The Burning of Notre Dame Became Immediate Culture Wars Fodder



See my works, ye mighty, and despair!


Some building burned down somewhere.


Well obviously it is Man-Made Climate Change;
Today it is Notre Dame,
Tomorrow the entire fucking planet will be going up in flames...


"...Or perhaps the baddest of bad takes were from people like me, those of us who used the occasion to point out other people’s bad takes instead of doing the sensible thing: Throwing our phones in the ocean..."

Almost. Almost self aware. And yet you wrote the rest of this article from your "enlightened centrism" castle that is so, so high above it all.


I saw more people predicting liberals would grandstand about religion and colonialism than actual liberals grandstanding about religion and colonialism. Those opinions were out there for sure, but they were proportionally insignificant, and they were amplified by, uh, virtue-signalers I guess, who saw an opportunity to show how prescient and more caring they were than the handful of jerks who were celebrating a 900 year old building burning to the ground. Congratulations, guys.

We’re at the point things don’t even need to happen to be fodder for media coverage. All you need are your expectations, a few hours to kill on twitter, and a lack of awareness of your own confirmation bias and poof! The thought piece writes itself. It’s content for the sake of itself.


I don't say this to you often Katie, but thank you.


@4 I do hope your history professoring is better than your catty internetting.



ozymandias, fuck the world!


Thank you for this. I’m English, and thus rather closer to the Notre Dame than those on the other side of the pond. I posted some photos taken back in 2015 because I couldn’t bear to see yet more pictures of it burning on social media and newspaper sites; I wanted to affirm that we will rebuild it. And since the various visits to Paris have been with my daughter they had heavyweight emotional significance for me.

But most of all it was the destruction of beauty and we all need to create beauty if we are to be human.


Been to Notre Dame five times.

Throwing your cell phone in the ocean is a waste of the childrens' blood shed to mine it.


@7 And I hope your LJMM'ing is better than your grasp of verbs and nouns. Er. Nerbs? Vouns?Noun'ing?


I do mourn the loss of Notre Dame, the same way I do the Buddhas of Bamyan, the same way I wish I could have seen the Parthenon Marbles intact and on the Parthenon, rather than cut up and stolen by British thugs. I have visited the Temple of Artemis ruins in Turkey, and seen some of the artifacts recovered from the site at a museum in Kusidas, as well as the ruin of the city of Ephesus. Religion is indeed a mental illness. However, some of the most beautiful artworks ever created were made by crazy people. Vincent Van Gough was pretty nutty. Does that make his paintings any less beautiful? From all accounts, Jackson Pollack was an asshole. I still love his work.

My wish is that, over time, the French could throw off the regressive yoke of the Church and transform the cathedral into a museum, the way Hagia Sofia is today.

At the same time, #1’s reference to a poem by Percy Bysse Shelley is apt. Of the Seven Wonders listed out by Herodotus, only one stands today. In time, even that one will crumble, as will everything we now see as emblematic of our world. In as little as a thousand years there will come a time when nobody remembers what America was, or that there ever was such a place as France. All remnants of our civilization will disappear, save for a few broken sculptures and shards of pottery, and occasionally a text preserved in the mud to be gazed at with wonder by some future archeologist.

Notre Dame’s doom was therefore inevitable. All things are temporary. Whatever pretense the Church may make to eternity is mere delusion, as were those of the cults of Zeus and Thor.


Isn't it kind of pointless for Nathalie's girlfriend to compare coverage of a cyclone in Mozambique to the Notre Dame fire. These news events are in different categories and orthogonal, and typically the people who blast the news for not covering one over the other are being disingenuous.


@7 -- That was Perfect American.*
Prof, you gotta catch up.

Say, that reminds me -- have you seen Pulp Fiction?

*our Lingo


This is a lil off topic but what’s up with you doing a podcast with Cernovich? I mean you can do what you like I guess but I prefer not to hang out with dudes who are super into rape.


"Tomorrow the entire fucking planet will be going up in flames... " --siggy sour

Not to worry -- the Kocks LLC and various other forward-thinking Billionaire sponsors of Catastrophic Climate Change got lots and lots of Space deep deep underground with fuel food and air and doctors and nurses and Handmaids enough for about 90 years ... and they'll pop out just fine and Dandy, when it's their Time.

We're gonna have Kings again -- have you heard?!

So, it's all gonna be Okay....


@15 You managed to go 15 minutes without calling something racist.

Well done. You're a special kind of white person.


Maybe you should look in the mirror, point at yourself, and then go find yourself some news sources based in those countries, Sausage.

You can’t say it’s solely because of race, because expats, officials, and those with a Western education are the target of those attacks:

Also, Al Jazeera was a good 30 minutes ahead of BBC, which was about ten minutes ahead of CNN, in covering this.

And guess what? They cover things THEY care about!


Notre Dame, Chartres, Saint Denis, Amiens, Milan, Koln: the great European cathedrals are magnificently designed; remarkably durable; distinctive in the medieval fashion of fabulous internal height and (then) innovatively supportive columns, buttresses, and vaults; rose windows, stained glass narratives, and color symbolism. They give us space to link to our deeper, quieter selves away from business and temporal worry, and, perhaps most importantly, they remind us of rich, wonderful, terrible history. No one died in this fire, and, to be sure, fatalities are important than wooden church interiors. Yet... how much of us spiritually dies when we can no longer fully access the architectural genius of the central and late Middle Ages? I'm glad not to have lived then, but I'm sad when we lose irreplaceable historical monuments that link us to serious spiritual searching and consideration of history. Everyone has a cathedral in his or her own heart, and places like Notre Dame, though linked to a too-often-corrupt church hierarchy, help us build our own cathedral. The architects and builders of those cathedrals conveyed a precious historical legacy. History's echoes still resonate today. I'm glad much of Notre Dame can be salvaged.


There were people on twitter honestly suggesting that slaves built Notre Dame? I get a good laugh out of the reparation sorts who refer to slaves having "built America", which is stupid enough, but who pray tell were the enslaved in the 12th Century?



Serfs. The French at the time had a major system, whereby a nobleman owned the property and everyone living on it in a given area. The remnants of this system can be heard in titles of nobility in places like Britain, where members of the House of Lords are still called “The Baron of Foxbridge” or something like that, where Foxbridge, in this example, is the name of the manor or patch of land the serfs were tied to.

Serfs had no rights. The were owned property of the nobleman. The could not leave the land on which they were born. They were obligated to perform work for the nobleman, produce agricultural products, crafts, etc as per his instructions. It was also perfectly legal for a nobleman to kill one of his serfs for any reason at all, although this varied from time to time and place to place. After mass uprisings such as the Peasant’s Revolt, the manor lords backed off for a bit with the insane cruelty, only to resume again after the serfs forgot th sentiments behind the uprising.

This was part of an economic system that predated modern capitalism, and it was called feudalism. It was essentially a partnership between three social classes, the nobles (including the monarch), the clergy, and the merchants. Nobles often provided the military backbone that propped up the monarch, although they could overthrow the monarch if he taxed the nobles in excess of what their serfs could produce. The clerics encouraged the serfs to blindly obey their lords and discouraged open revolt. Churches such as Notre Dame allowed the clergy to produce spectacles in the form of religious ceremony and indoctrination that portrayed their god as something not unlike a king or nobleman- robe, throne, military angels in his service, and ownership over all there is. This functioned to instill within the serf’s mind the idea that his enslavement was divine ordained, the natural order of things, and therefore futile to resist.

The merchants facilitated trade between nobles and entire kingdoms, buying the results of peasant labor at one manor and selling it to the next in exchange for others. Because their function within the triad required free movement of both merchants and goods, the seed for the replacement of this system with modern capitalism was planted in the creation of the merchant class. Under feudalism, the nobles were the dominant of the three classes. The merchants became increasingly strong after the fall of Constantinople, when the treasures of the Byzantine Empire were brought to European markets for sale, about 300 years after Notre Dame had begun construction. The invention of the printing press allowed texts that had not been read in Europe since the fall of the Western Roman Empire offered points if view that challenged the clergy, and with it the model of the king as godlike figure. This ultimately led to bourgeois revolutions such as the American and French revolutions and the English Civil War, which allowed the merchants to fully dispense with the nobility and feudalism, replacing it with modern capitalism. Modern slavery began during the period of merchant class ascendency at the fall of Constantinople, because the merchant class needed serfs to be untied from the land they were born upon, as merchants needed to e free to move themselves and their goods around. While slavery pre-dates feudalism, modern capitalist slavery made the institution a more predominant aspect of daily life. Again, this didn’t achieve full force until about 300 years after Notre Dame had begun construction. The church however found itself adaptable to the situation, and performed the same role in suppressing slave revolts as it did in suppressing serf revolts. Under feudalism, Christianity depicted Jesus at odds with the merchant class. In fact, the only part of the Bible where Jesus becomes violent is where he attacks the temple currency exchange. However, to appease the new needs of the ascendant merchant class, Christianity had to be modified. Preachers of the so-called Prosperity Gospel promote this idea of god not so much as king or emperor, but as investment bank. Creflo Dollar (the name could not be more apt) will tell you that god favors the rich, because otherwise they could not be rich. He doesn’t talk much about camels fitting through the eye of a needle.

So there you have it, you asked about history, and you got a history lesson. I don’t think you’ll read it, because it’s long, but history is long and if you don’t like reading long stuff, don’t ask questions about long subjects like history.


Luckily large swaths of the Middle East and Central Asia still practice a medieval form of their religion for all to enjoy.


As someone who was raised in the church, no longer attends, but doesn't particularly resent it (I have stolen Our Dear Dan's description of himself as "culturally Catholic") I was strangely unmoved by the fire. I think it's a tragedy and a shame, but I wasn't about to sob over it. Things like this happen to cathedrals. in one hundred years, if mankind is still here, they'll talk about the great fire of 2019 and it will be just another piece of its lore.


A small circle of nobodies whining online about statements made by a small circle of other nobodies whining about the existence of the first nobodies is the weirdest and lamest feedback loop ever.

Get off the internet for five minutes.


@25 You were unmoved. It may have to do with how many images of the fire you watched because the infotainment complex apparently had a field day with "iconic church of Western civilization in flames" (with tower collapsing!). By all accounts it was a great emotional show.

I heard some French historian claim that late medieval times cathedrals are the taxes levied on peasants cast into stones.


Notre Dame = The Harambe of 2019.


Beside, and hopefully before, real or fake cultural war posturing, there are important questions to ask such the role played in this fire by neoliberal defunding of the state. This is state owned property and the buck stops in Macron's and his predecessors' lap.


“You know what else burned? The acid ID numbers that the French brushed onto the backs of Vietnamese conscripts in 1914.”

The sad fact is that being an online prick is far too seductive.


Lets review. Catholic Priests are being exposed as pedophiles. Catholic Icon Burns. God uses Fire and Brimstone to punish the wicked. Ergo: God did it.


"Still, my girlfriend could not be convinced to care about this particular disaster."

I think it's strange that people refer to this fire as a disaster. It's a sad event but I hardly see it reaching "disaster" level.


I'm sooooo really, really glad I quit Twitter and all the other social media sites. Together they are one big septic tank for the sludge produced by all the assholes in the world. Who needs all that negativity in their lives?

Well-adjusted, compassionate, open-minded, tolerant, basically happy people aren't the ones perpetually abusively ranting and attacking others on social media or spreading dangerous conspiracy hoaxes. It's only the chronically enraged psychos and misfits that do.

I now stay in touch with personal friends and family by other means. It's perfectly easy and doable in this age of multiple forms of electronic communication. Nobody really "needs" social media. It's just an addiction that likely will be demonstrated some day to have been an extremely unhealthy one.


Mark my words: the next great news organization in the world is going to be whichever one is first to ban Twitter and anything remotely like it for all employees during work hours.


Didn't shed a tear. I mean, seriously, people? THIS is what you're choosing to feel upset about with all the other horrendous shit happening in the world? Save a tear for the children being kept in cages at our border, as we set off yet another wave of epigenetic cultural trauma that will wreak havoc on those families for the rest of their lives and ripple trauma outward. But a building that represents one of the most problematic religions ever known to mankind? Nah, I'm not terribly moved. I lived in Paris for a year, with a French family. Not once during that year did anyone French or Parisian ever refer to it as the heart of Paris, or refer to it at all.


It was recently announced that the Hagia Sofia is being turned back into a Mosque.