Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Blogging Around: The "That's Good Stuff" Edition

Some of these may be a bit old (meaning they didn't come out yesterday), but they are good food for thought no matter when we read them. Do click through to the links as I'm just giving excerpts of any quoted material.

Archbishop Timothy Dolan minces no words. Thank goodness.
The Gosnell trial focused our nation’s attention on something it has been avoiding for decades — the essential cruelty of abortion.

So, you would think we could now finally start speaking openly and with common sense about abortion, seeking ways to limit it, discussing creative alternatives.

Apparently, though, that’s not as easy as it sounds.

Instead, we see the President of the United States attending a gala event and toasting Planned Parenthood. Interestingly, the President never mentioned the word “abortion”, but instead praised Planned Parenthood for their work for “women’s health”. But make no mistake — Planned Parenthood may hide behind the term “women’s health”, but their business is really abortion. They do over 300,000 abortions every year, a great number of which are paid for by taxpayers. And they oppose any and all reasonable regulations of abortion, or even discussion about it.

We also have the threat of an expansion of abortion here in New York, under the rubric of “women’s equality”. ...
DON PINO: the most important beatification of the early 21st century
I recall all of us stuck in a hotel room several years ago. Some cable channel had on a history of the Mafia in Sicily and we were simultaneously rapt and horror struck. I somehow thought this was a thing of the recent past, not continuing to the point where a priest would be murdered in 1993 for challenging the Mafia's reign of terror. Therefore, I paid more attention than I might normally when John Allen wrote about the upcoming beatification of Italian Fr. Giuseppe "Pino" Puglisi, to be recognized as a martyr in a Mass celebrated in Palermo on the island of Sicily on May 25.
He understood he was playing with fire. Members of a social improvement group in his parish found the doors of their houses torched and got menacing phone calls. Puglisi himself received multiple death threats and, according to the testimony of one of his hit men (who later confessed), Puglisi's last words were: "I've been expecting you."

As it happened, Puglisi was gunned down on his 56th birthday. Visitors to Brancaccio today can find his favorite saying scrawled all over its walls: "And what if somebody did something?"
I realize by the time this post goes up, May 25 will be a past event. C'est la vie!

Joseph Susanka has been running a ongoing series of conversations with Christopher “C.K.” Kubasik, creator and writer of The Booth at the End. The entire thing is worth reading but this final part is just loaded with good stuff about story writing and humanity. Kubasik goes from Tolkien to Walter Kerr (the source of the quote below) to Macbeth and beyond. No wonder The Booth at the End is so enthralling.
We are fascinated by something [violent] that is real. We are repelled because it is real. Whatever charity we may having in us, whatever sense of the ugly, whatever awareness that the victim is a person like ourselves, casts a veil over the event—over our clear sight of the event. Because we are humane, we deny ourselves a direct vision.

Our art forms are often concerned to show us with clarity those events that are much too tremendous to be seen clearly in life. Intense passions, at close range, involves us too much; in the theater we may watch it without direct involvement which obscures its meaning. The larger the event, the more likely we are to lose hold of it in life, and the more necessary it becomes for the theater to seize and shape it for us. If the greatest plays of the past are plays in which characters tear out their own eyes or one another’s eyes, in which characters kill or are killed, in which sons turn violently upon their mother or husbands upon their wives, it is not because the audience once asked for cheap stimuli but because audiences did ask to have their experience, their clear knowledge of life, enlarged.
I've been reading science fiction writer Orson Scott Card's weekly column for some time online at The Rhinocerous Times, Greensboro's local newspaper. Titled Uncle Orson Reviews Everything, it covered whatever caught Card's attention. Toilet paper, movies, local restaurants, whatever. I didn't always agree with him but I loved reading him.

Times being what they are, I was saddened to see a few weeks ago that the newspaper has closed up shop. However, times being what they are, the feedback to this news has opened an exploration of new opportunity.

Card's column talking about the opportunity is worth reading whether you are interested in the newspaper or not. He talks about the nature of change, the reasons for it, and how it affects our daily lives. I especially enjoyed his discussion of how life will change once we all have electric cars. And would I pay an annual fee to still get Card's column. You betcha.
The businesses that failed were not badly managed -- or if they were, that's not why they went out of business.

It just happened that a new product or service was markedly better or more convenient or cheaper than the old way, and so the old way died.

Without UPS, there would have been no Amazon.com.

We drive cars rather than carriages. Horses eat whether you're using the carriage that day or not. But cars only "eat" gasoline when you drive them. Plus you get there way faster in a car.

Is it a tragedy, then, that blacksmiths were out of a job?
Want to change the world? Be a better neighbor. The Art of Manliness writes a compelling post that I think we should all consider acting on.
The ensuing discussion revealed a laundry list of social problems similar to what many cities face: at risk-kids, areas with dilapidated housing, child hunger, drug and alcohol abuse, loneliness, elderly shut-ins with no one to look in on them. The list went on and on.

Then the mayor said something that stopped cold the discussion. “The majority of issues that our community is facing would be eliminated or drastically reduced if we could just figure out a way to become a community of great neighbors.”

Read that quote again if you need to. Its ramifications could well affect your life.

Frie explained that neighboring relationships are more effective than civic programs because they are organic and ongoing. When neighbors are in relationship with one another, for instance, the elderly shut-ins get cared for by the person next door, the at-risk kid gets mentored by a dad who lives on the block, and so on.
Does that seem farfetched? Read the article and consider getting the book that is discussed. From where I sit it looks startlingly like a primer on how to be Christ to those around you. Which is something we can all use help with ... I know I can.

And if we're nervous about getting to know our neighbors better, perhaps we should ask "Pino" Puglisi for help in getting up our nerve.

No comments:

Post a Comment