The Oracle Apologizes
First of all, I’m sorry I called this “The Weekly Oracle”. It’s been three weeks since I published the last one. Here’s what happened. I was writing merrily away on my vision of Occupy Oakland as a Complex Adaptive system, with a slight detour into Charles Murray and David Brooks, when Rick Warren popped back up in the news. Right after I’d written about him! I couldn’t believe it.
Well, actually, I could believe it; this happens all the time to the Oracle. Like when I first realized I was an Oracle, waiting to make a tricky left-hand turn against on-coming traffic. Suddenly, I heard a loud crash and smelled smoke and realized that in an alternate universe a less patient of me had smashed into a car. The very next day, I read a review of a book on alternate universes in the Los Angeles Times!
And what about this? Last August, I had a vision that the universe was a giant computer game being played by two teen-age boys on a distant planet. Once in a while, one of them hits the delete button by mistake. Right there that explains why bad things happen to good people.
Of course I didn’t publish that particular vision because my scientist friends might have found it too fanciful. So how do you think I felt just two months later, when I read an overview of alternate universe theories in the November 26 issue of “New Scientist”, and one of them was: “…the universe we experience is just a simulation running on an advanced civilisation’s supercomputer.” Swear to God! That’s the worst part of being an Oracle – being scooped by actual scientists.
But that’s another story, one I’ve no doubt already written in another universe. In this universe, I’m apologizing. Not for conjuring up Rick Warren from the blessed oblivion to which I’d consigned him, but for having made him sound genial and inoffensive. In reality, I heard him speak once and was plenty offended, from his opening line about having had dinner with then-President Bush the night before to the end where he bragged about his wife’s saintly response to her breast cancer diagnosis, enlisting in the fight against AIDS in Africa.
That fight had, at the time, been severely compromised by President Bush’s insistence that any funds donated to the fight against AIDS be denied to organizations that handed out condoms. In Uganda, condoms had been crucial to the most successful program ever in Africa until Bush’s policy brought it to a screeching halt. The Oracle was betting Rick Warren hadn’t brought that up.
President Bush (proudly): “So, Rick, what do you think about my AIDS program?”
Rick Warren (genially): “It’s great. Not a thing wrong with it. Keep on truckin’.”
So yes, I’m sorry I didn’t come clean about Rick Warren. I’m sorry I didn’t predict he’d side with the Catholic bishops against birth control here in America. But the Oracle is trying very hard not to be self-righteous. That’s why I didn’t write a cogent argument about freedom of religion and freedom from religion because Bill Moyers already has and without a trace of self-righteousness. That’s why I’m not writing about Rick Santorum, whom I dismissed as a non-contender for the nomination and who turns out not only to be one, but now that he’s winning feels free to be even more hostile to women. That’s why I’m not making a joke about why the Catholic Bishops want more babies born – so their priests don’t run out of kids to abuse.
Okay, I’m sorry for that joke.
Next week, Charles Murray, David Brooks, Occupy Oakland and Complex Adaptive Systems.
Or the week after.