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I will say something about this post later, but I am going to ask an insane question.

I am looking for a novel that was mentioned here. I don't know the name or the author. All I know is that it was a woman--I think on the young side--and that she was unknown to me and maybe this is a first novel.


Never mind. I found it.


Oh, come on, Janet. You've got to tell us.

It's the Awakening of Miss Primm. Miss Primm came to me as I was typing the question. The name of the book and the fact that it was touted as a best-selling made me wonder if I'd gotten it right, but we have a quote from J.H. Newman to begin with.

So far I've read what Kindle tells me is 10% of the book and I'm enjoying it.


It reminds me a bit of Penelope Fitzgerald and a bit of E. Nesbit.

I did write bestseller, but AC decided to correct me. I didn't let it get away with New but for Nesbit, though.


I'm slightly embarrassed that I didn't recognize the name, but I was the one who mentioned it:


Only a few months ago, too.

Prim. One m.

Ok I just finished

I thought you were but it seemed impolite to push it

I think that was meant for the other thread so I will move over to it.

Haven't seen any of Stranger Things, but you make it sound pretty good. Winona Ryder's being in it is a plus for me, although watching her often makes me feel uncomfortable because I don't know how much of her acting isn't really acting but for real.

I actually haven't seen that much of her but was more or less aware of her reputation as a flake. Her character in Stranger Things is definitely on the flaky side but kind of endearing. Anyway, if your son has been captured by dark forces and pulled into a hellish alternate dimension you're entitled to be a little hysterical. :-)

I cannot remember her in anything since Little Women!

Ah I see from Wiki that she was done up for shoplifting. I remember that now.

This morning I read that a new university building on campus here will be have a "blessing" in a couple of weeks, and my immediate reaction was, say what? Found an article from a few years ago that talks about what that is, here in New Zealand. Here's some of it:

I received an email last week entitled, "Urgent: Blessing Required".

It was apparently for a new community facility and the mayor of Dunedin was doing an opening at 2pm so the urgent blessing was required at 1.30pm.

Maybe it was because there was some sort of fear that misfortune might befall the new occupants of this facility if they moved in to an unblessed office block or that uninvited spirits might be lurking around the building providing for a workplace not consistent with health and safety policy.

Maybe it was out-of-control political correctness that tends to expect a Maori blessing before most things.

Or maybe it was because there is a spiritual void for many people that is most easily filled with a cultural ritual. ...

Ironically most of these people would not view themselves as religious and would probably describe themselves as atheists living in a secular world. Yet in a desire for some type of cultural comfort they happily engage in archaic ritual that is based entirely on a belief system that recognises an anti-science world of spirits and gods. ...

So in an age when traditional churches are being rapidly deserted, Maori ritual is the easiest and most accessible option for the majority and from the simple prayer and ritual they may take some comfort.

Anyway it all made me think of what you wrote above, especially this:
Those who like the "arc of history" figure also tend to think that the progress it describes will include the abandonment of primitive delusions such as Christianity. It may, at least for some time, but if it does the arc may bend in a direction rather different from the one expected by contemporary progressives.

Forgot to mention that blessing is for the new business school building.

The odd thing about this from the American point of view is that it's a state affair. There are certainly lots of people who go in for non-Christian rituals of all sorts but I've never heard of one happening under government auspices.

When I wrote that paragraph I was thinking of a return to pre-Christian attitudes toward power, the diminishment of the importance of mercy, etc--the kind of mentality that made the ancients think it was just fine to put an unwanted infant out in the woods. But a return to religions that only seem cute and cuddly to moderns because they've been deprived of their power is also possible. Maybe likely.

Yes, it's that connection with the state that's odd, and, to me, troubling. Also, it's not exactly a fascination with the "cute and cuddly" when it comes to Maori culture because the emphasis seems mostly on the warrior aspect of that culture. Have you seen the haka they do at sports games internationally? Well, they do it for just about everything here, and the effect is mainly scariness.

No, I haven't seen that. I'm not familiar with Maori beliefs or rituals. But I didn't mean these things in general are actually cute and cuddly. Just that westerners (wrong word here I guess) tend to pick out what appeals to them and treat it that way.

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