Monthly Archives: February 2022

Re: Fantastic Beasts Movies

One of the things that put me off watching them at all was the early release of the wizarding US logo. It looked hideous and unlikely, and I just didn’t want to look at it.

Well, I had forgotten that the hideously ugly versions of FDR’s National Recovery Administration l(NRA) did in fact feature a hideous and blocky blue eagle, much like the one in Fantastic Beasts. So there’s that.

But it is still hideous and unlikely, because it is unclear how magical America would have been forced to use this horrible art. Unless you are implying that FDR was a successful Dark Lord, which indeed would explain a lot.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

St. Joseph Considered as a Priest

A lot of people seem to be offended by the comparison of the pregnant Mary to the Ark of the Covenant.

Okay, fine. Let’s pretend that she didn’t serve as the Ark and Throne of God, or that magically the Ark would stop being the Ark when Jesus was delivered into His mother’s arm. Fine. We’ll pretend that.

Now, let’s think of Joseph. As the head of a family and as the unacknowledged heir to the Throne of David, he could be a priest in various ways, including in the line of Melchizadek. He was chosen to live in the same house with God Almighty incarnate.

So the stable in Bethlehem, the home in Nazareth, and every camp and rest stop and Egyptian house where the Holy Family stayed, were basically the Tabernacle and the Holy of Holies.

In which Joseph served, every day of his life, year in and year out.

Now, all the priests and Levites lived under special regulations, but there were a lot more rules for them when priests were serving in the Temple.

Among which… was the rule that a priest could not have sex with his wife or anybody else, because otherwise he would be unclean and could not enter the inner temple area, much less the Holy of Holies.

Similarly, of course, the priest’s wife had to remain continent while her husband was doing his stint in the Temple.

Priests served only a few weeks every year. Joseph served and spent time with Jesus every day and every night.

Please tell me how he and Mary could have possibly had any interest in getting it on, when they would have to have abandoned the Holy Child and their house, or spent a whoooooole lot of effort getting ritually clean afterward.

Much less afforded the sacrifices.

Much less attempted to explain why members of the Tribe of Judah were offering priest sacrifices.

OTOH, considering St. Joseph as someone acting as a priest connects his service to Jesus to his protection of Mary. The woman a priest marries “must be a virgin,” according to Leviticus 21:13-14, and “a virgin from among his own people.”

Now, the interesting thing is that of course Jesus does approach people whom a priest, or anyone attempting to remain ritually clean and holy, would not approach. Since He is God and ultimately holy, He doesn’t mind about touching the dead, or the lepers, or a woman with a sickness of blood, or those demonically possessed. He brings ritual cleanness and holiness by His very being (although He does advise the lepers to obey His law and go to see the priests).

But there’s no suggestion in tradition that He got rid of the continence regulations for priests. Instead, we hear of the earliest Christians insisting that bishops refrain from having sex with their wives, while ordinary Christian couples observed continence during fasting periods and fasting days, just like Jewish couples.

So logically, Joseph wouldn’t have been doing anything with Mary, much less begetting other children with Mary. Because even if she wasn’t the living Ark of the Covenant, he was a priest in Temple service every day.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Obedient Disobedience

Sometimes you hear about malicious compliance, but beneficent compliance is a thing, too.

The usual ploy is to obey the letter of the command, but in such a way that a more prudent action is allowed.

For example, if somebody tells you to throw out all the backups, but you keep a backup of the backups; or you literally throw the backouts and then catch them. And so on.

One of St. Maximilian Kolbe’s fellow friars did something like this.

After the Nazis invaded Poland, and the Franciscans became aware that Kolbe was on the death lists, it was decided that Kolbe would shave his trademark “missionary beard,” and go unshaven like most Polish Franciscans.

One of his confreres wanted to save the beard (probably in folds of paper, like Victorians saved the long hair of girls, the dead, or of toddler boys after their first haircuts). Kolbe told him to throw it into the stove. (This would have been a woodstove or coalstove, with a fuel chamber used for heat as well as a top used for cooking.)

So the friar obediently threw it into the stove… while it was out.

And then he picked it up again and put the beard into a nice clean empty pickle jar, for safekeeping.

The subtext, of course, is that the other friar was pretty darned sure that Kolbe was a saint, and that the beard would be a valuable first class relic after he died someday in the future. Sure, it would be a historical item also, like locks of hair from famous generals, but only a belief that someone was becoming a saint would make someone eager to save beard scraps.

The friar could not have known that Kolbe would die a martyr, or that, because Kolbe’s body was lost among thousands of victims in the concentration camp, that the beard would be the ONLY first-class relic of St. Maximilian Kolbe.

So yup, that friar did something important, if a little trickily deceptive. Beneficent compliance.

“Behold how good and pleasant it is, for brethren to dwell together in amity again,

Like the precious ointment on his head running down upon his beard,

The beard of Aaron….” (Psalm 132:1-2/133:1-2)

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Failure of Nerve

So I’m reading a book with a female protagonist. The book clearly sets her up for having a crush on a male character whom she ends up adventuring with, and with whom she has been slightly acquainted all her life. In a village. Where everybody knows everything about everybody else.

So the story goes along, and the writer is clearly setting things up for some romance and conflict. The male lead clearly likes the female lead but thinks of her almost as a sister. Then it turns out that another male character is destined to protect her, and there’s a jealousy setup (or at least a “figuring out that the female lead has other options” setup). And there’s another female character, who might or might not be attracted to one or both guys.

So clearly we’re set up for characters trying to figure out their lives and loves, right?

No. No, that’s not where it’s going.

See, the female character walks in on her male buddy, and discovers him in the embrace of her other male buddy.

Suddenly it turns out that both male characters are gay. AND that they suddenly are sleeping with each other. AND they suddenly start talking like 21st century flaming gay guys from America. Because that makes a lot of sense.

But here’s the really unrealistic thing.

After a hundred or so pages of the female main character semi-pining after the one guy, and after everyone being well aware that female main character has a temper and is stupidly persistent in some ways, she decides that the whole situation is fine in about five paragraphs. No passive-aggressive reaction, no aggressive-aggressive reaction. Um. No. Very few people would react like this, even if they had been building upon nothing for almost no time. After many months living and working with each other all the time, that is just weird and unbelievable. Nor is the situation presented as a learning experience. It’s just a non-event.

Also, nothing to tell you about the culture’s attitude toward gay guys, either to explain them hiding their relationship or to explain why it’s a non-issue for the female lead.

Also, even though the other female character is supposedly her new bestest friend and also has a lot of issues with not being told things, the female main character doesn’t tell her about this, even though romantic ties are fairly important info for people who work together. Nor does she insist that they need to tell the other person, because it’s stupid to try to keep it a secret.

Honestly? It seemed to me like the writer suddenly decided that he/she did not want to go to the trouble of writing honest stuff about relationships, and also didn’t want to kill off any characters to prevent the need to write conflict. So instead, he just did a Jedi handwave and told you that the previous situation didn’t exist, and that he had no intention of dealing realistically with the new situation, either.

Now, it is possible in this universe that all of this is the result of mind control. At least that would make some sense, although obviously the realistic results would become even worse and more difficult to write.

Bleh. Disappointing.

If you have to do stuff like this as a writer, it would be better to go back and remove character development, replacing it with more shallowness, then to have a failure of nerve like this. Or you could put in foreshadowing that is more complicated, so that one could understand the characters reacting the way they do. (Even though it pretty much requires mind control, and/or twenty-first century Americans invading this other world.)

But of course, it makes more sense to face the mildly unpleasant writing task and conquer it, allowing your characters to be themselves and not some weird stereotype joke, because that is what art demands.

UPDATE: So of course the writer got rid of the other potential romantic conflict in a single line; and then later, also killed off the secondary female character, in a situation where one could easily picture various other ways for the party of adventurers to survive. And probably she will show up later as a villain or a zombie or something, for equally stupid reasons. Sigh.

I can understand when someone just doesn’t know how to write. I find it stupid when someone obviously has the skills to do a story right, and refuses to put in the work.

UPDATE: So I finished because it was free. And of course the second female character came back. It turned out she was working for the good guys, and the main characters were working for the bad guys, but the good guys couldn’t come right out and tell them what was going on, for reasons, and mostly because the second female character was hurt that the main female character didn’t update her on everything immediately (when second female character was barely talking to anyone).

And the moral of the story was that you should tell your friends everything and not keep any secrets. (Except the gay guys, because that totally had no impact on the plot and it wasn’t their fault at all. Or except for all the secret powers that helped the main character crush the baddies, because that’s all right too.) Ugh ugh ugh ugh. I would have respected the drawing of a distinction between “privacy is okay” and “secrets that can get your friends killed are not okay,” but sheesh.

Literally none of the other relationship hints and setups in the book for any of the main characters came to anything. There was literally one (1) heterosexual relationship in the book where the characters weren’t dead or split up, and that was between a man and a monster.

As Tolkien points out in “On Fairy Stories,” you really do need morality in fantasy, because it’s a strong building block as well as part of the “magic” that makes it interesting. Traditional morality is not only right, but is much more artistically congruent. (As one would expect in a world created and run on God’s ideas.) If the gay couple had been a heterosexual couple, or two staunch male friends, the story would have avoided a lot of its plot pitfalls as well as working better.

I really really need a palate cleanser, especially since the stupid bits were so obvious and unforced. Fortunately I have one incoming, as you can see in the comments below!


Filed under Uncategorized

Servant of God Akash Bashir

“I will die, but I will not let you in.”

Servant of God Akash Bashir, pray for us!

(Btw, “Akash” means “sky, upper atmosphere” in Hindi. So it’s a name like “Celestine” or “Ouranos.”)

Leave a comment

Filed under Saint Stories