See me up there in the upper right-hand corner?
As Percy would say, I’m “validated” like the young man who sees his own town in a film or lights up William Holden’s cigarette without acknowledging that he knows Holden knows he knows who Holden is, etc.
(p.s. This is not meant as a provocation, so please if you have anything bad to say about the current president, I would refer you to previous dust-ups at this blog on that issue, which I won’t even link to because I don’t think it bears any relevance to this post. Here, it’s all peace and joy and I don’t really care what you think about the current president – I’m making a Percian point here, which is much more important.
As a smoking/meat-smoking friend of mine in California might say, “Oh, you don’t like my politics? That’s nice. Did I mention that I bake bread?”
Except in my case I would say, “Did I mention I make a helluva good Chicken Cacciatore and that I can make you a martini that you will never forget? Sit down right there at my kitchen table and I’ll stir us a couple, and then let’s light up a smoke—cigar for you? Perfect!—and cigarettes (unfiltered) for me. Let’s talk then about the beauties of poems that completely nail the execution of a perfect enjambment of lines, of women who wear their hair down, of early R.E.M. albums and whether they were meant to be concept albums in the tradition of Pink Floyd and Yes but tinctured with a Southern Gothic ethos, of love in a time near the end of the world, and of children and how, one way or another, the little dears are going to get you out of bed in the morning. Yes—oh, and how’s your drink? See? I told you so….Cacciatore will be ready in about 20 minutes. How ‘bout another round?” )
Rotate Caeli has a great sermon for this past Sunday (Extraordinary Form) by a priest in full communion with Rome on the Holy Father’s new document, The Joy of Marriage Sex. Listen and you’ll be mad you did – but at least now you can say, you know, you know.
It’s a downright radical (or reactionary) publication (for the sake of complete transparency, I have a lifetime subscription), but this pre-Vat. II take on the flim-flam of films is, I think, right on. It was, after all, written by a member of the “greatest generation” – how could it be wrong?
“[P]erhaps you like the ‘progressive’ type priest better than the more old-fashioned kind. But don’t you see, even the old doddering padre, the one who’s made to appear as a typical ‘traditionalist’ or ‘conservative’ in the ranks of the Catholic clergy, is a far cry from what I would call a real Catholic priest. Because to all appearances he values his parish mainly in terms of a church building which it has taken him a lifetime collection drive to build. True, he doesn’t only take in money via raffle tickets and church pew collections, but in a kind of Robin Hood way he also pays back an occasional alms to the parish needy. Then, in moments of financial parish crisis, when the mortgagor’s handwriting appears in bold letters on the wall—the old padre seeks to revive his inner faith by an admittedly human, but hardly a very priestly way: he reaches dodderingly for his favorite bottle of scotch!”
I think of Spotlight winning this year’s onanist Oscar and can’t help but think that if the late and venerable Mr. Matt is right, he’s more right than he thinks…
Thank God for J.F. Powers…
“The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune…” – Hamlet
“Truly I was born to be an example of misfortune, and a target at which the arrows of adversary are aimed.” – Don Quixote
With ermine cuffs I sharpen up each gem
That studs this crown…No, Papa was not king
Despite this barber’s bowl. And Mama’s hymns
Remain in mind but there’s no will to sing.
Milan, more French than Roman, sings instead
Inside my veins – the fluted lace, the neat
And crimson fashions – coy frissons of the dead
Which resurrects a joy, now made complete
Oh, Papa! Oh, Mama! Since
I chose this road of sorrow, I confess
To neither left nor right. For Denmark’s prince
Well knew that failure proves its own success
And windmills creak and tilt upon the breeze
Canticles to a world I could not please.
Here I was all set to vent my journalistic outrage (and privately, I did) regarding this kuffuffle, when a more staid and sober friend sent along the above as Exhibit A for The Possible Reason Behind the Reason Mularkey Had to Go…
She also engages in a lot of modernist talk about art that I’m not sure squares with Catholic aesthetics – but I’ll let the philosophes among us make that call…
“Dorfman is an artist who understands that. The animated tactility of his work testifies to the obstinate fact that art comes to us from gifted hands in service to an eye. At the end of the day, sensibility is everything.”
As my friend asks, whither transcendence?
Our father is drunk again and sings a piece
Upon the deck, a snatch, a riff, a shard;
He ought not sing so crazy loud – suffice
To say the compass turns upon his word;
For neighbors want to hear – but what they’ve heard
Expressed is smiling tongue and laughing face –
A drunken fisherman who’s overboard
With sister moon, now hushing father’s eyes,
And brother sun, now blinding father’s voice.
He swigs his wine and holds a sloshing glass
Through which he spies opinions, preferred
Because they sound so good to folk so nice:
“I love that dirty water…!” sang the horde
Outside my father’s door – and he concurred.
For home’s a planted anchor, worldly-wise,
But progress blows with sweetened breezes toward
Our sister moon, who’s hushing father’s eyes,
And brother sun, who’s blinding father’s voice.
Within his wobbly tune, a note of grace
Is breaking through – to sober up and guard
His voyage. “Praise to you…” But lost in bliss,
As weevils in a bit of moldy bread,
Does he see that now twilight’s come aboard?
The shadows growing dark as sharks across
The dimming sea – they skim for us – are bored
By sister moon, who’s hushing father’s eyes
And brother sun, who’s blinding father’s voice.
O fisherman of men, not fish nor bird
Nor all the songs of earthly paradise
Can hook the world (the bait our dangling Lord) –
Not sister moon, who’s hushed up your eyes
Nor brother sun, who’s blinding Peter’s voice.
So a victory for tolerance, equality, social justice; a defeat for intolerance, inequality and Catholicism. Couldn’t be simpler!And yet tolerance, equality and social justice are precisely what the Catholic Church [has had] in Ireland for the last few decades. What I am told has been missing has been that rather intolerant idea of a personal Saviour, with a rather rigorous, even judgemental outlook: Jesus Christ.