It is unfortunate for this blog’s traffic flow that, at most times, the popular topics of discussion are topics neither His Traddiness nor I care to comment upon, except in passing. The upcoming meeting of various Orthodox churches will doubtless soon provide conversational fodder, but the bishop of Rome’s latest interviews, the shooting of dangerous gorillas, and the cultural importance of victimized Floridians who also happen to be trapped in self-destructive behaviors... well, the level of conversation is already so low that one simply wishes to take a long walk with a pipe and opine upon the piratical history of the Azores, instead.
A few days ago I shared a few cigars and drinks with a small group of Catholic men frustrated by their continued singleness. It is easy for men to complain too broadly about women, and women likewise about men, but the complaints were not all unfounded. The amorous interplay of the sexes has always been fraught with confusion, miscommunication, pettiness, and obsession, but there is something about the contemporary disintegration of social mores that prevents this interplay from becoming satisfactorily consummative (emotionally and otherwise). There is something to be said in favor of the old, strict cultural customs for courtship and marriage, because then at least one could always know where things stood.
St. John’s Day
We are coming up on Midsummer, and the forgotten celebration of St. John’s Nativity. Once, long ago, St. John’s Eve was a most festive feast, popular for a variety of foods, nuptial celebrations, bonfires, a few harmless superstitions, and trick-or-treating. The Forerunner’s is the only birth celebrated with a feast day, aside from the Virgin’s and the Christ’s, and his late-June feast is historically one of the earliest we can trace on the kalendar. These days it is celebrated by a drunken bonfire party, if at all.
Recent events have forced me to have intricate dealings with the local parish hierarchy, more or less structured like so: Secretary > Pastor > Choir Director > Homeschool Moms > Parochial Vicar > Me. Everyone is very conscious of his/her perceived place in the parish aristocracy, and everyone but the vicar likes to pretend they have more power than they actually possess. I fully expect to receive a lecture about being an idolater and witch for my failure to capitulate to every silly whim, soon.
Currently I am approximately halfway through Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer-winning The Goldfinch, a strange and turgid novel about a boy whose mother has been blown up by a terrorist (right-wing and homegrown, the narrator assures us). Aside from its awarded credentials, it was also recommended by a friend of good taste as a lyrical work of great heartrending beauty. That’s my favorite kind of fiction, but so far I have yet to feel anything but anxiety that this poor boy will be abandoned or molested. Maybe the back half of the novel will pull through, but even Dante had some fun while he was slogging through Hell. Hopefully it will soon surprise me with a stirring of wonder.
Gibson for God
The news that Mel Gibson has commissioned a screenplay for a sequel to The Passion of the Christ hit the papers earlier this month. Randall Wallace, the screenwriter for Gibson’s Braveheart and We Were Soldiers, is in the process of writing a draft, which apparently means that Benedict Fitzgerald, the writer for The Passion, is out. (In 2008 Fitzgerald sued Gibson for his fair share of the film’s profits, so it’s assumed that the two are no longer on good professional terms.) Mel’s career has sunk dramatically and risen fractionally since The Passion, and one suspects that his own passion for the Catholic Faith has taken the same sink-and-tread-water approach. Whose acting career will he ruin by casting Jesus, this time?