About half an hour ago, at 3:57 pm to be exact, your host concluded his remarks
on the Frenchman who rowed alone across the Pacific: "... and all without the
help of any gods, so far as we know."
I'm afraid "so far as we know" is not enough to get him off the hook.
How would he know?
As a former denizen of the Big Apple and listener to WQXR (the classical music
station of the New York Times, as you surely knew), I have to say that such
classlessness is not to be found on that station, despite the determined
secularism of the Times.
Of course, a lack of class is not the principal issue here, that being the essential
human arrogance and vanity that would presume the irrelevance of Providence for a
feat as dependent upon the "elements" as rowing alone across the Pacific.
It may be that your host was ironically attributing such arrogance to the French,
but then, that is no real compliment to the French, no matter how much some
of the French (the more old-fashioned among them) might appreciate it.
Or it may be that your host was ironically attributing such arrogance only to this
particular Frenchman, though one would hope that 130-odd days alone at sea
in a rowboat would be enough to stamp the remaining frivolity out of a man.
In any case, perhaps your host should be made aware that his hapless attempt
at irony or amusement or blasphemy, or whatever it was, fails to impress.
Kirk G. Kanzelberger
[Used with permission of Kirk G. Kanzelberger of Sapor Sapientiae]