Divine Liturgy!

I am a Roman Catholic with no Latin Masses near me, so to the Norvus Ordo I go. I’m not going to complain; the Priest at my church is very orthodox anf not any type of “innovator”, and that alone is worth its weight in gold.

Still, there is one thing I have always wanted to do, and that is attend a Divine Liturgy. I have few Orthodox churches near me, but several Byzantine Catholic, interestingly enough. Good for me – I can receive the Eucharist without asking the Priest first for permission.

I, at least, find the Byzantine church fascinating. They are strikingly similar in some ways and utterly alien in others. It is also surprisingly difficult to find digestible information about the Divine Liturgy. The only guide I found was 88(!!!) pages long and had a history lesson stuffed between what actually happened; not overly useful for a guy trying to not get lost in the service.

I also found it nigh impossible to figure out how they do Confession. Best I can tell they do it right before Mass at the front of the Church in full view of the parish (though quietly enough that nobody can hear you). Whether the Confession does anything to venial sins is apparently a matter of some debate. Go figure.

The best I can gather is that the Liturgy involves a lot of singing, a lot of incense, a lot of standing, and a lot of very specific rituals. It also looks to be very striking and memorable.

I had been looking for a nearby Byzantine Catholic Church for awhile now, the nearest being somewhere in the ballpark of a half hour away – not impossible, of course, but considering the three Roman churches within ten minutes from my house and a third 17 minutes away…not convenient.

Then I found one ten minutes away. A rather nice one too!

How did I miss it? It has no website and doesn’t update its Facebook page. Best I can tell after some digging it was nearly shut down in the 80’s until the other Byzantine church a half hour away absorbed it. Except nobody actually advertises its existence!

In any event the exterior is striking. I will be going to my local church for Easter, but I think I’ll be making a stop next week. I will report back on the experience in due time.

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“Rosanne” is everything wrong with the American right

I want everyone to pretend it’s five years ago. Just five!

Imagine Rosanne Barre comes out with a show where she pushes little kids cross-dressing, surrogate motherhood and selling your own eggs for money, and mocks traditional Christian values (a staple of “Rosanne” – they even did a black and white throwback episode that was designed specifically to mock the sorts of shows that pushed those values).

And conservatives are falling over themselves to praise it…because Rosanne gives a lukewarm semi-endorsement of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

This is the actual real situation we are in today, right now.

We should all stop, right now, and think about what has happened here. It isn’t good.

 

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2nd Amendment Response

I got some good responses to my last post; let me see what sort of mileage I can get from them.

Let me try to restate what seems to be the most common objection to my argument in list form:

  1. The government can become illegitimate for various reasons. Let’s grant the premise, it seems uncontroversial.
  2. Force may be required to fight back against an illegitimate government
  3. People have a God-given right to be able to defend themselves, including in cases when the government becomes illegitimate
  4. Therefore the state must recognize the right of citizens to bear arms to fight them in the event they one day become illegitimate
  5. An example of this in action is the Battle of Athens (this is not actually a premise of the argument but it does help illustrate it)

This is pretty good.

The Battle of Athens was about the subjects of the rightful sovereign fighting against rebels who attempted to oust the sovereign in place of their own, illegitimate sovereign.

Let’s replace election with “King” and see how it looks:

After the death of the king, the rightful king is meant to be the king’s son, Joe the 4th. But the nephew of the king, Bob the 2nd, makes a power play, and claims he is the rightful king, even though it is well known that this is not how the line of succession works. So Joe the 4th leads his subjects to take back his rightful throne from Bob the 2nd. He does, and we all live happily ever after.

If the 2nd Amendment is interpreted in such a way I don’t see an obvious problem with it.

Except…

Let’s take a look at the Civil War, or again, a certain interpretation of it.

The Southern states did not see themselves as rebels. Rather, they saw themselves as keepers of the proper, original government of the United States, which had been ousted by an illegitimate leader in Lincoln (let’s ignore for the moment whether their view was actually correct). In their view the leaders of the government were usurpers of the rightful sovereign. Therefore they were fighting to let the rightful, sovereign government keep control at least of their half of the country.

The fighting of the Civil War itself seems to indicate some issue with this interpretation of the second amendment; at the very least it is hard to see how the government can possibly recognize it in practice, since it will always judge those fighting against them to be illegitimate usurpers.

The only way the second amendment can possibly work is if a legitimate sovereign actually backs those bearing arms. If the U.S. federal government had stepped in and declared the original election legitimate, like it or not the fighters of Athens could do nothing about it.

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An Argument Against the Logical Consistency of the Second Amendment, by Certain Interpretations

  1. There is a certain interpretation of the second amendment, commonly quoted and possibly correct as to the amendment’s original intention, that says its purpose is to make sure the citizens of the nation are protected in case they need to defend themselves from a tyrannical government
  2. One way to refer to this is that in the event the government becomes tyrannical the citizens have the ability to engage in an armed rebellion.
  3. But an armed rebellion is always by definition illegal – it is an act of defiance against the current governing authority
  4. Thus, this interpretation of the second amendment would require the government to be sanctioning illegal action against itself
  5. This is self-contradictory, as if it’s illegal it cannot be sanctioned
  6. Therefore the second amendment under this definition makes no sense

I am in favor of an armed populace.

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Spoiler talk of “To the Moon”

I have now reviewed the game twice, once just after I played it and once after some distance. Both times I tried to avoid spoilers because it’s so important to the experience not to know what’s going to happen next, but it severely hampers my ability to analyze why it’s so freaking great. So I’ll talk about it here.

I mean, yeah, I love “To the Moon”. But I really want to talk about the impact it had on me.

There is no reason TTM should have affected me as much as it did. Its themes of romantic love and the importance of memories should both be alien to me (incidentally, these are two themes common to John C. Wright and I must confess to not yet having been affected by him on the same level).

But it didn’t matter. TTM used those things as a vehicle to hit upon something universal to the human experience. Even for a young guy like me the fear that you’ll go through life knowing that you could have, should have been better, that you made mistakes that hurt not just you but the ones you love, is a very understandable one. You get Johnny’s motives. They make sense. And Kan Gao does a hell of a lot of work helping the player understand what makes him, and his relationship with River, tick, and by understanding this you empathize with Johnny.

Several moments in the game were executed so well that they hit like a sledgehammer. The reveal that Johnny had a brother, who his mother ran over? I gasped. I had bought into the game hook, line, and sinker, and it so perfectly explained so many odd things in retrospect, so many little aspects of Johnny’s character, that it felt like an organic part of the story.

And when Neil reveals Eva’s plan to remove River? Pure horror. “Everything’s Alright”, played to the backdrop of River disappearing from Johnny’s life, is an astonishingly tragic scene, and has practically gone down in legend for its emotional effectiveness.

And when River shows up again! The way Kan Gao plays it out, with Eva slowly dropping hints, a ten or so minute break to help convince you this is for real, the short freeze in the music before River walks into the room accompanied by a soft instrumental reprise of “Everything’s Alright”? Absolutely, jaw-droppingly stunning. To say nothing of the final scene!

But what’s really brilliant in retrospect is just how well Kan Gao managed to pull all its disparate elements and plot threads together. The game, for all its emotion, is not manipulative. It doesn’t ignore plot points in order to get a good cry out of you. It earns that payoff. By the end of the game Kan Gao has not only managed to explain every mystery, big and small, not only raised valid, complex philosophical questions about the importance of truth and memory, he has masterfully, retroactively made even the smallest actions and motivations of the characters make perfect sense, and without telling you straight out, trusting you to make the connections yourself.

Of course River would rather pay to finish the house and have Johnny watch over the lighthouse rather than save herself. That first meeting with Johnny is what makes their whole relationship make sense in River’s mind, what justifies their communication gap and the sacrifices they both make for each other. It’s worth her life if Johnny can one day understand that. Of course Johnny would become unhealthily obsessed with standing out from the crowd; his mother mistakes him frequently with a twin brother he can’t remember, and this would naturally have an effect on him. And that scene at the beginning that seems played for laughs, when River doesn’t appreciate that he named a song after her? Once you learn about Johnny and River’s difficulty in communicating with each other and how much Johnny craves tangible expressions of River’s love that scene retroactively becomes terribly sad.

And to do all of this while ALSO being funny, sometimes hilarious? And while introducing a high concept sci-fi plot device effortlessly at the same time? And to follow it up with a sequel that’s nearly as good?

Look, guys, you have to play this game. At least watch Cry’s Let’s Play of it. Or anybody but Pewdiepie’s really, he’s a terrible fit. It’s so, so good. And if you’re a fan of John C. Wright’s work I think you’ll find a lot of its themes familar.

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Princess Mononoke, Western

It’s not a very well-kept secret that Japanese Samurai movies tend to translate very well into westerns. Consider “Seven Samurai” and “The Magnificent Seven”, or “Yojimbo” and “A Fistful of Dollars”. Only two examples, but two more than you would think upon first blush.

“Princess Mononoke” is not a samurai movie, but it is a movie with samurai in it. And it strikes me that it would translate very well into a western…to a point.

Imagine Ashitaka as, instead of the Prince of a small tribe, a young man living with his family in a tiny, quiet western town. Their peaceful life is shattered by the arrival of savage American Indians who raid the town and attempt to kill protagonist’s family; his father is shot and wounded, but not killed. The Indians are, barely, fought off. One survives long enough to tell them that they’ve been driven out of their homelands by Irontown, a new town even further out west.

A meeting is held and it’s decided that somebody needs to go down and figure out what’s going on with Irontown, and why out of nowhere they’ve decided to become aggressive and warlike. Protagonist is picked to go, along with sidekicks. When they arrive the scene is strange. Irontown is run mostly by women, and guarded with vast walls. The leader of the town reveals they have been in near constant conflict with a brutal Indian tribe, and the new leader has decided it is necessary to take the conflict out to them in order to protect their town properly. And you have the base conflict: On one hand, a new frontier town who under the leadership of a mysterious woman has decided to go from defenders to aggressors in an effort to protect their land. On the other hand, a dangerous and territorial Indian tribe who are starting to get the idea their days are numbered but aren’t all ready to go off peacefully.

That would be the base of a Mononoke-Western. The third party aggressor is an important of the story, of course. I’m imagining a gang of vigilantes masquerading as federal officers – think something like Wyatt Earp’s Vendetta Ride against the Cowboys, a technically federal but practically lawless group who agree to work with the leader of Irontown to help out the Apaches; perhaps the leader of the Vendetta Ride group has a grudge against this particular group of Apaches themselves and wants them wiped out.

Now the really interesting thing is where stuff would change. You may well notice here that the supernatural element of the story is entirely gone; how this would change the dynamics of the characters and the decisions they make, not to mention future story decisions, is a fascinating exercise.

So we have a western based around the idea of an aggressive frontier town teaming up with a bloodthirsty vendetta group made up of outlaws and bandits as much as any real government officials to take down a tribe of violent, territorial Indians, while an outsider worried about the fallout that will hit his own small town tries to mediate the conflict.

I shall have to think on this; there may well be a novel here.

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Let’s Take it Point by Point

All right, in light of my recent posts on Vox’s gun shirts, I think it might be appropriate for me to go through this post by Vox after Dalrock’s take on it. I’m late, I know. Put it in my imaginary suggestion box if it bothers you.

A note – I am NOT here to try and refute or disagree with either Vox or Dalrock. Just figure out what Vox is trying to say.

Disclaimer: Not a married man, not currently engaged, and thus cannot comment on this in any manner outside of direct interpretation of words. Given this I’m going to try and keep what I think separate from Dalrock.

After someone expresses sympathy for MGTOW (for the non-savvy, this is “men go their own way” and refers to men who decide to opt out of the marriage market because it is such a brutal deal for men from the legal perspective), Vox replies with this:

MGTOW are low morale cowards. From the societal and civilizational perspective they are useless parasites who, by their fecklessness, are helping the barbarians win the civilization war. Sure, they’re vastly to be preferred to the feminists, foreigners, globalists, and anti-Christians who are actively waging war against Western civilization, but they are passively refusing to defend it in any way.

How are they any better than the very Western women they excoriate? They are, in fact, observably worse, as both are in it merely for themselves but at least the women may produce the next generation of Western children, even if they will surely raise them in a sub-optimal manner. Neither the feral woman nor the fearful MGTOW is capable of maintaining the civilization whose toys they enjoy.

“How are they better than the very western women they excoriate?” strikes me as a very strange question. The whole point of MGTOW is that these men believe women are so dangerous as a group that they will destroy them emotionally and financially if they opt into the marriage market. Is Vox saying it would be better to marry these women? I doubt he means that. So what exactly does he mean?

My best guess is that he means they should try to find women they don’t think are bad and take the plunge to marry them despite the risks, but if that’s what he means his “How are they better than the very western women they excoriate?” is still an odd question, because it doesn’t really address anything at all.

This is where things get – and I don’t know how else to say this – weird.

If we aren’t sympathetic to soldiers who run the moment they see the first casualties in their unit, we should not be sympathetic to men who run from women because they saw someone taken down by a toxic woman. The truth is that men often suffer the legal order they deserve, because they tolerate it. Would any Roman patrician have meekly submitted to being made an indentured servant at the whim of his wife and the word of a judge?

No. He would have killed the judge, the wife, and everyone who assisted either of them, then calmly gone home and opened his veins in the bath. That’s why Roman law permitted patriarchs to kill those under their authority who crossed them in any way – because they were going to do it anyway and the maintenance of legal order in their society relied upon acknowledging that reality.

…What?

Seriously, what? I have absolutely no clue what he is trying to say here. None. I’ve read this multiple times and still don’t get it.

So…because a Roman would have murdered several people and turned his own children into orphans…modern men should…

What?

Is he saying that collectively, over generations, men have let women take the legal control of marriage to a point that men should be ashamed?

Well…what men? Who, exactly did this that he is referring to? I mean, it obviously happened, but what is the sin of each, individual man divorced by his wife for cash money that warrants this level of shame and degradation?

And is he saying that the solution to this is…revolution? We should rise up and collectively fight a war to take back our marriages? Is Vox willing to fight this war? If Spacebunny drops Vox and runs off with the kids, is Vox willing to start rallying men to the cause and overthrow the government?

Or does he want each individual man to take up the cause personally? So he truly believes that if Spacebunny divorces him the answer here is to orphan his children after they live with the reality that daddy killed mommy, went on a killing spree, and then offed himself in the bathtub? Hopefully he sends the kids out first so they don’t stumble onto the bodies.

If he doesn’t mean this, and I doubt he does, what does he mean? What exactly is he saying here?

I have no idea.

But the modern man values his toys more than his honor. That’s why no one, including the legal system, respects his possession of either. Men could end the entire divorce machine in 30 days if they chose, but instead, they prefer to live alone as indentured servants or in fear of becoming an indentured servant.

Men could end the divorce machine in 30 days…how? Seriously, how? How is this supposed to work?

I am not saying “wife up those sluts”, I am merely saying that living one’s life in fear of potentially wifing up a woman who may turn out to be less than entirely faithful and interested in playing the divorce lottery is not worthy of respect or emulation.

These two sections appear at first glance to be completely contradictory.

On the one hand, getting married literally puts you at risk of becoming an indentured servant, something he has contempt for.

But on the other hand, we should get married anyway or we’re Not Real Men.

The only way to resolve this potential contradiction, according to Vox, if I’m reading this right, is if you marry someone while also being willing to go on a vigilante spree and orphan your children after committing suicide.

If you are not willing to do that, you are Not A Real Man and Deserve What You Get.

A man of the West takes risks. A man of the Wests molds his wife and his children. A man of the West is willing to fight for his honor, his family, and his civilization. Success is not guaranteed. But then, when, in the entire history of Man, has it ever been guaranteed? For millennia, young men of honor have fought and died for what they believe. But for what, if anything, would an MGTOW risk breaking a fingernail?

And now the divorce mill and lack of commitment to revolution or murder-suicide is the equivalent to a fear of breaking a fingernail.

Please, tell me how else I can possibly read this post. I don’t see another way.

Ultimately Dalrock appears to be right, unfortunately. As he says:

The reality is that our current anti married father policies are merely the formal legal expression of our societal disrespect of married fathers.  The men of National Review, and now sadly Vox, are searching for a way to motivate men to marry without offering married fathers respect.  Though the details of their arguments differ, the form is the same;  married fathers deserve the contempt the system has for them.  If you disagree, your are either lazy or a coward. 

I truly hope I’m misunderstanding him here. I just don’t see how.

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