Friday, April 25, 2008
The Episcopalians continue their slide into Unitarianism in Drag. The Church of England was often described as being nothing more than "the Tory party at prayer", a dig which implied that the theological overlay was superficial and the political energy was the real deal.
It is hard to think that the Episcopal Church, or what is left of it, is anything other than merely the progressive Democrat party at prayer. It seems to be in such complete cultural captivity to the Boomer Blue worldview that it no longer even recognizes it.
Reading the description of the Earth Day service led by the current presiding Bishopette, I think I would rather have gum surgery than be there. And really, only white liberal Christians can be this embarrassing. Oy.
PS. In summer 2007, an Episcopal priest announced she was also a Muslim. Rather than being told to choose or get out, she was suspended for a year to think about it. Even the lingo her bishop used in handing out the enforced leave is telling. He spoke of "what I see as" the profound differences between the two religions. As if it were some private opinion he was unwilling to assert more strongly. Good Lord.
Monday, April 21, 2008
I am down with a nasty cold, which has been making both my thinking and my feeling functions wobbly. Feeling, especially.
Two thoughts that have occurred to me before, to blog on. So why not now? My eloquence is low, but...well, hardly a world crisis.
First. It has not escaped my notice that I am deaf to a music that the vast majority of men (and women) throughout history have heard and moved to: the primal attraction of one sex for its opposite. I can tell a beautiful woman from a plain one; while her beauty may impress, it does not move me to awe. Does not draw me or arouse me.
But I am not unmusical. At all. On the contrary. My primal attraction is to my own sex, other males, other men. This music fills the universe for me. To me, it is the most utterly natural thing in the world. I hardly ever feel more my full true self than when this almost divine force is enacted between me and another man whom I love. Most people find this kind of human sexual connection, to put it mildly, deeply problematic. But for me, it is the only music that makes me want to dance.
Second. The sexual-moral teaching of Catholicism is crucial to its identity and survival. I have expressed some surprise about dissident Catholics who expect the Church to overturn this in order to accomodate people who are outside its boundaries. Homosexuality is, of course, the issue closest to home.
But my respect for the Church's position and tradition does not include me submitting to it. That is in very large measure why I left it. What does throw me is knowing of people whose sexuality is for their own gender and who accept the orthodox judgment that their kind of lovemaking is always essentially a sin. That is beyond me.
What must their experience be like, that they could believe such a thing?
Sunday, April 20, 2008
A...challenging...weekend. A bad cold confines me mostly to my house, missing the bright Saturday and Sunday. Too little sleep at night, too much in the day. And the --admittedly minor, but vexing --ills of my body reduce the borders of my soul, making sadness and irritation the most natural guests.
A friend is dying of cancer a hundred miles away. My father's health continues to decline, placing more burdens on my mother and siblings. My ex's partner achieves Black Belt status in his chosen martial art. Another friend returns to see me from out of town. The neighbor's cat wanders in for the attention and space he has claimed for the last dozen years or so. Emails and phone calls come. A man of whom I am enormously, though perhaps imprudently, fond sometimes delights me to the point of uneasy wonder, sometimes confuses me to the point of fear. I watch movies and documentaries on war, on loss, on friendship, on ludicrousness. I think about my future, sometimes with hope, sometimes with anxiety.
And I just finished watching the wonderfully moving series finale of John Adams, based on David McCullough's groundbreaking biography. And there I am in awe. Abigail Adams once wrote to her husband that “Posterity who are to reap the blessings will scarcely be able to conceive the hardships and sufferings of their ancestors.” True, Abigail, true.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
In the last ten days or so, I have experienced a noticeable variety of moods. More than I usually do. I think I have a very broadly and slowmoving cyclothymic character, but of late the colors have been more vivid. I have times of almost incandescent joy, of clear-flowing peace, of edgy anxiety, of irritated boredom, of grinning playfulness, of empty serenity. The literal color of the day or hour affects me: a sunny morning, a foggy one, darkness before dawn...
What I notice is how quickly and how sharply my mood can shift these days. I try not to act them out on people in unsocial or uncivi ways, but I feel them. The presence or absence of a person, my level of energy, how my teeth grind.
If I recall, Heidegger thought that moods were not merely emotional states or frames of mind, but ways in which the world revealed itself.
Sometimes they vary so much that I wonder if there is only one man experiencing them, if they are regions of my one soul or the voices of a multitude: "My name is Legion, for we are many."
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
I will not post on the shameful decision of the New Mexico Human Rights Commission. Are the officials of all such commissions --especially the Canadian versions--not most properly addressed as "Commissar"? Nor will I rant in support of Andrew McCarthy's new book on the West's pathetic response to Jihad, aptly named Willful Blindness. (Note the mild paralepsis in the foregoing.)
Instead I will link to a story that leaves even a man of my age, experience and convictions speechless with the knowledge that his vacation is over:
An Italian woman, dressed as a bride, travels through the Middle East, relying on the innate kindness of people, to promote peace...and is found murdered, naked and raped in Turkey.
God Himself could not have imagined such a scenario. I need to sign off for fear of saying things that will even offend myself.
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
The brilliantly funny Stuff White People Like provides a complete list for topics covered so far. Behold!
- #93 Music Piracy
- #92 Book Deals
- #91 San Francisco
- #90 Dinner Parties
- #89 St. Patrick’s Day
- #88 Having Gay Friends
- #87 Outdoor Performance Clothes
- #86 Shorts
- #85 The Wire
- #84 T-Shirts
- #83 Bad Memories of High School
- #82 Hating Corporations
- #81 Graduate School
- #80 The Idea of Soccer
- #79 Modern Furniture
- #78 Multilingual Children
- #77 Musical Comedy
- #76 Bottles of Water
- #75 Threatening to Move to Canada
- #74 Oscar Parties
- #73 Gentrification
- #72 Study Abroad
- #71 Being the only white person around
- #70 Difficult Breakups
- #69 Mos Def
- #68 Michel Gondry
- #67 Standing Still at Concerts
- #66 Divorce
- #65 Co-Ed Sports
- #64 Recycling
- #63 Expensive Sandwiches
- #62 Knowing What’s Best for Poor People
- #61 Bicycles
- #60 Toyota Prius
- #59 Natural Medicine
- #58 Japan
- #57 Juno
- #56 Lawyers
- #55 Apologies
- #54 Kitchen Gadgets
- #53 Dogs
- #52 Sarah Silverman
- #51 Living by the Water
- #50 Irony
- #49 Vintage
- #48 Whole Foods and Grocery Co-ops
- #47 Arts Degrees
- #46 The Sunday New York Times
- #45 Asian Fusion Food
- #44 Public Radio
- #43 Plays
- #42 Sushi
- #41 Indie Music
- #40 Apple Products
- #39 Netflix
- #38 Arrested Development
- #37 Renovations
- #36 Breakfast Places
- #35 The Daily Show/Colbert Report
- #34 Architecture
- #33 Marijuana
- #32 Vegan/Vegetarianism
- #31 Snowboarding
- #30 Wrigley Field
- #29 80s Night
- #28 Not having a TV
- #27 Marathons
- #26 Manhattan (now Brooklyn too!)
- #25 David Sedaris
- #24 Wine
- #23 Microbreweries
- #22 Having Two Last Names
- #21 Writers Workshops
- #20 Being an expert on YOUR culture
- #19 Traveling
- #18 Awareness
- #17 Hating their Parents
- #16 Gifted Children
- #15 Yoga
- #14 Having Black Friends
- #13 Tea
- #12 Non-Profit Organizations
- #11 Asian Girls
- #10 Wes Anderson Movies
- #9 Making you feel bad about not going outside
- #8 Barack Obama
- #7 Diversity
- #6 Organic Food
- #5 Farmer’s Markets
- #4 Assists
- #3 Film Festivals
- #2 Religions their parents don’t belong to
- #1 Coffee
Apparently the blogger, 22 year old Canadian-born White Person Christian Lander, knows them, too!
Consider: 17 European nations are already at or below what demographers call "lowest-low" fertility (1.3 children per couple) - a point from which no society in human history has ever recovered.
*I get some mild perverse pleasure when locals start in about the glories of Muslim Spain and how unfortunate it was that they were driven out by the Christians in the fifteenth century. I point out that this is the uprising of the indigenous native peoples against foreign colonialists. Their little deer-eyes blink.
Monday, April 07, 2008
I was going to post about one of my pet peeves: how young women (and too many gay men) talk. Their intonation. So I went in search of the old 1982 Moon Zappa song, Valley Girl. Found it on YouTube, of course. But part of it was obscure to my hearing, so I found the lyrics. And discovered this:
Its really sad
Like my english teacher
Hes like mr. bu-fu
Were talking lord God king bu-fu
I am so sure
Hes like so gross
He like sits there and like plays with all his rings
And he like flirts with all the guys in the class
Its like totally disgusting
Im like so sure
Its like barf me out...
Gag me with a spoon!
I have a friend who has decided that I have been living in a cultural backwater.
Sunday, April 06, 2008
At the end of a fascinating piece on the history of the first human migrations into the Western Hemisphere about 20,000 years ago, we leave behind the scientists and linguists and archeologists and are treated to this opinion:
Perry Chocktoot Jr. is a council member and cultural historian for the Klamath Tribes in Klamath Falls, Ore., and traces his ancestry back to his great-great-grandfather who lived when the federal government ceded the land to the Yahooskin band of Paiute Indians.
"The area of the Paisley caves and what the scientists found there really does substantiate what we have always believed," he said in an interview. "It's essentially evidence that our people were created here - just as we've always believed - but that we were created long, long ago, many thousands of years ago, at the very beginning of time."
Sorry, chief. Twenty-thousand years is hardly the very beginning of time. The evidence points to an exactly opposite conclusion, that pre-American inhabitants migrated here from Asia.
But I suppose it's culturally insensitive of me to notice that.
(And thanks to my SFChronicle source, RCI, an interesting fella, although not as interesting as he thinks he is.)
If you google the phrase "hurt feelings chinese people", you come up with a lot of hits. ..almost two million. And it's not about someone making rude ethnic remarks on the street. It's a typical Chinese governmental reaction to things they don't like, be it the invasion by Japan in WWII...a truly horrific event...or some lightweight singer like Bjork calling for Tibetan independance.
It's silly and childish that a nation would complain that its feelings were hurt. Especially a nation of a billion people. Can you imagine W or Stephen Harper or any Western leader complaining that someone "hurt the feelings" of their people?
Wonder what they say about Mao and all his doings back in the motherland.
Yikes. We are not all the same.
Thursday, April 03, 2008
Although I believe that the world is overdetermined and that magic-bullet solutions or single-item Explanations of Everything are naturally off base, I do have the kind of mind that likes to synthesize experience into theories.
I have bandied about the notion of the Seven Pillars of Liberalism and although I now see them more as spokes in the Wheel of Progress --a wheel is more feminine than a pillar-- I keep trying to connect and simplify.
Race, class, gender. These are the three items that obsess the progressives. No big discovery on my part. Google these three terms and millions of hits come up.
The Seven Spokes depend on these three.
Multiculturalism and transnationalism are responses to issues of race.
Feminism, pacifism and environmentalism* are responses to issues of gender.
Redistributionism and secularism are Marxism's contribution and hence about class.
*I include environmentalism as a gender issue because of the easy confluence of these issues into ecofeminism, which sees the planet as a wounded and raped female mother goddess.