Sunday, April 25, 2010

Meandering My Way Towards Ferninsters

In this post I speculated about what an Oz vs. Wonderland grudge match would be like.

Diversions of this sort are fun mental breaks. They can also be illuminative -- as Tolkien pointed out in his essay about
faerie stories, "fables can depart from the physical world and the universe created, but not from the moral order: we can imagine a universe illuminated by a green sun..." His neologism "eucatastrophe" never made it into the OED (a publication Tolkien worked on), but I would like to have seen the term make it.

Just over two years past I asked some of my friends if they cared to extend the grudge match scenario.

Dear Patti started to pen a reply, but managed to hit the send key after pecking out only the letter "H."

I responded, "H is a fine, respectable letter Patti -- thank you for bringing it to our attention. It became a splendid friend of Eliza Doolittle's, and it was the harbinger letter of the book that introduced our weary world to Middle Earth. Well done."

She fired back, "Hahahaha! Sean, you fink! When I posted that message it said: 'Hilarious, Sean!' I can't explain what happened to the other letters between the time I hit the send button and the post hit the list. Well, this is one time Eliza Doolittle didn't drop her 'H'!"

But I knew what had happened to the other letters: "Clearly, they were swallowed by the Cheshire Cat -- who was in league with the Knave of Hearts. Naturally."

At which point Missy contributed, and brought my attention to the word ferninst.

"The word ferninst is a favorite of the Darby O’Gill series I am reading my 12 year old daughter. :-)

"The word is a survivor from dialects of Scotland, Ireland, and northern England, evidently brought over by immigrants from one or more of those places. According to the Dictionary of American Regional English, it is now heard chiefly in the Midland U.S. and is considered old-fashioned.

"And here is an election year application: A derived noun, ferninster, meaning 'someone who is deliberately contrary,' has also been used: 'The trouble with the Republican leaders in that they are just ferninsters' (William Allen White, 1943).
Courtesy The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000"

I'm still not clear on what a ferninster looks like, but the word itself has a Carollian sound to it (c.f. jub-jub, frumious, brillig), and I would not be surprised if it made an unexpected appearance in times of duress from the Queen of Hearts.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Upstart Young Crow

"The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose."
- The Merchant of Venice, Act I, Scene III

Not bad for a man who never went to college.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Points East

Tomorrow I'm off on my next pilgrimage April 15-26. Here are the main stops on the trip.

Turin Italy - Holy Shroud
The Holy Shroud of Turin is usually exposed every 25 years and was last exposed in 2000, but Pope Benedict XVI is making an exception and allowing the exposition in Turin, Italy this year.

Home of St. Bernadette and site of the famous apparition of our Lady in southern France. This will be my third visit to Lourdes.

Santiago de CompostelaThe year 2010 is a Jubilee Year at Santiago de Compostela in Spain, meaning that pilgrims who visit the cathedral of St. James at Santiago de Compostela during 2010 can gain a plenary indulgence. The magnificent cathedral houses the remains of St. James the Greater, Apostle of Spain, and is the third most important Catholic pilgrimage site of the Middle Ages. Santiago’s next Jubilee Year is in 2021.

FatimaWhere the Fatima seers were visited by our Lady nearly 100 years ago in Portugal. This will be my second visit to Fatima.

Other stops and shrines along the way include Milan, Laus, La Sainte Baume, Carcassonne, Azpeitia, Burgos, Oviedo, Covadonga, and Santarem. I'll be able to pray before the Holy Shroud and render homage to Our Lady of Lourdes, Our Lady of Fatima, Our Lady of Laus, Our Lady of Covadonga, St. James the Apostle, St. John Bosco, St. Dominic Savio, St. Charles Borromeo, St. Bernadette, St. Mary Magdalene, St. Ignatius of Loyola, and many more.

Click here to see a map of my route and the cities and towns where I’m putting in.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Gendercide in China

Low Sunday


Proponents of zero-population growth take heed: China is the future you would inflict on the world.

In a country where a one-child-per-family policy has been in effect for decades, the marriageable men in this country of 1.3 billion outnumber the marriageable women by a count of 30 million. It seems that parents are opting to keep boys rather than girls because boys are expected to care for their parents in old age.

The disproportionate ratio is producing all sorts of undesired effects (I almost called the effects unanticipated, but that would not be true; anyone with half a brain could anticipate them -- you just have to be a secular egotist to believe you can significantly disrupt how relations between the sexes works and have no negative outcomes).

Anticipated outcomes of this Darwinian experiment in human population control:
* A war to cull the surplus males
* A rise in organized crime
* A huge expansion in the prostitution industry
* A rise in homosexuality
* Abducting women from other countries
* Wide-scale kidnapping of children

Indeed: Chinese parents already tie their children to posts and lock them in cages to stop them from being stolen.

Just as liberals and socialists have always done, the Reds will not openly discuss the real cause of the crisis brought about by their inhuman policies -- after all, ignoring (when they're not murdering) rather than addressing the intelligent opposition is how the progressives have always worked. Instead, the government is promoting messages about the importance of having girl babies.

Meanwhile, Chinese girls are coldly dismissed by their parents with remarks like "You are only a girl. You are spilt water."

Brave new world indeed.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Anachronistic, Did You Say?

In a recent editorial, the French daily Le Monde opined that clerical celibacy was an “anachronism,” adding that if the Church wished to “embrace the humanity of its time,” it would be “well inspired to bring it to an end.”

Rather than opening the pages of that newspaper, it is better to follow the example of Leon Bloy, who said: “When I want to know the latest news, I read Saint Paul.” It is in the Apostle’s writings that one finds: “Nolite conformari huic saeculo–be not conformed to this world” (Romans 12:2). The dread of anachronism is the big fear of all right-thinkers, and it opens the door to every kind of conformism: political correctness, economic correctness, sociological correctness...It is no longer a question of embracing the age; one must be glued to the news and, so as not to seem anachronistic, resign oneself to being chronically out-of-date, old-fashioned, and always worried about expiries.

A contrario, the quest for eternity is the greatest form of dissent today, and that which procures the highest freedom.
- Fr. Alain Lorans


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Atlanta Air

Yesterday's near-record pollen count was brought to you by the City of Trees, Atlanta.

An area's pollen count is a measure of the number of grains of pollen in a cubic meter of air. The higher the number, the more sneezing and wheezing.

Here's a measure of pollen count by category:
* Low: 0-30
* Moderate: 31-60
* High: 61-120
* Extremely High: 120+

Yesterday's pollen count for America's Asthma Capital was 5,733. Today's anticipated rains should help clear the air.

The conventional wisdom is that if you don't have allergies when you move to Atlanta, you will soon acquire them. And if you already have allergies when you move here, you will die.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Thomism's "Monster Sacrè"

Here's an excerpt from an excellent 1932 essay by Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P. titled "The Consecration of the Human Race to the Immaculate Heart of Mary."

One of the great dangers of the present hour, obviously, is international Communism, a materialist movement that denies the existence of God, of the future life, that destroys the dignity of the human person, the family, and the country. It seeks to conquer Europe and dreams about a world-wide revolution which would be the end of Christianity and all religion, according to the program of the atheist league of those who deny God which Bolshevism is spreading in several countries.

In order to resist this Communist movement, in various places there is a nationalism arising, which, when it is not merely defensive but offensive, often surpasses just limits; it can elevate certain people who were bogged down in a completely egotistical individualism, but it can also bring down those who were living in a Christian spirit, a higher and more universal notion of the great spiritual needs of every human soul. Here and there exaggerated nationalism tends even to become a pagan adoration of the State, more or less deified. And in order to react against a form of materialist naturalism, some fall into another form of the same error, to the detriment of the life of souls, who can thus become so disoriented that they can no longer find the true path...

Above internationalism, which refuses to recognize the spirits and traditions of different peoples, and nationalism, which often forgets the higher aspirations of humanity, must rise the "supranationalism" of the Catholic, that is universal, Church, which must unite souls of different nations under the same light of the Gospel, in the same supernatural hope and the same love of God...

So exaggerated nationalism -- which is a decrepit form of patriotism -- is in fact "egotistical individualism." Some groups of radical political nationalists sprouting up in the western world are attempting to whitewash this failing by claiming they are attracted to the social, communal, and corporatist aspects of the Catholic Faith, of all things.

In truth theirs is a consideration of social concerns polluted by their weird racialist notions -- they take a normal and sane thing like affection for one's homeland and distort it by exaggeration and denature it with tribalism. Their reaction to liberalism and communism is not a healthy Catholic abhorrence, but a naturalistic over-reaction steeped in an egotism that blinds them to the true supernatural dimension of the issue. In their failure to apprehend the correct spiritual solution they indulge in another form of naturalism: they become narcissists who adore themselves. May the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts help us steer the safe path between the excesses of the Scylla of prideful modernist liberalism on the one hand and the Charybdis of the nationalist's egotistical individualism on the other!

I mention Garrigou-Lagrange's essay because it also serves as a corrective to a revisionist accusation against the Catholic Church: that the horrific deeds of the Nazis was a culmination of centuries of Christian antagonism towards Jews; I've read this notion from men such as Elie Wiesel, Charles Krauthammer, Frank Rich, and William Safire (RIP). They're all profoundly wrong: Hitler and Mussolini got most of their traction from railing against Russian communists. That wasn't merely a convenient cover: the Soviets were a genuine threat, everyone knew it, and the Germans and the Italians -- whose societies had already gone far down the path of rejecting the religious and social leadership of the Church -- reacted against it with an excess of nationalist sentiment.

The Catholic Church was the one institution who saw the whole affair clearly: it condemned both inherently perverse communism that dehumanized its victims and excessive nationalism that deified the state. Small wonder that the author of the work villifying Pope Pius XII
was a Hitler Youth chump turned communist; even less wonder that an effeminate press acquiesced in a Soviet-backed media blitzkrieg to promote the third-rate play as a great social commentary and used it to calumniate the best friend the Jews had during the war.

Pax Christi

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

12 Million Plus


His Excellency, Bp. Bernard Fellay,
Superior General of the SSPX

At Econe, during the Pontifical Mass on Easter Sunday, Bishop Fellay announced that the 12 million rosaries have been "greatly exceeded."

He also invited all the faithful to pray for the Holy Father who suffers from the media's attacks.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Easter Sunday

Introëuntes in monumentum viderunt juvenem sedentem in dextris, coopertum stola candida, et obstupuerunt. Qui dicit illis: Nolite expavescere: Jesum quæritis Nazarenum, crucifixum: surrexit, non est hic.

Entering into the sepulcher, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed with a white robe: and they were astonished. Who says to them: Be not affrighted, you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen: he is not here.
- Mark 16:5-6