Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Dark, edgy, and rebellious is no way to go through life son

PUAs and other corners of the manosphere nigh drip with contempt for married men. I think that many of them are correct about the bias against men in the divorce-industrial complex. Civil marriage isn't even really a contract if any party can unilaterally withdraw at any time for any reason. Their jeering derision of men who choose to marry is what keeps me from formally allying myself with them. Sex outside of marriage is not an option for anyone who considers himself a serious Christian.

The contempt for the so-called beta - the nice guy who follows the rules - spills over into popular culture with the prevalence of anti-heroes. It's important to distinguish between the many different flavors of anti-hero. Batman, for example, is not an anti-hero. He chooses the right thing, he operates under strict principles such as never killing the bad guys, and he's willing to sacrifice his life if necessary for the good of his fellow man. Batman only seems like an anti-hero in comparison to Superman. Superman is the archetypical superhero, nicknamed "the big blue boy scout" in universe. He's serious but he's always kind, generous, and chivalrous. Superman is the Knight in Shining Armor while Batman is the (Dark) Knight in Sour Armor. Gotham City is a darker and more cynical setting than Metropolis, and Batman is a darker and more withdrawn personality than Superman. That's one reason why Batman appealed to me more as a child, even before the DC Animated Universe turned him into the Memetic Badass we all know and love. I'm more of a withdrawn personality in real life.

The classical anti-hero was usually a weakling in some major area: he was stupid, or clumsy, or cowardly. The modern anti-hero is exemplified by the Punisher. One time, after he had slaughtered a bunch of criminals, somebody asked the Punisher what made him any different from them. He replied, "I'm right and they're dead." A modern anti-hero is more of an "ends justify the means" type who is willing to fight evil with evil. Jack Bauer resorts to torture within the first two minutes of meeting a prisoner. Boromir was the voice of anti-heroism when he suggested using the One Ring against Sauron. In real life, choosing to do evil makes you more like the kind of person who routinely chooses evil.

PUAs and their beta followers could be the anti-heroes of reaction. They rightly lament the evils of feminism and the destruction of traditional marriage. Some of their insights on those matters can be rather keen. But they advocate using evil to fight evil. PUAs and wannabe players can see that civilization has crumbled around them so they seek to get the most personal enjoyment out of it that they can by remaining unmarried and bedding nubile young sluts. Older tradcons retain memories of a better world. Younger tradcons don't even have that much. We still fight wherever and whenever we can. The world is no longer a fine place, but it's worth fighting for. It's not our final destination, but we still have to live here for our biblical three score and ten.

(this post inspired by a conversation at Zippy's blog)

Monday, April 28, 2014

Karl Edward Wagner's "Kane: the Mystic Swordsman"

Gods in Darkness has been sitting on my bookshelf for a few months. The ongoing spectacle of the SF/F industry tearing itself apart over authors who inflict feelbad with their crimethink made me take up the classic novels of Kane with a mind toward paying attention to the author's assumptions and voice. The author, Karl Edward Wagner, describes his views as "nihilist, anarchist, and absurdist." He was trained as a psychiatrist and died at age 48 after his liver exploded from long term alcohol abuse. His views are near the total opposite of mine, so I was eager to see how his fiction would hold up. Minor spoilers ahead.

The character of Kane is based on the biblical Cain: the man who introduced violence into the world when he murdered his own brother. In Wagner's cosmology, mankind was created by a malevolent god who wanted some mortal playthings. Kane defied the god and was subsequently cursed to immortality. Kane never ages and he has supernaturally enhanced healing, but he can still be killed by "the violence that he himself created." There is no sense of hope in Kane's world, so he spends countless centuries in a neverending search for ways to give his life meaning. This means he repeatedly fights, conquers, loses, repeats. Kind of like Brock Lesnar.

Gods in Darkness is an anthology of the three novels about Kane. The obvious literary comparison is to Robert E. Howard's Conan the Cimmerian, but Wagner never read Howard until after Kane had become an established character. There are major differences between the two. The literary Conan is different even from Arnold's iconic portrayal. Howard's Conan began his adventuring career as a thief. He had a rough sense of honor and a phobia for all things magical. Conan never thought too much about why he did what he did. In his youth he wanted money, women, and adventure before maturing into the man who took the throne of Aquilonia. Kane is a practiced sorcerer who trained himself to have enough psychic power to resist the spells of other magic users. He's more Machiavellian than Conan, frequently playing two sides against the other. Kane ingratiated himself to powerful rulers and wizards, offering to bring his long experience in warfare to the position of commanding general of their armies. When the time was ripe, Kane switched sides and turned his victorious armies against his nominal commanders in order to take everything for himself. The first novel, Bloodstone, follows Kane as he murders and backstabs his way to the eponymous MacGuffin and attempts to use it to conquer the entire world. It doesn't work out of course, but it establishes Kane as a full blown villain protagonist.

Taken purely as stories, I enjoyed all of the Kane novels. Wagner's prose would have fit in perfectly with the old adventure pulps. Kane is morally appalling as a person, but as a character I felt compelled to follow his exploits to the end just to see if the magnificent bastard could pull off his Xanatos speed chess. Kane's opponents are seldom admirable characters themselves, but it's a real pleasure to see them grapple with this prehistoric maniac.

Wagner's personal views definitely influenced his literary work, but he was a good writer. His stories are fun. His characters are interesting enough for me to care about what happens to them. I dislike a lot of modern "pink" SF/F because the stories and characters come second to the author's hammering home their message about how blind black bisexuals are morally superior to all of us raciss, sexiss, homophobic, transphobic cisgendered white guys. I don't ask for much in my fiction. Give me stories about badass dudes using violence for great justice.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The laffs keep on coming

Theodore Beale, better known as Vox Day, made it onto the ballot of the 2014 Hugo Award nominees. Needless to say, the rabbit people think this is outrageous, outrageous! The most delicious portion of this brouhaha concerns John Scalzi's rather mild call to judge literary works on their merits rather than the personal character of their authors. His fellow rabbits rather viciously turned on him. I'd have to say that this one is one of my personal favorites:
It is not surprising that there is a demographic correlation wrt these fandoms, as many people like to see protagonists who are like themselves. It is also no big secret that Golden Age works often tend to other, exclude, and dismiss Diversity Age Fans. Nevertheless, there is an overlap between these fandoms. Perhaps instead of talking about a binary split, we can talk about a continuum between these two axes; a continuum of values and interests that maps loosely but not precisely onto demographics. Some people can hold positions that overlap with both axes. A white, cisgendered, heterosexual man can certainly be a Diversity Age fan.
However, the position of a white, cisgendered, heterosexual man is a demographic position of privilege and power both in fandom and without it. Within the Golden Age umbrella, this demographic has been the one primarily fronted through narratives, power structures, promotion through mainstream presses, and other venues of power. This demographic position of power is not automatically dismantled or disappears within Diversity Age fandom – on the contrary, we see a flow of social capital from fans, in form of sales, praise, and support, towards such powerful fans who side with Diversity Age positions.
...It is my opinion that such conciliatory voices from prominent personae who are 1) power brokers in our communities and 2) considerably less marginalized than the diverse fans and authors they are championing – are not helping the cause of marginalized and othered Diversity Age authors and fans. In these statements there is often an embedded tone argument, an entreaty to Diversity Age fans to play nice with people who explicitly or implicitly dehumanize and more yet, threaten violence against them. Such conciliatory language from power brokers suggests story lines for the whole community to align with – storylines whose buzzwords are “reason,” “respectability,” and “merit.”
But these “voices of reason” may not speak fully for Diversity Age fans, because the very notion of such reason and its objectivity is a Western ideal (and by extent white, male, and historically entrenched ideal within the power structures of the West) which we are thereby encouraged to adopt. The ideal of objective merit might seem desirable at first glance, because we are socialized to desire it. In fact, the adoption of this ideal is dangerous: it suppresses non-Western, non-cisgendered-male modes of thinking and communicating, and imposes a mainstream, power paradigm upon the marginalized – it often has, in short, a silencing effect.
There's really only one response one can make to that:

All joking aside, think about what they're saying. Attempting to judge a work of art "objectively" is itself a piece of cismale heterosexual white Western privilege to them. The personal is always political. If the author is guilty of doubleplus ungood crimethink, then he must be silenced, shunned, and denied a platform. That was the thinking behind Vox's expulsion from the SFWA. How'd that work out for you kids? It's ironic that this attitude is so prevalent among people who write science-fiction for a living, because if their brand of extreme liberalism became the norm, civilization itself would be impossible.

The Hugo Awards are essentially a popularity contest within the SF/F community. Authors can and do actively campaign for their favored colleagues, or even themselves. Personally, I think the real scandal is all fourteen volumes of the Wheel of Time series showing up on the "Best Novel" ballot. I'm not especially concerned with who wins. This isn't about arguing that Vox should win based on the merits. This is part of the larger fight against liberalism. I don't want to just take the red pill and save myself. I want the whole damn Matrix burned to the ground.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

I laffed

The Pertinacious Papist has returned from his Lenten blogging fast and he provides us with this gem:
Jeff Ostrowski, "Why Can't We Use Secular Music During Mass?" (Views from the Choir Loft, February 13, 2014), includes this remarkably telling comparison:
There is also this fine video discussion entitled, "Can you tell the difference??" (Corpus Christi Watershed).
Here I am Lord
Is it I Lord?
Who was bringing up three very lovely girls...

Will you let me be your Sherpa
Let me climb some rocks with you?

And he will raise you up on eagle's wings
Hold you in his holy claws
Scratch off your sins with his talons
And place you in his nest, on the cliff

We remember what you told us that one time
And it was awesome and we should have wrote it down

Be not afraid, I goes before E always
But I follows E, when it comes after C

We are bald, we are frozen
We throw mice at one another
We are sometimes prone to borrow
We are sometimes known to pay
We are fine, we are awesome
If you prick us we shall bleed
We avoid any bummers
We are question, we are creed

Gather us in, the eggs and the bacon
Gather us in, the pancakes and ham
Make us to be a well balanced breakfast,
Topped off with orange juice poured right from the can

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

De proxima Fide

A happy and blessed third day in the Octave of Easter to you all. The always excellent Unam, Sanctam, Catholicam blog has a new essay which explains how canonizations relate to papal infallibility:
In the original USC article we referenced St. Thomas, as well as Ott, saying:
"when we confess a certain member of the Church to be among the blessed, this belief is an extension of the confession of faith (Quodl. 9,16). If we can say in the Creed that we believe in the 'communion of saints', it necessarily follows that the Church must maintain some means for distinguishing who is among the saints that we believe in and confess. This is why the canonization of saints is bound up with the Church's infallibility; or, as Dr. Ott says, 'If the Church could err in her opinion [of canonized saints], consequences would arise which would be incompatible with the sanctity of the Church' (ibid)."
The fact of the canonization of a Saint, then, is what is referred to as a "secondary object" of the Faith - one that is not dogma itself, but is intricately bound up with the divine revelation, and so to deny it would be to lead one toward the direction of denying an element of the Faith itself.

So it seems, then, the declaration of Canonization does in fact follow the formula for the exercise of infallibility by the Pope, and we can therefore have assurance that whomever the Pope does in fact canonize (while following the formula for an infallible act) will in fact be a Saint in Heaven, and we should have rest in that certainty.
I don't understand why Traditionalists get so upset about the canonization of John Paul II. When he became pope the Church was close to shattering into dozens of different schisms. He had to pick his battles and I think he fought the ones he chose about as well as he could. I was received into the Catholic Church about a week before he died, but even in my days as a heathen John Paul II always impressed me as a man of deep faith and holiness. If I had been in the Shoes of the Fisherman during that time, I'd have probably spent the better part of every day hurling thunderous anathemas and excommunications against 90% of the world's bishops. That's probably why I will never, ever be pope, thanks be to God.

John XXIII, on the other hand, is more difficult for me to swallow. It's going to take the Church centuries to recover from the damage caused by his council. Granted, he undoubtedly had good intentions, but we all know on which road they're used for paving stones. By every quantifiable measure, the Church was doing great before the council and it clearly went into free fall shortly after it ended. God judged him and he has entered into the heavenly kingdom. I suppose I can take that as a sign that there's hope for me yet, heh.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Guest blogger on the Resurrection

The whole of the Easter mystery, dearly-beloved, has been brought before us in the Gospel narrative, and the ears of the mind have been so reached through the ear of flesh that none of you can fail to have a picture of the events: for the text of the Divinely-inspired story has clearly shown the treachery of the Lord Jesus Christ’s betrayal, the judgment by which He was condemned, the barbarity of His crucifixion, and glory of His resurrection. But a sermon is still required of us, that the priests’ exhortation may be added to the solemn reading of Holy Writ, as I am sure you are with pious expectation demanding of us as your accustomed due. Because therefore there is no place for ignorance in faithful ears, the seed of the Word which consists of the preaching of the Gospel, ought to grow in the soil of your heart, so that, when choking thorns and thistles have been removed, the plants of holy thoughts and the buds of right desires may spring up freely into fruit. For the cross of Christ, which was set up for the salvation of mortals, is both a mystery and an example: a sacrament where by the Divine power takes effect, an example whereby man’s devotion is excited: for to those who are rescued from the prisoner’s yoke Redemption further procures the power of following the way of the cross by imitation. For if the world’s wisdom so prides itself in its error that every one follows the opinions and habits and whole manner of life of him whom he has chosen as his leader, how shall we share in the name of Christ save by being inseparably united to Him, Who is, as He Himself asserted, “the Way, the Truth, and the Life?” the Way that is of holy living, the Truth of Divine doctrine, and the Life of eternal happiness.

- Pope St. Leo the Great

h/t: Laura Wood

Monday, April 14, 2014

God's sense of humor

I badly sprained my ankle over the weekend. Clearly God wants me to remain immobile and spend more time in front of the computer this week. Fortunately, Rorate is assisting me with these excellent meditations from St. Alphonsus Liguori.

Think back to Sunday Mass yesterday. Were there more women and children present than men? If yes, why do you think that is? Palm Sunday means reading the entire Passion narrative from the Gospel. The parish priest was up there with two women who read the other parts. I can't think of a single time in a Novus Ordo liturgy that even one man besides the priest was there to read the narrative. And there were two altar girls, naturally.

The local young adult group has some nights dedicated to apologetic type talks where we engage Modernism and relativism head on. It's almost always the men who ask more questions and participate more than the women. On nights when they spend the time in Adoration or talking about our relationship with Christ, it's almost always the case that more women show up than men.

It's a pity. Men generally don't have much patience for the "Jesus is my boyfriend" school of spirituality that dominates much of Christian pop culture. Women generally shy away from direct confrontations with Christianity's ideological and philosophical opponents. It ought to be both/and instead of either/or. Most parishes I've attended were decidedly lopsided in favor of women's spirituality and practice, with the corresponding dearth of male presence.

Surely we can strike a happy balance, yes?

Friday, April 11, 2014

The wages of diversity is death

The Economist gives helpful advice on how not to get murdered:
CONGRATULATIONS: if you are reading this then you are not one of the 437,000 people whose lives ended as statistics in a grisly report on murder published on April 10th by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. The unfortunate half-million were all those around the world who were slain in 2012. The average person thus had roughly a one in 16,000 chance of being bumped off that year. But as the UN’s figures make clear, there is no such thing as an average person. How can you shorten your odds of making it through 2014?
First, don’t live in the Americas or Africa, where murder rates (one in 6,100 and one in 8,000 respectively) are more than four times as high as the rest of the world. Western Europe and East Asia are the safest regions. And the safest countries? Liechtenstein recorded no murders at all in 2012, but its population could fit in a football stadium. Among those countries whose populations number in millions, the safest is Singapore, which clocked up just 11 murders in 2012, or one killing per 480,000 people. In Honduras, the world’s most violent country, one in every 1,100 residents was killed.
For those of us who don't do a lot of international traveling, this means "avoid neighborhoods and cities that are known for their vibrant diversity."

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Strike the colors

Headquarters, Army of Northern Virginia, 10th April 1865.

General Order
No. 9

After four years of arduous service marked by unsurpassed courage and fortitude, the Army of Northern Virginia has been compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources.
I need not tell the survivors of so many hard fought battles, who have remained steadfast to the last, that I have consented to the result from no distrust of them.
But feeling that valour and devotion could accomplish nothing that could compensate for the loss that must have attended the continuance of the contest, I have determined to avoid the useless sacrifice of those whose past services have endeared them to their countrymen.
By the terms of the agreement, officers and men can return to their homes and remain until exchanged. You will take with you the satisfaction that proceeds from the consciousness of duty faithfully performed, and I earnestly pray that a merciful God will extend to you his blessing and protection.
With an unceasing admiration of your constancy and devotion to your Country, and a grateful remembrance of your kind and generous consideration for myself, I bid you an affectionate farewell.
— R. E. Lee, General, General Order No. 9


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Why we fight

John C. Wright passes along this news:
David Marcoe is organizing an interdenominational Christian conference for novelists, playwrights, screenwriters, comic book writers, game designers, and the like for late in this summer. Here is his announcement:
Studying here in Rome, I live in the the midst of ancient beauty. In fact, I’m just down the street from St. Peter’s square, which I walk through on the way to my job or architecture class. The church around the corner, where I attend several classes, is home to a lively local parish (the priest is a real character) not much different than my old congregation, except that the is Baroque building that could serve as a picturesque movie set. Indeed, we’re saturated in beauty, as we study the words of Virgil, Dante, and Shakespeare. I’ve laid eyes on wonders, on the works of Caravaggio, Bernini, Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo, and others. And you can see them quite by accident, walking off the street and into practically any church in the city.
And as I experience all this–that vast tradition of Christendom’s art and literature–I think of the business of “culture making” today; at least ninety-five percent of the major commercial works dealing with mythic, moral, or religious subject matters are being made by non-Christians, with Christians coming along to produce second and third rate “me too!” knock-offs. I think it needs to stop.

So, what I’m doing is contacting people I know and organizing a professional get-together for Catholic and Christian writers–novelists, playwrights, screenwriters, comic book writers, game designers, etc.–for the late summer. Why? Because Catholics and Protestants lack on either side of an equation that needs to be balanced. Protestants are generally more entrepreneurial and comfortable with engaging the popular culture, but lack a significant aesthetic tradition to draw on. Catholics have a vast tradition to draw from, but have trouble translating that tradition into a contemporary context. So, in organizing this conference, I want to approach the problem from three directions:
 Read the rest there. Today Martel ponders the mission of the manosphere:
In my last post, I described some of the various perspectives floating around the manosphere.  For those of you not in the mood to click, I’ve divided us into exploiters (have a blast before it all goes to hell), avoiders (go Galt or ghost, refuse to participate), and fighters (do whatever it takes to keep it from going to hell).  It’s perfectly possible to have sentiments that coincide with all three, such as a PUA that uses his blog to attack feminism.
We all recognize that things are incredibly off, that we’ve got countless strikes against us.  When we consider our moral compass, insane amounts of debt (governmental, student, consumer, etc.), the sheer banality of our political class and lack of leadership that even seems remotely equipped to recognize (let alone do something about) the struggles ahead, the successful leftist takeover of our academic and religious institutions, our inability to face reality (fiscal, human nature, etc.), and about two dozen other obstacles I don’t have time to list, it seems hopeless.
 He's right when he says that we are both too pessimistic and too optimistic at the same time. The ultimate war is already over: Christ won. It's still possible for individual Christians to lose their personal wars with the world, the flesh, and the devil. Liberalism has pretty much won the war for Western civilization and I don't expect to see it fall within my lifetime. Even if I weren't Catholic, I'm just not temperamentally suited to be either an exploiter or avoider as Martel describes them.

So I choose to fight. It's what compels me to write this little blog even if no one ever reads it. All men, not just Catholics, should be committed to truth. I didn't put Solzhenitsyn's quote as my byline just because it sounds cool. He was the greatest author of the 20th century and one of my personal favorite authors. We don't have to worry about show trials or gulags today. He still has a lot to teach us about being mentally and spiritually tough when the world seems to be going mad.

If we're to have any hope of getting the Titanic to change course, we have to fight in whatever ways we can. For most of us, including me, we won't have big roles to play. It'll be a matter of loving God, loving our neighbor, and doing our duty. If we want to change the culture we have to start with ourselves. If we have the talent for artsy stuff, then we have a duty to use that talent for the glory of God and the edification of our neighbor.

A good rule of thumb

Avoid persons, communities, and organizations that use the word "vibrant" without irony. For example, Newman Hall Holy Spirit Church serves the students at UC Berkeley, and the National Catholic Reporter says it's known for its "vibrant embrace of the Second Vatican Council's reforms." In this case, that translates to "nuttier than a squirrel dropping:"
BERKELEY, CA, April 7, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Oakland Bishop Michael Barber, Pope Francis’ first U.S. episcopal appointment, has drawn ire from Catholic progressives after replacing the priests serving the University of California at Berkeley campus, one of whom is “openly homosexual.”Newman Hall Holy Spirit Church, which functions as the parish church for Catholic students at the university, has been led by its pastor, Fr. Bernard Campbell, for the past seven years. Fr. Bill Edens, a self-identified homosexual, has served as student chaplain for the last five. Both are members of the Paulist order, which normally appoints priests at the parish.
Oakland Bishop Michael Barber
Barber explained in a letter to the parish that he had intervened in the regular process because he wants to “totally reinvigorate our evangelization efforts for the University Community at Cal Berkeley,” and “reinvigorate and expand our mission ‘to the periphery.’”
The one time I've ever mouthed off to my bishop was when I overheard him lamenting that our diocese's Newman centers have historically produced so few vocations. I said, "Maybe you shouldn't allow liberal Jesuits to keep running them." My then girlfriend at the time decided to stop attending the Newman Center Masses after their activity for the night was Buddhist aromatherapy.

I'm pleased that Bishop Barber is making progress in cleaning out the Augean stables. I've had some spirited debates with my Protestant and Godless heathen friends, but by far the most acrimonious quarrels I've ever had have always been with my fellow Catholics. Some Protestants and Godless heathens admit that they know they don't know about Catholicism. Catholics who received a poor or nonexistent formation don't know that they don't know, and they furiously resent it when their pastor or their neighbor attempts the spiritual work of mercy known as instructing the ignorant. I'll never forget that Catholic man who demanded to know who the hell I was to call him a bad Catholic when he never failed to show up to Mass every Christmas and Easter.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Shakespeare plays are fake too you know

Best WrestleMania in years. Definitely in the top five ever, right up there with 17, 19, and 24. I was even okay with Cena winning his match, although the specific way it finished was lame. Daniel Bryan's victory was inevitable in a "good overcomes evil" story line that's been building for months. That being said, I will laugh in anyone's face who claims Bryan going over was the plan all along. Triple H put him over clean as a sheet, and had one of the greatest entrances of the night. He is literally Shao Kahn. The main event was a lot better than I was expecting. I have to hand it to Randy Orton. Say what you will about his character, but that spot through the announcer's table was brutal. It's astounding he didn't break anything, although his lower back was bloodied. I even enjoyed the Shield's squash match with Kane and the Old Age Outlaws. Cesaro winning the battle royal is outstanding. You have to wonder if they intentionally recreated that WrestleMania III moment when Hulk Hogan slammed Andre the Giant. Cesaro scooped up the Big Show and dumped him out of the ring like a sack of dirty laundry. The Big Show, in case you weren't aware, weighs about 400-450 pounds. Heck, even the Divas match was better than I expected.

The big news, of course, is the Undertaker losing to Brock Lesnar. The match itself was slow and plodding, which we now know was because Taker was injured early on. If you look closely, you can see Lesnar treating him especially safe. He didn't drive Taker down into the F5 at all, but allowed him to take the bump on his hip. The finish though... thinking about it even now still leaves me at a loss for words. I clearly remember my initial reaction: "A third F5? That's a lot of finishers even by Mania standards. Okay, here's the count. One, two, three. I wonder what they'll do to... wait, what? Whaaaa... that... I don't..."

Having Brock end the streak is brilliant. It's the greatest swerve since Hulk Hogan joined the NWO. He's firmly established in the fans minds as a part time monster heel. Brock could quit wrestling tomorrow and his legacy would be set in stone. If a full timer had beaten Taker, then we'd see him job every other week. It'd be an impossible reputation to uphold: "Oh look at that, Sheamus beat the guy who beat Taker. What a chump." And really, who else was there that could have ended it? None of the other guys really needed it or wanted it. Brock only appears at the big headline events anyway, giving him that extra mystique as a monster heel. When he showed up, you knew it was serious. Now that effect will be multiplied tenfold. Undertaker had been saying for years that he was willing to end the streak. In all likelihood, last night was his retirement match. We might see him tonight on Raw, and then he'll get back on his bike and ride off into the sunset until we meet again at the Hall of Fame.


Saturday, April 5, 2014

Bright lights, hype crowd, tonight's the night

Tonight at the 2014 WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony, the Ultimate Warrior will once again be in front of a live mic on WWE television:


If Warrior starts to go off message in his acceptance speech, he'll be struck with nausea and begin projectile vomiting. Vince McMahon and Papa Shango will nod to each other. Papa Shango will be there. It is New Orleans after all.

For the last several years it's been easy to predict how the WWE would end all of their pay-per-views: they'll go with the blandest and simultaneously most nonsensical finish they can, and then do it the way it should have been done on Raw the next night. This is the first time in a long time where I really can't guess how these matches will go, and I love it.

Stone Cold Steve Austin has confirmed his Wrestlemania XXX appearance. The glass will break:

The fans will cheer, and Stone Cold will drive his ATV down to the ring where he will deliver Stone Cold Stunners to every woman on the roster. He'll begin his triumphant reign as your new WWE Divas champion.

Friday, April 4, 2014

A glimpse into the life of Beefy Levinson

I seldom write about myself because I'm more interested in ideas. My writings about Catholicism, Traditionalism, politics, and culture should stand and fall on their own. But I'll give my four loyal readers a glimpse into the kind of character that I am.

During my spell of unemployment during the Great Recession, I stopped going to bookstores and began frequenting the library more often. It's painful to think that I contributed to the fall of Borders, but there it is. Once upon a time I spent a good deal of my disposable income on dead tree books. My clothes may be out of date and be ragged in some cases, but I have to get my reading on. But when the money is tight, the public library is your friend, particularly their dollar shelves.

A few months ago I picked up a book for one dollar. It's an anthology about a badass dude who kills people for great justice. Some snarky SWPLs claim that Kane is a ripoff of Conan but this only demonstrates their risible ignorance. Conan's attitude toward magic was "OH HELL NO." Kane will use any means necessary to achieve his ends.

Curious about this new character I googled him. It turns out I possess one of only 1200 copies of this book in the entire United States. Hard copies go for up to $200 on Amazon and Ebay, which is pretty good for a fantasy novel. But I will not sell it. Ever. I like it that much. It inspires my own work that much. Make of that what you will.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

They send one of your guys to the hospital, you send one of theirs to the morgue

The Volunteer Auxiliary Thought Police claim another scalp:
Mozilla's new Chief Executive Officer Brendan Eich has resigned, after being dogged by calls for his ouster over his support for an anti-gay marriage bill in California.
Mozilla's board chairman Mitchell Baker announced Eich's resignation in a blog post on Thursday.
"Brendan Eich has chosen to step down from his role as CEO. He's made this decision for Mozilla and our community," Baker wrote.
Eich had refused to give up the post, despite a growing chorus of voices demanding his resignation. He was named chief executive of the nonprofit Mozilla Foundation two weeks ago. Mozilla, which Eich co-founded, advocates for an open, inclusive Internet and builds the Firefox Web browser.
Eich's big mistake was apologizing when this story first broke. Once the left-liberals smelled blood, the feeding frenzy commenced. A better strategy would have been to say at the beginning, "Any Mozilla employee who has publicly criticized me via social media is hereby terminated for cause." Never, ever apologize if you're in the right. Never, ever back down when the rabbit people try to shame you into submission.

I'm a mile away from you and I have your shoes

Donal Graeme questions how important it is to understand the sinner:
Something that I hear not infrequently is that we as Christians shouldn’t be hasty to judge/evaluate others, because we don’t know what kind of life they have lived. We don’t know their hardships, their trials, the difficulties that they have endured. And principally this line of thought is applied to people who have engaged in sin, or are living lives of outright sin. An example of this would be “We don’t know why she decided to become promiscuous/a prostitute. She could have been neglected or abused growing up!” Or “Don’t be so harsh on him, he had a tough life. Its no wonder he became a criminal.” Of course, there are many, many other such examples.
What I am curious about is just how Christian this whole line of thought actually is. Many of my readers have a far better knowledge of Scripture than I, and the Catholic/Orthodox readers probably are better with Tradition as well. So I am asking for your assistance in this matter. Where in Scripture does it say that we should be understanding of what causes people to sin? I haven’t found anything yet which seems to support that notion, but of course I could be missing something.
The Catholic Church has said that a lot of bad moral reasoning comes from failing to distinguish between the object and the intention. "Object" here means our actual chosen behavior. Imagine that a housewife cheats on her husband. Many spectators will jump to the conclusion that she's cheating because her husband is a bad man. Maybe he savagely beats her. Maybe he's a boring beta herb. Maybe he's a lazy bum. They are trying to change the frame, moving from a discussion of an objective action in the real world to speculation about someone's subjective culpability. After the frame has been shifted to the subjective, we are told that we cannot judge someone's interior motivations.

We need to make a few distinctions here. Every moral action has three components: the object, the intent, and the circumstances. If our intention is to do evil, then pretty much any act can become morally wrong, even mortally sinful. If the circumstances are inappropriate, then a good action can become evil: receiving holy communion in a state of mortal sin for example. The Church holds that some actions, such as adultery, are intrinsically evil and there is never, ever any intention or circumstance that can make it morally acceptable. The object, the intent, and the circumstances must all be good for a moral action to be good. If any one of the three is evil, then the action is evil and we must not do it. Not every evil action is mortally sinful. Telling a white lie does not kill the life of grace in our souls, but it does cause a wound. The more wounded we are through venial sin, the more difficult it becomes to resist those sins which kill us.

So what about the abused wife who cheats on her husband, or the criminal who kills a man for his wallet? In many cases, it doesn't matter why the sinner did something, only that he did it. Doing evil is always morally wrong and bad for the soul, regardless of the sinner's interior disposition or ignorance. It's true that we don't know with any certainty the subjective culpability of the sinner before God, but that doesn't mean we can't know the objectively evil nature of their chosen behaviors. You may have a hard life, but alcoholism is still going to kill you.

h/t: Alpha is Assumed

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A prophet is without honor in his own land

Prophetic. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
When you say you want to return to the Tradition of the Church or to promote the traditional liturgy to get out of the present terrible crisis in Christian practice, in order that souls can find once again the heart of prayer; when you work for the diffusion of perennial Christian Doctrine against the present immoral decline, you will always find many inside the Church who fight you fiercely in the name of “the prophetic church”: “Stop dreaming about the past – they tell us - you are pathetic, the Church must look to the future, must envisage the future and must be prophetic!

But what is this prophetic church? What is this prophetic church made of?

Now regarding this prophetic church, you normally hear that it is a church projected entirely into an indefinite future, where everything that was certain in the past may be changed. A church which, while embracing all of man’s expectations, is reprogrammed into a gigantic effort to welcome everything and everyone, condemning no-one – except, of course, the notorious “traditionalists”!
Only God knows how many acts of cowardice were born from the fear of not appearing progressive enough.
They tell you: before, the Church condemned – now She welcomes. Before, She taught from “on high”, now She accompanies man along with great humility in his ‘search’. Before, She was concerned that everyone be baptized and receive the grace of the sacraments, now She recognizes that God acts also outside of the sacraments. Before, She wanted all men to return to the fold, now She realizes that salvation also exists outside Christianity.

This prophetic Church is made up of prophetic priests and surrounded by a prophetic laity: all of whom are occupied on the latest front line of social-work, concerned about the poor, while also being fixtures of radical and fashionable circles. Obviously, since the rich and the snobs like this prophetic Church quite a lot. That is to say, those who are weary of their wealth and are concerned that the Church be concerned with the poor.
The Church brought in many more converts and exerted much more hard and soft power over the culture back when she hurled thunderous anathemas from on high, and told Protestants and heathens that outside the Catholic Church there was no salvation. When the Church opted for the poor, the poor opted for the Pentecostals.
True prophets, the ones in the Bible, spoke in the name of God to the people, the kings and priests, reminding them, at times fiercely, of the consequences of sin. In the prophets there is always an accusation of sin, an admonishment to penance and a return to God; you have abandoned God, for this a chastisement has fallen upon you; return to God and He will liberate you.

Have you ever heard this admonishment from the so-called prophetic church? No. This church lives on in the revolutionary schema: it accuses the Church of the past of being myopic and old-fashioned, so that it may program a new church which will finally respond to the needs of men. We have arrived at unadulterated heresy! It is even a dim-witted heresy because it has been picked up from the radical and fashionable circles!
 Prophets were generally unpopular men. They called out kings, priests, and rich men as sinners. They told the people of Israel that if they did not repent, God's wrath would be kindled and he'd destroy them.

And the author touches on something I've long found deeply irritating: spiting the Church to save the Council. Anyone with eyes in his head can see that the Catholic Church was decimated shortly after the close of Vatican II and has been on a steady decline ever since then. Correlation by itself does not prove causation, but it's a pretty big clue. What we usually hear at this point is, "Well you have to understand the Church had a lot of problems before Vatican II. None of the lay people had a clue what was going on. They were just going through the motions. Religion was just a set of empty rules. The Church had a ghetto mentality. There's never been a golden age of the Church. If it weren't for Vatican II, the collapse would have been even worse."

To use a technical theological term our Catholic vice president learned in school, what a load of malarkey. What were these vague and mysterious "problems" that so plagued the pre-Vatican II Church? How did Vatican II solve them, if at all? There's a peculiar reluctance to discuss the quantifiable measures by which we often judge the success of the Church. Before Vatican II the Church was doing splendidly in terms of Mass attendance, vocations, lay organization, baptisms, confirmations, marriages, clerical and religious discipline, and apologetics. All of the problems of the post-Vatican II Church are verifiable matters of public record. All of the supposed problems of the pre-Vatican II Church are unverifiable speculations about the internal states of peoples' souls. Christ himself said that actions are how we know if someone loves God: "If you love me, you will keep my commandments."

I laugh aloud at the notion that back then Catholics just mindlessly repeated rote questions and answers from the Baltimore Catechism but now they think for themselves. Is that really so much worse than Catholics mindlessly repeating what the world tells them? Wouldn't it be better if they were dogmatically certain about the truths in the Baltimore Catechism, instead of dogmatically certain about liberalism? These days many baptized Catholics are so ignorant about the Catholic faith that they don't even rise to the level of being wrong about it. Are we supposed to be happy about the death of Catholic culture, and the concomitant loss of so many souls to apostasy, heresy, and immorality? A siege mentality is appropriate when you are, in fact, under siege.

I understand the reluctance of many Catholics to admit that Vatican II was an unmitigated disaster. But I won't sit still and be quiet when they attempt to salvage the Council by trashing the previous nineteen centuries of Catholic life. We don't need to read Vatican II  through a "hermeneutic of continuity" so much as we do through a "hermeneutic of forgetfulness."

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Kayfabe is dead brother!

The WWE is strangely selective about which of their guys stay in character and when. Two weeks ago on Raw Triple H had Daniel Bryan handcuffed and beat him like a government mule. Now they're standing on the same stage at the WrestleMania XXX press conference with nary an altercation or cross word. I can actually hear Jim Cornette dropping f-bombs from wherever he may be.

Brock Lesnar laid out the Undertaker last night on Raw which is a pretty good sign that the streak will continue, especially in light of the mediocre build this feud received. Other than Paul Heyman's promos, it hasn't really felt like a feud at all. I'm still hype though. Let's do thIIIS! I believe John Cena will be the one to end the streak. Who else is there now? It'd be Superman vs. Solomon Grundy.

For all the criticism he gets from the IWC, Triple H is a masterful heel. The burial montage they aired last night was the best comedy segment WWE has done in years, possibly ever. I'm confident Daniel Bryan is winning the title this Sunday, but a part of me wants to live in that world where WMXXX ends with Triple H standing tall with both straps on his shoulders. Some men just want to watch the world burn.

It was a million to one shot doc, million to one

Let me warn you from the start: I'm about to drop a whole lot of trigger words and microaggressions. If you're bothered by them, I don't care.

Yesterday morning I won $7000 on a scratcher. The first thing I did was drive down to Costco to stock up on whiskey in bulk. But as I was carrying my purchases out to my car, some vibrant youths bumped into me - possibly on purpose - and I fell down, breaking some of the bottles and soaking my clothes. After explaining to them the error of their ways (I realize I was taking my life into my hands) I began to make my way home. I was so upset that I failed to notice that I was about twenty above the speed limit. One of Sacramento County's finest pulled me over. Already in a bad mood, I wasn't as respectful as I could have been. The deputy sniffed as soon as I rolled down my window.

"Sir, have you been drinking tonight?" he asked.

"Yes I have," I replied.

"Could you step out of the vehicle please?"

I passed all of the sobriety tests with flying colors. Confused, the deputy asked, "Sir, I thought you said you had been drinking tonight? I can smell it on your clothes."

"I have been drinking tonight. The finest Diet Coke served on tap at Jack in the Box."

"You son of a bitch," the cop said.

After I rolled my bruised and battered body out of bed this morning, I made several appointments. Later this morning I'm getting gold rims on my car. I'm also having a guy make me some customized brass knucks, with "THUG" on one and "LIFE" on the other. After that I don't know. I'll probably light a cigar with a burning $100 bill just to say that I have. I definitely need to stock up on more Lucky Strikes and PBR. I'll use whatever's left to pay off my gambling debts. Beefy Levinson is living the American dream baby.