Cozyland

January 4, 2019

Recently, a friend asked me, “What is wrong with John Rutter’s music?”

Technically, nothing. I’ve sung with Rutter. The man is a musician through and through. But those carols get a little cloying.

The parallel I drew was with Thomas Kinkade’s paintings.  Technically, he knew what he was doing. Yeah, the way he handled light was weird and unnatural. But the entire corpus of 20th-c painting is weird and unnatural, so that shouldn’t disqualify him.  What the two artists have in common is cozyness. They’re all about warm safe spaces. I can’t think of a single Rutter piece that I’ve heard that has any negativity or dissonance in it at all. I can’t remember seeing any Kinkade painting with any ugliness or darkness in it. It’s all about this pleasant place called Cozyland, where lower-middle-class white women with children go to live. It’s a Kinkade cottage, perfectly unnatural, no longer found in this world (if ever it was), with a warm fire and Precious Moments, and Rutter on the stereo, with no darkness seen at all, maybe because that metal halide lamp on the ceiling that’s spilling thousands of lumens onto the ground outside has blinded the inhabitants. There are no people, because they’re messy, and certainly no children, who are noisy and vulnerable. (When I see a cottage in the woods, I think of Hansel and Gretel. “Look at my house, little girl! It’s made of gingerbread! Siding stuffing is my favorite. Especially when the bird stuffs herself.”)

And the Rutter comes in 3 minute bursts, like early atonality, because that’s about how long you can go without tension. (Yes, I’ve sung the Gloria. I rest my case.). And it’s always vocal. There could be a string quartet in that cottage, or an upright piano, but no. That would require tension to get to the end of a phrase, whereas with words, grammar will do the trick. Having children singing is a plus. In Cozyland, children are to be heard and not seen. Unless they’re crying, in which case they aren’t even to be heard.

Sure, I’d like to live in Cozyland. I like my creature comforts, peace, order, light, second breakfasts, white people, major-key harmonies with added-note chords. But that just isn’t our world. There are wolves and poison ivy in that woods, and no matter how much light pours out of the window, it will never reach into the dark lairs of evil. Yes, we can have respite. We’ll go carolling with John Rutter at the Kinkade house, and the Kinkades will invite us in for cookies and hot cocoa, and we’ll admire the fire, and the painting on Tom’s easel that we can’t really see because there’s too much frigging light. And once a year is about right for that. But then I’ll come home and write music about fighting off the wolves and winning, and about the Light that is not ours that pours INTO the cottage, and about children who cry for bread in their little cottages. Because art shouldn’t lie. neither positively nor negatively. The world is not a warm quilt, but neither is it a bed of nails. It’s ours to accept and make better, ad maiorem Dei gloriam.

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This is no longer a safe space.

November 25, 2018

I suppose I need to copy everything I’ve written here, since WordPress is doing its best Twitter impression.


Church and state, and the crisis

October 23, 2018

I don’t get personal about people’s responses to the crisis in the Church. We’ve never seen exactly these conditions before, so as long as you’re a person of good will and do your homework, I’m not going to get in your face about your conclusions. Think that Benedict is still the real Pope? Think there hasn’t been a real Pope since 1958? That Paul VI is a saint, or not a saint? That the New and Improved Mass really is new and improved? I may agree or not, but I’m not going to call you names or personally excommunicate you under my authority as a Magisterium of One.

But occasionally I have to point out a violation of first principles. I’m going to pick on Church Militant here, because some of the folks there have been involved in what I consider an error. Full disclosure: I’m a subscriber, I listen to their podcasts daily, I have friends and family of friends who work for them, so this is definitely friendly criticism; I’m not going to go full Fr. James Martin Assjay on them.

Here’s the issue: some folks have placed more faith in the State than in God to resolve the crisis. The argument goes like this: “The bishops are powerless to fix this mess on their own, because they’re part of the problem. So the state needs to step in and be an instrument of God to clean house.” So these folks write to various attorneys general to investigate the church, wish for RICO charges, point out that under current US law, the state could financially rape the church, and that would be OK. Which it would not be, for me, because that’s my stuff. We laity built that. We even, I blush to say, helped turn it into a bathhouse.

The fundamental issue is that this places more trust in the state than in God. Look, I was a magic-using Wiccan for a quarter century, and if there’s anything I learned it’s “Be careful what you ask for; you might get it.” And that you don’t tie the hands of the Gods by defining how they He will aid you. And you don’t confuse the instrumentality of what you want for what you actually want. Is it possible that God will use the state as a scourge to smite evildoers in the Church? Sure. Is it possible that He has a better solution? I sure hope so. Am I smarter than God? Do I know the solution He should use? Uh-uh. But are there problems with the state solution? You bet.

First of all, the intended investigators are not impartial. We laughed when Wuerl the Girl suggested that the bishops should investigate themselves. But this is the opposite extreme: this is inviting the enemies of the Church to have power over it. This is like asking the Nazis to audit the synagogue’s books, like Trump making George Soros his campaign manager, like setting up a free bar at the AA meeting. This is a secular government founded by Freemasons. And a lot of people doing the investigating are socially inclined to be Marxists, for whom hating religion is a tenet of the faith. So the Church is unlikely to get a fair shake.

Second, they will ask the wrong questions. This isn’t about pedophilia, or even really about ephebophilia. It’s been made out to be that by the press (another enemy of the Church) because if it bleeds, it ledes, but if you want to fight that, look at the Protestants, or the public schools, both of whom have a worse record. It’s not even solely or mostly about the coverup. The church has an efficient hierarchy so it can cover up better, whereas teen boys who score with their teachers have a hard time keeping the secret. It is, at core, a matter of heresy, which the state has no interest or competence in. And the specific heresy is that homosexual relations are not a sin. If this were not believed, there wouldn’t be priests living in manifest sin, defending manifest sin, covering up for manifest sinners. And this isn’t “slipping and falling”. If Mrs. Reilly seduces Father and Father succumbs, that’s slipping and falling. If Father seduces Mrs. Reilly, or the students in a seminary, that’s something else. It’s believing, at least for the moment, that this is really OK. If a priest is keeping his vows, it doesn’t matter which sex he’s attracted to, and we shouldn’t even know.  But if he’s identifying as gay or as a ladies’ man, he’s saying that those things are all right. And they aren’t. Those who believe the homoheresy usually believe other heresies as well, because heresies travel in packs. But as I said, the press doesn’t care about that. And they and the state don’t care about the gay issue either, because gay is okay by them. In fact, if the Church ever cleans house on its own, the state and the press and the Assjay will be on them for “discrimination against homosexuals”.

So, if calling the cops isn’t an optimum approach, what do we do? We pray. We get our own faith lives together. And we get choosy about what faith institutions we support. We leave heretic parishes, and go to orthodox ones, even if it inconveniences us. We get choosy about who we give to.  If we live in a diocese where a full cleanout seems unlikely (LA? Saginaw?), maybe we move to a better-run one. And we expect that God’s deliverance will come in God’s time, not necessarily in the current election cycle.


Farm report

April 21, 2018

Well, it’s the first day of gardening. And the day I find out what sitting in a chair all day for the past 6 months has done to me. No endurance at all. Cardio all over the place. At least my wife cut my hair during one of the breaks.  But the chicken coop light is fixed,4 of 5 fruit frees are planted, and a short double row of onions. The garlic is hoed, and and the strawberries are much cleaner. So now I’m going to bathe, and plan my summer.


I may be back here more

April 8, 2018

I used to have a Net life before Facebook. I blogged. I was even on Usenet, back when that was a thing. I managed to have an online life without Suckmyberg’s aid.

I’m close to the point where I’m done with that.  It’s hard to let go.  I’m following all the best Catholics, and getting news of some of the worst. Discussion groups have pretty much died, except for professionally-oriented listservs. I’ve got a FB page for my Schola that I need to transition to somewhere, maybe to jeffreyquick.com. I may use them for professional advertisement. I’ll be in less contact with dear friends, but you know where to find me. I have a Twitter account under my own name which I seldom use, and a pseudonymous one I’ll probably lose. And an account on Gab that I may let you know about if I really like you.

What brought on today’s hissy fit? This.  I’m not a big fan of Diamond and Silk; loud and obnoxious remains loud and obnoxious even if they say things you agree with. But they have plenty of fans, including my wife. And for a media carrier to basically shadowban somebody you like, “for your own good”, is the height of paternalism. And Markie, guess who just started following Diamond and Silk? “Not a fan” doesn’t matter if you aren’t actually going to the page. You, and the SJW corps you shill for, need to be burned to the ground.


Cuckstianity

January 11, 2018

From a thread on Facebook, re Holy Week repertoire; names redacted to protect privacy.

A: I wouldn’t do the Reproaches as they are Anti-Semitic, given that they blame it on the Jews.
B: [mildly demurring statement]
A. It says “I led you out of Egypt. . . I fed you with manna. . .I gave you water from the rock. . .and you did this to Me.” Sounds like it is addressed to the Jews. NOT COOL!
Me: Huh? Sorry, they did it. Historical fact. But they couldn’t have done it without the Romans. That’s so both the Jew and the Gentile could be saved; they’re both symbolically responsible. But you know who the real Christ-killers are? A. B. And me. Especially me.
A: You are right; but I’m talking about the text of the Reproaches, which places the blame on the Jews, and we know where THAT sort of thinking led.
Me: No, we don’t know that. I’ve always understood the Jews as the proto-Church, and the Church as the new Israel. So yes, God led ME out of Egypt. If a few sin-deranged folks want to persecute Jews for having done the best favor for their fellow man that anyone has done, that’s on them, not on the traditions established by God’s Holy Church. It’s bad enough that we’re chucking parts of the faith to save the feelz of Christians; must we do so for those who aren’t Christian as well?


Alabama senate

December 13, 2017

This isn’t a loss for Trump. He supported Strange, and only supported Moore at the end, when he really had to. It’s not even necessarily a loss for Bannonism, let alone Trumpism, though Steve called this one wrong.. Moore was damaged goods going into this: popular with the base, not popular with the center, a tumultuous career. It didn’t take much poo-flinging (or vote-fudging?) to shave a couple points off. Any Democrat who wants to read this as a big victory for progressivism is seriously delusional. It’s bad for us conservatives for the next while, but it’s not forever.

But we need to look ahead. As a Catholic, I’m down in theory with the social kingship of Christ. But we live in a country which is historically Protestant and currently functionally irreligious. In a proposition nation (which, for better or worse, we have been) one needs religious pluralism. We mackerel snappers are late arrivals here, and we remember what it was like in Protestant England ca. 1600, so I’m not anxious to work against my personal interest, to load a gun that could be pointed at me. A guy like Moore with 2 legs hanging off the right edge of the Overton Window is a hard sell. You can’t make people holy through the state. If you want to make people holy, make them holy through the Gospel, and state power will follow as a majority decision. Most people don’t like drugs, so we have drug laws. If we lived in a nation of junkies, you could get heroin in vending machines. We DO live in a nation where vast swathes of people (including some Tea Party types) toke up, so we’re working on marijuana legalization. Remember Breitbart’s Law: “Politics is downstream from culture”. A democracy doesn’t make moral decisions; it wakes decisions based on personal desire.

And as much as I love Trump, and as weak as the Democrat bench is, he’s not going to meet such a spectacularly bad candidate next time. Nor will Doug Jones.