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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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Pilgrim Art

ShareMortals that would follow me,
Love Virtue, she alone is free;
She can teach ye how to clime
Higher than the Spheary chime.
John Milton, “Lydidas”
What do you mean, “Pilgrim art”? There wasn’t any.
Precisely. There was none as we moderns understand it: a product of leisure and affluence enjoyed largely by spectators. The concept had no hold on their [...]

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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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Mother’s Day Looms

ShareHere it comes.
Truth to tell, I do not like Mother’s Day. It is a mawkish, manufactured holiday—a counterfeit tradition like Kwanza. But now that it is upon us, women might as well make the most of it. This is the day to milk what remains of filial guilt for all it is worth. Lay it [...]

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Dhimmitude on the Cheap

ShareLast night I watched Homeland on my laptop, streamed in by Amazon for $1.99. It is an unconvincing potboiler implausible on too many levels to count. Last night’s storyline bent over every which way from Sunday to insure Islam’s place among the smiling aspects of life.
“And they call us terrorists,” mourns the terrorist chief whose adorable young [...]

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ShareWhat is it about contemporary art—every international art fair’s signature product—that qualifies it as an engine of evangelization? If the Church’s magnificent patrimony of high religious art has not stayed the attrition of Christianity in its homelands, can we expect today’s fashionable brands to speak more eloquently to the heathen art crowd who turn up [...]

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Art of Refusal

ShareDonald Knuth needs no introduction to computer geeks. He is a world-renowned computer scientist, Stanford’s legendary laureate of algorithm analysis, and author of the seminal, multi-volume The Art of Computer Programming . His books are dedicated not to the usual suspects—the wife, the soul mate, the amanuensis beyond price—but to a computer: the Type 650 “in [...]

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