Monday, January 27, 2014

A rockabilly subculture, and more

  • The rockabillies. At first it seems a rehash of the usual stuff (bikers, poodle skirts) by hipsters, only about style or being campy ironic, not a conservative cultural statement, but there may be more to it. What do you know? I'm sort of part of a subculture. The headline's wrong of course. '51 wasn't rockabilly; this thing's center of gravity seems more around '58.
  • More common sense about the Ukraine. This much is clear: there are parts of Russia that don't belong in Russia (e.g. the Caucasus, Kaliningrad) and there are parts the rest of the world that do. Whatever the reason the east doesn't want to be in the EU (fear of being wiped out economically by better competition in the West?), been saying for years: make the west, which is Greek Catholic and wasn't part of Russia until the Soviets stole it in WWII, its own country with Lvov as the capital, and the east can go back to being an integral part of Russia.
  • Thinking again about the lack of anti-Russianness in entertainment in the Cold War, at the time I thought it wasn't so much the Commies in the media as an understandable desire not to offend an enemy who has nukes aimed at you. So James Bond fought make-believe bad guys instead.
  • The curious case of Dr. V and the wonder putter. Learned of this on Dreher's blog. Interesting possibility of a placebo effect in sports. The thoughtcrime: if somebody lies to you about which sex he is, can you trust him on anything? Reminds me of Bradley “Maybe a Hero, Maybe Not” Manning seeming to try to get out of jail by calling himself Chelsea. Sailer has an idea why some manly men have this problem: it's a fetish about a feminine version of themselves (autogynephilia).
  • From Bishop Williamson: Pope Francis merely expresses more blatantly than his five predecessors the madness of Vatican II. The question remains whether any of the six Conciliar Popes ... can really have been Vicars of Christ. The question is not of prime importance. If they have not been Popes, still the Catholic Faith and morals by which I must “work out my salvation in fear and trembling” (Phil. II, 12) have not changed one iota. Keep calm and carry on as that memed British WWII sign says. Catholic liberals and non-Catholics don't understand that we don't worship the Pope, nor can he change essentials. Like Obama's not America's main problem, the issue isn't low-church Francis getting the libs' hopes up but that Catholicism is true. So I don't feel I have to spin everything he says, but those who do spin it point out he has defended essentials, that Benedict and others have, rightly or wrongly, criticized the market in the name of denouncing greed, etc., and that it's the secular media who are Johnny One-Notes about the church and sex; they ignore everything else the Popes say. This guy’s another Paul VI, nothing more.
  • Ecumenism's just a reality check. This year's Chair of Unity Octave's over, and pretty much forgotten even by the churches, now that ecumenism's passé... obviously they aren't getting back together like the liberals and some Anglo-Catholics thought 50 years ago. All we can do is keep reminding non-Catholics what the church really teaches so we don't try to kill each other again, and let them know the door's always open. Catholic ecumenism is you-come-in-ism.
  • Yeah, that's my parish. Went Novus yesterday in order to catch a vintage sale in New Jersey. Fr. David wore his biretta to preach, the white-gloved altar boy rang the sanctus bell, and Communion was at the rail, kneeling. All that's missing is eastward-facing. The charismatics raised their hands at the Our Father. Live and let live.
  • From Bob Wallace: modern war as human sacrifice.
  • From Face to Face (the renamed Dusk in Autumn): how elite are sports fans these days?
  • From Ex-Army: Republicans are nothing but Democrats with a pseudo-conservative PR department.
  • From the Anti-Gnostic:
    • The Dark Enlightenment is pissing off all the right sort of people. More.
    • There really is no American nation. Propositional states are not real nations. A nation can have a proposition, but the proposition is not the nation. The Church is simply not "built" for a world where the Empire disappeared ... and people can pick up and move someplace else when the fighting starts or the jobs disappear. At the same time, propositional states like the US are not "built" for the Church... just one of many odd little cults which the State may or may not choose to tolerate, similar to how the old Roman Imperium viewed Judaism and the early Christian Church. Better minds than me will have to figure out how to resolve this.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Secular Europe and more

  • Steve Sailer on Russian bad guys in the movies. They're a stock villain now but weren't in the Cold War. Figures, since Hollywood was riddled with Communists. We helped the USSR win WWII.
  • Somebody needs to publish a Pokemon-style table of Power Points for all combinations of various Victimist statuses so you can instantly calculate who gets over on whom. Oddly enough, there seems to be a pretty high correlation between how victimized your groups are perceived to be in the media and how powerful your groups are behind the scenes in the media.
  • Today's intention in the Chair of Unity Octave is the conversion of European Protestants, which mostly means Lutheran Germany. Sounds like what it is: from 100 years ago. Hard to imagine a religious Protestant Europe now, when the Catholic countries like Italy, Spain, and Ireland are iffy. Are northern Germany, the Netherlands, and the Nordic countries the most secular places on the continent? (Most of the old Soviet empire in Eastern Europe is non-practicing Orthodox, different from secularists.) We're not talking about Lutherans and Dutch Reformed anymore but atheists. Yesterday was about the submission of Anglicans, imagining the conversion of the British Empire/Anglosphere: today, write off Britain and work on ecumenism with the Global South in Africa, so they remember what the church really teaches and know that the door is always open. (Ditto tomorrow's intention, American Christians: the evangelicals.) Anglicans' would-be Catholics, who taught me pre-conciliar Catholic practice when the American church wanted nothing to do with it, are now Catholic so we're done. By the way I like confessional Lutherans (the Missouri Synod), our semi-Catholic cousins.
  • Our capital ought not be Tel Aviv. I don't like the Fed but still, a foreigner shouldn't be its vice chairman.
  • From Roissy: With names like “Bullrun” and “Manassas” for these programs, NSA is now (inadvertently) telling us they consider themselves to be battling a civil war… with the citizens of the United States. Some would call this the result of mass scale managerialism run amok. I’d use a less innocuous-sounding term: Tyranny.
  • The Henry Higgins of North American English. Many of the accents are subtle, not that different from newscaster American. Dick Clark from upstate New York for example. I knew about the difference between the old Southern accents that dropped post-vocalic r's, and the hard r's of Appalachia and Texas, the dominant Southern voice now. (England vs. Scotland?) This man calls that old sound Classic Southern, and distinguishes between Lowland and Inland Southern now, Inland apparently sounding more "country." This test, based mostly on word choice, is amazingly accurate. (My big marker, "hoagie," is something I don't eat.)

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Chair of Unity Octave, the Orthodox, and the ecumenical winter

A uniquely Anglo-Papalist devotion (Anglicans who weren't just high churchmen, but serious would-be Catholics) that some converts brought with them into the church in 1909, which became somewhat popular after Vatican II, and was renamed, when ecumenism was fashionable. Now we're in what Fr. Hunwicke and others call an ecumenical winter.

(Those few came into the church after the Episcopalians voted the year before to allow other Protestant ministers to preach in their churches. So they were the opposite of modern ecumenists; they wanted to bring people into the church.)

The octave started yesterday with what in the Roman Rite before '62 was the feast of the Chair of St. Peter in Rome. The point: papal authority is about the office, not the man holding it. His job ex cathedra, from the chair, is to defend the faith. He can't change it. He's only the Pope.

Today is dedicated to bringing the Orthodox and I guess the Lesser Eastern churches back into communion. Possible in a way not so with Protestants because sacramentally we're still the same church — bishops, Mass.

Catholicism and Orthodoxy are on parallel tracks. By that I don't mean two one true churches — there is only one of course — but the two, nearly the same church, an inch apart but that divide is infinitely deep. The difference is the scope of the Pope (the Chair of Unity): part of church infallibility or just another patriarch? I don't see the Orthodox coming under Rome but it doesn't hurt to pray for union.

Ecumenism is played out. All the sides know what the others teach and aren't trying to kill each other now. The fashionable ecumenism 40-50 years ago was indifferentism, an effect of Vatican II, when the liberal Protestants thought the church was joining them. (Liberal Catholics thought they were becoming Anglican, Anglo-Catholics thought they were becoming Catholic through the old dream of corporate union, then the Anglicans ordained women and it became clear again that none of that was going to happen.) Today, since the West isn't churchy anymore, nobody cares.

The best we can hope for from the Orthodox is practical culture-wars cooperation (anti-abortion) in Eastern Europe, and, on our side, the next Pope Benedict alluding to the intact Eastern rites in order to undo what the council did to the Roman Rite. (Something substantial, not the condescension about the pretty Eastern liturgies we've been hearing from churchmen for 50 years.) By the way, I have no problem with the church as a loose communion of ethnic and national churches very little to do with each other, the Orthodox way. In practice the Western Church operated that way for centuries, until the modern age. (As Arturo Vasquez alluded to when when he used to write about Mexican folk Catholicism.)

From Fr. H:
Ecumenism is in practice often more to do with changing the body one currently belongs to than (to dust down some of the old cliches) about Learning from Others, Sharing our Respective Insights.
In other words it's the liberals wanting to change the church, to become Protestant really.

The situation with the SSPX is church discipline, not ecumenism. Not and never was a separate church. Fellay for cardinal, Lefebvre for saint.

In other news, I understand the Ukrainian government is threatening the Ukrainian Catholic Church over supporting anti-government protesters. Understandably the UGCC is anti-Russian, given the decades of Soviet persecution, but as a Facebook commenter noted, supporting the EU instead is wrong. That and most of the Ukraine historically is an integral part of Russia.

By the way, wishing Putin's Russia and the Ukraine a happy Theophany. (The UGCC in its homeland is on the Julian calendar too.)

  • The rumors of a new Oxford Movement are greatly exaggerated. From what I can tell from working with millennials, they don't long for liturgy or any religion. The American Northeast is turning into Europe that way. My semi-trad parish has 30-year-olds with their kids, but that just says the Catholic Church will hang on in America. It won't be big again like in the '50s. Liberal high church thinks it's up and coming but it's not (the mainstream's outgrown it) - just a older niche; high church among evangelicals will be a fad like converting to Orthodoxy used to be. Orthodoxy will remain a small ethnic club in America.
  • American Orthodoxy. Apparently ROCOR said nyet to juridical union.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Establishment: The '60s vs. the Sixties

A mistake from a pretty good site. People in 1964 looked like me. This girl is modeling one kind of fashion from around 1970.

Actually in 1964 the liberals WERE saying "Obey the government without question, or you're a racist!" Liberals such as President Johnson. Then as now they were for government intervention to try to solve social problems, even if it went against the Constitution. The flip side of that was conservatives, who did care about the Constitution, not necessarily racist, opposed the feds' civil-rights actions. The radicals, such as SDS and, a few years later, the hippies, DID question the government, left or right. Sometimes they were right - accidental libertarians; I think mostly they were emotionally 12-year-olds who didn't like being told what to do (thanks, Anti-Gnostic). (It was also mostly a rich-kid thing.) That theme - of standing up for the little guy vs. Big Government - was around in the left as recently as the '80s, Dusk in Autumn explains. That "libertarianism" didn't seem last as the radicals essentially reached their goal of taking over the establishment. Liberals in the '50s-mid-'60s were committed anti-Communists; Cold Warriors: why they went to Vietnam and did the space race. The radicals didn't really want peace re: us in Vietnam for example; they were cheering for the other side. So Bill Ayers, who plotted to blow up our soldiers, is now a sort of respected elder statesman. '60s liberals still included socially conservative Catholics who wanted labor-union, New Deal socialism. Now the left, the establishment, wants to force the few remaining (yeah, thanks, Vatican II) such to pay for contraception and abortion and pretend two men can marry each other. Answers: no more social experiments but minimal government, MYOB foreign policy (non-aggression principle), free trade (sorry, Pope Francis; it works), tradition, and tribe, family writ large (why shouldn't the French like being French?).

  • Three TV villains that the audience turned into heroes. I thought of Archie Bunker too when the "Duck Dynasty" fight happened, but I still think that was a publicity stunt. People loved Archie Bunker and hated Meathead because they knew boomer liberals were full of shit. Even Sammy Davis, Jr. was in the Bunker bunker. He recognized Archie’s vocabulary was that of a hard-working American who grew up in a rough neighborhood. "Family Ties" bugged me because conservative means culture wars, not playing the stock market or shopping at the mall.
  • Boomer nostalgia. True except Dr. Spock gets a bad rap. I understand he was a common-sense godsend to young moms after the war, better than earlier experts' crackpot theories of child-rearing. Most of the major players and grassroots participants were Silents, and depending on the area of society, the later part of the Greatest Gen. Civil Rights, second wave feminism, electing Johnson -- all had nothing to do with Boomers. That's another way in which Boomer nostalgia is narcissistic -- it's self-aggrandizing, given how minimal their participation and influence was on Civil Rights, putting a man on the moon, and anything except for the consumer side of pop music (and related events like Woodstock). When the Boomers reminisce about the sound of 1967, are they including Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, and Dean Martin, all of whom had #1 songs on Billboard's adult contemporary / easy listening chart? Almost none of which would show up on a Sixties compilation or playlist.
  • Lefty nostalgia is weird too when it misses things like the draft (which the radicals opposed for their own bad reasons) - again, the liberals were all about the state. The draft that made us supporting players/saps getting killed to help the USSR win WWII. All of the “greatest generation” Americans who died in World War II died so that the Russian communist totalitarians, instead of the German Nazi totalitarians, could rule Eastern and Central Europe for the next 45 years. That is, so that that part of the world could be ruled by international socialists instead of self-described national socialists. All in the name of “freedom.” Joe McCarthy was right: FDR's government was riddled with Soviet agents and the Hollywood Ten were guilty as sin.

On the lighter side, one of Stan Freberg's great Jeno's commercials.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Snow day

A rare treat, thanks to Winter Storm Hercules. It’s beautiful out now, sunny, and very cold (teens Fahrenheit), after a harrowing drive home from work last night, a normally half-hour trip taking two hours in a slip-sliding car, taking a long way in order to avoid hills.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Happy new year

Not much going on here, which may be a good thing. Italian-American Christmas Eve featuring kids opening their gifts and la Festa dei Sette Pesci (which came pretty close to seven, minus eel; that’s just as well) based on the church’s vigil before the feast. On the day, the third, late Mass, Puer natus est, Sung, at Mater Ecclesiæ. Gifts? More panel/bowling/Charlie Sheen shirts for the summer. My job scrubbed New Year’s Eve; yesterday it was early Novus in town (at least it’s Pope Benedict’s corrected one; at it I say the Gloria and Creed from the old Book of Common Prayer by way of the old Anglican missals, from memory) and then shopping for vintage stuff in New Jersey.

The Prayer Book is great English but I don’t miss it as such because I know where it came from; those are Protestant services.

The church is much more than the Pope, who’s only a caretaker, but the world would be better if Benedict hadn’t quit.

All the wrong people like the new Pope for all the wrong reasons (Time’s Person of the Year). The limits of the papal office mean he can’t actually change the church but he could do a lot of damage like Vatican II did. That churchmen don’t get the market, and with the best intentions, isn’t new. It seems that among traditionalists, the learned are good third-wayers. I’m listening — I think I get it about greed and the Americanist heresy — but, despite crony capitalism which is not really capitalism, the market is still the best way. (Juan Perón meant well too but drove Argentina into the ground. Even a holy welfare state that was pro-life wouldn’t work.) My old line for third-wayers: make a great product that most people want to buy, and actually get it to the buyers, and we’ll talk.

Jim Coffey writes:
There is a difference between capitalism and oligarchy/monopoly. The big banking system in this country is anything but capitalistic. And the system of subsidies is not capitalistic but socialistic.
I think the man in the pew would be fine with our Mass, the old one, if it were in English. Fine with me.

Instead of the damage of Vatican II, John XXIII should have just issued two pronouncements allowing more of the vernacular and affirming that the church can live with American freedom of religion (then the church in America was doing so, successfully), then English-speaking Catholics should have just adopted the translations of Tridentine services that Anglo-Catholics had already done.

(The real John XXIII: teach Latin better and don’t ordain homosexuals.)

The “Duck Dynasty” fight was probably a publicity stunt.

  • From the Anti-Gnostic: The Catholic Church seems most virile where she acts more like the Church Local: Hungary, France, Croatia, Poland. (France? I understand that except for the SSPX, the church in France is dead.) Rome seems unable to come to terms with a post-Imperial, multi-polar world, so they're jumping on the universal democracy bandwagon, anticipating a seat at the table of the global democratic empire. (Why American bishops don’t excommunicate pro-abortion Catholic politicians, people who actually do harm.) They'll get completely cozy with this about the time whole countries start rejecting democracy and the UN becomes an utterly irrelevant joke.
  • Somebody in the Church of England has proposed making vestments optional. I think the Puritans wanted to ban them. The requirement long was, and the only vestments officially allowed were, cassock, surplice, and scarf (rochet and chimere for bishops), which are the Catholic choir habit, not really vestments. Anyway, just as well if they do. Chances are this is coming from their Evangelicals, their last conservatives, and as I mentioned it’s part of their heritage, plus now, influenced by American evangelicals, they don’t wear them anymore and the rule’s not enforced. Liberals used to be low-church too, thinking ritual was papist mumbo-jumbo, but have been high-church for a few decades, due in part to hippie shamanism and ecumenism, which was fashionable about 40 years ago. It was cool to look Catholic because they thought the church was liberalizing, becoming like them, so they thought union would happen. They'd keep wearing the vestments. Macht nichts. Most English people still wouldn’t go to church.
  • Being Catholic there of course is different from here. Even with the many Irish coming over from next door, Catholics are far fewer in numbers and proportionally. You could find Catholic high church if you were looking for it (for example, the Brompton Oratory, doing Pope Benedict’s high church before he was Pope). I understand most practicing Catholics there now are Polish immigrants. Sort of like practicing American Catholics seem to be either brother trads or charismatics from the 1970s and ’80s.