Los amantes

19 05 2010

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¿Quién los ve andar por la ciudad
si todos están ciegos?
Ellos se toman de la mano: algo habla
entre sus dedos, lenguas dulces
lamen la húmeda palma, corren por las falanges,
y arriba está la noche llena de ojos.

Son los amantes, su isla flota a la deriva
hacia muertes de césped, hacia puertos
que se abren entre sábanas.
Todo se desordena a través de ellos,
todo encuentra su cifra escamoteada;
pero ellos ni siquiera saben
que mientras ruedan en su amarga arena
hay una pausa en la obra de la nada,
el tigre es un jardín que juega.

Amanece en los carros de basura,
empiezan a salir los ciegos,
el ministerio abre sus puertas.
Los amantes rendidos se miran y se tocan
una vez más antes de oler el día.
Ya están vestidos, ya se van por la calle.
Y es sólo entonces
cuando están muertos, cuando están vestidos,
que la ciudad los recupera hipócrita
y les impone los deberes cotidianos.

-Julio Cortazar

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Salvia Divinorum

18 05 2010

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There are a number of common names for S. divinorum and nearly all are related to the plant’s association with the Virgin Mary. It is known to the Mazatecs as ska Maria Pastora, the leaf or herb of Mary, the Shepherdess. The name is usually shortened to ska Maria or ska Pastora and the sage is also known by a number of Spanish names including hojas de Maria, hojas de la Pastora, hierba (yerba) Maria or la Maria. The Mazatecs believe this Salvia to be an incarnation of the Virgin Mary, and care is taken to avoid trampling on or damaging it when picking the leaves, which are used both for curing and in divination.

via Lonely Goth

Jesus as Social Engineer?

17 05 2010

Found via the Western Confucian

Jesus as anti-family

Here’s a nibble of this article:

As the Church settled into the groove of establishment, accepting to greater and lesser degrees the realisation that Christ was not about to be returning anytime soon, the imperative of discipleship gradually waned, other priorities taking its place, and that rather than the mission of the Kingdom having a Church, the Church had a Kingdom. Ironically, the Church had become well and truly secularised, so profoundly so that cultural norms of empire, those of citizenship, stability, honour, familial obligation and ties, became the ethos of Church, and the motifs by which morality and religiosity were infused. How odd it is that many of today’s proponents of ‘orthodoxy’, and the inveighers against ‘relativism’, are perhaps the unwitting spruikers for what is actually the victory of a secularism that long ago permeated our Church.

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Resplendent bodies

17 05 2010

Cuerpos Resplandecientes: Santos Populares Argentinos by Rosa Lojo

Over the years in Latin America, the idea of the “santo pagano”, “santo popular”, or “santo informal” has been the subject of many studies and literary pursuits. From regional folklore, the figure of the folk saint has often become a figure of class resistance, the assertion of plebian pride, and a national symbol. This is due a great deal to the general secularization of Latin America in the the last fifty years, the subsequent decline of the power of the Catholic Church over cultural affairs, and the feeling of exclusion that large parts of these societies feel towards the general cultural discourse. In the face of the modernization of religion, people feel that they need to carve out a niche for their own saints, their own intercessors, who defend them from the same institutions that the mainstream Church seeks to uphold.
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16 05 2010

Music by Philip Glass, with awesome accompanying video.


13 05 2010

I was reading recently the comments of Cardinal Schonborn against the Vatican bureaucracy, citing that the powers that be in the Church should re-consider their approaches toward “re-married” Catholics and people in “committed” homosexual relationships. I have no real comment on that aspect of it. But my own thoughts tended more to be along the lines of, “hey, isn’t this the guy who edited/wrote the Catechism of the Catholic Church?”
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On integration in the arts

12 05 2010

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Today, premieres at the big ballet companies come dressed in the hippest costumes on the hottest bodies. They boast an haute frame of reference and wear the zeitgeist like a thong. Some of these premieres push the right buttons and generate enough enthusiasm to radiate success, while others push the wrong buttons and disappear after a season or two. No matter what the buttons, there’s not much difference between good and bad. Your average state-of-the-art premiere is so derivative of Forsythe, Tharp, or Martins that it feels secondhand (even when the ballets actually are by Forsythe, Tharp, or Martins, they feel secondhand). Or it tends to trade in age-old clichés.

-Laura Jacobs, in an essay in the New Criterion

Ms. Jacob’s essay had parallel concerns with that of another essay of Sarah Kaufman that I wrote about a year ago. The general complaint of these two critics is that Balanchine’s predominance and style have impoverished the ethos of contemporary ballet. Ms. Jacob’s assessment, however, is fairer, going to some lengths to debunk the prejudices that some have concerning Balanchine’s “abstract” approach. For example, his “abstract” ballets are not all that abstract: they are rich in imagery and emotion, and still require thinking and interpretation on the part of the dancer. Balanchine may have very well had stories in mind when he choreographed his “plotless” ballets. Perhaps he simply chose not to share them.

In reading Bernard Taper’s biography of the greatest ballet mind of last century, one sees another major aspect of Balanchine’s work that Jacobs also seeks to highlight: the influence of Sergei Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes. In his “apprenticeship” with the great impresario, the gifted young artist was sent by Diaghilev to study the great works of Western culture in Italy and France: everything from architecture and painting to music and drama. In other words, a better reading of Balanchine’s stark classicism is that it is a distillation of all of the tendencies of Western art into their purest forms. For those who do not have the same discipline and formation as Balanchine, such cultural nuances are completely lost on them.

(One footnote that I like to make concerning Balanchine as an Orthodox believer was that he most certainly did not see himself as standing outside the culture of the West, but very much a part of it. Orthodoxy is never explicitly referenced in his ballets, but he does choreograph Mozart’s Ave Verum in his late work, Mozartiana.)

Thus one can conclude that the problem with artists and intellectuals today is that they have no reference to anything except their own subjective experience of art and ideas. In that line of thinking, every piece of art or every act of culture is ephemeral since the transcendent simply does not exist. Thus, art, study, and conversation go nowhere. There is nothing left but empty spectacle, technical skill, and a solipsistic personalism that seeks nothing more but its own gratification. One could contend that the West needs to find religion again to get out of this rut, but religion itself is also stuck in the mire of rampant personalism. Part of me thinks that we simply need to start small, and start anew.

Atheist Folk Saint

11 05 2010

The above video is about the folk canonization of Ernesto “Che” Guervara in the region of Bolivia where he was killed. Like all folk saints, he does stuff like heal the sick and find lost livestock.

He must be doing somersaults in his grave. The Catholic populace has the last laugh.

The Secrets of Sex

10 05 2010

The major purpose of Michel Foucault’s History of Sexuality is to overturn the idea that the formulation of sex in the modern context goes along the lines of repression and permission. This is the premise behind the “Sexual Revolution”: the concept that, within our enlightened epoch, sexuality is freed from the repressive Victorian past. Foucault shows throughout the book that not only was sex part of societal discourse in the Enlightenment and Victorian eras, but sex was spoken of more often, and was more central to this discourse than it had ever been. The tendency then becomes that of sexuality defining one’s inclusion in the normal or the pathologically excluded: it no longer becomes an issue of what one does, but of who one is.
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Lully: Cadmus et Hermione

7 05 2010