Mandatory Christmas post

28 12 2010

Merry Christmas, all you people I don’t know. But that sort of virtual greeting is all too common in this cyber-echo chamber. I have bumped into recently some more conservative voices talking about how we should insist on saying, “Merry Christmas”, we should resist the assault on Christmas, and so forth. My own thoughts, to be quite curt, is that I don’t mind the secularization at all. True, there is something quite ridiculous about walking through a mall two days before Christmas at seven in the morning, half the stores already open, while over the loudspeakers is being piped a song with the line, “all I want for Christmas is YOU!” Ain’t that sweet. However, some people who want to put more religiosity back into the holidays are a bunch of stuck-up killjoys who would give the nosy church lady a run for her money. Really, who wants less fun?

That being said, I think there is a real contemplativeness when it comes to Christmas day itself. In New Orleans at least, everything is dead on Christmas day. Before, it is certified Grade-A ape shit, but on Christmas itself, everyone is hanging out with their families and not doing anything if traffic is any indicator. True, the Christmas season seems to start earlier and earlier each year (after Halloween), but I say let the people have their “holiday season” that ends on December 25th at 5:00 p.m. No harm in it, really. We of more religious inclination can then actually focus on the religious things if we so choose. And let us not forget that Christmas begins a series of holidays even in the Catholic religious calendar.

There is a certain unreality about religious sentiment if it cannot offer us the true feast. If religion is reduced to a series of obligations without an attachment to real life, I don’t see it having a future. Maybe Thanksgiving and Veteran’s Day need to be holy days of obligation instead of Immaculate Conception or Ascension. In Catholic societies of the past, the reason you went to church was the same reason you had the day off from work. In many Catholic countries still, the patronal feasts are the primary holidays, and many have all of Holy Week off (they go to the beach in the Southern Hemisphere). But the idea that one should celebrate a holy day “on one’s spare time” only augments the cognitive dissonance at the heart of modern religiosity.

Well, I also need to announce the first (and quite possibly last) annual Reditus book giveaway contest. The prize is a book on Puerto Rican witchcraft that I received two copies of as gifts. So one copy will go to a lucky reader. The rules are as follows: post a link or offer to send me a PDF file about something that you think I would like to read and eventually post about. You can post this link in the comments section below. The contest is open until I declare a winner. The winner can then send me his or her address privately and I will mail the book via media mail. But if no one wants to play along, I’ll just send it to the person who wants it the most. It’s better than having two copies of the same book.

And no, you can’t mail me anything, because I don’t need some anonymous group of psychos having my address. Good luck, and I look forward to seeing what (if anything) you can come up with.


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34 responses

31 12 2010
sortacatholic

Wufila — Congrats! Can’t wait for the thread.

CSN — go soak your head.

Arturo — This one-off contest reminds me: we don’t need prizes to have a reader’s circle. Could we have a “what have we read this month/season” thread? Everyone suggests something. Then, you can post on what you’d like. I hope this doesn’t turn into show ‘n’ tell or a pissing contest, but it’s an idea.

31 12 2010
Arturo Vasquez

By the way, Wufila won the prize, since hoodoo is very interesting. Expect post about it next week.

31 12 2010
Arturo Vasquez

Nothing beats cyber-piety to win an argument. Also, the very American (I will just assume you are American) tendency to belittle learning in favor of being a member of the great, anti-intellectual, unwashed horde.

31 12 2010
CSN

Is this a Catholic blog? Or at least does the blogger profess to be Catholic? Unbelievable. This is the worst site I have ever seen. Just a group of pedantic self-congratulatory intellectual elitists who think that being Catholic means reading a lot of Catholic books.

Would you talk down to St. Juan Diego or St. Faustina Kowalska for their lack of education?

30 12 2010
sortacatholic

Congratulations on your successful Master’s! I will be sure to read.

Boy, was I lucky. The Canadian university where I earned my Master’s only required half the length. Either that, or my advisor was more than willing to let me go early. 🙂 (It’s the latter.)

30 12 2010
KarlH

Thanks!

29 12 2010
sancrucensis

This blog is amazing! I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a Neoplatonist Lefebvrist – let alone one who reads Zizek and Lacan. Though I guess it’s too late for the contest I would like to submit the epilogue to this paper: http://www.scribd.com/doc/36614782/Newman-s-Apologia-and-the-Drama-of-Faith-and-Reason-Draft5 (starting at p.115). It connects some of the suggestions above, comparing the Zizek-Milbank debate to the Newman-Kingsley controversy.

29 12 2010
Arturo Vasquez

I’ll leave this open for another day or so, and then I will determine a winner sometime tomorrow. Thank you for your entries.

29 12 2010
Jason

*By the way, I would love to your thoughts on Hip Hop sometime. I didn’t post the video for chuckles only.

29 12 2010
Jason

In homage to your frequent rap references, which always give me a chuckle, I link you to this bizarre piece of Americana:

29 12 2010
Bernard Brandt

I’m even more lowbrow than you. Check this out. And I’m not even doing this to try for the prize.

http://www.wimp.com/merrychristmas/

29 12 2010
Nicholas

Merry Christmas

28 12 2010
Cabbage

I’m lowbrow enough that my tastes stick to RSS feeds. So here is a stab in the dark link

http://www.sikhtoons.com/index.html

28 12 2010
Craig

_The Philosopher and the Provocateur: The Correspondence of Jacques Maritain and Saul Alinsky_, ed. Bernard E. Doering. Notre Dame, 1994.

28 12 2010
Leah

My suggestion is “Sankofa,” a film about slavery by Ethiopian director Haile Gerima. Unlike other films of this genre, it takes place in Louisiana in a solidly Catholic environment and incorporates elements of black American and West African folk religion into the plot. My problem with the film is that Gerima either didn’t do his research on American slavery or his Afrocentric ideology was more important than historical accuracy, because big chunks of the film are completely wrong. For example, the psychotic priest Fr. Raphael is shown to be self-hating mulatto Joe’s surrogate father, which would not have been possible, given that there was a priest shortage in early 19th century America and no cleric would have been tied to a specific place for a prolonged long period of time. I normally wouldn’t recommend this, but I’d be interested to hear (read?) your take on this.The whole thing is on youtube. Here’s the link for part 1:

28 12 2010
sortacatholic

This is my contest entry (if the contest is still on):

Ko, Dorothy. Cinderella’s sisters : a revisionist history of footbinding. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 2005.

LC Number GT498.F66 K55 2005

Dorothy Ko’s book is a fascinating study of the ritualization of deformity. Gross, yes, but nevertheless applicable to many of the inconsistencies and abuses that appear in any ritual system. She’s at Barnard now, but I suspect she did her grad work at Berkeley.

28 12 2010
+Wulfila

Fun article, even if it doesn’t win:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703989004575653102537901956.html

The Wall Street Journal discovers hoodoo.

28 12 2010
28 12 2010
Turmarion

Excellent, and many thanks! Much of interest here!

28 12 2010
Anonymous
28 12 2010
Turmarion

OK–guess I’m not crazy. Must have posted it correctly the first time. The link is jordanstratford.blogspot.com. For some reason when I try to use HTML and put it in as a link, it goes back to here with a “not found” 404 error. Go figure. I’m giving up after this. Many apologies, and may my errors not diminish everyone’s holiday cheer!

28 12 2010
Turmarion

OK–one mo’ time: <a href="jordanstratford.blogspot.com"the link should be here!. The disadvantages of the academic life–relatively long holiday breaks in which one drinks too much to post right…. 😉

28 12 2010
Robert

A shoot, I won’t be reading up on PR witchcraft any time soon. Pity.

28 12 2010
Turmarion

To Arturo and to all regular and irregular posters here: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! ¡Feliz Navidad y Prospero Año Nuevo! S rozhdesvom Khristovym i s novym godom! (Russian–irrelevant, but I think it’s cool….)

Don’t know if it’s kosher to offer more than one link or PDF, but what the hey, it’s the holidays. Even if I don’t “win”, I hope some of these will be of use or interest to others, and if anyone wants me to email the PDF’s to them, just let me know, provide me an email, and I’ll send them to you.

Links of possible interest: this one, by the Gnostic priest Jordan stratford (it has links to his earlier blog–they’re all interesting); <a href="www.palmtreegarden.orgthis neo-Gnostic blog, which actually has some sound research and interesting articles; this link to the poetry of the Carmelite nun Jessica Powers; and as to PDF’s, I have one with the Spanish translations of the Gnostic Gospels of Thomas and Philip, and the Valentinian Gospel of Truth; and an essay on the Eastern Orthodox view of Original Sin.

Good post, and I have some comments, but I’ll save them until the martini wears off and I’ve had some sleep. 😉

28 12 2010
Arturo Vasquez

I’ve posted this before. At least I thought I did.

28 12 2010
Arturo Vasquez

Seen it. No dice.

28 12 2010
KarlH

(I cut out about 12 links)

28 12 2010
KarlH

I went a little crazy while looking at all the articles I’ve bookmarked/compiled. But I’m no cheater. As such, here’s a few more links you (and others) may or may not find interesting of tangential interest to this blog’s subject matters that I pulled out of this year’s reading materials. If you think this is distracting/derails this comment thread, my apologies and I’ll not be offended if you mark it for deletion. Maybe I should simply start a blog again:

Historical:

The Kingsley-Newman controversies are rather interesting to read through their correspondences, but my personal enjoyment of their tensions is perhaps due to the fact that I’m a self-confessed insular Anglophile who mostly only sees artistic merit in 19th century fairy tales:

http://www.archive.org/details/apologiaprovita00newmuoft

Political:

Auden’s political critical essay entitled: “The Open and Closed Society”

http://www.the-rathouse.com/popAudenOpenClosedSociety.html

Philosophical (Phil. of science/epistemologically related)—Karl Popper’s lecture “The Problem of Induction”:

http://dieoff.org/page126.htm

On converting intellectuals:

http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles5/LazarChristianity.php

Lastly, a biography of Seraphim Rose.

http://www.pomona.edu/Magazine/PCMSP01/saint.shtml

28 12 2010
KarlH

Auden’s political critical essay entitled: “The Open and Closed Society”

http://www.the-rathouse.com/popAudenOpenClosedSociety.html

28 12 2010
Charles Curtis

Anonymous group of psychos.. har. Nice. After my post on your last post here, which the FBI has probably taken note of, I guess I’ll embrace being a member of that group.

Last year I was in Switzerland hanging out with the Fraternity Eucharistein, who are essentially a bunch of Valasians and Frenchmen who are doing their best to carry on the tradition of Francis de Sales and Marthe Robin .. One of them is a reformed heroine addict whose grandfather is the peasant who gave Marcel Lefebvre the land for his seminary in Econe.

I guess that I’m curious any thoughts you may have about all that. I’ve asked you to talk about it already, so I’ll just ask again. I’ll spot you a link. I hope you understand the French, it has no soustitres:

And I don’t want the book, you can keep it.

28 12 2010
Stephen

I’ve never commented before on here, but I love your blog! Here is something kind of interesting for your little book contest thing

28 12 2010
Carl

I don’t have kids yet, but I was thinking it might make sense to do the CONSUMER EXTRAVAGANZA thing on the Solstice or St. Nick’s day or something, so that Christmas itself can be a purely religious holiday. It would be cruel to deprive one’s children of Santa and greed for presents but it’s a shame to celebrate such worldly values on Christ’s birthday.

28 12 2010
Robert

28 12 2010
Bernard Brandt

A merry Christmas to you, Arturo.

As regards links that you may be interested in, I have several, all related to the same person and weblink, and that is:

http://www.luc.edu/faculty/mhooker/

It starts by linking to an extensive set of classical scholarship links, most if not all posting to google book links of original edition pdfs, here:

http://www.luc.edu/faculty/mhooker/google_books-classic_scholarship.html

It goes on to an extensive list of greek classical scholarship, here (with oodles of google book links):

http://www.luc.edu/faculty/mhooker/google_books-greek_lit.html

Ditto with latin literature, here:

http://www.luc.edu/faculty/mhooker/google_books-latin_lit.html

And last, but certainly, not least, one of the most extensive list of religion texts I have EVER seen, all with links to google.books, going from the ancient near east, on through rabbinic and hellenistic judaism, to NT scriptural studies, to patristics, all the way up to the mediaeval, renaissance, and reformation periods. Oh, and it has links to all of the volumes of Migne’s Patrologia Latine and Graece.

Enjoy.

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