Friday, December 20, 2013

Bullies, manosphere stuff, and the Pope

  • From Sunshine Mary: The queer thing about bullies including in the culture war.
  • From Return of Kings: The 15 magical years of womanhood.
  • From Jeff Culbreath: Criticizing the Pope and the first and greatest commandment. As Hilary and I say, we don’t worship the Pope. It should be obvious that the Church is larger than the pope, and that Catholic dogma is larger than papal authority. If the Church could be reduced to papal authority, then popes would never bother to teach Catholic doctrine as objectively and universally true. And he and/or a general council would change doctrine like a mainline denomination. Interestingly, here the liberals think he has more power than he does, because they don’t believe in church infallibility. As Jeff said to me many years ago, we trads are actually papal minimalists.
  • A gay man has kind things to say about his time at Liberty University. When I was a kid, secular culture was far meaner to homosexuals than conservative Christians were. Conservative Christians taught me that the putdowns I learned on the playground were wrong; homosexuals “have a problem.” Now of course we conservative Christians are pilloried for believing they have a problem. In the ’70s of course the homosexualist propaganda campaign had started, but it didn’t change the culture until the ’90s. The seculars 180ed from one sin to another, from the natural order without Christ to defying the natural order.

Autism, arete, and the ‘Duck Dynasty’ guy

  • From Steve Sailer: Defining autism. Maybe it’s just an artificial catch-all so the high-functioning and full-blown kinds aren’t the same.
  • Related as it’s where the normal and the autistic overlap: Cracked on what is and is not a nerd. I don’t find “The Big Bang Theory” all that funny; it’s too obvious like lots of sitcoms. (Studio and canned laughter: “closed captioning for the humor-impaired.”) I like Cracked’s earlier Photoplasty entry on it, retitling it “Your Dad’s Idea of Nerds” (True Nerds Are Watching “Community”!). Is that still on?
  • From Bob Wallace: Eros, arete, and eudaimonia.
  • Ex-Army on Phil Robertson. I’ve never seen “Duck Dynasty.” From what I gather, this is another skirmish in the culture war. A conservative Southern man believes homosexuality is a sin against God and nature, and says so; the elite has promulgated that Gay Is Good. Some libertarians are arguing that at-will employment is a fair, voluntary arrangement; A&E had the right to suspend him. Be that as it may, emotionally of course I say Phil’s right and A&E are jerks. Reminds me of Sailer’s post that a lot of the elite’s recent ridicule of the church is really just a cover for complaining about homos hitting on teenage boys (not children; it’s not “pedophilia”), which otherwise you can’t say anymore in polite society. By the way, here’s what Phil looked like before the West went to hell.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The two white Americas and more

  • From Roissy: Obama’s America, land of the twee, home of the fey. Familiar truths to many readers: elite vs. non, left vs. right, North vs. South, round two of England vs. Scotland. The Anti-Gnostic has wondered if the military will get fed up. Then again you can argue that as a creature of the government, the military isn’t really conservative (gay weddings at West Point, and before that, the left like Ken Burns getting nostalgic about the draft and World War II, which they helped the USSR win). But I can believe soldiers vs. SWPLs.
  • From Takimag: A safe Christmas for Christians in the Holy Land.
  • From Alternative Right: The Obamas, Camerons, and Mandelas of this world act out their roles as distinct leaders of distinct countries, parties, and interests, but the reality is they are all members of one big international club, with collective interests, united against the various tribes of “shitmunchers” (Brits, Yanks, Tories, Democrats, blacks, etc.), whom they trick into voting for them.
  • From MCJ: Rich lawyer screwed over by Obamacare. But Romney came up with his own version, remember? He’s from a liberal Republican family. (And the Mormons aren’t really conservative; they just did that in the good old days to blend in.) See above about it all being the same.
  • From John Boyden: The motels and neon signs of Mesa. Wonder how the Lollipop showed up; it’s in Wildwood.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown

A First Things article on the first "Peanuts" TV special. A Christmas gem from towards the end of the golden era. Interestingly, as the writer notes, much public life then, including TV, was secular, but not secularist. Christmas carols that aren't hymns, "Season's Greetings," etc., were all there. It has its place. Vince Guaraldi got the job because Lee Mendelson liked his '63 hit "Cast Your Fate to the Wind"; "Linus and Lucy" (the "Peanuts" theme) is almost a speeded-up version of it. Also the last years of "Peanuts" being a comic strip for grownups; it became one for children because, the writer says, Charles Schulz needed the money. I knew he lost his faith, like much of Middle America, but yikes:
In 1968, fearful of the potential damage to his reputation and lucrative cartoon empire, Schulz shuttled his oldest daughter—then eighteen, troubled, single, and over three months pregnant—off to an abortion mill in Japan.
God have mercy on him. Still, great Christmas show.

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Ukraine for dummies, and more

  • From Takimag: The Ukraine for dummies. Common knowledge is right about the eastern half of the country; it’s Russian. The trouble is it’s Sovietized. (But since the Evil Empire is gone, what’s that to us?) The first Eastern Christians I knew were Greek Catholics from the west, WWII refugees and their children. Understandably they liked to give the impression that the country was like them. The trouble now: imagine if California seceded from the Union and Russia were stirring it up against the US. That’s sort of what it’s like.
  • From Steve Sailer: The hidden divide in American institutions. In America, our current ideology is focused on promoting churn. Lots of individual profit from this, but is it good for Americans as a whole?
  • From Bob Wallace:
  • From RR: Doctors disappear. Predictably, a government program will do the opposite of its stated goal. Real health care, with real doctors, will become a luxury for the rich. Lots of this is being farmed out to non-doctors expanding their scope of practice. The rest of us will be lucky to get a nurse at the Minute Clinic.
  • From Ex-Army: Quisling revisited. Wronged? He wasn’t a Nazi, more like a Nordic Franco; Norway just happened to be in everybody’s way so the Germans grabbed it first.
  • From the Anti-Gnostic: the real dystopian future?
  • From Bill Tighe via the Rev. Larry Peters, one of our “cousins” in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod: Msgr. Charles Pope on the purpose of a funeral. Not mainly to make the mourners feel better or a tribute to the person. A few years ago I went to the one for one of the holiest people I knew, and it was simply a Requiem with a sermon, partly an appropriate tribute.
  • From Hilary: The battle between the Faith and Novusordoism is often small to the point of invisibility. But there are places and situations in the Church where it is being made nearly inescapable, and the religious orders are one of those places. It is impossible to revive the religious life in the Church in its current condition. The Church as a whole had to choose between the World and the Faith. "Conservatism" is not a position in the Church. It is only a waiting room (in the same way Newman called Anglicanism a way-station on the path to atheism*), a place that until recently had been kitted out by the popes as a kind of Catholic VIP lounge where you could have a few drinks with your well-heeled Beltway friends while making up your mind about which side you might choose in the unlikely event that you had to. True but I’m probably a smidge more moderate than this sounds, more like the orthodox Bad Catholics described here (most pre-conciliar Catholics — we’re not and never were a cult) and the moderate trads Modestinus has met. *At least since the “Enlightenment,” pretty much (all of English Calvinism basically lost it); the mask of credal orthodoxy isn’t officially off but started to come off in the Sixties.
  • Golden-era music by Noël Coward: “Mad About the Boy.” Two recordings.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Mandela, Pope Francis, the Progressive Principle, and more

  • The truth about Mandela. In the midst of the secular world’s worship, some rebuttals well known to conservatives. He was put away for violence, for terrorism; he was a Communist and lied about it; South Africa is worse off. And he was virulently pro-abortion (which of course raises his appeal to secularists). Necessary disclaimer: opposing him doesn’t necessarily mean supporting what he was fighting against. Steve Sailer’s non-platitudinous take.
  • Darn that Pope! Most churchmen don’t understand the market. And he doesn’t like trads. Hunker down.
    • Takimag’s Kathy Shaidle.
    • Another Paul VI. He can’t actually change the church but he can do a lot of damage to its standing by taking it out of the culture war.
    • The wrong people like him. It all really means he’s their hope for neutralizing the church in the world, unlike that alleged confrontational meanie with delusions of grandeur, Benedict the Great. A friend recently told me the head of NARAL praised Francis.
  • From Rod Dreher: Kids in the collapse of Catholic culture. Again, the American church shot itself in the foot with the council.
  • From Sunshine Mary: The Progressive Principle is a means by which a small group of elites team up with the loser dregs of society to exploit the traditional middle class for personal gain. The elites win, the loser dregs win a pyrrhic victory and are made worse off, the traditional middle class gets robbed of culture, values, money and happiness... Margaret Thatcher said the problem with socialism is eventually you run out of other people’s money. I’ll go a few steps further, Mrs. Prime Minister: The trouble with progressivism is eventually you run out of other people’s civilization to plunder. More.
  • From Roissy: Getting to the id of it. Compare and contrast: Women, would you rather date Paul Walker (pre-dead, of course) or a waiter that looked exactly like Paul Walker? Men, would you rather date Scarlett Johansson, or a waitress that looked exactly like Scarlett Johansson? Also, a helpful taxonomy of equalists, and a word of warning about Chinese society.
  • From Bob Wallace: Legalize hemp!
  • Christmas in Centralia, Pa. The few residents still decorate the town including with a Nativity scene.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


  • Harrisburg gives in and will let Centralia fade away, leaving the last residents in peace. Too late for John Lokitis, whom the movie The Town That Was was about. He and another relatively younger man were forced to move. Good for the few remaining people. I went there in 2004 and it was safe. The fire is under the southern hill next to the Catholic and Orthodox cemeteries; Lokitis lived next to that. Stay off the hill and you’re fine. As one former resident has explained, Centralia was never a cute picture-postcard village but a tight-knit, kind of rough mining town that’s their much-missed home. The Ukrainian Catholic church, St. Mary’s, is still on the northern hill. St. Clair to the south has some kind of Catholic or Orthodox church every few blocks.
  • Trouble With Angels building no longer Catholic and to be sold to developers. The Lindenwold Castle, a century-old mansion that’s a replica of Windsor Castle, where the golden-era movie was filmed. I didn’t know until now that it’s close by, in Ambler. Another epitaph for the American church shooting itself in the foot with the council. As of last spring the institution was no longer Catholic, having been sold to a secular company; the order still owned the property. How’s that “renewal” working out? The movie was typical for the time, a sign in America that Catholics had arrived and almost had their moment. A PR gift to the church (imagine having that now) that actually says very little about the faith (sometimes that’s fine), just like Going My Way and The Bells of St. Mary’s. Filmmaker Ida Lupino was fascinated by the all-female community. The sequel, which I’ve never seen all the way through, was a predictable, disappointing celebration of the Sixties, exactly what undid such communities.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Conceived immaculate

  • Mass: Gaudens gaudebo in Domino. Non-Catholics often think we’re talking about the virgin birth (Christmas!), which of course we believe in, and which this is connected to, but most of you (the Protestants who read this blog know more or less what the church teaches) know it’s about Christ’s redemption not being limited by time, as he is God and man, so Mary is the Mother of God, that wonderfully shocking term (because it sounds as though Mary existed before God, which of course isn’t what it means). When it comes to Mary, “fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum,” et Verbum caro factum est (“be it unto me according to thy word” and the Word was made flesh); the rest is commentary. Mary was saved just like us only at a different point, as the dignum filio suo habitaculum, the dwelling place fit for her son. Which is really why the Orthodox call her all-holy (Greek παναγία and Russian пресвятая) and sinless (пренепорочная). Jesus saves; Mary prays. (It’s Not About Latin™ but I like it very much.)
  • As I like to say, the flashpoint of all rebellion against God has to do with him and the flesh he created coming together: who Jesus is, the Eucharist, and sex. (Some of the angels rebelled because they wouldn’t serve man, right?) About which ancient heretics, Renaissance-era heretics, and moderns respectively say non serviam. “Show me a society that hates virginity and I will show you a society that hates children.”
  • Sidebar: Christmas shopping yesterday, I noticed that a department store’s toy section was rather pathetic, barely taking up a corner of floor space. The mall’s toy store was only about half full, of junk from Red China. I’ve been told that about 50 years ago, John Wanamaker’s, a local big downtown store (12 floors!) had a wonderful toy department with a monorail for the kids that went around the whole department. The rich have their boutique shops and of course now there’s online shopping (hooray for the market), but still.
  • From Rod Dreher: Dana Gioia on Catholic art; here, Catholic writing. It’s probably not what you think; it’s “rarely pious”: Catholic writing tends to be comic, rowdy, rude, and even violent. “Welcome Sinners.” “Here comes everybody.” Which is what the traditional church always has been; cf. Modestinus. (Arturo Vasquez back when he wrote online about Mexican folk Catholicism: Catholic cultures are scary because people are.) John Boyden and I talked about this about 10 years ago when I mentioned that I think the relatively recent Christmas movie The Family Man is a Catholic story even though it’s not really religious (like It’s a Wonderful Life, which it mirrors; made by a believing Catholic). He agreed that the trappings of the church don’t make a story Catholic. Anyway, the traditional church produced Flannery O’Connor; the council, feh. Again, how’s that “renewal” working out? Also, you’d think I’d be into Lord of the Rings but never have been for some reason. I understand Tolkien, a believing traditional Catholic, never set out to write something pious; this fantasy world was just playtime for a very smart man, so well done that people lose themselves in it. I like C.S. Lewis (Mere Christianity and The Screwtape Letters are good reads) but Tolkien thought Narnia (read it when I was 10) was a dumb, preachy ripoff of his work.
  • Yeah, that’s Sung Mass at my parish: the Sixties never happened.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

The truth about a famous photo, Catholicism and Orthodoxy again, and more

  • From Cracked:
    • Five ways modern espionage has left James Bond behind. In short, the Web, using disposable local frontmen rather than expensively trained agents in the field, and privatization/outsourcing.
    • Six classics despised by the people who created them. The true story behind the Vietnam War photo above: At the time the picture was taken, South Vietnamese General Nguyen Ngoc Loan, the man doing the shooting, was Chief of Police and the guy getting shot was the leader of a Viet Cong assassination squad tasked with murdering South Vietnamese police officers, and if those officers couldn't be found, their families would be killed instead. The man Loan shot had been caught near a ditch containing 34 murdered men, women and children, among them were the wife and six children of one of Loan's closest friends (the six murdered kids were also Loan's godchildren). As for Loan himself, when he wasn't gunning down bad guys, he was into building hospitals and giving presents to orphans. After he immigrated to America, he spent several decades running a remarkably non-murderous pizza parlor until his identity was leaked and death threats forced him to close his business. According to 1969 Pulitzer winner Eddie Adams, two people died the moment he took the photo: "The general killed the Viet Cong; I killed the general with my camera." RIP General Loan. Like Ian Smith, one of the 20th century’s most wronged men.
  • From Roissy:
    • Alpha f*x, betas chucked. Executive summary: women screw around with charming cads and ignore beta providers when their financial needs are met by the state or by a rich daddy, and their emotional needs are met by a supportive culture that condones the removal of all restrictions on female sexuality.
    • The problem with diversity. It weaponizes intrawhite status whoring. Open borders isn’t really about rescuing the world’s poor; it’s about sticking the shiv in the flanks of non-elite white people by dumping, say, Iraqi Islamists in the middle of Kentucky.
  • From Modestinus:
    • This seems to be the extent of the Catholic Church’s interest in the East: They want Orthodoxy’s often romanticized account of collegiality and synodality, but none of its theology, spirituality, or liturgy. When I mentioned this observation to my Orthodox brother, he exclaimed, “Our governance is the last thing they should want. It’s the worst part!” Indeed. I wouldn’t say it’s the church’s only interest in Orthodoxy, and admittedly, churchmen aren’t very interested in it, but this rings true in that many or most of the few Westerners who mention it (outside those churches themselves) seem to be liberals trying to undermine the Pope because the nature of his office (part of church infallibility) stands in the way of what they think is progress. Which is why older libcaths (young libcaths are about as rare as young fogeys) try to be ecumenical (which used to be cool when the West was churchier) by blathering about collegiality this way (meaning they want the church to change doctrine by vote like the mainline), ignoring (because they don’t take Orthodoxy seriously, because they know it has no clout or traction in the West?) that at heart Orthodoxy’s a kind of traditional Catholicism (I call it a kind of folk Catholicism).
    • Same goes for priestly celibacy, only a rule, not doctrine (not a hill I’d die on). There are great conservative examples of married priests if you know where to look (the Orthodox, their Eastern Catholic counterparts in their ethnic homelands such as the western Ukraine, and Anglo-Catholic turned Catholic priests). The wrong people want to change it and it wouldn’t bring in vocations. I don’t think about it and living in the church it seems not to come up. It seems to me the Western Church’s more mainstream experiment with married clergy, permanent deacons, is small (see above about not boosting vocations) and lost in Catholic culture; both priests and laity aren’t quite sure whether to treat them like clergy or laymen.
    • Pope Francis and CST. Regular readers know my opinions on these matters. That said, Pope Francis’ message here is benevolent (even if he doesn’t understand economics and even though he doesn’t like trads) and Modestinus is a gentleman acknowledging that Catholics drawn to libertarianism mean well too, so maybe a weak libertarianism (minarchism?) is a Catholic option.
  • From the Anti-Gnostic:
  • From Dusk in Autumn: Mid-century Christmas songs are almost all secular. Some blame Jews for this dilution of a Christian holiday. For now I’ll just file the fact he mentions with what Steve Sailer calls “diversity before ‘diversity,’” golden-era Americans just being decent to each other without the modern left’s self-righteousness (it was also America’s lost Catholic moment). (“Season’s Greetings,” a favorite from then, is worse than “Happy Holidays,” which has its place in public life.)
  • Sailer: PISA’s global results are largely the American bell curve writ large. The Finns do well not because they’re permissive but because they’re Finnish.
  • Justin Raimondo: Long live “isolationism.”