December 21, 2004

Free Will Astrology? We, the

Free Will Astrology?

We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” have never been big fans of astrology. We suppose that’s because we think it’s a bunch of new-age quackery designed for dunderheaded women in the midst of their mid-life crises. But we could be wrong.

Anyway, a senior editor here at “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly”—let’s just call him “Chip”—recently happened upon an example of astrology that’s even more ludicrous than usual.

Sounds pretty unlikely, doesn’t it? That’s what we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” thought before “Chip” showed us something called Rob Brezsny’s Free Will Astrology.

At first, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” thought to ourselves: Who’s Will Astrology? And what did this unsavory character do to land himself in prison?

But then it hit us: Rob Brezsny is not lobbying against the incarceration of a fellow named William Astrology; rather, he offers astrological readings that are, it seems, anathema to Calvinists. Well, we’re glad we got that cleared up.

Yet we still found the designation “free will astrology” rather curious. What in the Lord’s name can that mean?

But then we started to read Mr. Brezsny’s work, and we figured it all out: Rob Brezsny is a loony-tune and a chucklehead to boot.

Allow us to offer you a humble example—one culled from the “Week of December 15” batch of astrological prognostications.

Regarding Aries, Mr. Brezsny writes:

In 1874, a fire broke out in an underground coalfield in western China. It burned nonstop until 2004, when firefighters finally squelched it. In the intervening 130 years, 200 million tons of fuel went to waste, spewing out copious amounts of polluting gases. I nominate the denouement of this long-running drama to serve as your personal metaphor for early 2005.

Oh, dear. First, perhaps we should note that an underground fire on its own isn’t really a “drama.” If it were, this fire in China would be the only drama longer than the film “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” (which should have been named either “The Unbearable Length of This Movie,” or “Read the Book Instead”).

But let us sweep aside this niggling criticism. We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” can’t figure out why anyone should consider the squelching of this fire—which Mr. Brezsny curiously labels its “denouement”—as a “personal metaphor for early 2005.” Obviously, though Mr. Brezsny’s tortured syntax doesn’t make it explicit, the entire episode acts as a “personal metaphor.” If not, we need not travel as far as China for “personal metaphors”; any grease fire would do.

In fact, if we didn’t have so much respect for Mr. Brezsny’s talents, we’d conclude that the only reason he chose some Asian fire is to impress his dimwitted readership into supposing that he’s a man of wide learning.

If you thought Mr. Brezsny’s disquisition for Aries was illuminating, check out his ideas for Taurus:

Have you heard of the book Toxic Sludge Is Good for You?: Lies, Damn Lies and the Public Relations Industry? How about George Orwell’s science fiction novel 1984, in which the government trumpets the slogan “War is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength”? If I could, I’d give you these books as holiday gifts, Taurus. I’d also present you with an altar made of fine wood. With these foundation materials, I’d ask you to begin building a Truth Shrine in your home. This source of power might help you to stay alert for and immune to the elevated levels of BS you’ll be called on to fend off in 2005.

Where do we begin? Perhaps we should note that anyone stupid enough to think that 1984 is a science fiction novel probably shouldn’t be prattling on about it in his “free will astrology column.” Next week Mr. Brezsny may tackle such other landmark works of literature as the spy novel War and Peace and the murder-mystery The Scarlet Letter.

May we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” also humbly suggest that anyone attempting avoid “elevated levels of BS” could do no better than throw Rob Brezsny’s execrable astrology in the garbage?

Posted at December 21, 2004 12:01 AM | TrackBack