CREDOS : The book of Joe — IV

Paul O’Donnell

But you don’t leave behind your alter ego, Tony the Monk. Your new life as a satirist is driven by the same contempt for the world, or detachment, only it’s the artist’s detachment.

Absolutely, though I didn’t know that. It took Joe to point that out the very simple insight that a satirist and a monk have a lot in common. He once told me, “You know dear, I’m a reverend and you’re an irreverend.” That’s why this man was so extraordinary. His sort of manner was trying to include you in what you feared you had lost. Rather, he would comfort you that you hadn’t lost as much as you feared you had. And yet his conversations about what you did eventually changed how you thought about satire…

Ultimately he illumined that I had always been thinking … aggressively if you like. I saw the effect I was having on the world, with no real thought to what effect it had on me. Once again, it took him to just ask those simple questions—which I’m sure he asked of others in very different fields, in different ways—to bring me back really to what was just a more sophisticated, grown-up form of examination of conscious. You’re back to church now.


Do you go every day?

Oh, no, I don’t go every day. My wife and I, have found a parish we like in Manhattan with a very dynamic pastor. It’s largely Hispanic, and then there are the troublemakers from the Upper West Side like some Columbia students and me. And we’re bringing our children up with religious instruction. They’ve all done their First Communion, and two have been confirmed. —