The Real World

Van Gogh's Bedroom in Arles

Human people are the creators of other-worlds, minor-league gods who daily exercises impossible powers without taking a moment to marvel. Our houses, for instance, are worlds. They do not conform to the geography of the universe. They impose their geography on us. Whatever notions of space we had "out there" are dropped on the welcome mat.  Now "front" is dictated by the front door and "back" by the rear patio. Even if we are in an apartment at the top of a skyscraper, technically towering … [Read more...]

The Spirit of Rebellion

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One of my larger worries, considering that daily question of whether to be a Catholic, is whether it means giving up the spirit of rebellion. This, after all, is the common perception of things, that the sinner is the rebel and the Saint obedient, that those who "do what they want" deserve to swagger in the feeling of self-assertion -- while those who are subservient to a transcendent God have no cause for such cool.But what is rebellion? Surely it is an assertion of self against another -- … [Read more...]

Eyeball the Enemy

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Eye-contact is a fascinating phenomenon. With our beloved, it is a delight. With a stranger walking down the hall, it is unbearable. This leads to the exciting game by which I -- knowing full well that I am about to cross paths with the aforementioned stranger -- pretend not to know it at all. I keep my head down, fascinated -- for some inexplicable reason -- with the movement of my feet, and only at the last moment look up, make eye-contact, and acknowledge the other’s presence with my most i … [Read more...]

Is Female Purity Bullshit?

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Yerp, says the wonderful Lindy West of Jezebel.Her critique comes from being righteously pissed over an evangelical culture which has guys saying they want a "pure" girl without defining their terms. She discusses "sex-ed" classes which liken women who have had sex before marriage to chewed up pieces of gum no one wants. Allow me to murder my way through her thesis: "Purity" is a vague, repressive expectation imposed on women by men, a unique method of controlling female sexuality, with the … [Read more...]

Why the Church Would be so Ridiculous as to Oppose IVF

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We have a godawful habit of seeing children as things so small, cute and fluffy that we hollow them of that dignity hard as titanium steel -- the dignity of being a human person.The child is not owned by his mother, father, community, or state. He is a unique human subject, a universe unto himself, an unfathomable subjectivity -- a being who finds himself free, existing for his own sake.In the glare of this freedom, it occurs to me that I cannot own a child any more than I can own an ad … [Read more...]

Death as Orgasm

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Love sucks.To love is to desire communion with the beloved, to ache for unity, oneness, and a coming-together. But my beloved is infinitely not me, just as I am infinitely not her. Love seeks to bring me and not-me into one, that the "two become one flesh",  that "we'll be one tonight," that "you'll be in my heart" that "I'll melt with you," "lose myself" and on and on, a heaving tumble of ill-thought love-songs and poorly-constructed sonnets that lie to our hopeful faces.How can the two … [Read more...]

The Difficulty With Engaging Gay Marriage

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UPDATE: This post may make more sense with this post as its partner.Catholics are in a unique position in regards to the gay marriage debate, one ignored by Catholics themselves and those lobbying for redefinition. Granted, it's a position more nuanced than the culture would like, and it may very well mean involving oneself in intellectual discussion that transcends Facebook profile pictures with all the influence of Kony2012, so beware. I'm going to try my best to express this position, … [Read more...]

On not being allowed to watch the Conclave

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I love being Catholic, not only for the vast horizons the Church opens before my searching eyes and thirsting heart, but also for the mighty, wooden doors she closes in front of my inquiring nose. That the Church dares -- in a world nauseous with false egalitarianism -- to declare things too holy to be dressed in anything but a finery I cannot afford, a secrecy I cannot know, and a reverence I can only hope to attain -- all this convinces me that she alone is the throne of Eternity on earth. In … [Read more...]

A Reflection on the Abdication of Pope Benedict XVI

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An unusual post for an unusual day. I'm transcribing my notebook because I don't have anything particularly structured to say about our Holy Father's resignation:He, the scholar by the window, braving a life of declarative sentences and scriptural exegesis, was swept up into ecstasy by the Holy Spirit to dwell in high places with Him.On the day of his anointing he wore a sweater underneath his finery, for it was cold. "Pray for me," he said to me, "that I may not flee for fear of the w … [Read more...]

Money, Death of Culture

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“In the end, therefore, money will be the one thing people will desire, which is moreover only representative, an abstraction." -KierkegaardWhen a male of the Mandan Indians fasts for three days, shaves his head, and hangs from splints pushed through his skin to prove his manhood to the universe he is not thinking of traditional Mandan culture. He is becoming a man.Nor is the Mexican Catholic, crawling on her hands and knees to venerate an image of the Blessed Mother, "participating i … [Read more...]


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