Thursday, July 31, 2014

St. Ignatius of Loyola: Alpha

Today is the memorial of St. Ignatius of Loyola. The venerable Catholic Encyclopedia provides a good summary of his life. The lives of the saints are worth reading for their own sake as the saints were all many things but never dull. We Catholics read them to strengthen our resolve in the Christian life. The saints provide concrete examples of Christian living. Not all of us are called to be priests. Fewer of us enter religion than we probably should. Even if we do not follow them into service in the Church as a priest or religious, they provide outstanding examples of Catholic manhood and womanhood. Ignatius is one of my favorites for this reason.

He began his adult life as an ordinary soldier who hungered for military and courtly glory. During a siege, he was grievously wounded by a stray cannon ball that nearly took his leg. You could say that Ignatius *puts on sunglasses* got cannonized. YEEEEAAAAAHHHHHHHH

Excuse me. He was laid up for weeks. He asked for some chivalric romance stories to pass the time, but the only books on hand were the lives of Christ and the saints. Ignatius realized that visions of worldly achievement left him cold, but he was invigorated by thoughts of heavenly glory. He resolved to become a great saint, which he did.

His desire to amend his life and devote himself to the service of Christ and his Church came from God. We can't do any good thing without the grace of God. God gives us all necessary graces for salvation but we have to cooperate with his grace and his will. Ignatius did, and he founded one of the greatest orders in the Church. I love Ignatius and the Jesuits. It's heartbreaking for me to see how far the Jesuits have fallen from their early days. In the 21st century, there is no heresy, blasphemy, or sacrilege so outrageous that some Jesuit hasn't believed and preached it. In my personal experience, Jesuits are always either the very best or the very worst priests I've ever met. My buddy the youth minister once told a story about how he and a Jesuit priest were on a panel, and one of the questions from the youths was about the Church's teaching on contraception. My pal defended the Church's teaching. Afterward, he said, the Jesuit furiously told him off, asking who the hell he was to tell these kids what they could or could not do in the bedroom. So it goes.

At the risk of offending my tradcon readers, Ignatius was an alpha in the best sense of the word. God gave him the inspiration to be a saint and to do good things in the Church, and Ignatius followed through. Contrast his holiness, hunger for divine things, and tireless energy to promote the orthodox faith with... well, this. How long, O Lord? St. Ignatius of Loyola, pray for us and for your order.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

"Nice guys are the scum of the earth!"

Science confirms what every man learns in high school:
Scientifically, nice (heterosexual) guys might actually finish last. A study published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin recently found that while men were attracted to nice-seeming women upon meeting them, women did not feel the same way about men. Researchers from the University of Rochester, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya in Israel investigated a possible mechanism explaining why women and men differ in their sexual reactions with receptive opposite-sex strangers.
Men prefer nice ladies to cold, masculinized broads, women prefer stoic types and not weepy emotional betas... there's something to offend the whole politically correct family.
“Women may perceive a responsive stranger as less desirable for different reasons," said Birnbaum in a press release. "Women may perceive this person as inappropriately nice and manipulative (i.e., trying to obtain sexual favors) or eager to please, perhaps even as desperate, and therefore less sexually appealing. Alternatively, women may perceive a responsive man as vulnerable and less dominant.”
So for now, the question “what do women want?” will remain unanswered. 
You almost have to pity the nice guy. He's been raised from birth to believe that he should be a perfect gentleman, that he should meet his woman's emotional needs, that he should be sweet and caring and sensitive and wear his own emotions on his sleeves, that he should respect her boundaries, pay for everything, and if he's just a goldarn pussy cat then surely she will come to her senses and see him for the wonderful, wonderful man he is on the inside and agree to marry him where they will live happily ever after.

Now imagine how bewildered and frustrated his delicate soul gets when the real world doesn't play out according to the script he was read as a child. If anything, women despise the nice guy more than they do the cad. They call the nice guy everything from a potential rapist, to a liar, a hypocrite, a creep, to being worse than Hitler, Stalin, and the Dark Lord Sauron rolled into one. And God help him if he complains. Women will shriek that he's a fraud who's only nice because he wants sex. Men will call him a whiny chump. And the nice guy remains in the dark, wondering what he did wrong and why everyone hates him so.

Clearly we need to distinguish between nice guys and "nice guys." I think the best way is to teach men to be good instead of nice. There's some overlap between the two, but they don't mean the same thing. When science confirms and players state that "women dig jerks," it's important to distinguish what we mean by jerk. Being a jerk doesn't mean being vicious or cruel. It means being a bit cold, a little distant, and enormously confident in the rightness of your cause. You have to make the judgment call of how much jerkiness is required with a particular woman.

I once had nice guy tendencies as a teenager. I quickly learned that they weren't getting me anywhere with girls. So instead of complaining about how women just didn't recognize my own niceness, I stopped being nice. I wasn't mean or rude, but I made it quite clear that I cared not a rat's ass for the feelings or opinions of others if they stood in the way of my plans. Once I stopped caring about others, whatever problems with women I once had vanished almost overnight. Let reason remain silent when it is gainsaid by experience.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

You know what they say about broken clocks

Andrew Sullivan is a useful barometer for trendy mainstream SWPL thinking. Never mind his use of his favorite swear word "Christianist," which roughly translated means, "Christians who try to take their faith seriously and disagree with Andrew Sullivan." Otherwise, I share much of his attitude here.
Every now and again, the absurd that is familiar can become fresh again. What’s absurd is the lockstep support for anything Israel might do in the United States. It’s the only country which, in a conflict with a US administration, will have Congressional Republicans and Democrats backing a foreign government over their own – and being rewarded for it in terms of money and votes. It’s the only country in which a foreign leader can address the US Congress as a rebuke to the US president – and get a standing ovation. It’s the only foreign country that receives $3 billion in aid and still gets to dress down the US president in the White House itself.
Like Vox Day, I'm a Zionist because I'm a nationalist. Jews deserve a homeland as much as anyone else. Where I part ways with many of our separated brethren is I see Israel as just one nation-state among many. We share some principles but Israel is shrewd and often aggressive in looking after its own interests. It's embarrassing to see American politicians stumble over themselves in how much they can abase themselves before the realpolitik of a foreign power. England, at least, had to conquer and occupy Ireland first.

A Modest Proposal for the Children of Poor Latin Americans

The continuing invasion at the US's southern border has inspired me to pen a modest proposal which I believe will be beneficial to all the peoples of the Western hemisphere and solve the perennial immigration crises which plague our great nation.

The solution is elegant in its simplicity. For decades, Mexicans and now Central Americans have been illegally flocking to the United States in the hopes of making a better life for themselves and their posterity. I needn't belabor the reality of illegal immigration: they beggar themselves to be smuggled over the border by ruthless Coyotes only to find that the dramatically increased costs of living in the United States often leaves them in grinding poverty. Their remittances, while at first glance beneficial to their families back home, often lead to gross inflation and destruction of local property values. Yet still they come. What I propose is we should come to them.

The United States should immediately declare war on Mexico and all the nations of Central America. Deploy the full might of our armed forces and wage unrelenting warfare upon them until they unconditionally surrender. With this accomplished, the ground invasion of these nations will commence. At the point of a bayonet, we will annex all of them and incorporate them into our benevolent empire of American liberty and prosperity. By conquering their countries and forcibly integrating them into the Greater United States, they will all become American subjects under our management. There will no longer be any pressing need for them to illegally enter the continental United States.

I know, my genius has rendered you speechless. You can thank me later once the Stars and Stripes triumphantly wave over Mexico City and the other Latin American capitols.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Skyrim Lich King/Death Knight build

Here's your perk plan. Two handed heavy armor builds are a lot of fun because you have more perks to play around with. I made my Lich King a Nord with long white hair and an enchanted greatsword named Frostmourn, natch. I've said before that I don't care for hybrid builds that much. This one works well because your sword will be your main offense with Conjuration and Destruction for flavor. I use frost spells as my only ranged option. You can see that I spec'ed into Destruction a lot but it's really not necessary. Essentially, I only used it to shoot at dragons when they're hovering overhead. When they're down on the ground, get in their face and cut them to ribbons. You don't need to put perks into Enchanting, but again I did it for role playing flavor. Get yourself kitted out in Daedric armor, summon two Dremora Lords, and smash everything before you.

We need Jim Ross for this guy

One year ago I never would have believed that Dean Ambrose could succeed as a face. If anything, I had him figured as the guy who would betray his brothers in the Shield. The grease, the mannerisms, his whole persona. Just watch him in his entrance video. You can almost smell the Camels and Jack Daniels on his breath, can't you? There he stands though, the hottest face in the WWE today. He has proven me wrong. Then again, maybe the traditional heel and face labels don't apply to him. He's just Dean freakin' Ambrose. He's like the new Roddy Piper or Brian Pillman.

This last Sunday's PPV was terrible. It almost seemed like Vince wanted to burn it all down out of spite. Almost like clockwork, the Monday Night Raw after a bad PPV was great. The storylines organically developed as the night went on. Stephanie getting arrested was brilliant, and Triple H's reaction was hilarious. Let's hope WWE can keep this level of programming going.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Give the rabbits an inch and they'll take a rabbity mile

It's become something of a catch phrase of mine, but never ever give in to the pressures of the rabbit warren. Never apologize when they demand an apology because they aren't interested in contrition but only a public confession. Ignore their whining about sex and gender because even if you give them what they ask for, it still won't be good enough.
Hurrah. Marvel comics have revealed that Thor, the God of Thunder, has become a woman. Not in a transgender way, not in a "When Mr Thor gets back from the summer holidays he will be wearing a dress and called Ms Thor" way. No, Thor is simply a woman now and that's that. And you needn't worry about her going all soft and silly. As Jason Aaron, writer of the new Thor series, puts it: "This is not She-Thor. This is not Lady Thor. This is not Thorita. This is THOR. This is the THOR of the Marvel universe. But it's unlike any Thor we've ever seen before." I can't help but wonder if "Thorita" is a subconscious reference to Conchita Wurst, the bearded drag queen who won this year's Eurovision.
Female THOR (in manly capital letters, please) is, of course, a good thing. Anything that breaks up our rigid ideas of just what men and women are supposed to be is a good thing. I'm just not entirely sure that a female THOR does anything to truly challenge the status quo around gender.
When this marketing gimmick inevitably crashes and burns, they're going to blame us for not being progressive enough to appreciate true equality and tolerance. Here's my rule of thumb for female characters: if they aren't going to be feminine or girly, then what is the point of making them female? Ripley from the first two Alien movies is a feminine woman. Vasquez is not. If your female character is just going to be a man with different sex organs, then what point in making that character female besides hitting your diversity quota?
Putting women in men's roles only gets you so far. Sexism didn't disappear when women started wearing trousers. It's wonderful that the fairer sex were able to undo their corsets and take on things that were traditionally seen as masculine – whether that be sports, political careers or plain old dungarees – but it has done little to challenge the scapegoating of femininity. We live in a society that still systematically celebrates masculinity while ridiculing all things feminine. Women who adopt masculine clothing are seen as serious and businesslike. Men who adopt feminine styles are sneered at.
As well they should be sneered at. This article confirms in spades that for all of their conscious aping of men, feminists still do not and cannot understand masculinity the way men do. A beautiful woman in a dress is a lovely sight. A man who's built like a linebacker wearing a dress is a punch line. A man who looks like John Scalzi in a dress is pathetic. A woman in a conservative business outfit can indeed be seen as serious. A woman who tries to behave like a caricature of manhood is repulsive no matter how pretty she may be on the outside.
I doubt Thor will become female in the films but if they do ever cast a woman, it sounds as if she will be strong and powerful and all the things we associate with men. Another bloody "strong female lead". That is not to say that women are not, cannot and should not be those things – but when we have a "feminised" male superhero celebrated for his traditionally girly qualities, we might be a little further along the path of true equality. Bring on Thorita, I say.
 Good luck with that. A sissified male superhero is likely to repel both sexes.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The pope that didn't bark

It’s fair to ask what kind of Catholic Church we as Evangelicals want to see. At lunch I asked Pope Francis what his heart was for evangelism. He smiled, knowing what was behind my question and comment was, “I’m not interested in converting Evangelicals to Catholicism. I want people to find Jesus in their own community.  There are so many doctrines we will never agree on. Let’s be about showing the love of Jesus.” (Of course Evangelicals do evangelize Catholics and Catholics do the same to us. However, that discussion we will raise another day.)
Don't even start. I already know what you're going to say. You're going to say that this was a private conversation, that it wasn't recorded, that this Evangelical fellow must have misheard or misremembered or misquoted the pope. Even if the pope said what this guy said he said, it's not a doctrine of the Church or an ex cathedra statement and we don't need to pay attention to everything the pope says, et cetera ad infinitum ad nauseum.

All of that is true as far as it goes. At the same time, it's more than a little demoralizing to have a pope who encourages heretics and discourages the orthodox.

No, I don't have a personal relationship with Jesus

I have an ecclesial relationship with Jesus. All baptized and confirmed Catholics who are in a state of grace and regularly participate in the sacraments of Holy Communion and Confession have a personal relationship with Jesus stronger than any Protestant on earth even if they don't think of it in those particular terms.

I've noticed that a lot of Catholics are using Protestant language in the "New Evangelization." Maybe it's just a marketing technique they're using in a predominantly cultural Protestant nation like the US. Maybe they think the Catholic Church got it all wrong for 1,962 years, statistics about the sacraments notwithstanding. Maybe they think "modern man" is different in kind and not degree from Renaissance man, or medieval man. Whatever the reason, the difficulty with using Protestant language is that eventually you'll begin to think Protestant thoughts.

A "personal" relationship with Jesus is just that, personal. I define it. I can end it. If it's just me n' Jesus, then ultimately I only have my own feelings to guide me. For Protestants, the church community is not so much the Body of Christ but a gathering of like minded believers who listen to each other, help each other carry their crosses, and enjoy Christian fellowship. The skeptical Christian reader reads this and scoffs, "What more could you possibly be looking for?"

I want an objective body of doctrine that makes objective demands of the believer. I want Christ himself present on the altar. I want the good teacher to explain what I must do to have eternal life.

I suppose that's why corruption and weakness within the Church has always been far more difficult for me to handle than whatever the Godless heathens might be up to. They don't know any better. We Catholics can and should know better. But there are forces within the Catholic Church, and all Christian churches for that matter, that are determined to make sure we don't know better. I can't think of another way to describe it. Priests, religious, and professional lay people get downright angry if you suggest that the people must repent, confess, and do penance.

Sometimes it almost feels like I have to take the "Just me n' Jesus" approach even though I became Catholic in part because I wanted to get away from that kind of Christianity.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Chicks can't get enough of my privilege

Matt Walsh responds to an email that veers so far into self-parody that you have to wonder if Walsh wrote it himself or if he's being trolled:
Hi Matt,
First I’d like to say that you are the absolute worst. I’ve got you blocked on Facebook and I’ve unfollowed anyone who Retweets your horrible bull sh*t. I think you’re a genuinely bad person who somehow stumbled upon a way to make a lot of money writing hateful sh*t on the internet. Congrats. You’re one of the internet’s most famous douchebags. Your mother must be so proud. I just want to tell you that the world has had enough of cisgender white guys whining about all of the evil women and minorities. Even though I’ve done everything to avoid your articles, for some reason I still come across them. I decided to read your last couple of posts, and all I saw was a privileged white middle class man telling women how to live our lives. You’ve been so protected and coddled that you don’t even realize how stupid you sound.
It’s easy when everything is handed to you in life. It’s easy when you don’t have to worry about rape, discrimination, microaggressions, and systematic oppression. It’s easy when OUR ENTIRE SOCIETY is set up to give you, the Straight White Man, all of the privileges and advantages. The patriarchy exists to elevate you above everyone else, and you still have the f*cking nerve to complain that women are allowed to use birth control or gays are allowed to love each other? Life is easy for you. You sit at home and blog all day. You have no idea what it’s like for the rest of us. You have no idea what you have to go through when you don’t have the benefit of being a privileged white suburban male. I know you like to laugh about all of the “silly girls” in gender studies classes, but maybe you should actually do some research on the subject yourself. I can send you my textbooks if you want. White males have been responsible for the worst oppressions from the crusades all the way to f*cking slavery, and now you cry that your “religious freedom” is violated because women are using birth control? You’re f*cking disgusting. Check your privilege, assh*le.
 Walsh proceeds to elegantly dissect this babe's bad attitude:
P.S. Please use real words when you write to me. I like Dr. Seuss, too, but I think adult conversations require actual language. “Cisgender” is not a real word. As far as I can tell, it was just invented by some guy on the internet back in 1995. I know all words have to start somewhere, but when they’re born in a chatroom because a transsexual activist wanted to come up with a label that would normalize his behavior, I can’t help but balk.
‘Cisgender’ is a term regurgitated by pretentious snobs to describe a person who ‘identifies with the gender assigned to them at birth.’ In other words, a ‘cismale’ is just a male. He’s a man who is a man. We already have a word for him: man. But progressives are incapable of winning an argument without manipulating language, so now we have this other word for him.
A cis is a person who is who they are. Make sense?
 Transgender is a nonsense word invented to describe mentally ill men and women who sometimes go so far as to mutilate themselves to accommodate their delusions.

Walsh devotes much more time and effort to that sort of letter than I would, which is why I suppose he makes the big bucks from blogging while I earn only a few shekels a month. He gave me an idea though. For my 2040 presidential campaign, my platform will include the following: "All questions posed to Governor Levinson in regards to social justice shall be answered in the following ways: 'I don't care,' 'So what?,' and 'Go cry about it hippie.'" Chicks like Kira are the reason why this is the Golden Age of Trolling. When everyone is a solemn scold, it becomes a target rich environment.

Est quod est

Sometimes I see a bumper sticker which reads, "You CAN'T be Catholic and pro-abortion!" Sometimes I hear someone say, "You can't be Catholic and support same-sex marriage!" As an ontological matter, this is false. You can indeed be a Catholic who supports legalized abortion, same-sex marriage, euthanasia, women priests, or any number of sins that cry out to heaven for vengeance. You can also be a Catholic who burns in the fiery bowels of hell with Satan and his demons for all eternity.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Power, unlimited power

It was inevitable: the Left is turning on Pope Francis. When white smoke emanates from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel, we know that we have a pope. When white smoke emanates from liberals ears, we know that the pope is Catholic.

Under St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI, whenever Rome did or failed to do something conservative Catholics always knew where to place the blame. "If only the pope knew. If it weren't for that brood of vipers in the Curia, the pope would learn the truth about X and finally do something." For good or ill, the pope almost always knows about X. The pope more often than not knows what he's doing when he does or doesn't do something about X. Godless heathens and heretics generally don't know how the Church works so to speak. In their minds, Catholicism is a man-made religion that we make up as we go along. For them God either doesn't exist, or they worship a God made in their own image and likeness. God wants us to be haaaapy, so he couldn't possibly will things that might make us unhaaaapy.

I expect this from them, but Catholics really ought to know better. Alas, they usually do not. They believe in the most basic dogmas such as Jesus Christ existing as a historical person and that he was the Son of God (usually.) Everything else is up for grabs. Jesus founded a visible Church (sometimes they don't believe this either) and then abandoned it to the tides of history and change. They too cannot accept that God's will could conflict with modern liberalism in any way. So in their minds, if the Church proclaims that she has no authority to ordain women as priests then the only possible reason is that some stubborn old misogynists in Rome are holding up the march of progress out of fear and loathing for the female sex. I'm always astounded when people claim the Church doesn't listen to women. Clearly people who believe that haven't darkened the door step of a Catholic parish in decades, if ever. Women pretty much run the Church bureaucracy in the United States.

In their minds, truth isn't really truth. The Church isn't an infallible guide to the Truth (who is a person) but the manufacturer of truth. It's another version of that old temptation to refuse to submit to any master except our imperial selves. We moderns tend to think of the Church as our search engine. If you don't know the answer to a question, just type whatever you want into the ecclesial Google and it will spit out the answer. We think of the Church exclusively as a teacher who only teaches in discursive terms. To be fair, we often reach this understanding through necessity. Lamenting the poor state of catechesis is a cottage industry these days because it's a real problem. We learn the faith through living it.

H/T: Father Z

Today was the third day

I'm a Civil War buff from way back. The Confederacy is synonymous with slavery these days and we're trained from birth to think of them as proto-Nazis. It wasn't always that way. We used to think of the Civil War as an unfortunate fight between honorable brothers who finally came to blows after decades of slow boiling. Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant are both heroes of mine. Marse Robert was awesome in victory and magnanimous in defeat. Some urged him to take the Army of Northern Virginia into the hills and continue a guerilla war after Appomattox, but he dismissed the idea out of hand. Ulysses S. Grant was a failure in civilian life and most historians consider him a failure as president, but the Civil War almost seems like his place of destiny. One of the villains from my favorite video games chose "Ulysses" as his pseudonym because in his words "Ulysses lived a long time ago before the world set itself on fire. He fought to make two flags into one. After the war ended the sickness took him. He wasn't made for a world at peace."

On the surface it looks like we're drifting toward civil war again. Whether the end comes with a bang or a whimper, I don't expect the United States to still be one nation by the time I pass on. Either way, we'll never see the likes of Lee and Grant ever again.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014