Monday, May 21, 2007


Non interludus

Among the English Roman Catholics portrayed in David Lodge's 1980 novel How Far Can You Go? [published in the U.S. as Souls and Bodies] is also the nun Ruth, who has been traveling around America studying changes taking place there in the lives of nuns. In Anaheim she visits Disneyland, where a couple sit
down on her bench to rest their feet, and the wife volunteered the information that they had come all the way from South Dakota. "Not just to see Disneyland?" said Ruth, with a smile, but they didn't seem to see anything amusing in the idea. "Well, we're seeing a lot of other places as well," said the woman, "but this is the high-spot of the vacation, isn't that right, Al?" Al said it was right. "He's always been crazy to see Disneyland," said the woman fondly, "ever since I started dating him."

It struck Ruth that Disneyland was indeed a place of pilgrimage. The customers had an air about them of believers who had finally made it to Mecca, to the Holy Places. They had come to celebrate their own myths of origin and salvation—the plantation, the frontier, the technological utopia—and to pay homage to their heroes, gods, and fairies: Buffalo Bill, Davey Crockett, Mickey Mouse, and Donald Duck....


  1. Mecca? It must have changed alot since the time I was there. I believe that was a long reach for the nun to make. I remember a few years back, because the corp. covered the partners of their guy workers, the churches in the South called for a boycott of Disney. All in the eye I guess. ed

  2. Years ago, we successfully resisted the obnoxious sales pitch of some time share people who had properties near Disneyland, and everywhere else. Money was tight then, and we conceded we might not make it to Disneyland. The salesperson pushed....hard!

    "You make it sound like we're terrible parents," said my wife. "Well, if the shoe fits...." he answered.

    I should have hit him. That's the trouble with being a damn man of peace!