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Peter O’Toole knew Macbeth better than most of us. He was, in my professional opinion (remember my recent movie “A Story of Good Men” ?), one of the greatest Shakespearian and screen actors of the 20th century. He played, apart from many rôles in the Bard’s oeuvre, the legendary Lawrence of Arabia, a psychotic Nazi serial sex-killer in “The Night of the Generals”, and even God Himself in “The Ruling Class”.

By a curious coincidence, his character Lawrence explained his love of the desert by famously pointing out “It is CLEAN !”, and as the mad General Tanz, obsessed with, inter alia …, cleanliness (he judged Maxim’s in Paris to be an “adequate” restaurant because it was … “CLEAN”), expressed his horror for filth and in particular for the product of “natural functions” as “revolting but inevitable”.

There is nothing more disgusting than human excrement. The only thing more dangerous to human health perhaps is a rotting human body. How can anyone imagine an all-powerful, loving God deliberately, knowingly, inflicting such horrors on His children ? Mindless Evolution and Natural Selection had no scruples about ignoring human sensitivity in these domains. But surely God would. Then again, He is a No-Body, without any experience of either bowel-movements or putrefaction. But without being a Peter O’Toole, a Lawrence or a General Tanz about it, He could have done a little better than this. Unless, of course, He wanted to warn us about what “Gehenna” would be like – you know, that putrid dump outside Jerusalem, become the symbol of Hell, where people burned their rotting rubbish, the bodies of criminals and the carcasses of animals and no doubt emptied the content of their chamber-pots.

RIDENDA RELIGIO

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