Saturday, September 18, 2021

Gloria Purvis and Dawn Eden bravely discuss the sins of others

Dawn Eden has learned that - horrors! - one of her Catholic heroes held and shared! ... I can't bring myself to say it .... anti-Semitic views! (more on this later).

Sigh.  I'm beginning to think condemning the sins of our forebears has become the eighth sacrament of the Church.  A generation that defines its righteousness by round the clock dredging up the sinful thoughts and attitudes of past sinners is in a boat load of trouble.  It's an appealing narcotic to be sure, to know that it's the sins of others long gone that you're accountable for.  Not that it's without biblical precedent.  But it isn't hard to see that what is going on now is hell and gone from a biblical approach to national repentance. 

After all, a generation whose stellar accomplishment is watching the civilization it inherited crumble under its watch should clean its own house first.  A generation that has to discuss arming teachers because of  our children mass killing each other in our schools should not be throwing rocks at old time glass houses.  A generation that can boast aborted pregnancies in the hundreds of millions, a debauched and hedonistic culture while tens of millions have died of AIDS and drugs, unprecedented levels of depression, drug addiction and even suicide among children as young as ten years old, out to be slow on the judgment.  And a generation of believers watching unprecedented numbers of believers abandon the Faith for good, or remain and not give a damn about those tired old fairy tales that nobody believes anyway, is not one that should crow too loudly about the sins of yesterday's prophets.  

Yet our continual response to the dumpster fire we've made our generation into is to dig through the records of the past to find out how utterly sinful those who came before us really were.  Sins, by the way, that were often sins of thought or attitude that were all too common then - and just as common today when applied to new demographic groups. May God not judge us as we so brazenly judge those who have come before. 


As a bonus, the always Jesuit America magazine throws its two rubles in with Ms. Purvis and asks just how we  can approach the clear and obvious sins of all those saints we kick around.  As if people didn't realize that the sinfulness of saints is part of what makes the saints so darn inspiring.  If sinners like those can be saints, there's hope for me!  Or do they mean the unforgivable sins of the saints, such as racist thinking, as defined by the Leftist State today?  

For my part, I grow weary of the obsession with sins like racism and sexism, accusations easily thrown out but also easily denied or covered up.  How do we know the whites who scream racism the loudest aren't the racists?  Especially when racism today is more or less defined as failure to adhere to certain politically charged dogmas, based on one's skin color of course, rather than actions and how one lives one's life?  Something you'd think a proud Jewish convert to Catholicism would be more careful about. But then, you'd think an African American Catholic would be careful, too. 

Also, a bonus observation.  Ever notice that liberalism never admits failure?  When we embrace the latest, and the latest ends in disaster, it appeals to group guilt.  So instead of standing beside the Texas attempt to curtail the slaughter of modern abortion, the always Jesuit America magazine instead appeals to the horrors of our patriarchal (read: the men made us do it) guilt and problems and fault and all that group identity guilt that's all the rage in 21st Century Leftwing discourse.  After all, it couldn't have been yesterday's liberals with their promise of consequence free debauchery that is the main problem.  

Again, it's increasingly clear that the focus on past sins is the only antidote for a modern generation with so little to show for its time on Earth.  

Friday, September 17, 2021

There is no way I would have the patience for this

An architect used Legos to build a replica of Vatican City.  Here is the article at Our Sunday Visitor.  And here is a picture from the article of the beyond awesome results:


God, they say, creates for fun.  I believe that's where we get that inner itch to make and create ourselves.

So says Pope Francis

It looks like Pope Francis gave another airplane interview.  I've come to look forward to those in the same way I look forward to a good teeth cleaning twice a year.  

Everyone seems to be jumping all over his statements about Communion and zealously pro-abortion rights politicians.  I'll leave others to make sense of what he said about that.  Here is a transcript of the interview, translated into the King's English.  

But here's what caught my eye, regarding marriage within the context of a discussion about homosexuality: 

I have spoken clearly about this: marriage is a sacrament, marriage is a sacrament. And the Church does not have the power to change the sacraments. They are thus, as the Lord has instituted [for] us. These are laws that try to help the situation of many people of different sexual orientations. And this is important, to help these people, but without imposing things that by their nature do not enter in the Church. But if they want to support a homosexual couple in life together, states have the possibility of civilly supporting them, of giving security through inheritance, health [insurance]. But the French have a law on this not only for homosexuals, but for all people who want to associate with each other [in a legally recognized relationship].

But marriage is marriage. This is not to condemn people who are like that, no, please, they are our brothers and sisters and we must accompany them. But marriage as a sacrament is clear, it is clear. That there are civil laws that provide if they want to associate, a law to have the health service, to have […] among them, these things are done. The French PACS, this law […] has nothing to do with homosexual couples — homosexual people can use it, they cannot use it, but marriage as a sacrament is man and woman. Sometimes what I have said is confusing. All the same, respect everyone. The good Lord will save everyone — do not say this aloud [laughs] — but the Lord wants to save everyone. Please do not make the Church deny her truth. Many, many people of homosexual orientation approach the Sacrament of Penance, they approach to ask priests for advice, the Church helps them to move forward in their lives. But the sacrament of marriage is […].

It looks to my eyes, assuming the translation is accurate, that Christian morals are no longer some thing that matter.  They're nice.  At least for Catholics.  But you can certainly live an actively open life contrary to the Church's teachings and it doesn't matter.  In fact, it's nice that the State has laws that help you live a life in conflict with Church teaching. 

Why?  Because apparently God saves everyone.  Now the transcript says he laughs, and then says the Lord wants to save everyone.  Again, letting his maybe be a good solid possibly without commitment.  Sometimes he approaches these things like a drunk in a bar jockeying for a laugh from the girls next to him, not a leader of the largest Christian tradition in the world.  Does he really mean God saves everyone?  That seems in direct conflict with everything traditional orthodox Christianity has taught for its entire existence. 

But then, it has always taught that sexual sin is serious as well.  Or at least it is something we'll let people burn in Hell for, or we just don't believe in Hell and it doesn't matter?  I have no clue.  I know people who worried about Covid lockdowns or question Global Warming or Open Borders Immigration or Covid Vaccines are a reprehensible bunch.  Pope Francis makes that clear.  But everything else?  It may or may not be, well, any particular concern since we're all saved anyway?  Or not.  Because Pope Francis will never tell.  Or he will.  And only the spiritually and intellectually superior Catholics will know for sure.  

The good Lord will save everyone — do not say this aloud [laughs] — but the Lord wants to save everyone. Please do not make the Church deny her truth.  Pope Francis

Friday Frivolity: A season of feasts and plenty

Autumn.  I've written often about my favoritist of all seasons ever on this blog.   I speak of memories and nostalgia, traditions with the family and old school memories.  I've written about the foliage and even the decay and thrown out some theological musings in the meantime.  At later times I've linked the season with the witching season of Halloween and thoughts along those lines.

But I've never stopped to muse about what Autumn really meant for so many ages to people who saw harvest as more than a time to buy football tickets and run out for the latest pumpkin spice flavored pizza (double yuck, yuck).  For our ancestors, Autumn was the season of life itself. 

It was the season of plenty, of harvest, of feasting.  It was the season that set the stage for winter and whether abundance or starvation or death would be the name of the game.  In short it was less about costume parties and yard decorations as much as it was keyed to the fruit of the year's labors and the bountiful blessings the Earth yields for those who work her.  When they rejoiced and celebrated, they did so for life itself. 

Here are a few passages from one of Washington Irving's most famous literary creations, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.  It describes the lands haunted by the Horseman as the ill fated Ichabod Crane would see them.  Being of modest means, Ichabod looked at such seasonal bounty the way a Manhattan stockbroker might look at a Lamborghini today:

"It was, as I have said, a fine autumnal day; the sky was clear and serene, and nature wore that rich and golden livery which we always associate with the idea of abundance. The forests had put on their sober brown and yellow, while some trees of the tenderer kind had been nipped by the frosts into brilliant dyes of orange, purple, and scarlet. Streaming files of wild ducks began to make their appearance high in the air; the bark of the squirrel might be heard from the groves of beech and hickory-nuts, and the pensive whistle of the quail at intervals from the neighboring stubble field... 

On all sides he beheld vast store of apples; some hanging in oppressive opulence on the trees; some gathered into baskets and barrels for the market; others heaped up in rich piles for the cider-press. Farther on he beheld great fields of Indian corn, with its golden ears peeping from their leafy coverts, and holding out the promise of cakes and hasty-pudding; and the yellow pumpkins lying beneath them, turning up their fair round bellies to the sun, and giving ample prospects of the most luxurious of pies; and anon he passed the fragrant buckwheat fields breathing the odor of the beehive...

Such heaped up platters of cakes of various and almost indescribable kinds, known only to experienced Dutch housewives! There was the doughty doughnut, the tender oly koek, and the crisp and crumbling cruller; sweet cakes and short cakes, ginger cakes and honey cakes, and the whole family of cakes. And then there were apple pies, and peach pies, and pumpkin pies; besides slices of ham and smoked beef; and moreover delectable dishes of preserved plums, and peaches, and pears, and quinces; not to mention broiled shad and roasted chickens; together with bowls of milk and cream, all mingled higgledy-piggledy, pretty much as I have enumerated them, with the motherly teapot sending up its clouds of vapor from the midst—Heaven bless the mark! I want breath and time to discuss this banquet as it deserves, and am too eager to get on with my story." 

Ah, what a portrayal of autumnal abundance. Your stomach almost growls at the thought.  Even in our age of consumer plenty, online shopping and digital supermarkets, that sort of picture of pre-modern culinary anticipation is enough to get the old gastro pistons popping. 

Why not?  You read those passages above, or you read some of the poems praising this most colorful of all seasons, and you can't help but catch the celebratory feel.  It is almost bursting at the seams with joy and thankfulness for everything laid before the viewer.  It may be a season in which life turns to decay, but it was ever the season that pointed to life and what was needed to sustain it. 

That's what Autumn should really be about.  Perhaps it's because industrialization and technology have effectively divorced so much of humanity from our more earthen roots, we must supplement with traditions of tailgates and horror movie fests.  Nonetheless, it might be those roots long gone that still tug at us, and why so many people seem to get excited today, not at the thought of spring blossoms or even silver bells, but of colorful leaves and pumpkin patches and orchards. 

After all, in the day, people knew exactly why it was they were thrilled with the coming harvest season. And it wasn't the abundance of decorations.  It was the fruit of their labors, the abundance that the land provided.  To them, a cornucopia was more than a decoration.  It was a symbol of another year of life.  I can't help but imagine that was a more pure want than the things we drool over today.  Since most of us don't fear starving between now and next spring, much less next week.  

As a bonus, and because I'm a swell guy, here's a link to an online cooking site that walks you through your own Ichabod era harvest feast, early American style.  Try that some time.  We've done Hobbit feasts and Scrooge (or at least Cratchit/Fezziwig), and Henry VIII Tudor feasts.  Building a dinner around a particular book or historical era can be fun and, given how the other half feasted in the day, quite filling. 

Ichabod gets Autumn

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Some people should never be allowed to teach Christian doctrine

To demonstrate, Mark Shea asks the big question: How is pro-abortion any different than not getting the Covid vaccine? Answer?  Aborting 65 million pregnancies might not be as bad! 



I won't even waste my time with the falsehoods and tortured logic needed to downplay evil and persecute political dissenters.  Read it at your own risk.  I will say, however, that if we do not begin applying the term heretic or blasphemer to the growing number of believers willing to twist, torture and throw out endless Christian doctrine in order to conform to the State, then the words heretic and blasphemer no longer have value or purpose. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Our miiltary now serves the Leftist State

This rather glowing report by CBNC tells how General Milley, who has already made his disdain for blasphemers of the Left well known, worked a coordinated effort to go behind President Trump's back and make his own outreach to Communist China on behalf of the political Left.  CNBC apparently approves of the tactics.  

Last year there were several photos of police and military officials 'taking a knee' during the BLM riots. That is, accept the leftwing narrative of America as four hundred year old genocidal racist Nazi state.  It didn't help the police escape the Left's wrath,  and part of me wants to say serves them right.  

But the conservative view of 'Boy, some day this could be a civil war and the military will never come against us' had best be retired pronto.  Fact is, the Left runs the nation  now.  The ability to resist is already mightily compromised.  Most I know make it by keeping their heads down, unless they're in a professional situation that allows them to be open about their views.

When my wife's jobs makes white employees apologize for their white privilege, she deals with it.  What's she going to do, lose her job?  We'd be out on the street.  What would conservatives do, take care of us and pay our bills?  No.  She knows it.  So do I.  So do most today.  This has happened and conservatives can and will likely do nothing.  In the coming years, expect more and more conservatives to see the light and follow the path of so many former conservatives trying to find their place in this new Order. 

If you think we're a free country in the traditional sense, meet me in St. Louis, I have a Brooklyn Bridge to sell you.  If you think it won't get worse and there won't be a time when the military and police will be called upon to deal with dissenters who haven't renounced their non-leftist views, make that ten bridges.  

Baseball legend Mike Piazza roasted for supporting a black man

Or, shall we say, the wrong kind of black man.  Black men who stray from the Left are never good, often Uncle Toms and even House N*****s.  But never good.  

Black men who blame white people, hate America, stay on welfare, heck who rape and pillage, as long as they support the Left?  Those are good black men.  

It's so nakedly obvious.  As one of my sons said, we don't have to dress like Satan at Halloween anymore, he dresses like us.  

When you can be so obvious about your contempt for minorities and care for them only when convenient, and furthermore make it obvious that you don't give a rip about racism but will happily exploit it for political ends ... and then get away with it since that's where the entire hypocrisy of the nation is happy to be, you know we're in a bad way. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

It takes a post-Christian nation to erase Robert E. Lee

As demonstrated by Christianity Today and Russell Moore.  Read it here

Ah, that's my old classmate.  Rejoicing that the statue of that reprehensible sinner to be defined by his reprehensible and unforgivable sins of not being as righteous as, well, the good folks at Christianity Todqy and Russell Moore.  FWIW, the good deacon and film critic Steven Greydanus apparently loves him some Russell Moore, and sees ol'Russ as the primary voice of modern Evangelical Christianity, given how frequently he bathes in the pool of Moore when it comes to tapping into the mind of the postmodern Evangelical:


The thing that shocks so many, myself included, is the speed which those who once decried the horrors and sin of the modern Left - debauchery, blasphemy, lies, hatred, arrogance, slaughter of the innocent, and complete rejection of the Gospel - are now on that very side. 

It isn't even just cozying up to the race hate and prejudice, the tyranny and the oppression, the duplicity and the subterfuge.  They're also tossing old time Christian anachronisms like humility, reconciliation, responsibility, forgiveness, and mercy.  They completely embrace the multicultural notion that when Robert E. Lee was beating his slaves and laughing at the idea of freeing them, the rest of the world must have lived in a utopian paradise of peace, love and John Lennon songs.  Did the world have Jesus?  Who gives a flip!

Many of these things you just assumed would still be held by those now in various levels of bed with the Left.  After all, even the most hardline liberal Protestant denominations were still honor bound to extend the notion of forgiveness and non-judgmentalism to such reprobates as Lee, Lincoln and Jefferson.  After all, refusing to judge was the gateway toward gay rights, trans rights, abortion rights and any other leftwing cause.  So what's good for the goose, right?  We can point out the sins of those old timers, but we certainly can't judge. 

Well not now.  We don't need to talk of not judging or being compassionate since most today, and the bulk of youngsters today, think gay sex and transgender boys are as natural as a dog biting a man.  To them, the idea that sex is about babies or equality isn't a white supremacist ploy is the man biting the dog.  

So no need to prattle on about not judging or forgiving and being merciful and compassionate.  The Left can now demand we judge without mercy or humility; we embrace pride in our superiority and hate those reprobate sinners who came before us who had the temerity of not living up to our infallible standards  We destroy them and erase them as we should, because it's likely forgiveness and mercy are just tricks of the European colonialist anyway, just like all those other Western values.  

And those Christians and Conservatives trying desperately to keep one foot in that old time religion and another two in the Leftist party can only do one thing - and that's jettison those stupid notions of forgiveness, humility, reconciliation or understanding for those who came before.  Because that's what the Leftist State now demands.  And they obey.  In so doing, they keep their corner offices in Manhattan and continue to go to the best parties in Hollywood and on Ivy League campuses.  Just as paid representatives of God's clergy have done for eons. 

Monday, September 13, 2021

A question from a statistics amatuer

So the news exploded today that the unvaccinated are 11 x more likely to die of Covid than the vaccinated.  It was met with multiple stories of medical pros beseeching everyone to become vaccinated.

Yet I remember a few months ago, and they said that between 97% and 98% of all who died of Covid were unvaccinated.  

Now I can do arithmetic in my head as well as anyone.  I'm actually quite good at it.  But my math and stats skills drop from there.  To my amateur eyes, however, that seems to be a big difference.  It seems as if the effectiveness has dropped. 

From my vantage point, the earlier stats that would be like saying only about 1 or 2 out of every 100 people who die of Covid are vaccinated.  But now, for every 11 unvaccinated who die, there is 1 vaccinated who dies. Which is a lot more than the old 1 or 2% who are vaccinated who are dying.  It's more like around 9 or 10 vaccinated who die for every 100.  Which, if I'm not missing something, is significant. 

Am I reading this right?  Am I reading the numbers correctly?  Are they presenting them in such a way that isn't the best way and that's why I'm confused?  Or am I just a Charlie Brown when it comes to this? Any help from numbers-pros is appreciated. 

The sooner he becomes a Democrat

The happier most conservatives should be.  Chris Christie is not anyone I would ever vote for.  I'd happily vote for Donald Trump before Christie.  Christie reminds me of John McCain, but without the charm.  To me, he comes off as a two bit school yard bully hypocrite who will willingly throw most conservatives under the bus in order to suck up to the leftwing party machine.   Sure, there's just enough of the radical in the Democrats to keep him a Republican - for now.  And he's clearly betting that by kissing up to the MSM/Democrat narratives of conservatives being infested by stupid tin hat hayseeds, they might push him to the front of the pack in 2024.

Nonetheless, I would never vote for a man who tells government workers asking for raises that every penny is needed so suck on it ... excuse me, the State's helicopter is here to fly me to my son's games.  That level of elitism sucks I don't care which party is doing it.  And spare me the lame excuses.  If this is the type of person Republicans, much less conservatives, end up voting for, they'll deserve everything they get.  If voting for a pseudo-progressive 'I'm not like those evil right wing types' candidate like GW Bush taught us anything, it's don't vote for candidates who do their best to promote the worst stereotypes of you in order to curry favor with those you're desperately trying to resist. 

Saturday, September 11, 2021

The beginning of the end

A world my sons will never know

Even on the day, I had a feeling.  In the 1990s, along with the usual cultural trappings, there was a strange upsurge of 'patriotism' and appreciation for the past in post-Cold War America - and England I think.  I don't know why.  But all of a sudden it was The Greatest Generation, Saving Private Ryan, Band of Brothers, Apollo 13, Gettysburg.  In England you had a tidal surge of old Victorian Era production remakes.  One of the big television events of the late 90s was a new series on AMC based on Forrester's Horatio Hornblower.  It was quite a feat, and it was presented non-ironically or without the usual sardonic humor that so much Brit fare exhibited in the post-war era. 

I've often thought, with Labor and Democrats in the international spotlight, those Boomer liberals in the new post-Cold War world wanted to show they were not the anti-West/anti-America radicals that decades of post-60s fare suggested.  Even if they were, they wanted to show they could wave flags and bow to our forebears with the best of them.

Then came 9/11.  Contrary to popular belief, the day of the attacks was all over the place in terms of a 'unified' response.  Emotions were off the scale as a generation of journalists with no real exposure to the world's horrors broke down on television over what they were seeing.  Peter Jennings ripped into Bush for not leading us.  Al Sharpton railed against our country for thinking it was Muslims, once again demonstrating our race hate of non-white people.  And that was on the day of the attacks. 

Oh sure, another day or two and it was all flags and bunting.  George Bush gave his megaphone speech and for a moment looked as if he might lead, until he told us our entire civilization was on the brink - so go shopping and show those terrorists who's the boss.  A few weeks and you saw more flags.  Celebrities came out of the woodwork to produce shows raising money for the victims.  Jim Carrey and Kevin Spacey held up the child of a slain first responder for a big photo op.  Some country singer caught the hypocrisy in Lennon's Imagine and called on us to imagine no possessions, I wonder if we can.  Commercials from deodorant to coffee makers made sure to display the Stars and Stripes at every opportunity.  We had a national church service and the Rev. Billy Graham, in his last big appearance, was our pastor. 

But by late October, something caught my ear.  We had tickets to the Ohio State football game that Saturday after the attacks.  If you recall, all games were cancelled and moved from that weekend.  Our game was moved to the bye week at the end of October.  It was that game my wife and I were driving to when I heard the news reports on the local sports radio.  It turned out Rush Limbaugh was in trouble for attacking critics of George Bush who themselves were complaining Bush was dropping the ball.  There was also scuttlebutt that the attacks may have been planned by the terrorists as a punishment for Bush stealing the election. 

So by late October at least, the first chinks in our celebrated 'unity' were already there.  It was clear by November that the Left was far more worried about keeping Bush from capitalizing politically on this than going after those who did this.  Likewise it didn't take long to see in Bush an empty suit that didn't have the grounding of a Reagan, or even a President Eisenhower.  By 2002, the divisions were beginning to multiply exponentially.  It's been going downhill since. 

Even while I was still pastoring (entered Catholic Church in 2006), I said I feared the terrorists of 9/11 achieved what the Japanese had dreamed of achieving in 1941.  I've seen nothing in the subsequent 15 years to allay that assessment. 

Friday, September 10, 2021

The problem with feminism today

Is that I don't think there is any egregious evil feminists could advocate that the Left and its supporters would ever call out. 

So a firebrand feminist journalist is upset that authorities are looking for a mother who allegedly ditched her newborn in a shallow grave.  Ms. Grimes' reaction:


You can almost hear the addendum that if women aren't allowed to do with their children as they please, then you men ain't gettin' any.  A threat which has done wonders for men who long ago turned the reins of running the local church over to women so men could golf and watch the game on Sundays. 

But just consider what she's saying.  How dare cops look for a mother who might have killed her kid.  This is women stuff.  Women rule.  Women can damn well do what they please with kids and shut up. 

I swear if feminists said they wanted to start gassing Jews in gas chambers, the Left would remain silent.  This is what happens, and it's yet one more blotch on the deplorable track record of the brainless, ball-less, gutless, spineless 20th Century male that this has been allowed. Now you have good New Prolife Catholics fighting to destroy anyone who would try to curtail this most sacred right of women in the modern era.

I fear we passed that point of no return when men allowed women to say that whether a baby is a miracle or a bunch of sludge to be eradicated is up to the woman.  The only role for the man, after the "obvious", is to stand in the corner, shut up, and find out if there is something for him to be financially responsible for or not.  When men allowed that, it was all over.  

With each passing day, I become more and more convinced that feminism was the most effective weapon of Satan fired at the floundering Christian West.  It was when we officially sanctioned the right of women to put themselves first to the exclusion of all other considerations, including the wellbeing of children, and were happy to allow kids to be sacrificed on the altars of the male libido. 

Exactly why so many celibate priests have fallen for this is open to speculation.  But the problem, and the likely causes, remain shameful and one more mark against this era in the opened books.  

Amazing

 

A fun part about the Marx Brothers was how when the music started, Harpo would get serious and down to business.  Chico's slap-finger style of playing - something even virtuosos struggle to emulate - kept some of the levity.  But for Harpo, once he entered into the music, it was serious devotion to the craft.  That always impressed me.

What's more, this is one of the 'Everest' pieces for the piano.  I never kept on with piano lessons, being stupid.  But I still learned to play enough that I can appreciate the different levels of difficulty in various works.  Contrary to popular belief, not all difficult pieces of music are created equal.  There are some compositions out there that most, even the greatest, pianists will never master.  Certain pieces written by the likes of Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin and Liszt are to the world of piano what Mount Everest is to mountain climbers.  Something only conquered by an elite fraternity.  

That Harpo could take one of the most difficult of these pieces and put it to the harp - one of the most difficult instruments to master - shows just how much of a world class prodigy he was.  Also, it's worth noting, he was every bit as talented at the piano.  

BTW, that Hungarian Rhapsody is considered one of those 'Everest' pieces is what always made this Tom and Jerry gem so special:   


How many of my generation were introduced to the classics through Bugs Bunny or Tom and Jerry?  In this case, the music is all the more impressive because it had to be played in conjunction with the action on the cartoon.  Not to mention a rather jaunty digression into some Big Band era riffs in the middle of the composition.  This was accomplished by Scott Bradley, who was MGM's musical director - and clearly a master pianist in his own right. 

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Spooky

 

When Donald Trump is the voice of truth and reason

You know we've jumped the shark somewhere.  So former president Trump issued a statement celebrating the legacy of Robert E. Lee, even as we live in an age that would ban an Asian sportscaster from his job because his name is Bob Lee.  Let that level of crazy sink in. 

What struck me, however, was this quote from the story:

Lee's leadership of the Confederate Army during the Civil War led to hundreds of thousands of deaths as he fought to defend Southerners' rights to own Black people as property.

That made me think of this little gem from years ago:


Note there is nothing technically wrong in either the story quote or the above joke. It reminds us that history is more an art than a science.  Its usefulness to society is only as good as the goodwill and good intentions of the society itself.  Nazi Germany taught history.  So did the USSR.  But I'd wager most of us would disagree with how those terror states actually interpreted the history.

Nonetheless, the ability to interpret things based on biases and agendas remains strong in many areas, nowhere more than historical studies.  And right now, the template for approaching the history of the Christian West and America is that the heritage of the Christian West and America must go.  Until we get our heads around that and call it for what it is, expect more pillars of our civilization to come crumbling down in the near future.

Iconoclasm Update:  Apparently there was supposed to be a time capsule from the statue they've been unable to locate.  If there is any justice, it will remain hidden from the claws of the leftist iconoclasts.  They plan on replacing it with a time capsule reflecting our values, that is one reflective of our times. If that were the case, it would include AIDS, illegal drug paraphernalia, pornographic material, and aborted fetuses.  Apart from the fight racism with racism done right of BLM, I'd say those sum up our national identity as much as anything in the year 2021. 

Hospital Reflections: Where are the white families?

As a general rule, we don't watch television.  If we watch, it's old shows from days gone by.  Andy Griffith is a family favorite. Other shows are liked or not by different members of the family.  But we don't watch much in any event.   Football games, the Olympics, certain specials here or there through the year is most we do.  If you put a gun to my head and demanded I name five current television shows, you'd be speaking to a dead man.

Nonetheless, when you're sitting in a hospital room with a wife who is resting and sleeping most of the time, reading only goes so far.  Especially since in hospital rooms there's no such thing as peace and quiet.  So between reading materials, I found myself sometimes turning on the television. 

Most of what I watched when my wife was up was Food Network, since at this point she's not to get to riled up.  I can think of nothing less stimulating than Food Network.  Plus some of the shows are fun.  We watched a couple other stations, just to see what is going on in the modern world of television.  There were a couple stations that played older shows and we watched those as well. 

But I noticed something.  In the world of marketing, advertising and corporate America, white families simply don't exist at this stage in the game.  In those days of watching various networks and seeing endless dozens of commercials, I saw not one that featured a family portrayed by actors that was white.  The closest was one white dad doing housework for his white kids.  And one featured two white kids with two white dads.  Otherwise?  Not a single Ward and June in that batch.

There were other combinations.  Black families ruled, and I'd guess half of the ads featured all black families.  Mixed racial families were also common.  In fact, apparently white people no longer marry white people, thus says Madison Avenue.  Asian families, Hispanic, Middle Eastern were also featured in different commercials..  But not a single white family of all the ones I saw.

This does not, of course, count local commercials where a business owned by a white family was featured.  Nor does it count any products sponsored by a celebrity who happens to be white.  It's commercials that feature 'a family' portrayed by actors.  

Apparently the research that marketers and advertisers use in formulating their ad campaigns concluded having all white families is not good for the product's promotion.  There would be no other reason.  It's not a coincidence.  No way. That was on purpose.  Let that sink in.  Imagine what we are told about the reason blacks didn't feature in American movies or American advertising back in the day.  Why didn't they?  Because racism.  Now think of today. 

The great sleight of hand of the Left has been to convince everyone - including the celebrated Catholic Church - that the best remedy for racism is racism done right.  From the highest ecclesiastical leaders to global agencies, international governments, and almost every major institution here at home, that trick has been completely embraced.  So much so that commercials featuring gay dads, lesbians and even a transgender papa are understood as what Americans want, along with families of any and ethnic group imaginable.  But white families need not apply.  Again, let that sink in.  Then consider the logical and predictable ramifications

As a bonus, here's a story that has hit the Internet waves because it's so racist stupid. Apparently a fair young pop star named Olivia Rodrigo muses on the fact that she once thought only white girls could be pop stars.  No, she's not 118 years old.  She appears quite young.  Young enough that such obviously white pop stars as Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Gladys Knight, Janet Jackson, Gloria Estefan, Diana Ross, and endless others (these right off the top of my head) were already old matriarchs of the pop world by the time she came along.

See what is happening?  In addition to promoting the 'Eew, ick, yuck, a white person!' mentality, it's also incumbent upon the new Left to eradicate the history of any non-whites who challenge the 'Only white people ever' narrative.  That's where eliminating American Indian sports names or African American spokeswomen from products gets you - the elimination of those people.  

So we have this blind stupidity by Ms. Rodrigo.  Was she really that thick that she missed entire swaths of the entertainment industry to conclude that? Or does she know that ignoring the undesirables is demanded by the Leftist State, and so she regurgitates the appropriate talking points?  Only time will tell.  But beyond the dearth of white families in commercials, expect less and less time to be spent celebrating the various ethnic minorities who achieved great things against overwhelming odds and real prejudice in the months and years to come. 

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

The New Prolife Christian movement is dead

If it ever really lived.   

I'm the last one to say the Texas bill is perfect.  I don't know legal stuff.  I'm a little skittish about reports that this encourages citizens to spy on and seek out those who perform abortions.  I didn't like the same mentality that encouraged people to spy on and seek out those who dared question the latest dogmas regarding Covid.   Those who favored the latter, however, have no business fussing about anything like it in Texas.

Nonetheless, if the NPL Christians were actually prolife, they would stand with the Texas law despite what flaws may be within the law.  Just as they so often do when they stand arm in arm with any law or policy advanced by the Left, no matter flaws or ungodly premises those laws possess.   They could defend the law, and make it clear they will help to make sure any parts of it that may harm the innocent will be remedied.  They could do anything other than join with the forces that would pine for the prayers of Satanists in order to sustain the mass slaughter of disabled babies.  

But since the best I've seen from New Prolife Christians has been silence, and the worst has been rhetoric lifted straight out of Planned Parenthood's playbook, I see no reason to continue the charade.  The vaunted New Prolife movement is nothing more than a pro-Leftist movement dedicated to the Left at all costs.  Period.  It will destroy anything that stands in the way of the Left.  And it doesn't give a damn about how many innocents are slaughtered in the process. 

If that's prolife, I'm a fiddler crab.  The time of lies and cowardliness in the face of these Christians who have aligned with the powers of Hell must come to an end.  Those who continue calling anyone who defends the culture of slaughter for debauchery 'pro-life' will be individuals I won't waste another minute reading. 

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Goodbye General Lee

The national press is giddy over the news that the statue of Robert E. Lee will be removed from the Virginia state capital this week.  Just giddy.   The Taliban would be proud.  The modern Left doing what so many enemies of America tried to do an failed. 

UPDATE: Apparently they didn't just remove it.  They tore it apart, to the cheers of adoring mobs.  The growing insistence that black Americans never forgive America, hate it, and want it burned to the ground will be one of the greatest injustices every visited on black Americans.  Meanwhile. Christians and Christian traditions stand by ... or join in.  If you ever wondered how bad things happened in the past, you need only watch what is happening in the present, and who's eager to jump on the bandwagon. 

A defense of Critical Race Theory

Over at National Catholic Reporter, courtesy of  Brian Fraga. Read it here

My thoughts.  If CRT was just some legal splitting of hairs in law schools, or a college course designed to look at the history of racism around the world and through the ages, I can't imagine anyone in the world caring.  I'm fine with learning about racism in America then and now.  I'm happy to learn about race hate between immigrants who came here, between blacks and Hispanics, and everyone toward Jews.  In short, I'm fine learning about yet one more sad characteristic all too common throughout the history of mankind. 

Of course in America, Caucasians, being the majority, had the benefit of being the majority where their racism was concerned.  I would never suggest otherwise.  That also made racism against a white Jew a bit different than against a black former slave.  Likewise, racism ebbed and flowed over the generations and was and wasn't the same in different parts of the vast American continent over endless generations.  

Teach all of that, and I'm good to go.  But sadly, what CRT actually is happens to be up for grabs.  It boils racism down to a political punch line.  The vast and complex history of racism as it fits in the broader history of human interactions is reduced to a sound byte.  

It either is or isn't being taught in our schools, does or doesn't promote sizing people up based on their ethnic identities, or does or doesn't repeat decidedly leftwing anti-Western sentiments.  Just the fact that you can't get CRT's advocates to agree on just what it is and where it's being taught or if it's being taught at all is enough to send up warning signs.

From what I can tell, too much of CRT seems to endorse the Left's desire to balkanize Americans and find new ways to divide people up based on antagonistic demographic groups.  When I listen to people who advocate for CRT in our secondary and elementary schools, it sounds as if they are saying we should make assumptions about the children based on their appearance.  For me, that's a deal stopper right there. 

For instance, a young white girl is assumed to be privileged.  A young black boy is assumed to be oppressed.  Never mind that the white girl is raised in poverty and sexually abused at home, assume she has privilege based on skin color.  Or the young black boy who frequently bullies his overweigh classmate has two wealthy parents and has never seen a cop aside from television because his time is spent between exclusive clubs and fashionable pastimes.  But he's oppressed, his skin color says so.  Even the Catholic Church appears to approve this message. 

Based on everything put in practice so far, CRT pushes us to make those initial judgments based on skin color and identity, and nothing I've heard from CRT proponents suggests otherwise.  Hence why we knew George Floyd was killed because of racism.  We knew absolutely nothing except the skin color of the two individuals in question.  And yet almost every leader in every nation, the pope, and almost all representatives of every major institution in our country and the world said it had to eb racism.  Because skin color.  

To me, that is a step backwards a thousand miles and two hundred years.  Nothing I saw in this well written article, or in any other pitch for CRT - and pitch for CRT it was - has suggested otherwise. 

Saturday, September 4, 2021

RIP Willard Scott

Willard Scott has passed.   Mr. Scott was one of those people who were a part of the Story of Dave.  That is, the world in which I grew up, came to understand things, and generally moved form childhood to adulthood.   It's all those things, images, events, movies, songs, books, classes, games, parks, walks with parents, and television weathermen that make the world the one I know.  

In Willard's case, beyond my knowing of him as the first Ronald McDonald, he was often the butt of jokes from the Letterman generation, especially because of his famous Smuckers shout out to elderly citizens breaking that 100th birthday mark.  I now see that sort of humor as one of the defects of my generation. 

But he was Mr. parade announcer, weatherman, and fellow with a perpetual smile.  No doubt behind the scenes he had his moments.  But in hindsight, he's the type of fixture in my cultural memories that I'm glad was there.  When I consider many others I looked up to back in the day, what they really represented, or what they became, I think it's nice that a Willard Scott was there, paying attention to the elderly, making people feel good, and generally doing what he could to make people feel a little happier in the day. 

Say what you will, that's not a bad way to spend a life.  Thanks for the memories and the smiles and the Senior Citizen shout outs Mr. Scott.  May God bless you and those you leave behind. 

Reflection on New Prolife Catholic values

One of the bedrock teachings of Catholic morality is "You shall not do evil that good may come of it."  That principle is not abrogated by the false New Prolife Catholic dogma "Opposition to white conservative MAGA types with white skin taketh away the sins of the world."  See how that works?  

Sorry, but I'd trust Fred Phelps to describe the Gay Rights Movement before I'd listen to most progressive Catholics discuss anything Christian, much less Catholic.  

As an added bonus, and as if to illustrate his own point, here is what we assume is Mark's reaction to the SCOTUS decision on Texas' anti-abortion law because siding with the side dedicated to unrestrained abortion for any reason at all is still less evil than white conservative Evangelicals who vote Republican:



Yep.  That's as prolife as it gets, right?   There is some debate, since the Texas law says nothing about punishing people who are 'standing near' a woman who had a miscarriage. There were no links or references in his post, so there's enough plausible deniability if someone really calls him on it.  But by all accounts, added to the timing, this is his Seamless Garment, Whole Life, New Prolife reaction to the first real SCOTUS attempt to push back against Roe v. Wade since Roe v. Wade.  Something, it's worth noting, Mark insisted conservatives on the court would never do. 

If that's his idea of New Prolife, I'll happily stand with the old brand that really is about being pro-life, at least as understood through the historical Catholic faith. 

Pre-Publish Updates!  What?  What's a pre-publish update?  Even as I put this post together, yet another image of Mark's Twitter account came my way: 


Wow.  What can  you say?  Note a key justification for attacking opponents of the leftwing culture of death is based on Mark judging and condemning the ulterior motives and inner hearts of those who oppose the Left.  That is hardly unique to Mark, BTW.  I've notice a tremendous amount of leftwing ideology is justified by condemning not the actions and ideals of its opponents, but their motives and hearts.  Always a bad sign when you must ignore Jesus to attack others in the name of Jesus. 

Now Mark would argue he is still pro-life.  In that regard, he can insist he doesn't support Planned Parenthood's counterattack to preserve Roe v. Wade, he simply aligns with Planned Parenthood in attacking those who would end Roe v. Wade because they really don't care despite what they do.  That's what comes from ignoring the admonition to let your yes be yes, and instead resting on letting your maybe be possibly.  

I write this because, being out of the loop, I've not had time to really get my mind around much of what has happened since last week.  I know, I said I would avoid Twitter - most of the time.  Mark's egregious alignment with the pro-abortion forces of the culture of death for debauchery in the name of being pro-life, while continuing to be called upon by Catholic outlets and ministries to speak on Catholic Social Teaching, is worth calling attention to.   

Friday, September 3, 2021

Once again Pope Francis calls out the sin of gluttony in an age of anorexia

Yep. Says so right here.  One thing that has perplexed me since I became Catholic is the obsession many Catholics have with bashing puritanism and fundamentalism.  While I'm sure those exist in some pockets of Catholicism, they are hell and gone from the problems plaguing the majority of modern era Catholicism.

I've quoted before an old - and Catholic - classmate of mine.  When it came to chasing girls, he used to quip that it's better to find an atheist girl than a religious girl ... but Catholic girls are a safe bet.  Sadly, in my meager contribution to the 1980s social scene, I found little to suggest his appraisal was wrong. 

And it's not just historically rooted Catholic moral teachings that the majority of modern Catholics happily flip the bird to.  Study after study shows that a growing number, and in some cases majority, of modern Catholics in the dying West no longer believe in a swath of theological doctrines as well. 

The Trinity?  Virgin Birth?  Transubstantiation?  Yeah, right.  Hell?  Where the hell did that go?  Universalism, implicitly contemplated if not openly endorsed, is all the rage.  I've seen it in multiple Catholic forums as well as our parish, where removing references to hell in traditional prayers has become as Catholic as fish fries during Lent. 

Despite all of this, Pope Francis joins the common lament that the problem we have in 1930s Germany is all the damned communists.  I'm sure communists in Germany in the 30s were a problem.  But were they the problem?  Picking on someone or something of little consequence in order to avoid like the plague a real problem is as good as being a major contributor to the real problem.

Catholics - including Pope Francis - are going to have to admit the narrative of the Global Left is wrong, and it isn't those isolated pockets of traditional (though not leftwing) fundamentalists who are the problem, but the growing swaths of post-Christian, Marxist inspired revolutionaries hell-bent on eliminating life, liberty and the pursuit of the Gospel who are the problem.  Until they do, expect the Vatican II era Church to continue to be defined by its gushing numbers and impotent stance against the real problems plaguing the world today.  

Thursday, September 2, 2021

A GoFundMe request from my oldest son

I'm not a big fan of putting out the hat in times of need.  That's from my Depression Era parents who generally operated on 'will work for food, but won't take handouts' philosophy.  While less stringent than them, I still prefer to work things out on my own.  

Nonetheless, I have had times in recent years of calling on the greater community to help.  That happed with flying colors when our oldest hurt his leg a couple years ago.  That itself wasn't as devastating as that it followed over a year of one medical crisis after another that pretty much bled us dry.   The response was wonderful and we still give thanks for the generosity we saw.

I say all that because our oldest is trying to do his part to help during this time.  Since we are fully insured, it stands to reason the out of pocket expenses that will hit us will be mind blowing (more on the real problem with healthcare costs in some other post).  I admit it will be tough.  Just the initial costs I've seen suggest a mountainous level of bills.  I'd be happy to make it work, however, and that includes telling the bill collectors that their accountants will be little old number crunchers before the mountain of bills get paid off from our bank account.

But in wishing to do his part for the family (beyond putting his culinary expertise to restructuring our diets around a heart healthy menu), he has set up another GoFundMe, and I'm thankful for that.  If you can't, I certainly understand.  Especially if you were among those who helped so much the last time.  But if you can even share this or get the word around, it would do nothing but help.  

Here is the link.  

No matter what please continue offering up your prayers.  We're only in the first steps of a new journey, and prayers will be needed and much appreciated.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Update: Prayers answered

OK, so here's the update. It's been quite a whirlwind, and I'll  try to post when I can.  I'll also unpack the rather interesting ways in which this event developed. But for now, CliffsNotes version.

My wife is home.  She did have a heart attack, albeit a mild one.   That is good.   It's still a heart attack of course.  Like the cardiologist said, a Category One tornado is still a tornado.  A year from now, if this didn't happen now, it likely would have been far more devastating.   

She will have to go through cardiac therapy.  Naturally she's on a boatload of meds now.  Fortunately my sons were able to step up and hold the fort and take care of my mom while I was at the hospital (more on that, too).  They've adjusted things to make sure one or the other is around to help in the upcoming weeks and months. 

Not sure what's next.  I remember when my dad had his heart.  Things changed after that.  Of course he was also diagnosed with diabetes at the same time.  Something my wife does not have.  Since we have been exercising and our diet has never been terribly unhealthy, she likely helped mitigate the impact. 

So that's a brief update.  Prayers worked.  It could have been much, much worse.  As it is, they're hoping therapy and medications will get her back on track with no need for anything more intrusive.  Please keep the prayers going and as things unfold, I'll be back. 

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Prayers request

That's not a typo.  I mean prayers, as in many, frequently, often.  I've been at the hospital since Friday with my wife.  Doctors believe she has suffered from a mild heart attack.  Her family has a long history of heart problems, and she's actually quite old to have encountered her first cardiac crisis.  

Nonetheless, you're never ready to hear those words applied to a loved one.  She's undergoing testing and treatments, and praying that this will be caught early enough that medications and the treatments they've used are good to get her back on the road to recovery. 

So any prayers available, we would appreciate it.  Get the word out and call those prayer chains.  More information to come as it unfolds.   

Friday, August 27, 2021

At least it wasn't a hate crime

If you've missed this story, it's probably because you get your news from national press outlets.  The story of a white father shot and killed by a black assailant who, according to witnesses, went on to dance over the father's body is local news fare at best.  Why?  Because it's a white father who died heroically blocking his child from the black gunman. 

Had it been the opposite, a white gunman and a black father complete with gloating over the victim, you bet your damn bank account that this would be a national press narrative, even with Afghanistan blowing itself halfway to hell and the floods and fires we continue seeing on the national news cycle.  

But it wasn't.  One of the greatest evils the modern press has visited upon mankind has been to sanctify the idea that we should only care about human suffering if we can exploit that human suffering for our pet agendas.  It's not new.  This has been happening for years.  Likely generations.  All the news that's fit to print is just a way of saying all the news we choose to report on, versus the stories that we choose not to cover.  I think nobody ever stopped to ask what the standards were for making such decisions.

Today, it's not hard to figure the standards.  Can a killing be exploited to drive home the 1619 Project Narrative?  Or perhaps the persecution of the LGBTQ movement?  Or gender inequality?  Guns, of course, are always a safe bet.  But we can't let gun stories that bring questions about the above narratives get out of hand.  So even if this might buttress the gun control narrative, a black man dancing over the dead white father he just shot could get the sheeple to ask questions about white privilege and white only racism. 

So don't expect any household names out of this.  I Googled the story and found only a couple national level outlets even mention the story.  Most stories were either conservative outlets or local news outlets.  It's the point where I can almost guess which stories will be ignored by the press based on the demographic identity of the parties involved.  The worst part?  I'm almost always right.  And that is a scandal. 

May God have mercy on the soul of the killer, and cover the victim's family with peace and strength.  May the victim's son grow up to remember his dad as the hero he was, not as a body danced upon by a man seen as the real victim of his father's privilege.  And may God have mercy on the twisted and wicked field of journalism that so doesn't care about anything or anyone, and increasingly gloats over the fact that we know this but can do nothing about it.  

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Come to the League of Catholic Bloggers


Really, here is the link.  Come on over and visit, because many great bloggers who are sticking the landing of Catholic faithfulness are there.  Oh, and I will be too, as I've been extended an invitation to be added to their lists of contributors. So I'll be part of the august company of those trying to stay faithful in these turbulent times.  

Everyone who visits here knows I play pretty fast and loose with my writing, envisioning a 'casual conversation around a pint at a pub' blog than seeing my posts as dissertation level submissions.  Nonetheless, with school coming my output may be hampered a bit.  Therefore, to make up for that I'll pull out the old Strunk and White and at least try to keep it in good company with some pretty awesome contributors to the cause. 

My posts will be here of course, picked up there, but make sure you visit to see the busload of other good insights and articles.  Meantime, see you in the funny papers. 


Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Western Civilization A postmortem in 3 Links

Here is link number one, looking at our demise from the POV of the Taliban and almost any other culture we assume must not be as bad as we are. It's odd, but multiculturalism has brainwashed  so many Westerners into clinging to the idea that only in the Christian West is evil manifested.  No matter what non-Westerners actually do that's evil, that 'West=Evil' framework is still the rock solid basis for modern leftwing thinking.  Let people who may or may not be terrorists fly jets into our skyscrapers, killing thousands in the process, and the almost knee-jerk reaction will be 'what did we do to make them hate us?'.  As we watch the Taliban set up another terror state, don't expect it or the suffering of millions under their rule to do much to stop that suicidal notion in the West that we alone have no right to exist.  Against forces with a strong sense of self and worth, don't expect the West  - with no sense of self or worth - to last much longer. 

Here's number two, in which the long, slow decline of the Western values is kicked around.  The loss of virtue is a key point, with the subsequent loss in real concern for our own civilization .  The Left has almost sanctified hating everything and everyone having to do with the civilization we inherited.  A key feature of this strategy has been to turn as many generations as possible into drugged up, sexed up, narcissistic nihilists.  Who cares?  That's the mantra of so many, unless caring is a way to declare my superiority to my neighbor.  And if someone's grandchildren get what we deserve, all the better.  Compared to that, cultures and movements like the Taliban or Communist China or Islam, or even the still hobbling along former Soviet Union, will have little trouble mopping the floor with what's left of the country once called land of the free and home of the brave. 

Last and by no means least, number three is an interesting reflection on the year in the 1990s that Western culture officially died.  I'm sure people could quibble about the date, but I'm finding more and more recognize that it was some time in the 1990s that the bottom fell out.  

There were still some glimmers I think.  There seemed to be a sort of 'patriotic' renaissance of sorts, with Apollo 13, Saving Private Ryan, Band of Brothers and similar fare.   You could also see some of that across the ocean in BBC productions.  But it was short lived and all but wiped out a few years after 9/11.  So 1996 as the year it began to die?  You decide. 

At the end of the day, we know the West is dying, and most likely dead.  Even in my pastoring days, we used to say it's no longer a question of if, but of when, Western Civilization will be a thing of the past. That was said particularly of Europe.  By the early 2000s, it looked more and more like America deserved to be added to the list.  Not if but when the West would be gone, that was the only question.

Now, the question is if the West has already died and we didn't notice, or if it's merely in Hospice, counting the hours.  Probably a cool third of those raised in the West will be happy to see it die, since they've bought into the idea that were it not for the Christian West, there likely would be no evil in the world.  Another batch - let's say a third for fun - is like so many former defenders of the West, and that's people wondering when a good time to jump ship will be.  For now, we won't get into those outside of the West who are no doubt happy to see this turn of events.  

Saturday, August 21, 2021

A nice story

Really.  Just a nice story.  No commentary needed, except a reminder that for all the bad in the world, there are still those little Christian soldiers out there worth remembering.  

HT: Nate Winchester

Friday, August 20, 2021

A Fantasia Tribute

And no, I don't mean that deplorable digital dung heap released in 2000.  That should have been a warning sign about how far we had fallen as a civilization.  Though, in fairness, in 1941, many in the upper class of the day no doubt thought the same thing when they viewed Disney's attempt to elevate animated film to both a sophisticated art form as well as an art form for the masses.  

Upon its initial release, he failed on both counts.  Those in 'Society' scoffed at the cheap and disrespectful approach to the lofty heights of classical music that his animated film demonstrated.  More damming for Walt Disney, however, was the fact that the public also turned their backs on the work.  What were lines dancing about next to hippos and dinosaurs behind a type of music with which many were unfamiliar? 

That ended Disney's attempts to elevate animated film.  Though he would dabble with this or that artistic spin on a cartoon - most notably his 1959 film Sleeping Beauty - he resigned himself mostly to producing fun but fluffy cartoons of roughly 3/4 movie length.  Many became classics of course, only to fall on the PC chopping block in our time.  But none tried to reach the artistic heights he was grasping for in 1941 with Pinocchio and Fantasia.

In our house, Fantasia is a sort of 'semi-viewing' pre-autumnal tradition.  My love for autumn is well know to anyone who has spent more than a few years following my blog.  As the boys grow and move on in life and the traditions fade, it might not have the same punch that it used to have.  Likewise, in an odd twist, I find myself less nostalgic now than I used to be in my younger years.  I'll have to think on that strange development some day.

But not today.  Instead, I just want to post a shout out to what I consider one of Disney's best ever attempts at anything, and that's the original 1941 Fantasia.  I'm no film critic, so I'm not giving a point by point review.  I merely point out that it's been a sort of pre-game warm up for our Fall festivities over the years.  It's not an every year thing, but I find it fits nicely into what I said some years ago about fantasy and Fall appearing to go hand in hand. 

In keeping with Disney's serious Anglophilia and love of old European folklore, there is plenty of 'fantasy' in the mix.  Though I never cared for fantasy growing up, I've warmed to the genre over the years.  This was helped by my sons being into it, having come of age in the 2000s when The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and all things wizardry and mythical monsters were the name of the game. 

Fantasia manages, in small doses, a mixture of classical fantasy and classical music.  The rebellious Leopold Stokowski provides the soundtrack, and his interpretation of the scores in question is still the measuring rod I use when I hear the various pieces in other outlets. 

Deems Taylor, a music critic of the time, provides the narration.  Like all things that tout the latest tech or science, it can seem dated if he dwells too long on the latest, greatest breakthroughs of the day.  Likewise, in an age of Google, many of the things he mentions about the musical pieces are old hat and well known, though in the day it was likely assumed that Mr. Everyman wouldn't have known some of the basic bits of trivia about this or that composer or composition.

The real stars are the Disney artists.  In each case, they were given more or less a blank check to envision different interpretations of the music, and then set them onto celluloid.  For the sequence of Beethoven's 6th "Pastoral" Symphony, they literally invented colors, as Disney gave the artists an open invitation to mix the pallets any way they wanted, and come up with anything the could for the coloring.  It was a bit like The Beatles' recording sessions during the Sgt. Pepper album: the sky was the limit. 

There are plenty of things to like about this film, but overall it grasps a certain 'here's the thinking in 1941', as much of the world was already plunged into war, and Americans were holding onto the last desperate - and likely futile - hope for innocence and peace of bygone days.  Much of high culture was still separated from the masses, thus it remained 'high culture.'  Likewise, appeals to faerie or myth or supernatural evil could be presented, knowing we were already secularizing our understanding of reality, while those old tales were not entirely lost on those same masses. 

But it's a fine 'fantasy lite' prelude to the coming fall season.  The Sorcerer's  Apprentice, initially the only piece Disney envisioned, is as fantasy as you get.  Complete with conical hats and wizard's laboratories in old castles, it's straight out of a European Fantasy primer.  The Nutcracker Suite ditches nutcrackers and Christmas trees and rather envisions a fairyland nature spirit dance of animated plants, ballet fish and elemental sprites bringing about spring and winter. The aforesaid Pastoral Symphony is one of the fantasy high points, taking us back to classical Greek mythology filled with a drunken (but not nasty) Dionysus who bounces about surrounded by pegasi, centaurs and cupids.  Zeus and Hephaestus and various Olympus companions even make an appearance.  

Compared to these, my least favorite segments are the Toccata and Fugue in D Minor (sorry, but that's an organ piece - by BACH!* - and strings don't quite do it for me), and The Rite of Spring.  As much as it may have looked cutting edge at the time, it seems a bit dated and I've never been a Stravinsky fan anyway.  We won't discuss the dancing hippos and alligators in the Dance of the Hours.  I either hate it or find it charming and sometimes both and neither at the same time.  I'll have to get back to that some other day. 

The creme de la creme, of course, is the dueling pieces at the end, Mussorgsky's A Night on Bald Mountain transitioning into Schubert's Ave Maria.  Now, the Ave is, if you can grasp it, a somewhat secularized version.  Clear and obvious religious accoutrements have been removed from the scene.  While we hear the music, all we see is a candlelight procession by hooded sojourners through a stunning use of camera work, c. 1941 (and completed only moments before its world premier).  

But even if Chernabog strikes an eerie similarity to Bela Lugosi, and the pilgrims could be of any faith or tradition, the segment works.  It's an apt ending to a film chockablock full of old world images, ancient myths and supernatural assumptions.  No matter how things are going, and how various pieces in the film sit with me on a given viewing, the final segments never cease to inspire me and remind me of what our modern tech/STEM world seems desperate to forget:  In the end, we're always about the battle between good and evil, whether in the ancient world, the medieval, or the modern STEM obsessed world in which we live.

And no, I won't get into the usual spiel about the old racist images that had to be removed and are no longer found on copies produced in the last several generations.  A reminder that what we're seeing today about changing and editing offensive art has been going on for decades, even while the ones doing it were insisting there is nothing more heinous or unacceptable that censoring or editing offensive material from art. 


Oh, and one more thing.  To be exact, it's the soundtrack that really marks the beginning of the pre-season anticipation in our house.  When I was in college and 'collector's sets' were all the rage in the exploding VHS days, I received a few such packages for Christmas.  They often had booklets and some extra bits and pieces, a lithograph perhaps, an old promotional poster, and some such.  The Fantasia Set, which I still have, came with two CDs (again, new tech back then) of the entire soundtrack.  Round about August, I slip those into our old multi-CD player and let Stokowski herald the coming fun.  

Like the Carpenter's A Christmas Portrait begins the seasonal anticipation once Santa rides down in front of Macey's in the minds of my sons, so they say hearing the opening notes of Fantasia's version of Toccata and Fugue to this day sets their minds to looking toward fall,.  It's almost a Pavlovian response. 

If nothing else, we've managed to instill in our sons a love of traditions, even if certain popes may not care for such things.  Though traditions invariably rise and fall, and eventually fade away, I find they're also a nice binding glue for the family.  A binding, I might add, that even if crazy bad like 2020 Covid era torpedoes almost everything, we can still cling to a few signposts out of all the traditional signposts we've built.  And one of those, easily kept no matter what is happening in the wide world, is a walk through Disney's master achievement that spirits us away for a time to a land of good and evil, dinosaurs and wizards, and even dancing hippos from a world ready to put all hopes of clinging to the good old days to rest on the battlefields of WWII.

I thought of that as we had our annual Harvest Feast and, you just know it, I made sure the two Fantasia CDs were front and center in the music score in the background.  Again, that's the cue to get ready, because the fun it about to begin. 

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Joe Biden as Jimmy Carter redux

I don't mean Biden as an ineffective leader, or as a president overseeing a collapse in America's foreign policy standing in the world.  I don't even mean the inflation that puts us old timers in mind of the glory days of the late 1970s.  I mean as a president the news media clearly didn't want, was stuck with and so supported over the alterative, and now will throw him under the bus at the first opportunity.   

The reason why the media culture's jump into bed with Bill Clinton in 1993 was so shocking to me was because I had only known a world in which the media culture - including the world of entertainment - was antagonistic to the president.  Certainly that included both Reagan and Bush.  It also concluded Jimmy Carter.  Carter was the first president I was aware of, and paid attention to, in my childhood.  I remember Nixon only because of Watergate, and Ford only as the guy who replaced Nixon. 

Though his election heralded the famous Year of the Evangelical, it didn't take long for Carter to become the butt of jokes from the pop culture, and the target of journalists everywhere.  As things went from bad to worse, the press seemed every bit as hostile to Carter as any Republicans I knew.  But then having grown up in a family of Democrats, there were plenty of of my relatives who were also unhappy with Carter - hard to believe open criticism from one's own supporters nowadays.  So it didn't make me think twice about the press doing what my family of Democrats were doing as well. 

But in 1993, everything changed.  Beginning with Bill Clinton's giant Hollywood produced Inauguration gala, in which Hollywood moguls and superstars joined with journalists to gush over the new era of the Clinton Administration, it couldn't help but make my head spin.  I began that day wondering what happened.  I thought it was the job of all these institutions to speak truth to power, not party with it.  And besides, it wasn't so easy as 'well, Democrat vs. Republican.'  After all, Carter was a Democrat wasn't he?

Now, a generation had come and gone by that time, and it's true that the next wave of Boomer hippies in suits had assumed the controls of cultural output.  A position they have yet to relinquish.   So part of it may have been the old guard having stepped down at just the time Reagan cam into being, allowing the next generation to continue attacking Reagan - not because it's what they do, but because Reagan was conveniently Republican. 

But explanations like that are too slick and too easy.   After all, many of those partying with the Clintons were already out there in the 70s, going after Carter.  Why the difference?  Just a cultural shift?  Lowering the bar and the standards?  Or could it be they never wanted Carter in the first place?

Remember, by the 1970s, the Democrats were becoming firmly enmeshed in the secular, leftwing radicalism focused on tearing down the values and institutions of America's heritage.  A brief survey of the cultural output from that time shows that the shift toward 'Communism Rocks, America is Nazi!' in television, movies  and even textbooks was well under way.  Then why the Carter hate?  He was a Democrat after all.

True, but he wasn't that type of Democrat.  He was, after all, the Evangelical Democrat.  Barely squeaking by the replacement president who pardoned Nixon, he was likely an appeal to the social and religiously conservative base that the Democrats were quickly abandoning.  How to assuage concerns that the Democrats were more conserved about socialism than solidarity with America's values?  Easy.  Elect a guy that looks like he could be a preacher in a Baptist tent revival, that's how. 

It had to be done.  Hoisting a Kennedy or other radical Democrat embracing the secular left might well have been all it took to nudge the needle just enough for Ford, who barely lost in 1976, to be reelected.  And how devastating would it be to your party's current direction if the guy who replaced Nixon and then pardoned him following one of America's greatest political scandals in history still won? 

So Carter was a sacrificial lamb.  Appeal to Middle America, insist the Democrats aren't really pushing the atheistic Marxist America hate that many are beginning to wonder about, and serve him up to the polls.  But once he's in?  Screw him.  Let him burn.  Maybe by 1980 they can run a more 'acceptable' candidate and take the White House in the direction they want. 

Perhaps.  This may have been their thinking.  It makes sense, given where we've watched the Democrats go.  But that brings us back to Biden.  Biden was the media's darling in 2016.  Never has the Left forgiven Reagan for not only leaving as the most popular president in modern times, but having his popularity be enough to boost GHW Bush into the Oval Office.  The 2000 election was supposed to be payback for that, but it didn't work.  2016 would be when the Democrats could finally boast that two term president so believed for being the greatest after, that his VP simply strolled in on his boss's coattails.  After all, the press had all put staked Obama up in the field of legends, and attacked anything less than Obama-Worship as the product of race hate.  To fail Obama, including supporting his obvious VP, could easily be assumed after 8 years of the press and the White House Press Secretary being all but one and the same. 

But it didn't happen.  Biden dropped out, leaving Hillary Clinton - one of the worst politicians and political candidates ever - to hold the baton.  And we all know what happened next.  By 2020, the Left had shown its hand and everything was near warfare level partisanship.  Trump had to be defeated.  The only thing worse than Trump being elected would be Trump being reelected.  Anything had to be done to stop that.

Problem was, in only four short years, it was obvious that Biden was well past his prime.  Plus, he only knew the old liberal way of stealth compromise.  Under Trump, the Left no longer felt compromise was a needed strategy.  Vilify and destroy your opponents is what they wanted.  Not to mention that the inherent evil of the White Male after #MeToo and BLM made electing an old gray haired man almost the antithesis of their proclaimed designs. 

Remember, by early 2020, Biden was dead man walking.  The press had savaged and ravaged him.  Late night comedians were trashing him on a nightly basis.  Scandals and accusations and #MeToo attacks were buzzing around Biden like flies.  The problem was, despite all that, he still emerged as the only candidate that Democrats had left.  Every other preferred Dem candidate had stumbled, bumbled or burned during the debates and the campaign. 

By February of 2020 many were beginning to think Trump had this.  Despite the most naked coalition by the press and cultural institutions to defeat a president that I'm aware of, he was looking to a reelection and back to four more years.  So the media did what they had to do, and that's reinvent Biden on the spot.  Gone were those pesky women yelling assault.  Gone were the jokes and the mockery.  Almost overnight, the comedians stopped, the press shifted, and the educational, cultural and media institutions aimed like a laser on pushing Biden into the White House by any means possible.  Covid, of course, allowed the any means possible to be done for all to see without questioning. 

But now it's like 1976 redux.  Biden isn't who they wanted.  They want radical Left, they want BLM, LGBTQ, #MeToo.  They want target and destroy all opposition.  They want burn the Christian West and America's heritage to the ground.  They want the people who desire the extermination of the Left's opponents openly and joyously proclaimed.  They don't want a man struggling to string together a coherent sentence operating on old, dead notions of compromise and unity. 

So I think they're doing what they did in 1976.  The coverage of Biden, once July 4th came and went, has been anything but stellar.  True, they'll still take shots at Trump.  They'll focus on Republican governors.  They'll hoist the banner of anti-White, anti-Male, anti-Christian, anti-Western, and anti-non-conformist.  They'll even try to put positive spins on things that aren't going well.  After all, if things are too bad, we have the 2022 Midterms.  And one thing the press has learned from 2016, just because you declare things to be Utopia, doesn't mean those suffering during the lie will buy it.  

So as we've watched the press savage Biden over his bungling of the Afghanistan debacle, it brought to mind the way I witnessed journalists and editorialists in my pre-adolescent days savage Carter.  True, I've not seen Hollywood or the late night "Comedians" jump on board like they did in the 70s.  I think at this point Hollywood is incapable of anything but slavish thralldom to the political Left.  Period. 

But I couldn't help but get little bursts of remembrances.  I thought of that.  And I thought of broken down, tired looking Biden and his dumpster fire gaffe machine VP Kamala Harris.  They are not who the Leftist establishment wants.  They will be kept alive, on a sort of media life support, until time to jettison them.  But in the meantime, the press - and perhaps other leftwing venues - will show no particular love for them.  They will allow just enough damage so that when the time comes, a candidate more to their liking will be the one all who would defeat the genocidal Nazism of White American Conservatism will have to support.  No old school Biden types next time.  It will be someone far more radical. 

Plus, it builds credibility for a media in desperate need of the same. At the end of the day, nobody believes the press is objective.  Some, particularly those on the Left, lie and insist it is, but they aren't stupid enough to actually think that.  The rest can't miss the naked partisanship and ideological activism that defines the press today.  Being able to selectively trash 'their own guy' might just win back a little lost good will from at least some of the masses.  Enough, at least, so that next time they could get an important boost to help the candidate they really want into the Oval Office. 

Just musings and ramblings as my mind watches the now, and can't help but remember the then.