Curmudgeon of the Year: Oriana Fallaci
Miss Fallaci (she never married) was no saint. She was an atheist; but, as she put it, "a Christian atheist." By that she meant that she loved the culture and much of the ethics of Christendom, even in the absence of God; and she would not accept Allah as a void-filler. Her arguments against the existence of God turned on the problem of evil. They were hurled at the reader with red heat, then dropped. She had to move on to decry the evil of Islamic terrorism and warn of its threat to the West and to civilization as we know it. Her arguments for atheism were paper thin; her passion for justice was deep and courageous. She respected Jesus, but denied his deity--an intellectually hollow perspective since Jesus' self-perception as divine was inextricably tied to all he did and all he said.
Yet Oriana Fallaci is Curmudgeon of the Year. I was drawn to her courage, her wit, her Italian passion, her extremity, her insouciance. As a young girl, she worked with her family to oppose Mussolini's fascism (as did some of my relatives) and that spirit of rebellion against oppression stayed with her to the end. I read that she published one last book in Italy before she died, which was an interview of herself by herself! Yes, she was a bit of a narcissist as well. So be it. I eagerly await the translation of that last testament to this remarkable, if deeply flawed, woman. God may even use the blast of an atheist to rouse a stupified world--if we have ears to hear.