A Moment of Silence

First, for Chris Farley, comic genius. God rest his soul. Finally saw Tommy Boy – only ten years late! – and was reduced to teary-eyed, can’t-breathe hysterical awe by Jojo the Idiot Circus Boy.

Second, for the sad impossibility of Catholic Chris Farley ever playing Ignatius Reilly from John Kennedy Toole’s brilliant comic novel A Confederacy of Dunces. From the opening: “Ignatius himself was dressed comfortably and sensibly. The hunting cap prevented head colds. The voluminous tweed trousers were durable and permitted unusually free locomotion. Their pleats and nooks contained pockets of warm, stale air that soothed Ignatius. The plaid flannel shirt made a jacket unnecessary while the muffler guarded exposed Reilly skin between earflap and collar. The outfit was acceptable by any theological and geometrical standards, however abstruse, and suggested a rich inner life.

Shifting from one hip to the other in his lumbering, elephantine fashion, Ignatius sent waves of flesh rippling beneath the tweed and flannel, waves that broke upon buttons and seams. Thus rearranged, he contemplated the long while that he had been waiting for his mother.”

“Acceptable by any theological and geometrical standards, however abstruse.” Euclid and Thomas run amuck in the psyche of a fat man who lives with his mother and writes an indictment against our century. Evelyn Waugh’s loathing of modernity, Walker Percy’s sardonic eye, Flannery O’Connor’s mastery of the grotesque, all wrapped up in a sheath of rippling flesh. Might have been Farley’s masterpiece.

While we’re at it, a moment of silence for the late Mr. Toole. God rest his soul, too.


  1. Didn’t I hear, speaking of casting actors in great Catholic novel character parts, that Sam Waterston (spelling?) has been hawking Love in the Ruins as a movie project, himself to play Dr. More, since, what is it? Alexander Haig last saw the inside of the White House or something…?

    Any news on that front: because otherwise tell your brother to get on the stick and start shooting tomorrow…

    Fond of saying things that are easier to say than do,


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