"Bomfoggery" is a highly expressive word, not silly at all. I learned it from a friend, a supernumerary in Opus Dei who continues to overlook my little fault of atheism as I overlook his obvious little fault of believing – and how! – in God. Each of us forgives the other his trespasses and awaits patiently the sorting-out at the Last Judgment, and the Last Trump, or whatever it is that comes after Le Grand Trepas. What "bomfoggery" mocks is not the idea or ideal of the "brotherhood of man, fatherhood of God" but rather the hollow invocation of that idea, reduced to a commencement-speech banality.
In the United States, the most famous indulger in Bomfoggery was the priapic plutocrat, and non-Catholic, Nelson Rockefeller. The notion long ago became a fixed formula, thixotropically treacly, the rhetorical maple syrup on the pancakes at the pancake breakfast to which the politician dutifully shows up, amd where he says a few words about This Great Land Of Ours, and about the Brotherhood of Man and the Fatherhood of God, and extends his hand to as many well-wishers as he can reach, asking each of them “hi, how ya doin’” before going in for the but-enough-about-everything-else-what-about-me kill: “I’m X, and I’d like your vote.”
Posted on 05/14/2008 12:17 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald