Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Seven Quick Takes

Because my life lately is like this:

1. Uptown Monk:

2. This guy:

3. The PBS documentary on Hamilton, both the show and the founding father.

4. This post on The Sentimentality Trap:
Sentimentality is really a form of that deadly heresy of Gnosticism, which prefers airy spiritualization to God’s actual creation. Christian sentimentality wants to transcend the material reality of the world, gesturing toward it only with stock abstractions—Grandma’s hands, baby feet, home sweet home—that have no correspondence with the actual physical world, in order to get to a prearranged rendezvous of feeling. Like the Gnostic, the sentimentalist denies the incarnation. This denial comes most often in the form of a blindness to the particularity of creation, the same kind of blindness that has burdened so many of our Sunday-school classroom walls with a generalized, handsome, and Teutonic Jesus when in fact our Lord was and is no doubt far more Semitic in his actual appearance. In other words, the problem with poems about “Grandma’s hands” is not the subject matter per se but rather that the creator of such a poem has little regard for the actual hands of the lady in question. The woman’s body parts are turned into cheap vehicles for cheap spiritual gratification, a kind of pornography. 
...In my introductory poetry workshop, I find I need to discourage half the class from writing about puppies, rainbows, and Grandmother’s praying hands, but another kind of sentimentality also threatens. It turns away from Hallmark naivete, yes, but then cultivates the gritty irony of the urban dweller. These students, raised on The Hunger Games and postmodern hip, fill their poems with broken glass and the smell of urine in alleyways. Surprisingly, there is really very little difference between the two tones; both are shortcuts and generalizations. Neither version, one a stock sentimentality and the other its snit-sentimental mirror image, is truly incarnational; both are comprised of commonplace images only seemingly aimed at the actual world. Given the choice, I suppose I would rather read a student’s version of Baudelaire rather than one of Swinburne, but both are failures of art, failures at creation. The writer, especially the Christian, is today as obligated to avoid the sentimental anti-sentimentality of the edgy as he is to avoid puppies and Pollyanna. Both reflect shoddy workmanship. It is cheap goods made cheaply.
5. Switching out programs for my 6th-7th grade class to Matthew Kelly's Decision Point, free online.

6. This cartoon, at which I may never stop laughing:


7. The Noonday Devil, on which I shall be writing in depth when I can:


Jenny said...

I've been trying to get through The Noonday Devil for months, but it keeps falling by the wayside. Nothing says acedia like being unable to finish the book on acedia.

Jenny said...

I've been trying to get through The Noonday Devil for months, but it keeps falling by the wayside. Nothing says acedia like being unable to finish the book on acedia.

Anonymous said...

No idea why that posted twice.

Catholic Bibliophagist said...

I'll be curious to see what you have to say on The Noonday Devil. I found it hard to read because it seems like the author had trouble defining acedia.

I've been trying to read Acedia and its Discontents by R.J. Snell, but not making much progress. It's on my nightstand, but it keeps getting covered with other books.

So far, the most helpful stuff on acedia which I've managed to read is in has been in Little Sins Mean a Lot by Elizabeth Scalia.

Amber said...

Thanks for posting that link to the Hamilton documentary! We watched last night as part of a little at home date night and really enjoyed it. And really, it is thanks to you that we even listened to Hamilton! We've really enjoyed it, and were more than a little envious that you both got to see it in NY. It is coming to SF in the spring, and I intend to try and get tickets... but I don't expect to be able to get any!