Did the kitty commit a crime and in your imagination's prison is this how felons do their time? Or did no one want to sit with you because humans find your company as terrifying as cats do? Do you crush anything that's cute? Should we notify the ACLU or wait for PETA to file a lawsuit? Luvgood Carp, Editor-in-Chief
If you are a fan of historical fiction, it is hard to do better than Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. Both won the Man Booker Prize. As that esteemed literary critic Adam Sandler would say: not too shabby. The third and final book in this sympathetic treatment of Thomas Cromwell is The Mirror and the Light. It did not win the Man Booker Prize. Probably didn’t come close.
Who is Thomas Cromwell, you ask. Congratulations! You aren’t English. Moreover, you are probably an upstanding citizen living a meaningful and productive life.
Thomas Cromwell lived in the first half of the 1500s. But you don’t need to be familiar with the English Reformation to enjoy these books. Wolf Hall describes Cromwell’s brutal childhood and how he rose from obscurity to become Henry VIII’s most influential adviser. His chief adversary is Sir Thomas More, who is opposed to Henry’s divorce of Catherine of Aragon and his marriage to Anne Boleyn. The book ends with More’s execution. Cromwell has accumulated wealth, power, and a potent ally in Anne Boleyn.
Bring Up the Bodies opens with Henry married to Anne. However, Henry soon grows tired of her and falls in love with Jane Seymour. Cromwell’s alliance with Anne is now problematic, as Henry expects Cromwell to find a way to get rid of her so he can marry Jane. Cromwell accomplishes this and in doing so manages to have some of his political enemies executed as well. But, of course, Anne must lose her head too. The book ends with Anne’s execution and Cromwell at the height of his power and influence.
Anyone familiar with Greek tragedy knows this is where it all unravels for Cromwell – if only the unraveling wasn’t so plodding. Welcome to The Mirror and the Light, which limps along to Cromwell’s demise.
The first 2 books are stellar. Cromwell’s adversaries (Thomas More and Anne Boleyn) are worthy opponents and truly challenge him. In The Mirror and the Light, Cromwell’s only real adversary is himself, and he makes several mistakes that ultimately lead to his execution. It just takes a long time to get there.
The history of this time is fascinating, and Ms. Mantel has certainly done her research. Just as importantly, she knows how to tell a compelling story – at least she does in Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. Cromwell had an eventful life. But ultimately his livelihood (and his life) depended on the whims of a paranoid, superstitious, and mercurial monarch. As one character describes Cromwell’s predicament: “[y]our whole life depends on the next beat of Henry’s heart, and your future on his smile or frown.” Fortunately, we live in a time when monarchs don’t have the power or inclination to ruin people’s lives. Just ask England.
Gladiola Overdrive, Chief Editor
Let's go down to Union Street where all the impoverished people meet around barrels brimming with green despair. They'll fidget nervously while we stare as each in turn will dip a cup lift to trembling lips and drink it up. On Union Street the barrels overflow so we'll see many rounds before we go and when they've drunk themselves blind we'll leave through a door they'll never find.
Luvgood Carp, Editor-in-Chief
You’ve heard of Dr. Who – that pompous, inscrutable, time-traveling geek who has been on TV for decades. Of course, you have. There are literally dozens of people around the world who love Dr. Who.
The British royal family recently found itself with a vacancy, so it is introducing a new action figure: Prince Who, a character intentionally modeled after Dr. Who – a morally-upright citizen who would never touch underage girls.
“A few years ago we needed to ‘Jeffrey Epstein’ some jailed American pervert. Now, you may think that’s because we were afraid of what he might have said during a trial. But that would be wrong. We just gravely believe silence is golden and snitches get stitches,” Queen Elizabeth giggled. “But, to our surprise, James Bond isn’t real. So we contacted Dr. Who. That doctor is a shapeshifting motherfucker. And, Chim Chim Cher-ee, problem solved.
Except it wasn’t. You know how Americans love spurious lawsuits -especially when children are sexually assaulted. Well, that forced us to separate a royal from life . . . public life, I mean. Because if he isn’t seen anymore, then we can ignore everything he’s done in the past.
So we created Prince Who to take his place. And more importantly to serve as a distraction. Prince Who will make you totally forget about that other guy. He is just as smug and insufferable as the original, but he has been neutered so he doesn’t touch underage girls. It was the only way we could prevent royals from touching children inappropriately.” That’s when a Beefeater rushed over and escorted the Queen away.
Tengo Leche, Social Anxiety Scholar
We sincerely thank Edge of Humanity Magazine for publishing our poem Darwin’s Prophet. Edge of Humanity is a wonderful magazine that publishes all kinds of writers and artists.
A link to the poem is here. https://edgeofhumanity.com/2022/01/09/darwins-prophet/
Or, if you like, you can read the poem below.
Is this a fist I see which approaches my face with steroid-assisted velocity? Or is this a fist of the mind, an immaculate conception, gestating in a beer-soaked brain. If real, that news report now rings true: we are indeed evolving into crabs because the fist is truly crustacean-like huge as a Caribbean conch shell with blue enameled calluses; spikey ridges serving as knuckles. Having now considered the fist close-up perhaps it was wrong of me to so freely and so loudly share my concerns about your too obvious and too intimate relations with your mother. After all, you are simply ensuring your odd traits will be inherited. So, good for you, Darwin's Prophet! Managing to crawl all by yourself through the septic foam fringing the shoreline and learning to adapt in a new environment. Your flat head and crooked legs proclaim that you are the pathfinder in evolution's wilderness. And well done, too, Darwin's Pharmacist! Opting for an unnatural selection of supplements to enhance bulk and brawn over brains. Your scrunched brow crusted with barnacles and those black pebbles passing as eyes affirm that in the future only mutants will be fit to survive. Luvgood Carp, Editor-in-Chief
On January 5, 2022, Pope Francis delivered a sermon encouraging people to adopt children instead of pets. Now you may find it strange, or even insulting, that a group of men who are not allowed to have children are lecturing others about the need to adopt or have more children. You may even be horrified that the Catholic Church (with its sordid history of sexually abusing children) would have the gall to shame people on this topic. Those are valid points, so I intend to ignore them. Instead let’s focus on morality.
Adopting children instead of pets is clearly the moral thing to do – unless, of course, the children are LGBTQ. So let’s say you want to adopt a child. How can you tell the difference between an LGBTQ child and a perfect child? LGBTQ children are sneaky. Sometimes they are reluctant to share whether they are LGBTQ, because they suffer from a deviant defect called fear – as in fear of being ostracized or assaulted.
So how can you be sure the Catholic Church will embrace your adopted child? Here’s where Catholic priests can be really handsy. The Vatican is rolling out a new LGBTQ test. Parents, who are interested in the adoption of moral children, can contact their parish priest, and for the low price of $79.99 that priest will meet with the suspect child in the back of an unmarked white van and subject the child to a private, confidential, one-on-one LGBTQ test. All you need to do is sign the standard confidentiality agreements, waivers, releases, and covenants not to sue, which we will hold in our secure ark. You’ll need to pay the fee, too. Duh! So call now and start your adoption in the only way sanctioned by the Catholic Church. Personal checks not accepted.
Father Orifice (pronounced Orifeechee) – Chaplain of Pungent Sound Technical College of Technology
I love mustaches. I come from a long line of mustachioed men. It’s my heritage, but it is also a way of life. I only socialize with people who have mustaches. Everyone at my country club wears a mustache – even the women.
There was a time when the mustache was honored. It represented dignity, fashion, and good grooming. People who could not grow a mustache were deemed second class. Poor groomers.
In the 1980s my friends and I paid for an erection. It was of a statue dedicated to Saddam Hussein, because that dude could rock a mustache. Now, yes, we were aware that Saddam was a despot who throughout his life oppressed people without mustaches. He killed and raped many of them. But that’s not why we embraced the statue’s erection. Like us, he was a fellow lover of mustaches. His belief that mustachioed people are superior to non-mustachioed people (a belief we may or may not agree with) is irrelevant.
The Saddam statue has stood in front of the courthouse for nearly 40 years, but now some people (who don’t have mustaches – I might add) have decided to take offense. Focusing solely on all the horrific things he did and stood for, they contend the statue glorifies mustache supremacy – a philosophy that many people now find abhorrent.
But that’s a lost cause. The statue honors the mustache and all the good things it has represented and continues to represent. It is our heritage and we (meaning me and my friends) should be allowed to flaunt it.
Even if society has evolved, you can’t re-write history. Perhaps most people do find mustache supremacy repugnant now. It doesn’t matter. Those people should still be forced to everyday look upon something they consider vile – if only because it makes me feel better. That’s what statues are for.
Knowgood Carp, Owner of All the Hotels on Block Island (and Some in Connecticut)
Now this is progress. The trash trucks are new crisp and clean. I can see my silver reflection deep inside the battleship gray panel protecting the womb where the waste is crushed. This speaks well of my city - removing the rust belt that trapped it inside grungy jeans covered with coal dust. The city can now put on a nice pair of chinos and reasonably hope the beige stays clean. The trucks glide to a tuneful stop and the refuse managers emerge from the cranium in crisp clean battleship gray uniforms. They tenderly lift the comatose larva-like addicts and homeless and gently place them in the womb. Luvgood Carp, Editor-in-Chief First Published in BOMBFIRE
Humanity misperceives me. You seem to think that I get paid for each soul I guide to the river’s crossing, and you have been extremely generous over the last 2 years. But I do not get paid by the soul. I don’t get paid at all. Something in my nature compels me to help you find your way to whatever awaits. I don’t understand it either.
The covid pandemic (like every pandemic before it) has reaffirmed one of my core beliefs. You are not worthless, but you are weak. And your lives are shockingly short. I encourage you to act accordingly. Look out for yourself, but also look out for your neighbors – because if your neighbor’s life means nothing so does yours. And as covid has shown, no one in the world is a stranger. Everyone is your neighbor.
See you soon.
Raven Breathless (f/k/a Death), Senior Human Rights Correspondent