Monday, February 28, 2011

More suffering

Lunch at Katz's deli on E Houston Street in the Lower East Side. Talked to my mom and since I have been remiss in calling of later, she accepted a take-out order of this pastrami on rye (sans vanilla egg cream*) as a peace offering.

I got off easy.

*For you non-New Yorkers, a vanilla egg cream is a drink made with no eggs and no cream. Go figure. That's why New Yorkers are tough, we're used to things not being as advertised. Vanilla syrup, milk and seltzer. There's a chocolate version, too.

For a girl

Madonna, of all people, asks us to imagine the rough life of the female. The poor thing laments:

Girls can wear jeans
And cut their hair short
Wear shirts and boots
'Cause it's OK to be a boy
But for a boy to look like a girl is degrading
'Cause you think that being a girl is degrading

Strong inside but you don't know it
Good little girls they never show it
When you open up your mouth to speak
Could you be a little weak

Hurt that's not supposed to show
And tears that fall when no one knows
When you're trying hard to be your best
Could you be a little less
Do you know what it feels like for a girl
Do you know what it feels like in this world
For a girl

In this world
Do you know
Do you know
Do you know what it feels like for a girl
What it feels like in this world 

Color me unsympathetic. The feminism-driven rise of The Western Female has been nothing short of revolutionary. And at a cost to men far greater than most people are willing to admit. So I am not moved.

However, a thought struck me the other day while at the Natural History museum. Maybe it was all those anthropological exhibits of primitive peoples and extinct civilizations. In one way, women do have a tough task laid on them by Mother Nature herself.

(As I've said before, if the divine is a Goddess, then please explain childbirth and PMS. Seems like a feminine creatrix would be a bit less, well, clumsy.)

From earliest years, the job of a female is to be pretty. Not only the larger world, but her female relatives and peers especially drive this lesson home. She thus spends vast hours in front of mirrors, adjusting how she looks, what she wears, etc. It is a petrie dish for a certain kind of narcissism and obsession with surface. But that is the price for finding a mate, attracting a male, for whom feminine beauty is paramount.

But, and this is Mother Nature's kicker, once she has attracted the right male (and he has his own rough course to run), she starts to have babies. And then, in a neck-wrenching 180 degree blink-of-an-eye, Princess Little Miss Pretty has to become Mommy, the constant tender of a small creature which depends on her every waking moment, and then for years and years after that. From self-absorption she is thrown headlong into selflessness, as a requirement. In the traditional, and not showbiz, sense of the word, the virgin becomes a madonna.

From this

To this

Contemporary Western women, with all due respect, have a much softer jolt. The world that Western men have made for them (sic) makes motherhood far easier. But for most females in almost all history, excepting the very rich or royal, this bait and switch must be quite a trial. And a lot of modern entitled Western women refuse to adjust at all, wreaking havoc on husband and children.

And I am aware that women, once they become mothers, are also encouraged to stay attractive. No easy task, being both Belle of the Ball and Mommy.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Tuff life

Lunch today with very good old friend T at Tarry Lodge in Port Chester, --best fettucine alla carbonara I ever had-- a very pleasant afternoon in the brisk sun, walking the family dogs with him and his son in the local park. A cappucino with home made --by his now marathon running wife!-- Swiss Christmas cookies and back to NYC on the train.

To be met at my lil bro's house with dinner ready: chicken breasts braised in white wine, mushrooms, onions and spices, broccoli rabe and rice, with as much wine as you could handle.

My brother and his wife, who are stupendously hospitable to me, call their NY brownstone The Hotel Paradiso. Amen.

Maybe I should extend the subtitle of this blog: Politics. Sex. Religion. Food.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


HT to FiveFeetOfFury

A tourist in my own land

Spent the afternoon at the American Museum of Natural History. I do believe I have not been there since I was in my 20's. On a Saturday, full of families and their kids. Lots of noise and energy. The life size replica of a blue whale dominating the Ocean Animals wing is amazing. Twice as large as I would have imagined.

And all those dinosaurs. And a dodo.

Walked down CPW a while and then took the subway to the West Village and had myself a

chocolate mousse and coffee at the Sant Ambroeus cafe, corner of W 4th and Perry.

A cold but bright and clear day in Manhattan.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Clever, these Chinese

Someone just made reference to the Fifty Five recognized minorities in China. I hear they even have their own zoo theme park. I got curious. Guess what?

The Han, the majority, aka, Chinese people, constitute 92% - 96% of the population! They divide (and conquer) the other mere 4% - 8% into 55 groups. One group is no different from the Han except that they practice Islam. Very clever system.

I bet it will be a long time before the Han allow themselves to become a minority in their own land.


Ethical paragon Paris...oh, no, sorry...Perez Hilton showing his support
in an extremely (!) touched-up photo. Actual PH here.

And the whole theme of "H8".
The endless tugging about gay marriage.
Hatred is an ineradicable and necessary part of the human emotional range. As homos like to say, "Get used to it." The No H8ers are in fact a prime example. Ask them to talk about Mormons or The Christian Right or Republicans or GW Bush or Dick Cheney. You wanna see hate? Continuous showings. Instantaneous. No waiting.

I H8 NO H8 for another couple of reasons.

It's whining, dishonest and manipulative in the extreme, grossly self-serving, puerile, and lacking in self-respect. Counting coup instead of actually taking on your opponent like a man. Playing the moral victim while immorally lying barefaced and repetitively. Taking it as a very un grown up article of faith that if you disagree with us you must hate us and therefore be --in that upchuck-provoking modern phrase-- "a bad person."

The originators' website explains the images. This is necessary, because I misinterpreted their intention. I thought the intent of the duct tape was to tell H8ful H8ing H8erz to shut up.
Photos feature subjects with duct tape over their mouths, symbolizing their voices being silenced by Prop 8 (bolding mine) and similar legislation around the world, with "NOH8" painted on one cheek in protest.

Their voices being silenced? Are you kidding? As more than one wag has pointed out, the Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name (a phrase bequeathed to us by uber-creep Lord Alfred Douglas) now can't shut the hell up.

When Jack (Malebranche) Donovan identified the ugly threesome of gayness in Androphilia, he listed group victim identity, feminist-driven ambiguity (at least) about masculinity, and lockstep leftwing politics. While painfully accurate, I find, as time goes on, that they are simply three aspects of something else. I mean, where do you find any one of them without the other two?

Well, Islam, I guess: group victim identity without the other two. Otherwise....

West Coast 51 year old

Six two, two hundred.
What more could you ask, except a little fur here and there?


Poster in the window of a barbershop on 8th Avenue in NY. Advertizing hair gel :)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A forty year old Aussie

Back East

Off to NY in a few hours. Back in ten or twelve days. Haven't been back with the family since October, I think. Though I have no fear of flying, whenever I leave home like this, my stomach and gut go into knot mode for three days prior to the trip. It's not so much about where I am going as about where I am leaving. A homebody, I guess.

Why the hell didn't my ancestors move to SF?

But then I would probably have migrated to NY...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Reparative therapy for orientation

From the CounterReformation to Vatican II, the altar and the tabernacle were fused in Catholic churches.

It gave them a single powerful sacred focus. Now they are frequently separated, with the tabernacle on a side altar or separate chapel, a return to an older practice.

And I think that this has contributed to disorientation and splitting inside the building. And for an old Dominican, whose order had a particular issue about never turning your back to the tabernacle, it was, I remember, uncomfortable.

A really good solution is at the Trappist Holy Spirit Monastery in Georgia. The tabernacle is behind the altar, central but on the same axis, but within its own niche or shrine, so to speak, with curtains. During Mass, the curtains are closed so that the altar is the focus. For the rest of the time, both altar and tabernacle are connected.

Hey, this blog is about sex, politics AND religion.

PS What i like about this is the arrangment of items: altar, tabernacle in enclosable shrine (with curtains or even doors), not necessarily the very spare monastic aesthetics. In a parish especially, it would need more color and image and lines perhaps not so severe. 

SF Winter

Picked yesterday from the big tree in the backyard.

Unfeeling men

Anyone who thinks being a man means not feeling needs to listen to one of the few places where men, of many kinds, --not the preening developmentally arrested thugs of hip hop--are on view and celebrated: country music.

Mr. Lawrence sings

I'd like to believe in the healing hands of time but the truth is
I really can't say if I'm getting better or just used to the pain.
No I won't go so far as to say that I'm fine 
too much of what I felt for you remains.
I'd like to believe in the healing hands of time but the truth is
I really can't say if I'm getting better or just used to the pain.
If I'm getting better or just used to the pain.

And Joe Nicol's more understated lines from The Shape I'm In

Well I’m gettin better at barely gettin by
When I look at her picture I don’t break down and cry.
And all this time on my hands it’s gettin easier to spend
Cause I’m doin alright for the shape I’m in.

The sun came up again this morning,
I took my old fastback for a spin.
Now when it rains it ain’t always pouring
and I’m learning how to live again

Yea I’m doin alright,
I’m doin alright,
I’m doin alright for the shape I’m in.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Jihad and reconquista

Although I tend to feature angry Muslims more than invading Mexicans, the only good thing so far about the hordes of illegal Mexicans and other Hispanics in the US is that they are not Muslims. Lest you think I am ok with that, however...

To recap, seven reasons why this is a very very bad idea:

1. They are here illegally (!!) --punto numero uno--, 
2. in massive and continuing numbers that create a divided bilingual society,
3. from a single non-English-speaking and dysfunctional culture, 
4. right next door, (making divided loyalties easy)
5. with a choppy and often hostile history between us, 
6. at a time when US  bondage to our cultural elite’s self-hating multiculturalism makes assimilation very optional or even discouraged, 
7. current stats indicate that many of them will raise double-alienated under-educated children* into the underclass.

But our ludicrously porous border is now also an entry point not only to the Mexican drug cartels, but to Hezbollah.

Whether, like Mother Jones, you believe in the rationality of Twelver Shia fanatics, or like Minutemen and Tea Partiers or Fox News, you suspect that blowing up something American just might be on their jihadi radar, the common fact is that they are in business with the cartels and they make huge sums of money to fund their global project from American drug users. Even an Islamophobe like me can see the sweet ironic justice in that: use the Yankees' own corruption to fund their downfall.

All we need now is for the Chinese somehow get in on the fun and we'll be in for an even better time.

*First generation illegals might feel lucky because even their lives here are better than back home. But their kids, who apparently have not much aptitude for American education, will find themselves 1. neither really American or really Mexican and 2. feel entitled to the better life they see all around them, since they were born here.. Aside from the current joys of Latino gangs and the fatal strain on healthcare and welfare, this next wave will bring its own miseries to us. 

BTW, When the demographics shift in 30 or 40 years, Whites will become a minority in our own country. Despite population dominance of "people of color", you can bet that wealth will remain principally in the hands of Whites and Asians (unless the government has bled it all out by then). All those Hispanics, to say nothing of the Blacks, will not be happy about that.  Whites will not then be accorded protected minority status, but will become the Historical Majority Race; resentment and sanction will be abundant and continuing.

My own romanticism of space

On my first visit to Rome, on my way to St Peter's --which, being in the Baroque style, I did not expect to like-- I stopped off at the Pantheon. An open space with a dome and an oculus with the sun shining it. To my surprise, it felt oppressive. Rather like the mosques I had visited in Turkey. When I entered the Vatican basilica, I was astonished at how I was drawn up and forward, feeling taller and lighter. It made me want to breath. Part of it was Michelangelo's dome and the colors and carvings. But a big part of it was that there were no pews.

My eye could take in (and be taken in by) the whole building at once, without visual obstruction or physical blockage. I could wander diagonally down the long nave if I wanted. The building, rather than confining me to right-angled aisles and basically telling me to sit down, seemed to invite freedom of movement, external and internal, all the while drawing you toward the tomb and the altar. I know it will lose me manliness points, but I felt like dancing.

Pews, which now seem as immutably natural a part of a church as the sanctuary, are a product of the Reformation. Catholics eventually copied them. Most Orthodox churches in the Old World never had them. People stood during services, unless they were old or important! And in a few places, like Rome, they have not covered over everything everywhere. Now we only meet such open spaces in public secular buildings like capitols and old-style train stations. I know, both in terms of practicality and in terms of the desacralization issue I mentioned yesterday, that churches with wide open pavements are not likely.

But I like them. Very much.

St Paul Outside the Walls, Rome. 
Built by Constantine and enlarged and embellished by succeeding emperors and popes. 
But look at that grand pavement and open space.

 Same basic basilican plan, but now the nave is chock-a-block
with pews, giving an altogether different,
and opposite, message.

I don't know where this (below) is from;
someplace Spain has been, most likely,
but again, open, welcoming, embracing and dramatic
all at once:

Had it with Obama

This president is too weak, too cautious, too beholden to politics over policy to lead. In this budget, in his refusal to do anything concrete to tackle the looming entitlement debt, in his failure to address the generational injustice, in his blithe indifference to the increasing danger of default, he has betrayed those who took him to be a serious president prepared to put the good of the country before his short term political interests. Like his State of the Union, this budget is short term politics but such a massive pile of fiscal bullshit it makes it perfectly clear that Obama is kicking this vital issue down the road.

To all those who worked so hard to get this man elected, know this: he just screwed you over. He thinks you’re fools. Either the US will go into default because of Obama’s cowardice, or you will be paying far far more for far far less because this president has no courage when it counts. He let you down. On the critical issue of America’s fiscal crisis, he represents no hope and no change. Just the same old Washington politics he once promised to end.

(BTW, this is not me. It's former worshipper Andrew Sullivan. With a few small changes so as not to give the game away prematurely. Schadenfreude!) HT to GayPatriot.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Well preserved

In a 2009 episode of Supernatural, Dean Winchester

is aged by a demon and Old Dean is played by with humor and gusto by Chad Everett, who was 73 at the time.

Still hot stuff for an old white guy...

MacDonald's goes gay

Are there actually heterosexual men who would do a table hand dance routine with their girlfriends over Cafe Mocha? Please.

Sacred and profaned

One of the many mistakes of the Age of Equality, with its deeply erroneous and misleading assumption that everyone is of equal worth, intelligence, capability, etc. played out in the Catholic Church after the Second Vatican Council of the mid-60's.

Catholic churches prior to that were temples, pure and simple, not "houses for the assembly of the baptized." They were the House of God, with an altar and tabernacle centered sanctuary walled off with the low but clear communion rail. They were full of sacred objects and sacred images and sacred spaces...all of which required a special and unusual set of attitudes and ritual behaviors quite different from the hustle and bustle of life outside the temple. And of course there were sacred persons, priests and nuns.

The volkische populism of the 60's demanded that all this concentrated holiness be re-distributed, a kind of theological socialism: take from the rich and give to the poor. So while church buildings were deconstructed from houses of God into houses for the people of God, the people in the pews were endlessly told that they were sacred, too.

But as with all egalitarian schemes, it assumed that once people were told something, that they would enact it. If that were true, shrinks like me would be out of business. As poet Carl Sandburg (?) said, "If universal brotherhood could be achieved by exhortation, it would have happened a long time ago."

When I was a pastor, I used to see all kinds of thoughtless, shockingly disrespectful and very unsacred behavior in church and during services, explained away as the casual freedom of the sons of God in their Father's house. Sacredness was not shared, it was diluted and largely lost.

Part of the problem is that these ideas and a lot of the architectural trends that embodied them were born in monasteries. Monks, individually, can be louts*, but as groups they tend to have internalized a high degree of reverence for sacred space, occasions, times, etc. The people of God, aka, the hoi polloi, were once taught to code-switch into reverential behavior in sacred spaces by a set of customs, rules, sanctions, etc which, I believe, actually allowed them to experience the sacred in a reverential manner.

The groovy ethos of the Church Effervescent simply gave them permission to act in church they way they acted at the mall. Instead of intensifying their experience of the holy, it dissolved sacredness into the casual egotism and thoughtlessness of the everyday.


I have grave doubts that the reconstitution of church buildings either in the direction of iconoclastic modernism or some hopeful resurrection of a 4th century patristic romance have done or will do much more than continue this loss.

While wanting to resurrect a romanticized "people's" past in architecture, many churches have abandoned its necessary correlative of a very particular, dogmatically clear and well-boundaried theological tradition, including a hierarchy of persons and places. Hence, my phrase of "Unitarians in drag."

As my first shrink warned me, beware of trying to make yourself feel tall by cutting off the legs of men bigger than you.

Take the Episcopal Cathedral of Philadelphia. To me, it is a stunning space. But it is an exercise in rationality. It strips away all the "unnecessary" embellishments of iconography and hierarchy of the old Catholic style in favor of a theological program that emphasizes the cathedra (the bishop's chair, the eponymn of this blog), the holy table (aka altar), the ambo (aka, pulpit or lectern), and the baptismal font.

This is the kind of space that monks could reverentially inhabit because of their internalized sense of attitude and behavior, but I doubt very much the hip and inclusive non-patriarchal American Christians can do more than occupy.

*When I was studying in Rome at a large monastic motherhouse, one of the advanced and evolved priests, very much enamored of liberation theology and lay ministry, etc --a Spaniard or South American, I forget-- quite pompously refused to process into the church with the rest of us in order lines, but walked up the side aisle, with his vestments purposely kind of "thrown" on. He was reacting against the oppressive hierarchy, etc.

One day at dinner, American me --in my own kind of adolescent rebellion-- stopped using the three stacked plates customary for the meal: each course was served on a separate plate, etc. I dared to put the second course on the first plate, without removing it for the sisters to take away. From across the room sped Father Che and angrily took away the top plate, lecturing me about my lack of manners and respect for the customs of the house.

Presidents Day

The 1800 election that put Thomas Jefferson in the Presidency put the country on the verge of civil war. One more amazing moment when we might not have survived but did. And Mr. Small Government, once in office, was an extremely robust and powerful President.

Now that America is in its Second Muslim War, we can look back with a smile on the First Muslim War against the Barbary Coast pirates. He builds up the Navy --without Congressional approval-- and topples the Pasha by force. And, of course, we have Mr. Small Government to thank for the acquisition of the Louisiana Territories, utterly lacking Constitutional authority. He discovered that political reality trumps political theory.

But this February day is for George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

I find it symptomatically unfortunate and worse that the only national holiday celebrating an identifiable person is now Martin Luther King day*, while Washington and Lincoln are increasingly lost behind the abstract collectivity of "Presidents" day.

*Not actually true. Columbus Day. But in fact that day has fallen under a pall of silence, or worse, become an occasion for White-haters of all colors to lament the existence of the very civilization and culture that gives them the grounds, concepts and words to lament it.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Childless man as hero

The three fundamentals of masculinity --fathering, fighting and feeding-- do admit of exceptions, by way of either metaphor or virtuosity. By metaphor I mean the translation of these three very concrete activities into three traits of character in post-hunter/gatherer societies: power, courage and skill. By virtuosity I mean that if a male shows outstanding achievement in one or two of the three, he will be accounted a man even if he is lacking in fulfilling the whole.

Beowulf is a consummate warrior and a successful king, but he never marries and he dies childless.
Yet he is undoubtedly a hero, an archetypal man in a combination of concreteness, metaphor and virtuosity.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


Watching parts of Were The World Mine, a kinda sweet and nostalgic story of setting A Midsummer Night's Dream in a boy's private school, where the magical elixir turns everyone gay. The darkly handsome sensitive kid gets the school jock to fall for him. First love. Adolescent fantasies.

I know not by what power I made bold,
But still you flout my insufficient seed
The more my prayer, the lesser is my grace.

My ear should catch your voice; my eye, your eye,
My tongue should catch your tongue, sweet melody,
My tongue your tongue were the world mine

Ads in between feature Ru Paul's Drag Race and her band of freaks.

Another view

view I much like.

Gays and dolls

An article at Spearhead, a men's rights online site, advocates for gay men realizing that women are not their allies, but that they are natural allies of...ta dah!..other men. Even straight men!

Interesting read. Lots and lots of comments. Most of the males there are straight and many of them have been badly burned by the anti-male bias now reigning in civil and criminal realms.

I have four good women friends, of ten, fourteen, almost thirty and over thirty years duration, respectively. (I had a fifth, whom I knew for about seven years, but she passed away, far too soon). I do not recognize in them any of the extremely unlikeable lineaments described in the article and comments, although I know that such women do exist. The women who are my friends, one a partnered lesbian, the others all straight and married/widowed, have at least one thing in common: they like men. Actually like us. Not just me, but other men, too.

Most of the women in my family also like men.

The media are chockablock with phallic female characters whose stock in trade is default resentment, paranoia, overkill, bitchiness and castration. In the workplace I have certainly met many women who have a visceral dislike of males --and most of these females are heterosexual. Although it is not a narrative line I naturally gravitate to, one problematic woman at my last job may in fact have been somewhat attracted to me and was angry that I was not interested in her, thus making the bizarre assertion that I had "trouble with women." The only bosses I can remember finding troublesome for me were men, with whom I often had power struggles; my female bosses were quite enjoyable. They honored my turf and I gave them theirs.

I do have trouble with bitches, though. That may have been the misunderstanding.

Obamabudget philosophy

Friday, February 18, 2011

Outlawing circumcision...for boys

Wackjob activist in SF is trying to get a measure on the ballot to ban circumcision of males under the age of 18. He says "it's a human rights issue."

"Human rights" is now joining "social justice" and "diversity" as words that make me barf.

He wants to speak for the infant boys who don't have a choice but are "mutilated" by their parents.

Wonder what he thinks about abortion...

And why is female circumcision left out?

The wages of spatchcocking

is chicken stock.

I saved up the backbones and all the rest for several fowls I have eviscerated (even have a scissors for it now) and spent some of yesterday and today cooking them up: water, black peppercorns, garlic, thyme, carrots, onions, celery. Separated out the meat and bones, the veggies, the broth. Then removed most of the fat from the refrigerated broth, froze half the stock and fat and remixed the rest all together. Nice. Smells great. Dinner tonight with Thom.

Lunch today was leftover boeuf Bourguignon (beef stew with pretensions) from dinner last night (the mussels appetizer was outstanding) at Liverpool Lil's. Nice dinner, very nice evening.

Even though The West is declining, Barry Hussein O is in the White House and my life is at low tide, good food is one of life's reliable sources of pleasure. 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The sound of rain

on the windows and the roof. Northern California winter.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Winter in northern California

Poor me. Had to spend several days with my very good friend L. Most of her time here we had bright sun and warm days. Nice for her, since it was 4 degrees when she left on her flight from Detroit to here.

We spent a chunk of Saturday wandering Golden Gate Park --which, I discovered, is larger than Central Park in NY. Rainbow falls was in full flood and the fast-flowing rivulet it becomes before emptying into Lloyd's Lake has a great optical illusion. You swear the water flows uphill.

On Monday we drove an hour or so down the coast --on the one grey and somewhat rainy day we had while she was here. Had lunch a Duarte's Tavern --salmon chower and crab melt-- then took a great 2.5 hour tour at Ano Nuevo State Beach to see the elephant seals, thousands of them, at their mating and calving ground. December thru March is the only time males, females and calves are together here. Huge males, 5000 lbs, 16 feet long, still fighting for turf. Loud, smelly, fascinating. And no rain during the tour. :)

Three fascinating facts about elephant seals. 1. When they dive to hunt, they exhale all the air out of their lungs, surviving on their super-oxygenated blood. 2. If mothers and calves are separated for more than two days, they no longer recognize each other. Mothers give super rich milk to the calves for four weeks, then abandon them; they teach them nothing about swimming or feeding. 3. Right after weaning their calves, females come into estrus and are mated on the same beach, often several times, but the cells only progress to the blastocyst phase and then several months later, when the starving females have returned to the sea and had time to put their weight back on, the egg implants in the uterus and starts to develop in time for birth, a year after mating.

The abandoned lighthouse keepers' residence, built when the island it's on was an isthmus. Now it belongs to the elephant seals.

A view

I very much like.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Impure religion

Great stuff.

At St. Stanislaus Kostka Catholic Church in Chicago, a newly carved monstrance, a receptacle for exhibiting the Eucharist for adoration:

the Ark of the Covenant with the Virgin Mary enthroned on the crescent moon, with a crown of twelve stars, with the consecrated bread of the Eucharist encased in her heart as a shining sun. She is also here the Woman of the Apocalypse (Rev 12.1).

You can get a sense for scale from this picture:

Upsetting to advanced Catholics. Here it is, in situ.

But really, is this Catholic or what?

Friday, February 11, 2011

More RC BS

A Catholic cathedral in West Virginia has a "worship space" and a "hospitality room".

And pious nostrums:

Inside the hospitality room, Abraham, our father-in-faith, reminds all that Jews, Christians, and Muslims are, spiritually and naturally, brothers and sisters, children of the one same loving God invoked as Yahweh and Allah. 

The cathedral's mission is equally PC:

"We, at Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, are a diverse community of the poor, the disadvantaged and hungry, the well-to-do, the youth, elderly, visitors, and those seeking refuge. We are a community of many cultures and races. We stand for unity in our diversity by expressing our love of God the Father through prayer and worship, through service to one another, through the ministry of welcoming, through evangelization and ecumenism.

What's that old Hebrew expression? Oh, yeah.


Another example of

RC "Justice and Peace" BS.

The Augustinian Friars response to 9/11. 
No reference. At all. To Islam or Muslims.

 "The twin towers of justice and peace."
Typical Vatican II worthless posturing.

Does this imply that if Muslims "felt" that
they were being treated "justly" by...who?
the USA, the West...then they would quietly
go home?

"Justice" has traditionally included the centrality of desert,
of deserving. Vatican II justice is about desire. I should
have what I want.

You don't have to be a Buddhist to know that desire,
craving --coveting, as the 10th Commandment styles it--
is insatiable. 

For liberalism,

inequality is always a sign of injustice.
Never a natural structure of life.

Which is why traditionally successful groups must be oppressors.
And traditionally less successful or unsuccessful groups must be victims.

Clearly put

I have my problems with the idea of gay marriage. On a psychological level, I am not convinced that this essentially heterosexual institution really matches the kinds of bond which men make with men and women with women. It's a bit like drag: the clothes don't match the body. On a societal level, I am very hesitant to fiddle yet again with a fundamental institution which is already under severe stress.

And I am also convinced that if gay marriage becomes mainstream, there is no reason why Muslims or Mormons cannot create polygamous marriages which will demand public acceptance. And at that point, you have to ask, what does "married" mean anymore. One more fragmentation of an already worryingly Balkanized culture.

Some people say there is no connection between same sex marriage and polygamy, that it's just a scare tactic. Charles Krauthammer puts the issue with his customary clarity:
After all, if traditional marriage is defined as the union of (1) two people of (2) opposite gender, and if, as advocates of gay marriage insist, the gender requirement is nothing but prejudice, exclusion and an arbitrary denial of one's autonomous choices in love, then the first requirement -- the number restriction (two and only two) -- is a similarly arbitrary, discriminatory and indefensible denial of individual choice.
Historical incidents of marriage-like same-sex unions are spotty and unclear. But polygamy is widespread and well-attested. Once the gender of the spouses is declared irrelevant, what grounds can there be to limit the number to two?

Civil unions for people who are legally unable to marry, that strikes me as a good thing. But altering marriage, no.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Corporeal borealis, australis

Thinking about the body and metaphor. (This is what intellectuals do when we're horny.)

I had a boyfriend years ago, very neurotic, very sexy. In that satyr/compact Zeus style I like. (Cf. my friend J). Although he was very uncomfortable in the world and usually uncomfortable in his own skin, when there were no clothes on his skin, he calmed down a lot. He liked being naked at home and I liked perusing him. Wrote a poem --which, thankfully, I cannot find-- about his body as a planet, a whole geography.

I think of the soul in similar terms. According to Jung, soul is essentially image.

For my own these days, I imagine my soul as a kind of planet, with a variety of ecologies and terrains, seasons, etc.

There are bright and sunny places, warm and lush, where I sometimes go for brief vacations. Often it's like a fall day in British Columbia, wooded and grey and damp. And there is a place, like a large dead calm piece of southern ocean, without wind, or even much air. Or company. Silent, unmoving. Doldrums.

Metaphors, semaphores

Boing. An odd thought bouncing off my brain.

With one exception, we --English speakers, anyway-- use our own bodies as a source of metaphors for the rest of the world: the foot of the bed, an arm of the State, the eye of a needle, the mouth of a river, the belly of the beast, the leg of a journey, the butt of a joke. We anthropomorphize the earth with our own flesh.

But when it comes to the sexual organs, the process is reversed. Even the Latinate terms we use are metaphors in their original languages. Penis is tail; vagina is sheath. And the raft of names we have for our genitalia are metaphors taken from the very outside world that, in every other respect, we metaphorize by our bodies. Cock, prick, balls, nuts. Pussy, cunt. (And those words are almost always AngloSaxon in derivation rather than Latinate.) Almost as if our sexual parts have no name of their own.

All of which means....
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