Saturday, June 30, 2012

Fur and wide

Actor Daniel Craig is a compact guy with a lot of testosterone. Either pumped up as James Bond in his swim trunks or tuxedo, or craggy and leancut in Cowboys and Aliens.

But his physique and his eyes and cheekbones distract from his kinda small mouth and chin. The right beard, though, balances him out really well.


Nice.

50's Classic


The 1956 Forbidden Planet holds up very well. The psychology and ethics is wrapped in suspense, action and romance, with a great cast and sharp sets and special effects (which seem chaste by current CGI standards) and score. And there's all that Shakespearean Tempest resonance for us pinheads. (Plus some Artemisian mythemes).

The sexual regime is charmingly antique.

Leslie Nielsen, prior to his successful career as a clown, was a sexy mofo in that space suit.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Bristling at bris

I have had two dead ended online discussions about the German court's decision to ban infant male circumcision. My opponents have invented a right called "bodily integrity" and hold that the boy must make a free and informed choice when he comes of age...arbitrarily set at 18.  And we know how many 18 year olds will be happy to have their foreskins foreshortened.

My appeal to the limits of the State's interests and powers falls on deaf and uncircumcised ears.

And mentioning the damage it would do to a 3000 year old religious community avails me nothing. This "right to bodily integrity" trumps all. "I don't want to live in a country where religion is above the law."

Well, then, I think, don't make stupid and tyrannical laws!

I, of course, being incorrigible, accuse these rightists (!) of not going far enough.  Is it not an unwarranted limitation on a child's freedom of mind, a right to psychological integrity, to have him raised in a religion he does not choose, just because his parents want him to? Why not ban infant baptism?

Then they say I am being silly.

The difference is that rightists of the above stripe are ideological rationalists and utterly in thrall to the Zeitgeist of the last ten minutes, where all sorts of "rights" show up out of nowhere: freedom from heterosexist marriage, hostile work environments, hate speech, spanking and drinks with sugar. Conservatives assume that human life and native* communities' traditions are primary and wiser and should be left the hell alone unless there is some really really really big problem involved that may justify the State's intervention.

But nowadays, State intervention is the first, not last, consideration.

For what it's worthy, psychologist Jonathan Haidt identifies six nodes of moral decision-making, found across cultures:


care/harm,
fairness/cheating,
liberty/oppression,
loyalty/betrayal,
authority/subversion,
sanctity/degradation.


His polling studies indicates that liberals are sensitive only to the first three, while conservatives add the final three to their six. Explains some things, like this discussion about forbidding male circumcision.

I bet some of my interlocutors support legal abortion...so they'd be ok with mom killing her little boy inside the womb, but once he's out, no fiddling with his wee wee...that's violate his right to bodily integrity.

*A real conservative can OK circumcision but not voodoo animal sacrifice or African child scarification because they are alien practices that offend the locals.
Whatever you think of Jews, they have been resident in America since before the Revolution and brissing the whole time. Liberals have no grounds to stand on in differentiating these practices because they do not recognize local traditions as being legally significant...unless they are non-White. So they have to make up BS "rights".

Infidel

Ex Cathedra does not believe in universal human equality.

__

Trans-cendentals

With HT to Mr Freeze, an article in the NYT --Ex Cathedra giggles a little-- about gay culture as a matter of style. June is, after all, Pride Month. The author is either an icon or a stereotype of "queer studies".

My most recent shorthand ruminations about what gay men are for leads me in the direction of ornamentation and mentoring. So I guess style in included. I am certainly not at all insensible to beauty, although I am far more moved by a Romanesque arch than by Versailles. And I very frequently voice my pleasure at living in one of the most beautiful cities in the world...and my distress at the ugliness it still holds. When I was in the religion business, a good part of my liturgical passion was against thoughtless and careless ugliness and trash. I guess my uneasiness comes when I sense a concern for "beauty" which is really all there is, a kind of aestheticism that all too easily degenerates into fussiness, be it Bauhaus or bric-a-brac. Beauty in service of what?

Its opposite is the soulless concrete brutalism so often seen in industrial building and in Marxist countries. Very striking in a place like Europe, where the most magnificent buildings of the West are surrounded by post-war barracks towns.
Driving from Greve in Chianti to Volterra, you have to pass through Poggibonsi. Or to get to Paris from De Gaulle airport, you take a train through the concrete slums that surround that city.

Beauty is not optional to a good life. Defaced and graffiti'd NY in the 70's not only expressed but confirmed that soul sickness of that time and place.

But again, I wonder. Style is part of beauty. But what is beauty in service of?

I would certainly not leave that question to be answered by the LGBT likes of Professor Halperin.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Newspeak

So now forcing us to buy health insurance under Federal penalty is "a tax".

Diversity and unity

When I was doing my thought experiment about the several racial groups that live in America, I neglected the Indians. There are only about 3 million of them left.

In my fantasy, I could imagine tracts of land on which all the Blacks would live, or all the Hispanics, etc. But for the Indians, with their tribal connection to their land, --all those sacred hills and dales, etc-- all I could come up with was a kind of disconnected archipelago, such as their reservations are now.

But I realized this was a failure in my commitment to diversity. Take Europe, where tens of millions of religiously and culturally alien...I mean diverse...foreigners...uh, I mean, immigrants...are now residents of all the ancient Euro states and cities. German is full of Turks. Spain has a million of the Muslims it spend 800 years expelling. Italy is full of, well, everyone. It's great. We need more of it. Vibrant and multicultural. That homogeneity was so boring and, well, racist.

So what gives me the right, I asked myself, to deprive our AmerIndian brothers and sisters, hermanos/as,  of this joyous experience? (Although they might gamely  reply that they've been having this joyous experience for a couple hundred years already, thank you very much.)

So I decided to create a fantasy country for them, AmerIndiana, where all the tribes would live together, in inter-tribal diversity: Navajos and Seminoles, Mohawks and Cree, Blackfeet and Sioux, etc. It's all very nice to care about the particularity of each tribe and their land --as it would have been to care about the particularities of Europeans...or hell, of Whites...-- but this needs to be let go of in order to appreciate the Brave New World where Apaches and Nez-Perce and Comanche and Crow and Ojibway can live on the same block and appreciate each other's fascinating diversity up close. And besides, what's important is their greater unity as Native Americans Indians, transcending tribalism in a, well, trans-tribal inclusive tribe. Thingy.

Some wag suggested that I import a couple million Chinese or South Africans to spice up the mix, but that would be, well, too good for this world.

Much ado

It's fashionable these days to sigh about "the inherent and inviolable dignity of the human person." The Pope even does it. But what does it mean?

It's like "our common humanity", a high-sounding phrase that delivers mostly obfuscation. It is, in fact, the least common denominator, true enough, but of questionable use.

Let's take the case of the four Black teenagers who planned the murder of the 60 year old Asian pizza deliverer, killed him and then ate the pizza. Well, IMHO, "the inherent and inviolable dignity of (these particular) human persons" is the least important thing about them now, about as significant as being bipedal.

Jonah Goldberg has written a book about liberal slogans as bumper-sticker replacements for thinking; of course this is not a pattern limited to libs, but it certainly is one of their strong points.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Chopsticks


in your ears?

Orlando Espin, professor of theology and religious studies at the University of San Diego, where he also directs the interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Latino/a Catholicism led a workshop entitled “LGBTQs among Latinos/as and Latino/as among the White LGBTQs.“


os/as....


Just reading this stuff lowers the oxygen content in the room.

Pio No No


Pope Pius IX began his long reign in 1846 as a great liberal reformer and ended it as the embodiment of conservative reaction against the "modern world". He was the Pope of the Immaculate Conception, the Syllabus of Errors, and Papal Infallibility.





I remember reading about him in the seminary and hoping I did not wind up like that when I got older.

Hah!


----


Outside Inside

One of my patients recently focused on how differently he feels subjectively from how he is perceived by others. Cool on the outside, quite anxious and conflicted on the inside.

I can relate.

The weather today is gorgeous again: sunshine, blue blue blue sky, temperate. Inside XC, not so much.



Monday, June 25, 2012

Does this make me a

pedophile? Well, an ephebophile...


Just kidding. Yeah, he's over 21. A personal trainer with a BA in European History from Berkeley.  Really! :)

I ran across him in a gay vampire movie.

LOL.

But then, he could be my grandson...

Actually, he's got that Dan Futterman thing going.


Further reflection: my actual taste in men is for the mature and seasoned, as the history of images on this blog will more than suggest. But I guess there's a part of us which remains younger and gets constellated sometimes by a younger face or energy. Actually connecting in real life with a much younger man makes me uncomfortable, makes me feel avuncular or fatherly --or grandfatherly-- rather than revved up and playful. In the last ten years, the youngest man I have actually been with has been in his mid 30's. If a face and form like this fella's provokes me, I think it's a younger version of me that he stimulates, a fantasy-memory of an earlier Ex Cathedra.

Brittle Brits

My negative impression of the contemporary Brits via their crime dramas remains in place. (I know it's about crime, I know it's TV fiction, etc.)

De-racinated people, uprooted, shrunken, lost, obsessively moral but without soul, still trapped in their cramped class resentments, alienated, humorless, and more easily given to anger than any other emotion. Bad dressers, unkempt --or the women dressed and made up like whores-- and not much to look at.

Recent evidence, Vera. Something of a hysteric. And her somewhat handsome younger male acolyte...when not self absorbed, moody and priggish, useless.

Evidence to the contrary, Rosemary & Thyme.

Evening in Byzantium

Just finished a 24 lecture series on DVD about the Byzantine Empire, the Christian ad Greek-speaking continuation of the Roman Empire, which lasted until the Muslim project of imperialism and colonialism --how do you think The Muslim World got to be that way?--  took down Constantinople in 1453. From Constantine the Great to Constantine XI, over a thousand years.

But the series makes clear the massive ups and down and vagaries of this empire. Especially how a great leadership could restore and even expand it, and how easily and quickly bad leadership could squander and worsen it. And how internal divisions could be as deadly as outside enemies.

Both rises and declines in very brief spans of time.

Felt eerily familiar.  The USA in 1962. The USA in 2012.

Remind me again

why it's a sacred obligation for men who share bathrooms with women to "leave the toilet seat down"?

The girls don't think they should have to touch the seat and put it down after a man has pulled it up to pee...but it's perfectly fine for guys to have to touch the seat to pull up after a woman has pulled it down to pee?

Or maybe it's one little cog in the wheel of feminist ideology making men dance to their tune.

A PC action, much like African-American or woman (never lady) is a PC thought-control word.


Ya think?

My friend L has just left Arizona, along with her fellow Unitarian Universalists, who had their general convention there. Lots of protesting against Arizona's attempt to enforce the immigration laws that ObamaHolder's USA will not.

On FB, she linked to a photo of people with rifles. Arizona has very American gun laws, that is, very unregulated. L's compatriots were righteously aghast at all this freedom.

Here's a hunch. Gun violence depends very much on who has the guns. If it's the traditional American White population, crime rates are low. If it's the traditional American problem population and its new Hispanic ally, then crime rates are high.

Guns don't kill people, people (of a certain kind) kill people.

I wonder what stats would say.


PS. Why I don't read The Atlantic anymore: An article on correlations between gun deaths and other factors lists everything but....wait for it....race. This kind of omission is tantamount to a barefaced lie.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Guilty


A reviewer of the film Melancholia writes,  If you don't love this movie, there is something deeply and profoundly wrong with you.

Well then, I guess so.

I am not sophisticated, I suspect. At least not in the postmodern European National Society of Film Critics kinda way. Despite my education and intelligence, I like a good narrative: beginning, middle, end. And if you're going to get deep and arty, well...at least give me a reason to want to watch what you're putting on the screen. I liked Tree of Life, for instance, deep and arty though it be, weaving together a family in 1950's Texas, the Book of Job, and the Big Bang.

On the level of personal prejudice, don't put Kirsten Dunst in a starring role. Or turn Alexander Skarsgard into a pussywhipped omega over her.

And don't people your achingly slow, pretentious and self-consciously "meaningful" art-cinema with characters whose narcissism is only outdone by their emptiness, ennui and nihilism.






Friday, June 22, 2012

The Answer To Everything



Gay Pride Weekend...or should I say LGBTQ Pride Weekend....in SF

Photo:B


PS. Not everyone agrees.



Thursday, June 21, 2012

Iconic

Here is an unusual....and I would guess unique...image of the Christian God from a 1950's Dutch Catholic church.



It's not the personnel, the three Persons of the Trinity, but their placement. I have never seen a depiction of this uniquely Christian dogma where the Holy Spirit-as-Dove hovers over both the Son and the Father in this posture and attitude.

People probably get much or most of their religious attitudes and half-thought through convictions from images rather than concepts. Especially for iconic faiths like Roman or Orthodox Christianity. Hinduism and Buddhism, too.

Made me wonder what effect it would have had were the dominant images of God the Father in the Warrior-King mode rather than the Senex, and if the Holy Spirit had been depicted as fire rather than, as B puts it, The Bird.

And don't get me started on all those androgynous Jesuses.

The Trinity is Christian doctrine in a nutshell. And rationalists, of course, find it scandalously absurd. Making images of it has proven, well, interesting:

the wisely chaste allegorical approach
of Byzantium:
Abraham's hospitality
at the Oaks of Mamre.


Holy Trinity


The North European medieval concrete version. 
As fancifully literal as Hindu statuary can be.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

No apology

One more craven apology to a whiny minority group. Count me out.

Make perfect sense to me that if you are trying to establish your national control, you don't want competition and destabilization by a large alien ethnic group...

Sound familiar?


(The Rules now, of course, dictate that White America cannot act in its own self interest as White America because that is racist, a crime worse than which there is no whicher. All other ethnic and racial groups are welcome to celebrate themselves and act, and have the government act, in their self interest.)

___

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Two Arguments from Design


Refugee hospitality


B is returning from his annual foreign voyage in a couple of days and this weekend, as he has done for most years since we met, will be offering me refuge and hospitality for and from Gay Pride.




I'll depart the Castro and spend some time in the unfabulous sylvan realms of Golden Gate Heights.




I do not really know what to make of my history of attachment and detachment from groups. It may be the virtue of a restless truth-seeker. It may be the repetition neurosis of an attachment-hungry schizoid. Or both. Cycles of projection and withdrawal. But I do know that there are few group attachments I have made which I have not eventually unmade. And a few which I have broken and then re-attached or cobbled together somehow or other.
PS. A day later. Awake during the night, I cyber-wandered onto two sites from my past: the Toronto gay paper Xtra, and the SF Jung Institute. Both seem Other to me now. 


I am no fan of post-modernism, but I sometimes feel my identity as unstable as the post-moderns or even the Buddhists, would have it. Perhaps I am just more aware of the multiplicity of the psyche, as Jung described it, with the ego being the dominant but not the only complex. But my restlessness is undeniable.







Monday, June 18, 2012

Talent

In addition to the opening credits for Deadwood and for Carnevale, both brilliant, you have to include the weekly setup for Dexter: both imagery and music. Shows the morning routine of shaving, dressing and eating in a much darker shade!

Strange webfellows

Now that I have had to switch browsers and upgrade some applications, I have a new shadow friend, not of my choosing, called text enhance. It hooks up with selected words you type and connects, or "enhances", it with a link to an ad.

Here's their brilliant link to job opportunities on a site about a double Master's degree in philosophy and theology from the Dominican graduate school in Berkeley.


Archetypal beauty and tragedy

I watched a very condensed 3-hour version of Peter Brook's Mahabaratha, the classical Sanskrit saga that in the original is ten times the length of the Iliad and the Odyssey combined. The famous Bhagavad Gita is contained within it. Brooke's original staging was 9 hours long and it exists in various lengths on film and video.



Striking actors and actresses, stunning sets and costumes, powerful texts and themes.



He did this twenty years ago, a consciously internationalist and multiracial* production designed to show the Indian warrior epic as a universal human story.



Ironically, so much of the power of the transcultural version of the story is about roots and conflicts in blood and family. The archetypal is particular and incarnate.




Reminded me of Greek tragedies and the movies of Kurosawa.

*With a noticeable over-representation of Africans.

Odium humani generis

If I have a favorite line or idea from Thomas Aquinas it is this one, in the first question of the Summa: Gratia non tollit naturam sed perficit*. Grace does not remove or erase nature but perfects it, brings it to completion.

While I was sitting under a willow tree down in the 100 degree heat of the San Joaquin Valley on Sunday, I was enlightened.

Nope. Just kidding. No Buddha here.

I was sitting there reading Allan Bloom's Closing of the American Mind.  He wrote about how traditional Western culture took human passion --masculine passion above all-- and sought to turn it into virtue by moderating it. An ethical task built upon a respected natural drive.

Liberal ethics, on the contrary, seeks to drive out and replace the natural passions of men --which it pathologizes and despises-- with abstract moralism. And when grief results, as it does, it blames the man rather than the defective program. And all the while it trumpets itself as humanism, when it hates the human race.

Bloom uses the always-failing state collective farm as one example. And the modern American family as another, where the father is supposed to continue his work and support for a wife and children who foreswear any allegiance to him as a man, choosing instead their own egotistical and ideological primacy against him.

The racial engineering projects of the liberal state strike me as similarly inhuman. People are suddenly required to care more for strangers --strangers they may rightly regard as hostile or dangerous-- than for their own kind and their own property and labor, even for themselves, their homeland and its ways. And when violence breaks out as a result of this anti-human lie, the state blames their human selfishness rather than its own rootless and arrogant moralism.



 *Summa Theologiae, I, I, 8 ad 2. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Mulchy culturalism

If the current Euro crisis indicates that you can't turn Greeks into Germans, then how much less likely to try turning Somalis into Danes or Moroccans into Dutchmen or Jamaicans into Englishmen? Hell, look how successful Tito was in turning the Serbs, Croatians, Bosnians, Slovenes, Montenegrans and Macedonians into Yugoslavs?

Multi-ethnic White states have themselves been difficult to create and maintain. The United Kingdom of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland was not achieved overnight or without blood. And the United States Civil War, regional rather than ethnic*, shows that the U in USA has always been a project rather than a settled truth.

What human group, regardless of its commonalities, does not create sub-group and intra-group tensions? The hubris of multiculturalism is that this ideology, enforced by the State and the organs of social control, can defeat this inherent human tendency.

The only way you can do this is by making being German or Danish or Dutch or English a merely territorial marker without any relation to a physical group of people and the cultures they have created and maintain. The groups who suffer most here are the ones who lose their identities in order to make the strangers feel at home: the native peoples of Europe and their descendants. Them alone.

Everyone immediately knows this game is played in reference to White peoples only. What fool imagines that you could import a million Mexicans into Szechuan province and imagine that they would ever, ever be Chinese? No one. Least of all, to their very great credit, the highly realistic and amoral Chinese.

When it comes to exclusionary immigration laws in the US in regard to them, they play the victim well, but few human groups are as hard-headed and unapologetic about power and culture than the Chinese.

Non-White groups --or certain White subgroups like Jews-- have full support for their efforts to maintain their physical and cultural identities against the "dominant" society, but if plain old leukophore Caucasians try it, they are "White supremacists".

When it comes to the countries and cultures of The Most Foolish People On Earth©, to refuse faith in the infinitely malleable inclusivity of propositition-national identity is to commit the ultimate and criminal heresy of racism.

Every story I hear about the clash of non-European immigrants with native Europeans makes me shake my head at the criminal stupidity, hubris and self-destructiveness of the whole enterprise. Enoch Powell was right about that.

And when I am told that I should rejoice in the shrinking of the foundational White population in America as it turns into Multiculty Heaven, I feel the same way. I can't imagine that the people who inhabit what is now the USA 100 or 200 years from now will have even the kind of connection to their founding past that Italians have to Rome.

Just as the technological civilization that men have created has allowed women to overtake them in status and dominance, so the liberal ideology and structures that Whites have created has allowed colored peoples to do the same.

A recent posting on FB about the Anders Breivik trial reminded me of the clever but groundless lines of TS Eliot:
The last temptation is the greatest treason:
To do the right deed for the wrong reason.
But here the wrong deed was done for the right reason.


*Although it was the archetypal American instance of Whites fighting with each other about Blacks. Carries on to this day.

____

TechnoConservative, too

I am not a Luddite by any means. What Luddite has a blog? Or has a life that crashes to a halt when his laptop does?  Or complains when he switches his iphone OS to improve its speed and then discovers that it will not play his Kindle app?

But upgrading is a definitely ambiguous matter.

I just spent well over an hour recovering from an automatic upgrade to my Adobe Flash player 11. It crashed Firefox 13. And made all videos unwatchable. And Firefox will not allow you to use earlier versions anymore. Nor will Adobe.

This is a large problem and people are complaining about it all over the net. I thought these tech geeks were supposed to be geniuses?

So I had to switch my browser over to Chrome, which I don't like. I do a lot of zooming in and out on sites, depending on size of text. Chrome makes this a 2 step, rather than 1 step, process. And with the combined upgrades, I now get all kinds of annoying advertizing videos that I never got before...

In short, everything is worse than it was yesterday.

Newer is not necessarily any better than older.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Semantics

Limiting himself to the classical definition of socialism as state ownership of the means of production, Thomas Sowell describes Obama's liberal agenda of state regulation of the means of production, etc. as left-fascist* rather than socialist. National Socialism was socialist in the same sense**: leaving German corporations in private hands but so powerfully regulating them by law as to make the State the controlling partner in fact.

Our combined obsessions about discrimination and health-and-safety give the State massive reasons to engage in what amounts to confiscatory regulation: you may own it, but they decide how you can or must use it. In such a world, a principled religious refusal to pay for or offer certain medical procedures in your Federally-mandated (!) insurance program constitutes a "war on women" and an inquisitorial imposition of "private" theological scruples on society.


*Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism argued that liberalism and fascism are family.

**Stephen Hicks makes this clear in his work on Nietzsche and the Nazis, that the Party was a fusion of nationalism and anti-capitalist socialism, regulatory rather than rankly confiscatory socialism.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Is and Ought

Liberals are obsessed with race and "culture". But they refuse to use the Occam's razor of  race and culture when it conflicts with their Prime Directive: replacing the historic dominant oppressor groups with new dominant victim groups. The therapeutic-managerial state and its allied cultural institutions both enact this program and indoctrinate the population in the rightness and the reality of the ideology.

It's the reality problem, of course, that always throw me. Liberalism is a giant example of the moralistic fallacy, of holding that something is the case because it ought to be the case. Universal egalitarianism is the prime example. It is the fundamental moral stance of liberalism, its functioning moral absolute, and it is manifestly a lie.

For liberalism, race and culture are sacred values when this sacrality serves the Prime Directive. Cultures are to be celebrated and protected, except for one: the so-called "dominant" culture and its racial fonts. Which means White culture. Which is Western culture.

Where racial or cultural phenomena oppose or invalidate the Directive, these truths are banned. They may not be spoken, and preferably may not be thought. To do so courts various kinds of sanctions, both social and legal. A society with engineered "equality"* of race, gender and class can only be enforced by a police state, no matter what it is called.

*A zero sum game in which winners must be made to lose so that losers can win.

____

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Pin and head

Since B is in Armenia and Georgia, I have been looking a little into those languages and their scripts.

Armenian


Georgian


Reminded me that when I was in high school, another language-interested student and I who were friends made up our own alphabets. One of the alphabets was based on a very simple Sino-Japanese style. I forget the other.

Then we passed notes to each other in class. If the teacher found them, we could say they were just doodles, but it allowed us to comment negatively on the teacher without him knowing it.

I've been wasting my time on pinheadery for long ages.

Monday, June 11, 2012

True Blood



What the hell handsome Jesus




ever saw in that complete wreck of a drag queen Lah-fayette




I will never know.

UnSplits

It surely must be part of how my mind works that I see irreconcilable opposites all over the place. Although part of my therapy tool kit is to be aware of interpersonal splitting as a form of denial and defense, my larger intellectual tool kit rather specializes in detecting either/or phenomena and quite often affirming them. There are times when Hegel and Jung are right, when opposites become transformed in a third novum. But this is neither a universal fate nor an everyday desirable. The world functions not only out of cooperation but by competition.

When I wander through the religious cybersphere, I detect irreconcilable oppositions. Catholics vs Protestants, no matter how much dialogue goes on, are two quite different kinds of Christians. Or at least two different kinds of Christian religion. And liberal Catholics vs orthodox Catholics: I fail to see any reasons other than inertia, habit or likely disadvantage --in status or wealth--why the vast majority of liberal Catholics do not form themselves into a separate body or into a pre-existing body which matches their beliefs and values: the Episcopal Church. To my knowledge, nothing at all that liberal Catholics want is missing in the Episcopal Church. And no proposal for change coming from liberal Catholics eventuates in anything other than the Episcopal Church. Yet they refuse to budge.

The way the current conflict between the Roman CDF and the American LCWR has been played in the press and in a lot of the Church shows the irreconcilable worlds that are there. It is ironic that an ex-theologian "gets" Rome's problem with the lefty nuns. For the consensus, it is all about male domination and right-wing politics. They can't see what is right in front of them, that for Rome, and for history, Catholic identity is doctrinal: underneath the moral issues is the nuns' decades-long resounding silence on the Trinitarian God, on Christ as the Incarnate Son, on the Church and its sacraments. Wherever Catholicism clashes with feminism, Catholicism is always and in every case dumped.

As far as America goes, I see all kinds of unworkable and unsustainable divisions. Is it my dark attitude that makes me imagine that we are living through an undeclared Second Civil War? One that has been going on for a half-century?

I see it not only as ideological but as racial. (And that is not just an American, but a Western phenomenon: a second Barbarian Invasion of the Empire.) Neither Christianity nor Islam have been able to eradicate group warfare within their own realms. And most of that warfare tribal, blood and kind and land based. And these are religions, perhaps the most powerful kinds of trans-tribal archetypal containers in human history. And we are supposed to believe that Enlightenment Liberalism --a form of thought unrivalled by its unrooted abstractness-- will create a world without ethnic/racial/tribal strife?


Only White people, I suspect, are foolish enough really to believe that.

I see the battle of the sexes as something quite real as well. Feminism has raised this immemorial tension, this oppositional lack of interchangeability, to the level of warfare.

As always, I have one set of rules for individuals and another for groups. But the group realities are undeniable.

Not everyone sees what I see, of course. I myself have looked at the world differently from how I now do. But there it is.

Regime of Lies



PC BS 4U

It's the decades-long barrage of fraudulent crap like this from the Regime of Lies which turned me to The Dark Side, aka, Reality:


If Black and Latino kids get disciplined in school more often then Asians and Whites, it must be the institutionalized White racism of the system here in Deeply Redneck Christian Republican San Francisco.

Similarly:

If Black Males under 40, who represent about 3% of the US population, represent 40% of the US jail and prison population, then it must be the institutionalized White racism of the system, not the fact that these guys commit more than 50% of the crimes.

And were I, Heaven forfend, to say to this demographic, You people have a huge problem, then I would be the one in trouble.

Maybe if the cafeteria sold Skittles and Iced Tea for lunch, things would improve.

Handsome


has a strange etymology. Comes from Dutch and originally meant "easy to handle". Well, that seems more like a wish than a description.



Tuc Watkins


And Tuc Watkins...
video


Stephen Huszar


video

And William Burden and Nathan Gunn


Footloose: Feria secunda



Monday, in Latin. Portuguese is the only Romance language that still uses the older Latin numbering system to name the days of the week. The rest all took up the alternative gods-based names. The Latin countries use Sabbath and Lordsday for the weekend; Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jove, Venus for weekdays. The Northern lands are all pagan, although the Celts use Lordsday Dé Domhnaigh for Sunday.

Another week of pinheadery.

Boringly, yet another bright warm sunny blue-skied morning. 

View from my back porch

Just kidding. It's never boring. It's always wonderful. I never grow tired of it.

A moment of spirituality from B's trip to the Caucasus. This relic from the Orthodox Church of Georgia:

Funny how modern people find religious relics so creepy, --post-Protestant rationalism, I guess--and still keep a lock of hair from a beloved person...to say nothing of Angie and Billy Bob's reliquaries.

This is B's foot, btw.


Saturday, June 09, 2012

Me and Jonah Goldberg

I try not to be extra hard on gay films...ok, move along...but I find that my criterion is pretty undemanding. My first rule is: Are any of the characters a) at all honorable, b) at all uncartoonish, c) at all interesting.

I am not often impressed.

I attempted to view The Trip. The lead, a closeted Republican who becomes a gay liberal....zzzzz....has a Hal Parks sexiness about him but then comes the time when, in order to protect his ill ex-boyfriend, he has to take a gun away from a thief. He refuses, screeching like a girl, because he hates guns and won't touch them. Suddenly he is all self-absorption and fear.* I started shouting obscenities at the screen and turned off the movie. WTF is all that supposed to be?

Part of the problem may be that almost all gay movies are about, and by, young people.




PS. In a totally different vein, in The Trip, the two fellas have to sleep out in the open in the desert. They curl up together, spooning, and drift off.  Reminds me of some of the happiest moments of my life. If there is a heaven, it will feel like that.

*Very similar scene here. I was just as unimpressed.

Splits

Although I understand some things intellectually, I still find myself surprised by them in practice. I have a friend who is a combination of deep cynicism and rank sentimentality. (And no, this is not a cover for me; this is someone else.) Because he is an emotional moralist at heart, fixated on the betrayal of the innocent, he combines a bleak worldview with a capacity to weep over children's movies.

As I say, I get it, mentally, but when I meet it in the flesh, I am always surprised.

Even I get bored

with my ranting here.

It's in the nature of this blog's literary form, after all. Repetition, self-indulgence...neither of these cry out creativity or interestingness.

As long as I can remember, well, at least back to my late teens, my civilized demeanor has not always matched my interior. Nowadays I find myself thinking of how pleasing it would be to orchestrate mass hangings and mass exiles. The usual human stuff.

I don't really aspire to be better, in the sense of nicer or more pacific. Rightness-driven Enneagram Ones hold no appeal for me. But I do wish that most of the things that bother me didn't bother me. Just so my mood would be better.

Although a few strategic hangings might help :)


Harmenia

Another beautiful sunny day in The City By The Bay. Warm, light breeze, achingly blue sky.

Brief cellphone chat with B in Armenia. Still amazes the hell out of me that I can pick up this little object, the size of a pack of cigarettes, but thinner, and talk to someone on the other side of the planet.

I hope Armenia is more interesting than its monastic ruins. Hey, I like a good monastic ruin as much as the next man, but they seem to get kinda repetitive after a while. We hear his verdict in a few weeks.


Armenia has an annual festival called One Nation, One Culture. Armenians are no fans of multiculturalism. And why should they be? What could it possibly do for them? Just surviving as an ethnic group has been no easy task for them. The Turks tried to wipe them out in 1915. Perhaps it's only because of that --and their exotic location and lack of power-- that they are exempted from the current White Lent, requiring all Euro-nations to erase themselves by importing unassimilable Aliens of Color.



Old times

The watchseries.eu portal provides access to practically every series ever made. Free and no hassle. So I stumbled on one of my favorite things about the 90's: Northern Exposure.





Quirky, smart, from amusing to very funny. A great cast of characters in very small town Cicely, Alaska. Sarah Palin's neck of the woods. Ex Cathedra wasn't a twinkle in the Net's eye back then either and he was way less curmudgeonly. He liked Chris more than Maurice; now I wish Chris would just shut up. It was life after the fall of Communism and before 9/11...or 2008's financial crash and electoral catastrophe. The Clinton era. (It was also the age of AIDS, so I don't mean to romanticize it.)

I never forgave Rob Morrow, annoying asshole that he was,  for leaving mid-season and signing its death warrant. A New York Jew, the perfect example of someone who thinks himself worldly and sophisticated but who cannot adapt to the actual differences around --or in his eyes, beneath-- him.


In fact, NE's combination of predictable liberal themes and pieties, and blithely unPC unfolding of human nature in its weird cast of characters --an endearing combo of smugness and self-mockery--made it a kind of updated American version of Amarcord with a touch of Lake Wobegon and Charlie Brown.

It had that confined space quality, peopled by flawed but likeable characters in conflict. A structure I like in Tales of the City, Upstairs Downstairs and Downton Abbey.

I am much enjoying these stories again, sorta like visiting old friends. Nice.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Another day, another holler

Yesterday was a pretty well wasted day, even by my currently underachieving standards. Today will be better. I promise.

Running across stories about Official LGBT-dom getting the State to force people to engage with them, in business or religion, makes me angry. But the discrimination laws basically treat every "protected group" as if it were Black. It sees no difference between a Christian photographer who did not want to go to a lesbian commitment ceremony to work and a hotel owner who refuses Blacks a room for the night. The law is indeed an ass. Regulatory socialism doesn't have to confiscate your property and your labor when it determines exactly how you may or may not use it. And the 1964 Civil Rights Act seems increasingly to me to have been a huge mistake. Goldwater was right. Federal overkill that revamped the State into The Crusading Church of Equality.

It just seems wrongheaded and stupid when majorities can be railroaded so easily by minorities. But our national Liberal religion now has equality as its Prime Directive. The One God Equality in the Holy Trinity of Diversity, Sensitivity and Inclusion. Equality is just one among many historical American political goods but by being absolutized and universalized it has become cancerous. It can only be enacted by increased policing and Divine Equality legitimizes all sorts of coercion. Freedom always suffers by it.

Since it is in the nature of Progress never to stop, the egalitarians will always move on to the next unconquered issue. Without a new problem to solve, what do liberals have to do? Utopia is always one more regulation away. Thinking of how much liberalism has changed the world in the last 50 years and what it wants to keep doing for another 50, the nightmare version of America that Covington's novels describe does not seem impossible. And his uber-violent reactions seem more understandable.

Am I an Angry White Male? Well, to quote the bumper stickers, if you're a white male and you're not angry, you're not paying attention.

Of course it is not "equality" but revenge, the replacement of historically successful groups by Official Sacred Victim groups. The partial Harrison Bergeron syndrome.



For the foreseeable future, only the Historically Oppressor Groups will be wearing handicaps, to level the playing field...

Saw an opinion piece BTW, entitled White America owes Black America nothing. Amen. Know wh'am sayin'?

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Types and archetypes

 Jack Donovan's 2012 book The Way of Men identifies three of the same foundational virtues of manhood that I decided on back in 2007: power, courage and skill. (Strength, courage and mastery, in his phrasing.) In 2011, I added honor, but as an extra. He makes this, too, his fourth basic requirement. Great minds.

I situated the question for myself in terms of the hunter-gatherer society; he posits the gang as the timeless matrix of men, regardless of societal form. In my brief and scattered blog reflections or his much more well-thought through and articulated book, we are dealing with what the Jungians call the archetype: the psycho-physical blueprint of the masculine, our "primal nature", the one that re-appears whenever times are tough and the veneer of civilization fades.

The hunter-gatherer world has long been superceded by other forms of social organization, so manhood has had to adapt. That's part of why I use the image of a constellation, a recognizable pattern composed of stars of varying intensity, to talk about these adaptations.

The Constellation Orion

In the sedentary and non-nomadic societies in which most men have lived for the last several thousand years, how a man achieves and exhibits strength, bravery, competence and honor must change. There is the issue of the lifecycle: masculinity unfolding in boyhood, youth, young and mature manhood, and in old age. All different. Is he a man of high or low status? Does he live in an urban or a rural culture? Does his primary endowment consist in his strength, or in his courage, or his competence or his honor?

And if he is deficient in one or more of these elements, he can compensate for that by excelling in others: eg, a smallish man of unprepossessing physicality can gain standing by extra pluckiness or by a specially developed and valuable skill.  Beowolf fathered no sons but was a virtuoso warrior, so his masculinity remains classical. In high civilizations, solitary or cenobitic celibates who renounce violence and property can still attain a kind of masculine status through metaphorical fatherhood, courageous ascetic struggle, spiritual skill and a code of religious honor. Masculinity has a definition but it is also adaptable. It has to be: both the constellation and the gang require various kinds and levels of manhood. Every male is called to become a man, but a man among men, not the same man.

In any case, the negative backgrounding remains constant: his manhood will be questionable to the extent that he is seen to be weak or afraid or inept or dishonorable. A man is not a boy. Nor is he a woman. Nor God.

And as Donovan insightfully and crucially makes clear: there is a difference between 1. being good at being a man and 2. being a good man.  Grace builds on nature, as Aquinas says, but there has to be a nature there to build on in the first place. Archetypes are numinous, not necessarily ethical. Masculine honor is not the same as civilized or religious goodness.

And as Mr D rightly points out, it is men who create civilization and then who find themselves challenged by their own creation precisely as men. Being a good man comes into conflict with being good at being a man. The current virus (cancer? plague? madness?) of feminism, which is so damaging to men, could never come about without men having created the highly civilized conditions for its appearance. And then, inexplicably, assenting to its demands.

One of the virtues of Donovan's gang model is that it easily holds together both the hierarchical and the affiliative energies in a classically masculine way. Each individual male must accomplish the task of become a man, but the context is inherently social. The attainment requires recognition. All gangs have hierarchies, but these are not the enemies of belonging --as women imagine-- but the very structure of male belonging. As my riff on Anthony Stevens goes: men create affiliation through ranking, women create ranking through affiliation.

India divides men up into role-status: priests, warriors, merchants and laborers. Jungians see men as kings, warriors, magicians and lovers. (Where are the merchants and laborers?)

Toward an outline of the kinds of stars in the constellation of the masculine:


ELEMENT
ROLE
sacred

shaman, priest, ascetic, healer, magician
government
king, lord, judge
sex &
family
lover, husband, father, son, brother, grandfather, uncle
war
warrior, hunter, athlete, strategist
food
farmer, hunter
wealth
merchant
labor
laborer, slave
ornament
artisan, artist
systems
scribe, clerk...bureaucrat*
culture
poet/singer/teller, musician, mentor, teacher, student
tools
technician
humor**
trickster, jokester, comedian, jester, fool

Anything important missing?

Oct 2014 update: Yes. Friendship. "Male bonding" in buddy, comradeship and friendship is a constant feature of the masculine world.


*As much as we dislike them, they are a quintessentially masculine creation. One thing you cannot blame on women! Yet, without the complex organizing which men create, civilizations would remain at the grass hut stage.

**Humor may seem secondary, but no one who has spent any time with men in groups would deny the crucial role that is played by laughter.

---------

Sometimes

I just get paralyzed.

In shorthand, the part of my character I hate the most. If I wind up in hell, it won't be for things I've done but for all the things I haven't.

Part of why I admire B so much is that he is the very opposite of me here. I can't get myself to do things. He can't stop himself from doing things.

I remember Nana

"When we get older, we don't get better. We just get moreso."

My maternal grandmother, Kitty Dowd Sorenson (1892-1964).

Amen, Kitty.

That's her on the left, with my mom and newborn sister.


I called her Nana and her kids referred to her in the third person as Kitty (from Catherine), which is what her sisters and brothers called her. She was a hoot. She'd buy me jelly doughnuts after Mass on Sundays and then call her bookie to see how she'd done during the week.

Other wisdom:




Don't ask why there's no justice in this world. If there were justice in this world, we'd all be hung from the yardarm at dawn.

All human things, given time, go badly.

Ah, but you're a queer duck.



Signs of the Apocalypse


The flourishing Polish Dominicans have a rep for being quite traditional. But here we have the sons of Torquemada in another incarnation.

Don't ask. I don't know.

And the Franciscans as well. But that's no surprise...

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

IMHO

Having no degree in Political Science...why do they call it science?...this is just my impression...but since no human society, no matter on what basis it is set up, will produce relative unpleasantness and difficulty for some segments of the population and relative favor for others.

Gender-neutral and post-racial societies are as illusory as classless societies were. And are.

So it's really just a matter of which groups you want to favor and which groups you're willing to let have second-class citizenship. Cause it will happen no matter what.

But

I like Timothy Olyphant. And I like Raylan Givens in Justified. But the liberal messages in the show, both structural and scripted, are effin' annoying. I will not expatiate.

(But Raylan's dad, despite the drama he creates, needs to be put down.)

Border wars, Race wars


The subtitle reads: America's war on Mexicans has gone too far.

Hardly. Ten million of them are still here without permission. Not nearly far enough.

*If you have an anti-emetic on hand and would like to scroll through the kind of BS that makes Ex Cathedra all un-civilized like, here it is.


As for the image...the illegal cholo with his undies showing as 1. the lynched Negro 2. the concentration-camped Jew (tattooed number) 3. the Crown of Thorned Christ (blood and barbed wire). Is the fire and flag background a hit of race war? And the Guadalupe image lyingly makes her bi-national, when she is clearly and only a Mexican goddess. The usual little angel underneath has become a death's-head...why?

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____

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

The Yellow and the Green

In Graham Jackson's typology of male lovers, Yellow Men and Green Men fall for each other. The Apollonian man of ideas who floats above the earth and the chthonic guy whose feet are firmly on the ground. Blue Men and Red Men are likewise drawn to each other. The patriarchal man of convention and duty with the romantic man of beauty and passion.



Robert Mammana, the Green/Blue Man

Just Say Love (2009) shows a Yellow/Red Man and a Green/Blue Man falling for each other. It's hard to tell consciously archetypal stories without letting the seams show, --and the writer is definitely a Yellow Man in real life--and sometimes this filmed play did. It was part reality, part allegory, part lecture, part fairy tale. If most films about male/male eros lack characters with dignity or self-respect, this one leaned toward the didactic* and the exemplary. It can be forgiven for that. And Robert Mammana is eminently forgivable.

There were moments when the power of this kind of bond shone through. Plato-reading blond artist Guy finds his courage and reconciles with his father. And horny (and new married father) hunky carpenter Doug learns how to breathe and tell the truth.




Not bad.

*The discourse on meat and elimination was entirely a self-indulgence of the rabidly vegetarian author and I for one could have seriously done without it.

_____

No good deed

goes unpunished.

From the Unintended Outcomes files, a suggestion that only because of Western (aka White Male) medicine and technology is the world population now so large. So when the Camp of the Saints folks move into your neighborhood and reduce it to a Detroitish death-swamp, Whitey, you have only yourself to blame.

Roma locuta, causa incoepta



Another American nun has had her theological work condemned. The usual tired narrative is provoked: power-hungry old men vs plucky female pioneer. She favors masturbation, homosexuality, same-sex marriage, and remarriage after divorce. People act shocked that there's a problem. This "widely respected" teacher disingenuously denies that she was attacking traditional doctrine or proposing a new set. She calls her work "another genre entirely." Her book, Just Love*, is apparently the theological equivalent of "Just sayin'."

What people forget is how mild and rare Rome's reactions now are, compared to what they used to be.
And I include Rome during Cardinal Ratzinger's term at the Holy Office. How many ideas, practices and/or people had sanctions laid against them during his whole term? It was hardly a reign of terror.

When I left the priesthood and the Dominican Order twenty-five years ago, it was partly based, ironically, on my commitment to Catholicism. That is, despite my sense of personal rightness about my sexuality, I knew very well that Catholicism was not something that you can make up as you go along. Especially if you are vowed/ordained and a public theologian. Just because I wanted this 2000 year old tradition to agree with me did not mean that it would. Or, as I realized, could.

Part of my irritation at liberal Catholics may be an unconscious resentment at them for having their cake and eating it, too, while I made the painful choice to jump the Barque of Peter in mid-journey. But part of it is my general dislike of liberal dishonesty and the refusal to accept that certain organisms have an identity, one which may not be dreamed up from scratch every ten minutes.

Everything the liberal Catholics want in a church already exists, fully formed, in the Episcopal Church. To me, they lack the balls to jeopardize their "prophetic" status and livelihoods and make honest women and men out of themselves.

Obviously, Catholicism remains a deep interest of mine, probably on a genetic level. And although I typically fall on the conservative side re its hierarchical-dogmatic-sacramental aspect, my rejection of its complicity in The Camp of the Saints project ( as well as my unrepentant same-sex eros) keeps me well outside the Aurelian walls.


*Though Ex Cathedra likes polysemous titles himself, the double-entendre in Just Love gives the game away. Any movement that privileges justice above all is a progressive one. All unfolds therefrom without surprise thereafter. And of course, Just Love almost means Nothing Other Than Love...which is so Sixties.

____

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Old dog, new trix


I learned a new Windows 7 trick this week. I can connect my flatscreen to my laptop and then split the screen, so I can watch a movie on the 32" and at the same time fiddle with the 15" on my lap. Techno marvel.

So I am watching Tales of the City again. This old righty curmudgeon's affection for this now quaint SF period piece remains. There's sweetness in the stories, an unknowingness about the future. And sometimes a quite unvarnished portrayal of the dark side of people and causes Maupin loves. But of course, from my later vantage point, I can detect the strains of narcissism and bitterness that came to such disappointing flower in 2007's Michael Tolliver Lives. Watching it Tales makes me remember my first years here --and sweet hunky Uncle Jack--and makes me feel, well, young.
Fatally ill rich Republican Edgar Halcyon sneaks off to a faith healer. When she suggests that he include his family in the process, he demurs, saying, "My family's Catholic." She pauses to think and then says, "Well, that's all right. Jesus loves Catholics, too."
Marcus D'Amico's Michael Tolliver remains a total charmer. The crooked smile, the Southern lilt, he looks great in a white Henley...and jeans are his friend. Michael and Dr. Jon make a classic Red/Blue Men dyad.



Brian angers his female bedmate du soir, who refuses, however, to explain why. "You're making me feel guilty," he says, "I'm a liberal. Just ring a bell and I'll feel guilty for weeks on end."

Elizabeth "Fauxcahontas" Warren aka "Running Joke" and "Dances With Lies", has a forerunner role model in Tales, it seems: D'Orothea, the white chick from Oakland who dyed her skin dark to get modelling gigs.

Edgar runs into Anna Madrigal/Olympia Dukakis in Alamo Square park and she makes him laugh and he falls in love with her because she makes him laugh. (I can relate.)

Anna M explains to Brian that love does not get any easier when you're older. "Young people think that you'll get wiser. You don't. Age doesn't fix a thing. No safer and not any easier, just more familiar.  So when the pain comes back round again, you can look it in the eye and say 'I recognize you, you old bastard'. " (I can relate.)

In risu veritas, continued


I have opined before that one of the ways through the multiculty/feminist Regime of Lies is to pay attention to what comedy shows. Groups laugh at themselves when they recognize truths, truths that they don't expect outsiders to notice, or at least to talk about in public. Chris Rock's piece about the difference between black people and niggers is the classic.

I have had a long-term crush on actor-turned-writer  Dan Futterman. In order to enjoy the visual pleasure of his video company, I rewatched a set of Will & Grace episodes about Will & Jack's attempt to turn a newly out and unattractive nerd into a Real Gay Man... in a month. The series is called Fagmalion. Clever those gays, no? Barry, played by Dan, is their subject.


Barry "Doolittle"

My Fair Barry. Initiation into the pre-packaged identity of gayness. Before, above. After, below.



Barry's Big Reveal is at a Human Rights Campaign event, where the money raised "will go toward enacting hate crime laws and battling prejudice." They succeed so well that Will falls for his protege --hey, I would!--and asks the newly-fledged queer guy to go steady. Much truth here, sadly, within the laughs. And of course the audience only laughs because they recognize the truths.


video

The erotic attraction to other men comes naturally: the rest of it is socialization.

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