May 15, 2012

Was watching a little tv this morning, waiting for my son Jude to get ready for his bus: the beginnings of rap, or something like that.  It occurred to me that the racial bond that brought all those artists together was a blessing (of course), but also a bit of a curse.  Group mind.  Merton's herd mentality, America and consumerism too.  Every group runs the risk.  Around here it's the Catholic group mind: the home schooling/great book assemblage.  Scary stuff.  Am way outside that ring, and I don't think it's paranoia to say that I (and many others) are disdained because of that fact.  Better to go down swinging, with boughten self-image at your side. . . .

Another VP appointed yesterday.  Universities everywhere do this sort of thing, it seems to me.  (I have no idea about FUS's motives, so far be it from me to pass judgment.)  It seems like government spending in most cases, no restraint.  The U of Akron created a new position so they could get Jim Tressel.  Couple that with country-wide bookstore fraud, and who pays?  The students--the very people all universities say they are there for.  Every institute of higher learning should pay an outside firm to do a study.  How much of their administration is adipose.  They're all so top heavy.  Welcome to the trough, baby.  (They could do faculty too, that wouldn't hurt.  The country could use more good cab drivers.)

Best books in Contemporary Christian Fiction class: short stories by O'Connor, Powers, and Spark.  (Some of Sparks' are a little tough to latch onto, but she's a great Catholic writer.)  Students didn't like Percy's THE MOVIEGOER, but I think that's because they weren't very good at reading texts to be frank.  My bad in a way.  I assumed they could read fiction--since it was a 300 level course.  Next time I'm got to start at the way beginning.  THE POWER AND THE GLORY is always a favorite.  Endo's DEEP RIVER.  Hansen's MARIETTE was interesting.  Some students objected to all the sexuality though I suggested that the writer walked that line keeps the reader, an edge.  Don't know if I'll do it next time, though.  We also did Bo Caldwell, Mrs. Hansen.  THE DISTANT LAND OF MY FATHERS.  It was okay, nicely Catholic, stealth-style, but I never bought the main character.  We did GILEAD, which is getting old.  We didn't get to Lott on Enger.  Maybe next time.

Students did presents on Bernanos, Miller, Mauriac, Dubus, Waugh, Undset, Rae Thon, and Tyler.  So lots of good stuff, though as I say I have to revamp the course a bit.  The kids in American Poetry made that class a joy to do; the 103s and 332s were great too.  Just a lot of first rate individuals--maybe we're just lucky to get them before they pack up and master ugly virtue.


May 13, 2012

The fundamental problem with America is the two-party system.  The unnatural human perspective each one engenders, comes out of.  This is no surprise, but I wonder why there has not been a concerted push for a third party: Christian Democrats!  (Something like that.)  The left is good with the poor, the right with personal responsibility.  Common sense would dictate that we need to fuse those two aspects.  You can't kill your young, nor can you defecate on the poor (in a trickle or otherwise).

One of the great reads I got to spend time with when I covered for a colleague in MEDIEVAL LIT was PIERS PLOWMAN.  Not only did it offer a great example of effective allegory, something I thought beyond possible, but it also served up a nice portrait of the bitter poor: people who didn't have, who wouldn't work for anything, but who would also bitterly threaten those who had stuff if they didn't feel like sharing.  The wayward section of welfare--that mentality.  Once when I lived on Ridge Ave. in Steubenville I tried to put in an outdoor French drain system, hired a local guy to help.  I didn't have much dough, but it was a bog job, and the guy needed money.  I was shocked at how bitter he became.  He felt like I should pay him more, that there was a basic injustice over the fact that I had more than he did.  The guy calmed a little after I explained that I lived in his neighborhood because I didn't have much either.  But that was my first experience with the bitter poor--those who will surely take to the streets if Obama loses.  (We'll be threatened with that if comrade O is in dire straights as we near the election--just as we were before Clinton got in.) 

Obama won't lose.  The white-wall tire guy, Romney, has no chance.  Throwing him up there is just a sign of how confused the Republicans are--pathetic.  (I always vote Republican for president because I have no choice.  Abortion is not just another issue.  That would be like telling a Jew in '45 that the camps were nothing, really.  On a par with German food stamps. . . . And I know that offends people, but think of it from the Devil's POV.  His whole gig is to wound God.  So he goes after the Chosen, the then after the most innocent, those who have not yet had a chance to offend Him.)

So my question is, will Nancy Pelosi go to hell?  Joe Biden?  How about Oprah (my money's on her)?  The fat, little Catholic who's a liberal on the editorial page?  And what about Glen Beck?  Anybody with a billion dollars who doesn't give half of it to the poor?

Outrageous?  Maybe.

Will the left eventually line us up?  Can't see the right doing it, unless they all grow Mohawks or something.  But both are sorry excuses for parties.  People will be held responsible for what they do; they should be held so now.  Nothing will save us from death, comrade.  And the poor matter, a lot.  They are called "the other."  They are who we are here for.