Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Apparently praising the aesthetic qualities of a battleship is some kind of warmongering.

Y'see, calling an instrument of death beautiful is wrong, at least in the eyes of some Catholics who are qualified to judge morality.

Now, they do have a point. After all, no matter how shiny a garbage truck is, it's still used for carting garbage around - and no matter how beautiful a war machine is, it's designed for killing people, many of whom land in Hell as a result. And a lot of people (most notably those in France, Germany, and the areas between) praised the beauty of their weapons to hide the fact that they were growing too warlike (to use a mild phrase)...

Then again, praising the looks of this weapon...

...doesn't mean you approve of how Francis Macomber died in Hemingway's story.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

...or, "Much ado about nothing"

Diogenes is generalizing here, but it's true.

My guess is liturgical tomfoolery is mostly inspired by people who sit around thinking, "You know, modern Americans live a crude, ugly, uninspired life. No matter how wonderful their characters or how wild their adventures, they have to do them within the confines of ugly buildings and unflattering "practical" clothes. Perhaps we should allow them to do something poetically and expressively, the way folks did back in....[here they suppress their urge to mention the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance, when being a lackey at the Holy Mass was worth the bother]...the early Church."

Of course, it doesn't convince them to make beautiful churches or splendid outfits for their altar servers, but that doesn't matter. What matters is they're mostly interested in the "experience" of the Mass. Of course, most Catholics view Mass as a sort of large grace-dispensing machine, where they pay an hour of time and get various graces in return (and, if they bother to pray during the Mass, some actual spiritual growth). When these groups meet, you get the typical church: a bevy of altar servers/choir singers/performers who try to please indifferent people who are mostly just waiting for Communion. And a priest, we can't forget that.

Literary style...

This article mentions various stylistic mistakes to avoid in writing, offered by The Kansas City Star to Ernest Hemingway when he worked for that paper.

Personally, I think the list has a glaring omission and it should be obvious to anyone who read The Old Man and the Sea at some point in their lives as I did when I began high school, in fact it has to do with this sentence.

(That sentence, I must admit, doesn't really sound like Hemingway's writing, even in The Old Man and the Sea.)

UPDATE: It occurred to me that the newspapers I read are badly written. Hemingway would have had to advise them to write, not vice versa.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

"The President of the United States should not go to the Olympics..."

I'd say nobody should go.

There's a word for the highest men in the Chinese Communist government: "tyrants." There's also a word for the men who carry out their commands: "thugs." That's a good reason to boycott this Olympics. (Besides, we boycotted that other Olympics in a Communist haven, the USSR, in 1980. We ought to behave consistently as a matter of social principle.)

Monday, April 7, 2008

In Keeping with my tradition of not having anything to do with important cultural issues...

I present to you this question: Did Moses have horns? (I don't know what Daniel Mitsui's authority on this matter is, other than that he's at least a well-informed amateur student of religious art, and sells his own religious art.)

On the one hand, you'd expect someone who spoke with God to shine, not sprout horns. On the other hand, not all horned creatures are evil - unicorns, for instance. (I'd argue that, if Moses had horns, it would refer to the ram which God sent to Abraham, since both were God-given gifts which prevented the Chosen Race from getting exterminated.)

Of course, it doesn't help matters that this statue of Moses makes him look like Zeus in the process of having Athena pop out of his head..

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Theodore Gerald, rest in peace.

Please pray for his soul; he was my brother.

Incidentially, I'm disturbed by the fact that almost no popular music is really appropriate for mourning (and by "popular music" I mean the things I've been able to find on the radio and surfing music sites on the Internet). When you consider how many people die every day, it suggests there's something wrong with our music.

All I can do now is remember the Apocalypse.


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