May 29, 2021

Catholic Grift Or Infinitely Approaching Grift Without Actually Reaching It

Kind of discombobulated today reading the Catholic scandal sheets (aka Catholic Twitter). Specifically learning that rightwing fringe priest Fr. Altman has raised over $500k in his legal defense fund (his defense costs will be maybe $15k). And he wants to control the money and use as he sees fit. 

Fr. Altman seems highly grift-y. You couldn't have necessarily predicted a grifter in advance although incendiary language lacking nuance is a decent tell.  Fr. Z similarly has always turned me off although with far less griftedness than Altman. 

We live in an age where religion is mimicking politics. Celebrity is like water in the basement: it finds its way in when there is sufficient motivation and avenue. Or like money in politics. You can dam up every spigot but money will find politicians. 

I feel wary of Dawn Eden’s side given her side is leftwing Catholicism but I find myself won by her argument that it means little, contra Sohrab Ahmari, that Rutler is not going to be charged for sexual abuse after a seven month (!) investigation. You still have the issue of the porn use which he'd has not denied and will require an archdiocese review. 

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Arguably abuses start on the left and the conservatives catch on belatedly, in the time-honored fashions of liberals being on the vanguard and conservatives observing and following what works.  In the religious sphere you had Fr. James Martin in 2017 let his freak flag fly without repercussion so that begat Fr Altman doing the same on the other side of the fence and it was mid-2018 Archbishop Vigano did his number on Pope Francis.  

On the political side, you had all kinds of protests and violence in the summer of ’20 on the Left, BLM and antifa. And it was only in Jan. ’21 that the Right thought (mistakenly) that it could get away with some of that. 

Usually the Right has far less success due to the bias of the national media although sometimes neither side successful as in the case with questioning the security of voting machines. 

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A lot of botox and plastic surgery in Hollywood. You would think that it would limit actors, that it could flatten out expressions. Actors need to express with their face and anything that limits the ability to smile, for example, would be detrimental. But of course Hollywood isn’t so much concerned with acting prowess as looks and celebrity.  And people like to gaze at attractive people. 

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The following passage from the Charlie Smith novel made me think of a city like Hamilton, and how the river must be so different now that it is kept at arm’s length, compared to pre-1913: 

"In the afternoon he took walks on the levee. Fifty feet high, wide as a ship...two worlds were cut off from each other by the long line of dirt and grass, and though no passport was needed to cross from one side to the other, the years of separation - so it seemed to him - had changed both parties. The river was no longer the infiltrating presence, destroyer or abettor, but now only an untrustworthy stranger who had to be kept in its place; and the town, once humble enough to accept whatever came its way, whether flood or heavy, slow passing of time rolling downstream, imagined itself as indestructible, as exemplar of a shape and style that would endure forever." 

And this was an interesting take, on the main character, a criminal: 

"He could not resist his desire to take what he wanted. There was remorse, but he learned to live with that. His belief was conservative: that there was a huge vat of goodness wickedness polluted only little by little."

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