Thursday, December 31, 2009

Terrorism is a cost of empire
Or to vary the line about firemen, if you want people to like you, sell products they want and don’t be a cop. From Joshua.

It’s official: Rand Paul for US Senate
‘Window dressing’: it’s true
Another person runs afoul of PC morality (if anyone denies egalitarianism, let him be anathema): I prefer the orthodox version that doesn’t bullsh*t you. The candidates’ wives and husband didn’t affect my 2008 primary vote or my November 2008 non-vote as was meet and right. I’m sure Carol Paul’s a lovely person but as the Clintons found out it’s not a co-presidency no matter how able the first lady is.
From Mark Shea
Michael Lawrence likes Christmas like I do
And doesn’t go in for the war-on-Christmas hype

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Cracked history
  • The teens: Picasso, Matisse and Duchamp got the world used to accepting hilarious pretension and babyish douchebaggery on a massive scale, just so long as the art was sufficiently mind-bending. Medicine was still in the stage where doctors prescribed a teener of coke for a toothache.
  • WWII could apply for a patent on masculinity and it would be granted.
  • Holy shit we looked good in the ’50s. It’s easy to be a conformist when it makes all men look like Don Draper and all women look like Joan Holloway.
  • The ’70s: The Movie Brats took over Hollywood and, with all respect to the ’30s and ’40s, were responsible for the single best decade in American movie history. Spielberg, Lucas, Coppola, Scorsese, Carpenter, Friedkin, De Palma and more took their film degrees and somehow conned Hollywood into handing a bunch of bearded nerds the keys to the kingdom. They made some of the most adventurous studio system films ever produced.
  • The ’90s: We got rich, bitch! The decade began with a recession, and ended with the biggest surplus in American history. Personal incomes doubled over the course of the decade, and the DOW topped 10,000 for the first time in recorded history. Germany unified, and the Soviet Union finally broke apart. Hell, even Ireland finally agreed to stop bombing the hell out of itself.
From LRC
The East does get away with a lot compared with poor old Western Catholicism
From Fr Hunwicke

Noughties retrospective

By definition as a YF I’m unhip, which is fine. So no song or film of the decade here. But part of it is there just wasn’t much worth remembering in popular culture as opposed to history: ‘9/11’ is my choice for word of the decade... among other, greater things it finished converting me and my site to full-on libertarian activism.

Besides the history I’ll remember the decade for either innovations or my catching up in technology: mobile phones, flat screens (predicted in 1968) and fast access to the Web just about anywhere (no laptop or WiFi here but it beats dial-up at home and relying on one computer at work off-hours or going down to the nearby college’s engineering building to see the Web). VHS gave way to DVDs (which seem on their way out now) and CDs to downloading.

Cracked on the lack of good music: still no signature song for the past 10 years.
This was a horrible decade for music. It had the tail-end of “boy bands”, which were not bands and debatably didn’t include “boys”, and didn’t make music regardless. Then, rap, which had gone from underground in the ’80s, to being marijuana spokesmen in the ’90s, to being mainstream horrible music, so much so that the rap that is actually interesting is what few people hear unless they go looking, and the people who liked it 15 years ago no longer listen to it. Hip-hop became what pop and bubblegum used to be; meaningless, talentless music that became popular because it was easy to remember. And rock... well, rock went from overly dramatic grunge and punk to flat-out crying in My Chemical Romance and ultimately... wait, do we even have new rock albums? Except for “new hits” that don’t last a year, the genre is dying. The concept of playing a musical instrument in music is foreign, singing is either absent or overpowering and the sole point of the song (Jessica Simpson, for example), and it’s become okay if 90% of what you hear in a song is generated by a million-dollar machine and not a human. Music doesn’t even have a point anymore; except for the 9/11 patriot songs that country abused for money, we don’t even have songs with important points anymore. Ten years from now, what will people think of when “music of the ’00s” comes out? We don’t have anything like “Born in the USA”, to randomly select an example, that will be around for years. Music basically f**king died this decade. Bands are falling apart, new musicians are talentless hacks (the sound guys should get more credit than the artists now), and music has degenerated into garbage. Hell, celebrities are now musicians on the side, not the other way around. The people have become more important, from Spears to the Jonas Brothers; everyone knew GnR in ’95 by their SONGS, now, everyone knows Miley Cyrus and couldn’t name two of her songs, or pick two off the radio. Billy Cyrus is famous again, and we are all aurally screwed.
Mick Jagger got it right: years ago he said rock has spent itself.

There may be more retrospectives if I think of anything else.

Monday, December 28, 2009

From RR
Herod was exceeding wroth, and slew many children
How to improve the culture
One entrepreneur at a time
Ron Paul: health-care reform is a lump of coal
Warriors and wusses
From Huw
From Daniel Larison
From LRC

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Clem’s in the news
Made it to Vespers today... all in Latin, five men singing from the Liber Usualis, Gregorian chant bouncing off stone walls. Now I’ve been to church for Western Christmas.

Ecclesiastical bibs and bobs

Saturday, December 26, 2009

From RR
From LRC
From Chronicles

Christmas here

Linguine with red sauce and mussels and that was just the beginning. Bob Sorrentino is both a talented chef and of the last generation in the family that speaks Italian. Also served: calamari (of course), clams, shrimp, crab, bits of lobster and smoked salmon. Sette pesci: seven fishes.


What I got: no mint-green, factory-original 1961 Impala with only 75K on the odometer, best offer accepted, parked outside, or waking up to find it’s 1961 and the past 48 years were only a weird dream from eating all that fish. (They did what?! What do you mean the biretta belt’s gone? Clarence, I want to go back!) Alas. Not bad at all though: the first year of ‘Mad Men’ in a box and talking after dinner Christmas night to somebody who was in her 20s in the period, both of us marvelling at the changes in technology (she still doesn’t use a computer). I do like the differences from a handful of TV channels to the information revolution and a phone and flat screens that are cooler than the walkie-talkies and displays on ‘Star Trek’. Also got The Bishop’s Wife on disc (good despite the director obviously having no idea what an Anglican boys’ choir sounds like), winter boots and a camera case. For myself: downloaded Ben Andersen’s ordo for the Monastic Diurnal.

Mystery worshipping: at least the African priest wore something decent and used the Roman Canon (albeit ICEL ugly and wrong) but for the most part Pope Benedict’s revival hasn’t reached the dark corners of Mount Laurel. (The tabernacle is pretty well hidden in a corner.) ’80s JPII religion including hands-extended charismatics (probably sound on doctrine — those dear people accepted what was often the only non-Modernist thing their parishes offered). No incense or liturgical music (arm-waving cantrix and piano doing Christmas carols ≠ liturgical music). Impressive attendance, almost all of whom made their Communions and ran out during the third and last verse of the last hymn. Walked out to an almost empty carpark!

Now to be fair High Mass has its its quirks too especially to those new to it: the service stopping and everybody including the clergy sitting down as the choir sing their pieces of music like a concert; the deacon chanting the gospel facing sideways. (Everybody brings up Latin but it’s not about Latin.)

Dollars for the Bambino. Sometimes it’s just fun to scare Protestants.
From Damian Thompson

Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Christmas from ACBfP
The liturgical art of Beuron. From Hallowedground.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

China, Barry. The last really badass commies left. Just sayin’, Barry.
From Chris Johnson

Buon natale
Tonight I’ll be at a festa dei sette pesci (the feast where you settle things with Joe Pesci — no, really, the feast of the seven fishes that Italians originally from the seacoast have for the vigil) and hopefully either at midnight or morning High Mass at Mater Ecclesiæ (backup: Novus Ordo at the Cistercian-run church in Mount Laurel). Molte grazie per tutto oggi, domani e quest’ anno alla famiglia Sorrentino.

From LRC

‘Christmas Eve Sarajevo’

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

James Cameron: by jingo it’s the SWPLs
From Steve Sailer
For unto us a news and commentary source is born
Happy seventh anniversary, RR
From LRC

I’ve not seen it
But like Chris Johnson’s name for it: Dances with Giant Smurfs
Keillor’s Christmas rant
I read this yesterday but didn’t put it here then because honestly I may not be sophisticated enough to know what to make of him. I’ve found him a bit arrogant and know his most famous work (I liked Lake Wobegon Days) was meant to make fun of his subjects; that people liked it unironically was an accident. That said, although I don’t mind secular winter/Christmas songs to include my Jewish neighbours (that’s not political correctness but good old-fashioned politeness), and whether Keillor’s serious or not, this curmudgeon likes this. I was about to say: Hanukkah’s over (and not the Jewish equivalent of Christmas anyway: it’s about as important as the feast of SS. Peter and Paul is to us) and next to nobody does Kwanzaa kraap (a long time ago at one of my bookshop jobs the manager, black and from North Carolina, said it: it’s just a made-up holiday he didn’t keep) so stop the ‘holidays’ nonsense. (Well, you can include New Year’s.)

More from LRC’s Ryan McMaken.

Christmas locally
Lewis Avenue, East Lansdowne

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Project Rachel to tackle high abortion rates in Eastern Europe
Good news for the day religious Russians celebrate Our Lady’s conception. They believe she’s immaculate but the Western defined doctrine answers a question regarding high-flying theories of original sin that I understand doesn’t come up in Byzantine theology.
‘Jingle Bells’

Rankin-Bass meets Bollywood.

From Nickelodeon via HuffPo and Jason Van Boom.

Of course I like Frank Sinatra’s 1957 version:

Monday, December 21, 2009

From Arturo
I am a pretty modern and eccentric person. But when it comes down to theology, or rather, what I feel I have to believe in order to get to Heaven, I don’t take anything that was written after 1960 seriously, unless it sounds exactly the same as something that was written before that time. If it isn’t at least as old as my parents, I really don’t see why I need to listen to it, unless it has been laid down as the definitive, unchanging answer of the Church coming from a legitimate authority.
We get nostalgic for Victorian Christmas. What did Victorians get nostalgic for?
Anglicans and some others know this: the Middle Ages!

I agree with Cecil Adams here: it’s people reaching Catholicwards through the wreckage not only of the late 1960s but the Industrial Revolution (which did good as well as harm), the ‘Enlightenment’ and the ‘Reformation’. And lest one get too romantic about the whole thing Arturo will set you straight while not disagreeing essentially.

Yes, I appreciate the irony that 1962 wasn’t big on nostalgia (it was the space age!) but neither was there a wholesale repudiation of the past by most people (certainly you saw it in the élite from their art, music and architecture to their music... BTW I’ve listened to Schoenbergian stuff and... liked it).
From Rod Dreher
  • Hollywood’s banal religion. I’ve seen neither of these. John Podhoretz: Standard-issue counterculture clichés. Ross Douthat: Pantheism has been Hollywood’s religion of choice for a generation now. Dreher: There is, of course, an old and rich New Orleans religious tradition that offers deep resources to combat the darkness in voodoo. It’s called Catholicism. I am pretty confident that Disney would never consider making a film that took Christianity seriously as a positive force, no matter how historically and thematically appropriate it might be. It’s a creative defeat, and one reason, I think, that “Princess and the Frog” is a trifle. It doesn’t have any of the moral grandeur you often get in Pixar films.
  • A walk into Arturo’s country? Religion: doctrine and sensibility. I changed vs to and of course.
The renaming game
That’s the point, isn’t it? Being hard to remember means more chances to look down your noses at commoners who can’t remember Kerepakupai-Meru.
From Steve Sailer.

Two SWPL pastimes in one: trying to impress other SWPLs and correcting others.
From RR
From LRC

Какой фильм это? What film is this?
Progressives and libertarians united against the Demopublicans?
There is an enormous, rising tide of populism that crosses party lines in objection to the Senate bill. We opposed the bank bailouts, the AIG bonuses, the lack of transparency about the Federal Reserve, “bailout” Ben Bernanke, and the way the Democrats have used their power to sell the country’s resources to secure their own personal advantage, just as the libertarians have. In fact, we’ve worked together with them to oppose these things. What we agree on: both parties are working against the interests of the public, the only difference is in the messaging.
The trouble is the progressives once in power would re-create the same problems that got us into this mess: they started this. So as libertarians our alliance with them is only provisional. Populism has a lot of potential but of course a mob isn’t always right. We’ve long hoped people would wake up, see that the GOP and Dems are a Punch-and-Judy show and stop being played.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Patriarch of Constantinople on ‘60 Minutes’
Also: Cappadocia in Anatolia, Asia Minor (really Greece!). Not bad but he’s not the Orthodox Pope; no one patriarch is ‘the spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox’ and none claim universal jurisdiction. That makes the Orthodox Orthodox and not Roman Catholics: the only real difference between these two Catholic churches (which should become clear as Pope Benedict deprotestantises his church). Let’s see who watched this (you can here!): from hearing the chant and greetings in Greek, during which liturgical season was this filmed?

After the snowstorm: walking to the nearest Mass
YF as mystery worshipper. Things are about what I expected: Pope Benedict’s revival is slowly coming in (note the crucifix and candles on the altar; the rail’s waiting to be used again and there is a nice loud sanctus bell) but there are still ’70s leftovers (such as the arm-waving cantrix at the Alleluia and the 30-year-old attempt to soft-sell WO with that, an altar girl — thanks for the help, JPII — and a lay assistant helping give Communion). Recognisably Catholic but not as high (yet?) as even the American Missal. The Pope’s new translation and a tightening of the rubrics can fix all of the problems. Novus Ordo Low Mass by the book isn’t that bad; even the attempt at singing at the Alleluia (other than that it was Low Mass) wasn’t. Arguably there’s a place for a very pared-down, austere version of the Roman Rite which this is. Two things about it I like, which fit the legit liturgical movement: the congregation reciting a verse each for the Introit and Communion. Attendance: about 25? Father (the pastor?) walks with a stick. The sermon tied into the snowstorm: ‘chill’, slow down and look all around you. Which I did yesterday. But not with a literal chill: I’m wearing enough wool to make sure of that.

Ecclesiastical bibs and bobs

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Снег идёт
A big snowstorm on the Russian feast of St Nicholas. The most beautiful house in the street. Bedford Falls today. St Philomena’s and one of its shrines. St John’s, closed in October: Anglicans will know what this structure is. ‘Currier and Ives can bite me!’ No, really, I like it.
From Mark Shea
Also from Mark Steyn
  • As I was saying: The Boomers still admire themselves for the Civil Rights thing, even though it was a previous generation that did all the foot-work.
  • The over-Nazification by movies, books, and video games has blinded much of our society to the nature and evil or Communism — which is still very much with us, and attacking us from within, as well as internationally. Wear a swastika to the mall one day, and then a Soviet/Chinese hammer and sickle the next, and note the reactions — despite the larger death-toll and misery caused by imperial Communism in the 20th century, versus its racialist little brother, Hitlerian national socialism. Or Che was a coward and a murderer and your poster is not cool. For many years I’ve known Russian survivors of Communism.
  • I don’t go in for other Christians’ ‘war on Christmas’ wank but this from First Things is pretty good: The same secularists who think that playing Grand Theft Auto: Vice City while listening to gangsta rap has no effect on children act as if hearing “Merry Christmas” will turn little Johnny into a Pat Robertson clone.
  • How did so many clergy get in bed with the Zeitgeist? Part is a desire to be liked, and not get in trouble for preaching clearly the truth and morality of authentic Christianity, but part is a deeper infiltration of the church by a subtle delusion. Starting in the 1960s, clergy training began to include something called ‘CPE’, or Clinical Pastoral Education. Originally meant to give potential pastors some practical experience dealing and learning from real situations, it also includes a dose of Freud, Marxist-style self-criticism, amateur psychologizing, and a crazy amount of relativism (otherwise known as the touchy-feely smarmy ‘What I hear you saying is...’, and ‘How do you feel about that?’ and ‘That’s true for you.’). Of course, the church had, for years, done pastoral care of souls... but the Freudification and psychologizing of that ancient and holy calling of soul-care is a bastardization and emptying of true pastoral care as practiced until the 20th century. This is despite the widespread discrediting of much of Freud’s psychology. Indeed, as Europe slouched towards darkness in the early 20th century, a dying Freud considered most of his work to have been a failure. That didn’t stop pop-culture and the ever-belated liberal churches from taking up his rags. Psychology is legitimate but these are abuses. I understand Freud is to psychology as alchemy is to chemistry: some of his methods and accidental discoveries are true but the theory is crap.
The Tudorcratic police state
DICTATORSHIP? Secret police? Informants & surveillance? All-powerful bureaucrats? The crushing of conscience? Kangaroo courts? Enforced beliefs? No, not HRC utopia, nor yet Soviet misery or Nazi oppression.

With early modernity in the 1500s came a tyrannical impulse, to be echoed and twisted over the centuries. Worse, it was in the very bosom of Western democracy — England herself — that Leviathan and Big Brother as we know them today really got rolling.

It was a betrayal of such great hopes — Prince Harry of England had been an enlightened Christian humanist prince of letters and energy who seemed to embody the spirit of the age, when printing and rediscovered ancient classics had promised an old world made new, the best of faith and knowledge leading to a golden age.

Henry inherited wealth, a powerful bureaucracy, and a vibrant Catholic church increasingly concerned with clerical reform and spiritual renewal.

Yet of this would come the porcine tyrant, serial adulterer and murderer, betrayer of friend and family and nation and church and God, who would come to embody a proto-Stalin, a crypto-Hitler, an early Mao, and by his and his successors’ use of state power, showed what would increasingly become the pattern onwards: all-powerful states, bureaucracies, and ideologies bent to making some new utopia. He declared himself absolute ruler of all things.

Sir Thomas More, lawyer, scholar, author, and statesman and renaissance man of letters — author of ‘The Utopia’ — was famously imprisoned and martyred for not bending the knee to the new Royal Supremacy over all things. The movie ‘A Man for All Seasons’ and Peter Ackroyd’s fine biography lay out that story, and show the change from the beginning to the end of Henry’s rule.

Despite the hagiography of the beautiful-looking Elizabeth in the Blanchett movies, the daughter of Ol’ Henry – Queen Bess – presided over a perfected police state, of desecrated churches, hunted and murdered Catholics, over 36,000 gory executions for thought-crimes and criticizing the Tudorocracy... a prototype of later police-states, where everybody was being watched for disloyalty, crime, papistry, or saying the wrong things to the wrong person.

So began our modernity, fueled by militant ideological and sometimes fascistic protestantism – as in so many revolutions since, the far worse replacing what went before, leaving corpses and wreckage — and a foreboding example — behind.
As A.N. Wilson observed, the latitude on doctrine is really a claim of absolute rule over all things.

From Mark Steyn.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Why they should pull the plug on ARCIC
At last it has been recognised, and not only by the Holy Father, that those being purged by the Anglican liberal “elite” in fact share the same faith as the Catholic Church, with whom the Anglican leadership hypocritically claims to be pursuing the search for full and visible unity.
Fr Michael Gollop

Young men are embracing the ‘Mad Men’ elements of style
John, the ’50s had hats. That’s why you like it better.

Boomer fashion like boomer religion is being thrown out. Hello, 1962! I’ve missed you. Use bugmenot to get in.
From Tea at Trianon
  • Bad behaviour. Unsurprisingly the myth of egalitarianism (that everybody deserves the same outcome — of course all deserve the same opportunity) makes people selfish. I’ll add that there’s a difference between power and authority although the latter can have the former. The state or a mugger taking your money have power. Stalin (‘How many divisions has the Pope got?’) had power. Pope Benedict has authority but next to no civil power.
  • From an England still in living memory, A.A. Milne on a distant historical figure.
  • The new London. Things I got a whiff of 20 years ago are worse now. Regular readers know my line: I’m grateful for the patrimony as filtered through Anglo-Catholicism (and I agree with Fr Hunwicke that Benedict is arguably the AC-friendliest Pope ever... you can say he’s answered the telegram the 1923 AC Congress sent to Rome) but Anglicanism has been a shell starting with its ‘Reformation’ founding and definitely since the ‘Enlightenment’ KO’d English Calvinism, a deep freezer of latitudinarian moralism (as William Tighe says) just waiting for somebody to finish pulling it down.

From LRC
From Joshua
L’état, c’est relativiste
Taki’s Grant Havers:
The Ministry of Education (and Truth?) in Quebec is finally incurring much deserved flak for imposing a curriculum that aims for an “intercultural Quebec” where everyone lives together in peace and mutual tolerance.
So far that sounds pretty good. Politically I’m secular (not secularist) and like von Mises believe that leaving people alone and letting the market do its work (or everybody’s money is the same) accomplishes this.

Of course the other shoe drops:
Despite the relativistic rhetoric about “open dialogue,” it is highly doubtful that politically incorrect views on identity and sexual freedom are enjoying a hearing.
Because as a much more conservative friend sees, my libertarian tolerance isn’t righteous enough for people on a crusade for a substitute religion that’s essentially a false, rival one true church and claims absolute power, power to change defined doctrine (two men can marry each other), power to define reality (if I say I’m a woman then I am one*; everybody’s equally talented), that the church, which sees reason as conforming to reality, doesn’t dare.

*Hilary: ‘Fine, then I say I’m very attractive and rich. Accommodate me!’
What the well-off left really think of blacks
Infect a bunch of them in experiments so you can enjoy your lifestyle. From Chris Johnson.

O Sapientia

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What a pop song in American English sounds like to someone with no English

By Adriano Celentano. Brilliant!

Molto vivace: a bit of Beethoven’s Ninth
Autism seen as asset not liability in some jobs
A free-market solution!
From T1:9
This decade is so blah that it’s almost over and it still hasn’t got a proper name
Six tries. From Cracked.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

From RR
Why JFK was murdered
Via LRC: James Douglass says he wanted to normalise relations with Cuba and quit Vietnam so rogue agents in the US government did it (Oswald was an American agent who’d been in intel’s phoney-defector programme) and LBJ reversed course
From truthout
Now that the left are becoming disillusioned with the O-man (because they weren’t paying attention to what he actually was saying) this site is getting good again

Monday, December 14, 2009

Houston elects first gay mayor. So what?
From Rod Dreher
One, two, three, four, I declare a blog war
Fr Robert Hart’s Continuers vs Christian Campbell’s Anglo-Papalist team. It reminds me: why in America did conservative Lutherans and Presbyterians have their act together to have successful, decent-sized denominations (the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and the Presbyterian Church in America) but the Anglo-Catholics with their uncompromised episcopal ecclesiology didn’t? (Almost from their day one the Continuing bishops fought each other and schismed into oblivion with tiny congregations, something right out of Peter Anson.)
More at Psallite on WRO and Anglican Use RC
Ron Paul’s right: audit the Fed
Agrees Pat Buchanan at Chronicles

If there were a Santa this is what I’d get

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Show trial for a scapegoat
Sol on Demjanjuk
No exit
A Gaza-born resident of the West Bank and Bethlehem University student will not be allowed to complete her college education with just two-months to go before her graduation after the Israeli High Court of Justice accepted the Israeli Defense Forces’ decision to expel the young woman in October. Berlanty Azzam, an Orthodox Christian, was swept up at an IDF checkpoint and her education and future dismissed as capriciously as a hundred other “security” decisions that occur in humiliating confrontations between IDF and Palestinian citizens of the West Bank. More are likely as the Israel separation wall winds its erratic 436-mile course throughout the West Bank and within the lives of average Palestinians who must contend with it.
From America.

Feast of St Andrew: Bishop Jerome and the Kursk Root icon of Our Lady of the Sign
An icon of the saint, I think from the screen of an old church built by Ruthenians in upstate Pennsylvania. In the hierarchical Liturgy (pontifical Mass) the bishop is vested and stands in the middle of the nave until the Little Entrance. Russian congregations don’t usually sing: at hierarchical Liturgies a deacon comes out and leads them in the Creed and Our Father. It’s the crowded church’s feast of title: it seems that all 1990s or later Russian immigrants in Northeast Philly who go to church come here. St Andrew’s was built in 1897 as a chapel for the Russian navy when it was building two warships here (including the Varyag), which explains the visiting Russian officers.