Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Evil Eye, A Hunchback, & Trousers?

Two points: (a) When the sacrificial crisis nearly reaches its denouement, one should avoid sticking out like a sore thumb. In Euripides' THE BACCHAE, King Pentheus of Thebes is conveniently pointed out to the riotous Bacchanal by the god Dionysus. He is torn limb from limb. René Girard's cultural analysis, mimetic theory, has given ample evidence that it takes minimal differentiation to demarcate a victim for the ravenous mob: a deformity, a certain set apartness, if you will.

Well, here you go: a couple, an uncle and aunt, mind you, of the perpetrators were beheaded because the dear old uncle wore western-style trousers. Pants = infidel = beheading. Get it?

Point (b): I wish that such a well-informed proponent of western values as Michelle Malkin knew something about René Girard. Sigh.

Hoisting A Steyn & the Crucified One

Mark Steyn sees something he doesn't quite know how to thematize in ”Silence of the Artistic Lambs.” As with others left scratching their heads over the selectivity of finger-pointing on the Left (while the attitude of the Left toward Right wing accusers is, "What do you expect?"), Steyn hasn't read his Girard. Yet he ably traces the deadly outline of structural violence in Islamist fascism with great wit and acumen.

The fracturing of the Right as seen in the mutual casting out of Little Green Footballs, on the one hand, and Gates of Vienna/Fjordman, et al, on the other, shows the sad ignorance of mimetic theory in the struggle against the two-front war facing the West. It also shows the utter necessity to find one's ontology and epistemology -- not to mention anthropology -- in the revealed deposit of faith vouchsafed by the Magisterium of the Catholic Church when dealing in matters of defense of the West.

Be that as it may, Mark Steyn sees what Europe can and will become, without a return to the Church. Relating the tale of the murder of Theo Van Gogh, Steyn quotes from the opening chapter of Daniel Silwa's The Secret Servant:
Professor Solomon Rosner, a Dutch Jew and author of a study on "the Islamic conquest of the West," is making his way down the Staalstraat in Amsterdam, dawdling in the window of his favourite pastry shop, when he feels a tug at his sleeve:

"He saw the gun only in the abstract. In the narrow street the shots reverberated like cannon fire. He collapsed onto the cobblestones and watched helplessly as his killer drew a long knife from the inside of his coveralls. The slaughter was ritual, just as the imams had decreed it should be. No one intervened — hardly surprising, thought Rosner, for intervention would have been intolerant — and no one thought to comfort him as he lay dying. Only the bells spoke to him."

They ring from the tower of the Zuiderkirk church, long since converted into a government housing office:

"A church without faithful," they seemed to be saying, "in a city without God."

Exactly. Even so, Theo Van Gogh, like all victims of the violence of the primitive Sacred, was and is at-one with the "lamb that was slain" since the foundation of the world [Rev 13, 8] in Catholic teaching; Christ, as Mother Teresa was wont to say, "in all of his distressing disguises" [Mtt 25,31-46]. Christ in our world still as the outcast, the slain, the expelled, the scapegoat.

The more they try to cast Him out, the more the Crucified One enters our world.

Aaronovitch - Part 2

David Aaronovitch continues his series, "No Excuses for Terrorism," in this, Part Two. NB: the Left's "justifying" (read: mythologizing) the killing of innocents, including children, and Hamas seeking to "obliterate", not make peace, with Israel. We are viewing the primitive Sacred masquerading as a legitimately revealed monotheism. [HT: Ironic Surrealism II]

Friday, November 23, 2007

Hunting Wild Boar

I will admit it: I have a lust for traipsing (fr. OF, 'trespass') through woods in cold weather, good food cooked out of doors, friends, and a few bottles of something tasty. All of this makes my boyhood memories of camping, hiking, and roasting my chilblains near an open fire seem all the rosier.

A hunter I am not, although I once was hunted by a black bear in New Mexico; an experience I am happy to say I came away from, literally, with "just a scratch" (but how many can say a bear claw attached to a bear leg scratched me just there over my left eye, as one stands smiling with drink in hand?).

But I must say that this story -- A Game Journey -- On a French boar hunt, life as a traqueur is not easy -- brought the scent of decaying leaves, woodsmoke, a crisp autumn day, and that certain stillness that one can only find deep in, say, an 100-acre wood. If you have a mind, enjoy the story and the photo essay. You may develop a desire for donning a pair of wellies and heading out for the Wild Wood.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Persecution of Archbishop Who Teaches Truth

Once again the opponents of Natural Law and proponents of disordered passions raise the paean against the last bastion of sanity: Minneapolis/St. Paul Coadjuter Archbishop John C. Nienstedt concisely explained the Church's teaching regarding both a homosexual's obligation to chastity and the Church's obligation to support and encourage such a chaste lifestyle. The column has caused a backlash of harsh criticism from the 'homosexual community' in what has until recently been known as a notoriously liberal Catholic diocese.

Those who cut themselves off from the True Vine of Christ and his teaching no longer have the stabilizing influence of the deposit of faith protected by the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, exemplified by Archbishop Nienstedt.

Mary Lynn Murphy of Catholic Rainbow Parents, condemned the archbishop's column as "extreme talk" that should be considered offensive to all Catholics because it "gives license to hatred and violence against us all."

Murphy lectured the bishop stating, "The new archbishop should apologize, begin to educate himself on the topic of sexual orientation, and be the prophetic voice for the much-needed reform of the church's understanding of homosexuality."

The neo-pagan agenda -- unconscious and naive -- would follow Murphy's sincere but sincerely wrong-headed approach of placating whatever suits individuals' degeneracy by framing the discourse in terms of "rights", "extremism", and victimization. This once again shows the blindness of those caught in the primitive Sacred "vortex" to the Natural Law written indelibly in our bodies for procreation and our chafing against the sole place in which the meaning and purpose of human life may be found: Catholic truth. It also shows how divorcing concern for victims and outcasts from the One Who taught us to do this -- Jesus -- looses chaos in the form of victimhood as political and power ploy that in turn creates new victims.

Pan-sexuality and paganism are at-one. The archbishop is boldly telling the truth and is a target for all who cannot abide truth claims in their relativist and gnostic world.

Giving Thanks for a Hallowed Home

Frederica Mathewes-Green gives a reflection on life, aging, and other things for which to give thanks.

Fr. Sergius Bulgakov, an émigré from Soviet Russia who became dean of the Russian Orthodox seminary in Paris, published an essay reflecting on that verse in 1932. It’s titled “The Holy Grail,” but he makes clear that he’s not talking about the Grail of medieval legend, the cup which St. Joseph of Arimathea supposedly held to catch the blood flowing from Christ’s side. Bulgakov says that the myth of the Grail is nevertheless trying to tell us something. It “expresses precisely the idea that, even though the Lord ascended in His honorable flesh to heaven, the world received His holy relic in the blood and water flowed out of His side.”

The vessel which caught the blood of Christ, Bulgakov proposes, was not a cup. It was that span of weary earth lying at the foot of the cross. “The life of the flesh is in the blood” (Lev 17:11), and our Lord’s lifeblood soaked into the dry and rocky soil of that graveyard outside the city gates. His blood was hidden there in the ground, and, in Bulgakov’s lovely image, thereby consecrated that ground, all ground, the entirety of material Creation.

“The whole world is the chalice of the Holy Grail,” Bulgakov writes. “The Holy Grail is inaccessible to veneration; in its holiness is hidden in the world from the world. However, it exists in the world as an invisible power…[It] is not offered for communion but abides in the world as the mysterious holiness of the world, as the power of life, as the fire in which the world will be transfigured into a new heaven and new earth.”

He explores this idea further later on. The world is the Grail, “for it has received into itself and contains Christ’s precious blood and water. The whole world is the chalice of Christ’s blood and water; the whole world partook of them in communion at the hour of Christ’s death. And the whole world hides the blood and water within itself. …[A]ll the blood and water of Christ that flowed forth into the world sanctified the world. This blood and water made the world a place of the presence of Christ’s power, prepared the world for its future transfiguration, for the meeting with Christ come in glory.

“The world was not deprived of Christ’s presence (‘ I will not leave you comfortless’ [John 14:18]). Christ is not alien to the world; the world lives by Christ’s power. The world has become Christ, for it is the holy chalice, the Holy Grail. The world has become indestructible and incorruptible, for in Christ’s blood and water it has received the power of incorruption, which will be manifested in its transfiguration. The world is already paradise, for it has produced ‘the tri-blessed tree on which Christ was crucified.’”

The gift of Christ’s blood hidden in the earth means that he is present in our midst; not merely a spiritual or inspirational presence, but a participant in the ceaseless tide of matter as it surges now together, now apart. Christ didn’t just visit our world, but continues here, mingled with the atoms we see and touch every day. I am looking at my computer monitor screen, and then at the monitor, the pens and papers on my desk, the lamp and stapler, the photos of those I love. Everything is going to be returned to dust. Throughout the history of the world this convulsive dance of alliances forming and dissolving will go on. But on Good Friday something was added, and by it the world becomes the True Grail.

Read all …

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Update - The Silence is Deafening

The otherwise incomprehensible support of massively vocal and violent Hezbollah by persons on the Left is only to be understood by the explication of human culture of René Girard. In a sacrificial crisis, the spiraling of the maelstrom of violence usurps the use of "reason" since it is itself a product of the primitive Sacred -- something conventional social science is as woefully ignorant of as, say, fish are of water. Girard, however, has given thematic and structural understanding to such events the likes of which we find ourselves engrossed in on a global scale.

Some on the Left are coming up and breaking surface on the realities of this sacrificial crisis. Below is the beginning of a series by former left-leaning journalist, David Aaronovitch. He may not understand or even know of Girard's work (let alone the Magisterium's Catholic truth!), but he outlines the structure of the primitive Sacred in Islamist fascism even if he only deals in its themes (which should largely be ignored as reason is shut down by the justifying power of Sacred violence). [HT: Velvet Hammer Lady] Part One:

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

FBI Hate Crime Statistics - 2006

It's available elsewhere, but for the record, here are the FBI Hate Crime Stats. Note well the number of crimes perpetrated against Jews vs. those against Muslims.

The Silence Is Deafening

A key element of the primitive Sacred as limned by René Girard is complete obfuscation at the place of sacrifice. It is like a black hole the likes of which is so powerful that nothing escapes its pull -- not even the cries of the victim. "Our intellectuals are so eager for servitude that they formed their own Stalinist cells before Stalinism was invented ... Mythology is the very best school in the training of silence," he states in The Scapegoat.

So it should come as no surprise that discussion about Islamist scapegoating violence is (a) not only being shut-down by the quasi-intellectuals, journalists, ministers, and media who deem themselves arbitrators of the terms of conventional discourse, but is also (b) becoming something difficult to grasp, hard to see, blurry, and opaque. Such violence is in itself shutting down discussion. So, stories like this -- Counter-terrorism officials rethink stance on Muslims -- and this on "Hate Speech" will become more and more prevalent as the justifying sacred violence proceeds apace.

Gil Bailie speaks of this silencing effect of the primitive Sacred in imagery of a "vortex":
" gets more and more compulsive as this system drags down into its vortex. So much so that at the “pit” of that vortex things happen that we never hear about, never learn about. It’s as though you enter a “black hole” and the gravitational field that surrounds the actual event of victimization is so profound that no “light” escapes. We hear nothing of it.

That is why the Hebrew literature is so unique. Because, suddenly, we begin to hear something out of (the vortex)."
It should also come as no surprise that the primary victim-of-choice of Islamist fascism is the Jew and, by covenantal relationship, Christianity in general and the Catholic Church in particular. Both Judaism and Christianity are products of the biblical Spirit that allows a voice to be heard from that "vortex" of sacred violence, beginning in the Psalms, proceeding through the Prophets, and culminating in the Paschal Mystery -- the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Be aware of the cloak of silence that is being cast over the violence of Islamist fascism. It will be persistent and insistent and extremely seductive. Do not allow the silence to deafen your mind and heart to the "still, small voice" that will not, that cannot be silenced any longer by such attempts of pagan silencing around its sacrificial altar.

Swastika & Scimitar - Part 3

The Terrorism Awareness Project's straightforward and aptly conflated piece entitled, Islamic Mein Kampf. The familiar dehumanizing of the intended victim, the Jew, is a prime indicator of the cultural phenomenon pointed out with acerbic clarity in René Girard's works. This scapegoating tactic is humanity's "lowest common denominator": finding one we can all agree is the source of all the world's problems, etc. The accusatory gesture is nearly what defines the human race in its fallen status.

The only place wherein hope for change from this propensity for satanic accusation and sacrificial violence still resides in our world, a bright shining light in the darkness, even amid the squalor of postmodern swill, a treasure of great price, is scorned and mocked – even in car ads. It is threatened and hurled abuse by the new fascisti who hate Jews, Crusaders, and all who stand for the biblical spirit of truth, goodness, and beauty in our world.

Watch the graphics in IMK. Look at the protesters' placards. Now you know who and what to pray for and about. Keep a copy of the Catechism handy, the dogs loose, and the sword upstairs. [Tip: Velvethammer Lady]

Monday, November 19, 2007

Blackmail Peace Plan

Robert Spencer on how Muslims in Britain plan to end violence: agree with us or we'll blow things up.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

No, No, They Can't Take That Away From Me

"Out of the darkness of my life, so much frustrated, I put before you the one great thing to love on earth: the Blessed Sacrament ... There you will find romance, glory, honour, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves on earth, and more than that: Death: by the divine paradox, that which ends life, and demands the surrender of all, and yet by the taste (or foretaste) of which alone can what you seek in your earthly relationships (love, faithfulness, joy) be maintained, or take on that complexion of reality, of eternal endurance, which every man's heart desires."
-- J. R. R. Tolkien to his son, Christopher

10,000 Cuts of the Scimitar

Damien Thompson notes a grizzly milestone (as have others - but I like his high Fleet Street profile): there have been ten thousand separate terrorist attacks in the name of Islam since 9/11. Get the lowdown at Holy Smoke. For such an ignoble record, one would think Enlightenment-inspired social sciences would have some prescriptions ( ____ . ) No? Hello? (Cricket sounds off) Ivory towers ... Hello? Hello?

A Lesson from Dragonslayer

The Worm of Thrace: Vermithrax Pejorative

Besides depicting the absolute coolest dragon ever seen on the silver screen (and the archetype for every one since) the film "Dragonslayer" (1981) has a great deal to teach about the primitive Sacred -- symbolized by the dragon and the cult of child sacrifice that placates it -- namely, in the words of the young apprentice wizard, Galen Bradwarden (Peter MacNicol):

Egyptian Convert - In the Sacrificial Vortex

A powerful story of faith and persistence. Mohammed Ahmed Hegazy, a brave new Christian in Cairo.

Lambert's Work on Hitler

Many have tried to grasp the deepest significance of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany. Here, James Lambert examines documentary footage from "Triumph of the Will" and, Leni Riefenstahl's earlier effort, "Victory of Faith." I make similar connections at Swastika & the Scimitar and Swastika & the Scimitar Part II.

One cannot begin to grasp the way Hitler utilized crowd psychology until one understands the pathological labyrinth of human culture explored and marked by René Girard. The only difference between National Socialism and present Islamist fascism is the degree to which the former consciously carried out its efforts with Nietzschean and, hence, pagan intent. The past, as Girard, has shown, holds the keys to understanding the present and future. May we learn and, empowered by the Church and her Gospel, move inch by inch closer to our pre-lapsarian nature. Kudos to Lambert for grasping the outline of the "primitive Sacred" nature of Hitler's conscious agenda and gravitational force field of Islamist fascism.

Visit James K. Lambert's homepage and the other segments of his work on Hitler here. [HT: Atlas Shrugs]