Tuesday, February 23, 2016

God Is Laughing at You

From Pacific Standard-

Of all the things you'd expect to fall out a window, a foreskin might not immediately come to mind. Yet there it was, young Tristram Shandy's unceremonious circumcision landing with a slap against the cold ground outside his family's house. Young Tristram had only been trying to relieve himself in the absence of a chamber pot, but when the window fell it did the job that no doctor had done before.

It might surprise you to know that this scene, which comes from the book named for its protagonist, was written by an Anglican clergyman, Laurence Sterne. Then again, it might not—it's quite a famous book, and it wouldn't be the first time a religious leader had allowed himself to make bawdy jokes. But the joke of Tristram Shandy goes beyond accidental bodily separations and coalesces into a broader, more thorough satire that seeks to ridicule the solemn and the self-important—to puncture basic notions of human dignity. Ridicule of the sort that brings us Shandy's foreskin isn't just meant to bring levity to the story—it is the story itself.

More here-


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