Thursday, December 26, 2013

Please stand by ...

Well, the essay for Catholic Stand hasn't posted yet — what the heck, I got it in late, and it's Christmas so everything's bound to be in disarray for a little bit — so let me offer a filler:

In the essay, "Talking white trash", I discuss the term white trash in connection with the Phil Robertson GQ interview and the rise of cultural illiteracy in which, as Southern writer Charlotte Hays puts it, "white trash has become the new normal". In a society that's culturally illiterate, people don't know enough of their culture to intelligently oppose or promote a viewpoint; yet, with an ever-increasing incidence of classic narcissism, the coming generation isn't bothered by their lack of subject-matter knowledge: "I don't know that s**t! Keep it real!" They believe they know enough to have a valid opinion ... and aren't we supposed to think for ourselves, anyway? Despite our technological progress, in some areas we're actually more ignorant than any previous generation ... and we're smug about it to boot. The essay is mostly in the context of religious knowledge (cultus being both the etymological and anthropological root of culture), but I fear it extends to other aspects as well.

Well, since the post is finished and committed for review, I can't incorporate this op-ed piece by Patrick B. Craine in LifeSiteNews: "The real 'war on Christmas' is perpetrated by Christians themselves". In my own piece, I mentioned the "stoopid lefty meme" as well as a CNN BeliefBlog piece which Terry Mattingly dismantled in GetReligion. Both of these items are good examples of what Craine is talking about:

The problem is that Christ and His Gospel have been co-opted and distorted. The Cross has been edited out, and Christ has been re-envisioned according to modern sensibilities. In the public mind, the Lion of Judah has become a hippy sentimentalist; the Lamb of God a cuddly teddy bear. He’s nice; He doesn’t make great demands of us – except for the ones the culture does. Our path to heaven is laid wide by being a “good person,” in other words, by staying on the right side of the law and giving to charity now and then. One of the key challenges of proclaiming Christ in this culture we live in is that to get our message across we have to first break through these preconceived distortions.

Granted, this is nothing I haven't said before elsewhere ... but then, I write in defense of Catholic Christian orthodoxy; there is a sense in which originality is a liability rather than an asset. Or, perhaps I should say that it's more important to get something right than to make it original or idiosyncratic.