After 31 Years, Finally

Sunday, November 30, AD 2014

The sequel to Return of the Jedi will be released in December of 2015, titled Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

What makes this different from the previous three Star Wars prequels?  George Lucas had almost nothing to do with the making of the film.  Yes, no more Ewoks or Jar Jar Binks, or any other poor attempts at young children product placements that ultimately killed each prequel and Return of the Jedi.

Yes, Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back are in my opinion the best of the bunch.  Great special effects, storyline, and action.  Only to stumble with Return of the Jedi and the three prequels being prevented from being timeless classics.

The first trailer was produced for American audiences, the second trailer was made for the rest of the world.

What to look for?  Storm Troopers have a slightly redesigned appearance, the light saber now has two ‘light handle bars’, a Darth Sith “may” have survived from Return of the Jedi, and a few more minor tweaks to let you figure out.

Enjoy!

 

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3 Responses to After 31 Years, Finally

  • Jar-Jar Binks, the fictional character I would most like to ask to put his hand in a wood chipper to clear a blockage.

  • I hold a minority opinion in rather liking Return of the Jedi, though perhaps that is because it is the one I actually saw in the theater in its original release when I was six. The prequels also did improve in quality with each installment, even if the bar was low. All in all, I am looking forward to Episode Seven, and being able to watch it why my (then) six-year old daughter.

  • I want to laugh, but I saw it happen. Haven’t seen the Star Wars yet to discuss its morality or usefulness in indoctrinating our people.

Culture Without God

Friday, November 15, AD 2013

Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

Proverbs 29:18

 

As the above video indicates, a bad culture does not lead to brutal regimes.  The sick culture, like the brutal regime, are merely symptoms of a vast illness that was diagnosed by Aleksander Solzhenitsyn three decades ago:

 

More than half a century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of older people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.

Since then I have spent well-nigh fifty years working on the history of our Revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous Revolution that swallowed up some sixty million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.

What is more, the events of the Russian Revolution can only be understood now, at the end of the century, against the background of what has since occurred in the rest of the world. What emerges here is a process of universal significance. And if I were called upon to identify briefly the principal trait of the entire twentieth century, here too, I would be unable to find anything more precise and pithy than to repeat once again: Men have forgotten God.

One can have a healthy culture only when there is an atmosphere of hope.  In the absence of a belief in God despair grows in the human heart like fat on a pig.  To escape from that despair the usual culprits are called upon:  alcohol, drugs, sex, violence, all in an ultimately futile attempt to fill the God sized hole in one’s soul. 

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19 Responses to Culture Without God

  • Do you mean today, or the week after eviction from Eden?

    Such is our lot on this side of the vale. Such is also why we cry out, “Lord come quickly!”

  • Many who cry “Lord come quickly”, I suspect, will be unpleasantly surprised when He does come, but that is a subject for another post.

    Culture is always a mixed bag. However, since atheism, at least functional atheism, became popular among elites we have been on a downward spiral and I discern no bottoming out in the search for shock.

  • Quite right, Don. Though I do grow tired of having to say goodbye to so many fine folks. We may not morn as the pagans do, but we still morn.

    Though it does seem one starts to understand more the reasoning behind Deut 9:4 with “[I]t is on account of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is going to drive them out before you.”

  • “If the wicked refuse to join in the blessed endeavor, they should be loved as enemies are loved in Christian charity, since, as long as they live, there is the possibility that they may come to a better mind.” St. Augustine

    Do not fear that which only can kill the body. Fear God who can kill the body and soul in Hell.

    Not everyone who calls to Christ “Lord, Lord!” will enter the Kingdom, but only those that do what God wants them to do.

    On Judgment Day many will say, “Lord, Lord! In your name we drove out demons and performed mircales.” But, Christ will say, “I never knew you.” (Matt. 7:21-23; Luke 13:25-27)

    No one is good except God. (Matt. 19:16-30; Mark: 10:17-31; Luke 18:19).

    Then, how can anyone be saved? With God all things are possible. We cannot be saved on our own.

  • The Afterburner Video – Wow!

    Quia ventum seminabunt et turbinem metent.
    Prophetia Osee 8:7a

  • Oh, and I also think that speaking of Miley, this would be a good opportunity to bring up this classic insider’s perspective on the temptations and trials child starts go through.
    http://www.cracked.com/blog/7-reasons-child-stars-go-crazy-an-insiders-perspective/

    Parents, if you love your kids, keep them out of showbiz.

  • Question for the historians: Anyone with a fallen soul can understand how culture slides. How does it get better? I can only think of two endings for a slide: a revival, or a societal collapse and slow rebuilding. Revivals have come in different forms, as have collapses. (Tangent: the collapses happen in a way that future generations can blame them on something else, like inflation or military failure. It’s too bad.) Are there any other ways out? Can you predict which end a society is headed for? Broad questions, I know, but I’m curious to hear anyone’s answers.

  • A good example of a revival was Victorian England. Eighteen century British culture tended to be pretty gin-soaked grotesque. The Methodist Movement and its spreading among the urban poor helped lead to a striving for moral improvement.

    Another example was after Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire which led to the banning of gladiatorial duels, improvements in the status of women, amelioration of the condition of slaves, etc.

  • Pingback: What God Is and Isn’t - BigPulpit.com
  • Another good example is Ars, France after the prayerful warriorship, leadership, door to door work, and sacraments offered up by Father Jean Marie Vianney.

  • Very well-written and an excellant explanation of things. Thanks, Donald.

  • Men have forgotten God, and women are looking for love in all the wrong places.

    Looking out at the pulverization of the family ideal in America today, I thank God we have in His Word an original owner’s manual that we can consult to repair ourselves, as circumstances may allow.

  • Anyone with a fallen soul can understand how culture slides. How does it get better?

    It’s always easier to see how to destroy something nice than how to make it.

    I think that improving what you can, when you can, builds it back up.

  • At the center of every culture is a “cult”, the power source that is “source” of the culture, empowers it to continue to live, breathe and grow and protects the culture in order to preserve it. Those ” in charge” of the “cult” are ” the priests” ( careful- do not understandd this term in only Catholic ways) every culture has a cult with priests in charge of it and therefore fulfilling a leadership role in the culture.

    One can immediately bring to mind the entertainment culture with movie an TV programs being the main form of the cultures. Who are the “priests”? The celebrity actors and actresses who often go beyond their field, feeling totally empowered to speak on this or that cultural, moral or political issue. They feel entitled, are empowered and followed by many in the world. I certainly could go on with examples.

    Let me get more specific however. The academic and ruling elites ( the priests ) of the new American culture have ordained that our culture is to be secularist ( totally acting, deciding etc as ifvGodvdoes not exist) multicultural ( don’t be fooled.by this. Multiculturalism is the ONE authorized culture which states on paper there is no one culture but really is saying that there is no room for the traditional American Judaeo-Christian culture) This new culture is based basically on a pragmatic value system (I do not want to call it a morality) with certain ‘absolutes’ such as freedom from any exterior or cultural authority-except of course the state ( thus Cchurch authority cannot apply its teaching or Evangelicals cannot quote Scripture). This new culture seeks a very vague “equality” by which women have the right to choose abortion, people of the same gender may marry, and a growing thrust to achieve a utopian economic equality- just to name a few “absolutes”

    As for the Catholic Church’s response, it is important to note that one of the fundamental underlying issues of the Council of Trent was the relationship between grace and nature; one of the fundamental underlying issues of Vatican II was/is the relationship between grace/the Church and culture. The Church,bsince Trent had been in a somewhat defensive position. ThebChurch re achieved a certain synthesis in the post Tridentine era in what is commonly called the Baroque. This effect went beyond the Church and Catholic countries into the wider Western world-so much so that most people do not even realize that at the center of the Baroque culture in all of its levels and manifestations was the Tridentine Church and cult, the Tridentine Mass. The Baaroque culture and era did not last that long however. The Enlightenment. Raised new challenges which the Church found very difficult to cope with never mind transform with a new synthesis. The Ninteenth century found the Church more defensive ( after the French Revolution understandably) and more ” combative and condemnatory”. While the Church was fundamentally correct in preserving its teaching, it failed, miserably in trains forming the culture. In fact the greatest heresy of the day, Modernism, stated that the Church and her tewching needed to conform to the culture. See how much the Church had failed in her mission to be light, salt and leaven, transforming the culture.

    Vatican II set out to counter this slide. It sought to.both avoid the old condemnations and defensive postures while putting forth the Church’s teaching in a positive way. Instead of culture wars, VII sought the traditional way of the Church- not the apocalyptic clash of cultures but the slow but steady sacramental transformation of the culture. Vatican II can be best understood as it was presented by the Extraordinary a synod of 1985: “The Church as communion isvthevsacrament of salvation for the world”. This gives a very deep, traditional vision of the relationship of grace/Church with then world.

    At the center of every culture is the cult. It is the same with the Church in the world. The Eucharist, the Mass, is “the source and summit of the Christian life”. It is in the Eucharist, with the people of God gathered with their bishop ( in the parish through the priest) that the Church is manifested (Lumen Gentium). The Mass itself has two integral parts which empower the cult of the Mass: the Liturgy of the Word (Dei Verbum on Divine Revelation) and the Liturgy of the Eucharist (Sacrosanctum Concilium- on the Divine Liturgy). The People of God are fed ( empowered) at both the Table of the Word and the Table of the Eucharist. The Liturgy is the cult of the Church and the Church as communion ( with God an with one another) is the sacrament of salvation ( union with God and ultimately seeking the unity of all mankind) for the world. Thus the final fundamental document of VII, the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et Spes)

    This ” sacramental” way gets less press but it is both the traditional and most sure way of transforming our culture-from within

  • Botolph, I agree that at the center of every culture lies belief and that religion is the ‘soul’ of a civilization. Humans are homo liturgicus. First and foremost we are worshipping creatures, whether we worship creation or the Creator. I would contend that we continue to woship as secularists. We have a cult, a liturgy, rituals, etc., even if they are self-directed. When I was in San Diego I saw a church-like building dedicated to humankind in one of their parks. So this is something we simply can’t get away from. During the French revolution humanistic pageantry and theatrical displays placed man at the center of ‘the city.’

  • Jon,

    On this I believe we are in substantial agreement

  • Thank you Botolph – Great joy and hope! The teachings of Vatican II are blessed and ordered by God and can help reclaim the “cult-ure”. The last paragraph you wrote laid it out for me as if you were a grammar teacher, the teaching are a sentence and you showed me how to diagram the sentence

    Mystery continues- even when the people think they are sans God, they are not. He is present and working. And yes he is still working through the perhaps misunderstood Council, to redeem us not only as individuals, but to redeem human society. The call is to holiness. …and God’s word won’t return to him void. (Isaiah 55:11 happens to be a favorite verse)

  • Analyze,

    Thank you for your kind remarks. I am glad my comments helped

  • 🙂 I love it when people take my given name, Anzlyne, to be an internet moniker “Analyze” ! I am analytical to an extent, given enough time, but my quick way of looking at things would make “Intuit” a better moniker for me!
    I have been told that Anzlyne was the name of the country school teacher from Wales who taught my grandfather.

One Response to Confronting the Culture Without Embracing It

  • Paul I like your response in the webzine.

    The culture war has claimed many victims.
    The premise that we must break out of our cocoons to engage in the conflict is partially correct. I believe that our lifestyles and the peace we exude is attractive to souls that face the fallout of false “freedom.”
    Co-workers, young and peers alike, are witness to expressions of compassion and self-sacrifice. This is not a boast, this is the Holy Spirit in action, ( I take nothing for granted for I know my deplorable state as sinner)..however the door then is open to console, instruct and acknowledge the neighbor in ways more powerful and authentic than flashy fiction.

    We will help to win souls to good and wholeness by living our faith in authentic Christian virtue.
    I do appreciate your wisdom in your reply to Kurt’s piece.

A Real Job

Thursday, April 12, AD 2012

I’ve had it suggested that I write about motherhood a bit; be careful what you ask for.

 

….Yeah, I’m posting on that.  Some idiot talking head makes a slam at a grandmother with MS and everyone has to comment about it.  I think I have something worth saying, though, rather than just talking about it because it’s big.

 

I’m a stay at home mom.  A home-maker.  A house wife.

 

I have worked outside the home, before I got married, in a very similar field—I was a Petty Officer in the Navy, specializing in calibration. (Making sure things that measure are accurate enough.)  Before that, I was in another similar field, at least sort of—I was a ranch kid.

 

Perhaps some folks look at those things and are curious—what on earth is the connection between being a mother, working with cows and fixing stuff that’s used to fix planes and ships?

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11 Responses to A Real Job

  • My wife stayed home with the kids Foxfier until they were in highschool and now helps me out at the office while they are in school. (Our oldest is finishing up his sophmore year at the University of Illinois.) I have always thought that I work so that she can do the important work of the family in being the mom of our kids.

  • I have always thought that I work so that she can do the important work of the family in being the mom of our kids.

    Hey… maybe part of the problem is that “produce high quality adults” isn’t the main purpose of a family anymore? It’s about Husband and Wife, not Mom and Dad…. A sort of sister problem to the whole removing-reproduction-from-sex thing.

  • Donald: You have a blessed family.
    Foxfire: “It’s about Husband and Wife, not Mom and Dad…. A sort of sister problem to the whole removing-reproduction-from-sex thing.” The word “sex” is used to confound the difference between “love” and “lust”. Husband, wife, mom and dad are offices assumed through the exercise of free will, informed consent, and are vocations. Male and female refers to the human being’s gender. Man and woman are human beings composed of body and soul as created by God. To consider the sex of a person without considering the soul of a person is a crime. To place the wife and mom outside her vocation to which she has consented to in an act of free will is a violation of a person’s FREEDOM, a crime against who a wife and mom is as created by God. That Rosen presumes to know the heart of Ann Romney is plagiarism, jealousy. I just realized that the word jealousy ends in the word “lousy”. Rosen was being lousy. With family, husband, wife, children, one learns how to pray.

  • Found this:
    For thousands of years men were expected to provide for the household and women were expected to manage it. And in Memphis when I was growing up, most of the city commissions that actually ran the city were dominated by married women. There might be a figurehead man chairman, but everyone understood that the power rested with the commissioners, just about every one of them married, educated, and upper middle class. They had the time and interest to participate in self government. And of course most church committees and charitable functions were run by married women who had the time to participate in these associations. That’s not modern, of course. And surely we’re so much more civilized now and the children are so much more civilized since all that changed.

    http://www.jerrypournelle.com/jerrypournelle.c/chaosmanor/

  • There will be an extra bit of “oomph” in my intentions for you this Divine Mercy Sunday, FF.

    “The Mote In God’s Eye” is an all time classic, BTW.

  • This whole episode has made me so mad I just want to spit! I work full time and my husband stays home with the children. The very idea that staying with the children is not a ‘real job.’ The thought that my job is more important than raising children. How utterly insane the world has become. I can’t even put together a coherent thought.

    Foxfier, I like your phrase, sister problem. Well this attitude is a sister attitude to what I frequently find at work when having some child issue (like being tired after staying up all night with the baby). The attitude goes something like this, ‘It was your choice to have children, so it’s your own fault. If you don’t like being tired, you shouldn’t have had children.’ There is little empathy or perspective, just blame.

  • I stayed at home while my four kids were young. It was hard work, and we sacrificed the big house, the second car and many other luxuries for which I have no regret! I almost wanted to go back into the work force to get a little rest! But what I wanted even more was to be with and nurture my kids instead of daycaring them and barely affording the coverage. Lots of women in the mid to late 70?s and a little beyond still stayed home with their kids, as did all of the folks from my parents age group. “Stay at home Mom” should not now be a bad word. For those who can, God bless them- it is far better for your children! For those who cannot, God bless you as well; but please don’t be bitter and envious as some of these shrill women are.
    What is most stunning, is that the left consistently makes these ridiculously thoughtless and most often mean spirited statements, and never has to explain nor apologize for them!!!!

  • Foxfier—what is so important in your post is the recognition of the unity of the marriage, regardless of whether the mom works. We chose that my wife would “work” at the vocation of family friend, leader, spouse, mom, executive, etc. In so doing, probably like Don, I worked the heavy hours building a practice. There were many scary times along the way. I always find it interesting, as again in the judginess by the left, how a life dedicated to her family as with Mrs. Romney, a noble inspiring vocation, is viewed by polity in a snapshot rather than the video stream of what was, is and will be. It’s the same leftist view of the so called “rich.” The snapshot of what is now in an instant, not the life time of sacrifices, hard work, and purpose undertaken by many of the so called “rich” to achieve something for others.

    I can honestly remember growing up the normality of moms being home, and dads pouring themselves out to provide for the family. In post modernity, this is considered a defect. Strange times indeed.

  • I think Ms Rosen’s jab was a least in part motivated by class warfare– not only about whether or not working at home qualifies as “working”… some comments that I have read elsewhere are more about having the freedom to choose to stay home– which I know is always subject to what the values of the particular mom/dad are– some think they have to work when others would think they will cut back on their spending– but I do think class jealousy has something to do with the huge reaction.

  • You know as rich as Jackie Kennedy was, people were proud of her for having a job… the princesses of England are former schoolteachers etc– the class issue is at the bottom of it– the royal family of England knows it is important that the regular folks can identify with them

    Although lots of women don”t “have” to work they just like to get out of the house and use their other talents once in a while

  • Of course it was class warfare. Same as the old lie about only folks who are really well off can have a stay-at-home parent. Part of why there are so many programs to help pay for working mother’s daycare costs is because it usually doesn’t make economic sense otherwise; if you’re not willing to take handouts you don’t really need….

    While I was obviously not alive then, I get the impression that Mrs. Kennedy would have been lauded for anything she did. She was beautiful, fashionable, charming, married a handsome and charismatic hero that became president and died tragically and early. Any time they come up, my mom tends to point out that there were three pictures on the wall when she was a kid– Jesus, the Pope and JFK.

    Same way we’re supposed to be awed when the Obamas volunteer at a soup kitchen, but the Cheneys giving the majority of their income away is somehow bad; Sarah Palin running for office with kids at home is abandoning them, and Mrs. Romney having been a home-maker is a sign they’re spoiled, rich people.

    Don’t get me started on the “she had help” meme– I have no idea what their finances looked like when the boys were young, I doubt anyone spreading the meme has bothered to look into it, and I’d like to know what the heck daycare is if it’s not “help watching the kids.” Don’t see anyone discounting working mothers because someone else watches the kids part of the day….

American Taliban

Saturday, March 31, AD 2012

Here’s some news out of Egypt.

An Egyptian court has ordered the government to ban pornographic websites in order to protect society and its values.

The decision and a similar initiative in parliament has fed into fears by liberal and secular Egyptians that their country is moving down the path to fundamentalist Islam, following a sweeping victory by Islamists in parliamentary elections.

The ruling came from a lower court and can be appealed. Three years ago a court made a similar ruling, but it was not enforced because at the time, officials argued filtering systems were not effective.

Meanwhile, in California . . .

Desert Sun Resort owners and Orange County residents John and Elizabeth Young filed a lawsuit March 16 in Orange County Superior Court against 500 unnamed defendants asking a judge to rule that the resort’s policy against children does not violate state law.

KNX 1070?s Margaret Carrero reports the couple were dumbfounded when they received a letter last month seeking penalties and damages over their policy against allowing kids on their property.

…The lawsuit was filed in response to a letter the Youngs received Feb. 17 from Palm Springs attorney David Baron — written on behalf of “certain individuals” — which threatened legal action against the clothing-optional resort “for maintaining and enforcing a No Children Allowed Policy and a Couples-Only Day Pass Policy”.

Listening to some individuals on the left you would think that America is but a regime away from a full-throated theocracy.  Something tells me we are very, very far away from realizing the delusional nightmares of said individuals.

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4 Responses to American Taliban

  • Justice is predicated on intent. If the children were discriminated against, it would be a crime. The children were being protected from seeing an obscenity, what one person called: useless appendages, beer bellies, hairy flab, and balded heads, among other things unmentionable. Seeing them in swimsuits on the beach is bad enough. Seeing them in the all-together can put a child into post traumatic stress syndrome. What ever happened to Mr. Universe? To much MSG.
    Until the children are emancipated and able to give informed consent to be exposed to such nakedness, they ought to be prohibited for their own good as their civil rights are held in trust for them by God, by their parents and by the state. Common law requires people to cover themselves in public.

  • When I first started reading the second story (didn’t click on the link), I thought it was about a senior-only resort that wasn’t allowing children to visit or stay overnight. It wasn’t until I saw the words “clothing optional resort” — i.e. nudist community — in the third paragraph that I figured out what the problem was…

  • It is the prime duty of the state to protect original innocence, virginity, and the sovereignty of the person. The sovereignty of the person begins at conception. Pornography is a lie about the human person and perjury in a court of law. That pornography exists is a crime, an addiction, and a lie. Abortion is nothing less than human sacrifice. If someone does not love you enough to want there to be more of you, run like hell. Lust is not love. Fornication is the separation of the body from the soul. When the soul leaves the body, we call it death.

  • “American Taliban”: First thing comes to mind the current resident of the White House.

    BTW: While banning porn is a good thing, we (the US and our allies) will not benefit from Islamist/Muslim Brotherhood take-overs of ME and NA hell holes based on the so-called Arab Spring.

    Hope, change and smart diplomacy are going to “smart” all right.

Our Country

Wednesday, February 29, AD 2012

So to sum up: we now live in a country where students at ostensibly Catholic universities testify on national television before Congress that they are freely engaging in pre-marital intercourse, and that the university’s failure to pay for their $100 per month contraception is severely cramping their style – as they pay on the order of $50,000 per year for the privilege of said education.

But Rick Santorum is considered kooky and extreme.

 

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24 Responses to Our Country

  • Yup, that aboout sums it up, Paul Z.!

  • “that they are freely engaging in pre-marital intercourse, and that the university’s failure to pay for their $100 per month contraception”

    Which would actually be closer to 9-20 dollars per month. Bad enough being an airhead with the morals of a shrew in heat, but a lying airhead with the morals of a shrew in heat is even worse!

  • Yeah, I thought the $1,000/year figure seemed a tad high.

    And can I be a bit crude here? If we’re concerned about overall health, shouldn’t we be subsidizing condoms? After all, birth control pills don’t protect against STDs.

  • I imagine her parents are very, very proud. We should find them, and congratulate them as publicly as possible, in front of as many TV cameras and pod-cast i-Phones as can be found.

  • I wonder what other items are in these students’ “budgets”. I recall college… “poor” indeed, except when it comes to the party life.

  • How much you wanna bet that these self-absorbed brats who cannot afford rubbers have smart phones with robust texting plans.

  • I wrote on this as well, complete with facts, charts, powerpoint presentations and fancy blockquotes in red text.

    OK, no charts or powerpoint presentations, but I did include a few facts and 2 fancy blockquotes in red text.

    And of course, my usual style of commentary, such as:

    “One thing is for certain – I won’t be seeking legal advice from any recently graduated Georgetown-educated lawyers. Ever. It appears the only thing they know about legal briefs are the ones they stripped off of a fellow student.”

  • Well done, LarryD. I’ve obviously been on twitter too much, thus my pithier post.

  • The Newman Society commissioned survey of some Catholic colleges found more Catholic college young women than men involved in pre marital sex 50% to 41% and less Catholic young women being drawn to the sacraments than men. Close ’em up. Those are religious orders that could be missionizing in the third world where people skip meals instead of class. Go to the bottom of this link:

    http://www.catholic.net/index.php?option=dedestaca&id=1265&grupo=Think%20%20Learn&canal=Education

  • Not that it’s a high bar (rimshot!), but she’s waaaay too stupid to be a lawyer. If she’s having that much sex and not charging for it, she’s an idiot–she’d have even a Georgetown education paid off by now.

  • You crack me up, Dale, you truly do. And it’s with the truth, no less! 😀

  • Here’s a pdf of Fluke’s testimony:

    http://big.assets.huffingtonpost.com/fluke.pdf

    Now, Ms. Fluke talks about 3 people who need BC meds for non-sexual reasons – but that doesn’t explain 40% of the women at GLS. Unless there are only 7 female law students in attendance…

  • What staggers me is that these airheads expect everyone else to pay for their jollies.

    I think this is even too bizzare for George Orwell to have predicted isn’t it?

  • Their god is in their groins.

    Thank God I only have sons.

  • With marriage so devalued and convenient what is surprising about this?

  • Karl-
    I suspect marriage is devalued for the same reason that this happens, rather than being the cause of it happening. It’s possible that “free love” devalued marriage, as well…. Virtue is devalued, especially if you’re of the class that can expect to go to college as a baseline expectation.

  • I have no trouble accepting, on an intellectual level, the evil of contraception. But the emotional part of me really does not want people like this young woman to succeed in producing offspring.

    Incidentally: condoms to not offer much protection against STDs, espcially things like genitals warts.

  • I could not afford anything but a “state school” back in the early 70’s when I attended the University of Buffalo. Loose sex was everywhere. I hope no one kids themselves into thinking this is a recent phenomenon.

    By some miracle, I do mean miracle, I got through college without being sexually active but it was all around me. I once “slept” through my nearly orthodox jewish roomate and his girlfriend/future wife, making love. It was quite an experience. I remember staying up all night with a young woman, simply talking. This was after she had been invited to stay with a guy who offered to give her a room to stay in while she visited the school as a potential student. The guy was a suite mate of mine. I found the young girl sitting sad-faced nearly in tears in the common area outside of our rooms, late one friday evening. She told me he had ordered her to get out, with no place to go for the weekend to sleep, unless she would succumb to his charms. She was very broken up and knew know one at the school except my lecherous “friend”, but I was able to gain her confidence and asked a female classmate to help her out. Fortunately, I had gone to high school with this classmate and she kindly shared her room with this girl for the remainder of her visit.

    These kids, today, face these temptations, everyday. I am grateful to be old enough to be their, almost, grandfather. Even at 57, the temptation is ever present, living as a single man in a world of “hooking up”. I guess that is what it is called these days.

    I truly do not know how I got through my college years without such reckless behavior because I was always on its threshold. I had drifted away from my active Catholicism but retained the moral structure without paying much mind to God. When I reflect upon it, I must have a very wonderful Guardian Angel whom I probably just about wore out.

    I think things are much more “immediate” for young people today. I once got my glasses slapped off my face and into the backseat of my 1967 Plymouth Fury, for refusing to continue with the “gymnastics” I was involved in, in the front seat. I gently told the young lady I had met earlier in the evening(I was 19) that it was not “right” for us to proceed any further and that I did not want either her, nor I, to regret it later.

    POW, right in the face!

    I still laugh when I recall the incident. I was so naive. But I am glad that I was, even though that young lady never spoke another word to me.

    My point is, it is not easy to remain chaste. I am convinced, in my own case, that I was “protected” from what I still cannot believe I did not do. If that makes any sense. I would NOT want to be young now. Nothing of a sexual nature truly surprises me anymore.

    I do not deceive myself into thinking that I am “beyond” falling “off the wagon”. It is only
    a heartbeat away, but for the grace of God. How much more difficult it must be for younger people. May God help them.

    Karl

    Karl

    From time to time, I speak of these incidents to an occasional young person and I wonder if they think I am just making it up for their behalf.

  • Higher education to become tomorrow’s leaders and shape the world …
    Wonder if the professor offered college credit for the experience of debasing herself, her family, and her Catholic school and so, Church?
    Educating the brain must be a challenge when it’s located below the neck.
    Temptation, repentance, conversion of heart, renewal of spirit, reverence, and holiness will become futuristic courses taught by the desensitized as electives, or just become extra credit papers.

  • AC/DC: “On the highway to Hell.”

  • Remember, these contraceptives that are so expensive will be added to insurance plans ‘for free’ so that there is no financial impact to the university. Really, no one will be paying for it, it’s nothing…

  • “Friendly21” as well.

The Culture War

Monday, January 30, AD 2012

I know that there are those among you who do not like harsh rhetoric.  Heck, one of my most recent posts was about the militaristic rhetoric of the president.  Yet, sometimes we need to take a look around at what’s happening and realize that something like a culture war is truly raging.

There was no clearer demonstration of this fact than the HHS mandate regarding health insurance coverage of abortificants, contraception, sterilization, and other grave evils.  The impact of this ruling has been stunning.  Not only has the decision outraged conservative Catholics, but even erstwhile left-wing Catholic defenders of the president have taken this decision to be the last straw.  Bishops, often reticent to enter the political fray, have issued clear condemnations of this decision, even suggesting that Catholics engage in civil disobedience.  The mild-mannered visiting priest at our parish offered a blistering homily, discussing how this mandate violates the very principles that this country was founded upon. Like the ents awakening from their slumber, Saruman and his orcs – meaning President Obama and his allies – have awakened a sleeping giant.

But our anger is not enough, nor are our prayers.  Patrick Archbold puts it all in perspective today.

As I said, this is just the latest battle, but it’s one we must win.  We can’t win the war here, but we can lose it.  And to win a war you don’t just need chaplains, you need generals.

In the wake of the Obama Administration’s decision to force contraceptives on Catholic institutions many Bishops have been calling for prayer and fasting, and that is right and just.  But when faced with an existential threat, you don’t just pray the Nazis away, you have to fight on all fronts.

It is fine to pray that the Nazis will stop being Nazis, but it is also right and just to pray for good aim.

Our Bishops need to realize what is at stake here and act accordingly.  Many Bishops have already written letters and made videos condemning the unconstitutional actions of the administration.  That is good, but more is required.  Open and vocal defiance is required. The Most Reverend Joe S. Vásquez, Bishop of Austin issued a letter this Sunday in which he proclaimed “We cannot—we will not—comply with this unjust law. People of faith cannot be made second-class citizens.” That is a good start.  Every Bishop needs to do the same. It must be made clear that we WILL NOT COMPLY.

Yet even more will be required. Some have called for very visible civil disobedience by the Bishops to the point of getting arrested.  I think this may be a good idea. Yet even more.  Kathleen Sebelius is at the spear point of this war on our Church promoting and now forcing abortion and contraception at every turn.  If the scandal caused by this “Catholic” woman does not merit excommunication, the remedy is meaningless.  Any Catholic who is complicit in this war must be held to account, publicly.  This is a war.

We will not comply.  We should never have to choose between being a Catholic and being an American.  This is an existential threat for the Church in this country as well as for the life of the country as a whole.  If we are to win the war, we must win this battle and we need generals willing to fight to the last.

If you are not convinced that we are in the midst of an all out assault on religious values, here’s another story to consider.

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21 Responses to The Culture War

  • You anticipate my post for tomorrow Paul. Catholics are not Quakers and it is past time to remind our adversaries that we will not be insulted with impunity, we will not be intimidated and we will be heard.

  • I am beyond anger. I do not write what I am thinking and feeling, and what I say to myself. I perhaps need to go to Confession again because the Bible says, “Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord, I will repay.”

    History says that our opponents will imprison and murder us. Jesus said that as well. This will not end without bloodshed. It took a Civil War to free the slaves. 🙁

    And yes, I think Obama is going to win in November. Then all hell will break loose.

  • Hell has already broken loose. It’s pouring through the breach right now and the forces of good are retreating to the keep for the final stand. We’ve given ground and given ground and now we’re down to this. We either stand and fight or we perish. If we do manage to win, even a small victory, we need to press any advantage we may have. We’re all in now – compromise is no longer possible.

    Please God, make your Church understand this.

  • The political battle must be joined as well.

    October of every year is Respect Life Month, yet in October 2008 where were the bishops speaking out against Barack Obama? How could they not act, during the last month of the campaign? This man not only voted against, but fought against, a Born Alive Protection Act. Why did they not make clear the absolute moral obligation of voting for life, rather than voting for ‘making history’? The extreme pro-abortion agenda of this man was clear to see, yet it did not raise an organized message.

    It is almost as if they are willing to look the other way, as long as the threat is at arms length. Now the horror is upon their doorstep, and if they do not resist this they can not hide.

  • Has changed its focus from 99 / 1 to what ? Or is it Occupy Providence astray in Rhode Island?

    Jesus said unclean spirits fear Him in Mark’s Gospel this past Sunday – yesterday seems so long ago. Pastor said if we allow evil, it will enter us. Prayer and some kind of fasting will give us strength.

  • I was visiting relatives in Charlotte this past weekend and we went to St Ann’s Catholic Church. The pastor there openly speaks against the ‘norms’ of our culture and how we as Catholics must oppose the changes that are anti-thetical to our beliefs. I wish this priest was merely a common priest, and not the rarity.

    Also, is Suramain = Sarumon? Or is Suramain a reference to the Silmarillion?

  • Also, is Suramain = Sarumon? Or is Suramain a reference to the Silmarillion?

    That would be bad spelling on my part. Will fix.

  • I think its interesting that of the two colleges that have filed lawsuits against the federal government because of this regulation, one is a protestant college. Its not just contraception, but also abortion and sterilizations that are forced on us because of this regulation. Its not just Catholics who should rise up, but all Christians.

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  • Unfortunately, this train left the station 40 years ago and the Catholic bishops (not to mention the entire Protestant “church”) weren’t on it. Now they’re trying to rally an army that no longer exists.

  • Quite untrue Jerry. History is rarely a straight line progression, and I think that the secularists who are now riding high may be about to experience a demographically based rude awakening in the decades to come. The bigots who currently hold power can and will be defeated.

  • I wonder where Stupak is on this? Didn’tin fact sign on to the passsing of this bill with the assurance that this owuld not happen? If he had a conscience he would make waves about the backtracking against his positon. No but that is the past – all forgotten now isn’t it? Crazy world we live in…

  • And here is the agnostic blogger Ace of Spades with as truly a monumental take down of the administration as you will find.

  • “…I think that the secularists who are now riding high may be about to experience a demographically based rude awakening in the decades to come. The bigots who currently hold power can and will be defeated.”

    Dear Lord Jesus Christ, please make Donald McClarey’s prediction come to pass and become prophecy fulfilled. Thank you. Amen!

  • PZ: Ace is agnostic?

    Really?

    Ace and some commenters appear to be more Catholic than the USCCB.

    I agree with a commenter that this may be a ploy to distract attention from Obama policies’ resultant economic ruin.

  • Hmm, doesn’t the President support the Soros led Occupista movement?

    History doesn’t always repeat itself, but it does sometimes rhyme. Does any of this seem eerily similar to Spain before the civil war?

  • “I agree with a commenter that this may be a ploy to distract attention from Obama policies’ resultant economic ruin.”

    I’m thinking that too. The Obama administration WANTS to dwell on social conservative issues – because they think the American public has become so depraved they’ll win that battle and take the focus off of economic issues. When I consider that Obama got elected in 2008 (with the votes of many Catholics) despite his cold-hearted support of babies being left on tables to die, I fear he is correct.

  • Obama has declared war on God. The infant in the womb is there through the will of God. Obama cannot kill God. Obama kills God’s children. All civil rights cases are paid for by the taxpayer. Shouting down a speaker is denying him his freedom to speak. Showering down condoms on prolife girls is abuse and insulting. Their parents must demand an apology from these brutes. tar and feathers. Thery are devils in people clothing.

  • I second you, Donald. Jerry, no Empire, no Power on Earth ever attacked the Catholic Church frontal and survived. America has pressed the Self-Destruct Button. True, your Bishops, like all Bishops in our Universal Catholic Church may seem to take time to wake up. But, believe me, Jerry, when the Holy Spirit wakes up He never leaves the adversaries of Christ’s Church standing – not a single one. Be brave, American Catholics, the entire Catholic Church on Earth and in Heaven are fighting with you. Obama has poked his finger in God’s Nose. He is “History” and America along with him unless you elect a God-fearing President.

  • P.S Jerry please take note of the Holy Father’s warning to your country. That is the Voice of Jesus Christ Himself telling your Obama he is persecuting Him.

  • The US Bishops are readying to refuse to comply with ObamaCare laws that mandate paying for services that are a violation their religion. As spiritual fathers, they find it unconstitutional to be forced to pay for something that is immoral, according to their own religion.

    Why don’t the same Bishops come to the defense of natural fathers who have been forced to pay for something that is immoral?

    In no-fault divorce, millions of innocent reliable fathers and husband have been forced to pay for being immorally removed from their own children’ lives. Fathers are forced to pay state agents, such as guardian ad litems, court psychologist, and court fees. Their wages are garnished to support their children and wife in a separate household in which they are, for no moral reason, forbidden to live.

    I hope the Bishops’ ultimatum is not too little to late. For nearly forty years, the government has been forcing reliable Catholic spouses to pay for something that is immoral. So why wouldn’t the government expect the same coercion to go unchallenged by the institutional Church.

    Bai Macfarlane
    Director of Mary’s Advocates
    Inviting Catholics to invoke the intervention of the Church against no-fault divorce

You Mean Rick Santorum is Not a Libertarian? Burn Him at the Stake!

Thursday, January 12, AD 2012

I’m going to need to recant my placement of RedState at the top of my favorite blogs list.  Now that Rick Santorum has emerged as probably the leading not-Mitt candidate in the GOP presidential sweepstakes, they, along with a few other conservative websites, have gone absolutely bananas over the prospect of Santorum becoming a leading candidate.  Sure, they all hate Mitt Romney, but can we truly tolerate a candidate who says extremist things like this:

This whole idea of personal autonomy, well I don’t think most conservatives hold that point of view. Some do. They have this idea that people should be left alone, be able to do whatever they want to do, government should keep our taxes down and keep our regulations low, that we shouldn’t get involved in the bedroom, we shouldn’t get involved in cultural issues. You know, people should do whatever they want. Well, that is not how traditional conservatives view the world and I think most conservatives understand that individuals can’t go it alone.

My goodness.  I can just see Santorum delivering these remarks on a balcony with a hammer and sickle proudly displayed behind him.  Did he also poound a shoe on the podium, because the man must surely be just shy of being an out and out Communist.

Jeff Emanuel has unearthed two more shocking quotes that reveal Santorum’s obvious Stalinist tendencies.

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16 Responses to You Mean Rick Santorum is Not a Libertarian? Burn Him at the Stake!

  • If only his foreign policy was less interventionist, he would be pretty close to the perfect candidate. Certainly better than Romney, but I still have concerns.

  • I, too, am getting tired of “not libertarian” being conflated with “not conservative.” Libertarianism is easier to identify and defend rhetorically, it just stinks on ice when you apply it to all of reality, instead of idealized reality…..

    I don’t think Santorum is very conservative, BUT there’s a difference between “wrong on this, that and the other thing” and “a lefty.” There’s some overlap, of course, but– like Bush– I think his wrong points are well meant. Meaning well doesn’t solve everything, but it beats a cynical desire for power.

  • Maybe traditional conservatism was more paternalistic but with advances in economic understanding, thanks more to Milton Friedman than Ayn Rand, American conservatism has become more economically libertarian.

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  • In other words, don’t use that charity stuff to cede everything to unlimited government.

  • I think there is a genuine fear of more federal expansion disguised as compassionate conservatism. The author’s belief is much of the Santorum’s writings along with his legislative history advocate federal intervention where lower levels of government, or better yet non-government, institutions can do better. It’s not that federal management is always bad, but the “federal government first” attitude leads to expansion of power. I think the author would prefer governance closer to the principle of subsidiarity.

    While he did criticize Santorum’s view of governance, he also complimented him on his desire to want to help.

  • I think Jeff Goldstein knocks it out of the park here:

    GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum defends capitalism, defends Mitt Romney’s earlier engagement of capitalism on capitalistgrounds (as opposed to Romney himself, who appealed for a defense to progressive corporatism), and yet the GOP establishment and its attendant media — as well as an increasing number of sober, pragmatic, “it’s time to rally behind a single candidate” members of the conservative base — tell us that it is Santorum who is unelectable, and throw their support behind the candidate who enacted state-run health care, and who can’t even defend his own engagement in capitalism without retreating to a progressive defense.

    More at the link here.

  • Jeff, I would love to rally around Santorum, but 8 years of compassionate conservatism was hard enough to take. As crazy it sounds, sometimes I feel like rolling the dice with Romney or Ron Paul. And yes, that is crazy! Still hoping for Perry despite his having to work against media mis-portrayals of every word he says. That includes much of conservative media.

  • Read points two and three, because Jeff’s point is precisely that Santorum is not the nanny stater in this contest.

  • My opinion is based on his legislative record. He’s less a nanny stater than Romney and certainly Obama.

  • I just came across this interest article discussing the Santorum & federalism problem. It uses the issue of marriage between homosexuals to illustrate a point.

    http://formidablecourage.wordpress.com/2012/01/12/perry-santorum-and-the-evangelical-dilemma/

  • On economic paternalism, Santorum is mostly wrong. Better to alleviate the destruction of creative destruction than to prevent the whole thing. I understand his point that it has social dimensions but even taking that into consideration, protectionism is more harmful than free enterprise.

    On moral paternalism, Santorum is mostly right. We punish immoral behavior to the extent that it prevents more harm than it creates. We also promote moral behavior in a limited way by keeping it free from impediments. While the state may legitimately actively promote moral behavior, I don’t think the track record is great. In Europe, churches live in a culture of dependency where they get government handouts without having to work.

    Where I’m not sure what role the government should play is in quality-of-life paternalism. Smoking bans, trans fat bans, healthy eating campaigns. I.e., limiting or subsidizing amoral choices. One can argue that this sort of paternalism degrades personal initiative. On the other hand, they’re things I may admit that I am weak at controlling and therefore want some help with. Is there any CST guidance on this?

  • There is no perfect candidate and we can’t dig up Reagan and run him again. I feel like Santorum is the best candidate and I will continue to support him. one thing we must all understand is that Congress must be changed. Congress is the root of our problems. Our elected officials have been allowed to corrupt the system and continue to bankrupt our country and our childrens heritage. Don’t compromise on a Presidential candidate, support the person who best represents our beliefs even if some overpaid pundits say he/she is unelectable. And more importantly get rid of the entrenched Congresmen and send some new blood to Washington.

  • There is no perfect candidate and we can’t dig up Reagan and run him again.

    We’re Catholics. If we can dig up a pope and strip him of his vestments, this should be a small matter. Heck, I can’t see how any corpse could be a worse president that the one we have and most who are running, but Reagan’s corpse might do a pretty impressive job.

    🙂

  • Sometimes, Paul Zummo, rhetorical hyperbole just leaves one looking hyper. I found your defense of Sen. Santorum and his big government conservatism unpersuasive.

    RR’s comments here make a lot of sense to me and RR’s mention of Milton Friedman should remind us all of the Invisible Foot.

    Sometime in the previous century, the federal government went beyond helping localities provide a safety net. Federal provision increasingly became a hammock for those who learned to exploit the system and is now often a sticky spider’s web that traps those who come into contact with it due to a temporary hardship. I have news for Santorum et alia, the Great Depression ended almost 70 years ago. Cease rendering the poor unto Caesar.

  • RL hits it out of the park.

    Any one of the GOP hopefuls is 100% better than that Obama nobody. Two out of three know Obama and his gangsters are very bad news for America.

    Tip to all. Cut the attacks against each other.

    The one with the best depiction of how the Obama wrecking machine is killing America is the most electable.

    Obama must go.

Becoming My Father

Tuesday, September 6, AD 2011

One of the more annoying and awkward moments of my life was watching the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards with my dad.  We had two cable-ready televisions in the house, and I guess my mother was watching the other one.  So I had to endure three hours of my father’s ongoing social commentary during the show.  Here was a show that featured performances of bands I actually wanted to watch: Def Leppard, U2, Nirvana, Pearl Jam and, most importantly, Guns N’ Roses, yet my father had to interject himself every thirty seconds to express his contempt and disgust for what was happening on screen – except for Eric Clapton performing “Tears in Heaven,” because evidently Eric Clapton was the only artist who had debuted since Django Reinhardt that didn’t draw my father’s ire.

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10 Responses to Becoming My Father

  • “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”

    Mark Twain

    That is a beautiful video Paul. I don’t think I truly appreciated my own father until I spent a summer working in the truck body plant where he worked and experienced the conditions he endured each day to earn our daily bread.

  • It is a neat video, and I was surprised that something from College Humor could actually be somewhat poignant.

  • Cool vid. ‘Today’s younger generation is no worse than my own. We were just as ignorant and repulsive as they are, but nobody listened to us.’
    Al Capp

  • Heh, I turned into your father before my 21st birthday. MTV became unwatchable for me in 1984. Not that I don’t appreciate Rock and Roll and like to see videos, but MTV lost me way back when simply because I do like Rock and Roll. I can’t imagine even having watched in the ’90s. I guess it’s a generational thing each kid has to go through since the late 70’s.

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  • Heh, I wish I could turn into my father… he’s quiet, clever in a way that you often don’t realize you’ve been zinged, and charmingly caring so that you don’t mind when you do figure it out, plus patience and solidity of a huge book of cliches.
    (My mother? Five pounds of gunpowder in a three pound bag with half-inch fuse, sharp as a bag of scalpels, full of Views…and, suitably, the distaff version of the video, minus the tyrant, that I can remember. Both parents always made a very big point of EXPLAINING why, even if they sometimes couldn’t do so immediately– I can’t remember a time before I knew that there was a why, even if I didn’t know it yet.)

  • A long while back I supervised a friends grandchidren as she moved, my job was to keep them working. Half way through I realized I sounded just like my father. And about as effective.

    He was never a great chit chatter, but would create a conversation by making an off the wall comment on the politics or such at which point people would try to talk common sense to him. When I finily realized the came I started responding with even more off the wall comments. We had a great time.

    If you need to liven up the comm let me know.

  • Should be realized the Game

  • Ah yes – 80’s and 90’s MTV.

    Y’know, that should be just about enough to convince Don McC. that the 70’s music wasn’t quite so bad. 😉

  • Somebody out there has children and hasn’t rid their home of teevees yet?

There’s A Law About That?

Thursday, July 21, AD 2011

The FCC is coming under fire from Congress for lax oversight of kids’ programming.  So what’s the problem?  Is Joe from Blue’s Clues working a little too blue, if you catch my drift?  Are the explicit drug scenes from Yo Gabba Gabba getting a little too out of control?  Is the lack of parental oversight of Max and Ruby sending a bad message?

No, none of that.  Evidently there are too many commercials.

I am not making this up.

TV watchdog groups say the Federal Communications Commission needs to better target kids’ programs that have too many commercials, and they want the commission and Congress to strengthen oversight of the Children’s Television Act.

Fueling the drive is a Government Accountability Office report issued last week that highlights FCC shortcomings in enforcing the landmark 1990 law intended to raise the quality and educational value of children’s programming while also limiting advertising. The report said the FCC has been lax in ensuring compliance from cable and satellite providers and questioned the commission’s guidelines for determining the educational value of children’s shows.

You mean to tell me there is a law out there that dictates the amount of commercials that can be shown during children’s programming?  Surely you jest.

Congress crafted the law in response to a decrease in educational shows during the 1980s that corresponded with an uptick in commercial blitzes during children’s programming. To shield youngsters from excessive commercials, the law restricts advertising during children’s programs to 10.5 minutes per hour on weekends and 12 minutes per hour on weekdays.

I repeat: there is a law, passed by Congress, signed by a President, that actually dictates the amount of commercials that are to be shown during kids’ shows.  The government of the United States deemed this an issue worthy enough of oversight.

Moreover, there are people who think the government isn’t doing enough.

During the Clinton administration, the FCC was “paying attention to children’s education, and the quality of children’s programming improved,” said Dale Kunkel, a child media expert and a communications professor at the University of Arizona.

“We slowly moved to a posture in the 2000s where they completely ignored the issue and the broadcasters offered whatever they want,” he said.

Wait a second.  Broadcasters can offer programs that viewers have the option to watch, or not watch?  What is this, a free country or something?

Look, I’m all for making sure that the airwaves are generally clean for kids.  While parents have the ultimate responsibility for watching their children and making sure that the content of what they’re viewing is appropriate, it’s helpful to be assured that they’re not going to watch all the animals from Franklin get a little too friendly (and at least they’ve finally had the decency to put some clothes on little bear).  But do we really need the government to dictate the quality of educational programming available, or the precise amount of commercial time airing on television?  Is there anything that busybodies won’t ask the government to oversee?

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16 Responses to There’s A Law About That?

  • A nation that has no sense of God and no morality is ever in need of more and more laws and regulation. The fantastic and ridiculous because the ordinary. George Orwell would probably not like to see this fulfillment of his prophecy, as it were.

  • Actually, yes. Marketers are all about money. And kids (unlike adults) can’t reason that something isn’t true when an advertiser tells them it’s true. There are children who actually believe that Shrek mac n’ cheese tastes better than regular mac n’ cheese because the advertiser told them not because they’ve tasted them both.

    So while it may seem a bit ridiculous to you, it’s a relief to me. The less commercials telling kids essentially lies (and for that matter to adults too), the better.

    I don’t want my child to be a walking billboard either. Even from birth children are marketed everything from Winnie-the-Pooh to Leapfrog. The idea is that children will remain brand loyal.

    Yes, I could not watch television ever (not just my child, but myself), but you can’t avoid it. There are billboards, dolls, diapers, shirts, shoes, backpacks, lunchboxes, etc all branded. And no I don’t buy that stuff either if it can be avoided. Other parents, however, do and unless I want my child to grow up in a shoe box isolated from his peers I have to face branding.

    Having less commercials for him to see on television helps alleviate the branding problem. I want my child to learn that having the latest silly bandz does not make a person better than another. Integrity is more important.

    BTW my father has a degree in marketing and he taught me how bad the business is especially when it comes to children.

  • I want my kids to watch only commercials so they get desensitized.

  • In case you were unaware, Nickelodeon’s programming isn’t regulated by the FCC.

    The government allows the use of the public airwaves by private companies in order to enrich the life of its people. Those people do include children.

  • I agree with Mr. Zummo. This is just nanny state nonsense. My kids are now grown, but they certainly were inundated with targeted advertising and marketing. Yet, they didn’t have much money to buy stuff without our approval, and my wife and I never found it all that difficult to say no.

    That said, I do want the FCC to make sure that they don’t encounter filth when kids turn on the TV, something most can do without parental approval and monitoring.

  • “The government allows the use of the public airwaves by private companies in order to enrich the life of its people.”

    A nice injection of humor into the thread MZ! Whatever would the nation do without the government sponsored anti-Catholic bigotry of NPR?

    http://4thepriests.wordpress.com/2010/10/21/nprs-anti-catholic-bias-an-old-issue-no-one-gets-fired/

  • I wouldn’t go full libertarian and say there should be no FCC — as Mike says I think that the basic obscenity rules which are enforced on broadcast TV are a good thing. But the idea that congress is passing legislation on the number of minutes per hour of advertising that can be run is very, very silly.

    (And also, the idea that use of the airwaves is a “public service” is deeply silly. It’s a commodity which has to be apportioned by some authority to keep people from broadcasting over one another. As a valuable commercial commodity, it should be auctioned rather than distributed.)

  • “I think that the basic obscenity rules which are enforced on broadcast TV are a good thing.”

    What obscenity rules? One can watch a TV show like “Bones” and get the full brunt of the today’s sexually promiscuous life style where hedonism and homosexuality are promoted as normal. One can watch any number of TV shows that depict women in all manner of undress, and hear cursing without end. It seems that the only word forbidden in main stream media is the “n” word.

  • I am the parent of a four-year-old and an eighteen-month-old. As such, I am responsible for what they do and do not consume. Therefore, I have solved this problem by doing two thing:

    (1) I limit how much and what type of television my kids can watch. Believe it or not, you can exist without having the TV on all day. And if you really need the background noise, put on a cd. As far as what type of programming, we mainly use Netflix (no commercials!) and occasionally watch PBS Sprout (on cable, so we do pay for it). I also DVR any programs we adults would like to watch so that we can put them on after the kids are asleep.

    (2) The effects of what little. In the way of commercials they do see are mitigated by the fact that Mommy (that’s me) has told them that we only buy things we need and that we do not need anything we see on TV. I’ve explicitly taught my oldest that commercials are there to try and sell you things you don’t need and that we don’t want to be wasteful with our money. So, whenever my kids are exposed to commercials my oldest always says, “Mommy, we don’t need that. I wish they’d stop the commercials.” Success! No whining, no fussing, no ‘gotta-have-it’. Nada.

    It really is all about how parents approach the issue. As is just about everything to do with kids.

  • I agree with an earlier comment: Laws are put into place when they are needed. (The law exists for the lawless.) The less lawful people are, the more laws will be needed. The more lawful people are, the less they will require official laws.

  • And according to this morning’s paper, the AMA and the American Academy of Pediatrics are demanding that the Motion Picture Association rate all films that have smoking in them “R.” I kid you not.

  • The nanny state regulations have all but destroyed the classic kid shows that many of us grew up with. The regulators told the producers no more cartoons, no more silly comedy bits, and put more educational stuff in the programing. The kids tuned out in mass. They didn’t want to be “educated”, they wanted to be entertained, dang it!

  • Yeah, I find a lot of these kids shows to be almost condescending, not educational. I didn’t grow up with the characters on these shows turning towards the camera and asking me to help them. Don’t break the fourth wall!

    My kids a little younger than Mandy’s, but we’ve tried to do the same thing. Movies and Nick Jr, so little temptation from the advertisers to begin with.

  • I have a five (almost 6) year old, a three year old and a one year old. What Mandy said in spades. I explicitly tell my children that the commercials are there to make them want to buy stuff they don’t need and we don’t take orders from commercials. I tell them the same thing about store displays.

    I also have to agree with Paul. Most of the kid shows today are so mind-numbingly condescending, I wouldn’t let my kids watch them with zero commercials. We have a very limited diet of shows my children watch. The basic criteria is if I can’t watch it without wanting to jump off the roof, my kids don’t need to watch it either. So no Dora, no Diego, no Barney, no Elmo, no Disney Channel…My children have a very mean mommy. 😀

  • I am collecting old Three Stooges DVDs, so that when I have grandchildren they will be thrilled to come see grampa!

The Crushing Burden of Having a Real Life

Wednesday, April 6, AD 2011

John Hawkins talks about a little kerfuffle that emerged over remarks made by Kay Hymowitz:

“Before [today], the fact is that primarily, a 20-year-old woman would have been a wife and a mother,” author Kay Hymowitz told the crowd of about 100 for the Manhattan Institute in New York City. Men would have been mowing lawns and changing the oil in their family sedans instead of playing video games and watching television. In previous decades, adults in their 20s and 30s were too busy with real life for such empty entertainment, Hymowitz says. “They didn’t live with roommates in Williamsburg in Brooklyn and Dupont Circle in D.C.

Hey, I didn’t have a roommate when I lived in Dupont Circle.  All 400 square feet of that place were entirely mine!   And I’ll have Kay know that I broke up my Madden playing and television watching with at least 20-30 minutes of work on my dissertation per day.  Hmmm, maybe that’s why it took me five years to finish it.

In all seriousness, this is a fairly innocuous statement, or at least it is for those of us who don’t have a secularist perspective on happiness.

Cue the angry liberals.

Amanda Marcotte, famed for a writing style that makes Maureen Dowd look like George Will, as well as for her way TMI-laden posts about her sex life, is none too pleased:

I think it’s important to remember that no matter how much huffing and puffing and rationalization goes on, a great deal of conservative ideology can be summed up as “the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy”. Or even just the fear that someone might just be having fun, at least without clearing it with the authorities first that they’re the right race and income level to feel pleasure.

…I often find myself wondering, and today more than most days, how things can get this bad. It seems to me that if wingnuts put a tenth of much effort as they do into resenting others into improving their own home and sex lives, they’d be too busy being happy and blissful to give a f*ck what anyone else is doing. It’s just basic logic, and I wonder why not just do the math and go for it.

As Hawkins rightly points out, the irony of this statement is that studies show that “married people are happier than single people, religious people are happier than non-religious people, and conservatives are happier than liberals.”  I would also point out married people have more sex than single people, so if anything conservatives are the ones pushing people to more fulfilling sex lives, an observation I heard Alan Keyes make when he was running for President in 1996 (before he lost his mind).  Evidently in Marcotte’s world the only good sex to be had is when you get good and loaded at some slimy bar in the downtown DC, take some random stranger to your bed, and never see the guy again.  Boy that really sounds joy-filled to me.

It also never ceases to amuse me when I hear religious conservatives derided as being uptight about sex, the implication being that we’re not getting laid enough.  Yet, at the same time, we’re mocked for having such large families.  Hey, geniuses – how do you think we got those large families?  Biology may not be your strong point, as evidenced by Andy Sullivan’s deranged rants about Sarah Palin and the maternity of Trig, but try to put two and two together.

As dumb as Marcotte’s rebuttal is, Matt Yglesias takes the cake:

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23 Responses to The Crushing Burden of Having a Real Life

  • Bachelorhood… you can have it, Matt.

  • Great post Paul. After three years of marriage and two of postnatal fatherhood, I can honestly say I wouldn’t trade my current life for the life I lived prior to my wife. There are some things I miss… mostly involving the freedom to practice my hobbies (Irish Music and Amateur Astronomy) for long hours at a stretch. That being said, I have gained so much more. Its amazing how much it lifts you up at the end of a long day to see your two year old not simply glad to see you, but positively eager. My wife greets me with a smile and a kiss; my son is practically doing back-flips.

  • Hymowitz is definitely my favorite agnostic.

  • “are less crushed down with family and household obligations and are spending more time enjoying themselves.”

    Yes, it is all about the self. Others are viewed as crushing obligations.

    Hardly enlightening…truly materialistic and de-humanizing.

  • “I think it’s important to remember that no matter how much huffing and puffing and rationalization goes on, a great deal of conservative ideology can be summed up as “the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy”.”

    If Ms. Marcotte is going to steal from Mencken his famous line attacking the Puritans, someone should send her a copy of his tome from 1918 In Defense of Women. She could read it to her cats.

  • If Yglesias were to lose his inanity writing gig at whatsoever rag/site (I don’t waste eyesight reading), he’s qualified for an entry-level job flipping burgers at Mickey D’s.

    Comprehensive ignorance backed up by uncompromising arrogance.

  • In regard to Mr. Yglesia, someone whose scribblings I have studiously ignored, this post seems to say it all:

    http://www.chequerboard.org/2011/02/matt-yglesias-the-one-man-mistake-factory-or-i-laugh-at-the-inferior-intellect/

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  • I am married, have raised 11 children, have 2 jobs, and to top it off a third job is that of a parish priest (Anglican).

  • “I am married, have raised 11 children, have 2 jobs, and to top it off a third job is that of a parish priest (Anglican).”

    So does that mean you have fewer parishioners than children? 🙂

  • It is a bit reductionist to think either position must be normative.

    To take but one example, the Church doesn’t proscribe stealing because stealing isn’t pleasurable. It proscribes stealing because it is harmful to society.

    It is somewhat humorous to see those commenting making the error that they are criticizing: treating what is pleasurable as what is good.

  • A crushing existence is a loveless life seeking out another lay and waking up at noon before writing a blog post that will be forgotten by the time the Jets are up 42-0 on the Pats in Madden.

    ah yes. i remember those days. then it all changed…when i got call of duty 😉

  • a 20-year-old woman would have been a wife and a mother,” author Kay Hymowitz told the crowd of about 100 for the Manhattan Institute in New York City. Men would have been mowing lawns and changing the oil in their family sedans instead of playing video games and watching television. In previous decades, adults in their 20s and 30s were too busy with real life for such empty entertainment,

    She is treating adolescent marriage (which was abnormally common ca. 1955) as if it were an abiding norm.

  • In previous decades, adults in their 20s and 30s were too busy with real life for such empty entertainment, Hymowitz says.

    Are reading science fiction, amateur astronomy, gin rummy, poker, bowling, and skeet shooting ’empty entertainments’? My father did them all while working and having four children.

  • Art – I think that any entertainment is empty if it’s used to fill a life, rather than as an opportunity to recharge.

  • She is treating adolescent marriage (which was abnormally common ca. 1955) as if it were an abiding norm.

    Do you mean that in earlier eras, people commonly got married before their 20s?

  • I recently dropped about 20 lbs.

    Is that reductionist enough for you-all?

    And, none of you noticed. I’m crushed.

  • The common age for marriage has varied a lot over the centuries. Sometimes it was before the 20s, sometimes the early 20s, sometimes after — depending on class, prosperity, and social situations (war, disease, etc.). But it was rarely as old as it is now. What the author didn’t realize is that, whatever age people used to get married, they ALL had adult responsibilities by the time they hit their 20s. What we ought to wonder is, if people for pretty much all time have had adult responsibilities by the time they hit their 20s, why do we all think people that age are not mature enough to do anything?

  • I am single and in my 50’s, which makes me the proverbial maiden aunt. When I was younger, I made bad choices – dated men I shouldn’t have and turned away ones that (in retrospect) I should have given a chance. Well, that was dumb of me, but I can either spend my time berating myself and wallowing in self-pity (which I have done from time to time, but then I snap out of it) or I can try to make myself useful and to be a good Catholic, a good aunt, a good friend, a good sister, etc. On one hand, I sometimes hope to meet a good man; on the other, I am so set in my ways at this point, I think living with someone again – even a roommate- would be difficult to adjust to!

    What I certainly know is that the single life, as defined by Marcotte and Matt Yglesias, gets very dull by the time you hit your mid-30’s. Paul, I also had a postage stamp-sized efficiency in DC (over the course of a dozen years, I lived in all 4 DC quadrants and Maryland and Virginia) and downed many a pint at the Dubliner and Irish Times and Tune Inn, but it gets really stale, unless you’re stuck in permanent adolescence. I haven’t been in a bar in years.

    The insidious thing about remaining single is that one becomes becoming very self-absorbed by default, simply because the time and energy which would be spent on a spouse and kids is deflected back on yourself. I knew quite a few never-married and divorced and childless people in DC and while I felt more at home with them than I sometimes do around couples with children (who can sometimes unwittingly make single people feel like circus freaks), it struck me very strongly back in my ’30’s that we older singles were all way too wrapped up in me, myself and I and in a way you can’t be if you’re a decent spouse or parent (let us not forget that marriage and parenthold is no cure for the terminally narcissistic.)

    So if you don’t have a family’s need to focus on, the next best thing to do is to do volunteer work, get involved in the Church, in the lives of your siblings’ children (the biggest reason I moved back to Wisconsin was because it bothered me that my nieces and nephews didn’t know me and I didn’t know them) – something to get the focus off your own navel.

    It sounds like Marcotte and Yglesias are perfectly content to contemplate their own navels. It seems to me that’s a great way to end up bitter and angry in middle and old age.

  • A few years ago at St. Matt’s there was a course on the Theology of the Body, and one subject that came up was the vocation of the single life. Not all are called to Holy Orders, and not all get married. So there is a vocation to be had for the single, and that seems to me to be what you’re talking about.

    For Marcotte and Yglesias, well, they seem to have a different interpretation of what that vocation entails.

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  • Mr. Zummo, please allow me to share my own response to Kay Hymowitz. It’s not like the others you’ve addressed here, but it wasn’t favorable to her original column in the least.

    “I’ve grown tired of these gender stereotypes and hurtful generalizations.

    It seems as though Hymowitz et al paint all unmarried males with a broad brush, as if to suggest that any man/guy/male (choose your term) older than 30 who is still unmarried simply MUST be out ‘playing the field’ or ‘sowing his oats’ or whatever other sickening phrase is used. She seems to think we’re all like the character portrayed on television by [sigh] Charlie Sheen, moving from one ‘hot babe’ to another, free of commitment or marriage and family aspirations. It does not seem to occur to any of you that some of us have just been alone (romance-wise) throughout our lives.

    Many of us have never found a romantic partner, let alone a spouse. I myself have always wanted a very G-rated, non-sexual romantic relationship with someone, but it just hasn’t happened, though I’m now well into my 30s. (I’m not looking for sex of any kind.)

    I hate my birthday and cannot watch films or plays with romantic themes without feeling miserable. I have difficulty sleeping at night. And now, on top of the loneliness and despair, I have people like Hymowitz suggesting, without ever having met me, that I must be some frat-boy lothario or Good-Time Charlie. Such words are hurtful — insult upon injury.”

  • “She is treating adolescent marriage (which was abnormally common ca. 1955) as if it were an abiding norm”

    Art,
    I love you man, but the notion that 20 year-olds are adolescents is just plain mistaken (and that is the most generous adjective I can think of). And from an historical perspective, marriage in the late teens or early 20s is not abnormal so at all.

A Bad Witness to the True Meaning of Christmas

Tuesday, December 28, AD 2010

It was December 21st and MrsDarwin and I were standing in the local branch of our bank, getting a cashier’s check for more money than I like to think about so that we could go close on our new house. These things take time, as people don’t normally come in and asked to cut large chashier’s checks, and as we were standing there I gradually became aware of an increasingly loud conserversation between an elderly male customer and a teller at the other end of the counter.

“I’m very offended,” he announced. “Very, very offended. And do you know why I’m offended?”

“Why sir?”

“Because I am a Christian and when I look around here four days before Christmas I don’t see a single Christmas decoration. Do you know how long I’ve been a customer here? I want to talk to your manager.”

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43 Responses to A Bad Witness to the True Meaning of Christmas

  • Yeah, and the irony is that the paucity of XMAS decorations was probably budget driven. Moreover, I’m 54 years old and cannot recall banks ever having overtly Christmas symbols such as manger scenes, etc.

    I agree with those who lament the timidity of Americans to say Merry Christmas. There is no question that a good part of that is the result of the same phenomena that gives us such absurdities as unity trees. But over-reacting is not the answer.

  • Some people are perpetually in “crank mode” and I wouldn’t be surprised if that gentleman fit in that category. I had a client like that several years ago who found something to complain about every time I talked to him. I finally told him that I did not have the cure for the malady of perpetual dissatisfaction and that he should seek future legal services elsewhere.

  • “Though a nominally Christian country, at least as the polling data goes, people who are in any way serious practicing Christians are increasingly a minority in our culture, and as such ripe for being understood primarily based on their loudest representatives.”

    Loudest, or most prominent in pop culture, whatever.

    Can I vent here a little bit? One of MY pet peeves along these lines. In my own (not my husband’s) extended family, there aren’t many serious practicing Christians at all, at least as far as I can tell — a couple of cousins are Catholic because my uncle married (later divorced) a Catholic, but that’s it. Everybody knows that *I* am some kind of Jesus freak. The end result is that anything that even smacks of Christianity of any kind, everyone in my family assumes that I heartily approve of. This includes awful poetry, dreck-ridden sermons from hired preachers at family funerals, all manner of Protestant heresies, and grotesque liturgical abuses.

    I would like to get it across that actually I’m a *specific* kind of Jesus freak sometimes…

  • Anger management . . .

    I doubt JPMorgan Chase Bank, NA specifically refused to display Christian decor solely to offend subject offendable Christian.

    And, unless he withdrew $tens of millions in deposits, I doubt good, old J. P. noticed his withdrawal.

    Hint: find a local bank with a local focus. You may be able to identifiy a bank whose officers and shareholders are fellow parishioners and you may receive better service (lending in your home town for one) as well as Christian decor.

    I believe in Nassau County, NY there is a credit union run by the K of C.

  • The Customer perhaps was over reacting.But certainly he does not deserve such bad comments .In a country like India where I live and come from,the Nativity Crib does find a place in many Public Places ;perhaps they have no value where they are placed;but it shows that people who have displayed them do want to convey something about Christmas – how Jesus was born,atleast.The Customet in Chase Bankmust be one of those who thought that such a basic thing as a Christmas Crib should have been there in HIS BANK;and nothing wrong in it; and nothing wrong in him withdrwaing his money and closing his account;he stands justified in the eyes of God,certainly,and may not be in the eyes of ordinary men.

  • Perhaps the real challenge is how do we as Christians best deal with the continuous onslaught of bigotry we receive simply because our belief system threatens other’s comfy rationalizations. I agree that we need to improve on how we calmly articulate God’s truth as that is more effective. Before we slam this person as an embarrassment please see the web link below where the wonderful JP Morgan Chase bank has ordered local branches to take down Christmas related decorations while having a Menorah in their lobby of their headquarters last year.

    http://www.fiercefinance.com/story/jpmorgan-chase-christmas-tree-controversy/2010-12-03

    Perhaps we Catholics need to accept the reality that the forces against us, both within and outside of the church, are well organized and that this causes some of us to ‘blow our stack’ despite our noble intentions. I submit that we don’t look down too hard on this guy and instead work to marshal our hatred towards Satan. I would be willing to bet that if all Catholics had the same vigor as this gent and if we ALL together withdrew our cash from these kind of hypocritical institutions ‘ol JP would be sponsoring the Rocketts Christmas tour next year. Besides that local KofC credit union branch would probably give you better service and value beyond the spiritual benefits.

  • My bank froze a message on their exterior sign reading only:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS

    They also ran a “banner” ad, in the local paper, reading the same on Christmas Eve.

    It’s a small family owned bank that doesn’t give a hoot about political correctness. Bless them!

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  • Our money says, “In God We Trust.” But the sad fact is more people believe in Santa than Jesus.

  • Interesting,

    Would this same gentleman say something similar to a pastor (Catholic or not) who rids his Church of religious symbols? We have far more iconoclasts in our own Churches than we do in the public square. Let’s clean up our house first before shouting at others from our empty sanctuaries.

  • The old geezer sounds like one of those irascible characters we might encounter in a Flannery O’Connor novel. One might attribute his behavior to “the violent bear it away” if only we could know the rest of the story, such as the dubious possibility of acts of charity he performed with all those large bills he withdrew.

  • My bank has the caption “Happy Holidays” on its website. (shudder)

    I think I’ll object, because they really value me.

    I owe them a whole heap of money. 😉

  • I’m tired of panty wearing christians not man enough to stick up for their religion. In the town next to me they removed a Nativity scene from the local park, meanwhile many, many Christians are paying the majority of taxes which pays for the towns expenses, etc, plus the salaries of the bums who removed the nativity scene.

  • Oh, and thank God for the elderly old man, at least some Christians still have some balls..

  • What a crappy post. With friends like you who needs enemies?

  • Yes, Virginia, there really are “Christmas Inquisitors”.

    Seriously, if this man felt the bank was not showing the proper respect toward Christmas he had every right to take his money elsewhere, and explain to the bank why he was doing so. But does that mean he HAD to do so in the most public and obnoxious manner possible? Why not just come in, POLITELY ask to speak to the manager, and then explain his concerns, calmly and civilly, to the manager. And did he have to humiliate the teller — who isn’t responsible for creating the bank’s policy — in the process? That’s not “sticking up for your religion,” that’s just plain being a jerk and pushing people around so that you can feel important.

  • Exactly. I have no beef with someone wanting to use a bank which shares your culture — though personally what I look for in a bank is lots of branches in convenient locations and good products with low fees. My beef is with being rude to customer service people who aren’t responsible for what annoys you anyway. (And to a lesser extent with the sheer delusion of imagining that J P Morgan Chase as an organization has any particular respect for Christianity.)

    When I had my first bank account, back at Quaker City Savings and Loan in Whittier, I remember them having a huge decorated tree — but I closed my account there as soon as I left the area to go to college, because they didn’t have branches anywhere but Whittier. I don’t see why you’d expect that kind of thing out of a national bank like Chase. (Though for the record my teller wished me a Merry Christmas in a beautiful Indian accent as I left.)

  • We need more courageous people like him who are willing to stand up for their religion and God instead of those who are spineless, weak-kneed, silent and cowardly.

  • Being rude to customer service people is not courageous.

    Loudly demanding that a bank be decorated to your liking is not standing up for your religion.

    I mean, seriously. I can see neither how this took courage nor how it represents standing up for God in any meaningful way.

  • The cranky old coot wasn’t standing up for anything. If a purely secular institution doesn’t wish to observe Christmas, that is no skin off my nose. Now if a secular institution decides to observe Christmas and it comes under fire from village atheists, government or the ranks of the perpetually aggrieved, I will rally to the support of those who wish to observe Christmas. That is a far cry from tossing a hissy fit because some business is not observing Christmas. If it bothers people, the proper response is to do business elsewhere and not to conduct a childish public tirade. Some people see this fellow as a crusader, but from Darwin’s description I think he is more likely just a loosely wired crank.

  • Teresa, I agree, but why do people have such a hard time telling the difference between being courageous and being obnoxious? Couldn’t he have stood up for his religion without being rude to the other customers –including Darwin himself, who was forced to wait for his own very important transaction to be completed, with a baby in tow who could have awakened and started crying and fussing at any time? “Afflicting the comfortable” is one thing; imposing completely unnecessary burdens on innocent bystanders who have NOTHING to do with the issue at hand is another thing entirely.

    The man in question could have waited his turn to talk to the manager, explained his actions, and if he wanted the rest of the world to know why he did what he did, wrote a letter to the editor of the local newspaper.

  • Sometimes this type of action is the only way to get the person or the bank to wake up and really listen to a person’s concerns. Who knows… maybe the bank had been placating his requests for awhile and this was his last stand. Regardless, I see no problem with him confronting the teller or management and complaining about the utter disrespectful or anti-Christian manner in which the bank was capitalizing in on Christmas without recognizing the reason for the season, Christ. If he didn’t take a stand in some fashion then who would?

  • How is it disrespectful or anti-Christian for a bank to not have Christmas decorations?

    In cases where we have some organization trying to actively prevent people from putting up Christmas decorations, I am fully ready to rally to protect people’s right to celebrate Christmas. But I don’t see where one gets off saying, “I am offended that you have not voluntarily chosen to put out your own Christmas decorations.”

    As I say, one is certainly welcome to go find a bank that chooses to “celebrate” Christmas to one’s satisfaction, but I can’t see how one can be offended that they don’t choose to any more than my Jewish friends should feel offended that I don’t celebrate Hanukkah.

    Nor can I see how going around demanding that people decorate for Christmas whether they want to or not is a Christian witness, rather than just being pushy and rude.

  • How many of us would put up with this kind of demonstration from our children? The man was well within his rights to remove his business from the bank. He was not within his rights to inconvenience others transacting business in the establishement, especially by heaping abuse on those who do not control policy. But, as Darwin’s post title alludes, his biggest infraction may be representing Christians as tantrum-throwing brats who will disrupt the legitimate business of others in order to make a point.

    Now, having said that, and noting that man in question was elderly, there are a number of things that may have led to this demonstration, most of which have nothing to do with banking or decor. While the act itself was unfortunate, both for his reputation and potentially that of Christians in the area, why he finally blew a gasket at that time and place will probably remain a mystery.

    My view of Darwin’s story is colored by my experience below:
    Some years ago, the father of one of my daughter’s softball teammates repeatedly acted boorishly at games, berating the coach for his decisions concerning both the team and his daughter. I was embarrased and annoyed by his behavior, and thought very ill of him. I learned after the season that he had terminal brain cancer, and knew that he had only that season to see his daughter play. He was desperate for her and her team to do well. While the effects of his actions were negative, when I learned of his condition, I understood what motivated him.

    I hope everyone is having a Blessed Christmas season and will enjoy a happy and prosperous New Year

  • These people who refuse to post anything Christmas oriented are the same type of people who attack Christmas and Christianity in general. This is why applaud the man for his actions.

    @Elaine

    Maybe, the gentleman could have handled this differently -in a friendlier manner? But, as I stated above, we do not know if he tried to handle this in a less confrontational way prior to this event or not. I would rather give a Christian man who is willing to stand up for Christ the benefit of the doubt in this situation.

  • So let me get this straight… I’m afraid I’m missing something here. Are this man’s defenders saying that a business is in some way obligated to decorate and put up a display for Christmas?

  • Big Tex the issue is that JP Morgan/Chase/Douwe/Cheatem/Andhow is hypocritical by demanding that branches remove Christmas decorations while having a Menorah in their HQ lobby last year. The older gent was on the right path but he didn’t communicate effectively. Still, content is what should matter over style.

    Everyone, please read the link below as it adds more info into the mix:
    http://www.fiercefinance.com/story/jpmorgan-chase-christmas-tree-controversy/2010-12-03

    Based on the link above maybe we should be discussing how we all remove our funds from this bank and focusing our energy into more effective communication to JP? Seriously, can someone please tell me how Christmas decorations are offensive? Doesn’t our government fund ‘artists’ to mock our Christian symbols? These people have us so intimidated… I thought we were supposed to be the ones constantly shooting arrows over the gates of hell… 🙂

  • Why is it hypocritical? So they had a Menorah. It would lead me to believe those in charge or at least a good number of HQ folks were Jewish. I’m fine with that.

    Methinks people are reading too much into all this. Looking for a fight where there really is none.

  • Well, as the resident crank, let me say that I don’t think private property owners should be compelled to display anything related to any holiday. So while I sympathize with gramps in this case, his complaint is unwarranted.

    My issue was over people who are actually offended BY Christmas – I think they’re fascist control freaks, others disagree.

  • TemplaroftheTruth:
    If, according to the story you linked, JP Morgan had both a XMAS tree and a menorah displayed at its hq last year, why would you only note the menorah in your comment on its alleged hypocrisy?

    Joe,
    I agree that private property owners should not be compelled to display anything related to any holiday. Moreover, they should be allowed to display whatever they wish. Just as private citizens, including customers, employees, and shareholders, should not be compelled to remain silent if they object. The fact that we are all free to do as we wish is not an especially helpful observation in this debate. The point here is that a rather small group of Americans have succeeded in intimidating many private and public institutions into modifying their behavior by removing any reference to Christmas and especially Christ. This vocal minority is free to do so just as the remaining minority of Americans who actually view Christmas as a holy day worthy of social celebration in accordance with our traditions are free to vocalize their views.

  • Mike, I could’ve sworn that when I first read this article it only specified a Menorah in their lobby. There is a reasonable chance this article was edited but then again perhaps this ‘Templar’ is en error. Next time I cite any internet article I’m printing out the version to my electronic files. Perhaps like the older gent I over reacted even though my heart is in the right place. Lesson learned….

  • No worries, Templar. My understanding is that online stories are often edited, so your hypothesis is certainly possible.

    In any event, I think that the vast majority of insitutions and people who avoid mentioning Christmas in public forums mean well — they either are just following well-intended instructions or just wanting to appear inclusive. Unfortunately, this behavior is grounded in complaints asserted by a very small minority who claim to speak on behalf of many non-Christians who have no objection whatsoever to the public celebration of Christmas. I work with many Jews and a handful of Muslims, and have never heard anyone object to a Merry Christmas, etc. When years ago our firm’s Christmas party mutated into a Holiday party, I do not believe it was the result of any internal pressures from Jews, Muslims or atheists; instead it was the result of Christian partners who wanted partly wanted to express a measure of inclusiveness to the minority of non-Christians and partly wanted to signal a measure of political correctness in keeping with the times.

    Expressing anger is counter-productive. Just wish everyone a Merry Christmas and roll on! Most will respond in kind regardless the context or institution.

  • Based on the plethora of comments and the original complaint, the only lesson one can draw from this episode is how thin-skinned people can be. Christ’s said His Kingdom is not of this world, yet his professed followers seem to think otherwise by constantly fretting about secular and often silly concerns. one sees so-called “offensive” symbols every day, on car bumpers, on T-shirts, on TV, on billboards; everywhere, in fact.

    It’s called Freedom of Speech, but it is a freedom which we would reserve to ourselves while restricting it for others. If you don’t like what you see or hear, then put on blinders or plug your ears or simply ignore it. There is an on/off switch on the remote and in our minds. No one coerces you into belief or non-belief. Any rational person can decide for his or herself what to choose. Have your say, then shake the dust off your feet and move on.

  • The old guy sounds like a Christian Soldier who simply needs to pick his fights better. Who cares what Chase does? Their god is manna. But he is right in that what was once a Christian culture is in a death struggle with evil. Pick your fights, but do fight.

  • Well, I own a business and we don’t have any Christmas decorations — or any other holiday decorations. It has nothing to do with political correctness. We are busy running our business and we don’t have time to decorate. My bank has a tree and ornaments.

  • The old guy sounds like a Christian Soldier who simply needs to pick his fights better.

    Bingo, Mike – it’s about picking your battles. This wasn’t the right battle to pick.

  • Well, the old guy could be, as Donald said, just a constant complainer who is never satisfied. But, on the other hand, he could be a generally reasonable man who has been doing a slow, silent burn over the increasingly secularization of Christmas for many years and then, one day, he enters his bank and blows a fuse. And, unfortunately, he blows off steam at someone who is not responsible for the policy.

    Who knows? I reserve judgement because a week and a half ago, I got very angry at a Whole Foods clerk who refused to sell me wine and beer because I didn’t have my driver’s license with me (I walked to the store – it’s 2 blocks away.) I was incensed at the idea of having to walk back to my place on a very cold, windy night to fetch my ID and walk back to the store to buy what I am clearly, obviously, of an age to legally buy. Wisconsin law now idiotically requires store clerks to card anyone who looks like they are under the age of 40 when they making an alcohol or tobacco purchase. I am 51. I look a bit younger than I am, but I do not flatter myself that I look 12 years younger!! Besides, even if I looked 30 or 35 – 21 is still the legal drinking age. How absurd – people who look, not 2 or 5 years, but 19 years over the legal drinking age must still provide ID! As I stomped home to get my driver’s license, I was fuming over the death of plain old common sense. I got the ID, was still livid when I returned to the store and gave the store manager an earful when I returned. He could not understand why I wasn’t feeling flattered – perhaps I might have been if it were June instead of a frigid December night – and gave me a $5 gift card to mollify me.

    The next day, I regretted my anger and apologized to the clerk. Yes, I still think it is a bone-headed law – but the clerk didn’t make the law.

  • An interesting tangent on this discussion, perhaps for another thread, might be how often does bludgeoning work as a tactic to change hearts, versus some other means. Or, is it just that we want performance (orthopraxy) more than we want a change of heart (orthodoxy).

  • “As I stomped home to get my driver’s license, I was fuming over the death of plain old common sense.”

    I hear you!

    Even when I have a big bushy beard I get carded once in a great while when I buy cigarettes. I once asked a clerk if he thought I had a fake beard when he carded me. He just repeated the store’s policy in monotone.

  • Didn’t this man wait in the same line as DarwinCatholic? Didn’t he have a right to complain and take out his money? What if DarwinCatholic and his wife took extra time checking out of a retail store and complained to the clerk because the retail store didn’t have the product which he was looking for and there were people waiting in line behind DarwinCatholic would they have a right to complain and make the other people wait? Or because of the slight inconvenience, no? The bank did not have the product – Christmas display – that he wanted to be represented at HIS bank so he complained to the teller, talked to the manager, withdrew his money out and left so why is everyone giving making a big deal out of one small incident or an actual Christian witness and standing up for Jesus? Didn’t Jesus call us all to be martyrs and not stay silent? To reach outside of our comfort zones? And, yes sometimes obnoxious and courageous are the same thing, and this happens to be one of those circumstances.

    Plus, how did this attack on Christmas occur? Is it because those who attack Christmas and Jesus stayed silent? Or, is it because we stayed silent while others attacked Christmas? Did we feel the need to play nice and accommodate these people?

  • “I once asked a clerk if he thought I had a fake beard when he carded me. He just repeated the store’s policy in monotone”

    What other choice did he have? He never knows when the owner or manager could use his failure to adhere to the policy as an excuse to fire him. Plus, local cops often run sting operations attempting to bust stores that sell alcohol or tobacco to minors. Usually, of course, they use obviously young people with no ID or patently fake ID as bait; but the ONLY way to be completely safe from getting busted in such a sting operation (which also means having the name of your store printed in the local paper or announced on the local news) is to card everyone without exception.

  • I think he’s brilliant.

    If atheists can walk into a public institution and demand the removal of a Christmas decoration and have their way,

    then Christians should be able to walk in and demand the reverse.

Real Sex vs. the Contraceptive Mentality (Part 2)

Tuesday, June 22, AD 2010

[Continued from Part 1]

Restraint, Relationships and Planning Parenthood

When I say that we “naturally want to avoid having children” at certain times, I would imagine that the image that comes immediately to mind is of birth control, abortion or infanticide, and most traditional societies have seen these in some form or other. However, I’d like to turn our attention to something so basic and so prevalent that we don’t think about it much.

From an anthropological point of view, the entire structure of our romantic and family relationships serves as a way to control childbearing, limiting it to situations in which offspring can be supported. Consider: Requiring that young women remain virgins until marriage ensured that children will not be born without a provider. Nor was the decision to marry, when it came, a strictly individual affair. Marriage was negotiated and approved by the wider families, because the families were in effect committing to help support the new family unit being created. Many cultures also required the husband’s family to pay a “bride price”, not simply as compensation for the lost contribution of the daughter to her own family, but as proof that the husband was of sufficient means to start a family.

Once in place, this set of cultural mores and laws provided an easy way to adjust to want or plenty:

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12 Responses to Real Sex vs. the Contraceptive Mentality (Part 2)

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  • Chastity is very important both in and outside of marriage.

    “And the set of moral and societal norms surrounding marriage provide us with a way to manage that fact responsibly in order to have children only when we believe we can support them.”

    I agree. But, unfortunately our society’s norms and sense of morality has changed over time leading to a deterioration of family values, which has also in turn led to a break up of the traditional family unit.

    Plus, the Catholic Church has been quite remiss in promoting and teaching proper fertility treatment alternatives to IVF that are in line with Catholic teachings.

    But, Fr. Benedict Groeshel did recently host a show on Catholic fertility for couples with fertility issues.

    http://teresamerica.blogspot.com/2010/05/faithful-couple-reflects-on-issues-of.html

  • I wondered if you’d mention Ireland. People think of the Irish as baby-crazy, but that has not always been the case as you say.

  • As a cradle Catholic I agree with your assessment. The only thing I don’t agree with is the use of birth control (aka condom) when your married and don’t want children. My spouse is a Medical Doctor and also disagree with the method the church authorized since it is not as full-proof as birth-control or condom. Let me correct myself hormone birth-control we are also against. My question I guess is why is the church against condoms even in marriage?

  • Marriage requires an openness to procreating and condoms inhibit that openness or are a barrier to that openness.

    Here is chart analyzing all forms of contraception and it shows reasons why the Church is against each form of contraception.

    http://www.usccb.org/prolife/issues/nfp/action.shtml

  • Alex,

    As Teresa says, the Church’s opposition to barrier forms of birth control are based on the understanding that they falsify the procreative nature of the sex act. From a Catholic point of view, there is not a moral difference between the use of hormonal and barrier methods of birth control.

  • Alex,
    While it’s hard to see at a glance because the columns are out of alignment, the chart to which Teresa links gives typical use effectiveness ratings (it’s not specified on the page but it looks to be measured in terms of pregnancies per hundred users) for all methods. Pregnancy rates for the fertility-acceptance methods allowed by the Church are actually lower than they are for barrier contraceptives–quite a bit lower if you exclude the now disused calendar rhythm method.

    These methods do demand a high degree of self-discipline, which many couples are unwilling to impose on themselves.

  • Alex..again…abstaining when the wife is fertile teaches sexual control, which is essential and the reason why couples who utilize NFP don’t divorce or stray.

  • The problem I see with NFP is not the theoretical admissibility of the practice, but with the widespread disregard of the Church’s requirement that such mean be used only for grave reasons.

    Now customarily one does not simply judge his own case– he submits the matter to an independent person. Hence, those having recourse to these methods should be doing so only after consultation with an orthodox spiritual advisor, who can judge the facts of a couple’s situation and determine if there truly is a grave cause for avoiding cooperation in the creation of new life.

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  • Sorry, for my delay in responding back. Thank all of you for the comments. We have looked into this method further and also reading Gregory K. Popcak’s “Holy Sex!” is the ultimate guide to a fulfilling, happy, yet virtuous sexual life.” I have to recommend this book because it does lay out what NFP is in detail and makes it sound so.. much more loving … read the book if anyone was like me… Thanks

Mr. President, Not Even Close to Good Enough

Wednesday, June 16, AD 2010

Mr. President,

Last night you gave an address using the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico as an opportunity to pontificate about many subjects. I am afraid that far from convincing me you are leading the federal government well in this disaster, you have removed beyond a doubt your indifference to the state of Louisiana. Since you rarely visited the state before the disaster (even when the un-repaired damage done by Hurricane Katrina should have called your attention), perhaps I, as a resident of this great state, can explain what you obviously don’t understand.

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8 Responses to Mr. President, Not Even Close to Good Enough

  • Flappin’ gums don’t get things done!

    Do something besides execrating BP and demolishing the unjsut, racist capitalist economy!

  • Bravo. I would not like to be President with the current problems that face the country including the disaster in the Gulf. But the man wanted the job and billed that the planet would start to heal with his ascent. Now he’s learning that neither the tides nor disasters heed his will.

    Leadership is a lot more than talk.

  • I honestly did not seize the opportunity to observe the speech, but I was amazed to learn that Chris Matthews and Keith Olberman heavily critized the President.

    Olberman said: “It was a great speech if you were on another planet for the last 57 days.”

    Matthews compared Obama to Carter, said that he had “no direction,” was “a lot of meritocracy, a lot of blue ribbon talk” and that he did not personally “sense executive command” from the President.

  • This whole Obama experiment is kind of like expecting a career .200 hitter to suddenly start hitting .325 with 30 hrs and 92 rbi. I suppose it’s possible if the player played every game like the one game last September when he went 4 for 5 with 1 hr and 4 rbi. Possible, but not bloody likely. The truth of the matter is that Obama was not even a good community organizer. People who spend too much time reading the sports pages missed this little fact.

  • Actually, if a player played every game like the one last September, he would be an .800 hitter with 162 hr and 648 rbi – but I think you catch my drift.

  • Even more about the poor performance Tuesday night. You know its bad when your own press supporters dis you:

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/postpartisan/2010/06/obama_disappoints_from_the_beg.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

  • It seems like there is finally some good news with the spill. The Houston Chronicle reports, U.S. ships were being outfitted earlier this month with four pairs of skimming booms airlifted from the Netherlands and should be deployed within days.” Could this be the turning point? For all those feeling pretty gloomy about this situation, I recommend a good laugh… Here’s a funny joke, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dd0svVWfFbo

The Importance of Sports in a Post-Modern World

Wednesday, June 9, AD 2010

In a few days the FIFA World Cup, which is one of -if not the- premier sporting events in the world, begins so I thought it might be a good time to reflect on the good of sports for those who don’t play them.

In modern sports, sometimes it’s hard to see this good. In sports today, we have college football conferences raiding each other in pursuit of the all-mighty dollar, destroying the wonderful regional nature of the game. We have Kobe Bryant, one of the all-time divas, two games away from yet another title. As Henry Karlson pointed out in a post a while ago, sports stars often find themselves in a position of privilege-both in terms of financial wealth and in terms of our excusal of their poor behavior (though I would attribute this in large part not solely to sports but also to the cult of celebrity we have today, which is another post for another day). We even had a stampede in anticipation of the World Cup.

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4 Responses to The Importance of Sports in a Post-Modern World

  • See today’s Wall Street Journal review by John Heilpern of “Soccer and Philsosphy” edited by Ted Richards.

    Most of it flew right over my head.

    Sports and Theology: When my kids were playing, I’d pray that no one was hurt; that everyone played well; and that our team won. Now, it’s a Hail Mary for every pitch Marion Rivera throws. It usually works.

  • I’m reminded of that scene in American History X when a white supremacist and a black guy bond over basketball talk. They say Sunday mornings are the most segregated time of the week but I’d say that Sunday afternoons at football stadiums are some of the most integrated places in America.

    Having said that, international sporting events have also been responsible for some hostility, sometimes violence.

  • The slogan for the World Cup in the past used to be (loosely translated) the world united around a ball. Well, it at least gets them physically together in the same place, if not necessarily united.

    I do agree though, sports do have some salutary effects on communities and individuals. Particularly team sports which impart sense of belonging, cooperation, and putting the team’s interests ahead of one’s own (apparently, Maradona has not picked up on that last one).

  • Thank you for the fantastic post. Together with the world cup coming round you’re starting to find far better posts on sports around the globe. Continue the good work please. The world wide web needs it.

Rural Ideal, Suburban Compromise

Tuesday, April 27, AD 2010

For those who spend quantities of time philosophizing about lifestyles, suburbia is almost universally reviled. Large tracts of similarly designed homes, each set on its patch of lawn, seem for many people to epitomize the problems of isolation, conformity, mass production, consumerism, or whatever the bugbear of choice may be. And yet, suburban life remains persistently popular.

Having spent the last month building a large raised vegetable bed and putting in this year’s expanded garden, such that I can now look out on the garden with my morning coffee in hand and not with satisfaction the growth of the tomato plants and the strangely obscene orange flowers of the zucchini and butter-stick squash, or go out in the warm evening when I return from work to gauge the progress of the pair of grape vines and the climbing rose bush, the explanation for this does not seem strange to me. There is, it seems to me, a desire that a great many of us have, despite our city-based jobs and cultural tastes, for a home and small plot of land we can call our own.

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15 Responses to Rural Ideal, Suburban Compromise

  • Suburbia is a good solution for those unable to live as God intended us to live: in a small town in a rural area. 🙂

  • Having lived in each of the below scenarios (excluding #6), here is my ranking in order of preference:

    (1) Small-to-midsize town in a rural area (preferably with a mid-size city within a half-hour-to-hour drive).
    (2) Revitalized older neighborhood in small-to-midsize city (preferably with a college or university).
    (3) Rural village.
    (4) Rural homestead.
    (5) Revitalized older urban neighborhood (preferably somewhat artsy-fartsy) in a metropolitan area.
    (6) Hell.
    (7) Suburbia.

    😉

  • Agree with number one. Still wonder why I left that. Having said that and having lived on a small farm in the past, it is hard work. You do learn how much a “b” nature can be. Late frost wiping out blossoms on fruit trees. Deer and other critters eating garden. No rain. Too much rain. And those pesky skunks spraying the dogs. Just some of the joys of rural living. Helps you understand how little human efforts can accomplish and how much one depends on God.

  • I recall Russ Roberts (who spent a while working on a Kibbutz) saying something along the lines of, “Most people think that farm life is beautiful and fulfilling. That’s because the closest most people get to farming is gardening.”

    I enjoy growing things as form of recreation, and I enjoy brewing my own beer and baking my own bread, etc. But I certainly recognize that I lead a happier and more fulfilled life because I rely on these as enriching hobbies and not for survival.

  • “Late frost wiping out blossoms on fruit trees. Deer and other critters eating garden. No rain. Too much rain. And those pesky skunks spraying the dogs. Just some of the joys of rural living.”

    Growing up Phillip I did a fair amount of agricultural labor for hire. That tends to whip romantic notions about rural living out of one’s soul. However, whenever I am visiting a large city, I cannot wait until I am leaving it and returning to my home in the Village of Dwight.

  • Jay, your comment about Hell as a place to live reminds me of General Sheridan’s comment about Hell and Texas. He said that if he owned both he would rent out Texas and live in Hell. A Texan hearing this, opined that since Sheridan was a Yankee general, that he heartily approved of Sheridan’s choice of abode.

  • Until the time I was 9, I wanted to live on a horse ranch (must’ve watched too much “Spin and Marty” on the Mickey Mouse Club). When I was 9, my mom remarried and we moved to my stepdad’s ranch with horses and cattle.

    I soon decided that it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, but rather was a LOT of hard work with daily chores. Feeding and watering animals, cleaning barns, hauling hay, mowing pastures, building fences, etc.

  • Don,

    As a Texan, and as the former mayor of a town in Virginia that Sheridan raided, I also concur with Sheridan’s choice of abodes (but will decline to speculate on the likelihood of his actually having taken up residence there).

    😉

  • As I have gotten older, I’ve grown in appreciation for my small town upbringing. That said, I like being in striking distance of cultural and athletic events, too. Not to mention the opportunities it provides my children. If I can speak up for the older suburbs, I think they have a lot to offer–as opposed to the outer-ring townships where developers have run riot over the past generation. The older ‘burbs still have a certain older charm and organization, at least in their better spots. As well as convenience to big-city amenities. Having lived in one and being (almost certainly) in the process of moving to another, there’s something to be said for the inner ring places. Starting not least with affordability.

  • My family has rural roots. I grew up in the suburbs of Dallas. My parents, though, grew up in a small German Catholic town about 70 miles north of Dallas (Muenster, TX). I still have plenty of family there, and thus ample reasons to visit. In the town’s cemetery, the remains of three generations of my ancestors are buried, from my great great grandparents to my my grandparents. I speculate that even though my parents are still in Dallas, that they will eventually move back and live out their lives in their home town. The history is rich within a small town like this. It has retained some nice customs from the old country, and yet has new American ones as well.

    One such custom, is that they celebrate the feast of St. Joseph each year, treating it as a holy day of obligation. This was the town’s promise from years gone by when tornadoes destroyed one or two previous churches in town. At the completion of Sacred Heart, they dedicated it St. Joseph as the parish’s patron, promising to celebrate his feast annually. Ever since, the church has been protected from disaster, even with a couple close calls.

    My desire is to live there some day. I’ve never lived there, but it is a home of some sort. I imagine that when (if ever) I live there, it will be in my golden years.

    I admit, I have something of a romanticized view of this town. Practically speaking, living there at this point in my life would be a challenge. For one, it would be a long commute. Additionally, we aren’t sure how a town like this would welcome the idea of a home school family. Moreover, I am aware of some of the negative influences that would be difficult to shelter my children from, such as the social/binge underage drinking.

    As for Sheridan… I concur with Jay.

  • It was Davy Crockett who said “You may all go to hell, and I will go to Texas.”

    Incidentally, Texas has plenty of small towns and suburbia.

  • People who dump on suburbia seem to have a lot in common with people who make fun of minivans. I am fatigued by the immaturity displayed by the need to justify one’s choices of where to live, what to drive, etc., by the method of criticising the choice you didn’t make.

    Every choice is made on a sliding scale of factors of varying degrees of importance.

    Be happy with your choices and be done with it.

  • Count me in as an advocate for suburbia, for many of the reasons Darwin and Dale Price cite. True, some of the newest suburban developments show a lack of beauty, but not all are created equal. I live in a “suburb” of Los Angeles (is there such a thing?) in a home built in 1940 that has plenty of charm and character. Joel Kotkin has written well about the appeal of suburbs as well (He goes against the dominant urbanist view.).

  • I grew up in a small town of less than 1,000 people, and spent part of my early married life living in an old farmhouse which was in a perpetual state of remodeling/improvement. It was great to live in when the weather was good, when the garden was thriving and when our vehicles were running properly.

    However, it also required me to make a 40-mile commute to work daily. That was not fun when we had car problems (and the nearest repair shop was 10 miles away), or during snowstorms, or when gas prices approached the then-unconscionable $2 a gallon level, or during cold snaps when the propane tank had to be refilled twice in one month, etc.

    The 2008 gas price spike, which followed several years of having to make a 60-plus mile commute to work every day, pretty much scared us into deciding to live as close as possible to my job. I must admit that while I miss seeing stars at night, the smell of freshly cut grass, etc. the thought of gas going back up over $4 a gallon again or driving through whiteout conditions to get home from work kind of throws a wet blanket on those thoughts.

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Pange Lingua Gloriosi

Thursday, September 3, AD 2009

Composed by Saint Thomas Aquinas for the Office of Corpus Christi (see CORPUS CHRISTI, FEAST OF). Including the last stanza (which borrows the words “Genitori Genitoque”—Procedenti ab utroque, Compar” from the first two strophes of the second sequence of Adam of St. Victor for Pentecost) the hymn comprises six stanzas appearing in the manuscripts

Pange, lingua, gloriosi corporis mysterium,
Sanguinisque pretiosi quem in mundi pretium
Fructus ventris generosi Rex effudit gentium.

Written in accentual rhythm, it imitates the triumphant march of the hymn of Fortunatus, and like it is divided in the Roman Breviary into stanzas of six lines whose alternating triple rhyming is declared by Pimont to be a new feature in medieval hymnody. In the  Roman Breviary the hymn is assigned to both Vespers, but of old the Church of Salisbury placed it in Matins, that of Toulouse in First Vespers only, that of Saint-Germain- des-Prés at Second Vespers only, and that of Strasburg at Compline. It is sung in the procession to the repository on Holy Thursday and also in the procession of Corpus Christi and in that of the Forty Hours’ Adoration.[1]

_._

[1] Henry, H. (1911). Pange Lingua Gloriosi. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved September 3, 2009 from New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11441c.htm

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