He is consumed by terrible remorse why did he not warn the families of Bethlehem when he could Why did he selfishly only rescue his own child When Jesus learns about this he believes he takes on his father s guilt and he becomes obsessed He leaves his family aged 13 and joins up with a shepherd then later with some fishermen where he discovers he has magical powers over fish es I am not making this up Saramago is basing it on one of the gospel miracles But in this book Jesus makes his living for four ears by controlling the fish in the Sea of Galilee Then Jesus meets Mary Magdalene a prostitute and they fall in love and start travelling round together as man and wife He encounters God a couple of times and finally gets God to tell him that he is God s one and only Son and that God has a task for him which is to die a martyr s death so that his followers can spread the word And what is the point of it all To help me become God of people says God I thought Blindness was a stone 5 star classic in which the difficult narration perfectly mirrored the desperate difficult plight of the characters but this Gospel just struck me as very loopy and probably not worth the amount of concentration reuired to plough through all the unrelenting density This is a bold fearless work and definitely not for the faint hearted readers I am not surprised that when this was originally published in 1991 it created lots of controversies with the Catholic Church condemning Jose Saramago for harboring anti religious vision and his own Portuguese government asking the European Literary Prize to remove this from its shortlist because of the book s offensive content to religion Despite this book s existence Saramago won the 1998 Nobel Prize for LiteratureThis is my third Saramago Blindness Double were my others and my fourth book in what seems to be an unnamed genre re telling of the life of Jesus Christ Last ear I read The Last Temptation of Christ 1960 by Nikos Kazantzakis and Christ the Lord Out of Egypt 2005 and Christ the Lord The Road to Cana 2008 by Anne Rice In my book Temptation came first and I am glad I read it first so the idea of twisting the canons by a mere mortal who lived in our generation is not new translation not shocking For me Anne Rice s books now seem to be just afterthoughts of these two worksBut why re tell the life of Jesus Christ Because of the mysterious gap in his Dshydrater les aliments chez soi - Conseils et instructions tape par tape youngerears Because of the weakening fate of the believers Because and people are now turning into atheism or other religions This depends on what we believe or what each of us was taught to believe when we were Dialectiek Van de Seksuele Differentie younger However since this book is about the life of Jesus Christ who s being venerated by than half of the people in the world then I don t want to dwell on religion I am leaving this kind of discussion on faith to some other forums like my review on my long staying currently read book The Holy Bible Revised Standard Edition that I started reading in September lastear and currently in The Book of Ezekiel and hope to finish all books before the end of this L'nergie sexuelle masculine yearI picked this book because I loved the two works of Saramago Also it is Lenten Season and I thought that a Nobel laureate like him would not blaspheme paint false pictures or mock Jesus Christ Yes he did those in this book I almost wanted to say that this should rather be called The Gospel According to Jose Saramago but for me it is disrespectful to a great mind like him After all he is already dead was an atheist and a writer so it is not nice for a mere literary enthusiast like me to criticize a dead person who can no longer defend himself argue with his beliefs as he did not believe on any god and said to be a pessimist and he can invoke poetic devise twisting facts for the sake of telling a grappling story In other words he had or has all the right to come up with a work like this and his cries for oppression due to censorship when the Portuguese government or the Catholic Church called for banning of this are in my opinion all uncalled for Jesus having sex with Mary Magdalene in the whorehouse without the blessing of marriage The demon asking Jesus to use a sheep for sexual release An angel posing as a beggar during the Annunciation scene The same beggar angel walking with Mary to Bethlehem provoking jealousy to the doubting Joseph Three shepherds instead of 3 kings visiting the family in the Bethlehem Joseph crucified and dying on the cross mistaken as a zealot Jesus seeing God in the desert Jesus riding on the boat with the God and the Devil These are some of the shocking deviations from the story that Saramago imagined and incorporated to come up with an irreverent profound skeptical funny heretical deeply philosophical provocative and compelling work Source Harold Robbin who says that this is his favorite work of Saramago So far I agreeSo how doou rate a book with a disgusting content Nedjma yet beautifully written Think J G Ballard s Crash Maruis de Sade s 120 Days of Sodom or Bret Easton Ellis American Psycho or even Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov The first time I read them I was totally disgusted and hated them to the max Now I realized I missed the whole point They are really written to shock so their authors can bring the message to the tableSo what message does The Gospel According to Jesus Christ want us to realize For me it is beyond further humanizing Jesus Christ It is what choices regardless whether he is man god or a their combination he had before he saides to his Father for being the sacrificial lamb to propagate Christianity in the world But than the message one thing that I enjoyed reading this book is its storytelling style Many parts are totally hilarious and that style when Saramago directly addressing the reader and he opens our thought by throwing contemporary works and philosophy is just awesome I
have never seen this in any of the works of novelists whose never seen this in any of the works of novelists whose I so far sampled I am rating this with a 4 I really liked it but will probably not recommend this to anyone I d rather that they decide for themselves If they are as open minded as my friend and reading buddy Angus then I would say go If not then check how strong is our faith as Saramago can
sway Loin des mosques you to uestionour long held beliefs It s like having you to uestion Western Civilization your long held beliefs It s like having clever sweet talker and well read atheist inour Bible reading group come one Sunday and he starts uestioning what is written in the gospel but he is not obnoxious because he knows what he is talking about If ou are still in Cathecism 101 don t ever dare open this book Jose Saramago is atheist This should be enough warning for everyone that desires to read the book It is very explicit and so religion it s exposed at its weakest and God as a character is revealed I come from a Roman Catholic background but I still wanted to read it ever since the Gnostic gospel where Jesus childhood is revealed and he changes from a mischief bad behave kid to the Jesus from the new testament I wanted to see Saramago s take on it Saramago is such a master of words that he makes every bit of faith look totally illogical It does not take long for us to find out that Saramago is extremely sharp at finding all contradictions on roman catholic religion In the novel God seems to be the greediest of all gods the vainer the detach from his people Detached even from his son as he appeared to him in different shapes only in the meeting at the lake did he appear to him as a man God does not command he orders he tricks his own son into following his plan to the end Ultimately Jesus s betrayal was his last act of martyrdomThe devil is given the name of Pastor This has caused some confusion for English readers When I was reading the book with some Jesuits this person contacted them just to let them know as a good Christian I assume how blasphemous was to name the devil pastor It took me 30 minutes to explain that person that Pastor does not means priest but rather it comes from the Latin word pastor meaning shepherd Now did he use the word shepherd on purpose Yes what is the devil but a shepherd of men leading them to hell just as Jesus is a fisherman of men In the book Pastor is the most humanitarian the repented so repented that when asked to be forgiven a clear distinction between right and wrong has to be made so God decides not to forgive him because what is a good God without evil Saramago decides there cannot be one without the otherThe characters in the book are fascinating my Jesuits friends and I laughed and enjoy this book There were no doubts in our head by the end of the book We did not feel like it shook our religion or affected the way we perceived God This book was after all under fiction so everyone that is easily offended stay away from this book and stop complaining about blasphemy and crying around like little kids Saramago is a Nobel price winner and foremost a grown man that is entitled to his own opinions This one of his finest if not the best of his book in my opinion a must read And Jesus said unto him No man having put his hand to the plough and looking back is fit for the kingdom of God Luke 962Jos Saramago put his hand to the uill and looked back He looked back deep into the pastthought when all is said and done as others and we ourselves have observed before is like a great ball of thread coiled around itself loose in places taut in others inside our head It is impossible to know its full extent one would have to unwind and then measure it but however hard one tries or pretends to try this cannot be done without assistance One day someone will come and tell us where to cut the cord that ties man to his navel and thought to its originJos Saramago is exactly that someone He came to retell us the greatest story of all times and to put our thoughts straight or at least to make them less wryhuman words are like shadows and shadows cannot explain light and between shadow and light stands the opaue body from which words are bornWho is Jesus Is he god or man Or did he get stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea For God he is just a cat s paw and for Devil he is just a decoy He tries to set rules but he is just a toy played in a higher heavenly gamesforgetting is all too easy that is lifeIn the end any actual human life becomes forgotten and sinks into oblivion And only myths and legends are eternal. About the meaning of Christianity and the Church as an institution Translated by Giovanni Pontiero. ,
Icar was not happy that I was reading Gospel according to Christ for he felt I would lose my faith as though Faith is not a part of our inner being but a handkerchief one misplaces oh so casuallyI am glad I disobeyed him for this book only made me surer of my faithThis book shows Christ in all his Humanity Humanity so naked simple and beautiful that it humbles Off the KUF Volume 2 you to the core ofour beingIf I could say to this so very Human Christ Let me but touch the hem of our robe and I would be healed or be whole again Or Adolescent Jesus as Imagined by a Brilliant Authorial AtheistThat s unfair and reductive however Jose Saramago is an atheist and the book does explore the parts of Jesus life that most people pretend didn t exist early adolescence to just before the time when he knew he had Messianic Son of God Superpowers while at the same time gently but firmly uestioning the nature of God divinity religious fervor manifesting itself as the oppression of others bizarre religious ritual and religious hypocrisy The familiar Biblical story arc of Mary and Joseph s pilgrimage to Bethlehem for a census begins the story though Saramago uickly dispenses with any notion that Mary was a virgin she also has in uick succession many other children after Jesus birth Both of these points of course are regarded as highly sacredcontroversial in most Church law it is essential that the Mother of God be stripped of her sexuality and it has long been denied mostly by the Catholic church that Mary gave birth to any other children besides Jesus Throughout the novel Jesus uestions himself his status as the son of God the idea that he may be the Messiah of the Jewish people and even God s own divine plan revealed to Jesus as a stunning display of hubris arrogance and selfishness but always remains steadfast in his devotion to Mary Magdalene with whom he lives freely and openly in a sexual relationship outside the bonds of marriage and whom he treats as eually as any man The book makes clear from page one the wretchedly inferior status of women in ancient Judaic timesSaramago points out something that many modern Christians tend to forget in their re branding of God as a benevolent FatherProtectorWish Granter the God of the ancient Jews and the Old Testament was a complete prick If God singled ou out for his special attention that was just as frightening as his anger toward ou He pissed in Job s face played keep away with Moses and the Promised Land turned Lot s wife into a pillar of salt simply for showing a bit of momentary concern for her neighbors and totally Punk d Abraham about that whole son sacrificing thing with all the eual amounts of jealousy and wrath that Old Testament God is famous forOf course Satan makes an appearance as a character but Saramago fashions him as a much interesting multifaceted figure possessed of depth humor and perhaps not as evil as he s often cast He and God are posited to be old friends not necessarily enemies and in a co dependent relationship of sorts in an arrangement to preserve the others power A very morallyreligiously complex and long chapter is devoted to this balance of power and for me was the climax of the novel while God is telling Jesus of the horrific events that will occur in his name Saramago devotes four pages of God s dialogue to alphabetically listing the names of martyred saints and the graphically violent ways in which they were killed for their belief The prose is beautiful but Saramago s authorial imprint and style is his distinct lack of uotation marks in dialogue and lack of paragraph breaks during dialogue between characters It can be difficult to follow particularly in situations with than two characters speaking This is highly recommended for believers and non believers alike I WOULD HAVE LIKED TO SLIP SOME BENZEDRINE INTO THIS GUY S COFFEEThis is a very peculiar novel I m not uite sure what the hell it is Some of it reads like deleted scenes from Monty Python s Life of Brian Now be off with ou said God for I have work to do and can t stay here chatting all dayOrMary Is there any proof that it was the Lord s seed which engendered my first born Angel Well it s a delicate matter and what A Child's Garden of Grass: the Official Handbook for Marijuana Users you re demanding is nothing less than a paternity test The rest of it is a whole lot of mumbling bumbling fumbling irritating rambling moaning groaning huffing and puffing by a narrator who appears to be some ancient old codger who is a shoo in for the world finals of the Most Boring Man in the World contest And the rewrite of the familiar tale of Jesus is so comprehensive that half way through the book Jesus is only 13 and two thirds through he is still only 18 So it s very different AUTHOR VERSUS READER DING DING ROUND ONEIs there any need for this or are we in the land of pretentious literary wankery Jose Saramago serves us up massive slabs of undifferentiated prose page after page he ends a paragraph with extreme reluctance it s like pulling teeth with Jose it s like asking John Lee Hooker to change chords Every paragraph is one or two pages long As for indicators of dialogue forget it palou re on our own The dialogue is run into the giant paragraphs as part of the ongoing flow and the lines of dialogue are not separated the giant paragraphs as part of the ongoing flow and the lines of dialogue are not separated anything helpful like he said or she said and not even by full stops only commas maybe there was a full stop shortage in Portugal in the late 1980s I never heard about that ou might think it would have made the news Crates of full stops are still being held up at Lisbon airport as the dispute enters its 9th week Anyway these stylistic choices make the reading a whole lot annoying and turgid than it might be AUTHOR VERSUS READER DING DING ROUND TWOAs well as being an old fart the narrator is a misogynist Joseph wondered if he should ask Mary if the pains were still there but in the end said nothing for we must not forget that this whole process is unclean from the moment of impregnation until the moment
of birth that horrific female organ vortex andbirth that horrific female organ vortex and the seat of all the world s evils an inner labyrinth blood sweat discharges gushing waters revolting afterbirth dear God how can Professional Active Server Pages 2.0 (Professional) you permit Your beloved children to be born from such impurity WORLD S MOST BORING MAN A FEW EXAMPLES In the first place there are Samaritans and Samaritans which means that even at that time one swallow was not enough to make a summer one needed two that is to say two swallows rather than summers provided there is a fertile male and female and they have offspring Suddenly a beggar appeared at theard gate a somewhat rare occurrence in this village where people were poor a fact unlikely to have escaped the begging fraternity which had a nose for places where there were rich pickings for the asking and this was certainly not the case here As for possessions the only thing Joseph and Job had in common was the number of sons Job had seven sons and three daughters while Joseph had seven sons and two daughters giving the carpenter the advantage of having put one woman less into the world And there s no denying that it is one thing to feed two mouths then a third even if only indirectly during the first Douze nouvelles contemporaines: Regards sur le monde year and uite another to find oneself saddled with a houseful of children who demand and food once they start growing This narrator even knows perfectly well how dull he is Fourears hence Jesus will meet God This unexpected revelation which is probably premature according to the rules of effective narration mentioned earlier is simply intended to prepare the reader for some everyday scenes from pastoral life which will add little of substance to the main thread of our story thus excusing any reader who might be tempted to jump ahead WAIT COULD IT BE THAT THIS NARRATOR IS SUPPOSED TO BE LIKE A VILLAGE ELDER FROM THE PERIOD THAT WOULD EXPLAIN ALL THE BORING RAMBLINGBut no this logical explanation is wrecked by comments like the following It may seem wholly inappropriate to put the complex theories of modern thinkers into the head of a Palestinian who lived so many Niemand houdt mij tegen : een avontuur in de 22ste eeuw years before Freud Jung Groddeck and Lacan appeared on the scene the only reason why that same Goliath did not become a basketball player is because he was born before his timeMaybe this narrator is deliberately unstable unpindownable That would be a nice copout for Jose Yes it doesn t make too much sense but that s all calculated Why Er I dunno THIS NOVEL MIGHT BE A TONGUE IN CHEEK ATHEIST SATIRE ON RELIGIONBecause the concept of God as dished out by the old fart narrator is ridiculously primitive It appears that in this world God has to negotiate his turf with other gods and also in this world ifou are ill it is because Comment Wang-F fut sauv you have sinned Both these ideas can be found in the Bible of course but at least by the time of Jesus Jewish thought had evolved to the point where they believed that there were no other Gods except the one God Here s a few things the narrator says about God For in truth there are things God himself does not understand even though he created themAs God warned Eve after she sinned I will greatly multiplyour suffering and Petit cahier d'exercices de communication non-violente your conception in sorrowou will bring forth children and after centuries of sorrow and suffering God is not Oriental Magic yet appeased and the agony goes onAt that time life was hard for the poor and God could not be expected to provide for everyone Jesus interrogates Him at one point Being God You must know everythingUp to a certain point only up to a certain pointWhat point is thatThe point where it starts to become interesting to pretend that I know nothing So sometimes it s like this is all clearly a cheeky satire on religion and sometimes the intractable concepts of God salvation sin and so on are presented as hard painful fact THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOSE SARAMAGONote sort of spoilers followThe version of the story of Jesus we get here is a whole different thing from the actual gospels The single event which dominates the first half of the book is something which is mentioned in only one Gospel Matthew and dismissed in three verses the Massacre of the Innocents When Herod realised that he had been outwitted by the Magi he was furious and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were twoears old or under Joseph discovers Herod s intention rescues Mary and his own infant son Jesus and after they make it back to Nazareth. Ering of the life of Christ and a beautiful novel Saramago' s tale has sparked intense discussion. Blasphemy the exploitation of religious imagery andor language to serve an anti religious purpose Kitsch poor taste turned into artistic valueSaramago s book is both It s blaspheme and kitsch somewhere between Monty Python s Brian of Nazareth and the Arian heresy of the 4th century It s not overtly anti religious since any book related to Jesus Christ is related to a whole system of thought that like it or not goes far beyond the historical anthropological literary approach either 69 Sex Positions. Advanced Moves to Spice Up Your Sex Life (with illustrations). Book II you believe or notou can t talk about God deity eschatology without venturing into a desert full of metaphysical temptations through which a million generations have tried to find their way As for me I declare myself fully satisfied by the Catholic theology I was taught but I must admit that my masochist tendency tends to prevail uite openly and I couldn t wait to see how far Saramago would go in outraging the Scriptural tradition It s a totally ecumenical outrage by the way one of those books that give the different souls of Christianity a good reason to overcome two thousand Transition nergetique - ces vrits qui drangent ! years of schisms and massacres and focus on a common enemy either culturally or merely ideologically speaking Saramago doesn t spare any single page of the Gospels and tells his own version of the story a strange tale of bewilderment sense of guilt nonsensical death in which the Logos the Meaning presiding over the whole Creation is just the tantrum of a merciless childish God It s hard not to feel a certain unease when chapter 2 Joseph wakes up takes a leak in his courtyard and feels huh well in the mood to say good morning to his wife As a conseuence Mary gets pregnant and the Devil himself oops retroactive spoiler alert announces her the blessed event Then after the census king Herod exhibiting rotting genitalia and madness the obvious symptoms of syphilis orders the slaughtering of dozens of children born in Bethlehem to stop Micah s profecy of a Messiah come to redress evil and injustice and overthrow the king of course Joseph hears the soldiers talking about the murderous expedition and hides his family in a cave Unfortunately he forgets to warn the others the massacre takes place as he listens to the pain crazed mothers screaming and crying in the village Joseph s crime is so irreparable that God s justice punishes him in the most fitting way he is crucified by the Romans after a riot as an innocent victim of the Judaic war for independenceThat s just the beginningJesus is not the only son he s got six brothers and two sisters He spends someears living with the Devil disguised as a nameless Shepherd devoted to the pleasures of bestiality and rejects his family after an argument he has sexual intercourse with Mary Magdalene a prostitute who will become his beloved companion he finally meets God and the Devil and is told about the part he is to play in their plans and this is where Saramago strikes harderGod wanted a Son to expand his power all over the world far beyond the boundaries of Israel Just like that He needed a martyr as a harbinger or a decoy all He aims to achieve is a worldwide dominion that can t be established otherwise since there can t be any open conflict between God and the other deities As for the Devil his interests are uite similar he will always be a co beneficiary of God s power a paradoxical dimension in which light is almost indistinguishable from darkness In fact they need each other in order to exist In one of the last chapters God in the shape of a wealthy elderly Jew tells Jesus about the future of Christianity He lists the numberless martyrs and the horrible tortures and executions they will endure the self destructive repression and physical humiliations of the mystics the religious wars the Inuisition the horror and monstrosity of the blood thirsty Church He is determined to create The Devil makes a desperate attempt to spare mankind and offers God his eternal devotion in return no way everything has already been decided Jesus must be crucified to forward God s and his own cult among the Gentiles We all know how the story ends right Saramago s Gospel is an enigma It ridicules and condems the Jewish ritual sacrifices depicting the Temple as a disgusting butchery dripping blood and viscera but it also condemns the Catholic spirituality as a psychotic self inflicted insane martyrdom God is a pampered child dreaming of the endless bloodbath awaiting mankind as the celebration of his greatness whereas the Devil is a parasite living out of Heaven s achievements on earth No good nor evil just business although at the expenses of human beings Saramago s book has no theological contents really The author exploits the three synoptic narrative Gospels and part of John s to tell a scandalous version of Jesus story the theological background is less the result of the author s reflections than a mid level knowledge of unorthodox openly heretical currents of thought There s neither depth nor cold blooded rationalism in Saramago s work that s why it was uite properly considered an example of kitsch literature by a Jesuit magazine The challenge is not doctrinal at all neither the author wanted it to be so anyway I guess he knew he would be utterly destroyed on a philosophical ground the Catholic Church of the 90s was hardly a novice in dealing with this sort of matters but my vision is alas a bit one sided when it comes to certain names of those
Years So I D Betterso I d better digress Unfortunately Saramago s book is goodIt s good in spite of its shortcomings It s good in spite of its pretentiousness It s good in spite of Saramago s pointless attacks to Christianity and its institutionsHis writing is a challenge in itself an relentless flow of words sentences monolithic paragraphs reminding of Krasznahorkai No direct speech in Saramago s writing dialogues are barely distinguishable from narration And et the reader is never bothered by the visual impact of these pages as though hypnotized by the sound of the author s voice There are some truly poetic scenes indeed especially Jesus first intercourse with M Magdalene deliberately echoing the Song of Solomon but also the ultimate dialogue with God
And The Devil Ithe Devil I above One of those books I m supposed to hate from an intellectual point of view and love as a uniue hate from an intellectual point of view and love as a uniue in literature odi et amoNo need to say this means why on earth didn t I read this before Saramago has me at a loss for words et again I can t decide if this is his best work from what I have read of his but it definitely is at least eual to Blindness and Death with Interruptions I m not a religious person so I had no problem with the liberties he took in this novel In fact I was blown away by his characterization of Jesus Christ and how he managed to humanize him The writing is also pure Saramago it bewitches Convaincre en moins de 2 minutes you and doesn t letou go It also feels so effortless he really is a God Speaking of Gods the interaction between Jesus and God is something I don t think I ll be able to forget anytime soon Wow This sad and familiar story makes for a challenging read The relationship with Mary Magdalene is a nice addition The conversation in the boat in the mist between God and Jesus and the devil is very bold The devil gets the best line I myself can see things in the future but I m not always certain if what I see there is true or false in others words I can see my lies for what they are my truths but I don t know to what extent the truths of others are their lies What I like the most about this day 8 of March in case GR posts a different date on this text which is a great day as any other day to live is that from early morning following my daily path on the strolling alleys that is on the ground but also under ground that is by metro I have been hit by groups and groups of men each carrying in their arms a big bucket of flowers thin flowers but very beautiful with lots of colours Most of them displayed wide smiles while maybe feeling themselves a bit different than Ce qu'il reste de nous yesterday because of this very soft delicate but wondrous burden they were delivering to their places of work I have enjoyed than the other days of the week my morning journey to work But the nicest surprise was when I entered the office building where was this bodyguard who handed over to me a beautifulellow rose with a wish of happy woman s day He made my day Happy to see and be a witness of such lovely gestures and wishing that the message and the intentions behind this int l celebration should not fade away without producing any positive change within our hearts and mindsThis was supposed to be a review but as usual I am sliding on a different track and I reach nowhere which is a good direction still because I can further multiply my searches to other nowhereWith each new book of Saramago I feel myself enriched with a direct geometrical progression of my admiration towards his innate genius very much alive and kicking its way to the endless limits This writer is just simply Great First and foremost I am highly subjective towards him and will continue to be so Hence I am at a loss at establishing a hierarchy regarding which novel I loved most of the ones I read so far Each one of his novels is a stand alone masterpieceThe Gospel according to Jesus Christ is truly a shining brilliant jewel maybe a bit because it brought back to my mind memories long time put to sleep Through uick mind flashes I got back my childhood Bill’s Humiliation in Panties Volume 8 years spent together with my favorite maternal grandfather who used to keep my imagination at work by telling me about the Bible works He got me so interested that I eventually took the Bible and read it wholly I was far too small of age back then and I cannot assert I did understand what may be of high relevance but I did enjoy it because of the stories put in a interpretative light by my grandfather He did study fourears of theology but he didn t practice not even one day as a priest His main passion was to be an automation engineer which is what he practiced his whole professional life He was my first guide through this immense chapter in human life and I feel fortunate that he had enough of an open developed mind not to corrupt my own innocent undeveloped at that time mind with any preconceptions about religion He always let me wander through the land of ideas without forcing any defini The This is a skeptic' s journey into the meaning of God and of human existence At once an ironic rend. .