[percy-l] "...to the gas chamber..."

Jim Wesson gypsyjimmy1 at yahoo.com
Fri Mar 7 11:27:50 EST 2003

thanks jim,
 enjoy your posts and offensive rhetoric.am afraid the
upcoming war will put the finishing touches on the
local economy. military all around TidewaterVa. 
 as Kurt V. says "so it goes!"

--- James Piat <piat1 at bellsouth.net> wrote:
> Ken Armstrong wrote:
> >  Actually I was half-tempted to agree that your
> umbrage with Jim for the
> > Christian crusade remark might (might: take a look
> at the latest issue of
> > First Things with its declaration of the "just
> war" about to commence)be
> > justified,
> Dear Ken, Steve, Folks--
> Me too  --and more than half!  Once again I went too
> far with my careless
> and offensive rhetoric.   I apologize to all.  Even
> at sixty-one years I'm
> still trying to figure out how to explore and vent
> my ideas and feelings
> among friends without going overboard and offending
> my friends
> sensibilities.  Often I fail and I appreciate the
> fact that you are all a
> forgiving bunch.  Truth is I have great admiration
> for Percy, O'Connor  and
> all of you. And I greatly enjoy the lively exchange
> of ideas on this list.
> So I don't want to spoil the congenial and mutual
> respectful atmosphere that
> makes this possible and again apologize for my
> offensive rhetoric.
> Imagine the potential for misunderstanding and hurt
> feelings that such a
> discussion might engender among folks of different
> faiths, nationalities,
> languages and cultural histories!
> And, Jim  -- yes,  I too find Percy and O'Connor
> very funny and a mostly
> just a delight to read.  I realize, also, that none
> of my interpretations do
> any of their writings justice, but nonetheless I 
> find discussing their work
> great fun and can't resist the urge to do so.  Hope
> business picks up soon!
> Best wishes,
> Jim Piat
> --
> An archive of all list discussion is available at
> http://www.ibiblio.org/wpercy/hypermail
> Visit the Walker Percy Project at

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>From karey at charter.net  Fri Mar  7 13:25:33 2003
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From: "Karey L. Perkins" <karey at charter.net>
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Subject: Re: [percy-l] sentiment and death
Date: Fri, 7 Mar 2003 13:24:41 -0500
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Well, hopefully you give them painkillers at least as they're waiting to

Are you now extrapolating the sentiment & "to the gas chamber" ideas to
euthanasia?  And then also, abortion?  I read Percy's essay on abortion (and
among other things, the comparison to WWII), but then I read his comment in
Tolson's bio of him, that were it to happen to him particularly in real
life, that is, were he a woman with an unwanted pregnancy, he may not have
the courage to have the child (even though he believed he should and wrote
extensively against abortion).

Kind of interesting: In the "theory" vs.  particular real-life individual
debate, usually theory votes FOR the destruction of "life" for society's
good whereas the side of the particular individual values that life.  This
is where "sentiment" is dangerous -- its dissociation with particularity.
But here, were this situation to occur to Percy particularly, he said he
might have an abortion; yet when he theorized about the subject, he argued
quite strongly against it.

Percy's "to the gas chambers" effect occurs when the state -- or some
individual, theorist, scientist, or group without any real connection, ties,
love, or personal involvement with the subject -- makes a decision about
someone else, the subject, as though it were an object.

In the case of euthanasia, the state, doctor, or someone else is making a
decision about the life of an individual (even though it is couched as a
general rule, it will affect individuals) that they usually have no
involvement with.  When you as family member (or pet owner) make the same
decision, it is a different decision, is it not.   If the
person/being/animal involved is a "subject" rather than "object" (in
Marcel's/Buber's terms), you make the decision in consideration of the
sacredness of the being involved.

I am not arguing that the decision to euthanize should ever be made (perhaps
it should, perhaps it shouldn't); I'm just arguing that it's a different


----- Original Message -----
From: Nikkibar at aol.com
To: percy-l at lists.ibiblio.org
Sent: Friday, March 07, 2003 12:06 AM
Subject: Re: [percy-l] aentiment and death


Every time we get off on this romp, I wind up bewildered why we have it  and
wind up wondering just who is saying what? It occurs to me that the
discussion might be clearer if we defined just what we mean by
sentimentality both our own and Flannery O'Connor's and Walker's. For my own
part, refusal to get involved with the issue is at the root of the reason
that I don't have pets put down when they're terminal. Of course everybody
thinks I'm a cruel son of a bitch for adopting this position. By the lights
of this discussion, am I or not? And if so, why? And if not why not?



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