Sunday, December 19, 2004

More from the language police

NPR's "On the Media" has an interesting piece on the Chicago Tribune's pending revisions to their stylebook changing the term for third-trimester fetus to "unborn child." Then as if to wash themselves of the pro-life odor of the Trib's renovations, the show follows up with an idiotic conversation w/UC Berkeley linguistics prof George Lakoff, who insists that the Trib is falling prey to the right-wing truth-distorting "message machine." For him "unborn child" means nothing more than "a right-wing term corresponding to fetus." It's not that I don't believe that all language is social constructed and "framed" to a large degree. It's that these ho-humpfing academics think people care whether we call a fetus a "fetus" or an "unborn child." You can call it mud for all I care; it's human; it's sui generis; it's alive; and you can't kill it.

The host identifies Lakoff as a "prominent Democratic political strategist." No wonder they got whooped in November.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

VeHEMenTly Pro-Earth

Check it out, the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement. After an intital WTF? it started growing on me. I'm actually quite amused by its honest extrapolation of population control ideology. Why not just extinguish ourselves if there's nothing all that special about human biological existence except being the material cause of environmental degradation and suffering? It's almost Christian except in VHEMT's liturgy the entire human species becomes the self-sacrificial Host on the Altar of Earthly survival. The only problem is that their Credo requires valuing the Earth in a special way that requires an apriori teleological belief about the Earth and it's not clear to me from where VHEMT is pulling that except from their own sardonic, nihilistic arse.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

St. Sophia in DC at 100

Blessings upon St. Sophia on its 100th year of liturgy and ministry in DC! Just when I thought I was over my envy for the Eastern Orthodox...
All Christian churches and denominations share a common origin. But not all can say that a Christian time traveler from the 1st millennium would feel at home in a 21st-century worship service. That's exactly the assertion of Orthodox Christians, said [Archbishop] Demetrios, 76, who was born in Thessalonika, Greece, and celebrates Divine Liturgy the way he experienced it as a child and the way it was celebrated 1,500 years ago.
Why this isn't a good enough reason for American Catholics to give the traditional Latin Mass a li'l respect is beyond me.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

The Eliting of Catholic education

This is where I get disturbed about the mainstreaming of American Catholicism. Even the neocons in the Church are not immune--orthodox theologically on everything except ecclesiology and social ethics. As Jesuit-high school teacher, I sensed it during faculty meetings where the president and development officers of the school stood up proudly and gave us reports on expansions and other aggiornamentos. I sensed it when we patted ourselves on the back for sending kids to the Ivys. Dallas Morning News gives us a birds-eye view on how this trend is transforming the traditional role of Catholic ed in their fair city. This isn't just about Catholic schools. It's infecting Catholic health care too.