About DBreitenbeck

David Breitenbeck is a professional freelance writer currently living in Southeast Michigan.

Please Do Not Try to Find Holy Images in Random Things

I happened upon this article through ‘Big Pulpit,’ and I have to make a quick comment: I really, really wish Christians would stop posting things like this:

Miraculous Image of Blessed Mother Holding Baby Appears in Pregnancy Sonogram – See the Photo!

by ChurchPOP Editor – 

The story itself is actually well worth reading, about a woman who was told she would never conceive, but went on to have nine children. But the image itself is nothing: it’s a vague, orangish blob that, to my mind, doesn’t look much like the image of a face (the ‘forehead’ is too large, there’s a weird projection on the bridge of the ‘nose’, two or three potential ‘eyes’, and so on). Here’s a clearer shot:

Now, anyone is welcome to take comfort from this image, or to use it as a reminder of the ever-present care of the Blessed Virgin, but please, please stop putting this sort of thing out there and calling it a ‘miracle.’ In the first place, it isn’t a miracle: it’s a subjective interpretation.  A real miracle would be far clearer, would be unaccountable by other explanations, and so on. This image has no meaning to anyone who does not already bring a desire to read that meaning into it.

Me, I believe in miracles: if you tell me St. Joseph of Cuptertino flew through the air, I’ll say it very well may have happened, and if you then give me documentary evidence of it, I’ll call it a fact that he did. Precisely for that reason I do not care for cheap, desperate attempts to claim miracles where there are none. To quote Father Brown, if I want real miracles, I know where I can get them.

The problem is that when you put something like this out there and declare it a miracle, or declare it is a sign from God, or anything of the kind, you do not convince anyone; you do the reverse. You make Christians or pro-lifers look insane, or at the very least extremely credible and willing to grasp at any flimsy straw that seems to confirm their preconceived view of the world. Worse, it encourages Christians to actually behave that way, which is the last thing we need. Not just because it hurts us in the eyes of the unconverted, but because it is actually damaging to our faith. Accepting flimsy, flattering ‘miracles’ like this only encourages us to take a lax, emotionally charged, and intellectually weak approach to our religion.

Please, please stop doing this.

 

Do the Powers Make the Hero?

The Irreplaceable Caroline Furlong writes an excellent piece about whether the superhuman powers of a hero is what makes him a hero worth rooting for, or not:

Due to the numerous ways extraordinary faculties can be introduced into a tale, there are several conditions that an author must consider when creating powered protagonists. In today’s post, we are focusing on the most important one: whether or not strange abilities make the lead character a hero. Is it his special powers that make the sci-fi/fantasy protagonist a champion? Or are the forces that he wields less important than the character himself?

The answer to the first question should be no, because a protagonist who is only memorable for his special talents or whizz-bang gadgets is not a character. He is, rather, a prop; a device that demonstrates the author’s cool ideas in a series of happy (or unhappy) accidents. No one enjoys watching a prop being moved around the stage by the play’s director, even if he is honestly trying to save the show. They will feel sympathy for him, but nothing else. In the same manner, no one will respect or admire a writer who cannot create characters who are alive.

In order to illustrate this fact, let us compare Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Thor: The Dark World, which each have Rey and Thor as the respective lead characters. In the sequel Star Wars films Rey commands nearly cosmic Force powers; she can use the Force with almost no training whatsoever. Thor, on the other hand, is – well, the god of thunder. He can raise storms at will, he is the strongest Asgardian still living, he can survive explosive decompression and hard vacuum, and he is relatively indestructible.

Read the whole thing!

As a side note, I really love this poster of Thor: the Dark World. It really captures the sense of the heroism and adventure that Thor ought to be about.

Related image

Living in Interesting Times at Catholic Match

I missed that this piece went up a few days ago: talking about how to live in “Interesting Times.” I get to quote “Lord of the Rings” a lot in this one:

The first thing we ought to get clear right from the start is this: our circumstances are nothing new.

Certainly the specifics are original to our times (which is true of every time), but there have been many, many troubled or even disastrous ages before, and if there is one thing that may be learned from them, it is that life goes on.

The Greeks continued to compose poetry and discuss philosophy during the Peloponnesian Wars. St. Augustine continued to preach and write even as the Roman Empire collapsed about him. J.R.R. Tolkien married his wife during the opening years of the First World War (just before he himself was shipped to the Somme) and mostly composed his masterwork, The Lord of the Rings, amid the uncertainty and horrors during and leading up to the Second.

Indeed, that work is largely the picture of ordinary people living in ‘interesting times,’ and it offers some sound advice on the point:

“How shall a man judge what to do in such times?” Eomer asks, bewildered by the wonders and terrors springing up around him.

“As he ever has judged,” Aragorn answers. “Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear…It is a man’s part to discern them, as much in the Golden Wood as in his own house.”

Read the rest here.

Robert Davi Speaks the Truth

Veteran character actor Robert Davi (of Licensed to Kill, Die Hard, and The Goonies among others) shares his heartbreak in a quiet, powerful video in response to New York’s barbaric new abortion law:

Money quote: “You really think you can rip a baby from its mother’s womb at nine months and it’s ok?”

This is the kind of statement that should be coming from every Catholic, Christian, and civilized human being in public life in the country. But until that happens, we should be grateful for what we get.

I’ve always appreciated seeing Mr. Davi show up in films, and I’ll appreciate it all the more after this.

Ave Doctor Angelicus

“[A] man would show himself to be a most insane fool if he declared the assertions of a philosopher to be false because he was unable to understand them”.
Summa Contra Gentiles, Chp. 3: 4

Today is the Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas, one of the great intellectual jewels of the human race. Today let’s ask him to pray for a return to reason in our world.

Thomas Aquinas Reason.jpg

 

 

Traditional Masculinity with Larry Correia

After all the nonsense we’ve heard in the news lately about ‘toxic masculinity,’ a restorative seems in order. To that end, I offer another fisk by the incomparable Larry Correia. In this one, Mr. Correia tears into a painfully ignorant and narrow-minded piece listing ‘obsolete’ male skills and in the process demonstrates what real manhood looks like.

As always with Mr. Correia, language advisory: he puts the lie to the idea that manly men hide their feelings.

I particularly appreciate the section where the author lists ‘fighting’ as an obsolete skill. Needless to say, this brings out the brutal truth:

It’s a pretty common conception that at the root of every male confrontation is the possibility of physical violence.

If by “common conception” you mean what we’ve learned from all of human history and human nature, no ****, Sherlock. 

Road rage incidents, bar standoffs, most guys have found themselves in a situation that felt like a prelude to fisticuffs.

That’s because whether you like it or not the world has many violent, predatory ***holes in it.

And in a violent dog-eat-dog world, there’s a certain logic to that approach.

There is a great deal of logic to it, unless you have a magic wand that can make murder vanish. In the meantime you can either be prepared to defend yourself or you can just be a victim.

But how many of those situations actually evolve into a fight?

Trust me. One is enough.

And why should any of them?

Because the other ***hole gets a vote too.

Physical fighting literally doesn’t solve anything — it just leaves people angry and bruised, or worse.

BULL-F******-S***.  That is some sheltered, Pollyanna, Kumbaya singing, wishful thinking, delusional nonsense right there. That attitude is the most “white privilege”, ivory tower, I Live In A Gated Community, nonsense I know of.  And I think the very concept of “white privilege” is idiotic, but if it exists, it’s that **** right there.

There are evil people in the world. And I’m not talking about the car mechanic who called Ian a sissy. There are murderers, rapists, terrorists, and people who want to hurt you just because it makes them happy to see you bleed. In addition to those actual evil people, you’ve got morons, who sometimes do stupid **** that gets out of control.  

People who claim violence never solve anything are profoundly, painfully ignorant of the world. Violence solves lots of things. It doesn’t solve them pretty, but it solves them.

Bad things happen. Period. You might win the lottery and never have a violent encounter in your life. But if you do, then having some measure of knowledge and skill to keep from having your skull caved in is mighty handy.

Instead, Learn How to Mediate

Problem-solving with an eye to compromise and healthy conflict resolution is something that, by and large, men just aren’t taught growing up.

An absolute lie.

I grew up rural poor, surrounded by men with what the APA would surely say are guilty of “toxic masculinity”, and though we learned to fight, we ALSO learned how not to. And it mattered MORE, because we were dealing with strong people who could really **** you up when it mattered.

That’s one of the reasons many of us are so quick to start swinging or shoving rather than handling things with our words.

Ian is projecting. 

In reality, guys who know how to really fight, also know how badly injured the human body can be by a proper strike to the head, or a bad fall. And so we tend to avoid pointless conflict.

If I may add: as someone who has about twenty-years martial arts experience under his belt, I can testify that it is usually the morons who never actually learn to fight, or who take the pretty, show-off style classes who talk about violence as if it were a game. The people who actually spend time sparring, going back and forth with rubber knives, and practicing how to hurt someone know better. How many of those antifa types or the people calling for violent “resistance” do you think have ever actually been punched in the face, let alone been shot at? My guess is not many. Not that there aren’t exceptions, but in my experience those who have the best idea of how to hurt someone are also among the least willing to start a fight over something stupid.

But then again, it also tends to be the sheltered and the naive who parrot the idiotic ‘violence never solves anything’ line and talk as though ‘mediation’ with a predator or a coked up lunatic were possible because they have no idea what reality is really like.

Anyway, read the rest and enjoy the sight of some ‘traditional masculinity’ in action.