kwildgen wrote:

> Be still, my heart! I can't wait.

A lighthearted comment from kwildgen, but at least a semi-serious

There is populism and there is kitsch. Some 15 years back I was lucky
enough to
visit the monastery of Baramus in Wadi Natrun (a fourth-century
reputedly by Helena, who, yes, certainly got herself about). Brother
Antony - a
retired Cairo dentist who still does sterling work upon the teeth of the
populace and is at least as educated as I am (!) - showed me about.
After the main
buildings, ostrich-eggs and iconostasis* included, we came into a chapel
which had
a rather good icon of the Baptist in it from the 18th century. He stood
with his
back to it, a sly smile on his face, his hands behind his back, and
asked us what
we thought. As he asked, there was a click behind his back, and
fairy lights lit up around the frame. He smiled further, and the lights
began to
flash. We told him what we thought, but we were nice about it. 'I did
this' he
said, and smiled further. We were sure to make a donation to the
foundation as we

My response to the list is: whose kitsch is this/whose religion is this?
And where
do we fit Ivory Madonnas? At the beginning of the 21st century, I for
one do not
feel too sophisticated: it's much more comfortable to look a few
centuries back.

Angus Graham, Muscat

* A nice 8th-century cedar-wood piece, massive in conception. Along the
bottom of
which I was appalled to see an electric cable loosely tacked, leading to
a hole
hacked in for a socket. 'Why was this done?' I gasped. 'Oh. For the
cleaner,' brother Antony answered. Sure, churches need to get cleaned.
also need modern representation -- don't they?