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Category Archive for 'Culture Cues'

Keeping It Lite

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It was a gift from the Sixties, our user-friendly funeral Mass. Every time I attend one, I come away convinced that resurrection is in the bag. In keeping with the confident, self-affirming modern cosmology that animates our memorials, it is as if the dead were already risen. So why not just strike a commemorative medallion [...]

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ShareThe trouble is that modern art in various ways abandoned imitation, representation, naturalism, and it now has to make out a case for its products’ still being truth. This is where science certain aspects of science are seized upon, assimilated, or sometimes simply plagiarized in decorative words, so as to bolster up art’s claim to [...]

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All Hallow’s Eve

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It cannot be said that a man endures death easily or uneasily when he does not think about it at all. He who feels nothing, endures nothing.
—Voltaire

When did I stop liking Halloween?
Was it when parents horned in and started dressing up along with their kids? When the previous director of my town library celebrated Hallowmas [...]

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ShareI poured the wine into the chalice our church had given me. In the one-sixth gravity of the moon the wine curled slowly and gracefully up the side of the cup. It was interesting to think that the very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the first food eaten there, were communion elements.

—Astronaut [...]

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A Cabinet of Vanities

ShareAmong liturgically concerned responses to the previous post, one of them gave me a start:
On Corpus Christi, at a Manhattan parish, we had to sing an entrance song which begins, “We are here to tell our story, We are here to break the bread, we are here to know our rising from the dead . [...]

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ShareI know many persons who have the purest taste in literature, and yet false taste in art, and it is a phenomenon that puzzles me not a little; but I have never known any one with false taste in books and true taste in pictures.
John Ruskin

John Ruskin was skeptical of the Victorian era’s flourishing publishing [...]

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ShareThis time last year, Studio Matters went on retreat. It withdrew in anticipation of a long, difficult year. The new one promises to be no easier. Still, retreats are meant as preludes to renewal, not abdication. I was reminded of this by a note that came from a lovely and thoughtful artist in Arkansas. She [...]

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ShareEACH CHRISTMAS MORNING I wake up relieved that the struggle against “Happy Holidays” is over for another year. Holidays are holy days, after all. When Hanukkah and Christmas arrive so close together as they do this year, I wonder if it would be possible to announce “Happy Holy Days!” into the secular void.  The wondering [...]

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SharePolitical mythology is a more significant player than art itself in shaping a culture’s mentality. Commemorating 9/ll by means of children’s artwork sentimentalizes the event and allows us to avoid calling the events of that day acts of war. 9/11: Through Young Eyes severs its subject from the only thing by which it can be [...]

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ShareJUDGING FROM EMAIL RESPONSES, the accidental cross-shaped form left standing at Ground Zero rouses great ire. All my mail has been sympathetic to the lawsuit against it on the grounds that the cross is not a secular symbol. (I never said it was. I said it resonated beyond sectarian distinctions. Quite a different thought.) It [...]

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