Democracy and Lovelaces

John Adams saying John Adams things:

Democracy is Lovelace and the people are Clarissa. The artful villain will pursue the innocent lovely girl to her ruin and her death. . . . The time would fail me to enumerate all the Lovelaces in the United States. It would be an amusing romance to compare their actions and character with his.

Source: Quoted in Prodigals and Pilgrims: The American Revolution against Patriarchal Authority 1750-1800 by Jay Fliegelman (just bought it because it sounds like a scorcher.)

Franco Bonisolli

Now that it’s November 1, I’m starting to hear more Christmas music. I know it’s wrong this early, but I love the stuff. The one thing I don’t like about it is the plague of Michael Buble (was that redundant?). In that spirit, I made this gif thanks to Franco Bonisolli and his feelings on the Three Tenors.


Stray thoughts on movies

The new trailer for the forthcoming Fantastic Four movie currently graces the trending sidebar on Facebook. (Along with news of Harrisburg’s important Civil War museum.) I thought to post the message, “They need to stop making comic book movies,” on social media, and then I thought, “Oh wait. I hate movies so what should I care?”

My opinion is usually that the book is better than the movie, and I think that may be the case with this genre. I’ve enjoyed my share of comic book movies (mainly the Dark Knight trilogy and of course Superman II…because of Zod), but there’s not much to them, even the best ones.

At least they’re fun and make us happy, and that’s all that matters.

God bless America.

I feel vindicated

I’ve always thought President Obama’s speeches sounded like they were written by an undergrad, and I’ve never understood people who said his speeches were great. I think it’s more likely that he’s a great mouthpiece and that Thomas Sowell rightly observed that “One of Barack Obama’s great gifts is the ability to say things that are absolutely absurd and make them sound not only plausible but inspiring.”

Vocative ran a few hundred Presidential speeches through a readability test that assigns a grade level to a piece of writing based on complexity (basically). The first finding is that on paper “Speeches have grown less sophisticated over time.” It also scores his speeches as not that much more complex than George W. Bush’s.

When Confession Becomes Therapy

No matter how often I go, confession usually feels like a trip to the dentist after a several years’ absence. So, the passage below does not necessarily describe my experience in the confessional, but I thought it was great anyway.

The following is excerpted from Co-Workers of the Truth: Meditations for Every Day of the Year with writings from Benedict XVI, entry for September 18, from: Zur Lage des Glaubens:

There are priests who are inclined to turn confession almost entirely into a “conversation”, a kind of therapeutic self-analysis between two persons of equal rank. This seems to them much more human, more personal, and more appropriate for people today. But this kind of confession runs the risk of having little to do with the Catholic concept of the sacrament, according to which the actions and words of the person entrusted with this ministry are of much less importance. It is far more necessary for the priest to realize that he must remain in the background and so leave room for Christ, who alone can forgive sin. Here, too, it is necessary to return to the original understanding of the sacrament where we come face to face with its mystery. It is necessary to discover anew the meaning of the scandal that enables one man to say to another: “I absolve you from your sins.” In that moment—as, for that matter, in the administration of every other sacrament—the priest draws his authority, not, certainly, from the consent of a man, but directly from Christ. The I that says “I absolve you …” is not that of a creature; it is directly the I of the Lord. I feel more and more uneasy when I hear the facile way in which people designate as “ritualistic”, “external”, and “anonymous” the formerly widespread manner of approaching the confessional. And the self-praise of some priests because of their “penitential conversations”, which have become rare but, as they say, “in compensation, much more personal”, sounds more and more bitter to my ears. When we regard the matter properly, there was, behind the “ritual” of some confessions, also the seriousness of the encounter between two persons who both knew that they were in the presence of the awesome mystery of Christ’s forgiveness, bestowed on them through the words and gestures of a sinful man. We should not forget that in many such “conversations”, which have also become quite ritualistic, it is only human that a kind of complacency, a self-absolution, should insinuate itself, which—in the torrent of explanations—hardly leaves room for a sense of personal sin, for which, beyond all extenuating circumstances, we are always responsible.

(This is the first in a category dedicated to quotes from Benedict XVI, or Rat Zingers. I’ll be here all night, folks.)