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Showing posts from April, 2015

When the Monstrance is an Abyss

There's a very interesting essay in today's New York Times entitled "When the Cyberbully is You." The essay considers the phenomenon of the online mob and "shaming" a person via social media. Most of us are familiar with seeing stories go "viral" and re-posted or re-tweeted. Outrage and indignation spread from one person to another, their contagion seemingly infecting all it touches.

I am reluctant to consider myself a "victim" of cyberbullying but, I will admit, I've had more than my fair share of trolls who have visited this page. Most of them, sadly, are fellow Catholics who feel themselves commissioned by God to point out flaws or anonymously post hurtful comments. It's hard to develop a thick skin when someone is taking shots at you...but I've grown increasingly indifferent to cowardly criticisms.

The author of the Times piece quotes Friedrich Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil. Some years ago, I taught this to my sen…

Such Great Voyages

During one of our many snowstorms this winter, I had a chance to re-watch Tony Kushner's Angels in America. The HBO-adapted miniseries was drawn from Kushner's play which debuted in 2003. The story centers around the AIDS crisis of the mid-1980's and traces how the lives of quite disparate individuals become intertwined in New York City. 
The opening scene takes place during the funeral of an elderly woman. The wizened rabbi stands before a plane pine coffin:
This woman. I did not know this woman. I cannot accurately describe her attributes, nor do justice to her dimensions. She was...Well, in the Bronx Home of Aged Hebrews there are many like this, the old, and to many I speak but not to be frank with this one. She preferred silence. So I do not know her and yet I know her. She was...  (touching the coffin)
...not a person, but a whole kind of person, the ones that cross the ocean that brought with us to America, the villages of Russia and Lithuania. And how we struggle…