Saturday, July 18, 2009
Furthermore, even if we disregard the details of the cause, there is a crucial qualitative distinction between the 21st-century secessionist and his weird uncle from the 1860s. Whereas your Confederate was nothing if not a Southern patriot, your modern secessionist is not motivated by nationalism or tribalism. For example, while I as a Californian would love to see California strike out on its own, or better yet on several owns, in this I am not motivated by any "Californism" or "Franciscism." These ideologies do not exist, and nor should they.
Fortunately, they cannot exist, because the polities themselves do not exist. The 20th century left America with little true political geography. A 21st-century "state" is an arbitrary administrative subdivision, not a community or polity in any sense. Multiple tribal communities, between which social connectivity is the exception, certainly exist in America today. But they are not organized along state lines, or any convenient border. They are castes, not polities.
For example, even that most distinctive of states - Texas - contains all American types. As a matter of culture, red-state Texans are not particularly different from red-state Ohioans or Oregonians. Nor are Austin hipsters particularly different from San Francisco hipsters. Conclusion: secession of any or all American states is not a way to redraw political borders to match tribal, cultural, or linguistic boundaries.
What's with all the high kicks?
Interview with President of Thomas More College
Friday, July 17, 2009
One tragic outcome among whites(source)
who have been teaching for too long
is that it can engender something close
to hatred. One teacher I knew gave up
fast food—not for health reasons but
because where he lived most fast-food
workers were black. He had enough of
blacks on the job. This was an extreme
example but years of frustration can
take their toll. Many of my white colleagues
with any experience were well
on their way to that state of mind.
It reminds me of the angry rant by a white ex-teacher on the bus in Boston...
Thursday, July 16, 2009
I think I would recommend it, but now I am feeling a bit of food poisoning. I'm not sure what the cause is...
Edit. Since no one else got food poisoning, I probably wasn't hydrated enough. Consequently, drinking a lot of water in a short span of time presented problems.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Character posters here and here.
Pete Takeshi and I went to see Public Enemies last Thursday afternoon (July 2) at Tanforan Century. He was in town for Cisco Live and finally arrived home in New York on Saturday morning at 3:00 AM, after delays at the airport and on the subway (due to a lock-down of the train when a fight broke out in his car). After a quick run to the airport, Pete and I met up with KK and her family at T-28 for dinner. I then took Pete to the Pig & Whistle (yelp), KK's favorite undergrad bar, where there were some cute girls. I suppose if I get a real job I'll hang out in bars more, but I'll need a wingman. Where's the Philosopher when you need him? hahaha. As I took Pete back to the hotel, we drove up Van Ness, and saw some real ladies of the night... I don't think I've ever seen any in San Francisco, but I'm usually not driving around that part of town at 12:45 A.M.
On to the review...
(source: Yahoo! Movies)
I think the technical aspects of the movie bothered me more than the story. Director Michael Mann once again employs HD photography. They enable the director to film at realistic light levels? But some scenes looked like they could have been in a made for TV movie, while other scenes seemed unnaturally bright. Some have complained about the grainy texture of scenes shot with a very low level of light, but these didn't bother me as much, as I had seen them before in Miami Vice (and in Collateral, too?). Perhaps I will get used to HD photography with time.
Many of the negative reviews have been complaints about the lack of characterization or purpose to the movie. Was it an accurate re-telling of Dillinger's final days? I have no idea. Some details about his childhood and inner life thrown in. Dillinger's motivation for his crimes is somewhat clear -- he wants everything, now. Why was such a criminal idolized by the masses? An explanation is not really shown by the movie. Perhaps those who want something more than a crime story for their $10 rightly complain about the movie. I just don't understand their complaints well. Were reviewers expecting a documentary? Something more sensationalistic or overwhelming? I haven't read any reviews in which another movie is held up to be the model, and I myself am not familiar with any movie which is comparable. Maybe I should watch Bonnie and Clyde. From the trailer for that movie alone, I'd say that movie features a lot of old Hollywood story-telling.
Given Michael Mann's visual style, does the movie's focus on crime and celebrity end up glamourizing crime? The review in Chronicles of Mann's Miami Vice took issue with that movie precisely because of this. Is there a danger of this? The medium is the message? Reason may be circumvented, as images can persuade us to some degree that something evil is actually good. Perhaps if I were younger I would find the criminal side, as depicted by Miami Vice, Heat, and Public Enemies, more attractive.
Does the Golden Age of Bank Robbery mark the end of the Wild West? The movie does a good job in showing the continuing rise of organized crime, as well as the ambion of J. Edgar Hoover (wiki) and the early history of the FBI as a national police force, an agency that Hoover wanted to be surpass Scotland Yard (?). We are presented with the question: what can law enforcement be permitted to do, in order to prevent crime? We are not given a clear answer.
As for the performances -- it took me a long time to get past Johnny Depp--it wasn't until the last 1/2 hour that I I could shake the feeling that I was watching Johnny Depp and not John Dillinger. Does he capture enough of Dillinger's charisma? Maybe not enough for those of us who watch too much reality TV. But what if there isn't much substance to a criminal alpha male, after all? And how many truly charismatic people are there in public life? I can't say that I've met anyone who meets the definition offered at wiki.
Christian Bale was serious and intent, speaking in his low, almost growling voice, but with a Southern accent this time. Stephen Lang is underused as a FBI agent from the Dallas office who is more of a hired shooter/gunman but is good at what he does. Leelee Sobieski and Emilie de Ravin have minor roles in the movie--I enjoyed their 30s look. They should have had more screen time.
It is a movie for those who want to have some exposure to the John Dillinger story, but don't want anything complicated. When will Michael Mann direct something more like Last of the Mohicans, a sword and sandals movie perhaps?
I would like to read the book (movie tie-in version and audio).
Two fathers(?) brought their children to the movie. Why would they do something like that?
They clearly showed a lack of judgment. One of the children, perhaps the youngest, commented out loud when Dillinger was shot, and a lot of the audience members were stunned that a child was in the audience. The man in the couple behind us said, "What is this, Ice Age?" The same kind of parents let their younger impressionable children watch violent horror movies... unbelievable. And yet they are permitted the right to vote.
Steve Sailer's review
Public Enemies Movie Blog
IGN review (photos)
New Yorker review
Monsters and Critics: LA
Depp Impact: LA
On the Red Carpet: Chicago
Monsters and Critics: Chicago
Magnifique Marion Cotillard
Zimbio: Red Carpet Arrivals
Monsters and Critics: London
Magnifique Marion Cotillard
Depp Impact: Paris
Zimbio: Inside Arrivals
Started on July 5.
I have to say, the blue is growing on me.
FSSP ordinations: Lincoln and Wigratzbad
NLM: Episcopal Consecration in Croatia (Byzantine Rite)
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
I. THE ONE THING NECESSARY
As everyone can easily understand, the interior life is an elevated form of intimate conversation which everyone has with himself as soon as he is alone, even in the tumult of a great city. From the moment he ceases to converse with his fellow men, man converses interiorly with himself about what preoccupies him most. This conversation varies greatly according to the different ages of life; that of an old man is not that of a youth. It also varies greatly according as a man is good or bad.
As soon as a man seriously seeks truth and goodness, this intimate conversation with himself tends to become conversation with God. Little by little, instead of seeking himself in everything, instead of tending more or less consciously to make himself a center, man tends to seek God in everything, and to substitute for egoism love of God and of souls in Him. This constitutes the interior life. No sincere man will have any difficulty in recognizing it. The one thing necessary which Jesus spoke of to Martha and Mary (1) consists in hearing the word of God and living by it.
The interior life thus conceived is something far more profound and more necessary in us than intellectual life or the cultivation of the sciences, than artistic or literary life, than social or political life. Unfortunately, some great scholars, mathematicians, physicists, and astronomers have no interior life, so to speak, but devote themselves to the study of their science as if God did not exist. In their moments of solitude they have no intimate conversation with Him. Their life appears to be in certain respects the search for the true and the good in a more or less definite and restricted domain, but it is so tainted with self-love and intellectual pride that we may legitimately question whether it will bear fruit for eternity. Many artists, literary men, and statesmen never rise above this level of purely human activity which is, in short, quite exterior. Do the depths of their souls live by God? It would seem not.
This shows that the interior life, or the life of the soul with God, well deserves to be called the one thing necessary, since by it we tend to our last end and assure our salvation. This last must not be too widely separated from progressive sanctification, for it is the very way of salvation.
There are those who seem to think that it is sufficient to be saved and that it is not necessary to be a saint. It is clearly not necessary to be a saint who performs miracles and whose sanctity is officially recognized by the Church. To be saved, we must take the way of salvation, which is identical with that of sanctity. There will be only saints in heaven, whether they enter there immediately after death or after purification in purgatory. No one enters heaven unless he has that sanctity which consists in perfect purity of soul. Every sin though it should be venial, must be effaced, and the punishment due to sin must be borne or remitted, in order that a soul may enjoy forever the vision of God, see Him as He sees Himself, and love Him as He loves Himself. Should a soul enter heaven before the total remission of its sins, it could not remain there and it would cast itself into purgatory to be purified.
The interior life of a just man who tends toward God and who already lives by Him is indeed the one thing necessary. To be a saint, neither intellectual culture nor great exterior activity is a requisite; it suffices that we live profoundly by God. This truth is evident in the saints of the early Church; several of those saints were poor people, even slaves. It is evident also in St. Francis, St. Benedict Joseph Labre, in the Cure of Ars, and many others. They all had a deep understanding of these words of our Savior: "For what doth it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his own soul?" (2) If people sacrifice so many things to save the life of the body, which must ultimately die, what should we not sacrifice to save the life of our soul, which is to last forever? Ought not man to love his soul more than his body? "Or what exchange shall a man give for his soul?" our Lord adds. (3) "One thing is necessary," He tells us.(4) To save our soul, one thing alone is necessary: to hear the word of God and to live by it. Therein lies the best part, which will not be taken away from a faithful soul even though it should lose everything else.
Someone commenting at a blog wrote that there must be a God; with whom do we talk when we are alone with our thoughts? Is this a sufficient proof for the existence of God? Some must keep themselves busy, or continuously distracted, in order to avoid being confronted with Him... this is the danger posed by iPods, mp3 players and the like--we give ourselves to our senses, blotting out that silence that is necessary for the interior life (and the recognition of our misery when we are in the state of sin and alienated from God).
But there are certain key words and phrases, like "developing," "dialogue," "collaboration," "change," and "today's world," that are red flags for some church officials and a minority of women religious who are locked into the religious culture of the 1940s and 1950s, when nuns wore elaborate habits, remained for the most part confined to their convents and religious houses, took the names assigned to them, often those of male saints, and limited their apostolic activity principally to teaching children, and ministering to the sick, orphans, and unmarried pregnant girls.Unthinkable because nuns had voluntarily chosen to embrace a way of life that had its own rules. If they didn't want to follow those rules, why did they want to become nuns in the first place? Does Fr. McBrien know nothing about religious life and the role of obedience? One gives up the "freedom" to follow one's own will in order to be more conformed to God's will, and God's representative, one's religious superior. For a theologian, he seems rather ignorant about religious life. (Unless... he is seeking to remake religious life in accordance with his own moral system.)
It was unthinkable in those pre-conciliar years for a nun to appear in secular clothes, however simple, to engage in apostolic activities outside the convent or religious house, to reclaim their baptismal names, and to become engaged in ministries of social justice, human rights, and peace.
It was even more unthinkable that these now highly educated women would begin to think for themselves and to speak and act accordingly.
The sooner he retires, the better. Who from Notre Dame will have to answer for his influence?
Richard McBrien, Essays in Theology
The old CE on religious life.
Monday, July 13, 2009
SITTING ON TOP OF THE WORLD (1964) by Doc Watson
Against the backdrop of rising anger in Britain over its losses in Afghanistan, the talk is now all about talking to the Taliban. This might have happened a few months ago, but following a reorganization of the Taliban's command structure, Mullah Omar is back in full control of the insurgency, both in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and he is not the slightest bit interested in any peace deals. - Syed Saleem Shahzad (Jul 13,'09)
From the website's introduction to Catholic Social Teaching:
Kenneth Himes is cited as an authority on Catholic social teaching. Another BC theologian who has down harm to the Church.
Catholic Social Teaching refers to a set of Church doctrines and official documents that articulate the social message of the Gospel and lay a framework for how Catholics should conduct their lives in politics, economics and culture. Catholic Social Teaching is central to the Christian vision of a society in which all human beings - and especially the poor - have equal opportunity to reach their full potential.
Our moral duty to one another is manifest in the words of Jesus Christ: "Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of my brethren, you did it to me." (Mt 25:40). In the same way, our political commitment to Catholic Social Teaching is reflected in our support for policies that promote and protect the Common Good over the narrow interests of the few.
It provides the standard exposition of rights as entitlements:
Every human has a fundamental right to such basic elements as food, shelter, clothing, healthcare, education and employment. Only by achieving these and implementing them on a collective scale, this principle states, can society fully promote human dignity. We cannot split our focus, the Church says, between promoting only personal responsibility or collective human rights. Both are necessary; one cannot exist without the other. We must not only be responsible for ourselves or for our families. We must also promote a society where the right to life and to material well being in accordance with human decency is made available and attainable to all.Do I want to say that everyone has a right to shelter? As if this is owed to them by government, simply because they are citizens? No. Perhaps the government owes this to them for failing to address injustice, but what of the means that are used to address injustice? How are these goods provided, except making them available through money taken away from those who are not responsible for the injustice (except perhaps remotely). Just because most Americans are involved with and dependent upon the current political economy does not mean that they are all equally complicit in or responsible for the evils that result from it.
If such rights exist, it is rights to that which should be common -- the natural materials upon which man labors in order to produce food, shelter, and so on. And it does seem to be the case that we have an exaggerated notion of property rights which prevents most people from having access to these natural goods. As for education and employment -- the solution that is required is not government funding for education, but government to properly regulate the political economy so that individuals, families, professional groups and other institutions can provide vocational training for its members.
(Is it permissible to steal bread, as opposed to fruit from a tree? Aquinas does not seem to make a distinction between goods that a man possesses.)
Debra Murphy, who did a series "Patterns of Scandal in New Ecclesial Movements" at Catholic Exchange, has her own blog and has posted the series there as well.
Sonia Sotomayor enters confirmation hearings for her historic nomination to the Supreme Court with reason to be confident about the outcome Democrats have the votes in the Senate to make her the court's first Hispanic and third woman justice.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
In this file picture taken on June 24, 2008 a British police officer looks at a squirrel as it bounds across the doorstep of 10 Downing Sreet in London. Deep in the heart of England's seemingly peaceful countryside, a fierce battle for survival is being waged between the domestic red squirrel, its tougher grey cousin -- and a new mutant arrival. (Getty/Daylife)
An injured man is carried by police officers during a protest on the street outside the Houses of Parliament in London, Monday, May 11, 2009. Hundreds of pro-Tamil demonstrators blocked traffic and clashed with police in the streets around Britain's Parliament Monday after news filtered out from Sri Lanka that hundreds of their compatriots had died in intense shelling. Police said Monday evening that 36 people had been arrested and the protesters had been cleared from the roads. (AP/Daylife)
A pro-Tamil demonstrator is led away by police medics during a protest in Parliament Square in London May 11, 2009. Tamil demonstrators blocked streets around Westminster to protest against the conflict in Sri Lanka. (Reuters/Daylife)
Police form a cordon in front of Britain's Houses of Parliament and Big Ben clock tower during a Tamil demonstration in London May 17, 2009. (Reuters/Daylife)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 17: Police officers stand guard in front of the Houses of Parliament in inclement weather on May 17, 2009 in London, England. It was announced on Friday that a panel of police officers and lawyers are to look into allegations concerning MPs' expenses following calls for a non-internal inquiry to decide whether criminal investigations should take place. (Getty/Daylife)
A police officer stands guard outside 10 Downing Street in London June 5, 2009. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown reshuffled his government on Friday after a third senior minister resigned calling on the premier to stand aside. (Reuters/Daylife)
An armed police officer walks past the door of 10 Downing Street in London June 5, 2009. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown reshuffled his government on Friday after a third senior minister resigned calling on the premier to stand aside. (Reuters/Daylife)
London's Metropolitan police officers secure the wall area of the National Gallery museum at central London's Trafalgar Square Sunday June 28, 2009, after Michael Jackson fans have written graffiti following his death announcement. The police believe the graffiti of the commemorative notes and drawings first appeared Saturday evening and they are investigating the incidents. Barriers have now been put up to stop people accessing the National Gallery walls. There have been no arrests. (AP/Daylife)
From Dominicans Open New Intellectual Headquarters: Fr. Augustine DiNoia, OP
An Interview with the Undersecretary for the CDF.