Catholic Match Post on Being a Provider

Another essay up on Catholic Match, this one on man as provider:

Okay, so what constitutes ‘providing’?

Well, in this sense, to provide simply means that a man gives his family what they need to live; not just in the sense of what they need to survive, but a context in which to live and grow as healthy human beings (‘life’ is more than mere biological existence). A man gives of his own to sustain his children’s lives just as he gave of himself to beget them.

This begins before he even has children. When a man marries, he is said to take his wife into his own house. That is, he provides her a new home: a new context in which to live her life. This is, in fact, part of what a marriage is (the question of why it ought to be the man who does this is too intricate to deal with here).

It ought to be clear that this is a wholly different question from what sphere of life that home is formed in. Mr. Darcy welcoming his wife into a fine house richly furnished and heavy with tradition is not for that reason a better provider than Mr. Gargery welcoming his wife into a humble blacksmith’s cottage. The point is that in both cases, a form of life and a context for living it is provided by the man out of what he has to offer.

This is absolutely a necessity of the married state, and a man who is unwilling to provide for his family is as unworthy of marriage as a man who is unwilling to remain faithful to his wife. Rich or poor, a man takes care of his own and provides for them.

Read the rest here.

Catholic Match Post on ‘Bringing Up Baby’

Basing another post off of one of my favorite films.

In case you need a recap, the film features Mr. Grant as a milquetoast scientist too wrapped up in his career to have a life and Miss Hepburn as an insane socialite who becomes fixated on him after a few chance encounters. Then she acquires a pet leopard with a taste for music and dogs (“I don’t know if that means he eats dogs or is fond of them”) and enlists him to help her take it down to her aunt’s farm. In the process, she turns his boring, dead-end life inside out.

Poor Grant just wants to get back to his normal routine, with his frigid fiancée and dry career. But, as time goes on, not only does he slowly start to enjoy himself, but the experience also provides a much needed injection of energy and manliness. He not only has a better time, but becomes better for the time. After all, one almost can’t help but grow more assertive when trying to wrangle a wild, untamable creature that’s out for your blood (not to mention the leopard).

Grant, when we first meet him, is a thoroughly conventional man, bound up in his work, engaged to a modern working woman who is so dedicated to her own career and his that she insists they won’t have any children lest they distract from the job. He seeks to follow the script that life has given him at every turn, reciting the correct polite phrases at the correct time, following the correct path of a distinguished career followed by marriage to the correct woman.

Then Hepburn suddenly comes in and, to his consternation, she doesn’t follow the rules at all. They meet on the 18th fairway, where she helps herself to his ball, cheerfully talking over his attempts to explain, then when she’s finally convinced its his ball shrugs it off with “it’s only a game.” Things do not improve from there.

Read the rest here.

Aleteia Post on Halloween

My first Aleteia post is up, and it’s about Halloween!

However, I also must confess a dislike for the usual proposed alternative of “All Saints Night,” in which children are encouraged to dress as their favorite saints and all the spooky trappings of the holiday are avoided. To paraphrase Jane Austen, that may be more Catholic, but it is much less like Halloween. An alternative that removes the defining elements of a thing is not a very appealing alternative.  

I would like to propose another approach — one that lets Halloween remain Halloween, while placing it in its proper context.

In the first place, we should keep in mind that the grotesque, macabre, and horrific have always been a part of Christian culture. Side-by-side with the celebration of the high and the holy has been the contemplation of the dark and the frightening. Christians traditionally do not shy away from facing evil; we carve monsters on the sides of churches, compose ghost stories and legends of the unquiet dead, hold danses macabre in cemeteries, and even build whole chapels out of bones. What we are to fear makes as much a part of the Christian story as what we are to desire.

This is because the greater the fear and the greater the danger, the greater the triumph. The path to glory leads through the dark valley; Good Friday precedes Easter Sunday; Dante descends into Hell before he can view Heaven.

Read the rest here.

Jekyll and Hyde at Catholic Match

For my Halloween post at Catholic Match, I got to gush a little about one of my all-time favorite horror films, 1931’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde:

You all know the basic outline of the story: the brilliant, good Dr. Jekyll uses a chemical potion to transform himself in the evil Mr. Hyde, the embodiment of all his worst instincts and desires unfettered by even the smallest shred of conscience. Jekyll uses Hyde because, in that form, he can indulge in the pleasures that “a gentleman like me daren’t take advantage of.”

G.K. Chesterton perceptively pointed out that Jekyll and Hyde is not a story about how one man can be two, but how he cannot.
 
The whole point of the story is that Jekyll’s double-life, his attempt to contain and keep his sins, was doomed from the start. Because what Jekyll refuses to acknowledge, until it is too late, is that he and Hyde are the same person; what one does affects the other.

The more he lets Hyde out, the more the Hyde personality becomes his ‘true’ self, until by the end of the story Jekyll has effectively been absorbed into Hyde.

Read the rest here.

Halloween at the Federalist

New post up at the Federalist discussing the original Halloween:

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To understand this film, it is necessary to understand its monster. The thing in “Halloween” is usually referred to as Michael Myers, the name of the young boy in the opening. However, that’s not how Nick Castle is credited. He’s listed as playing “The Shape.” What is a shape? It is form without matter. A circle has the same nature, whether rendered in wood, ink, smoke, or mathematical notation. Thus, the Shape in “Halloween” is some form or reality that can materialize in many different ways, but always with the same nature.

Taken with Dr. Loomis’s pronouncements of the Shape’s inhuman nature, and especially with his final exchange with Strode —“It was the bogeyman!” she says, and he replies, “As a matter of fact, it was”  —  the implication is that the Shape is in fact a supernatural manifestation of evil. It isn’t Myers; he is only the material the Shape uses to give itself substance. This is why it always wears a mask, to the point that when Laurie briefly tears it off, the Shape pauses its assault to re-don the mask.

The Shape needs a disguise to give itself substance. It needs a “mask” of some sort. Even Myers himself is the Shape’s mask. This, of course, explains everything; The Shape cannot be killed because it is not a person but a supernatural entity. This is the same reason it has inhuman strength (enough to effortlessly strangle a German Shepherd with its bare hands) and some power over its environment (it seems able to lock and unlock doors from a distance).

It also explains the Shape’s eerily unnatural behavior. Not just its senseless murders, but the way it simply does strange things at times, such as when it appears in front of Linda wearing a ghost costume and then just stands there. Or when, after dispatching another victim, it pauses and thoughtfully tilts its head back and forth, as though studying its handiwork.

Likewise, there doesn’t seem to be any point to much of its behavior. For example, why the tableau with Annie’s body and Judith Myers’s gravestone? Or, for that matter, why is it targeting Laurie at all? The Shape, whatever its nature, is operating on a clearly alien mentality to anything we the audience can understand. It isn’t human.

Read the rest here.

Larry Correia Reviews “The Last Jedi”

Human grizzly bear and pulp author extraordinaire Larry Correia unloads upon The Last Jedi and Rian Johnson. That’s worth a share!

For those who don’t know, Mr. Correia is a very good writer. Granted, some of his earlier stuff is pretty clunky, but he improves with every book, and at this point he’s pretty much a master of the pulp craft (I especially recommend his Grimnoire Chronicles). The man excels at world building, character (he can make a red shirt gangster who exists only to die horribly into a believable human being with a personality suited to his own particular era and place in the world), and above all action. He’s written some of my all-time favorite characters (e.g. Faye) and he’s a major tentpole in my ‘authors to emulate’ file. So the man knows what he’s talking about when it comes to storytelling.

Content warning because it is Correia, and he doesn’t mince words, as you’ll see from this sample:

But f***ing up a new character is one thing… Ruining legends is a crime.

Luke was a travesty. That was just bull**** right there. If I’d had a look at the script beforehand I would have rolled it up tight and smacked Ryan over the head with it while shouting “what the f*** is wrong with you! You’ve been given custody of one of the most beloved characters in history and this is what you do with him?”

And the fact that nobody at Disney did that is the real travesty.

Listen, I’ve written in other people’s universes. And the first damned thing you do is your basic homework of what makes it tick, and what things are sacred. You don’t try to “subvert” what came before. You see why people loved it and then you build on it.

Like holy s*** man, I’ve written stories for Aliens, Predator, V Wars (coming soon to Netflix!), Warmachine, and I’m probably forgetting some other IPs I’ve worked in, that’s basic f***ing IP Writing 101. You do your homework. You respect what came before. AND YOU DON’T PISS OFF THE FANS.

So yeah, Luke, the hero of your childhood is now an asshole. Deal with it.

You’d think they’d learned from Han Solo in the last one. Hey, that beloved character, yeah, he’s basically a loser who lives in a van down by the river. But at least it felt like Harrison Ford was playing Han Solo. Mark was playing some useless grumpy old asshole.

Not that characters can’t change. They can. And they should. But when you as the writer change a character you’ve got to show that. You’ve got to make it organic. You can’t just slap them in the face and go EVERYTHING IS DIFFERENT I’M SO EDGY.

Go milk a f***ing walrus, you hack.

Read the rest here. Be sure to catch his dissection of the hyperspace kamikaze and all the reasons it’s a terrible piece of writing (the mere mental image he conjures of a “pissed off suicidal droid pilot” is more entertaining that the whole two-and-a-half hour film).

Why I Remain Catholic

New Post on the Federalist.

But now I will answer his question directly. The Protestant asks: “Do you believe Protestants have Christ?” The Roman answers: “Not as we do.”

You Protestants have him as a distant voice; we Romans have him body and soul and majesty and divinity. We feed upon his body and drink his blood. We hear, with our bodily ears, his voice through his anointed ones saying, “Your sins are forgiven you” and, “This is my body.” We touch the bones of his saints and venerate the wood of his cross. And yes, we hear his written word in scripture as well. We have him not only as Protestants do, but also in a way that can be seen and and touched and tasted.

Christ is not words on paper or high lessons. He is a man, solid and real. A man who tromped the Earth with his feet, struck people with his hands, and sweat and bled from his body. He is hard, brute, unmistakable Reality, and his bride the church is no different. She is no invisible collection of believers, but men and women bound by words spoken aloud under the same law and the same doctrine: doctrine that means one thing and not another. A visible, objective entity upon Earth, just as he was and is.

You Protestants do not have that. You have pieces that you tore off and carried away. We are original: you are derivative. You have an echo or an image or a dream of Christ. By the grace of God, that may be enough to bring you to salvation, but it is a poor substitute for the real thing. So, that would be my answer to Maas’s question. I hope that makes the issue a little clearer.

Go here to read the rest.