Is there anybody out there?
Binky has had stray thoughts over the past little bit, and the following are them.
As you know, I been ailing, and after my attempt to restart back at the end of January, the teeth– in sailing terms– took me all aback: full stop. Since then, I’ve been waiting for the next disaster.. so far, none. Whew!
The thing is, this blog has been on hiatus so long, it’s dead in the water, visitor-wise. The Binky isn’t sure if there’s still interest in this thing getting going again or not.
~ JUST WATCHING the last 1/3 of the internationally famous Jesus Movie by The Jesus Movie Project— a huge evangelistic gift to the Christian world, and done in a huge number of languages. Unlike the 1977 Jesus of Nazareth, it sticks to the gospel word for word; unlike Mel Gibson’s overdone but in-parts-excellent Passion Of The Christ, it’s not insanely over-violent and overful of Mel’s spiritual and personal agonies projected onto the big screen.
Good Friday is still there in our ever-more secularizing calendar, even if an inconvenient no-shopping day in some locales for buying Easter goodies and groceries. that is, it’s still there as a reminder of eternity in time; of the founding principles of our Western civilization; as the first part of the spiritual drama to be completed by Pascha, the promised bodily resurrection on the Third day.
What saves?– this is the question which abides, even if public religious faith wanes. Who or what shall make all things right? How & when? Politicians and promises? Generals and weapons? Bureaucrats? Malls and sales? Redistributionism? Recycling? Utter personal freedom?
We enjoy many good things, invented or set up or passed on by generations before, so that we have been generally healthy, well off, well educated, and had a rich table of a very great feast and market set before us for our enjoyment.
We forget the ‘why’ of these things, and imagine that we somehow deserve them. They were given that we might pass them on, and ensue future generations might live a better life– because God commands us to be fruitful and multiply; to love our neighbour as ourselves; to leave it better than we found it. That’s part of doing God’s will, on earth as it is in heaven.
The spiritual energizes a person or society or civilization– giving direction and power and determination. Without a spiritual renewal, our societies will lose their way, their energy, their growing principle– cut flowers living a fleeting shadow of a life.
The cross of Jesus remains looming over us as a question, a challenge, a reminder, a provocation.. even if we dwell only in the shadow of the cross. If nature abhors a vacuum, so does supernature. That we feed– rather vampirically– on the leftovers of living faith, on the fumes of the built up moral and spiritual and material reserves handed on by past generations, is no credit to us. ~
Put Away Childish Things
~ JUST BEEN watching various versions of the play Richard 3.0 by William Shakespeare (on YouTube). I’d say that though Ian McKellen does a good job in the severely abridged 1995 movie, Olivier (in the less-abridged 1955 version) still rules them all. Plus, they knew how to make a decent-looking movie then.
Impressively, Shakespeare’s Richard of Gloucester is depicted as a genuinely nasty man. Along with author Alison Weir, I’ve no problem supposing Lord Nasty Rick capable of plots, schemes, and ordering the murder of the young princes in the tower. Heck, a 20th century deposed King of England was a big Nazi-fan, after all.
“Why, I, in this weak piping time of peace,
Have no delight to pass away the time,
Unless to spy my shadow in the sun
And descant on mine own deformity:
And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover,
To entertain these fair well-spoken days,
I am determined to prove a villain
And hate the idle pleasures of these days.
Plots have I laid, inductions dangerous,
By drunken prophecies, libels and dreams,
To set my brother Clarence and the king
In deadly hate the one against the other…”
This is morally serious language. Here are no weasel-words, nor slippery “Mistakes were made, negativity occurred, let’s move on” which leaves the perp unguilty, unhealed, and justice undone, nor seen to be done. Our age is often morally frivolous, where the kind of coffee you drink or how you sort your rubbish is carefully noted, but not whether you have your own offspring slain, or worship God versus Satan (or nothing), or buy products made by modern-day slaves.
Richard is cheerfully black-hearted, and depicted thus that we might not only see ourselves clearly in our sins, negligences and ignorances; most importantly, that we can see the consequencs of evil in the heart of one man as it spreads, infects, corrupts not only other people, but the whole realm, and the very future of the nation.
Our own little evils don’t necessarily kill kings or ruin kingdoms, but they do add to the fog of darkness and inhumanity and little cruelties by which we harm our neighbor, and ignore God. A recovery of self-knowledge comes by calling things what they are, and not what they are not.
In the wider world, Communism may speak of justice, but reeks of envy and resentment; capitalism may depict itself as freedom and wealth-creating, yet materialism and spiritual death and destructive greed is there, too. ~
~ A FRIEND put me onto the PBS series Downton Abbey (2 seasons so far). Hmmmm.
I’m not a student of the Edwardian/ late Victorian era, but then again, neither are the writers of this series. Jane Austen movies are rather more my taste, since those novels were written in the times they depict, and however repetitive her plots, they ring true for time and place. So too with many other Beeb & Masterpiece Theatre costume dramas. Or Patrick O’Brian’s sea-novels.
Downton is rather more.. well, what one clever person thinks the Edwardians were like; and while some critics paint it as hyper-nostalgic ‘snob-pron’, it seems to this watcher rather to be as unreflective and hollow as the Edwardians allegedly were before the Titanic* and the Somme. That is, a soap-opera in posh drag. And don’t get me started on the wince-tastic episodes 6 & 7 of Season 2, here we head into ever lamer plotlines.. what’s next, jumping sharks in the reflecting pond maybe? Shades of plot devices like “Last season was all just a dream”?
Sadly, most of the tropes are soap operatic old reliables– if they were on ‘As The Stomach Turns’ and set in 21st century New York, it would be much less interesting. Such fare does make me want to re-view Upstairs Downstairs and more historically researched and less superficial books, TV, and movies on the period.
Better Than Thou
Were the Edwardians– rich or poor– really such hollow twits and know-nothings, mere ciphers on their way to producing such prodigies as our own fine selves?
It is a very wicked habit of We Better Than Thou moderns to be incapable of thinking or sympathizing with past generations except where they agree with & act like us. We, too, shall pass– and our blindness and prejudices and stupidities will not be celebrated forever, no, not even by those who come soon after.
In the century of blood just past, how often the utopian Best was the bitter enemy of the actual good.. with predictably disasterous results, over and over and over. Such matters pierce the Binky-heart particularly: the world is full of victims of experts and grand theories and wrong-headed ideology and the more general war on reality.
Never mind that Tsarist Russia was reforming as fast as she could when war broke out, and that the fruit of good government policies were coming ripe when the war and German scheming to weaken Russia caused the great fall into blood under the revolting totalitarian radicals. Reality must be kept over-simplified, and wrongly remembered.
Stuff & Nonsense
Downton does not exactly hearken back to the older & better elements of Western Civ, or Edwardian Victorianism. Too much of the 20th century hate and mocking of the pre-Great war era is so cussedly ingrained in us, we cannot imagine older ways of being, or the good that was in it all, alongside the evil and folly. It’s all corsets and oppression and horrible rich people and bowing servants.
And howlingly bad anachronisms.
Pour On The Silly
Thus, the various characters who insist on being “free, free, free” (like the Communist-Irish chauffeur who somehow gets the youngest daughter of the family to fall in love with him) get all the sympathy. Anyone insisting on morality, decency, and sanity are depicted as fuddy-duddy hidebound shitewits, because “everthing is changing”. Or somehing. The constant villains? You knowit– evil Victorians.
Verdict? C- at best. But Lord Julian Fellowes is laughing all the way to the bank. ~
* Fellowes’ 4-part Titanic series was a jumbly botch. C-. Stick with A Night to Remember.
The Barbarian Boche
~ ITEM: The Rape Of Belgium; an official U.S. Report
~ ITEM: German soldiers deliberately murdered more than 6,000 civilians throughout occupied Belgium during the first six weeks of the war
~ ITEM: The Rape of Belgium: The Untold Story of World War I, by Larry Zuckerman; and Rehearsals: The German Army in Belgium, August 1914, by Jeff Lipkes
~ NOW, BINKS ISN’T calling for a revival of World War I anti-German propaganda, but some basic facts about Germany’s early 20th century record of atrocity needs to be re-remembered aright, for pacifists and anti-Westerners have made generations of hay justifying pro-German apologetics, and how it was all lies to get more soldiers for the meat-grinder of the Western Front.
Let’s recall that Germany was a brand new, rising nation, built on Teutonic supremacy, and militarism. Kaiser Wilhelm II may have been Queen Victoria’s Grandson, but he believed all that had gone before was corrupt and ripe to fall, to be swept away in a new Imperial and German age. In that sense, Kaiser Wilhelm had rather more in common with Lenin than his royal cousins throughout Europe.
A High & Lonely Destiny
In that sense, The Kaiser was a thorough-going social and political radical, and that radicalism would justify Germany’s leading the way in breaking all the bounds of international law, limited warfare, or any roadblock on the high historical Destiny of Germany to conquer and rule the inferior. Such niceties and limits applied only to weaklings, bourgeous fools, and non-Teutonicals.
The grandiose Wilhelm + an energetic military + huge popular support as the leader of the new Germany? = only a matter of time until war broke out, as the Kaiser fiddled with international agreeements, and upset the balance of powers, and armed his nation.
Such A Creative People
A few German inventions and/ or firsts in WWI? Lessee: mass bombardment via zeppelins & bombers against civilians & non-military targets; concentration camps for civilians; unlimited looting; repeated massacres of non-combatants; starvation used as a tactic; constant treaty breaking & violations of neutrality; unrestricted u-boat warfare; chemical weapons.. it’s a long ugly list.
Added to this ugliness was the apologetic attitude toward such atrocities by so-called World War I “pacifists”, who are the forerunners of modern leftists, who never met a radical and bloodthirsty dictator or Islamist terrorist they didn’t like– but for whom Western Civilization sucks and is to blame for everything ever.
Propaganda may exaggerate, but the modern habit of downplaying the truth behind images of the evil Hun in WWI serves neither history nor the facts. ~
The Nature Of God & Our Actions
~ ITEM: Crime and Punishment
~ A CRUCIAL PART OF ‘Answering Islam’ is to recall Christian definitions of God– because that is where we get our first principles, as expressed in the 10 Commandments, or the teachings of Jesus. That’s true whether we believe in God or not.
Say a Moe-Loving Koran-breathing terrorist chops off an infidel’s head, hands, feet, or whatnots? He or she believes God commanded it, through Moe, the One messenger of God, as communicated in the Koran. Compare instead the oft-mentioned bloody massacre of Jews & Muslims in the Crusader conquest of Richard “Lionheart” Plantagenet. Go ahead and show me where Jesus, Paul, Chrysostom or Aquinas teaches such things are the direct express revealed will of God, indeed the heart of the Gospel.
Think Like A Kid
Pesky 4-year old thinking is wiser than it seems. “Don’t break that, son.” “Why?” “Because I’m your Father.” “Why?” “Because I said so.” “Why?” Of course at this point arises the usual ‘See? It’s just arbitrary power, weak crushed by strong, blah blah blah’. Nonsense.
Actually, “Because I Said So” is a perfectly good reason, even if most parents don’t go behind their authority to proper sources for it. Thus: parents are legal guardians, responsible and accountable for children. Behind that, lotsa Biblical and civilizational reasons. Behind that, a commandment “Thou shalt honour thy Father and thy Mother”– that itself depends on God’s authority and self-revelation. But wait– there’s more!
“Because I said so”.. ultimately depends on the nature of God, himself, giver of life, and final authority for all legitimate authority– just as his loving, just, and constant Fatherhood is the model for all earthly fathers. There, parents: because, unworthy as you are, God gave you rule, and responsibility: you are accountable to more than yourself, your wife & kids, or even Social Services agencies.
That’s why Muhammed’s made-up claim that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are all the ‘Abrahaminic faiths’ and revelations of the same God is terribly, terribly wrong. Either the first two are utterly mistaken and wrong about God, or the third is. Muhammed tried to get his authority by saying that his alleged revelation ‘completed’ the Old & New testament. Um– if they are so corrupted, we have to also take Moe’s word that they are still authoritative, and that he has the right to re-interpret them so Really They’re All About Him.
Moe’s version of religion & God amounts to– Trust me, because I said so, and my re-written versions of those other Scriptures which came before me and don’t mention me, and which explicitly forbid false prophets or new gospels prove that my religion is truest and bestest.
The Power Of Logic Compels You
However, if God has forbidden murder (& child-sacrifice), and Muhammed revises that, but claims it’s all the same God, then (a) all religions are arbitrary, or (2) Moe is wrong, or (iii) Jesus & Moses were wrong.
You can’t have it all ways at once, Muslimo-Judaeo-Christiano-Secularism. God is, or isn’t. God reveals himself, or doesn’t. God cannot contradict himself, so one revelation is true, the other not. On these foundations stand our freedoms, human dignity, moral action, and very society & civilization.
Secularists are like garbage-pickers living off the built-up moral and spiritual capital of the west, passed on over 4000 years. They pick, but don’t ask where the wreckage and ruins come from, or how & why anybody should be one way versus another.
Dostoyevsky was neither a ninnyhammer nor sour finger-wagger. When he wrote that “If God does not exist, everything is lawful,” he showed how these alternatives work out in The Brothers Karamazov, and in Crime and Punishment for the atheist radical character Raskolnikov.
In a chilling foretaste of the “higher destiny” claims of the Bolsheviks and Soviet Communists, Raskolnikov does what he wants, justifies it to himself, and keeps on killing. If the character is to re-invent morality, or what is lawful for him (or, in the case of a state-sized moral inversion, what is literally “lawful” according to Communist priciples), then everything is lawful, even if his victims or lesser mortals do not embrace his brave new law of the self-made-ultimate.
“If God does not exist, everything is lawful,” or as the old Spanish proverb has it “Take what you want,” says God, “but you will have to pay for it.”
Our choices (individual or corporate) don’t suspend the laws of causality or consequence; don’t actually supersede human nature or right & wrong; don’t erase the existence of God. Despite secular defacer or Muslim ranter, reality is. Part of the calling of Jews, Christians, and liberal Muslims to insist– in the light of God and eternity– that truth abides, revealed in God, written on human nature, and expressed in our lives, work, and built-up moral and material inheritance. ~
Again, More, And ReDo
~ AS MOST OF THE PRE-DEAD Minions will know, The Binks is a promiscuous re-watcher and re-reader of movies & books.
This is, of course, how kids learn language & letters & words, stories, reading, listening, the basic stories of childhood and our foundations. I vividly remember my parents reading The Hobbit to me, marking in red dots the map as Bilbo & Co. travelled from danger into danger.
A few years later, I read & re-read The Hobbit, Asterix, Tintin, later The Lord of the Rings, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Conan, all the rest.
And I still do it– having added many series including Patrick O’Brian, Nigel Tranter, Edith Pargeter, and many others. Likewise with great movies & TV series.
Why? Lotsa folks figure once is enough, then graze new stuff.
Wherein Binks Tries To Justify His Notion
First, because (re)reading worthwhile stuff is a good thing. Secondly, for the same reason most of us like more than one bite of a good meal. Thirdish, because we are different each time, and see new things, and the book (or movie) echoes in us differently each time we digest it, as we grow older & hopefully wiser down the years.
It’s still a strange part of my memories that some movies which I found amazing or intriguing I only saw once or twice because that’s the way TV was back in the day. Unlike other stories, I couldn’t re-watch and learn & enjoy them– although I’ve found some of the stories & books they were based on.
Teh Binks will be trying to dig up some of those flicks (I’ve been re-watching Teh Muppet Show, most of which I vividly recall) to see what was interesting.. I think there’s a Sinbad in there, Jack The Giant Killer, those Reader’s Digest cartoons like The Selfish Giant and The Happy Prince.
Part of recovering and passing civilization and culture on is to learn, recall, and hand on to others the treasures of movie, art, culture, literature, music and whatever else is good, beautiful and true. If the Muslim Brotherhood gets there way, all that will be banned and forbidden and burnt and lost– so enjoy it while you can.
I find it interesting in this regard that some fans of Mark Steyn growl about how he doesn’t continuously and only write about U.S. politics, the Jihad, or the end of civilization and stuff.. you know, those articles on music, broadway, and showtunes. Sorry, but those are the life-giving things, the actual business of culture and soul and civilization.
Miss the point much, O commentators?
If you’ve got any tried-tested-and true must-read or must-see books or films, please add them to the comments below. ~