Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The threat to art is no longer post-modernist ugliness

Pastiche is not just pastiche. It is not just empty forms about which we could say, "It may be pastiche, but at least it is some kind of preservation of the past forms; at least it's better than brutalist modern ugliness." Such thinking is idiotic. The forms of the past (and carried forward) were a cooperative with the inspiration under which they came; you are not only falsifying the past, but erecting barriers into the future. There is no such thing as pastiche that preserves anything. For it is positive mockery, regardless of the intent of the pastiche-maker. Pastiche is ten times deadlier than post-modernist, brutalist, deconstructionist art. That's not hyperbole. I say that in dead earnest seriousness. Those who do not see this, yet claim to care about tradition, positively settling with pastiche if only in some kind of "for the meantime" as at least preserving past forms, are not to be trusted, in my opinion. They do not know what they are talking about.

And no, that does not mean that conservative copying of past works necessarily equals pastiche, just in the same way that liberal expressionism does not necessarily equal ugliness. (I use the terms "conservative" and "liberal" as extreme shorthand by the way, and with much loathing for the inadequacy of the terms, not to mention their inaccuracy.) The whole point about pastiche is in its attaining. Professional perfectionism and pastiche are convertible. Perfectionism is ultimately pastiche. Perfectionism is highly imperfect. One is starting from the wrong place. It is the failure of achieving exactly what you set out to achieve. Thus, relying on perfectionism will only show up as as something very flawed, flabby, shallow, imperfect. The higher its perfectionism the greater it stands there like a lump of coal. Nor is the "solution" to be understood as some balance between techni and spontaneity.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Ad some orientem and the world will be saved?

That's basically what Christopher West thinks.

During his seminar on November the 9th. 2013 in Surrey, British Columbia, Christopher West made an orthodox-sounding appeal in the course of his third talk on how we are "disoriented", and how we need to be "reoriented". Because we are disoriented we are heading in the wrong direction. You know, his whole rocket-pack thing.

Christopher West actually made reference - just like the folks who say that our sea of iniquity is traceable to 1962, or to 1968, or to 1972, or to 1955 when Emmit Brown came up with the key component for making that infernal and catastrophic time machine (the flux capacitor!), after which it was nothing but time-paradox disaster after time-paradox disaster! - to how we used to face east and that it pointed us towards heaven and towards the coming of the bridegroom, but the sign was done away with, and now we are disoriented. That was straight from the esoteric sex guru himself.

It gave me a good chuckle as I sat on the bench farthest to the rear that's reserved for confession line to hear the Zhuldorf axiom on the lips of Christopher West. It made me realize I was perhaps sort of onto something when I wrote this post.

I hold no contention with what Ratzinger/Benedict has written regarding the intrinsic link of the crisis in the Church to a crisis in liturgy. The conclusions ("solutions") that people draw from that - the link of crisis in liturgy to crisis in the Church - as propagandized on the internet, inevitably prove to take the virtual position of superseding the Church herself, whose wisdom we must always learn from anew. For to learn from the Church is to veritably be renewed. She's not a museum or a university.

And anyways, to those who actually read Benedict/Ratzinger, rather than just quoting him out of context in the outdated museum archives of their on-the-blogspot fabrications, would know that "crisis of liturgy" includes liturgy in pre-reform time, before Vatican II, when many were - to use Ratzinger's words - not in touch with the Mass (which does not mean lack of catechesis or liturgical formation but a kind of very unhealthy mutual exacerbation, which is the perennial call for reform), and in which - to use Ratzinger's words - it was as though there were two liturgies: the liturgy of the priest and the liturgy of the people. They were saying the black and doing the red. The people were hearing the Mass. They were facing the liturgical east. It was the Mass of the ages. Down from the Council of Trent. There were no guitars. No felt banners. No clowns. No balloons. No puppets. No ideological tinkering. No polyester vestments. I mean, shouldn't the world have been, like, saved or something? What crisis was there exactly before Vatican II? Pray do tell, eh?

Anyways, don't ask me. I wasn't alive during that time, nor do I feel like pretending I was. Ask Benedict about pre-conciliar times. Read his writings. He affirms that liturgical crisis includes pre-conciliar times.

But how could "disorientation" exist when all the signs were in place? I mean, the Mass forms us, right? How could the crisis of a fractured dichotomy exist in the very context of saying the black and doing the red?

I'm not interested in anyone answering that question. I'm asking rhetorically. The questions answer themselves.

"...and even when you saw it, you did not afterward repent and believe him."

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Monday, September 22, 2014


These are called Cannellini beans, the minestrone bean. I bought a packet when I went to a Seedy Saturday event at Van Dusen Gardens a few years back, and I can't remember if I had bought them from Salt Spring Seeds or Full Circle Seeds. I planted that original packet, which yielded a big bowl full of seeds. I saved those and didn't plant any of them until this year. I only planted a couple rows, hardly anything. I think the seeds were around three years old. As far as I could tell all of them came up.

So now there's this second generation and the brown bag full of the "first generation". They all have a destination for the dirt. Plus I took some for soup.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Perfect Asian Pear

Forget those pallid things you see at the grocery stores, those watery fruits in their mesh nets. If that is what you know as "Asian pear" then you have not had an Asian pear.

An Asian pear, like the one pictured above, blushing through its tan, is like a fine wine. It can even be "too much" for some people, with its depths and its aromas.

I've been watching that one in the picture slowly turning colour through the summer, along with all its fellow pears. One load proved too heavy for a branch and tore it off before their prime (to much weeping).

I do not know what variety the one pictured is, but as good as it is, I'm aware that there are even better kinds - the russet varieties. As with apples, russet varieties take the cake - always take the cake, away from those sparkling polished professional perfections you see at the grocery stores.

Friday, September 19, 2014


Patty Cake

I only ever once had the misfortune of hearing a priest air dirty laundry about other priests. In this case he was conversing with a seminarian. I was the quiet guy in between. It was at the table during dessert.

Once was more than enough. What a stench.

Why then should one heed the same from priests or laymen online concerning bishops and cardinals I wonder? Who am I? Who are you? What is your place? Does Pippin have Gandalf all figured out from head to toe? Was that clericalism I just uttered? Does it mean I'm condoning corrupt priests and bishops if I don't write an open letter? What good does any of this way-up-in-the-echelons hierarchy inside talk wannabe insider talk hashed out online do? I find it hard to believe that it does more good than harm.

Do I have an opinion about Scotland? Do I care? Everything has become so utterly meaningless. B.C. teachers on strike? Where do the teachers get the energy to care about the stupid stuff they're willing to go on strike for? The energy to sit there in front of the schools with their stupid sandwich board signs? It isn't the pay. They make decently on that front.

How in the bloody Dickens do tattoo parlors stay in business, and tanning salons?

It seems like everything is up for grabs, and anything you grab must be milked, and nothing you grab matters. Of course, it all matters very much, but it's like people are being hustled along. Waiting is the great sin. Waiting and watching are the unpardonable sins. You remember that passage in G.K. Chesterton's The Everlasting Man in which he is describing the state of the world when Christ came into it?

Go and read it if you can and tell me that's not something eerily similar to the state of the world right now. I say that with joy, not fear and loathing.

Everything is passing away. We're building sand castles online. The grown-ups post-graduates ruin all the fun by holding retarded sand castle competitions and then photograph themselves standing beside their structures about to be washed away by the incoming tide.

There's a meme for you out there whoever you are who makes memes: a picture of some guy standing proudly beside his mind-boggling, professionally perfect sand sculpture with the caption, "Grown-ups: effing things up since post-graduate school."

Or something to that effect.

Here's a phrase I hope catches on: "Selfied to death." You heard it here first. Here's another: "Meta-retarded". I'm hoping later it will simply become, "Metatarded".

Oh, and I think I may have come up with a poetic term: Jump rhyme. It is for an end-line rhyme that has anything from five to six, seven, eight or more lines between the two rhyming words. Barely registered, an unconscious echo. Jump rhyme.

Why is everyone leaving the Patheos Catholic portal? Dawn Eden, Max, Barnes - vamoosed! Back to individual blogs! Tally ho! Makes me smile. What with all those pornified ads they can't do anything about. Well, except you can leave Patheos. Ha!

"You are not here to verify,
Instruct yourself, or inform curiosity
Or carry report. You are here to kneel
Where prayer has been valid."

--T.S. Eliot, Little Gidding

Foolish Vanity

"You allege that you never invite others to sin. You did not by your tongue, but you have done it by your dress and deportment more effectively than you could by your voice. When you have made another to sin in his heart, how can you be innocent? You sharpened and drew the sword. You gave the thrust by which the soul is wounded. Tell me whom does the world condemn? Whom do judges punish? Those who drink the poison, or those who prepare and give the fatal draught? You mingled the execrable cup; you administered the potion of death. You are so much more criminal than poisoners, as the death which you cause is the more terrible; for you murder not the body, but the soul. Nor do you do this to enemies: not compelled by necessity nor provoked by any injury; but out of a foolish vanity and pride. You sport yourselves in the ruin of the souls of others, and make their spiritual death your pastime."

--St. John Chrysostom on Immodest Women

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Monday, September 15, 2014