Friday, February 3, 2017

TFW Rogue One Reminds You of Silence

TFW--That Feel When...

No, really, when watching Rogue One with my kids recently I recognized a connection with Silence:

Image result for galen ersoGalen Erso and Father Rodrigues face the same dilemma:

How do you resist silently?

Answer:  They respond differently.  Galen actually does something.  Depending on the book or the movie, Rodrigues does little or nothing.  But at the moment of decision, they face the same demoralizing, annihilating reality:  they can resist immediately and surely suffer, or they can submit outwardly and seek another avenue of resistance.  

Image result for damned if you do damned if you don't

Alt-Right Bête Noire Milo Yiannopoulos is an Aquinas-quoting Catholic

Alt-Right Bête Noire Milo Yiannopoulos is an Aquinas-quoting Catholic

Recent post by Artur Rosman wherein he demonstrates the nuclear option--or maybe napalm option is more accurate/appropriate--in Catholic Studies.

So the familiar term "bad Catholic"?  Rosman blows up what that mean and to whom that might apply.  Hence "nuclear/napalm".  Rosman is willing to advance that uncomfortable, wince-inducing argument that many intuit but often aren't willing to recognize.

Source: Jason Abbruzzese on Mashable from 2015.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Silence & The Rigors of Witness

Well, I finally watched Scorcese's Silence.  So, as promised earlier, here is the second installment of reflections.

Image result for adam driver silence movie

Adam Driver (Garupe) and Andrew Garfield (Rodrigues) in Silence; photo from AZ Central

First, visually it's a wonderful, lush movie.  

Rodrigo Prieto deserves all the praise he's received for his cinematography.  Sweeping vistas, crashing surf, nuanced colors and lighting--they're all here.  It makes sense that a "Catholic" movie would appear visually attractive.  We have St. Peter's Basilica, the pomp and ritual of the Mass everywhere, every day.  So a movie about Catholics should follow suit, and Silence does not disappoint.  For example, the starkly difficult choice Rodrigues faces are offset by several shots where fog and/or mist obscure the view.  The issues are not clear, the notion of Japan as a swamp where foreign faiths go to die, are embodied by the swirling mists in and out of which the characters move.

On this note, the cinematography's beauty stems from scenes shot up and across--valleys, ocean beaches, steamy rainforests, etc.  Part of the movie's difficult subject gets embodied, though, by the shots downward.  Mucky, sticky, omnipresent mud grounds the movie.  (A hint of this comes from the YouTube icon linked below.)  So, head in the cloud and feet stuck firmly in a foot of gluey mud--this is the movie Silence.

Which is right where any authentically Catholic movie about Japanese missions should be.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

connections reminder

Do the episodic postings of this blog get you down?  Looking for other connections to the Spiritual Diabetes discussions?

Google + here.  Yes, Google+;  laugh all you want, but that platform provides connections and conversations not found elsewhere.

One of these days Tumblr and/or Instagram, but before then there's a book manuscript to finish (alluded to here).  Which explains in part why the postings lately here have been fewer and further between.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Agonizing Beauty

Reflections on Scorese's Silence, part I
Warning:  Spoilers follow.

This will be the first of two posts on Martin Scorcese's Silence, a movie long-in-the-making version of Shusaku Endo's 1966 novel.  The second post will appear once I see the movie.  So what follows is a discussion of the novel and what some critics have made of the movie.  Here is a good overview of the movie and its content.

First, as expected from a talented director like Scorcese, the movie's visuals are stunning. After extensive success in Japan, Christianity found itself ruthlessly outlawed and persecuted in the seventeenth century. The movie follows two young Jesuit missionary priests who, hearing that their mentor has apostostasized, travel to Japan to confirm the rumors. 

Part of the shoguns' torture juxtaposed excruciating pain with the simplest, and pain-free, gesture. All arrested Christians were given the opportunity to apostasize by stepping barefoot on an image of Jesus (hence the fumie, literally "the stepping-on image").

Come on--what could be easier than that?

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Meanwhile, slowly dissolving...

So everybody's down on 2016:  all the celebrities who have died, the Cubs won the World Series, and then there's that election thing.

But what really should be worrying us is the gradually expanding sense of despair, one that culminates in early death and suicide.  It's hitting middle-aged white women particularly hard.  Regional and socio-economic factors contribute, but one thing is clear:  the communal web or network that used to hold together communities has frayed and is snapping. The individualizing age of the smartphone has shown its downside--and therein people suffer, well, individually, i.e., alone. Hence suicide becomes not possible but perhaps preferable.  From the article Jennifer Silva, a sociologist from Bucknell University:

"People are trying to solve the crisis on their own. I see a lot of relying on the internet to try to treat, especially mental health problems. I had an older white woman who was suffering from self-diagnosed depression, but a few years later I learned she actually died of a brain tumour but she never went to a doctor because she couldn't afford it.
"[These people] are often not working, not in relationships, just not connected to any kind of social organisations. In this coal region there used to be a church on every corner and people would join together and socialise and exchange information, but now, most of those churches have closed down.
"We have a whole generation of people who are just in some ways wasted talent. There's a lot of suffering, a lot of desperation, fear, vulnerability, and hopelessness. They're not really sure how they can make a world better for their children and they feel very betrayed."

Read more here.

Monday, December 12, 2016

OKFIBAT: Trump presidency

OK, fine, I'll blog about this  over a month later....

So Donald Trump will be the 45th President of the US.

source: Business Insider
Image result for trump time magazine

Remember what I said about my inability to pick presidential elections?  Well, there you go...

What I find fascinating now--and have for the past month--is the range of postmortems.  How could this have happened?  Indeed, even on the election morning it was widely presumed that Clinton would roll to victory.  But then as the results came back, it first became clear that this would be closer than thought...and then the unthinkable became reality.  While watching the results, my phone kept buzzing with Twitter alerts.  Among them one friend, a Byzantine Catholic, sent at about 11 pm:

This is legit bananas.

Yeah, that pretty much covers it.  48 hours later, the shock still lingered.  Trump visited the White House to start the transition process, and it was clear the staffers had not quite accepted the news.

source: New York Times via Google

How about the woman third from left already tearing up and the glum faces all around?

How in the world did Hillary Clinton miss the equivalent of a two-foot lay-up?