My wife and I had a friend over for dinner the other night. After enjoying a tender backstrap off an axis deer I shot in Texas last year with my Ruger #1 chambered for the antiquated .275 Rigby round, mi amigo and I plopped our middle-aged butts down in the living room and switched on the tube.
We each fired up a big fat stogie (long ashes and big butts boys!) and sipped some Johnny Walker Blue as I blew through the various channels trying to find a show that sucked the least. Finding nothing but idiots aplenty, I went into default mode and switched on Fox News to see whose skull O’Reilly was crushing that night.
It was standard Bill fare: ball busting child molesters, cranking on cultural coarsening miscreants, interpreting the physical ticks of Britney with the body language lady, and shouting up the troops in Iraq as he augured a return to traditional American values.
As we watch O’Reilly war on sordid fellows of the baser sort, my buddy Oscar Sastoque of the Miami Fitness Connection turned and asked me if I had watched Keith Olbermann lately on MSNBC.
After retrieving my cigar I had spit across the room and cleaning up the whiskey I’d reflexively thrown over my shoulder when queried, I said, “No. I’m an American. And if you have, you can leave my house now.” Oscar calmed me down, assuring me that he hadn’t gone over to the dark side, and said that Keith had gone off-kilter with his O’Reilly “must die” fixation.
I figured, what the heck, I’ll check it out. Surely God wouldn’t send me to hell for watching a little MSNBC would he? Sure, he might put under a minor negative sanction for wasting my time or not using my mind properly, but hell? Nah. He probably would let it slide, seeing how my job is to remain aware of what the loopy left is doing. So, I took a long draw on the puros and a biting sip of Johnny’s best and turned over to Keith to see if he was unraveling like Oscar said he was.
I couldn’t believe what I saw and heard. Keith was going ballistic, obsessing about O’Reilly like a jealous and rabid Jan Brady drowning in her sister Marsha’s praise wake. To me it wasn’t as offensive as it was pathetic—and pathetic it was.
Y’know…envy isn’t pretty. You and I both know that this is what Keith’s Salieri-like preoccupation with Bill is all about, namely ugly and uncut China white envy. MSNBC’s ratings are dragging like a fat man in a marathon, so instead of re-tooling and figuring out why they blow, the wizards at MSNBC decide to fuel Keith’s jealous wrath.
Envy is a nasty sin. We don’t hear about envy much because it’s not that sexy, and in our totemic view of vice it doesn’t get the lion’s share of attention, but it is a deadly sin. Envy is the one sin the sinner will never like or admit. The more envy grows, the more it drives its impenitent coddler insane.
So, what is envy? Let me take off my smart ass hat and put on my theological one. I’ll start with what envy is not. It’s not admiring what someone else has and wanting some good stuff also. It is good to crave. A man’s appetite will make him work.
Where envy differs from admiration/emulation is that envy is “sorrow at another’s good” (Thomas Aquinas). Someone who’s centered can watch another person, or a party, or a nation righteously prosper and not hate them for it.
The petty, envious person sees someone else excel and is slapped in the face with the reality that he just got dogged. So, instead of sucking it up and working harder and smarter, the unwise, envious one allows his pride to fuel his wounded spirit. This sets the dejected perp down a path of disparagement of the prosperous that eventually morphs into the desire to destroy the person, party or nation that has just trumped him.
Os Guinness states that the sin of envy has several common characteristics:
1. Envy is the vice of proximity. We are always prone to envy people close to us in temperament, gifts or position.
2. Envy is highly subjective. It is in the eye of the beholder. It is not the objective difference between people that feeds envy, but the subjective perception. As a Russian proverb says, “envy looks at a juniper bush and sees a pine forest.”
3. Envy doesn’t lessen with age. It gets worse as we run into more and more people with happiness and success, offering more fodder for envy.
4. Envy is often petty but always insatiable and all-consuming. However small the occasion that gives rise to it, envy becomes central to the envier’s whole being. The envier “stews in his juice.” Envy begins with pride and then plunges the person into hatred.
5. Envy is always self-destructive. What the envier cannot enjoy, no one should enjoy, and thus the envier loses every enjoyment. The envier’s motto is “if not I, then no one.” As an eighth-century Jewish teacher put it, “the one who envies gains nothing for himself and deprives the one he envies of nothing. He only loses thereby.”
Y’know, of all the stuff a person in Olbermann’s position could righteously go after, he chooses rather to use his time to take O’Reilly down. But this is what the left is now all about: character assassination. They don’t have answers, they don’t have the ratings, they don’t have the ear of the working hard, playing hard, God-loving, flag-saluting American public, so instead of waking the hell up they have decided to run with their foolhardiness and do it in prime time. Pretty sad gents, pretty sad.