But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

Or: The Fraternal Korrektiv

I’ve found myself thinking the same thought about David Petraeus that I’d thought about Lance Armstrong a few weeks ago:

‘Too bad he’s not Catholic; then, he’d be fair game for Korrektiv!’

But hope springs eternal.

Has anyone called dibs on the Lives of Famous Catholics volumes about Conrad Black and Newt Gingrich?


  1. Quin Finnegan says

    No, or at least I have not. But since you ask, I’m calling dibs on Chris Farley and Joe Biden. Great visual by the way!

    • Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says

      Thank you, sir! Chris Farley would be epic.

      Have you read Scandal? I haven’t, but Lickona has.

      So far, I’ve read Silence; The Samurai; A Life of Jesus; and some short stories, all very-good-to-excellent, of which ‘Despicable Bastard’ is my favorite. Everything I’ve read of his so far makes me want to read his entire works.

      We should discuss Endo here within the next twelve months.

      • Put it this way: Scorsese wants to make a movie from Silence; Scandal would definitely be David Lynch.

        • Quin Finnegan says

          Yes, I’ve read Scandal; it struck me as so remarkably different than anything else he’d written that I’ve convinced myself it could only have been written after he’d read Nabokov—”Signs and Symbols,” Lolita, and Pale Fire in particular. And then decided not to wrtie anything else.

          And BN was certainly written after its author read Scandal.

          I read through all the Endo I could find while I was living in Nagoya. The Endo hierarchy according to me is something along the lines of Silence, Samurai, Scandal, Sea and Poison, Final Martyrs, When I Whistle, Stained Glass Elegies, Wonderful Fool, Girl I Left Behind, and Deep River.

          And “Kiku’s Prayer” has just been translated and is set for January 2013.

          Matthew, you probably know this already, but Scorsese’s Silence is still tagged with “2013” at imdb. So there’s hope yet. And Masahiro Shinoda directed a version of Endo’s novel in 1971 that is well worth seeing. Now on Criterion and at HuluPlus for free.

          • Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says

            Wow. Think you’d be up for a Reading-Klub-type discussion of one of those Endo novels or stories within the next year, Mr Finnegan? If not, no worries; but if so, which would you pick?

            And we must hear at least a little about your Nagoya sojourn someday.

          • Well I just went and upset the hierarchy by reading Scandal over the past 2 days. Finished it at 3am today. (Is that bad? I just havent read any fiction in a while and was more ravenous for the well written word than I realized)
            Anyway I jotted down a few notes, no complete sentences, maybe 8 lines. Overall it seemed surreal. Not sure if this is the best place to dig in; maybe I’ll wait for the reading club.
            My question to you Mr. Finnegan is now that I’ve gone and read Scandal, which novel would you recommend as my second taste of Endo?

        • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ryaQSZ8DzU
          having just read Scandal, Sugaru’s degree of introspection, passivity, and spontaneous action reminded me of Mark (the heavy one) from Peep Show.
          “I’m just a normal functioning member of the human race and there’s no way anyone can prove otherwise!”

  2. Written last night, as part of Gaga Confidential (the speaker is Mark O’Shea, gay lapsed Catholic, current GM of the Hard Rock Hotel in San Diego):

    “I sent [Terry Richardson] a text that day, asking him if he wanted to come down to San Diego and do a shoot. I knew a guy at the Zoo from when I helped to set up a private party there fore Newt Gingrich during his Presidential bid. By the way, I totally would have voted for Newt, if only so everybody could see how batshit crazy Catholics can be. Seriously – three wives and plans for a moon base? The ideal new face of American Catholicism.”

  3. I’m sorry not to have posted here recently, but I assume now it’s a different and possibly larger readership than I’d thought.

    But although I don’t think I particularly feel like reading Endo right now, I might look again at Kawabata, not because I thought now of the story of the Dream Hotel, although I did as I started to write, but in fact the one about Holland Park, and the tone of his writing.

  4. Don’t go out and buy it yet.

  5. I don’t want to start criticising things, but the first story isn’t as good as I’d remembered his writing.

  6. It may not have been well translated. I’ll read a few more.

  7. Dibs on Frank Castle.

  8. You need a woman. A non-obvious woman (aka not Madonna since she’s doing Jewish mysticism now anyway, right?). But I’m striking out for names.

    • Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says

      Need? That’s putting it somewhat strongly. But would I be grateful for any names that do come to your mind, IC? Indeed I would.

      I really don’t care about looks; for me, it’s about:
      1) orthodoxy,
      2) personality (roughly: 85-90% nice, 15-10% mean),
      3) intelligence,
      4) the physical hardiness to survive pregnancies with minimal difficulty, and
      5) a certain ineffable quality I shall call ‘earthiness’.

      Standards I may have, but I’m pragmatic enough to settle for four out of five. It’s a holistic, sliding-scale judgment.

      Please note, to avoid frustration upon first meeting: She has to be okay with the fact that the good Lord exercised a severe (and, to my mind, elegant) economy when He proportioned my frame. What I’m trying to say is that, by turn-of-the-millennium U.S. standards, I’m a tiny, Hobbitty little man. Not that my lack of height bothers me; I’m perfectly happy to be, like Jerusalem, compactly built. But I get the sense that it might be a deal-breaker for some.

      (And speaking of deal-breakers: pop-Kaballah or no, Madonna’s too old for me.)

      Also, she should like ‘Catherine’ and ‘Dominic’ as baby names.

      • Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says

        Also, she shouldn’t be jealous when I spend time on Korrektiv.

        • Jonathan Potter says

          A very interesting turn this post has taken.

          Maybe what we need is a year-round Korrektiv dating klub.

          • Um, Potter can attest that no such woman exists, at least not as far as not being jealous of time spent on Korrektiv.

            • Jonathan Potter says

              Related email:

              A store that sells new husbands has opened in New York City , where a woman may go to choose a husband. Among the instructions at the entrance is a description of how the store operates:

              You may visit this store ONLY ONCE! There are six floors and the value of the products increase as the shopper ascends the flights. The shopper may choose any item from a particular floor, or may choose to go up to the next floor, but you cannot go back down except to exit the building!

              So, a woman goes to the Husband Store to find a husband. On the first floor the sign on the door reads:

              Floor 1 – These men Have Jobs.

              She is intrigued, but continues to the second floor, where the sign reads:

              Floor 2 – These men Have Jobs and Love Kids.

              ‘That’s nice,’ she thinks, ‘but I want more.’

              So she continues upward. The third floor sign reads:

              Floor 3 – These men Have Jobs, Love Kids, and are Extremely Good Looking.

              ‘Wow,’ she thinks, but feels compelled to keep going.

              She goes to the fourth floor and the sign reads:

              Floor 4 – These men Have Jobs, Love Kids, are Drop-dead Good Looking and Help With Housework.

              ‘Oh, mercy me!’ she exclaims, ‘I can hardly stand it!’

              Still, she goes to the fifth floor and the sign reads:

              Floor 5 – These men Have Jobs, Love Kids, are Drop-dead Gorgeous, Help with Housework, and Have a Strong Romantic Streak.

              She is so tempted to stay, but she goes to the sixth floor, where the sign reads:

              Floor 6 – You are visitor 31,456,012 to this floor. There are no men on this floor. This floor exists solely as proof that women are impossible to please. Thank you for shopping at the Husband Store.

              PLEASE NOTE:
              To avoid gender bias charges, the store’s owner opened a New Wives store just across the street.
              The first floor has wives that love sex.
              The second floor has wives that love sex and have money and like beer.
              The third, fourth, fifth and sixth floors have never been visited.

          • This will teach me for commenting on 4 hrs sleep.

          • Like probably/hopefully many who read from the dark side of the blog, I would invest real money to see a Korrektiv dating klub.

            Would it be too obvious and repetitive to call it “Love In the Ruins”?

      • I think that this is the ideal Catholic Match profile in the mind of God. Well played, sir.

      • Angelico, I heard the reading in church today and it made me think of your elegant economy.

        That sounded much saucier than was intended.

        By the way, how many holiness points do you get for attending weekday Mass while on vacation? Anyone know? Does the fact that you’re on vacation give you more points, because you could be sleeping in or fewer because you don’t have much else to do? And are points then subtracted if you make a big deal out of it on the Internet?

        • Matthew Lickona says

          Someone should do a study of the proportional relation between the worth of something existing in the natural world and the size of the deal that is made of it on the Internet.
          Holiness points may be applied to your Love in The Ruins Korrektiv Dating Klub account toward the addition of various upgrades. For 100 holiness points, you may remove the “See My Sins” feature, which recounts the contents of your last four confessions. (The priest can’t tell anyone what you say, but nothing’s stopping us from bugging the confessional.)
          For 200 holiness points, you may add a photo of your choosing, as opposed to the standard Bruegel avatars.

          • I’m all about grubbing for holiness points. How do I do a picture, though? There’s no clicky thingy that says “Upload Photo of Your Choosing Here.” I would try to figure it out, but yesterday I spent three hours trying to upload a Jim Carrey .gif to my blog, but every time I viewed it, it wouldn’t move. When I finally figured it out and it was moving, I was like, “Yay!” Then I decided I didn’t want it there anymore and took it down.

        • Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says

          ‘Saucy’ is a good Shakespearean adjective, That Girl! I’m glad to see someone, however unintentionally, bringing saucy back.

          And yes, Zacchaeus is my homeboy.

    • Oh dear. A little too late:
      You, as in referring to the series in the Press. Not you, Angelico or any other member of the Kollektiv.

      Are there no famous Catholic women?

      Although I was at mass yesterday and could have sworn I heard the priest refer to Mary, full of angst, the Lord is with thee.

      (I think that was my somewhat faulty hearing. Kind of comforting though.)

      • Jonathan Potter says

        M-click is working on Lady Gaga even as we speak.

      • I call Katie Holmes! I call Katie Holmes!

        • Time’s a-wasting.

          • I’m still waiting for inspiration to strike, but I think it’s gonna go a little something like this…

            “Ain’t I pretty, ain’t I cute, look at my skin
            Look at my skin shine, look at my skin glow
            Look at my skin laugh, look at my skin cry
            You can’t even sense if they got any insides
            These people so pretty in their ribbons and bows
            No you’ll not now or no other day
            Find it on the doorsteps made out-a paper mache
            And inside it the people made of molasses
            That every other day buy a new pair of sunglasses”

      • Apparently Cyndi Lauper was baptized Catholic.

        • Here’s how she stands now on Catholicism:

          “…I’m a recovering Catholic. … There’s, y’know, the Sisters of Charity, the Sisters of Mercy, and it just so happens that I was with the Sisters of No Charity and No Mercy at All.”

          “When you take a group of people and you repress them and they cut themselves off from their feelings as a human – and a human being has sexual feelings, has bodily feelings – what you are handing over to children is a monster. Because if you are not connected to who you are in your heart, and you don’t understand and have compassion for yourself, how in the wide world of sports are you gonna have compassion with forty screaming children?”

          “I’m against all [the Catholic Church]’s teaching that women are evil and that their power and their sexuality is evil. Let’s kinda like get a little beyond that, get Christ-like, you know what I mean?”

          • Matthew Lickona says

            “Having compassion for yourself” is my new favorite euphemism.

            Has there never been a nice nun?

            I’ve never heard the Church’s teaching that women are evil. But then, I wasn’t schooled by nuns?

      • I suppose there’s also Nancy Pelosi.

        • Matthew Lickona says

          Sure! Though it’s very difficult to write fiction about politicians, I think. I’m doing Gaga. I really want Ellen to do Katie Holmes (and her lapso ex, Tom Cruise). I would love love love for other Kollektivists to do others. I think it could make a fine collection.
          Names that have been mentioned:
          Stephen Colbert
          Andy Warhol
          Help me out here, Angelico. You’re the one with the memory.

          • Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says

            Some potential Famous Catholics we’ve discussed include:

            Kevin Smith

            One or more Kennedys (possibly including in-law Arnold Schwarzenegger)

            Martin Scorsese (possibly part of a frame-story for Hitchcock?)

            Lars von Trier

            Jack White

            A few others come to mind, as well:

            Anne Rice

            Dan Savage (but backlash might be vicious, so the story had better be rock-solid)

            Roger Ebert (possibly part of Scorsese’s story?)

            A bunch of current U.S. Supreme Court justices (bonus for mention of, and possible flashback to, Chief Justice Taney)

            Dinesh D’Souza and/or Bill O’Reilly and/or Sean Hannity

            Tariq Aziz

            Robert Hanssen

            And — I hate to be that guy, but someone has to say it eventually: Hitler

            • Matthew Lickona says

              Love the possibility of Scorsese-Ebert. Something from the very early ’70s, when Ebert was writing Beneath the Valley of the Dolls for Russ Meyer and Scorsese was making Boxcar Bertha for Roger Corman.

              Also love the idea of Anne Rice. Thinking about that one.

              Lots to do.

              • How about one of those Peter Kreeft-style things where several compatible but unlikely people meet up in the afterlife. This could be one where Alfred Hitchcock, Martin Scorsese and Roger Ebert all meet up in Limbo and have a good jaw… [yes, I’m going for the most tasteless comment of the day award]

              • Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says


                • Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says

                  Really, M-Lick, setting the Scorsese/Ebert story during their respective work for Roger Corman and Russ Meyer is a really smart idea.

                  Since I don’t think the two of them met until much later, maybe the frame story could have them together at some movie-related event, sometime between the 1980s and now (Ebert can still ‘speak’ through a computer, after all). The story could develop as their discussion (which becomes multiple-narrator narration, as in Goodfellas and Casino) sets up complementary parallel flashbacks.

                  • Matthew Lickona says

                    I don’t know about smart, but it puts it in my wheel-house, and it puts them closer to their Catholic pasts. The complementary parallel flashbacks is good. But whether they actually met or not in those days is up to us, isn’t it?

                  • Matthew Lickona says

                    p.s. re: the quote. It’s nice to see you working at the top of your game.

      • Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says

        Lana Wachowski?

  9. Jonathan Potter says

    I just heard a snippet (on NPR’s Fresh Air) of an interview with the lead guitarist (or was it the singer? I’m not sure) for Soundgarden. The interviewer (not Terry Gross) was remarking on how well-educated he seemed, whereupon the dude replied. “I dropped out after 7th grade. I got my GED based on a 7th grade Catholic school education.” So, whatever that guy’s name is, I put dibs on him. Seattle grunge scene representation. Wait … wasn’t Kurt Cobain raised Catholic, too, after a fashion?

    Whoa, check this out: http://kimgordonsrealage.tumblr.com/post/1400852003/eddie-vedder-turns-catholic-solves-mysteries-brings

  10. Do they have to be infamous? Or is plain old famous all right, too?

  11. Jonathan Potter says

    Wallace Stevens’ deathbed conversion, with flashbacks.

  12. Martin Short:

    The show touches on everyone thinking that you’re Jewish.

    “He’s Jewish on his manager’s side”–that’s the line. People do think I’m Jewish. But we’re Irish Catholic. My father had a brogue.

    I also noticed you worked in a few Mel Gibson references.

    How can you not when you’re talking about someone self-destructing? What happened to Mel Gibson is the kind of thing you bolt up at 3 in the morning and go, “Oh my God, did I have this horrible dream!”

    Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1223360,00.html#ixzz2DXuiwEF9

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