!” and I just fucking walked on and I didn’t tell anyone. He never got me back, thank god.

Actually I think he might have spotted me on other days and gave me dirty looks, I think he might have said something to me while I was leaving the chapel one day about being cheeky (ugh, I always fucking hated that word) or something. He’s gone now, I think. It’s weird too cause his name was “Father Lynch” so we had the same surname. Fucking wild lads.

I’ve kind of wised up since then. Well, at least to some degree. I’m sure eighty year old Des thinks I’m a right fucking cunt. But at least I can still use my fingers without experiencing excruciating pain and my cock hasn’t shriveled up and fallen off in my sleep, you smelly old bastard.

A lot of old people went to mass when I was Alter Server. Like, every day. Probably because they knew they weren’t long for this world and they wanted to square some Purgatory points with the big man. It’s kind of sad actually. They’re putting so much faith into a being that was made up by a bunch of Jewish Socialists who just wanted to make sure poor people didn’t die needlessly- and they turned it into a billion dollar tax free scam to scare old people out of their money.

I’m more comfortable with the idea of a prime mover then I am with the idea of a God. Cause I prime mover is just like a random expansion of energy that doesn’t have a consciousness; like an oxygen atom. A God implies there’s someone who gives a fuck and I just don’t think that’s true. I think if there was a God he’s either dead or he doesn’t give a fuck, cause that’s more like Yahweh (The Christian God, the Muslim God and the Jewish God- they’re all Yahweh) because Yahweh was a cunt. So it’d make sense in a Universe that is fairly cuntish that it would be created and maintained by a complete and utter cunt.

That or we’re in a simulator, designed for the sole purpose to find out whether or not a bacon filled pizza crust would be popular enough for mass production in the real world. That’s a possibility.

I’m just irked at inconsistencies in religious people. Like Catholics who don’t believe that the communion is the literal body of Jesus Christ. Not a metaphor, not some presentation of imagery- the literal body of Christ. If you do not believe that the priest turns a piece of bread into the flesh of a two thousand year old Arab Communist- then you’re not a Catholic.

And you could say I’m being a dick or I’m being stingey- but people have died over that belief. One of the reasons that Martin Luther created Protestantism is because of that very belief, he believed that it wasn’t literally a piece of Jesus Christ and the Pope thought he was a cunt and then there were wars and lots and lots of people died- all over a piece of bread- that you don’t believe in.

I remember hearing that in second year during history class, with a teacher that the shit tossers also didn’t respect. He said that exact same thing to a boy who said he didn’t believe in the Eucharist so the teacher said “Then you’re not a Catholic!” and the boy couldn’t wrap his head around it. Mind you this is the same boy that in that same year during Spanish class (our teacher was a fifty year old Derry man, not the one I had in GCSE) said he’d wished he’d grew up during the Troubles because “It would have been a good experience” and the teacher roared the head off of him. Not exactly the sharpest tool in the shed, if you will.

But yeah this story is just;

  • Alcoholic falls down pub stairwell and bites off tongue, pub goers help man up stairwell and lay him before a police constable and a crowd.
  • Friend comes by to take him home (friend is called Mr.Power and initially it reminded me of that Simpsons joke and then of the Villain from Batman Beyond) and his friend has an alcoholic wife who keeps selling all his furniture for some reason.
  • Then he arrives home to recover and his wife gives him a fucking earful for being an alcoholic, then his friends come over and talk about Catholicism and it’s history (some of which is apparently incorrect) and then they lure him into agreeing to come along to this Holy Retreat that they were conspiring to do with his wife.
  • Then the story ends with them in mass and the priest does this weird sermon about how like most people can’t be religious cause they got…work(?) or something and he’s trying to market his parable to businessmen and he wants them to think of the priest as like their “Holy Accountant” and it’s….it’s fucking shit.

Literally, it’s fucking shit. A fucking monkey could write a better story by flinging it’s own fucking shit at a wall for a thousand years. A dozen fucking monkeys could write a better book than the fucking Dubliners by tearing their own fucking babies into shreds and throwing their mutilated carcasses at the wall so that their guts then stick to that wall and form letters and they keep throwing these babies for a thousand years until they fucking get Hamlet or the Grapes of fucking Wrath or fucking Harry Potter or the fucking script to the fucking BEE MOVIE.

Fucking Joyce and his dumb fuck ambitions. You’re not insightful Joyce, you’re a dull fuck- go back to teaching the dregs of Dublin how to fucking read and speak English you

wonky

eyed

cunt.

…Yeah I’m, uh, I’m not looking forward to reviewing “The Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man” it’s…it’s gonna get rough.

This isn’t even as bad as I can get, just wait till I review Oscar fucking Wilde.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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