November 30, 2017

Say Not the Struggle Not Availeth

This morning watched a little Morning Joe. Propaganda or not, it’s enjoyable to watch TV in the morning though I do feel sheepish watching after seeing a local priest I respect fire off this tweet:
This is the first time I have ever seen @Morning_Joe. It's so terrible. How do people watch this stuff? Pure cynical manipulation.
True, but to avoid cynical manipulation seems like you can't watch TV.

Speaking of, will the last TV personality to leave please close the toilet seat lid? The latest to go down are Matt Laurer and Garrison Keillor.

There’s a surreal quality to hearing a US Senator (Al Franken) being asked repeatedly and point blank if he he had cupped or grabbed a woman’s butt cheek. High-laire to hear him say he didn't recall ever doing so, and the interviewer exclaimed shock that someone could grab a woman's full buttock and not remember it.

Keillor found his hand straying down the bare back of a woman.

I think it speaks to the tremendous power of the male sex drive, especially when combined with a sense of entitlement that power and money bring. And it could also be simply that 99% of these guys are old, between 60 and 90, and they grew up in the “Mad Men” '60s where things were bad for women in the workplace.

It’s also an unwitting tale of how sins have a staying power far beyond what we think they might have. They have a long shelf-life for they have a long effect on the victims.

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It’s amazing that a 1969 film, Something Beautiful for God, the documentary on Mother Teresa is unavailable anywhere (not YouTube, amazon, eBay, etc...) . It’s almost mystical, as if the movie were a supernatural event and thus somehow unable to be contained or preserved (Malcom Muggeridge, who was involved with the filming, reported that he felt it was supernaturally aided in that mysteriously they could film in almost no light).

I was going through books to sell and came across Mother Teresa’s Secret Fire and figured that was a good one to get rid of since her Come Be My Light was so depressing. And yet...I came across a quote from Peggy Noonan who said she’d read like crazy in 2008 and that it was the most important book she read in 2008. I thought I’d give it another chance and it feels providential. One blurb on the back says, “Secret Fire sets the record straight on her ‘dark night’”. Which would be helpful; seems like the necessary complement to the dark-suffer that was Come Be My Light.

A couple quotes; her darkness was not intended to depress us:
Her darkness was intended as a light for the rest of us. Her night was a metaphor for the blackness of our ‘vale of tears,’ a map etched on her soul to lead us through our own spiritual darkness into divine light. 
The author describes how Mother Teresa saw a different sort of poverty in the First World, that of a great hunger to be loved. And how she’s a mystic for non-mystics, given her vision but also her subsequent darkness.

Curious too the reaction to people viewing the film Something Beautiful for God:
“[Teresa] caused perplexity as people struggled with the newfound surge of generosity welling up inside. Curiously, most of the audience seemed unable to find any deeper, more enduring response beyond tears and a hurried check.” 
Teresa's message was elusive (beyond "Help the poor!") and the author who worked with Mother Teresa for over a decade to have found it.

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From Peggy Noonan in WSJ on the spate of sex harassment cases:
An aging Catholic priest suggested to a friend that all this was inevitable. “Contraception degenerates men,” he said, as does abortion. Once you separate sex from its seriousness, once you separate it from its life-changing, life-giving potential, men will come to see it as just another want, a desire like any other. Once they think that, then they’ll see sexual violations as less serious, less charged, less full of weight. They’ll be more able to rationalize. It’s only petty theft, a pack of chewing gum on the counter, and I took it.
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Saw a reference to the favorite poem of Chief Justice Rehnquist, a true Stoic, which he passed along to Clarence Thomas who had it laminated and put on his desk:
Say not the Struggle nought Availeth   
BY ARTHUR HUGH CLOUGH
Say not the struggle nought availeth,
The labour and the wounds are vain,
The enemy faints not, nor faileth,
And as things have been they remain.
If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars;
It may be, in yon smoke concealed,
Your comrades chase e'en now the fliers,
And, but for you, possess the field.
For while the tired waves, vainly breaking
Seem here no painful inch to gain,
Far back through creeks and inlets making,
Comes silent, flooding in, the main.
And not by eastern windows only,
When daylight comes, comes in the light,
In front the sun climbs slow, how slowly,
But westward, look, the land is bright.

2 comments:

William Luse said...

"...sins have a staying power far beyond what we think they might have. They have a long shelf-life for they have a long effect on the victims."

I had another life, an earlier life, for which - if judged by today's standards - I'd probably be serving life in prison.
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I have a copy of the little book, Something Beautiful for God. Wasn't the film based upon it? (Can't remember, frankly). But I was unaware that the film is unavailable for purchase. Doesn't seem right. I wonder who owns it.
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Enjoyed the Clough poem. Had to study him in Victorian Lit.

TS said...

I know what you mean about criminality by today’s standards. Some of it seems like trying to immanetize the eschaton.

Yes the book is based on the movie, or vice versa can’t remember which. But this is perhaps a case where the movie is better than the book. The author of “Secret Fire” said his life was changed by simply seeing her face, i.e. the warmth and wisdom.