Saturday, November 30, 2013

"Who are you that you do not know your history?"

Everyone pretends to be Irish on St. Patrick's Day, but nobody pretends to be Scottish on St. Andrew's Day. Therefore, I will spend most of today playing golf, drinking scotch, and complaining about how expensive everything is.

"They're watching you work"
For example, the military expanded its hiring test from the four-part IQ-like AFQT to the ten-part ASVAB, but it continues to use the AFQT subset to eliminate applicants. The other six parts of the ASVAB superset are then used for placement: e.g., if you score well on the vehicle repair knowledge subtest you might find yourself fixing trucks. But even if you ace the auto repair subtest, you have to make the grade on the IQ-like AFQT core to be allowed to enlist.
My ASVAB score was such that I could have had any MOS I wanted. I went 11B because I wanted to kill people and blow shit up. I remember seeing a lot of people studying for the ASVAB. I never cracked any of those "study guides" and scored in the low nineties. I remember saying to my recruiter, "Those questions, they were, ah..."

"At the tenth grade level," he prompted.

"But then why do..." I began.

"You'd be amazed at how many kids score in the twenties or thirties," he said. Public education at work: some kids graduate from high school technically unqualified to even pick up a rifle.
A lot of what Silicon Valley does these days is wheel re-invention. Nobody remembers the past because so much effort has been invested in distorting memories to validate current power arrangements, so a lot of things that are sold as technological breakthroughs never before possible are really just ways to get around government regulations that were imposed because they seemed like a good idea at the time. 
The Catholic Church has pretty much spent the last fifty years reinventing the wheel. Its best and brightest are rewarded with cushy chancery gigs or bishops mitre's for pondering how best to preach the Gospel to "modern man." Lost in all of these New Evangelization fads is any institutional memory that the Church not only survived but thrived before the birth of youth outreach, stewardship drives, lay ministries, ecumenism, full, conscious, and active participation, and pastoral preaching and counseling. We're told that the Church of the 1950's was crying out for reform and we're regaled with horror stories about Father's ten minute Low Mass, of people praying the Rosary or sleeping during Sunday Mass, of sclerotic theology out of touch with the modern world, and a cold Pharisaical emphasis on the letter of the law.

But are we really that much better off now that we've thrown away almost every vestige of what our stupid backwards grandparents built? I myself have seen people fiddling with their iPhones during Mass, laughing and shaking hands in the communion line, and sleeping the rest of the time. If Father used to approach the Mass as a duty to be finished as quickly as possible, now many of them approach it as their auditions for a future Tonight Show gig: "Good morning everyone! How about them Niners eh? God bless you for coming to Mass on this beautiful Sunday morning, I promise not to keep you too long so let's begin in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit..." The complaints about the Thomistic theology seminarians used to be drilled with are so idiotically frivolous that I'm astounded grown ass men can actually give them voice without blushing. Maybe if our local priests had spent more time studying those dusty old Scholastic tomes they wouldn't preach so many homilies that consist of corny jokes, assurances that Jesus was a beta nice guy, and congratulations on what good, holy, wonderful people we all are.

TL;DR version: it wasn't the Church that needed reforming, but ourselves.

This story keeps getting better and better:
Dayna Morales, a server at Gallop Asian Bistro in Bridgewater, had posted a photo on Facebook earlier this month showing the bill with a line through the tip area. The photo of the receipt showed someone had written, "I'm sorry but I cannot tip because I do not agree with your lifestyle."
A New Jersey couple came forward to NBC 4 New York and said this week that the receipt was theirs but that they had left a tip and did not write a note, suggesting it was used for a hoax. The handwriting, they said, was not theirs, and they also supplied what they said was a credit card statement showing they were charged for the total plus the $18 tip.
NBC 4 New York learned Wednesday from a Pentagon source that Morales was dismissed from the Marine Reserve Corps in May because she wasn't attending drills. It wasn't immediately clear how often those drills were held, and Morales did not respond to a request for comment.
Well sure, those particular white heterosexuals might be innocent, but white heterosexuals as a whole would absolutely do that. So Morales is right from a certain point of view. Take that, you white, racist, sexist, homophobic, heteronormative bigots!

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