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Repudiating Glory?

25 September 2009

When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they raised their voice, saying in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have become like men and have come down to us.”  And they began calling Barnabas, Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker.  The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds.  But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their robes and rushed out into the crowd, crying out and saying, “Men, why are you doing these things? We are also men of the same nature as you, and preach the gospel to you that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them.  In the generations gone by He permitted all the nations to go their own ways; and yet He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.”  Even saying these things, with difficulty they restrained the crowds from offering sacrifice to them.

Acts 14:1-18 (NASB)

Here’s a contemporary counterexample.  Here is another.  One might wish to note that noone in the White House, to qb’s knowledge, has repudiated this kind of thing.  Are we to conclude that the White House – and we now mean its principal occupant – sees nothing objectionable about it?

If you were on the receiving end of this kind of adulation, what would you do?  It appears from Acts 14 that Paul and Barnabas exerted themselves fully and persistently to quash this, not to bask in it.  But basking in adulation – even the self-conferred kind – seems to be an narcissism written deeply into this president’s DNA.


7 Comments leave one →
  1. 25 September 2009 11:14 am


    Well, there you go again. Equally irrelevant and before your time, when I was a semi-sober 17 year-old pre-pledge of Sigma Chi in Austin in 1960 we sang “Yes, Lyndon love me, yes, Lyndon loves me, yes, Lyndon loves me: Sam Rayburn told me so!”


  2. 25 September 2009 3:35 pm

    Irrelevant, m’boy? No: terribly relevant. Narcissism is the psychological soil from which despotism inevitably springs. qb

  3. George Cooper permalink
    28 September 2009 5:11 am

    Shouldn’t have happened but an absolute mountain-out-of-a-mole-hill irrelevancy. You and I have much better things to do with our time.


  4. 28 September 2009 10:57 am

    If it were an isolated event, I’d agree with you. And in fact I would neither desire nor expect Obama to waste his time with it. But executive narcissism is a terrible plague, and this is simply another illustration – as if we needed any more evidence! – of his tacit approval of all of the naive, star-struck adulation heaped upon him. He basks in this stuff and apparently considers it political capital.

    Fortunately, the electorate seems to be catching on, and one ought to hope the blowback has staying power. This lawsuit by ACORN in Baltimore ought to be pretty amusing when the discovery phase gets strongly underway.

    (It’s also interesting that GWB was ruthlessly accused of a blustery form of arrogance – arms akimbo, axis of evil, etc. – from all quarters on the left. Back then, executive arrogance was dangerous. Now, oddly, it’s cute and inspiring, even though the evidence is building that Obama’s weakness is inviting all kinds of international mischief.)


  5. 29 September 2009 10:02 am


    I think you are slicing a lot of baloney. (I would say blarney, but you aren’t Irish.) We live in a media conditioned world where image is formed and shaped by spin doctors, flak catchers, and pr mavens of all kinds: remember ‘Mission Accomplished’? And then it is shaped and reshaped by the tabloid mentality of the MSM (including Fox) and many in the blogosphere. I don’t hold Bush personally responsible for that nonsense.

    As to your policy judgments, I find you far too ideologically purist, uncritical, and crabby. You don’t, I think, operate in your religious and personal life that way. There I find you challenged, challenging, nuanced, reflective, thoughtful, probing, less certain and more humorous. The Republic is safe–despite your personal hobgoblins.


  6. 29 September 2009 1:10 pm

    Coop, the video footage fits a dispiriting narrative that has been emerging for months, appearing progressively more accurate, not less so. This president’s self-claimed “gift” has become a cruelly apt rendering of the emperor’s clothes, and it would appear that even his staunchest apologists are beginning to look more closely. About damn time.

    crabby ideologue qb

  7. 30 September 2009 8:31 am


    You are picking at nits. There is, of course, unthinking adulation of and overblown, apotheosistic rhetoric about numerous Presidents, including Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln, the Roosevelts. Political hagiography today is media magnified even as is media demonizing but why take it so seriously in the political realm and not the corporate? Instead of targeting the President (any President), why not instead speak to the deeper issues and questions involving media.


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