Friday, November 14, 2014

Martin Sanchez's real movie Christine, and more

  • Living Christine. Martin Sanchez's restored custom-painted '58 Fury, one of the only remaining cars used in the movie.
  • Diner giveaway. If you can haul it, it's yours.
  • The scariest science. Derb on advances or lack thereof in medicine.
  • The superhero as a reactionary archetype.
  • Ex-Army quotes L. Neil Smith: Armed people are free. No state can control those who have the machinery and the will to resist; no mob can take their liberty and property. And no 220-pound thug can threaten the well-being or dignity of a 110-pound woman who has two pounds of iron to even things out.
  • Wall Street, banks, and American foreign policy.
  • Throwing environmentalism under the bus.
  • Todd Seavey: Cigarettes, the single leading preventable cause of death (the cause of fully half of cancer deaths each year, in fact), are a new-fangled modern phenomenon popularized in the mass-culture crucible of World War I, not an ancient Western tradition. But people have been smoking tobacco since the English settled Jamestown, and didn't the Industrial Revolution mass-produce tobacco products a century earlier? But he may be right. Addictive nicotine and deadly burning tar; no, thanks. Used to puff on pipes and those flavored cigarillos from the drugstore until one day I looked at a used filter and said no more.
  • Credit to Rod Dreher: small-o orthodoxy.
    • A rescue mission on the ocean of fear. Moralistic therapeutic deism, the true American religion (a destination for Protestantism), vs. meaning, purpose, and truth, which of course "subsist in" (heh) the Catholic Church.
    • American idol worship. More on MTD.
    • The older I get, the more frustrated I find myself becoming with all communal holidays, even the old ones. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Christmas season, but the more I go into the stores or dip into pop culture, the more I recoil from all that forced cheer. So much of the joy seems so manufactured to sell us something, or rather, to frog-march us toward a mood that softens us up for salesmanship. Christmas is the worst offender, but our culture has this general attitude towards all holidays, don’t you think? Maybe I’m wrong about this. Christmas is a real holiday, not an artificial holiday like Kwanzaa, which exists to serve cultural politics. But I don’t think that the division between the two is as bright and clear as we might like to think. Aside from the cultural politics of Christmas (e.g., the “War on Christmas”), there is more importantly the matter of the holiday existing to serve the culture’s commercial interests, and our desires to see color and light and experience cheer. There is nothing wrong with wanting color and light and cheer! That’s why I love the Christmas season. But having worshipped these last two years in an Orthodox parish that follows the Old Calendar (which puts out Christmas in January), as discomforting as that can be, it really does highlight the difference between “Christmas” as we celebrate it, and the Nativity.

      He's Old Calendar because it's easier to start a mission church in that jurisdiction. Good points about secular Christmas. Of course northern climes want color, light, and cheer at the winter solstice. As for the religious aspect, I understand traditionally in Catholic countries such as Italy and the Caribbean Spanish islands, Dec. 25 was almost strictly religious. Italians have the Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve, the church's vigil; you go to Midnight Mass, have a special meal, and that's about it. The gift-giving day is the Epiphany, Jan. 6, the Twelfth Night of the 12 days of Christmas (the real Christmas, as liturgical Christians in the know have learned). And/or St. Nicholas' Day in Holland. I understand American-style Christmas has made inroads in Italy. (The Japanese do it — our soldiers taught them — and they don't even pretend they're Christian.) Long before the culture war was noticeable, secular Christmas basically was about stealing our holy day and turning it into a festival about snow, gifts, and sentimentality.

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