July 08, 2008


Writers who are in their own place and challenge it from the specific - that felt so universal to me, reading Mark Twain, reading Faulkner, reading Flannery O'Connor. I didn't always know what was going on, but the strangeness of the music, the peculiarity of it, just swept me along. And that means you don't have to be as performative and showy as someone from an older tradition has to be - people having to manufacture freshness and interest by feats of novelty and bombast and linguistic daring, where the style is essentially the story. - Australian poet Tim Winton

I have found that when it comes to diehard wrestling fans, they are either some of the dumbest people you will ever meet or the most intelligent. There’s no intellectual middle class in pro wrestling, compared with American Idol viewers or NFL fans, where I would imagine the IQ level of the vast majority of fans likely hovers around the pedestrian level. I was not shocked to learn that Flannery O’Connor liked rasslin’, for example. - Jack Hunter of the Charleston City Paper

Awaiting vacation reveals a will to live. It's exactly for this reason that vacation can't be a vacation from our 'self'. So, summer can't be an interruption or procrastination from taking life seriously. By means of the commitment to the ideal in our free time, we will learn to pursue it as a hypothesis even in the rest of our time, where the pressures of duty and contingent influences make everything tougher." - --Fr. Giussani via Fred of "Is it Possible?"

I remember reading the balcony scene of Romeo and Juliet as a cynical teenager and thinking that nobody could possibly pull off something so sappy. Then my English teacher screened this adaptation of [Zefferelli's] Romeo and Juliet for us. I couldn't eat my words fast enough. The whole movie is so beautiful and it makes a too-familiar story seem new each time I watch it again.- Sancta Sanctis

I'm not surprised to hear that he had issues with the Catholic Church. Most comedians of his era had problems with authority of any stripe and, of course, God is the Ultimate Authority. - Catholic Media Review on comedian George Carlin

I understand he was supposed to be controversial, brash and iconoclastic, which, translated from media-speak, means he said absolutely nothing to contradict modern received opinion and instead focused on making fun of anyone who wasn't in the room at the time. In any case, it is a good and fitting thing to pray for the dead. - Matthew of "Holy Whapping" on George Carlin

It seems that many of the relationships which give us a sense of purpose, wholeness, love, or meaning are also among the most stressful things: Love is reassuring, but also tiring! Perhaps our real difficulty is that we too often conflate happiness or "emotional well-being" with sense of meaning or purpose, when in fact they're quite distinct.... - Eve Tushnet

How do we become saints? It’s very simple: the Eucharist. Every saint has made the Eucharist the center of his or her life. If we center our lives on the Eucharist, we will become saints. We may never have “St.” in front of our name, but we will live heroic lives. The power and grace of the Eucharist is what allows saints to live extraordinary and heroic lives. Mother Teresa once said that she would have only lasted a week serving the poorest of the poor if she didn’t receive the Eucharist every day at Mass. The Eucharist is what leads the saints to do extraordinary things. - Fr. Greg of "St. Andrew's Parish"

The root of all sin, said Luther, following Augustine, is a condition described in two words: Incurvatus est--we are turned in upon ourselves. The young Augustine, like people of all times, including our own, thought he was searching for God. Yet in his mastery of all the philosophical paths, he was the master, and therein was the problem. Finally he faced the question: "What am I to myself but a guide to my own self-destruction?" Perhaps his best-known line is this: "You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you." Rest comes with surrender, with being shaken out of the state of incurvatus est, with submission to an other, and finally to the Other. The Other is embodied, as in the body of Christ, the Church. The form of the body, most fully and rightly ordered through time, has a location as specific as the location of New York. Finitum capax infiniti--the finite is capable of the infinite. One's search could not forever stop short of the finite that is the Catholic Church. - Fr. Neuhaus via Terri of "Summa Mamas"

Tofu may raise risk of dementia...I rather think, though, they may have that the wrong way round. In my considered opinion it is dementia that causes the eating of tofu. - John at "The Inn at the End of the World"

For me (and not just for me), the heart is that innate desire for total satisfaction, a satisfaction that engages every part of the human being and not merely the emotional or the logical. For Augustine, also, the heart is restless until it rests in the ultimate. If one takes Augustine's word heart to mean emotional only, then what does one make of his intellectual quest? As intelligent as Augustine was, if total satisfaction left out reason - there would still be a nagging persistent restlessness. So, either Augustine is deluding himself OR perhaps he found something that has the capacity to satisfy his heart in totality. Another approach, which differs from Augustine and Giussani somewhat in terminology is that of Walker Percy. What tradition calls the heart, Percy terms the "self." This self seeks both transcendence and placement. It seeks both to know things and to be a part of the world which it understands...I don't care which term is used: heart or self. What's important to me is the experience of the person as unity. It's also critical to know that the impoverished notion that we moderns have of the heart (as emotional reaction) is inadequate for understanding Augustine. - Frederick of "Deep Furrows"

Naturally I’d like to believe that my own retrospection is in some way more important than the old S.V.P.’s, which, when I was exposed to it, seemed to amount to not much more than a cheap longing. But there’s no such thing as a cheap longing, I’m tempted to conclude these days, not even if you’re sobbing over a cracked fingernail. Who knows what happened to that fellow over there? Who knows what lay behind his story about shopping for balsamic vinegar? He made it sound like an elixir, the poor bastard. - O'Neill's novel "Netherland"

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