Tuesday, April 25, 2006
I was at the grocery store the other day and found myself irritated by unruly children. It's a pretty upscale store in South Minneapolis - lots of "Creek people". Most of the kids appeared to be adopted from another culture - or at least looked to be of foreign birth while the parent was obviously white and American. (It's an observation - not a judgment - many affluent people are adopting children from other countries, especially girls from China.) The moms seemed to me to be single - maybe not all though. What annoyed me was that the kids all had their own mini grocery cart - so they could be like mom and push it around. It was the busiest day of the weekend and the busiest time of the day. I was annoyed because they always seemed to be in my way. (In addition everyone was eating from the various sample tables. I hate that! Do we always have to be eating and carrying some drink, nearly spilling on one another? It's rude. People leave their cart in the isle to retrieve their sample and hold up the flow. Was I or was I not in a bad mood?) I could not wait to leave the store.
The next day I complained about it in the office - somewhat exaggerating my anger so I sounded like a grumpy old man - just to annoy the parents in ear shot. (Everyone hears your conversations in an office.) It was my way of vicariously yelling at the parents I encountered in the store the day before. Hearing myself I actually felt badly that I sounded so anti-kid. As usual I thought about it more and prayed about it. I was acting like a grumpy old man. What was I annoyed by? The affluent housewives or professional businesswomen mothers who have adopted or natural children? I don't really know for sure. (The affluent in our society are rather annoying though. They used to be called nouveau riche, then yuppies, then something else - yet now they are so prevalent, what do you call them?)
We are a self-centered culture and when you're stressed it's easy to focus hostility on the snob element in the society. What is interesting is that some of the children of affluent families, who are now adults, have arrived at a semblance of altruism. Many good young adults aspire to real virtue and genuine holiness. I have been privledged to work with a few. One thing I've noticed however is that they are very much accustomed to getting whatever they want.
There's a connection here. I could not help but think of one couple I know who has had everything pretty much taken care of by mom and dad. Don't get me wrong - this couple is very enterprising and hard working. They are also very devout and I would speculate rather holy. They want a child and for some reason known only to themselves cannot have one. They adopted one child and want another now. That's a good thing, right? I guess so. It seems it's okay for some people in our society to adopt kids or produce them and it's not for others, and for good reason. But if you can't have them, what's all the fuss?
I'm reminded of St. John of the Cross when he wrote on "vain rejoicing in temporal goods" in "The Ascent of Mt. Carmel". He wrote; "It is also vain to desire children, as some do in upsetting and troubling the whole world with their longing for them. For they do not know whether their children will be good and serve God or whether the expected happiness will instead be sorrow, or the rest and comfort, trial and grief, or the honor, dishonor. Because of the children they might, as many do, offend God more. Christ says of these people that they circle the earth and the sea in order to enrich their children, and they make of them children of perdition twofold more than they themselves are. [Matt. 23:15] - Ascent chp 28;4.
It's a wonderful thing to want and to bear children, and if a couple is unable to do so, it is good to adopt. I'm not condemning that. What's my point? I don't really know except some people's kids annoy me - and so do their parents. Anyway - this all started because of some spoiled adopted kids I saw in the grocery store when I was in a bad mood.
Thoughts On the Movie, “Brokeback Mountain”
I decided I'd give in and watch the movie "Brokeback Mountain." For what it is worth I really only watched parts of it - I couldn‘t sit through the whole thing, it‘s a slow moving story. Despite that, the movie was well written, well directed and well acted. The cinematography was stunning - the mountain shots were so beautiful while the town shots were nothing but depressing. Nevertheless, it was a well done film - and truly Academy Award material - especially in our politically correct times. However, I just did not like the subject matter. I found it depressing and a little offensive.
I have no doubt the film has become something of a gay propaganda piece, it‘s nomination for awards fits in well with the gay agenda. The story succeeds in showing the torment two guys go through dealing with their homosexual attraction to one another, destroying their own families in the process. It just wasn’t a compelling example of the merits of homosexual love. Although praised as a tender ’love story’ - it really is - and it is also a story of how an illicit affair broke up a marriage. Obviously the two men were somehow scarred in their early life - Jake Gyllenhaal’s character exhibited some of the classic indications of deeply rooted same sex attraction, or at least the proclivity for it. He craved affirmation, acceptance as well as intimacy. He apparently had a poor father/son relationship and failed to excel in masculine endeavors. In the film he also played the more promiscuous character. (In one scene, disappointed to miss a sexual encounter with his friend Ennis, he picks up a male prostitute in Juarez. This indicates to me he had other experiences in the past.) Heath Ledger’s character seemed to me to be less homosexual in addition to being decidedly more sexually inexperienced. He resisted the sexual encounter, kissing appeared to be repulsive for him at first. In the beginning at least, he wanted the encounters to stop - in the beginning. He was also the first of the pair to get married. I wondered if this wasn’t because he really was heterosexual and having fallen in love with this woman, he wanted to make things right in his life. It is not that uncommon. for a man with incidental homosexual experience to transition his life in such a way. I have always believed that in some instances it may be a case of heroic virtue to act thus.
Gyllenhaal’s character (Jack) comes back into his life however. This is where the story becomes even more perverted for me, if you will. One can almost understand their failure in the mountains, isolated and alone for so long in such a remote location. (Sexual temptation is a powerful force, especially in young men.) Everyone has probably heard stories about such experiences occurring in prison, when men are at sea, or even in adolescence. I can even understand the one guy who seemed to be more confirmed, as well as experienced in homosexuality; his history and experience perhaps caused him to be more aggressive. The guys lost me when they got together again. I don’t think it was love so much as lust that motivated them. Sure they were extremely fond of one another, and maybe they were really in love, but I didn't think they shared a very meaningful friendship - in the begining at least. They hardly spoke to one another. Ledger’s character was incredibly inarticulate - of course it is his personality that makes him ‘the quiet man’ - his experiences growing up, his lack of education, etc. Nevertheless their relationship appeared to me to have been based upon genital/sexual contact - they were playing around more than having an affair. Later, when their friendship deepened, their sexual experience became a means to express this. Sadly I think there developed a co-dependence of sorts and their emotions took control. Hence the film becomes a rally cry for legitamizing same sex relationships. Persons of the same sex do love one another and always have done so throughout history - it is called friendship. The error of our age is to equate such love with heterosexual marriage and believe that sexual/genital expression is acceptable. It is not.
In closing it would be unfair of me if I failed to mention that there definitely were some very poignant moments in the film, but it just didn’t come off as a credible, nor acceptable love story for me. The sex scenes - though not terribly graphic - were nonetheless repulsive. Sodomy is a grave offense against nature and an abomination to God. I think that is why few movies portray it - filmmakers often show kissing and hugging in same sex situations, but when you see homosexual sex you know immediately that it is peculiar as well as offensive. Aside from porno films I doubt it will become popular to show it in theaters; if filmmakers insist upon doing so audiences will see how unnatural it is and the gay agenda will inevitably suffer some damage. It’s like the abortion issue - media never shows the reality of abortion because when people see it they understand it is a violent act and cannot fail to recognize that it is indeed murder.
The Bone Chapel, Malta
I decided to create a new weblog because I couldn't get into my original one from home - I forgot my user name and password. But I have wanted to have another more personal blog that can be more 'raw' if you will. At any rate, more down to earth - and maybe kind of dark.
I start out with this picture of the bone house because death has been on my mind for a few years and now it feels like it is stalking me. It's not a scary thing however. As I wrote in my other blog I look forward to it if it means living eternally with our Lord - that is, if I may die a 'happy death'. I was so gallant when I wrote that the other day. I was not considering the suffering that accompanies it, the aches and pains, which are perhaps minor at present, but will likely increase. The being tossed about from one doctor to another while never really resolving anything. I realized that I can make too much of it all, talk about it too much - I mean constantly tell everyone about every little illness. I understood last night that I must offer it up as a penance, in reparation - this is a golden opportunity - to offer one's illness, one's aches and pains, plus the humiliation of being sick and sort of lame...this is part of the way, albeit the way of the cross. It was indeed a consolation to understand that, and I felt unworthy of it.