motives and composition of its purifying bonfires. Such anhistory might very appropriately begin with the busk of thenGarden of Eden as depicted in Milton’s Paradise Lost andnend with the ironically observed grand busk that is intendednto be a fiery preliminary to the return to Paradise innHawthorne’s “Earth’s Holocaust.” Somewhere in the darkernchapters there would have to be accounts of Savonarola’snbusking of scandalous books and artifacts in the laten15th-century Florence and the Goebbels-directed buskingnof books displeasing to the Nazis in 1933 Berlin. Along thenway, of course, one would read of countless ritual burningsnof witches, heretics, traitors, and other polihcal, ethnic, ornsocial undesirables—to say nothing of the busking of suchnmaster buskers as Savonarola and Hitler themselves.nPerhaps an appendix to this history could take note of anform of busking much favored by those disaffected soulsnwho, driven nearly mad by the hypocrisy, pettiness, andnall-around venality of bourgeois life, prefer a purification bynexcrement. In correspondence with Turgenev in the 1870’s,nfor instance, Flaubert writes that he is so overwhelmed bynpublic stupidity that he is planning a book {Bouvard andnPecuchet) “in which I shall try to spit out my rancor” andnhopes “not to die before having emptied a few more bucketsnof shit on the heads of my fellow men.” The excrementalnimagination (see it at work in the fiction of Norman Mailer)nsubstitutes the flushing toilet for the cleansing fire. Its aim isnless charitable renewal than adequate revenge. Its propernhero is Hercules, who, after he had diverted two rivers tonflush 30 years of cattle droppings out of the Augean stables,nkilled King Augeas in revenge for refusing payment.nThe ritual of the busk is about the paradoxical interdependencenof destruction and recreation that has in the pastntwo centuries led both wistful and frustrated Utopians tonplace so much value on iconoclasm, trashing, and desecration.nThe interdependence makes it hard to distinguishnbetween savior and terrorist, justice and revenge, piety andnobscenity. Obscenity, for instance, is valued as a way ofntelling it like it is in the interest of a temporary or lastingnliberation from the overawing pieties that threaten autonomynand authenticity, and is therefore traditional pietyntransvalued. In movies as in fiction now, it is the conventionalnlingua franca with which one honesfly and courageouslynassaults the barriers of censorship that protect theninstitutionalized injustices and hypocrisies of society. It is anrevenge for the crippling refinements of language and thenimpoverishment of fife that they entail. In Death Wish 3nand the Rambo films, it works in synergistic combinationnwith the copious flow of blood to effect a violent andnvengeful busking. The blood, like the obscenity, is thenevidence that these movies refuse to flinch and mustntherefore be taken seriously. Its counterpart is the flow ofnsemen in pornographic films, which are busking desecrationsnof overawing sexual pieties.nIt may be that such movies express the culture’s inabilitynto distinguish between positive and negative buskings, evennits inclination to perceive the eifort at making this distinc-nIt costs something to spend four years studying the great books atnThomas Aquinas College.nWe think it’s worth it. Our alumni tell us so. Theynthink they’ve gained the intellectual edge.nThat’s what Robert Orellana, who holds a soughtafternclerkship with the U.S. Court of Appeals, tells us:n”Having read the work of the masters, instead of textbooks,nyou come to cases in law with all the skills younneed to understand and analyze them.”nWe hear similar things from alumni in medicine andnpolitics, from those called to religious life, and others innthe vocation of homemaker.nIt comes to this: Having basic truths is the key to findingnmore truth. And living in the truth is the best path tonhappiness in this world and in the next.nOur alumni succeed by all the standard measures inngraduate schools, in the professions, in every sort ofncareer.nThe wonderful fact is that we achieve these thingsnwithout aiming directly at them. We aim for the truth,nthe source that makes them worth doing.nAsk our alumni. They know.nFor information or to arrange a visit, CALL TOLL FREEnfrom the U.S. outside California: 1-800-634-9797.nFrom California and Canada: (805) 525-4417.nFinancial aid program • Bachelorof Arts degree • CoeducationalnFully accredited. Western Association of Schools & CollegesnOr write: Thomas J. SusankanDirector of AdmissionsnBox 106nTHOMAS AQUINAS COLLEGEn10000 North Ojai RoadnSanta Paula, CA 93060nnnJUNE 1987/19n