Ohh, I'm wicked and I'm lazy
Ohh-oh, don't you want to save me
--David Byrne, "Lazy," 2004
Week end, I watched one of those '60s multiple director films, The Seven Deadly Sins, with each director taking a sin. Godard covered "Sloth" (La paresse -- and I'd like to note that several years ago Pynchon covered that particular sin when the NYTimes Book Review had writers comment on their favorite or most baleful sin -- see "Nearer, My Couch, to Thee"). In the film, the hero is too lazy to tie his own shoelace and tries to offer a couple people 10,000 francs to do it for him; he's also too slothful to want to have sex with the Jean Seberg-type who jumps in his car and is waiting for him to jump in her bed ("getting dressed afterwards is too much trouble," he remarks). I was amused by all this, of course, because I recognize that Sloth is probably the sin I'm most prone to too. But then (while actually washing dishes -- talk about chores I'd pay someone to do for me!), I reflected:
Sloth keeps me from writing because writing is both fun and work -- and if work is to be avoided, fun is also something you avoid for the sake of work, which you are trying to avoid. But Sloth also prevents me from sending work out -- because it's like "getting dressed afterwards." But then, because I accomplish nothing, I feel Envy for those who do accomplish things, which is likely to make me fantasize, which leads to thoughts about having sex (Lust) or having money to spend (Greed) -- of course, "spending" applies to both. And of course my lack of prospects for getting anything like enough sex or money can lead to Anger. And to work that off, I go get a snack (Gluttony) -- preferably crunchy so I can enjoy biting.
Clever of the Catholics, isn't it, to come up with such a mutually supportive set of vices to show how fallible and fallen we all are? But I'm leaving one out -- and of course that one has to do with the narcissistic Pride that causes me to assert all this in the first place. Pride in our failings? You betcha. Modern man in a nutshell, or what JJ calls "a notshall." And of course Pride is the sin of Lucifer, which leads to the reflection that, yes, I'm already in hell, recalling Robert Lowell's lines from "Skunk Hour' (riffing off Milton's Satan):
I myself am hell;