Religion


Since the climate changed even enough for most political morons to notice, a regional myth has become Common Wisdom: “We don’t get a Spring anymore.” I call bullshit.

It will be in the ’50’s this weekend, allegedly, in mid-May not exactly springy but what people are talking about is like three random hot days in the midst of a lot of wet cold and wind. And but it’s beautiful outside, lush, flowers and trees blooming like nobody’s business, and the typically violent MW thunderstorm tonight came at the perfect time at my house under the perfect cloud conditions and sun arc-wise, and it was very, very dark outside at 5PM but the sun was still bright and in retrospect at the right angle for general reflection and then the blooming white dogwoods kind of lit up, glowed, came alive as if electrified for a few minutes and it was lovely.

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I’m a bit angry with the Catholic Church, not in small part because some of my best friends are Catholic, and the bizarre hold The Church holds over them is creating dissonance, and I’m talking about really good people, which is all part and parcel of the entire deal, I suppose.

Matt takes his shot. Do not anger a talented polemicist.

I just cannot for the life of me understand why anyone would want to be a member of a club whose leadership pulled the stuff they did over the length of time they did.

My problem is that maintaining your membership with the Catholic Church is morally wrong (yes, that means you, Andrew Sullivan), because they’ll only change their behavior when their members bolt, and their money stream dries up (more than it already has), and not before then. (If then, but that’s the best shot at change.)

Man up.

It really is ridiculous.

If they actually believed what they preached, they’d all be rotting in Hell and taking it up the hiney against their will.

Not mine, but obviously true:

What if investigation after investigation discovered that the Muslim church had engaged in a decades-long cover-up of massive criminal activity involving the molestation and raping of children? What if it involved countless Muslim religious leaders, imams, and others? What if one of the highest Sunni leaders in the world was complicit in hiding sex crimes committed against deaf kids? Do you think for a moment that the outrage would not be so massive as to force mosques to close and for schools to go bankrupt? Many, many people would be justifiably jailed. There would be congressional investigations. Republicans would be calling for any faith-based funds to be banned from going to Muslim organizations because, indeed, some of the money may have been indirectly used to pay off victims and to shuffle the perpetrators from city to city. Hell, there would be death threats, vandalism, if not outright violence, against mosques and people. Yes, Islam in America, if not in the West entirely, would be assaulted from all corners…[snip]

Of course, because it’s the Catholic Church, despite whatever revulsion there is against those who committed the assaults and those who engaged in racketeering by conspiring to hide it from authorities, we are supposed to accept that it’s simply the actions of the few and not the infection of the entire faith.

My line is irretrievably crossed. The Pope his Own Self is neck deep in the German “Revelations.” The priest in Milwaukee was sentenced by The Church to 24 years of working with more children AFTER he was found to be molesting DEAF kids. Their qualifications for preaching “good and evil” or even right and wrong to me are akin to my asking Ted Bundy for dating advice. But I guess, hey, at least they don’t fly planes into buildings.

Just for the record, even the Mafia thinks this shit is gross.

The idea that they’re not even paying taxes makes me want to puke.

Adding that if you still feel the need to bleat while the Dogs feed on you, the Sheep, as the Pigs give cover, have at it. Just don’t ask me to understand it.

The Man is an ass. Beware.

J

Also.

But, you know, shouldn’t they be in control of their own moral wheel, as it were, and stop hiding pedophiles and fucking little boys over DECADES (I say millennia, but decades for sure), first?

I dunno. I suppose this is why I’m not a PR pro. I would be advising them to keep the morality discussion to a minimum for at least a little while (“Any sane person is going to ask you about the little boys! Don’t do this!”), and we know the Catholic hierarchy is not going to appreciate that idea.

Update: You know, every now and then I have to address the Catholics: This act you’ve been pulling for 2000 years wherein you stubbornly maintain a position on a given issue only to find yourselves apologizing for those same positions centuries later is so old and repetitious it’s fucking BORING now. Truly.

Update 2: Greatest hook in Mankinds’ history, though: All you have to do is really feel shitty about all the shitty things you did just before you die and your slate is wiped clean. This is also the biggest WTF perpetrated on Mankind. Credit where credit is due and all.

The indoctrination process is quite impressive. Also.

Those who incredibly love the late (great, just to get out of the way which team I’m on) David Foster Wallace, and those who feel, in my experience, pretty darned passionate about not liking DFW. It’s interesting. As someone once said, “I don’t give a damn for just the in-betweens…”

Women, as a statistically invalid subset (not because of the N, but because of the POTENTIAL sample bias), by personal observation and interview, are not DFW fans. So I found out that one of my semi-distant nieces was a fan (and obvious weirdo), and I e-mailed her, immortalized below. But really the point is that people are not generally ambivalent about DFW. So if you hate him, move on.

I want to tell you that your love of Wallace has impressed me in a way much like [your sister’s] joining the Peace Corps. Like, “Holy shit! She’s not a moron teenager anymore!”

So, since I’ve figured you’ve slogged through Infinite Jest at least once, I thought I would pass along some secrets, since I’m about 200 pages from finishing my third read since it came out.

Did you know the first 17 or so pages are the chronological end of the book? I did not until I stumbled upon an online “book club” reading IJ over the summer, which included a lot of fairly public intellectual smart people as contributors.

As with the movie central to the book’s plot, the idea of the book is just to keep reading it over and over again. Obviously, the thing is too much to inhale in one read, that’s the meta in-joke.

It gets better with each read. I’m totally engrossed again, because there is just too much shit going on, too many authorial conventions that need to be learned, to even get a hint after one read.

Another cool observation: The endnotes are VERY integral to the story, not in the least J.O. Incandenza’s filmography. I recommend they be read as a separate “book,” to further enjoy it if you’re up for another read.

There is no question that IJ is my answer to the question, “If you only had one book with you on a deserted island…”

Nobody crawls into the human psyche like Wallace did. I’m going to miss him a lot.

Hope you’re doing OK all in all, kiddo. […] I think of you often.

Love,

J

Update: Cultural maturity/progress may could be measured, if I may, by IJ replacing Atlas Shrugged as the most enduringly influential novel for smart young people of a generation or two from now. All you have to do with the Shorter summary of the two books is change it from, “Greed and selfishness are good, especially if you’re Jesus-ethics pure” to, “Everyone is fucking nuts, except for their (traditionally defined) functional capacity.”

A man can dream.

Updated.

The Original, according to www.PrayerCross.com.

THE LORD’S PRAYER (ALL CAPS their’s)

OUR FATHER, WHO ART IN HEAVEN, HALLOWED BE THY NAME. THY KINGDOM COME, THY WILL BE DONE ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN. GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD. AND FORGIVE US OUR TRESPASSES AS WE FORGIVE THOSE WHO TRESPASS AGAINST US, AND LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL. AMEN.

Modernized: Thank you, FSM, you’re a God to us. They’ll get theirs not only after, but before they die. Don’t like being hungry, so some food would be great. And because most of us trespass, we should try not to judge other’s trespasses, plus we should stay out of bars without our spouses/SO’s, and please save us from people like Bundy, Dahmer, Gacy and Cheney. Clearly, that kind of thing is up to You.

The old one is $19.99 for two. Mine only costs $17.99, and you only need one.

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