Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Today I saw a post by the vibrant and witty Chelsea of Chelsea Talks Smack that really summarized the attitudes of most (or at least many) "twenty-somethings" toward Catholicism. I'd encourage you to read it; it gives a good sense of the overwhelming mindset of our demographic - how we relate to orthodoxy, and what we mean by tolerance.

Liberal-minded young people take great satisfaction in the virtue of their own tolerance: they accept anyone and everyone for who they are, no matter what they do, accept an infinite plurality of separate but equal truths, and in short, strive to annihilate a system of values which could hurt someone's feelings - which could, God forbid, judge someone. Whether this is primarily a self-defense mechanism, to protect themselves from judgment, especially self-judgment, is a good question for another time.

Instead, I'd like to focus on the prevalent attitude among these twenty-something liberals toward those people who disagree, those people who subscribe to (the liberals would say manufacture) the system of absolute values. Like Catholics.

Chelsea mocked the Catholic practice of praying for God's mercy on the soul of the deceased at a funeral.

Now let's forget the question of whether they're right - we'd be here all day. Instead let's just imagine that some people, doddering old fools though they may be, believe in praying for God's mercy - believe all the Catholic hocus-pocus and mumbo jumbo. Let's imagine they believe that God is all-powerful and all-loving, and that one's relationship with him is all that matters. Won't those poor old fools want to pray to him? Want to pray for his mercy, and pray that their recently deceased loved one can enjoy the glory of his presence forever?

And won't an open-minded, tolerant, compassionate soul, even one who knows the old farts are way off-base, allow them the measure of comfort they gain from their silly rituals? Won't the tolerant, fresh-faced, future of America allow them unbegrudgingly the practice of their separate but equal beliefs?

Because if the young liberal refuses such magnanimity, which I find to be the case more often than not, he or she should take a closer look at the mantle of all-inclusive pan-religious tolerant peaceability he or she is wearing. And he or she might find that it's actually a mask and cape of militant atheism.

In which case, the escape from self-judgment has led to self-delusion, and the courage to face down tradition has led to cowardice which perverts good, tolerant intentions against themselves.

Friday, February 6, 2009

25 Things

1. When this note-writing frenzy started two weeks ago, I thought it was stupid and lame with a capital A. But then no one tagged me. And no one continued to tag me. And I started thinking... "anybody?" It was like sour grapes in reverse.

2. I think chick music can be angry sometimes, like Kelly Clarkson or Alanis Morissette, and it's just kinda cute, like "ooh, you're angry, arentcha? grrrr!" and you kind of pat their head and laugh and then dance your butt off. But when guys sing angry music, it inevitably comes off whiny. Even when they think it's shouty, it's still actually whiny.

3. I used to hate Brussels sprouts, asparagus, wine and spaghetti, but now I love them. I used to hate eggplant too, but I don't know if I like it, because who ever eats eggplant?

4. Studying many diverse subjects in college helped my Trivial Pursuit game.

5. After my baseball coach caught me climbing from balcony to balcony outside the third floor of our hotel rooms in California at 3:00 am in my underwear, he still let me pitch the next day.

6. When I was three years old or so, I sometimes ate sticks of butter, and once, confused, I took a bite of a bar of soap.

7. When I started school, I prided myself on knowing every single swear word. I guess the soap didn't take.

8. Books are good, except Pulitzer prize winners, which suck a surprising amount of the time - like that "Guns, Germs and Steel" book: utter hogwash.

9. I haven't thrown up from the flu since I was five.

10. I was 5'6" as a freshman in high school, and made money by betting several classmates (who were all of 5'10") that I would be taller by graduation. I grew a foot, cashed in, and then tried the same thing in college, except I bet that I would have more chest hair than my opponents by graduation. No one ever tells you this, but chest hair takes a looooong time to grow.

11. When someone tells me, "space and time are the same thing," or "God is three persons in one being," and I say, "oh, ok, yeah I can kinda see how that makes sense," am I faking it? Those things are supposed to be impossible to understand, so I guess I must be. Then again, if someone told me, "the square root of epic poetry is a bologna sandwich," I wouldn't say "yeah, that makes sense to me." Or I would, but I would say it while I was slowly backing away.

12. I think people take themselves too seriously. Like me, when I pester Ed, "should I shave my goatee or keep it? What do you think? Shave it or keep it? Do you think it makes me look older?" What a queer.

13. My mom and sister Cathy still like the show, "The Biggest Loser," but by means of constant subliminal repetition, we have trained them to call it "The Biggest Fattest" like the rest of us.

14. Whenever someone mentions the drink named a "hairy navel," I am quietly amused. And when someone mentions a "buttery nipple," I am quietly uncomfortable.

15. I am glad that the phrase "anal-retentive" can be shortened to "anal," with no loss of meaning, but sometimes it makes me think that "penal" is a dirty word, too. Like "fiduciary," and Uncle Joe's favorite swear, "Shih Tzu."

16. You know how a human being would explode in the vacuum of space because of the body's internal pressure? What if a human just pooped into space? Would it explode? No one can answer this to my satisfaction, and my mom won't let me poop in the vacuum cleaner to test my theory. I guess it's just one of life's mysteries, like why people like Shia LaBeouf.

17. Little Jackie "The Stoop" is my new favorite song. Or something. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpmlDhIDkqA

18. My sister Julie was surprised that I could make gravy, and I was like bitch please, this is child's play and then my dad told me to watch my mouth and that only part of this story was true.

19. I can sympathize with masochism when I'm on the toilet. Anyone? Anyone? No?

20. Call me crazy, but I believe it is possible to love an ugly person. It requires intense concentration, and can only be achieved for brief intervals, but it is possible. But that's just my opinion. You could be right.

21. I think Ryan Seacrest, while a shade on the smarmy side, is vastly underrated and unappreciated. Boy can host a damn show.

22. Always remember that you are unique. Just like everybody else.

23. I could write in cursive when I was four years old. Or at least I used to think that I remembered that. I used to say I remembered being in the womb, too, but so many people have told me that's impossible that I don't know if I really remember it, or if it's a fake memory I've fabricated. They ask me what it was like and I say, "Umm... warm... dark," and I think I must be making it up. But then later, I remember that the most noticeable thing about it was there was no sense of up and down, or any direction, and hardly any sense of space at all. But then I don't know if I just made that up too.

24. I love chocolate milk and I love alcohol, but my attempts at a chocolate milk drink have invariably been disappointing. I guess a White Russian is as close as the human race can come to that particular perfection.

25. I don't know what to put for 25. Something about how I love my family because they're the best and pizza is my favorite food and baseball is the best sport and I get a kick out of you.