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Posts Tagged ‘Jews’

Oh, but first, come see my post at the Register:  “Not like that!” The spirituality of The Mummy.  The post may be silly, but it’s witness to a miracle:  I was able to figure out how to post videos on a new platform while propitiating the feral kid, who sits behind my back and makes me play the squish game while I write.

But you don’t want to hear about me; you want to hear about .  . . . THE JERK!

To newer readers:  there is this guy.  He’s called “The Jerk.”  Simcha is not The Jerk, and The Jerk is not Simcha.

Every once in a while, The Jerk writes something weird for Simcha — something like, oh, the Beatitudes for Jerks.   And Simcha laughs and laughs and laughs, and gets ready to post it — and then wakes up in the middle of the night saying, “Oh my gosh, I can’t post that.”

On the other hand, it is Simcha’s blog, and  Simcha has already filled out the W-9 form for the Register.  As Mel Gibson said to his bottle of tequila, what’s the worst that could possibly happen?  And so I, Simcha, present . . .

Blessed are the Orthodox, for their Kingdom of God is better than your Kingdom of God.

Blessed are the Eastern Rite catholics, for their priests shall have kick-ass beards.

Blessed are the Angry, for they shall win all internet arguments.

Blessed are the Trads, for they shall fart in Latin.

Blessed are the JOOOOOOOOOOS, for they shall inherit the media.

Blessed are the Buddhists, for they have yet to piss me off today.

Blessed are you when women scorn you, and make intelligent conversation in front of you, and wear pants around you, for yours is your mother’s basement.

Blessed are the the wives of Opus Dei men, for those gals need all the help they can get.

Blessed be the ice maker.


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Trick-or-treaters might be coming around with UNICEF donation boxes.  Don’t give ‘em a dime — UNICEF pushes for abortion and sterilization as part of its efforts to improve the lives of women and children.  Beyond the immediate irony of that idea, it’s not even good policy.  According to CatholicCulture.org (emphasis mine):

Pro-family UN watchers are concerned that [UNICEF'S] disproportionate focus on unsafe abortion, based upon questionable maternal mortality figures, detracts from addressing the major health risks to pregnant women in the developing world. Experts say these are severe bleeding, eclampsia, and obstructed labor. By UNFPA’s own admission in a 2004 report, the most important means of reducing maternal mortality is not access to contraceptives and legal abortion but the presence of skilled birth attendants and access to emergency obstetric care.

Imagine:  those backward, third-world women would rather survive childbirth than get help killing their children.  Savages.

Abortion proponents often link unsafe abortion and maternal mortality to push for legal, “safe” abortion. Critics of this argument are quick to point out that in Poland, when abortion was severely restricted in 1993, the country showed a sharp decline in the abortion rate and a decline in maternal deaths. In Ireland, where abortion remains illegal, the country reports one of the lowest maternal mortality rates in the world. By contrast, while the United States has had abortion on demand since 1973, this year the US reported a rise in maternal deaths.

Oh, and look at this!  I was searching for an image for this post, and turned up this ad:

It’s an ad placed by the Palestinian Youth Association for Leadership and Rights Activation, and shows an axe hacking into the Star of David.   And looky!  There’s the UNICEF sponsorship logo, down at the bottom left.  (Image source and more information here.)

(Wait, let me save the very vocal minority here a little trouble:  Israel has committed atrocities!  They are the true criminals here!  Ms. Fisher’s blind, jingoistic support of Israel is what’s wrong with the Church and the world in general!  Aieeeeee, boogie boogie boogie, somebody said something about the Jooooooos!

Hokey doke.  Let’s just think about this for a second.  What is UNICEF for, again?  According to their website, it “works for children’s rights, their survival, development and protection.”

You know, with an axe.)

I’m not in favor of burdening young children with more bad news than they need to know.  If mini Buzz Lightyear shows up on your porch with a UNICEF donation box, just say, “No thanks, but here’s your fun size Snickers.”  But if your kid is being pressured by his school to use these collection boxes, you can tell him what I just said to my daughter:  UNICEF does some good things, but they also do a lot of bad things, and we don’t want to help them hurt people.  There are other charities that do a better job of helping poor people, so we give our money to them instead.

Here is our favorite charity, run by the Church with an incredibly low overhead:  Save a Family Plan.  Among other programs, you can choose a plan in which your family sponsors a desperate family in India, helping them to become educated and self-sufficient within a few years.    Boy, they get the job done.  And somehow they manage to do it without killing anyone.

UPDATE:

Sandy, an alert reader, sent the following links to clarify the connection between UNICEF and PYALRA, the organization that ran the ad above.  According to Israel National News,

“In a statement dated March 23, UNICEF president, Caryl M. Stern, denounced the “incorrect use of the UNICEF logo” and stated that “UNICEF was not consulted by PYALARA about the use of its logo in a poster announcing a youth broadcast and it condemns the use of its logo to imply endorsement of political opinions. Neither the poster nor the television program it advertises reflect UNICEF’s policies or its views.” Ms. Stern added that “UNICEF’s partnership agreement with PYALARA ended in January 2010” and that “UNICEF will be carefully reviewing any proposed future partnerships with PYALARA.”

Glad to hear it.  UNICEF still stinks, but at least this time, it turns out I was the one going “Aieee, the Joooos.”  Sorry about that!

Here are a few more links with more information about this story

http://thebulletin.us/articles/2010/03/31/news/world/doc4bafdbe416e47247495742.txt

From the Anti Defamation League:  http://www.adl.org/Internet_Rumors/UNICEF.htm

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It’s so linky around here today, I can hardly stand it!   I’m doing Seven Quick Takes with Jen from Conversion Diary, and responding to a rare tagging from The Anchoress.

She lists her five favorite Catholic devotions, and she wants to know what mine (and yours) are.

Now, I’m in kind of a spot here.

On one hand, the last six months or so have seen me practicing Catholic devotions in the same way as my three-year-old has been practicing personal hygiene:  whining and screaming and making things so miserable for everyone that, more often than not, we just skip it and walk away disgusted.

On the other hand, whatever Lizzie wants, Lizzie gets.

Just to make things harder on myself, I’m going to list seven, not five, so I can do Seven Quick Takes.  Maybe the extra two will count as doing mortification.  That’s a devotional, right?

Seven Favorite Catholic Devotions

–1–

Novenas

I think of novenas as spritual interventions — not “We pray for divine intervention,” but like:  “Well, do you think it might help if we held an intervention?”  A nine-step program, if you will.  You don’t set these things up for everyday problems.  Nobody enjoys it, and we’d all rather be somewhere else, but if this doesn’t work, then nothing will.  I kind of imagine the Holy Spirit slumping resignedly in a folding chair, drinking tepid coffee and willing at least to hear us out.

–2–

Adoration

It’s been a long, long time.  I’ve made dozens of resolves to sign up again, but I keep putting it off.  But when we were going, my husband and I signed up as a couple, and each went on alternate weeks.  Just two hours a month each, but it Made A Difference.

Sometimes when you go into the chapel, you feel wonderful.  You feel like you’re coming home from a long and miserable trip, when everyone missed you terribly and is so glad to see you.

And sometimes you feel like a bored, itchy hypocrite who has no business taking up space in this weird, demanding religion.  But I heard someone compare Adoration to standing in the sun:  you may not notice it happening, but it will surely change you.

–3–

Scriptural Rosary

This is not so much a favorite devotion as an inescapable one.  It’s kind of like taking your vitamins:  it’s so easy, and it couldn’t hurt, so you might as well just do it every night.  Gulp.

My kids enjoy it (we only do one decade a night) because eventually they will get to lead us in praying The Ascension.  The little rats read “‘Baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,'” and then they deliberately pause before continuing with “Hail Mary . . .” so they can make one or two inattentive people think we’re up to the Glory Be already.  They also like to trap house guests that way.  Isn’t that nice?  They’re wonderful children.

–4–

The Chaplet of Transition in Labor

When I’m in labor, I offer up the pain for people who suffer infertility.  That sounds a lot more pious than it really is.  Really, the only good thing about delivering babies is that, for once, you have something truly horrible to offer up–but, unlike other sacrifices, such as fasting or doing good works, you can’t get out of it.  So you might as well try and get something out of it (besides the baby, I mean).  Also “For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us, and on the whole world” is nice and rhythmic, and helps you breathe steadily.

–5–

ברוך אתה ה’ א‑לוהינו מלך העולם, שהכל נהיה בדברו.‏

Ha ha, got you there!  When I was little, we used to say the Hebrew blessing before meals (later, I found out it was Hebrew with a Brooklyn accent), and then we’d say it in English:  “Blessed art Thou, o Lord our God, King of the universe, by Whose word all things exist.”  It has such a wonderful rhythm of certainty at the end:  “By Whose word All.  Things.  Exist.”  I don’t know how to read Hebrew (although I did once advise someone on whether or not her mezuzah was upside down, so I know that much), but here is a transliteration of the prayer: Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu Melekh ha‑olam, she‑hakol nih’ye bidvaro; and here is  someone saying it.

There are actually several different prayers before meals, depending on what kind of food you will be eating.  This may very well be technically the wrong prayer to use every day, but, you know, there’s a New Covenant and all.  You’re covered.

–6–

Palming it Off On Someone Else

I thought it was hilarious when Mark Shea recently explained that he started posting prayer requests on his blog

largely because I feel inept as an intercessory pray-er, and so had a hope that maybe somebody out there in the audience might have the charism I lack when it comes to having a clue how to pray. I thought I was being very clever fobbing this off on others; but, of course, what I stupidly failed to foresee was that this would inevitably result in lots more prayer requests for everything under the sun. I continue to post them, along with my fumbling two cents in the courts of the Almighty, advising Him on how to proceed. I haven’t the slightest clue whether my prayers do a lick of good for the person making the prayer request. But I figure that if I mix my prayers in with others who are closer to the Throne, then maybe they’ll get lost in the pack and I will look like I know what I’m doing.

I’m lazy enough to pass along a prayer request before actually praying about it myself, but scrupulous enough to feel bad about it; so generally, the act of making it public is enough to help me to remember to say at least a quickie prayer myself.  Whereas if I only realize I should be praying for something, I’m all too prone to mistaking “I should pray about this” for actually praying.  Maybe God, in his generosity, accepts even good intentions as prayer, but I’m not counting on it.

–7–

Act of Contrition

I love the Church so much.  She knows that we’re so lame, so stupid, so weak and lazy that not only do we have to be required to go to confession once a year, but we  need help figuring out how to say “I’m sorry.”  Isn’t it great to have those words?  They say it all — everything you’re thinking, and everything you ought to be thinking — and it feels so good to say them.

O my god, I am truly sorry for having offended Thee.  I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of Heaven and the pains of Hell, but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, who art all good and deserving of all my love.  I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin.

Whew. I mean, Amen.

Oh, wait!  Here’s a bonus one.

–8–

A Strange Child’s Prayer

When my oldest daughter was about four, she wrote a prayer of her own.   She understood the gerneral lingo, if nothing else.  I wish I could find the baby book for this General Act of Praying, but the ended with:  “Holy, holy, holy.  Isn’t it holy?”

———————————–

Okay, so now I’m tagging Hallie from Betty Beguiles, Megan from  Sorta Crunchy, Lisa from Sweet Family Times, Kristen from St. Monica’s Bridge, and Becca from The Hollow.

And don’t forget to check out Conversion Diary for other Seven Quick Takes, and link up if you’re doing your own!

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photo source

I’ll admit it, I felt great watching the first half of Inglourious Basterds.  We saw it a few weeks ago, and it was exactly the palate cleanser I thought I needed after that appalling gorgon Helen Thomas gave tongue to her revolting little swan song.  It wasn’t Thomas herself who gave me concentration camp nightmares.  What really made my flesh crawl were the throngs of little cockroach voices cheering her on in comboxes everywhere. (They feel safe to come out when it’s dark, you know).  I know that people are at their worst when anonymously reacting to a news story, but I was horrified by the sheer numbers of those who felt comfortable shrieking out in fury against the Jews.  Things have changed.  You don’t have to be paranoid to realize that antisemitism is creeping back into style.

So I enjoyed this movie, at first. Who wouldn’t want to see pure evil get some payback for a change?  The story was fascinating, and each scene was, of course, gorgeously shot.  I laughed and laughed at the funny scenes, and in the tense scenes, I nearly chewed through the arm of the couch.  Even though I covered my eyes while the avenging basterds carved up helpless Nazis by the dozen, I enjoyed it.  On the whole, it was an entertaining, wildly original movie.  But I felt sick and guilty by the end.

Not because of its incredibly brutal and graphic violence, which was, according to the Tarantino tradition, lovingly caressed by the camera so that not a single splat of brain tissue was left behind or forgotten.  I think his ultraviolent genre is tiresome, but I can work around it and enjoy a movie, as long as my husband tells me when it’s safe to look.

The movie annoyed me because I don’t know what it was for.  I guess it was, in part, supposed to be an indulgent revenge fantasy which makes reparations for the Holocaust,  using the only means a movie maker has:  by redoing it all on screen.  This is the way things should have happened, right?  It scratched that anti-evil itch.  And as I said, I enjoyed it at first.

I don’t mind a movie that isn’t for or about anything, as long as it’s entertaining . . . unless it’s this one.  Why?  Because every time the Jews won, I was reminded of how, in real life, they didn’t.  The revenge was so complete, so over-the-top, it stopped working for me.  Hitler wasn’t merely  gunned down at close range — his killer went back and sprayed more bullets, and more and more and more bullets, back and forth across his dead face.  The sheer boundless triumph of the victory was answered, in my mind, by a persistent echo which said, louder and louder as the movie went on, “The opposite happened.”  I’m sorry, I know this is terribly melodramatic, but the piles of dead children in my recent  nightmares didn’t get much satisfaction from this film.

I had other problems with it, too.  Why were there no Jews in it?  I know there were supposed to be — but why did those characters not appear Jewish in any way?  Okay, some of the actors had big brown eyes, but aside from that, there was not a speck of Jewish culture or sensibility to be found.  That would have made the revenge more satisfying, if some of the avengers had been identifiable as Jews in anything but their thirst for vengeance.

There’s another big problem:  vengeance isn’t actually an especially Jewish trait.  Oh, in personal matters, maybe (just ask my husband).  But in large matters, Jews think too much to be able to carry out a plot so simple as utterly blotting out the enemy.  Jews are never single-minded, but in this movie, all they had to say was “YAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!” as they gouged out larynxes with their bare hands, or whatever.  No argument, no analysis, no guilt, and no jokes?  Come on.

There was no sadness in the movie, either, only rage.  That struck me as unforgivably lacking in a movie about Jews.  Jews are always sad, even when they’re enjoying themselves.

I know you can argue that this wasn’t really a movie about the Holocaust, or about Jews, or about the war.  I get that:  it was about revenge in general.  My husband thinks that, if the movie was saying anything at all, it was saying that revenge is hollow.  It certainly felt that way by the end, with the distorted image of the giant face laughing maniacally as everything went up in flames — an image so tawdry and overblown that it had to be deliberately clichéd, right?  So it wasn’t just a regular cliché, but an ironic cliché?  Meant to show you that . . . what?

It was also clearly supposed to be a movie about movies.  Everything happens within a theater, either literally (at the end, when all the biggest Nazis die) or figuratively (when the “German Sergeant York” is rewarded for killing Allies by starring as himself in a movie about killing Allies).  References and homages to other films abound.  Okay, so it’s about movies.  But . . . what about movies?

Tarantino is so childish, but he frames scenes like a god, so it’s hard to stay away.  He keeps hinting at gargantuan talent, but he’s so darn lazy:  his movies are set up to be meaningful, but rarely deliver. Once again in this film, Tarantino is under the impression that he is actually saying something, when he merely sets the stage, and then rolls the credits.

I wouldn’t say “don’t watch this movie.”  I would just caution you that you will feel agitated and unhappy inside after you do (and not only because of the nearly illegible yellow subtitles) .  Quentin Tarantino is not going to grow up, so I just wish he would would hire a partner who could take his original ideas, his brilliant comic inspirations, his wild pairings of image and sound, and turn them into a movie that knows what it’s about.

What do you think?  Am I missing something here?  I was fully prepared to enjoy this movie, but it didn’t happen.

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