It seems highly improbable, but there are several articles that I would very much like PAUL CONSTANT to write. "Just What Gender Am I? A Sexless Imbecile Looks Within" is the title of one such prospective article. "I Can See My Feet Again: A Morbidly Obese Moron Stops Shoving Food in His/Her Own Gaping Maw for Two Seconds" is another. Either of these essays would instantaneously make Mr./Miss Constant's entire oeuvre a vastly more honest one. But s/he continues writing pieces that veer dramatically from one extreme (inflammatory, borderline-illiterate diatribes) to another (dull-as-dirt scribbling on books that nobody, including Constant, cares about). And in this issue of The Stranger—lucky us!—we get both ends of the spectrum in two incompetent essays, published several pages apart from each other.
In the first essay, Constant begs for the Catholic Church to excommunicate him/her. I should note that I am not surprised to discover that Constant is a damned Catholic. His/her endless, repetitive "confessional" pieces simply reek of papism. But even the Catholic Church deserves better than Constant's myopic whining. What we get here—something to do with priests buggering young boys and Constant being outraged all of a sudden—is the same kind of histrionic protests we hear from rebellious 13-year-olds who hate waking up early on Sunday mornings. (The root of both of these problems, by the way? Nothing that a brisk spanking wouldn't solve.)
At the end of the essay, if we can tolerate the self-satisfaction for that long, we discover the real reason for the whole pathetic diatribe. This is not just some cut-rate Martin Luther, thumbtacking his crayon-scrawled manifesto on a church door; this is a frightened, godless child whose father died, resulting in a pathetic cry into what is perceived as an unfeeling void. Mr./Miss Constant, I address you directly: If you live long enough, your parents pass away. This is not a tragedy, nor a religious crisis. It is the way of the world. And for you to alternate wildly between capering and glowering over your father's corpse at the institution that is currently the cause du jour of liberal hatred speaks poorly of your ability to honor the dead. Would your father be proud of you? He would not. So why are you defiling his grave in this unseemly manner? To outrage a few dress-wearing boy-diddlers? What a stunning act of bravery.
Elsewhere, in Constant's more typical "stomping grounds," the book section, we find an essay about how some librarians are upset that a civil servant apparently believes our bloated library budget might be better served by fewer librarians. It is a mind-numbingly boring essay, for some reason stretched to a disgusting length—a page and a half! That is something to cry to the heavens about! The only purpose I can comprehend behind these two self-indulgent and creepy testaments to "oversharing" is to make DAVID SCHMADER's essay—about how to injure the tens of thousands of people who were annoyed about last week's essay advocating dog murder—seem relatively mild and sensible in comparison. If so, then, for once: mission accomplished, Stranger.