The Internationale (again)

2 08 2010

I recently watched this documentary on the socialist hymn, the Internationale, which you can find in its entirety on Youtube.

A couple of comments are in order. One is that the old socialist folk singer, Pete Seeger, invited Billy Bragg, another singer, to re-write the English translation of the hymn: to “update it”, if you will. Of course, being the curmudgeon that I can sometimes be, I dislike the “Novus Ordo” version of the revolutionary hymn. I much prefer the old American version, or even the old British version. Changing the revolutionary wallpaper like that is not going to make one iota of difference in the long run.
Read the rest of this entry »

Catholic cry babies

2 08 2010

There is a whole genre of Catholic writing that makes us out to be a bunch of dysfunctional individuals who can’t hack it in society. The latest is this particular gem of false victimhood. This is the catalyst for this author’s short essay:

Our son, encouraged by a romantic interest in one of his classmates, secretly placed a white, long-stemmed rose in the young girl’s desk. When the object of his affection opened her desk, she coughed loudly to get the class’s full attention, stared at my son, and ripped the flower to shreds, slowly dropping the destroyed petals to the floor…

Since my son’s experience, I’ve heard stories of girls throwing gifts from admirers out the school bus window, sharing a “break up” note with the whole class before handing it to the rejected boy at day’s end, and posting vicious, ridiculing comments online — all after having coaxed, urged, and encouraged the boy in his affection. “That’s how girls are,” the educators shrug, without explaining why the boys are taught to respect a strict code of behavior, while girls purposefully flaunt it and emotionally debilitate, injure, and humiliate boys.

I have to say in the interest of full disclosure that I was not one of the “cool kids” in high school. I didn’t have my first girlfriend until my late 20’s, and she turned out to be my present wife. Maybe I was smart enough not to get interested in relationships until I was actually ready to get married. So I don’t sympathize with this boy’s plight all that much. But the author has proven herself what one has called a “helicopter mom” too much before (once recommending that the Church change its perennial confessional discipline by allowing parents to sit in on their children’s confession). Is there a whole generation of self-described “orthodox Catholic” parents who are setting their children up to be a bunch of emotionally stunted ninnies?

First of all, I think it a bit ridiculous to consider the “mean girls / ice queens” some sort of “sexual predators”. If anything, such a classification from a Catholic website seems extremely inopportune considering the heat our clergy has been taking due to its criminal indiscretions. The absurdity of this line of thought is continued by the author:

Stories abound of boys looking for healthy dates and relationships only to unwittingly encounter sexually experienced, aggressive girls who, in their neediness and emotional instability, employ guilt and temptation to coax middle school and high school-age boys into sexual activity. To turn them down, these predators know, the boys will be subjected to further ridicule and assertions of “unmanliness.”

One commenter said the obvious: “I wish I had that problem when I was in school”. All jesting aside, it seems that the author is too entangled in her argument to realize she is placing on the same moral footing a pedophile priest, a serial rapist, and a particularly bratty girl in a Catholic school girl uniform. We are all victims now. If someone doesn’t treat me with the kid gloves that I need to be handled with, I am emotionally scarred, and my mother has a right to shout my plight to the four corners of the Internet.

Seriously, have we come to this? Have we come to the point where the Catholic Faith is our secret weapon to play the part of the arch-victim? Where certain Catholics feel “victimized” by Catholics who are less “Catholic” than they are?

For me, this stuff brings to mind what an acquaintance of mine once said. He was a gentleman in his early thirties, an ex-Catholic Latino man who has a particularly bad personality. He complained how American women were too stuck up and mean to be good wives, so he could only see himself marrying a foreigner. I have heard such criticisms echoed in other quarters. Being married to a good American gal (with a Ph.D. to boot), I can’t express how sorry I think these people really are. And I feel that is what some “orthodox Catholic men” are being steered towards: being a cranky old bachelor with newspapers piled to the ceiling and too many cats. I hope this author’s children are spared such a horrid fate.