Saturday, March 29, 2014

A Scandal in the Church

That's what I call it when the really practical-minded ideas come from the neophytes and not my "cradle Catholic" compatriots. Not because I begrudge a convert who is smarter than I am - or at least, more articulate. Rather, it has to do with the fact that the exclusionists are guilty of rank tribalism, when to be so causes them to positively reek of hypocrisy. If you're the Christian, then how exactly do you expect to convert people by turning them into pariahs? And if you're one of the "progressives," well then why are you segregating your opponents when you have a more decent shot at winning hearts and minds by keeping them exposed to mainstream society? And don't both camps toot their respective horns about how all are supposedly welcome?

We'll leave aside the skepticism with which we've approached Pluralism in the recent past for the sake of this exercise, because no matter how unsupported it finds itself in reality, it's desirable in theory.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

More on the Topic of Pluralism

Ross Douthat appears to have a finger on the pulse of an issue we discussed a few weeks ago, and rather succinctly summarizes a portion of my ungainly-phrased thesis. And maybe all of it.

As a refresher, Pluralism is only an inviolable principle when exercised by the dominant toward the dominated - but not the adversary. This is likely why nobody discusses Amish views on sexual identity. Who honestly cares? They don't bring any clout to the fight, so let them raise kids who are petrified of washing machines (so the argument might run).

But last time we were talking about nutty cults whose disbelief in medicine made Jenny McCarthy look well-balanced, weren't we? Yes, but as Douthat points out, not even the damage-to-others argument seems to hold consistent water. Enter again those pesky Amish, who in the name of religious liberty get to pull their kids out of school (fully out) by 8th grade. Even with the schools as crummy as they are, I don't think that should be considered giving the kids an edge. But the protection is enshrined in law. And nobody calls them nuts.

...Okay, so they're not the continuous whipping boy of a culture vehemently against what they espouse as core beliefs. Even though they do seem pretty much against the stuff that the Amish feel strongly on.

Man, this Pluralism stuff gets confusing.

Trolling as an Art Form

The Catholic League are oftentimes obnoxious in the way that you can only be if you hail from New York City. But in this particular case, they are bringing out the point - quite literally the only point that consistently riles me about anyone in the gay rights movement - that tolerance is a concept that, for certain advocates of certain causes, lives on a one-way street.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Once in a While

Something makes me want a modern gaming system. Something like this:


Yeah. I could get used to that.

Monday, March 10, 2014

I Could Bring Myself to Watch That

HBO is usually a no-go for me. I don't hate nudity so much as I don't care for poorly simulated and largely gratuitous sex scenes. Also I like the assurance that something graphic and horrible isn't going to happen because it's a day that ends in "Y"; and the Home Box Office can't deliver on any of those issues. In fact they seem to derive great glee in their exact opposites.

But this True Detective is a show that I feel could be done right. I haven't watched it, but it's been a long time since the thing that some people label "weird fiction" saw decent treatment on the screen. I could bring myself to financially support  the right product, if only I could be assured that such a thing was being brought to term.

Maybe I'm Missing the Point

Maybe the fixation on the existence of other life in the universe is, as Fr. Longnecker  sanctimoniously claims, merely the modern world's obsessive attempt to immanentize the tradition of angelic entities. He does have an interesting point about some overlapping details between preturnatural encounters and extraterrestrial ones, although I've never heard of an angel or demon probing anyone in...that way.

What annoys me is the hipsterish way in which he seems to reduce the question to an allegedly boring absurdity. I don't pretend to know if he's right, regardless of his own opinion of his eventual vindication. It may even be that the very evolution of the universe has transpired to give a home and eventual birth to Man. That sort of raw prodigality is not beyond the MO of the Almighty. But it isn't a given and it needn't go down that way.

And personally I still think aliens would be pretty cool.

Friday, March 7, 2014

I Am Starting to Think That Zach Snyder has an Ego Problem

The money quote is when he says, to paraphrase, "I know what's going on, but the fans have no clue." Because there's not enough extant material available for people to form opinions about how Batman and Superman should act? I'm starting to think Warner Bros secretly wants DC to fail.   

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Surprise, I'm Taking the Unpopular End of a Story

I'm not coming down hard, mind you, mainly because I haven't read the ruling, but my initial reaction to the brouhaha in Massachusetts over Upskirt Photo Guy is to say that the court made the right call. That, and everything else below, is based on my own personal inference.

From what I understand, the law in MA criminalizes taking photos of someone in public who is nude or partially nude. The prosecution was arguing that nudity could be created ad hoc based upon the perp's act of "bypassing" a victim's clothing. The court said that a plain reading didn't support that interpretation. And let's face it, the court was probably right.

We're talking about a law that for all intents and purposes seems directed at public decency and not personal privacy. So sorry, no naked photo shoots in Government Center. Someone's expectation of privacy - leaving aside whether that expectation is reasonable, for a moment - is not applicable.

Of course, you hear the standard whining about the "spirit of the law" being about privacy, but we appoint judges for their objective analytical skills, not their ability to engage in speculative scrying into the misty world of "legislative intent." The amazing thing about this case, to me, is not that the court ruled the way that it did; it's that the court was in MA.

Now if they want to snap a pic under my kilt, they'd better be ready for what they'll get...