Saturday, February 14, 2009

Baching Down Hooligans

How to deal with hooligans? Theodore Dalrymple gives the details on how to make them flee "the way Count Dracula fled before holy water ..."

Staying recently in a South Yorkshire town called Rotherham—described in one guidebook as “murky,” an inadequate word for the place—I was interested to read in the local newspaper how the proprietors of some stores are preventing hooligans from gathering outside to intimidate and rob customers. They play Bach over loudspeakers, and this disperses the youths in short order; they flee the way Count Dracula fled before holy water, garlic flowers, and crucifixes. The proprietors had previously tried a high-pitched noise generator whose mosquito-like whine only those younger than 20 could detect. This method, too, proved effective, but the owners abandoned it out of fear that it might damage the youths’ hearing and infringe upon their human rights, leading to claims for compensation.

There is surely something deeply emblematic about the use of one of the great glories of Western civilization, the music of Bach, to prevent the young inheritors of that civilization from committing crimes. The barbarians are well and truly within the gates. However, in these dark times it is best to look on the bright side. Our prime minister, Gordon Brown, has told us that we must expect crime to rise along with unemployment (which has already reached more than 13 percent of the labor force, if one takes into account those whom the government dishonestly counts as sick). If proprietors all over the country follow Rotherham’s lead, therefore, we may hear much more Bach, and less rock music, than we did previously. Hegel was right when he said that the owl of Minerva flies by night ...

Read more here.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Waterhouse - PRB

The Missal - John William Waterhouse

Long Way to Go

You know, it's things like this that make it tough to overcome stereotypes.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Climate Questions

For those interested in the global warming ... sorry, scratch that ... climate change debate, there is this and then this.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Go Merrily in the Dark

As brother Aramis says, the way that seems most apparently points to a faithful, loving, and just future is a a collective effort to get lean and be re-fitted in the amour of Christ. No truer words can be spoken, and, in my opinion, too, a form of Distributism rather than secular socialism or capitalism is the economic form it must take.

But we are living in a time when hubris is driving persons who are locked in a bipartisan death-spiral (read: mimetic rivalry in which the object of desire has taken a backseat to a destructive doubling rivalry that threatens all within its dance of death). If - IF - the $550B run on the banks preceding the elections was part of this power feeding frenzy and economy-busting grab to take the presidential election, we see what lengths this doubling rivalry will go - and we haven't seen the end yet.

But men and women of theological hope must realize with Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput the insight of his essential book, Render Unto Caesar. Namely,
“Critics like to say that religion is divisive, or intellectually backward, or that it has no proper place in the public square. … But this is nonsense. Democracy depends on people of conviction carrying their beliefs into public debate -- respectfully, legally and non-violently, but vigorously and without apology. If we are uncomfortable being Christians in a public debate, then we've already lost the war. In America the word "pluralism" is often conjured up like a kind of voodoo shield to get religious people to stop talking about right and wrong. In reality, our moral beliefs always shape social policy. Real pluralism actually demands that people with different beliefs should pursue their beliefs energetically in the public square. This is the only way a public debate can be honest and fruitful. We should never apologize for being Catholics.”
The way to making it through these dark, apocalyptic days so filled with apoplexy and fear is to keep our eyes and hearts firmly on the Agnus Dei, the "lamb of God who takes away the sin(s) of the world," the Lord of the Eucharist and One Who has over the world. How? Easy.

First, stay close to His altar, assist regularly at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Second, read the Gospels - Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John - know Him in the Word of the God, the Bible. Third, see how the Church teaches economics. And fourth, follow the Two Great Commandments (Matthew 22,37-40) - go on now, find it!

The devil's weapons, a priest said two weeks ago in the Crypt Church of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, are cynicism, despair, and violence. Our weapons more than counter his. They are faith, hope, and love. Never - never - fall into despair. Practice these virtues, seek God's Kingdom (Mtt 6,33), and "all these things shall be yours as well." Peace and joy, pilgrim.

Keep Them Afraid and Off Balance

Pam Geller, our best Cassandra, cries foul. Looks like a fire sale, smells like a fire sale. Must have been a fire sale.

The Fall

One of the most breathtakingly every-frame-beautiful, devious, archetypal and trustworthy films I have ever seen is The Fall (2006) featuring Lee Pace and a delightful, young Catinca Untaru (both pictured above). Though never ostensibly alluded to - except by carefully placed Crucifixes on hospital walls, Mass being celebrated just off stage, a stolen Host - Providence looms largely in this fantastic tale within a tale of heartbreak, despair, revenge sought (never got), comradeship, Girardian mediation, redemption, and love.

Director Tarsem (The Cell (2000)) keeps viewers in a constant waking dream state; meaning, one is richly rewarded for trusting enough to suspend one's sense of reality to enter this glorious, dangerous, deep enough for an elephant to swim in (one does, by the way), yet shallow enough for a broken little girl to safely explore round every corner.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Poor Old England III

If this is true (it is), then how long before this is true in (once) Merrie Olde England?

Some may not wince at the demise of old Christendom, but a smaller, lighter Church will find it rough sledding in lands ruled by the hovering Scimitar and the dhimmitude of non-Scimitarists.

LC/RC - Mark Shea

It seems to me that Mark Shea gives the healthiest, up-front take on the Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi crisis regarding the scandalizing behavior of founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel, here.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Just Down the Road

Robert Spencer reports this. Watch if you will the embedded video and feel at the visceral level what it feels like to be seen as sub-human, victim-fodder-to-be.

Simon's Fate

I want to speak briefly about one of the finest literary analyses ever written, William Golding's Lord of the Flies. If you passed through American high school education, you probably (had to) read it with all the relish of eating leftovers from the very back of the refrigerator.

Nevertheless, if you are fortunate - no, blessed by Providence - you may one day come across another analysis, that done by Gil Bailie of the Cornerstone Forum that was based on two works: Golding's (above) and Euripides' The Bacchae. In this analysis, Bailie neatly summarizes nearly the whole of the cultural anthropology of René Girard (called mimetic theory) and limns the deplorable fallen state of the mankind drawing from these two deep pools of wisdom, modern and Tragedian. My own meager fictional (and didactic) offering, The Dionysus Mandate, was born a runt from these two titan parents.

I want to suggest that Golding's work also provides us with a further insight. If one reads of the "choirboys" and their leader, Jack, one is looking at figures looming largely and dangerously in today's world: any who either have fallen out of the influence of the Christian gospel - neo-pagans in search of another pantheon to worship - or those who never were under its influence save in mimetic rivalry - the Scimitar. The former is gaining new vitality in the ruins of the old West, picking over its bones. The latter is swiftly immigrating into the West and propagating offspring at a rate that will overwhelm non-Scimitar man, conservative estimates say, by the mid-21st century.

Both worship a very different deity than the diminishing Christian faith of the West. Who represents the Christian in Golding or Euripides? Exactly. He does not exist.

But the one who represents the dying Westerner is present in Golding, at least: Simon. He employs the fruits of the Christian West - science - but cannot, in my opinion, be said to represent the Catholic or non-Catholic Christian.

And what is Simon's fate? He brings news from the realm of the primitive sacred - the false transcendence of the "pig's head on a stick" - to the boys on the beach. His is the fate of all victim-fodder before the mob of humanity possessed by the primitive sacred. He is murdered.

I fear that without the foundation of the Christian faith, western man will suffer the same fate as Simon. For fate it is to all who abandon the roots of the West, old Christendom. The power of the primitive sacred, in either its modern nihilist form or the street-mob Scimitar form is far too strong for the non-believing scientist trying to maintain himself with no true transcendence, no "external Mediator."

So Lord of the Flies is of only limited value to one seeking a way to live as a Christian in these darkening days of the old West. The fiction has yet to be written that provides such prescriptive answers. But who knows? Perhaps the author is out there right now, listening and following that divine muse insistently that he or she dictate the good news.

Leftists and Jihadis

An important analysis, The Biggest Honor Killing of All via Augean Stables.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Waterhouse PRB - Carpe Diem

Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May (1909) - John William Waterhouse

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may
Old time is still a-flying;
And the same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying.

- Robert Herrick

Wunderkind Repercussions & Prayer

Don't you feel that you have met our new president before? In academic circles, he is the wunderkind; the "it" kid who has touched all the right bases, possesses the right charm, talent, smarts, and a certain jena se qua that baptizes him with the charisma acknowledged by all. Including him.

So it comes as no surprise that after the 8-year reign of the Know Nothing administration, the United States should elect the wunderkind. After all, we want a president who not only is intelligent, but thinks we have enough smarts to want him too. In religious categories, Protestants and Evangelicals do not give a rip about abortion and contraception issues, so that concern was only that of Catholics, and American Catholicism is a sad, torn affair in those departments, forgetting all too well the baby thrown out with the bathwater, epistemologically speaking, is a lack of certitude in all things when one diminishes the authority of the Church's Magisterium. We're all dime a dozen Prots and relativists then.

But enough about us. More about the wunderkind. He is closing Gitmo just as Yemen is releasing 170 Al-Qaida suspects. Here we see a clear example of a non-Bush move. One might say, anthropologically, it is even "negative imitation."

Regardless, it is of a piece with the mind-set of the wunderkind: set an example of how trusting we can be and the former enemy will reply in kind with a diminishing of hostilities. Right? Aye, there's the rub. Perhaps I am being naive myself, but I think the wunderkind truly excludes the realities of Original Sin in his progressive, Gnostic optimism. Sort of a Pelagian, If We Can Imagine It We Can Make It Happen sort of leader.

My prediction is that the new president will continue to try to extend an olive branch. It will produce more statements from the Scimitar that he is "weak" and eventually attacks that will motivate that great wunderkind intellect to a resolve to act in ways very similar to those of his predecessor. But this will only happen after the wunderkind, all of his admiring electorate, and all who did not vote for him have suffered the consequences of inaction, lack of vigilance, and that certain mixture of naïveté and hubris that has typified his leadership in the past three weeks.

My suggestion is keep praying, keep listening closely to the Holy Father and his bishops, keep assisting at Mass, and fall neither into presumption nor despair. Fight the good fight in Marian chivalry and offer up everything! Encourage one another, stay ever in a state of grace, and fear nothing. The evil that seems so strong is as nothing to Eternity.

When Human Rights = Human Death

If you want an example of a bold, frontal attack on the human race in general and the remnants of Christendom in particular you need look no farther than this: this.

Thank You, Tony Blair

Fancy this: Lord Ahmed Wants To Prosecute British Volunteers In Israel For War Crimes. You know him? The same peer who threatened the House of Lords with street mob violence if they had the audacity to view Geert Wilders' film, Fitna?

Thank you,Tony Blair. Not.