… We’ll just file this under My Religion is Cooler Than Yours and call it a day. Because what’s that I always say? That Catholicism is punk rock and old punks make the best papists.
… Having seen Les Misérables no less than three times I am now ready to write a little something about the movie. Not a review, more like personal reflections, since the movie is a personal experience. First experiencing Les Miserables on Broadway as a little girl poor Éponine broke my heart and Javert terrified me. In the raging teenage years of my youth I felt every pang of unrequited love Éponine had for Marius. I disliked Cosette out of jealousy. The adult Cosette, even now, leaves me with feelings of indifference towards her. The little Cosette, the verbally abused one sweeping floors… her I liked. I used to pretend I was her and flail about melodramatically when my mom asked me to do chores. I would sulk and pout and sing Castle on a Cloud. Sometimes I was even Gavroche, poor neglected and practically feral. I was not an easy child to raise.
At various times in my life I mentally played the revolutionary, Enjolras. Mostly during those rebellious days in college. As an adult I often imagined myself Valjean, hiding from a secret past; singing Who Am I and inwardly asking myself that very question. As a mother Fantine touched me with her desire to care for her child at all costs and her aching at the youth she wasted for girlish love rang all too true.
But Javert, no, I never played the part of Javert. Evil Javert, always lurky in a dark alley Javert. Cold and calculating Javert who only saw justice, never mercy. In my punk rock days the Javerts were the ones we viewed with contempt. Javerts were the legal and government systems that kept the downtrodden mercilessly under their boot heel. We rebelled against the Javerts.
Listening to the soundtrack over the years, I had mentally tuned Javert’s part out. He was just so doggedly exhausting in his chase to capture the righteous man… blah blah blah the law blah blah blah justice. The Confrontation was one such song I would typically skip over. Sitting in the theater didn’t afford me that luxury, as a result I heard the song, really heard it for the first time. Suddenly I was reconsidering Javert.
Men like me can never change
Men like you can never change
You know nothing of Javert
I was born inside a jail
I was born with scum like you
I am from the gutter too!
I wasn’t born inside a jail but I was born into a social circumstance that wasn’t considered the norm as it is today. My parents were divorced in the seventies, shortly after I was born. Sadly, today that’s no big deal but almost 40 years ago it was not as prevalent which made me very self conscious. My mother and I struggled financially too. While other kids played sports and participated in extracurricular activities I had various jobs after school. In high school the popular kids used to come into the fast food restaurants were the under-privileged kids worked to buy the things the privileged took for granted just to mock us and make our lives a little more miserable.
It’s really hard to get past all that no matter how successful you grow up to be. You always feel a bit like an outsider who has try extra harder than normal to prove to people you’re not poor white trash. But the real challenge, when the Javerts of the world finally make it out the gutter, is to not hold the people who didn’t in contempt.
Javert sang of God but I doubt he ever knew God. Because if he did he would not have been so boastful of how far he came along in life. Javert needed to credit his success to God, not his own doing. This pride manifested itself in a false sense of righteous justice that was completely devoid of any mercy.
Javert loathed Valjean for being a criminal as much as he loathed him for being poor. For having to resort to thievery to feed his family instead of working hard like Javert did himself. Surely, if Javert could overcome his situation with a little hard work and perseverance than any one can. If people like Valjean are poor it’s because they want or deserve their poverty.
And that was the moment I realized I was Javert. Soured in my adulthood. Uppity, smug Javert who looked down on people who didn’t pull themselves up by their boot straps and set about to better their situation. I and Javert both credited ourselves on our own resourcefulness and never once stopped to consider God’s role in our fate. God’s divine intervention. God’s mercy. Without recognizing God’s mercy in my own lives we were both unable to extend it to others. This flaw led Javert to his suicide. I just pray I can remind myself of this flaw enough to over come it.
Anyway, that’s all. I suck at being merciful and I sincerely hope there’s never a day when I find myself identifying with the Thénardiers.
… From the Met Museum’s website;
Rosary, ca. 1500–1525
Ivory, silver, partially gilded mounts
Each bead of the rosary represents the bust of a well-fed burgher or maiden on one side, and a skeleton on the other. The terminals, even more graphically, show the head of a deceased man, with half the image eaten away from decay. Such images served as reminders that life is fleeting and that leading a virtuous life as a faithful Christian is key to salvation.
Proving yet again that Catholicism is the punk rock of religions & master of macabre with this memento mori rosary.
We are all going to die.
Marc writes, “…we have been rudely placed in the position of rebellion, and of the advocation of civil disobedience. To those who understand the teachings of the Church, this rebellion is nothing new, it has just been suddenly and fantastically stuck in the public eye. (Thank you, Department of Health and Human Services.) The Church already rebels against the twin monsters Socialism and Capitalism in her teachings, and strives instead after the principles of subsidiarity, in which the human person is neither an economic tool nor a cog in the machine. The Church already calls us to rebel against the culture of death, against abortion — of course — but with equal fervor against euthanasia, unjust war, the unjust use of the death penalty, suicide, terrorism, and any attacks on life… Once you begin the radical task of defending Her right to practice what She preaches, you can’t help but notice how excellent that preaching is. ”
Even my son, of nine tender years, remarked that he couldn’t help but notice that it’s a very exciting time to be a Catholic.
… occasionally a commenter will leave me link or make a remark so profound that doesn’t deserve to get lost in a com-box. This prompts me to bring them out into the light of day for all to enjoy. Two such links and a comment I felt were worth sharing.
“The Catholic Faith unnerves people not because it is morbid per se, but because it is so relentlessly realistic, and deals head-on with the full spectrum of spiritual and temporal realities. This unblinking, unflinching view of both the beauties and the horrors of the universe and the human condition makes most people uncomfortable, if not downright freaked out…”
… Catholicism is the punk rock of religions. The Church is fearless in Her embrace of death. We love our relics, cherish our martyrs, talk to the dead and pray for a happy death!
I was discussing my upcoming trip to Italy next month with a non-Catholic co-worker. I told her about the possibility of getting tickets for the Scavi Tour and expressed my enthusiasm for seeing the chians that bound St. Peter and Capuchini Bone Chapel, and went on in some length about St. Stephen’s hand in Budapest.
She just stared at me as I went on and on about chains and bones and crypts and decapitated and severed limbs… slowly backing away from me.
I suppose it would appear to some that Catholics are a morbid twisted lot, especially since things like death and dying are still taboo. They shouldn’t be… it is the one universal experience we will all have in common.
I wonder though if my attitude isn’t in part cultural as much as it is spiritual. I mean, hell, I was named after this doll.
Even some of my fellow papist friends are a little taken aback by the thought of “memento mori” and can not understand why I would chose to surround myself with death and do hospice nursing.
Here’s why… if you knew you were going to do die tomorrow what would you do? Call all your loved ones, settle quarrels, forgive and seek forgiveness, go some where or do something you would normally put off… in other words you would LIVE! There’s a reason for the popular sayings “live for the moment” or “live like you are dying.”
Why do so many wait till they are dying to start living anyway?
I know that at any moment I could die; I am reminded daily how fragile and precious and incredibly brief our time on this earth is. And that knowledge is a source of joy. Call me creepy.
About the image: Prince of Orange, René de Chalons, died in battle in 1544, at age 25. His widow commissioned the sculptor Ligier Richier to represent him offering his heart to God, set against the painted splendour of his former worldly estate. Church of Saint-Étienne, Bar-le-Duc. [source]
… What did I just say about nothing being private on online?
So this blogger posts a picture of herself in a bikini and, horror among horrors, her image is taken and used for a dieting advertisement. As the before photo. Yes, it’s highly insulting and ego bruising, but I am perplexed by her shock and outrage.
Kudos to her for rocking a bikini in public and writing about it to help fat women with body issues. Her heart’s in the right place. Not sure where her mind was though.
“It made me feel exposed and not in control of my own image,” Cateyes tells Yahoo Shine.
Yes. That is exactly what happens every time you share an image online. You lose control over it.
Please let this be a lesson, ladies.
On another note, I followed the link to her blog and I’m digging her spunk and rock-a-billy style. She writes poignantly about dealing with body issues and how painful it is to struggle with weight. That I get. But as a fat girl myself, I’m not big into the whole Fat Pride scene. I find the whole idea strange and curious. Mostly because I refuse to accept myself at my current weight.
I can still love myself without being proud of my fat.
I also don’t get devoting an entire blog to writing about how women are so much more than their body shape and that size doesn’t matter, while being so intensely focused on the one thing you don’t want people to make a big deal of.
Doesn’t that sort of defeat your purpose?
I’m fat. But I don’t write about being fat. all. the. time. Because being fat isn’t all who I am. I see what she’s trying to do and I applaud her for it. But I think the best way to deal with fat stereotypes is to just be a nice, happy fat person to whomever you meet. People assume fat people are lazy and miserable, so show them otherwise.
But eh. That’s just me.
Obligatory Disclaimer Stuff: If you do visit her blog know that it’s got some profanity and a nude picture of her on her About Page.
… I love the internet. Lookit what I found. A Fulflej video. Who?
I bought my first bass guitar, a bright blue Fender Squier, from the lead singer. I loved that Fender. More than I loved the boy who taught me how to play it; the shy bassist for a punk band called, of all things, Eucharist. Life is full of ironies.
Now, lets just pray those photos of me with a mohawk never surface.