Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Eve

  • Greek Catholics re-revisited. Catholicism’s and Orthodoxy’s one-true-church claims compared, on paper and in practice. Answering this.
  • 2012 passing: Eduard Khil. The hipsters were making fun of him and he knew it but I think this clip’s Lawrence Welk charming. Unironically sweet. There’s the irony that an ideology so radical, so anti-traditional order, that did so much harm (the winner of WWII, worse than the Nazis yet history gives them a free pass), seemed, when mixed with Slavic culture, so charmingly conservative in ways (the Politburo were dressed almost like me; this is from ’76 but looks and sounds like the non-Sixties ’60s). Bel canto (Russian church music is opera) like this, and cute folk song and dance. The man could sing. Вечная память (eternal memory).
  • What a year. Restarting a career in midlife as newspapers go the way of the horse and carriage. Now I write like a Mad Man online. Love it.
  • Donna and I will celebrate with the local talent, South Jersey Italians (South Philly East?), then go to Mass tomorrow morning.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sunday within the Octave of Christmas

  • Mass: Dum medium silentium tenerent omnia. The Lord is king, and hath put on glorious apparel; the Lord hath put on his apparel and girded himself with strength. The natural law: He hath made the round world so sure that it cannot be moved. Reflecting the epistle, the weak yet all-powerful Christ Child is enthroned under the little baldacchino where the crucifix or monstrance (in our 100-year-old faux-Gothic exposition chapel of a church) usually goes. Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true man.
  • ’Tis the season. For some of us and the other Christians in the liturgical family to point out that while secular Christmas (Kitschmas), which has been gearing up at least since American Thanksgiving or even since Halloween, is now winding down fast (it ends New Year’s Day but sadly you see discarded trees at the curb now), the church is celebrating the Twelve Days of Christmas that silly song is going on about (and that Shakespeare set one of his plays in). I admit as a kid I thought, ‘Why are we singing carols in church now? That’s stupid!’ Seems naff for liturgical Christians to point it out every year (showing off?) but I’m doing it just as a fun observation. Good quote from John J. O’Sullivan: in his house the green doesn’t come down until the winter liturgical green goes up in church. In other words, Christmas lasts through the feast of the Epiphany (the Three Kings, los Reyes Magos, the gift day in some Spanish and other countries) and afterwards gradually fades out through Feb. 2 (the feast of the Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple), after which is the run-up to Lent or the great Easter cycle. You can keep your Christmas decorations up all through January, gradually putting them away. In fandom terms, Kitschmas is fanfic, Christmas is canon.
  • From Takimag: a traveler in search of tradition. A romantic adventurer whose story will appeal to Catholics and Guenonian perennialists.
  • The Woman and the Dragon takes an interesting tack where conservative Christians meet libertarianism: should Christians enter state-based civil marriages? She repeats the Western part of the church’s understanding of the sacrament: a couple makes promises to each other and has sex. Beyond that it’s a private matter uniting two families; no need for the state! Reminds me of the beautiful scenes in Sicily with Michael Corleone and his first wife in The Godfather. After Trent the priest witnessed the promises part of starting marriages; most Catholics in Europe just had a quick ceremony at the church door like the young Corleones. I think with the wedding-night scene the movie also showed the mystery and romance of sexuality as the church sees it.
  • An LRC writer covered this once: good lessons from Mafia movies or why millions, including Italian-Americans, including the Italian-Americans I know, love these, among the best movies. Thought of that while getting to see Goodfellas twice recently, probably because the real Henry Hill died this past summer. The lesson of course isn’t ‘crime pays’ (they teach that in the long run it doesn’t) but that there’s something to be said for family first; don’t trust outsiders including the government, and who needs the government anyway? (Traditional order minus the modern state.) Not a bad lesson for Catholics from one of our oldest cultures (they came into the church when the Caesars still led them, back when the WASPs’ ancestors were still dancing around trees). On that note, as Steve Sailer’s observed (about a culture he describes as clannish and low-trust, which I think he says with a mix of misgiving and envy; he wishes Anglos were a little more self-interested like that), Italian-Americans largely rode out the Sixties, changing little. Reminds me of a great scene from a great, rarely seen film I got to rewatch recently: ‘Now youse can’t leave.’ Fighting back. (That and the lesson that prohibition doesn’t work: the market will serve people regardless.)

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Today's links

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Today's links and quotation

More on Seth MacFarlane and blasphemy

This started as a reply to Dano’s good observations on this but I ran too long, so here it is.
When they try to write about any other part of the world — England, Germany, the American South, Ireland, etc. — or some other social group — religious believers, Mexican immigrants, old-money WASPs — ... your parody doesn’t bear even the slightest superficial resemblance to the thing you are allegedly spoofing.
I noticed that too and chalked it up to hip meta jokes — not spoofing those things and people, but other people’s ideas about them. (Why for example the word ‘Oriental’ is politically incorrect now about East Asians and their cultures; it’s seen as referring to Westerners’ ideas about them, exoticism, and not them.) Being wrong is the whole point. In other words not really using stereotypes but making fun of stereotyping. (Stereotypes are such because they’re often true. But the meta thing, trying to be fair, points out real shortcomings of stereotypes: everybody’s unique, and outsiders often don’t understand what they see.) But maybe that’s giving the writers too much credit.

Sometimes I think that’s what the writers are up to and it often works: Englishmen as effete ninnies for example, many Americans’ image of them. I think Consuelo the maid (misspelled Consuela; I don’t know why) is a pretty accurate rendition of how immigrant Hispanics seem to Americans who don’t know them well or have no Spanish, and is funny without being a putdown, just illustrating a real culture clash (commercial: ‘¡Abogado! ¡Cinco cinco cinco, cinco-cinco-cinco-cinco!’).

I didn’t know that about Seth MacFarlane not writing the preachiest, most obnoxious stuff. But I had the impression that the anti-Irish and anti-Catholic stuff were him, meaning every word, attacking things and people from his upbringing. (Which aren’t perfect and aren’t above criticism but, like with this horrid anti-Christmas show, he seems to have not just assimilated, joining the Protestant majority to become a SWPL snob, but gone beyond secularized to European-style anti-religious.) Like how Brian is his ‘Mary Sue’ character (Mary Sue = a writer’s obvious alter ego), him speaking in his normal voice to preach against God, etc. Same goes for the jabs at Southerners; again the prejudice of MacFarlane’s current class. In other words, here they’re not making fun of stereotypes; they’re using meta jokes as a cover to... just plain stereotype. (Like you said, SWPLs are hypocrites.)

Never saw ‘The Goode Family’. Interesting points. Loved ‘King of the Hill’. Remember the episode where all the hipsters moved in? Mike Judge made the point that the good-hearted, common-sense conservative hero Hank was naturally friends with the Mexicans while the try-hard hipsters saying ‘¡Viva la Raza!’ at them weren’t. Also, you had Kanh (spelling?) and Minh, Hank’s and Peggy’s annoying nemeses, immigrant Asians neither putdown stereotypes nor SWPL saints, but just people.

I know whoever wrote this year’s anti-Christmas show was trying to get my goat, but as Elena Maria Vidal’s husband, who gave me much of my worldview, would put it, some of that stuff, such as the mockery of the Hail Mary, is right out of the pit of hell.

(I forget where I picked this up, but attacks this blatant, while doing harm by desensitizing, are more like infestation than possession, which is scarier because it’s not flashy like in the movies — that’s infestation — but subtle, at first undetectable.)

The front line of the devil’s war on God is where God and matter meet: God made man, Satan hated it, and so man fell. This front is the flashpoint for all heresy and apostasy. There are three ongoing battles: who Jesus is, what the Eucharist is, and the nature and use of sex. Attacks on Mary are to do with the first and third: get people to deny the Incarnation/hypostatic union and get them to hate both virginity and children (say abstinence or continence/fidelity are for losers). (Regarding the Eucharist, get people to deny the full Real Presence; deny transubstantiation, mock the Mass.)

(Reminds me of something I recently saw on Facebook. The first mainline Protestants: ‘Catholics worship Mary!’ Mainliners now: ‘Catholics hate women!’ Get your story straight! Contradictory statements but different strategies in the same fight.

On church authority’s power to make changes. Then: ‘The Pope’s gone too far!’ Now: ‘The Pope won’t go far enough!’)

MacFarlane most of the time seems like just a smartass fallen-away Catholic only a jump removed from the non-malevolent legions of Bad Catholics (like Peter Griffin), but this episode honestly sounded like spiritual warfare.

(Again, regarding not attacking Mohammed, picking on Christianity is for cowards. Going after an enemy too nice to literally hit back.)

Of course as a libertarian I defend free speech. MacFarlane’s talented so I’ll keep watching but my opinion of him has gone way down.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

On the feast of Stephen

Christmas 2012

La Festa dei Sette Pesci. Originally the meatless Catholic vigil feast.

The spaghetti with lobster and clams in red sauce was only the opener.

The chef, Brooklyn-born and Italian-speaking.

Outside it snowed very prettily as if on cue but it safely melted away.

Buon Natale!

A grandson/nephew. I liked Lego too.

I got Italian cooking gear (big pot for pasta) and provisions (Bertolli, Barilla and pepper), a classic-car calendar and some pencil ties.

Christmas morning:

Mater. The Catholic Church: here comes everybody, especially at Christmas.

Mass: Puer natus est nobis. The haze is incense.

Interesting mozetta-like thing. Looks like this priest is a Knight of Malta in the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre or a chaplain to them.

It’s Not About Latin™ but the language is still fun.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Vigil of Christmas

  • Studio City (Hollywood) Christmas Parade 1965.
  • Why malls are getting mauled. The depression and the mighty Internet. Reminds me: in case you haven’t seen it,
  • From Ad Orientem: heading to the cliff, the pols are lying/denying.
  • A classic true story: a peace lesson in an unnecessary war. The Christmas truce.
  • From Fr Tim Finigan: new media sacramentals. iPads, etc., the hand missals of tomorrow. As a commenter notes, just like we use real candles at the altar, I’d rather see a book altar missal than something glowing on the stand.
  • From Front Port Republic: centralization and the fiscal cliff.
  • From Steve Sailer on the class war among whites:
    • One of his points is it’s cheaper to live in the hinterland, so affordable family formation vs. the anti-family liberal areas. Also, this interesting take on gun control. What blue-region white liberals actually want is for the government to disarm the dangerous urban minorities that threaten their children’s safety. Red-region white conservatives, insulated by distance from the Crips and the Bloods, don’t care that white liberals’ kids are in peril. Besides, in sparsely populated Republican areas, where police response times are slow and the chances of drilling an innocent bystander are slim, guns make more sense for self-defense than in the cities and suburbs.
    • Idea to equalize opportunity. Which of course the Eastern liberals will never cede and isn’t libertarian, but interesting. What about high-speed Internet for more rural Red Staters? Generations ago, rural Congressmen got the AT&T monopoly to subsidize phone service for people in the country. Now, we’re increasingly close to an AT&T-Verizon duopoly over telecomm, so why not lean on the big telecomm firms to get more of Red America wired up with fast Web access so people don’t move out in frustration over being stuck with 20th-century Internet in the wide-open spaces? I hate Verizon. They’re thieves. I buy my phone service from the Germans.
    • Also, one from him for Christmas. Reality beats feminism: turns out boys and girls naturally like different toys. Wealth means more money to spend on self-actualization; the ideologues can’t bullsh*t honest little kids.
  • Modestinus: today’s post. There are few things more uninteresting than to read Christian commentary on the commercialism, materialism, and spiritual vacuousness of the so-called “Holiday Season.” Once workers had to start going in on Sundays and the Catholic Church started slashing Holy Days of Obligation from the liturgical calendar in order to meet the economic “demands of the time,” the public expulsion of the Holy Family from the cave was just around the corner. The intramundane god that people — even, sadly, some Christians — long for is the god who rains down iPads and condoms from the sky while assuring an ever longer, ever more pleasant and entertaining, time in this world. Poverty isn’t in itself holy but yes.
  • From RR:
  • Christmas for me and Donna: la Festa dei Sette Pesci (the Feast of Settling Things Like Joe Pesci*), enjoying the implicitly Christian, not preachy folklore of Kitschmas (as Michael Lawrence has called it) with nephews, nieces and gifts, and of course High or Sung Mass, the faith’s No. 1 feast (even though Easter’s officially bigger), the natural winterfest (warmth, light and food to beat the season) now celebrating the miracle of God made man (and Mary the Mother of God). Putting some dollar bills by the Bambino at the Presepio; I’ve got lots to thank him for, and even though most of my religious practice’s high but tame (much of which a Missouri Synod Lutheran or Bob Hart Anglican would have no problem with, even though in church it happens to be in Latin), Sometimes It’s Just Fun to Scare Protestants.™ Buon Natale!
*A.k.a. ‘We’re not fighting; we’re Italian and this is how we talk.’

Merry Christmas 2012 1962

Sunday, December 23, 2012

TV blasphemy: cowardly, not cool

I watch ‘Family Guy’. Good snark, most of the time. But Seth MacFarlane obviously hates the church. This year he went for full-on blasphemy at Christmas. I dare him to do that about Mohammed. I don’t know if he was being wrong on purpose, but as most of you know, the Immaculate Conception isn’t the Virgin Birth. Maybe before MacFarlane trashes a faith, he should bother to learn about it first. Re: ‘I went to Catholic school for X years’, which he’d probably say, the answer is: Vatican II -> bad catechesis. Anyway, living in a Protestant country and taking shots at the church is cowardly, not edgy. Merry Christmas anyway, Seth.

The weekend before Christmas

  • Fun with secular Christmas in NJ. Berlin, Marlton and Mount Laurel. Donna’s tree.
  • Mass: Rorate cæli, desuper, et nubes pluant justum. For I know nothing by myself (my 1957 Maryknoll Missal: I have nothing [weighing] on my conscience); yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God... As it is written in the book of the words of Isaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. The liturgical Christ Child won’t go into the Nativity scene in church till Midnight Mass (which will be High Mass). I like the full symbolism for this on Christmas Eve at St Clement’s. Covering the still-empty manger-crib is a big square of purple cloth like a chalice veil, with a gold Star of David on it.
  • By the way, acknowledging all the good the SSPX (Archbishop Lefebvre) has done saving the traditional Mass (we have it because of them), I’ve seen their Midnight Mass here standing-room-only, with people in metal folding chairs in the aisles. It’s not just the trad parishioners (doing very well, with lots of kids and thus a soccer team in a local league) but, because it’s Christmas, Catholics of all kinds from everywhere. Biker chicks with mantillas pinned on, bringing their babies. The pre-conciliar church, the big tent. Here comes everybody.
  • From Fr C: today’s Sarum Mass.
  •’s week in review.
  • From The Woman and the Dragon: girls: traditional sex roles for thee but not for me. Surprise: human nature is self-interested. As a devout Christian, traditional gender roles only matter to me to the degree that they conform to biblical morality. The NeW women are simply trying to get around having any expectations for traditional behavior placed on women while simultaneously demanding traditional behavior from men. That isn’t biblical, that’s TradCon feminism, and it is no more moral than the liberal kind.
  • Music: Glenn Miller, ‘Juke Box Saturday Night’. From The Traditional Frog. I love lots of pop music from the swing era to very early rock, and lately am learning about cool jazz, listening to it driving late at night after work. The late Dave Brubeck for example. Now I understand what they mean by ‘it’s the notes you don’t play’: talented improvisation, dancing around a melody, very sexy. Anyway, my musical sweet spot is right where these beautiful big-band harmonies segue through boogie-woogie and call-and-response to the first rock (unsurprisingly, roughly 1935-1965). Reminds me of something Sailer mentioned, that Italian-Americans to their credit didn’t really take to all-out noisy, angry rock (early Dion, which I like, approached it). Italians historically love beauty, style and polish: anti-Sixties. Their pop too was a continuation of earlier style, in their case the bel canto tradition (by the way I like Josh Groban’s voice): from Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Perry Como and Julius LaRosa to doo-wop to Frankie Valli and even disco.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Today's video, links and quotation

  • From Takimag: You don’t have to be white or Christian to belong in America, but for Christ’s sake, show some respect. You’d take your shoes off if you walked into someone’s house in Japan and you wouldn’t joke about “killing all the Nips.” I don’t care if you’re black or Muslim. You get the same rules we all do, so stop being a petulant brat when you’re caught misbehaving.
  • Civil-rights quandary: judge rules that man may fire woman for being too attractive to him. Culture-wars shark chum for which I don’t have a glib answer. I like the conservative image of a well-meaning man trying to save his marriage by avoiding an occasion of sin, a subjective matter (eye of the beholder: not every man might be very attracted to her). But he doesn’t seem like a victim. He started it. It sounds here like he was obviously hitting on her. What about her rights? Did she do anything wrong? (Was she dressing provocatively?) Maybe she took it as harmless, flattering banter (nothing wrong with that, PC killjoys notwithstanding; vive la difference) so she didn’t put a stop to it, but to me he crossed the line. And when they started texting, so did she. (Her case, as I see it: potential adultery’s not the state’s business except as grounds for divorce; not grounds for firing here.) While I hate the feminists’ taunt ‘If you can’t control your thoughts that’s your problem, &#*@!’,* punishing a woman for being beautiful’s wrong too. Again, I think he started it, blatantly. But does this case set bad precedent? By the way, in my newspaper career, once I got a press release for the business page, from a woman joining a company, that included a sexy full-body photo! Much like on a soap, within about a year, subtly playing out in the society pages (pictures taken at charity galas), she stole the principal from his wife. Update: Fuinseoig in the first comment at the MCJ.
  • From Facebook: the Tridentine Mass in English. The English Missal. Requiem Low Mass at St Clement’s. The Canon used to be silent and they used to commemorate the Pope. I don’t think Catholics have public Requiems for non-Catholics or non-Christians. Privately you may venerate and pray for anyone. Of course Latin’s wonderful and has its purpose (one language for a worldwide church; unchanging template to check vernacular versions with) but this is what I have in mind when I say It’s Not About Latin™. (The Catholic rank and file don’t want Latin again, and the liberals use this against trads.) I understand there’s long been an indult to do the readings in the vernacular in the 1962 Missal and the SSPX in Europe uses it. (At first the SSPX used the 1965 instructions for the 1962: same idea, partly vernacular.)
*Leaving aside Roissy’s point that many feminists aren’t attractive, this taunt about sex reminds me of the left’s hypocrisy about violence, as a Facebook friend posting about recent news reminded me. They glorify violence in art (movies etc.) for example (they say self-censorship’s for squares), then blame guns and us conservatives when real violence happens. Also, the sexual revolution’s an alpha’s market. The scolding is meant only for non-alpha men.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Today's links

  • From
    • Raimondo: Chuck Hagel versus the Israel lobby: a battle that must be won.
    • Last of inactivated 170th turning out the lights at Baumholder. All that’s left of what used to be the 170th now fits in one building near the back of the post. The brigade was the first of two Europe-based combat brigades the Pentagon planned to dismantle. The 172nd Separate Infantry Brigade at Grafenwöhr is to be gone by next October, leaving two combat brigades on the Continent. So WWII’s finally ending? Going home’s good (anti-war, pro-military, our forces should be for defense) but it won’t really be over until the narrative tells the truth. The winner, the USSR, was the greatest evil. We were supporting players in what wasn’t really our fight (America first).
  • From Ad Orientem:
  • From LRC:
  • From Roissy: gifts women love, or being romantic isn’t just for betas.
  • From The Woman and the Dragon: the feminine imperative. I think Roissy would answer: because women are reproductively more valuable. Also: American Heritage Girls. So the sister organization of the Boy Scouts isn’t the Girl Scouts? If so I’m not surprised. Complaints about the Boy Scouts of America are that, to their credit, they’re (relatively) conservative, the opposite of the Girl Scouts, who apparently buy every feminist and PC trend. (Understandable: that’s Christianity minus Christ so it appeals to the well-meaning nurturing sex.) There’s more than one conservative alternative to Scouting; somebody I know at Mater has his kids in a Catholic one. By the way I think the original British Boy Scouts were more military than the American; like the cadet training British schools did, or JROTC. And I read once that in PC Canada, the Boy Scouts went completely PC, which decimated them.
  • From Gottesdienst via Bill Tighe: the LCMS on WO.
  • From RR: the SPLC doesn’t like us.
  • From The Anti-Gnostic: Patriarch Bartholomew, a pan-Orthodox council, and official talks with the Catholic Church. The kind of story that has naïve but well-meaning Catholics (such as some of us trads and conservatives hoping for more to join us, in another traditional rite; the point of the little Roman Rite ordinariates of Anglo-Catholic alumni) and the anti-Catholic netodox (the mostly nice ethnic majority of Orthodox aren’t online much, like I don’t watch EWTN because I already know about the church) talking about it. Regular readers know my line: ecumenism is a zero-sum game. (Catholic ecumenism is you-come-in-ism.) The nature of Catholic doctrine makes it non-negotiable. With one true church, corporate union can’t happen except sacramentally with the Orthodox and other Eastern churches; sacramentally we’re already the same. But in ecumenism we’re talking about different ecclesiologies. Catholic infallible church vs. Protestant fallible, fungible church. With Catholics and Orthodox you have the same one-true-church and infallibility claims, but churches that are run differently, and the difference (the scope of the Pope) is irreconcilable, even though Orthodoxy’s folk Catholicism in practice is good (better than Vatican II) and historically how Western Catholicism really works too. (Orthodoxy’s defined doctrine is Catholic.) Casual Catholic readers might need to know Bartholomew’s not the Orthodox Pope; he can’t just decide to bring the Orthodox communion into the church. (By the way the Russians are the biggest Orthodox church but the patriarch of Moscow’s not Pope-like either.) Of course I hope the proposed pan-Orthodox synod (ecumenical council 8 or 10 depending on how you count them?) wouldn’t be their Vatican II. I don’t wish that on them, and given their grassroots nature I don’t see it happening. (A benefit of disorganization. While remaining amazingly similar, the churches of the Orthodox communion, with different languages and cultures, naturally have very little to do with each other.) Still, it would be interesting if, as Pope Benedict recatholicizes the church, the church’s biggest fellow Christian rival (on earth, not in the mostly Protestant English-speaking world) caves/protestantizes. We’ve gone as far as we can with ecumenism. The Protestants know what we teach and vice versa, and we’re not trying to kill each other. Again the Orthodox with their bishops and the Mass etc. can relatively easily become Catholic, as groups/national churches, but probably won’t. ‘The two one true churches’ are on perpetual parallel tracks. Chances are the most that would happen is, like the creation of the Greek Catholic churches, a few Orthodox churches would join (the way the Ukrainians and Melkites came in) but most wouldn’t. You’d have a few more Greek Catholics. (Eastern Catholics are about 2% of Catholics.) By the way, for Roman Riters new to this stuff: the Greek Catholic ethnic majority doesn’t identify with the Orthodox. They’re their own self-latinized thing. (I’m fine with latinizations when they’re old/non-Novus Ordo and don’t take over.) The few Greek Catholics who do are converts (born Roman Riters) who are either what I call in this context high-church (doing exactly what Rome has always said: liturgically be just like the Orthodox — a great thing about being Catholic is they don’t tell you to hate the Orthodox) or the very few, contradictory ‘Orthodox in communion with Rome’, who deny post-schism Catholic teaching, and are almost all passing through, on their way out, to Orthodoxy.
  • Definitions: trads and conservatives. Above I was thinking of the distinction my old friend Jeff Culbreath makes. Trads, like the Orthodox, value immemorial custom and slow, organic change; ‘we’re papal minimalists’ while of course trads believe in the Pope. Conservatives are essentially the sound in the official church as it was under John Paul II: ‘conserving 1970’, accepting and enforcing the Novus Ordo, and more interested in papal pronouncements/creeping infallibilism (much of the what the Pope says is fallible) than the centuries-old ordinary practice of the faith. To balance things out, Fr C has a point about trads’ faults; as the old trad priests in France he knew put it, ‘they (the trad movement) are not what we were’. The whole church before the council was huge, strict on paper as it should be but easygoing in practice, unlike a religious order in the Counter-Reformation mold reacting to the Vatican II disaster: the SSPX, which has done much good but of course isn’t perfect.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Today's links

  • From LRC: the next recession.
  • From Takimag: ‘sex’ vs. ‘gender’. Reality vs. construct. It wasn’t until the 1960s that feminists cranked up the word “gender” as a replacement for sex, but D.H. Lawrence unwittingly pushed things in that direction back in 1929. He was the first to use the word “sex” as a euphemism for coitus rather than to mean what distinguishes men from women.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Today's links

I almost didn’t blog about Newtown. Exhausted after starting to work nights to get my life after newspapers in high gear. Didn’t want to inspire copycats by publishing anything about the shooter, it’s wrong to use this to preach one’s positions, there’s the matter of using someone else’s tragedy to try to look nice when it’s really nothing to do with me and there’s nothing I can do, but the story was too big to ignore. Again, as Dano says, best to be quiet, let the people actually involved grieve, and work on being a better person. Still, I’ll put up a few good links. One thought: I understand the group working hardest to keep guns away from the insane is... the No. 1 gun-safety group, the NRA. (Again, doesn’t fit the narrative.)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Today's links

  • Should teachers be armed? Well known are the Swiss (every man a rifleman; no crime) and Israelis (primary-school teachers have guns; disputed).
  • From Rod Dreher:
    • Daniel Inouye, badass. RIP. Not our fight, and I think politically he was on the wrong side, but he was one of the Greatest Generation. I think he said he was a Sunday-school teacher to begin with. Saw him in Ken Burns’ ‘The War’ (the left is nostalgic for the wrong reasons, cheering that big statist adventure) describing his first kill, the objective evil in war.
    • A prediction of American Christianity in 50 years. In full. I think it’s pretty close. Some of this is hard to follow. Who are the Reformed? Not the dying (Dutch) Reformed Church in America, a mainline denominataion. (Robert Schuller’s church.) The PCA, the relatively small conservative Presbyterian success story? Evangelicals, the serious Protestants who set us apart from Europeans? (My impression. Us: North used to be mainline, Catholic and Jewish; now spiritual but not religious/moralistic therapeutic deist; South evangelical and Pentecostal; Europe: used to be Catholic or mainline; now non- or anti-religious.) Fr Silouan’s coverage of them seems a little weak. But overall yes. The church: dead in northern Europe, smaller here but sounder; Pope Benedict’s way is our future; laus Deo. White Catholics are disappearing like mainliners; Mexicans prop up our numbers but I don’t feel that Hispanics are the Next Big Thing politically and in the church, because people have been saying for 40 years it’ll happen. The old liberals’ wanted changes won’t happen because most of them can’t; they go against the church’s nature and besides, the kids don’t support them. (Of course married priests can happen but won’t; keeping the rule is part of circling the wagons, damage control after the Vatican II débàcle. Not much call for it and the denoms with married clergy are declining anyway.) Shrinking mainline merger mush for old liberals. Orthodoxy: smaller still (no cultural impact), in ‘stolid decline’ as a friend describes their Slavic cousins the little PNCC*, only a bit less ethnic from the convert boomlet; juridical unity doesn’t matter there so it won’t happen. Conservative Lutherans (LCMS) have a shot at a future. Bob Hart Anglicans? Maybe. My guess is like the conservative Lutherans and conservative Presbys they’ll be vital but still splinters.
  • From Modestinus: two visions of Catholic Action.
  • From TAC:
  • From LRC: liberty is winning, mostly.
  • From RR:
  • From Takimag: the Drudge paradox.
*Hodur was a heretic (if he were around today he’d be preaching a kind of liberation theology and writing for NCR; not evident in PNCC parishes thanks to Polish conservatism) but I think many of those first parishioners, like the Slavic-American Orthodox, just wanted to keep their language and customs and for that were pushed out of the American Catholic Church for no good reason (Toth, Chornock and company weren’t heretics or liberals to begin with).

Monday, December 17, 2012

Today's links: O Sapientia, and Peter Hitchens

  • Peter Hitchens on Britain’s decline. Again tribe vs. propositional nation, each with valid points. Why shouldn’t the English (Anglo-Americans, Canadians and Australians) like being English (etc.)? A conservatism that’s personal and natural (ethnicity is family writ large), not an abstraction, so liberals hate it. (They pretend to like it when they’re trying to use minorities to fight the whites they don’t like, so you get contradictions like their defending Muslims who abuse women.) Of course classical liberalism/libertarianism/ordered liberty is the answer, entirely acceptable to Christianity. Individuals have rights — and responsibilities. That said, the family and tribe are society’s natural units. The law should reflect both. I don’t care what race you are; if you want to work and obey our do-no-harm rule (to that end, compromising your culture/religion if necessary), welcome.
    • Takimag: Charles Coulombe’s Catholic take.
    • Fr C. What is really beastly is that those people are being used for social engineering experiments by our Orwellian politicians and bureaucrats. That is what is transforming our country out of recognition and wrenching our English hearts!
  • Newtown, guns and meds. It occurred to me that I’ve never heard of a mass shooting at a gun show. Looks like you can blame Big Pharma in part for these shootings. Government-subsidized crony capitalism isn’t capitalism.
  • From RR:
  • From Sailer:
    • How the GOP could use women’s media.
    • If you'd asked me a couple of years ago, “Steve, your preoccupation is the quality of intellectual discourse, but, really, is there any hope? Does anything ever improve?” I would have answered: “Look how nobody believes in feminist dogma anymore. When I was a kid, a lot of people really believed that the reason little boys liked to play with trucks and clubs while little girls liked to play with baby dolls was because of social conditioning. But, generations have gone by and after a lot of children’s tears, we’ve all learned how silly that was.”
  • From Cracked: six harsh truths that will make you a better person. Most people don’t care about you. Sure, you’re more than your job, but in this fallen world most people only care about what you can give them.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


  • Sung Mass and Breakfast with Santa, really our monthly coffee hour, this month especially for our many trad kids. I know the baby Jesus shouldn’t be in the manger-crib until Christmas Eve.
  • From Joshua:
    • Human rites. What Joshua calls conservative Confucian Catholicism. (For many years he lived in Korea, which he describes as the world’s most Confucian country.) Rituals bind us, in modern societies and prehistoric tribes alike. But can our loyalties stretch to all of humankind? Joshua: Of course not, as any conservative of any sort would answer, but that’s where the Catholic Church comes in. The tension between tribalism and this universal idea seems big in my corner of politics. An idea: reinforcing the Christian belief in the brotherhood of man (the left’s version of which is a ripoff that ‘loves humanity’ but hates people, and is really about power; totalitarian), and the compatibility of the church’s opinion on subsidiarity (small is beautiful: I think Schumacher was Catholic) with Burkean conservatism (not tyranny but traditional order: Mark in Spokane’s ordered liberty), is the classical liberal’s view of individual liberty based on the very simple ground rule, shared by Christianity of course, of the golden rule, the libertarian do-no-harm rule (defend yourself but don’t start fights). I think that covers both our rights and our duties. (Mark’s good criticism of some libertarianism, such as Randian narcissism and left-libertarianism’s hatred of all traditional order, is that it’s big on rights but not responsibilities.) With that universal rule, even with original sin, maybe we can all get along. (It won’t entirely happen but we can come close.)
    • Clyde Wilson explains American voters.
  • How the hyperdevout spent Sundays. We trads don’t think things never change; they just naturally change very slowly, as the church historically has worked and still should (organic development). (We know the apostles and church fathers didn’t do the Tridentine Mass! But some time in the patristic era, the Roman Rite text had become what trads know, Roman Canon and all. The Canon is something like the second or third oldest Eucharistic prayer still in use. Our ceremonial is medieval, what happened when, in 11th-century reforms, the Roman Rite took things from the more ceremonial Gallican Rite, which in turn was Eastern-influenced.) As I understand it, the pious in the 1800s would receive Communion either at the early Low Mass or when the priest in cassock, cotta and stole would get a ciborium from the tabernacle and give Communion apart from Mass; our Sung or High Mass would have been non-communicating for the laity (something I’ve seen only twice). (Why you would see, and rarely still do, services listed as ‘Mass & Holy Communion’. Saw that once in the bulletin of an outwardly still old-school Anglo-Catholic parish in England.) The pious would stay or come back to church for that Mass to hear a sermon. They’d come back that afternoon or evening for Vespers and Benediction (and another sermon?). Attendance at Sunday Vespers (Dixit Dominus Domino meo: sede ad dextris meis) was taken about as seriously as the Sunday Mass obligation then and now. I’ve been told you can blame modern entertainment, namely radio, for their decline and that of Sunday-evening church everywhere else (except some black churches having revival services), and that the Archdiocese of Philadelphia had a requirement for parishes to have Sunday Vespers, long lapsed and no longer enforced, on the books until about 10 years ago. True until the end of the world in the Sixties: priests (you had a whole crew of them; lots of kids and lots of vocations then) would hear confessions all Saturday afternoon and evening until around 10.
  • Five myths about worship in the early church.

Saturday, December 15, 2012


Christmas parade, Moorestown, NJ.

The moods of Azzie, a partly outdoor cat with his own room in the basement because he went insane and started destroying things in his owner’s apartment. I describe him as Morris possessed. He has never been abused. I wonder if he hunts. What look like fight scars are from a skin disease and nervous overgrooming. His ears are clogged too. Sometimes he’ll run to you and meow. Mostly he gives wicked-looking stares. I want to get him a bag of catnip for Christmas.

Solid wood office chair by Braun & Rutherford, New York, and US government-issue briefcase.

Hi there.

Santa came to town today.


Another story of unspeakable objective evil, mental illness, grief and blaming guns.
  • Ad Orientem: The English language contains no words capable of conveying the horror attendant upon the deliberate massacre of small children. May God save us and have mercy on all those affected by this barbarous crime.
  • Christopher Johnson: I’ve never been a parent. So I not only have no idea, I can’t even begin to conceive what the Newtown, Connecticut parents who lost their children today, those Newtown parents who didn’t lose their children, and, hell, parents the world over must be thinking or experiencing right now.
  • Facebook:
    • Solzhenitsyn quotation: If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?
    • It’s not a political issue, and may bitter shame attend those who try to make it one. It’s not a religious issue. It’s not about theodicy or the doctrine of providence. No one can explain it. No experts can make a plan to prevent it. It’s not an issue of any sort, and decent folk know they are not entitled to an opinion about it. Three things alone are proper: the silence that avails alone when words are unavailing; the respect due the dead and those who mourn them; and a determination to be ethical and decent ever hereafter. There are people in Connecticut who are hurting tonight. The rest of us have to stay sane and strong for their sake. Beautifully written but I’d say it is to do with theodicy. Right, I can’t explain.
    • People are already offering solutions to this tragedy. There isn’t one. Evil people exist. They always will. Some people are simply born broken. They want to rape, hurt, kill, whatever. You can prepare for them, look out for them, be vigilant, but you can’t legislate them or counsel them not to be broken.
    • A reminder: Banning guns, banning psychiatric drugs, banning violent video games, banning free speech — none of this will destroy sin in the human heart. And none of it will bring slaughtered children back to life.
    • I say we take Christ’s example, spend three days standing in hell with our brothers and sisters, and then come back and worry about the rest of it. Please.