Saturday, 29 October 2011

On Saints & Syphilis

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~ On Saints & Syphilis ~

On Saints & Syphilis, originally uploaded by Paris Set Me Free.
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Saints have always confused me, and probably always will.

For a start, I'm not convinced anyone actually believes in them, except in extreme cases of indoctrination, and even then I'm not so sure. And then there's the elaborate and, let's face it, somewhat arbitrary fashion in which they are fabricated (such as, mmm, 'it being about time we had a new one', or 'Well, she was alright, wasn't she? Let's make her a saint. Miracle, anyone?').

Be that as it may, to my high relief they are still around in all shapes and sizes. I'm not happy about this for spiritual reasons but for aesthetic ones, because when all's said and done, my adopted city would be a far blander place without the aforementioned canonized ones.

Patron saints are an interesting derivation of the idea, and rather handy, because once you've got on, having already passed over and into blessedness, they can put a word in for you with the big daddy upstairs and generally keep a look out for you. That's the theory, anyway.

In my mind this idea has been a bit abused, because it seems that any old skier, bee-keeper, chimney sweep, prostitute or brewer can have one which, don't get me wrong, seems to dilute the idea a little.

Once you delve into the list itself, and start mind-tripping over the idea of patron saints for hunters (thank goodness animals don't have souls), animal welfare and rights workers (umm...) and eunuchs (Ouch! So how does that work?), it starts to dawn on you that the whole creaky concept is on a dangerously slippery slope to wingdom come.

If you want an eye-boggling few minutes, read the entire patronising role-call, but what I wanted to say here was that my little son's second first name is Jordi, which is Catalan for 'George', who is the patron saint for Catalonia, which is where his mother grew up.

And there the problems start again, you see. If he's the patron saint for Catalonia, then what the freak is he doing popping up and piercing dragons all over England, where I grew up. Surely if he's to fulfil his north-eastern Spanish commitments competently, he can't be being distracted by the fates of the odd 50 million future souls up there in the North Sea ('odd' being the operative word ;-).

And what about all the other, let's face it, not insignificant nations he seems to be double booked by, such as Germany, Egypt, Portugal, the rest of Spain itself (hang on a sec, I thought Catalonia didn't want to be...), Bulgaria, the United States... I just hope the dragon count's not too heavy in these lands, or Georgie-boy's going to have his work cut out, and his allegiancies sorely tested. Not to mention some hastily forged alliances with butchers, scouts, knights, field workers, saddle makers, sheep, syphilis and the Brazilian football team, to name but a few. Supplicants a-gogo.

Either he's some kind of supersaint, or the world's favourite lizard-lunger should seriously reflect on the work load and professional choices of colleagues Sts. Geneviève and Thomas Aquinas (of Paris and universities respectively) and possibly consider stepping off the holy water a little. And before you ask if there's a patron saint for workaholics... of course there are: Patron Saints Joseph and Dymphna, come on down!

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Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free - Contact me directly for photo tours, interviews, exhibitions, etc.

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