Sunday, January 23, 2011


I've given up Grand Theft Auto in all its various tropes for pre-Lent, that is, between now and March 9th. GTA isn't so much a game as a vocation, in which the various imps and demons of Hell try to be holier for awhile. Apparently, this involves dry wit and becoming more in charge of everything in a risible landscape of urban textures and double-ought moral grit. It does go on forever. Time to step out of the game for a bit.

So what is more-or-less demonic but a lot more fun in short rattling bursts? Well, golf, for one. I've been looking at the Hot Shots Golf game for PSP. This seems to have all the technical merit of the old Jack Niklaus game controls, while it lacks utterly any whiff or hint of Tiger Woods, especially that dogmatic "intuitive" swing algorithm. Hot Shots is still demonic, of course, for all its chibi charms — the game is Japanese, and features pocket golf courses in urban parkland — like all golf.

Golf? Demonic? Well, yes. Obviously. All golf courses, from the great links courses of Scotland to the dinkiest putt-putt course in Bypass, Mississippi, belong among the outlying precincts of Hell, because only in Hell is golf possible. If St. Peter wants to play a quiet round of 81 Sundays worth of golf, he has to spend a few unusual hours in rustic Dys to do it.

There's rigorous logical proof! I've known Methodist ministers to give up the game in favor of fishing, after hearing this. If golf were played in Heaven, which admits no imperfection, every hole would be a par one, and every stroke is a hole-in-one. Since putative Heavenly Golf admits no Boredom within the pearly gates, and since Perfect Golf is utterly boring, not to mention violence to the spirit of the game, there can be no Golf in Heaven. By corollary, you can only play golf in Hell. Which is self-evident if you think about it. Q.E.D.

Ash Wednesday. I traded all my GTA games in on store credit, so I could buy something a little easier on the nerves than co-dependent commitment. Little golf games, e.g. Real golf is another sort of demonic aggravation.

C. S. Lewis argued in his book The Great Divorce that earthly existence overlaps both Heaven and Hell as a kind of outlying common precinct of both respective domains. The final status of the Earth could be resolved after the Last Judgment. Lewis always was a stickler for the preposterous denoument, since there is no time after the End of Days, just as there was no time before Creation. He ended more than one of his books by waking up.



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