Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.

Now Blogging Afresh at Ad Orientem 西儒 - The Western Confucian

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Today's Election
A victory for the Right: S.Korea opposition heads for big win in local polls
    A resident from the traditional Korean folk village of Chunghak votes during local elections in Hadong county, about 480 km (298 miles) southeast of Seoul, May 31, 2006. South Koreans started voting in local elections on Wednesday to pick mayors, governors and regional assembly members in what is seen as an important test of support for President Roh Moo-hyun and the ruling Uri Party.
[image and text from South Korea on Yahoo! news Photos]
just one of Countless My Lais in Iraq
“Why do they hate us?"
Asks Patrick J. Buchanan, who finds the answer in the The Persecution of the Palestinians.
Congratulations Stephen Cardinal Kim Sou-hwan
On the 40th anniversary of His Eminence's ordination as bishop:
‘너희와, 모든 이와 함께’…김수환추기경 주교수품 40돌
Election Day
Local elections take place today in Korea: Parties gird for today's polls: Election commission chief appeals to public to vote.

For opinions radically different from that of the election commission, visit the Non-Voting Archive.

Today is a national holiday here in Korea. I'll spend it with my family.
The Charity, Freedom and Diversity Party
If only the rest of the world were as progressive as the Netherworldlands: Dutch pedophiles to launch political party.
Cleft Palate, Club Foot, Webbed Fingers, Extra Digits
"[W]e are turning into a society that can no longer tolerate imperfection": Babies aborted for not being perfect. Not even in Nazi Germany would such minor, treatable birth defects be classified lebensunwertes Leben, "life unworthy of life."

[link via A conservative blog for peace]

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

One thing I like about teaching in Korea is that Korean students are receptive to moral instruction. Nathan Bauman, who teaches at a women's (not womans*) university in Seoul, might not use those terms, but he recounts such an experience in The Classroom, Hemingway, and Abortion. My comments on shotgun marriages are also worth a glance.

*Bonus point to anyone who knows the reference.
Beards and Ecumenism
    Protestants tend to see the Orthodox as "Catholics with beards," while Catholics confess to a haunting sense that they are simply "Orthodox without beards."
[from The Medicine Box via Eunomia]
War Crimes?
This, from U.S. policy was to shoot Korean refugees, looks pretty damning at first glance:
    "If refugees do appear from north of US lines they will receive warning shots, and if they then persist in advancing they will be shot," wrote Ambassador John J. Muccio, in his message to Assistant Secretary of State Dean Rusk.
The background: "Muccio noted in his 1950 letter that U.S. commanders feared disguised North Korean soldiers were infiltrating American lines via refugee columns."

This also must be taken into account:
    But William Eckhardt, lead Army prosecutor in the My Lai atrocities case in Vietnam, sensed "angst, great angst" in the letter because officials worried about what might happen. "If a mob doesn't stop when they're coming at you, you fire over their heads and if they still don't stop you fire at them. Standard procedure," he said.
Gay Fascism Alert
Whatever side you take in the SSM debate, if you love freedom, these quotes from Scholars ponder same-sex marriage issues are a cause for concern:
    Some gay rights advocates agree that conflicts would be inevitable but argue that public interest in ending discrimination should take precedence over claims of religious freedom....

    And [Chai] Feldblum [of Georgetown University's Law Center, a veteran gay rights advocate] says that "without a doubt" that eradicating bias is "a compelling goal" for government.

    To her, that trumps a religious foundation for excluding gay couples.
Isn't Georgetown Catholic? Perhaps Prof. Feldblum was one of those chronicled here: Cardinal Arinze's pro-life, pro-family comments anger Georgetown faculty members, spark protest.
Charley Reese on Washington's Farewell Address 1796
From George Washington Had It Right:
    Washington's recommended policy can be summed up as armed neutrality, the same policy Switzerland practices. While the rest of the world participated in a slaughterhouse during the 20th century, the Swiss remained at peace.
The Rainbow at Birkenau
[from In pictures: Pope visits Auschwitz]

Monday, May 29, 2006

The Origins of the Modernist Attack on Christ's Divinity
The most scandalous doctrine of Christianity for moderns is the Faith's claim to being the one true religion. Folks who reject Christianity for this reason might be tempted to think that in doing so they are uniquely progressive or enlightened, when in reality they are only children of their times, following the Modernist, now Postmodernist, Zeitgeist.

Illustrating the absurdity of this position is this passage at the end of Peter Kreeft's Between Heaven and Hell: A Dialog Somewhere Beyond Death with John F. Kennedy, C.S. Lewis & Aldous Huxley:
    Lewis: Everyone has some religion, some ultimate. The religion of modern society is egalitarianism. democracy, brotherhood, society itself.
    Huxley: You mean conformity.
    Lewis: Yes. Being accepted, being popular. Being one of the community. It's a radically new ideal in the modern West, according to Riesman in The Lonely Crowd, but it's just the modern version of a very ancient answer to the question of ultimate value, or the summum bonum. The ancients called it "honor," being respected by others for being superior in some way. We still want the same thing—respect and acceptance by others—but we get it not by being different but by being the same.
    Huxley: That point has been made by many observers of modern society: Neitzsche, Kierkegaard, Orwell, Ortega y Gasset... even a certain Aldous Huxley. What's the connection with modernist theology?
    Lewis: The modern world fears elitism, and elitist claims. Now Chrsitian ethics is not as elitist, as distinctive, as Christian theology. Love fits the egalitarian religion of the modern world much better than faith does, if you mean faith in the God of biblical revelation, not just faith in a vague force of your own imagination. Nearly everyone admits the claims of love, at least in principle if not in practice; but only believers admit the claims of faith.
    Huxley: True. Now how does this apply to Jesus?
    Lewis: Nearly everyone agrees with Jesus' ethical teachings, because they're very similar to those of Buddha and Lao-Tzu and the others...
    Huxley: So you admit he is one of the gurus!
    Lewis: As far as ethics is concerned, yes. But his claim to divinity is unique, and offensive. So if you can only classify Jesus with other ethical teachers and forget the claim to divinity, you're home free with humanism. You can classify Christ with the gurus and Christianity with world religions. You thus remove the odium of distinctiveness, the taint of elitism, the scandal of being right where others are wrong. You satisfy the demands of your god Egalitarianism.
Despite certain weaknesses I've already mentioned,* Prof. Kreeft gives us an entertaining and, towards the end, an enlightening book:
Rather than a dialog between ancient Western theism (Lewis), modern Western humanism (Kennedy), and ancient Eastern pantheism (Huxley) as it is billed to be, in reality it is a defense of orthodox Christianity against its modernist interpreters, whether they be humanists or relativists.

*See footnote for my post An Argument for Design.
Gypsies, the Shoah, and Utilitarianism
As a Gypsy quadroon, I couldn't fail to notice these words from the Pope's Message at Auschwitz:
    Another inscription offering a pointed reminder is the one written in the language of the Sinti and Roma people. Here too, the plan was to wipe out a whole people which lives by migrating among other peoples. They were seen as part of the refuse of world history, in an ideology which valued only the empirically useful; everything else, according to this view, was to be written off as "lebensunwertes Leben" -- life unworthy of being lived.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

On Indians and the Black Legend of Spain
Serge posts some Gems from The Latin Mass magazine on the above.

It will be clear to even a casual observer that the original peoples of the Americas suffered remarkably different fates whether they were North or South of the Rio Grande; i.e. whether they were conquered by Protestants or Catholics:
    It is often said as an excuse for the very different English relations with the Indians that the Aztecs and other [Mesoamerican] tribes were civilised while the North American Indians were still savage... the Guaraní of Paraguay were Stone Age people when the Jesuits first converted them....

    From the melancholy fate of the Indian neighbours of the English colonists and their American successors, denied the true faith, done out of their land, given worthless treaties and herded onto reservations, the Aztec cannibals were — by a mysteriously divine dispensation — blessedly free.
I posted the following in the combox to Serge's post:
    I've always found it interesting that the majority of the people in Latin America are mestizo and many pure-blooded Indians live according to their cultures.

    In North America, following the one-drop rule, the people we call Indians are in reality mixed-race; there are virtually no pure-blooded Indians left.
The reason for all this? Serge hits the nail on the head: "The Calvinists probably thought the Indians were damned anyway."

Hispanists might like to read La Leyenda Negra antiespañola and La leyenda negra anticatólica y antihispanista.

I wonder, how much is this Black Legend governing the current immigration debate in the US?
Men Don't Make Passes at Girls Who Wear Glasses?
[from 뿔테 안경이 어울리는 ‘미녀’는 누구?]

Saturday, May 27, 2006

"The Poor Man's Cow"
Jeff Culbreath offers us some GOAT RUMINATIONS (pun intended), among them:
    Far from the devilish caricature which originated in Judaism, this image is that of "the poor man's cow" - an icon of simplicity, humility, contentedness, and earthiness. While cows remind me of cowboys, goats remind me of children, women, and old people. A goat is a family animal that can be handled with relative ease. You haven't really lived until you've seen a three-year old girl riding on a goat.


    Goats are common in poor rural areas where good pasture is scarce. When you hear city people disparage rural folk, you'll often hear insulting references to goats. In the mind of the sophisticated urbanist, keeping goats marks one as a third-world peasant at best - or an American backwoods hick at worst. I wear this as a badge of honor.


    Even more than cows, among goats the bulls are gloriously masculine and the does are blessedly feminine. Keeping one's children around goats serves as a practical defense against modern theories of androgyny.
My wife and I have often thought that when we do finally get our piece of land, it is goats that we will raise. We've been cut off from the land for too many generations to feel comfortable with cows. Perhaps we'll start with goats an our kids and their kids can move on to cows.
Passings - The Master of the FalsettoIn memoriam, these Desmond Dekker - Israelites Lyrics:
    Get up in the morning slaving for bread, Sir
    So that every mouth can be fed
    Poor me Israelite - Sir

    Get up in the morning slaving for bread, Sir
    So that every mouth can be fed
    Poor me Israelite

    My wife and my kids, dem pack up and a leave me
    "Darling" she said "I was yours to be seen"
    Poor me Israelite

    Shirt them a-tear up, trousers are gone
    I don't want to end up like Bonnie and Clyde
    Poor me Israelite

    After a storm there must be a calming
    Ya catch me in your farm, you sound your alarm
    Poor - a poor, a poor, a poor me Israelite, yii

    I said I get up in the morning slaving for bread, Sir
    So that every mouth can be fed
    Poor me Israelite - Sir

    I said my wife and my kids, dem pack up and a leave me
    "Darling" she said "I was yours to be seen"
    Poor me Israelite - Sir, look

    Shirt them a-tear up, trousers are gone
    I don't want to end up like Bonnie and Clyde
    Poor - a poor, a poor me Israelite - Sir

    After a storm there must be a calming
    Ya catch me in your farm, you sound your alarm
    Poor - me Israelite, yiii
    A poor a poor a poor a poor me Israelite
    I'm a wondering, I'm working so a hard
    A poor a poor a poor me Israelite
    I look a-down and out sir ....
Illegal Immigrants - "The Great White Hope"
Steve Kellmeyer hits the nail on the head in Looking for Baby Jane. Here's a snippet:
    Today, the person who is doing the most to assure America's future is the pregnant illegal immigrant. Too lazy to have children ourselves, we have created an unofficial "rent-a-womb" guest worker program.
Inspired by Mr. Kellmeyer, here's what I wrote in response to Catholic nativist Jimmy Akin's post Bush Weaker On Border Security Than Clinton:
    What America needs is far fewer Nativists and a lot more Natalists.

    Baby Boomer Americans busied themselves for decades by aborting, contracepting, and sterilizing the country out of a replacement generation. The Little Lord Fauntleroy generation they managed to bequeath, and of which I am a member, is too miniscule and too spoiled to do the work that is needed to keep our country afloat, the most essential of which is to be fruitful and multiply.

    Enter the illegal immigrants to do what we have failed to do. We should thank God they come from a Catholic country. Perhaps this is Divine Providence at work in the Catholicization of the United States.

    There's the famous Mexican lament: "So far from God, so close to the United States."

    For us Americans, it's a blessing: "So far from God, so close to Mexico."
An Immigration Plan that Makes Sense for Korea
This seems to be a ploy to get the rural* vote: Korea to Ensure Equal Treatment of Foreign Spouses.

I disagree with the talk of "multicultural understanding" and all that, but there is a related proposal that makes sense:
    Under a comprehensive plan on the treatment of foreigners, the government also wants to allow ethnic Koreans in China and the former Soviet Union to visit Korea and find jobs here freely.
I believe Italy has tried to do the same thing, in trying to bring back the Italian diaspora from Latin America. I guess that would make more than half of Argentina eligible.

*A third of South Korea's rural men men who work in farming and fisheries marry foreign women, most of them from Vietnam, China, or the Philippines.
Pope in Poland
Pope John Paul II gave us the phrase "Culture of Death." Pope Benedict XVI gave us the "Dictatorship of Relativism," which he warns about here: Pope: in memory of Wojtyla’s legacy, reject relativism. Say what you will about Roman Pontiffs, they know how to succinctly label the Modern world.

And here, the Pope kneels before one of the most beautiful and historic images of Our Lady: 'Mirror yourselves in Mary's heart. Remain in her school!' Pope says to seminarians and religious in Czestochowa.
Servant of God Father Vincent R. Capodanno
This story provides fitting balance for one I linked to yesterday: Canonization cause opened for Marine chaplain who died in Vietnam.

Friday, May 26, 2006

An Argument for Design
Gord Sellar of eclexys and I have just exchanged books in a trade. He's a Canadian freethinker blogger in Korea. A while back, he wrote an scathing review* of Peter Kreeft's Between Heaven and Hell. In the comments, one of us suggested that we make a swap for Bertrand Russell's The Conquest of Happiness, which was sitting on my shelf. I offered to throw in a couple of short Marxist books I had, and he has sent me a science fiction novel entitled Calculating God, by Robert J. Sawyer.

It has been æons since I've last read any science fiction, so I opened up to a random page to see what type of writing I was in for. This is what I providentially found on page 60-1:
    But this strange expanding-before-freezing is hardly the only remarkable thermal property water has. In fact, it has seven different thermal parameters, all of which are unique or nearly so in the chemical world, and all of which independently are necessary for the existence of life. The chances of any of them having the aberrant value it does must be multiplied by the chances of the other six liekewise being aberrant. The likelihood of water having these unique thermal properties by chance is almost nil."
I've heard that argument for design before and found it quite impressive. With this and all the arguments from Aristotle's Unmoved Mover to Pascal's Wager, we Theists seem to be on much more rational ground than our Atheist friends.

*I've begun reading the book and have already found its weaknesses. It is an imaginary conversation between C.S. Lewis, John F. Kennedy, and Aldous Huxley, all of whom died within a few hours of each other. These three figures represent the Theist, Humanist, and Pantheist positions. I'm on page 41, and so far Lewis has been tearing Kennedy to shreds, which probably would have happened in real life, or afterlife. Still, it seems that Prof. Kreeft could have put better arguments in his Humanist's mouth. He comes off like a straw man.
The Mexican in Me
Writing for, resident Fred Reed answers ‘What’s Mexico Really Like, Fred?’ Short answer: "it isn’t nearly as bad as many Americans think."

I've been to the Mexico twice, once travelling through the country for two months on an overland trip from Buffalo, NY to Guatemala and back, and once on my honeymoon.

One part Mr. Reed's article in particular of caught my interest. In response to the question of "why is Mexico a comparatively poor country?" Mr. Reed gives the follwing as part of his answer:
    Lack of ambition…perhaps. Mexicans (yes, I’m generalizing) seem to want enough, and to stop there. The focus is on family, friends, and a quiet life. Thus an intelligent and competent mechanic, say, will make a comfortable living from his garage, but will not try to start a chain of garages. Americans are much more driven, and much more materialistic. These qualities pay off economically.
That sounds like me. I've never wanted much more than "family, friends, and a quiet life." The idea of starting a business seems almost offensive to me.

During a year in Chile, I found that the word ambicioso has negative connotations in Spanish. Not so in English. I prefer the Spanish meaning.
The Few, the Proud, ...
the killers of women and children: Probe Finds Marines Killed Unarmed Iraqi Civilians*.

My brother-in-law is a Marine and he's about as stand-up a guy as you'll ever meet. But I can't help but remember the group of guys who joined the Marines from my high-school. When they weren't fighting with baseball bats, their idea of a good time was to go to the county fair and stab pigs with concealed knives. I remember riding in the car of one of these fellows (I hung with a rough crowd) when we drove past an elderly nun in her habit. He shouted, "I'm an anarchist, you evil b----!" He meant to say "atheist," I believe. These guys came back from Iraq War I bragging about shooting surrendering Iraqi soldiers.

By no means do I intend to suggest all, or even a majority of, Marines fit the above description. But America has been turning out these kinds of young "men" for quite a while, and it seems they might often find their only legal outlet in the USMC.

*Use to bypass registration.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Sayonara, Nippon
This might be a step in the right direction, but, as a measure to prevent the national suicide of a great nation, I fear it will not have much of an effect: Japan bans suburban sprawl as population slips.
Return of the Extended Family?
Not quite, but the NY Times reports that "[t]he last census showed these "multigenerational households" — defined as those of three or more generations — growing faster than any other type of housing arrangement": Families Add 3rd Generation to Households.*

From the article:
    That would be a return to the custom of the 19th century, before the decline of farming and the exodus of adult children from their parents' homes to follow jobs, said Steven Ruggles, a historian who studies changes in the American family and directs the Minnesota Population Center, a research organization at the University of Minnesota.

    Many social scientists, Dr. Ruggles said, also argue that Social Security contributed to the erosion of the multigenerational household, by enabling the elderly to afford living independently. He said the percentage of people over 65 living with their children dropped steadily from 1850 to 1990, when it began inching up.
That's all the more reason to adopt The Principle of Subsidiarity and end Social Security, letting families, not the State, take care of the elderly.

I grew up in a such "multigenerational household" and cannot underestimate how much I learned from my Mississipian grandmother. God willing, we will carry on the family tradition when we move back to the United States.

*Use to bypass registration.
Legalize It
Yet another reason why Peter Tosh was right: Heavy Pot Smoking Doesn't Increase Lung Cancer Risk: Study.
Johnny Rotten - Anti-Abortion Activist
"Conservative Rock Songs?," asks TS, linking to several candidates, among them one of my favorites from my punk rock days, edited here for vulgarity:
    The Sex Pistols

    She was a girl from Birmingham
    She just had an abortion
    She was case of insanity
    Her name was Pauline she lived in a tree

    She was a no one who killed her baby
    She sent her letter from the country
    She was an animal
    She was a bloody disgrase

    Body I'm not an animal
    Body I'm not an animal

    Dragged on a table in factory
    Illegitimate place to be
    In a packet in a lavatory
    Die little baby screaming
    Body screaming... bloody mess
    Not an animal
    It's an abortion

    Body I'm not animal
    Mummy I'm not an abortion

    Throbbing squirm,
    gurgling bloody mess
    I'm not an discharge
    I'm not a loss in protein
    I'm not a throbbing squirm


    She don't wanna baby that looks like that
    I don't wanna baby that looks like that
    Body I'm not an animal
    Body an abortion

    Body I'm not an animal
    An animal
    I'm not an animal.....
    I'm not an abortion.....

    Mummy! UGH!
First Montenegro...
Next Kosovo. But Who Will Protect Kosovo’s Christians?
The Da Vinci Code (2006) Reaction
It was a jumbled mess of film. The characters were not developed at all. The plot was disjointed and full of holes. The acting was lifeless. Even the music was bad.

Almost every charge ever levelled at the Church by Protestant Fundamentalists, Liberal Protestants, New-Agers, Marxists, or Feminists was trotted out incoherently. The interpretation of The First Council of Nicaea and Constantine the Great was particularly laughable. Sadly, the semi-educated will be dazzled by the endless succession of obscure facts and allusions the movie presents, and many will be convinced.

Here is part of what ex-Catholic Umberto Eco said of the phenomenon inspired by the book on which the movie was based, in God isn't big enough for some people:
    G K Chesterton is often credited with observing: "When a man ceases to believe in God, he doesn't believe in nothing. He believes in anything." Whoever said it - he was right. We are supposed to live in a sceptical age. In fact, we live in an age of outrageous credulity.

    The "death of God", or at least the dying of the Christian God, has been accompanied by the birth of a plethora of new idols. They have multiplied like bacteria on the corpse of the Christian Church -- from strange pagan cults and sects to the silly, sub-Christian superstitions of The Da Vinci Code.

    It is amazing how many people take that book literally, and think it is true. Admittedly, Dan Brown, its author, has created a legion of zealous followers who believe that Jesus wasn't crucified: he married Mary Magdalene, became the King of France, and started his own version of the order of Freemasons. Many of the people who now go to the Louvre are there only to look at the Mona Lisa, solely and simply because it is at the centre of Dan Brown's book.

    The pianist Arthur Rubinstein was once asked if he believed in God. He said: "No. I don't believe in God. I believe in something greater." Our culture suffers from the same inflationary tendency. The existing religions just aren't big enough: we demand something more from God than the existing depictions in the Christian faith can provide. So we revert to the occult. The so-called occult sciences do not ever reveal any genuine secret: they only promise that there is something secret that explains and justifies everything. The great advantage of this is that it allows each person to fill up the empty secret "container" with his or her own fears and hopes.

    As a child of the Enlightenment, and a believer in the Enlightenment values of truth, open inquiry, and freedom, I am depressed by that tendency. This is not just because of the association between the occult and fascism and Nazism - although that association was very strong. Himmler and many of Hitler's henchmen were devotees of the most infantile occult fantasies.

    The same was true of some of the fascist gurus in Italy - Julius Evola is one example - who continue to fascinate the neo-fascists in my country. And today, if you browse the shelves of any bookshop specialising in the occult, you will find not only the usual tomes on the Templars, Rosicrucians, pseudo-Kabbalists, and of course The Da Vinci Code, but also anti-semitic tracts such as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Moving Pictures
Today, I bought a cheap DVD of Going My Way (1944), starring one of my favorite vocalists, Bing Crosby, as Father Chuck O'Malley. It includes a rendition of Ave Maria by Franz Schubert.

Tonight, I'm going to use a coupon my sister-in-law gave me for The Da Vinci Code (2006), a movie I wouldn't pay money to see. I was thinking of staging some form of protest, but couldn't find any buckets of ox blood to throw at the screen. Any way, I've heard the movie is so bad, protest seems unneeded.
Prayer Request
Please consider adding Plunge and his family to your intentions: Life Deals From Under the Deck...
Pointing out the similarities between the neoconservative foreign policy of the current president and that of one the Progressivists' greatest heroes is nothing new, but it needs to be reiterated from time to time, as this article apty does: Wilson in the Mirror.
The Land of the Free
The "war on drugs" and the privitization of the prison system has transformed America into A Nation in Chains, with one in every 136 Americans behind bars.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Nuclear North Korea?
Bring it on, says Robert Koehler (the Marmot) in FT on Korea-U.S. fissure:
    I can think of lots of good that can come from a nuclear North Korea. For starters, money spent on an unusable nuclear arsenal (and protecting it from potential air strikes/nuclear first strikes) is money not spent on reconstructing North Korea’s infrastructure, so it’s just another nail in the DPRK’s coffin. A white elephant that glows in the dark, if you will. A nuclear North Korea could spark South Korea, Japan and Taiwan to go nuclear themselves, which would break the Russo-Chinese nuclear monopoly in East Asia and maybe, just maybe, encourage the United States to finally pull its forces out of Korea and Japan. Hey, if a nuclear North Korea would screw the Chinese and at the same time allow us to bring our troops home, maybe Washington’s got it all wrong with trying to block Pyongyang’s nuclear program. Rather it should subsidize it.
[See also The coming U.S. retreat from Asia by Patrick J. Buchanan.]
The World Cup and the Empress of the Americas
Mexican soccer team hoping for help from Our Lady of Guadalupe
Sustainable Whaling
Here's a NT Times article that advocates just that: Save Your Whale and Eat It, Too*.

Readers of this blog will know that my wife is from Ulsan, where folks have been whaling for 8,000 years. Whale meat is delicious, especially the succulent blubber. In fact, I wish I had some to go with the cabernet sauvignon I'm drinking as I write. There are far fewer ethical concerns in eating a hunted whale than a factory-farmed cow, pig, or chicken.

*Use to bypass registration.
Local Patriotism
"She's made a stand for her Southland," says H.K. Edgerton, the gentleman pictured below, of Candice Hardwick, the young lady with him:His story is more contrarian, and thus more compelling. From the article, here it is:
    Among those marching with Candice was a black man, H.K. Edgerton, past chairman of the Southern Legal Resource Center's advisory board. The group filed a federal lawsuit in March on her behalf.

    "She's made a stand for her Southland," said Edgerton. A former local NAACP leader in North Carolina, he is known for dressing up in Confederate gear to emphasize what he describes as the role blacks played in voluntarily supporting the South in the Civil War.
Here's more about the man: When The Flag's Under Attack Look For H.K. Edgerton
Also, here's something written on an entirely different subject by TS, which might nevertheless be read by those tempted to dismiss Mr. Edgerton as a lap dog for racists:
    It always strikes me as odd that many of the same people who tell us to be color and gender blind are actually the most color and gender conscious. That infects us all because we begin to look at people only as members of a group rather than individuals because they see themselves only as members of a group and not individuals. Group identity takes precedence over everything, including the search for the truth.

    [from Amy Welborn's Mailbag...]
Those P'yŏngyang Girls Really Knock Me Out
Something for those who like a girl in unifom: DPRK Soldiers, Female Type
The Pretty Face of the Culture of Death
Here is what the 22-year-old "smart" face of Korea's Sexual Revolution, a student at Korea's top-ranking institution of tertiary education, has to say on the subject of contraception in a recent televised ad for the birth control pill:

    I'm Kim So-mi from the class of 2005 at Seoul National University... If you want to do love right, I think you have to be really smart. It would make me sick to cry and pout like a fool. Women who are in love have to be really careful.

    [image and text from SNU Student in Birth Control Commercial Speaks Out]
Here is what Saint Flannery O'Connor had to say on the subject:
    The Church's stand on birth control is the most absolutely spiritual of all her stands and with all of us being materialists at heart, there is little wonder that it causes unease. I wish various fathers would quit trying to defend it by saying that the world can support forty billion. I will rejoice in the day when they say: This is right, whether we all rot on top of each other or not, dear children, as we certainly may. Either practice restraint or be prepared for crowding.

    [from a 1959 letter quoted in A Dog Named Spot]
Here is what Sancta Mater Ecclesia definitively pronounced on the topic in 1968 in what was perhaps the XXth Century's most counter-cultural document: Humanae Vitae.

Roma locuta est, causa finita est.
Refuting the Argumentum ad Hitlerum
Alexander Krabbe and Daniel Larison do just that in Is Ahmadinejad Really Another Hitler? and Amir Taheri and the "Yellow Badge" Fraud respectively.
Chinese Film
Here's a Catholic Online review of Mainland Chinese director Chen Kaige's latest, which stars Korean man's man Jang Dong Gun and the exquisitely beautiful Cecilia Cheung from Hong Kong: ‘The Promise’.

The film appears to be yet another attempt to cash in on the success of Wo hu cang long (2000) and its silly martial arts excesses. This was one of the worst films I ever sat through. That director Ang Lee went on to direct the gay cowboy movie says it all. When it comes to Chinese cinema, I much prefer the early work of Zhang Yimou, his best being Da hong deng long gao gao gua (1991), one of the great films of all time.
Wal-Mart Go Home
This might be welcome news for those who think small is beautiful and appreciate variety: Wal-Mart joins Carrefour in leaving Korea.

French Carrefour is a much better store than Wal-Mart. I wonder of both of these cases have anything to do with Korean distate for foreign companies.

There's a Wal-Mart about ten minutes from me, which openned less than two years ago. I won't really miss the place. A much smaller nearby local supermarket named Mega-Mart responded to the new Wal-Mart by making itself over. I've preferred shopping there for some time. The country's Wal-Mart stores will become E-Mart stores. We already have an E-Mart here in Pohang, and it offers a much better shopping experience than Wal-Mart.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Language Breakdown
One of the "laws" of linguistics I was taught in graduate school was that languages become simpler over time. This appears to be taking place in Korean.

Korean has a rich and highly devloped system of terms of address and honorifics. In fact, there is not one word that corresponds neatly to the English pronoun "you." Like Vietnamese, the term of address you use depends on the relationship between speaker and addressee.

Finnish Koreanologist Antti Leppänen takes up this theme posting on an article serial on Korean proper terms of address

Here are excerpts of the article Mr. Leppänen translates:
    Terms of address and reference are breaking down. Among couples terms like oppa [woman's older brother] and appa ("dad") are common, and there are women who call their husband oppa in front of their children. There are also opposing voices. There are also a lot of those who would like to use terms of address and reference correctly but don't know how to, and there are those who know the correct terms but just find it difficult to use them. We print this article serial to show the advisable terms of address and reference....

    Several surveys have shown that 20% of wives in their 20s and 30s call their husband oppa (older brother). On top of that, many called their husband oppa even if he was younger. Many specialists see that the level of the breakdown in the use of terms of address is severe. Especially the bad use (p'agoe) of terms of address in TV dramas has contributed to the breakdown.
Here is what the anthropolgist Mr. Leppänen has to say:
    My own view of this kind of terminology is of course descriptive or even perhaps analytical in some other places than blog notes, as I'm not in a position to give normative advice on these terms like the article serial is doing. These language masters tell not to use ajôssi ("uncle") when referring to one's husband; my task is to note that it is nevertheless used very widely, in certain contexts and among certain kind of people.
While I value the descriptive and analytical approaches used by Mr. Leppänen, as a contrarian and reactionary, it is my task to take the unpopular prescriptive approach. As noted in the Ten Conservative Principles by Russell Kirk, "conservatives very often emphasize the importance of prescription-that is, of things established by immemorial usage, so that the mind of man runneth not to the contrary."

I believe these changes reflect a genuine breakdown in civility and perhaps even of civilization. This is by no means limited to Korean. The situation is far worse in English. Many of my university classmates were completely ignorant of Register, the "subset of a language used for a particular purpose or in a particular social setting."
Kowtowing to Red China
His Holiness the Dalai Lama has for years been denied a visa to visit South Korea, a fact to which this protesting monk calls attention:

    The Ven. Gwisan stages a one-man protest near Cheong Wa Dae calling for the government to approve the visit of the Dalai Lama next month. The government has rejected visa applications from the Tibetan spiritual leader to avoid diplomatic friction with China.
The sign begins: "Human Rights President Roh Moo-hyun, Allow the Dalai Lama to Visit Korea." [I cannot think of a good tranlation for nunchi, so will leave the end untranslated.]

Buddhism is, after Christianity, South Korea's second most professed religion.

[text and image from National - May. 22, 2006]
An Ally Against Contraception
Islam does not permit the use of condom

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Kimchi Dissenters
Korea's national dish has been touted here as a preventative for SARS and Avian Influenza. Some, however, are willing to challenge conventional thinking, as this passage from the LA Times article Koreans' Kimchi Adulation, With a Side of Skepticism* indicates:
    "I'm sorry. I can't talk about the health risks of kimchi in the media. Kimchi is our national food," said a researcher at Seoul National University, who begged not to be quoted by name.

    Among the papers not to be found in the vast library of the kimchi museum is one published in June 2005 in the Beijing-based World Journal of Gastroenterology titled "Kimchi and Soybean Pastes Are Risk Factors of Gastric Cancer."

    The researchers, all South Korean, report that kimchi and other spicy and fermented foods could be linked to the most common cancer among Koreans. Rates of gastric cancer among Koreans and Japanese are 10 times higher than in the United States.

    "We found that if you were a very, very heavy eater of kimchi, you had a 50% higher risk of getting stomach cancer," said Kim Heon of the department of preventive medicine at Chungbuk National University and one of the authors. "It is not that kimchi is not a healthy food — it is a healthy food, but in excessive quantities there are risk factors."

    Kim said he tried to publicize the study but a friend who is a science reporter, told him, "This will never be published in Korea."
I, for one, will continue to eat "spicy pickled cabbage." I loved the stuff long before ever thinking about coming to Korea. Moderation is the key to diet. Mushrooms are healthy, although they contain carcinogens. I drink alcohol everyday, but try to do so in moderation, however much I fail.

*Use to bypass registration.
English Mass in Ulsan
My family went to English Mass at Samsan Catholic Church (삼산 성당), the only church I've been to in Korea with flying butresses. The parish is under the patronage of Saint Peter Yu Tae-Chol (성 유대철 베드로), who, at age thirteen, became the youngest of the Martyrs of Korea.

This was only the third English Mass I've attended in Korea, and since I converted here, I've only attended probably a dozen in the US. I found myself saying some of the main prayers, like the Confiteor, in Korean. Of course, I'd rather everything be in Latin.

Like the two other English masses I have attended in Korea, one in Busan the other in Daegu, those gathered were about 95% Filipino. I was not happy to hear the electric guitar, but at least there were no drums. The hymns were in Tagalog, which seems like a fine language.

The feel was much too charismatic for my tastes, and I was approaching to receive the Body of Christ, I heard the lyric, "If you only believe in yourself..." Now, that hymn might be appropriate in the presence of Oprah, but it seems hardly appropriate in the Presence of Our Lord.

Still, there was an edifying moment. Mass began late. A pretty young Filipina emerged from a long time in the confessional. She was crying. After Mass, newcomers were invited to the front of the church to introduce themselves. She stood next to me. She was still crying, and thanked God for being able to "finally" attend a Sunday Mass.

Mass was presided over by Father Matteo, a Korean, whom I've run into before. The day after my wife and I were received into the Catholic Church, he was presiding at another parish in Ulsan. At the end of Mass, before we were dismissed, he asked me were I was from. When I answered the United States, he said, "Oh, sh*t," and told me, "I have something to say to my people." He then began to rally the masses to right the injustice that had been done when a not-guilty verdict in the court martial of two American servicemen who were driving military vehicles that killed two schoolgirls in a traffic accident. A few days later, I saw him on the news shaving his head, a sign of great protest here in Korea.

We talked after Mass. Father Matteo is a bit like the "labor priest" played by Karl Malden in On the Waterfront (1954) , but with the sense of humor that seems required of Catholic priests these days. Perhaps I'll make him my confessor. Confessing in Korean can be quite a chore, and I always wonder whether the priest understands what I say.
Assassination Attempt on Park Geun Hye!
"Let's save democracy!," shouted the drunks, like Dostoevsky's Devils, attacking the leader of the conservative Grand National Party with a utility knife. Miss Park required surgery and sixty stitches in the face. Her recovery, thank God, looks good. She'll require further plastic surgery.

Here's the full story: (Roundup) Opposition leader attacked by two drunken men.

The tone for this attack was set by the Jacobinical "Participatory Government" of President Roh Moo-hyun. The man who compares himself to Lincoln, The American Lenin, has taken The Politics of Envy to new levels. Miss Park's would-be assassins were simply taking democracy, rule by the mob, to its logical extension.

Our prayers, of course, are with Miss Park, a fellow Catholic. She is the daughter of the great Park Chung Hee, the man who took South Korea from a sub-Saharan standard of living to the First World. Both her parents' lives were claimed by assassins.

[image from Park Geun Hye's Profile]

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Korean Royalty
Here is the long, sad story of Yi Seok, last male heir of the Joseon Dynasty:
A Prince Nestled Once More in Korea's Embrace.

The Prince's ancestor, Sejong the Great of Joseon, who gave the world the remarkable Hangul alphabet, has gotten a makeover:
세종대왕 얼굴 "모나리자 미소닮았네".
Axis of Yellow Journalism?
I'm off to visit the in-laws', so I'll leave it up to the reader to find any holes in these stories: N.Korea may be preparing missile launch: reports and Iran eyes badges for Jews.

UPDATE: See these posts from Kushibo and Serge respectively: Ministry of Ratcheting Up Tensions and More Libel Against Iran?

UPDATE 2: The Iranian story was an outright lie, as is made clear by this, buried in the 19th paragraph of Iran's Draft Law on Dress Has Many Worried:
    A copy of the draft law obtained by The Associated Press made no mention of religious minorities or any requirement of special attire for them, and the Post later posted an article on its Web site backing off the report.
That the story is false will go down the Orwellian memory hole, just like the fake incubator baby story employed against Iraq under Bush I.
32,000,000 Christians Killed by Atheists
Srdja Trifkovic describes what he calls "by far the greatest crime in all of recorded history" in New Martyrs of the East and Coming Trials in the West:
    Persecution and martyrdom of Christians under 20th century totalitarianism—mainly of Russian Orthodox Christians under Bolshevism—is by far the greatest crime in all of recorded history. It is several times greater than the Holocaust in terms of innocent lives brutally destroyed. It has killed more Christians in a few decades than all other causes put together in all ages, with Islam a distant second as the cause of their death and suffering. And yet it still remains a largely unknown, often minimized, or scandalously glossed over crime.

    According to the respected and reliable OUP World Christian Encyclopedia (2001), there have been many more Christian martyrs in the 20th century—over 45 million—than in all of the preceding 19 centuries of Christianity. Of that number, some 32 million were killed by “atheists” and over 9 million by Muslims. The “atheists” denote, overwhelmingly, Soviets and their Communist cohorts and satellites, but also include Nazis and their allies. The Spanish Republic was an especially efficient Christian-killing machine. In terms of the size of the targeted population and the timespan of only two and a half years, the Compañeros did almost as well as the Tovarishchi.
Nota bene: With the title of this post, the blogger means only to mimic and call into question the anti-religion rhetoric one finds among many atheists.
East Wears West

    Models pose for the camer at a fashion show at the Lotte Department Store in Seoul, featuring European cloths, yesterday.
[image and text drom EUROPEAN CHIC]
Firemen of Yesteryear

    Firefighters reenact a drill of the Joseon Dynasty's court firefighters circa 1890 yesterday at the Seoul Fire Academy in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul.
[image and text from [Photo]Cooling things off]
Traditional Food
Some of the best Korean food I ever had was at a vegetarian restaurant run by an ex-Buddhist monk in Insadong, Seol's artists' district: Eating Buddhist for a Healthier Way of Being.

Friday, May 19, 2006

BirthdaysThe Autobiography of Malcolm X (As Told to Alex Haley) is one book every American should read. Sure, he was in serious error in many ways, but his life was a testimony to the transformative power of religion, and the total demand religion makes for the soul. In his public life, he was an exponent of cultural, social, and fiscal conservativism, as well as traditionalism and orthodoxy, albeit within Islam. Toward the end of his life, he was transforming into a man an assassin's bullet never let the world know.

I'd really be impressed if Reactionary Radicals drafted him.
Inside Looks at the Hermit Kingdom and the "Most Beautiful Feet on Earth"
Interesting links, as always, today at The Marmot's Hole.

Whether you read Russian or not, and I don't, these photos of every day life in the last bastion of Stalinism are well worth a look:And not for the faint of heart is this photo of Prima Donna Kang Su-jin's feet: 발레리나 강수진 `가장 아름다운 발` 성공비화.
Tragedies in Koreatown
"Three Korean-born men allegedly killed spouses or children, and in two cases killed themselves:" L.A. confronts Asian family abuse.

Such cases, I've said before, are not unknown here in Korea. The "experts" are searching for reasons for these and other familial murder-suicides, including "traditional Asian values of patriarchy and reticence," "pastors for ignoring domestic violence," "loss of status for men... as women quickly learn English and take over family finances," and even "men who feel they have 'lost control' of their women."

I'd put forth this explanation: in Korean and other Asian societies, the universal truth that the family, not the individual, is the basic unit of society is highly ingrained. Perhaps it is more ingrained than it need be, at the expense of individual identity and responsibility. When any truth is enshrined at the expense of other truths, problems occur.
This is a day late and a dollar short, but yesterday was the 26th anniversary of the event Koreanologist Antti Leppänen called "the Kwangju rebellion/democracy movement/uprising/insurgency/massacre etc (pick your own)" in his pictoral history: Kwangju May 1980 photographs.

These photos show that the Citizens' Army, which took over the city, was not exactly preparing a Gandhian Salt March:
As an American, I believe in the right to take up the armed struggle against an unjust government, and Catholicism has a long tradition of support for Tyrannicide. But were the gentlemen pictured above freedom fighters or part of a mob? I don't know.

Whatever the case, once a side takes up arms, and loses, it seems it also loses the right to wallow in victimhood. Of course, many innocents were also killed, which is why "serious prospects of success" are a part of Catholic Just War Doctrine. It is these innocents I mourn.
America Now Has a National Language
I'm happy the Senate didn't say "Official Language": Senate Votes English as 'National Language'.

I like that the U.S. has no official language. It seems in keeping with a limited government. A National language is defined as one that "uniquely represents the national identity of a nation and/or country." That's true of English in the United States, I'd say.

I don't think this bill will have any effect on my career in English Language Teaching. Ninety percent of the immigrants I knew a decade ago wanted to learn English, and I cannot think of anyone who didn't want their children to learn the language. Bilingual education, in my experience, is something that is wanted mainly by professional educationists, the types who never step into a classroom. Private multilingualism, something this bill will not effect, is something that should be encouraged and is nothing knew to the U.S. I once found an old cereal box in English, Polish, and German (in Gothic script) on the streets of Buffalo's East Side, now a Black community.
Homo floresiensis?
Not so fast. The remains of the Indonesian "Hobbit" discovered in 2004 were probably just those an ordinary person who suffered microcephaly: Race of tiny people didn’t exist, scientists say.
New Catholic Art
Just one example of an illustration by Daniel Mitsui:

    [Click on the image to see it in its original size.]
The young artist has a blog, and explains the above illustration in this post: A few words about my Calvary drawing.

[link via The Daily Eudemon]
Pansori and Peace
An article about Dr. Min-Byung-chul, a graduate of my alma mater:Here's an article on Korea's astounding traditional music form, with audio samples: PANSORI, Korean Traditional Singing.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Commie Racialism
From Two Koreas' Top Brass Resort to Racist Mudslinging:
    The North's delegation leader Maj. Gen. Kim Yong-chul started off an unfortunate thread by quipping, "Since the climate in the South is warmer, the farmers must be hard at work." His South Korean counterpart Maj. Gen. Han Min-gu of the South replied, "The population of the farming communities is actually falling, and many bachelors from such areas marry women from Mongolia, Vietnam and the Philippines."

    Kim reportedly grimaced and snapped, “Our nation has always considered its pure lineage to be of great importance -- I am concerned that our singularity will disappear.” Instead of contradicting him, the South Korean delegation said such dilution of the bloodline was “but a drop of ink in the Han River,” adding this would cause no problems “if we all live together." But this failed to mollify the North Korean. "Since time immemorial, our nation has been a land of abundant beauty. Not even one drop of ink must be allowed to fall into the Han River,” Kim thundered.
Of course, Maj. Gen. Kim's talk of "pure lineage" is as nonsensical as every Korean tracing his ancestry to nobles. Maj. Gen. Han's "drop of ink" is equally nonsensical; a full third of rural Korean men take foreign brides.
Consumerism is not Conservative
From The High Cost of Low Prices, in the latest issue of The American Conservative:
    [T]he real problem with Wal-Mart is that it knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.
And, as much as I enjoy the site, my irreconcilable differences with are highlighted by opinions like the following: In Praise of Consumerism.

It seems wise that a Catholic should be more disposed toward Distributivism than Paleolibertarianism, as the former is based on Catholic Social Teaching and the latter on the ideas of the atheist Murray Rothbard.
Cannes Pans Duh Vinci
From 'Da Vinci Code' draws laughs from journalists at press screening:
    Toward the end of the movie "The Da Vinci Code," the main character, Robert Langdon, tells his sleuthing partner, Sophie Neveu: "You are the last living descendent of Jesus Christ."

    That line, meant to be the dramatic apex of the film, drew laughs from many of the approximately 900 journalists who viewed the film's first press screening May 16 at the Cannes Film Festival.

    The derisive laughter, along with widely critical comments from reporters afterward, summed up the Cannes press reaction to the much-heralded launch of the movie. When the credits ran, silence and a few whistles drove home the response.
Here's some more coverage:This appears to be one of the rare occasions when Schadenfreude is acceptable, so indulge.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

"A Magisterium of One: You"
Be sure to read My history of Protestantism by the Young Fogey of A conservative blog for peace.
A Rural Korean Gongso
A couple of photos I took of a parish in Uljin on one of our Recent Trips:

The church was a gongso, which means, being too rurally located, it had no regular parish priest. I peaked inside and noticed there were no pews, just like Korean churches of old. I wonder if the men sat on one side of the church and the women on the other, as I've seen in old pictures.

The gongso above is quite modern, but not offensively so; it's recognizable as a church. Here's a photo of a 100-year-old gongso I stumbled across more than a year ago:
More exterior and interior photos of this gongso can be found in my post about An Accidental Day Trip into Korean Catholic History.
"A Conservative War?"
From "The Case for Peace" by Daniel McCarthy, a review of Neo-conned! Just War Principles: A Condemnation of War in Iraq edited by D.L. O’Huallachain and J. Forrest Sharpe, in the March 8, 2006 print edition of The American Conservative:
    [Paul] Gottfried questions how a war aimed at democratization and the total transformation of a foreign land's culture and politics can in any sense be considered conservative. "Attempts to conserve a customary way of life against outside threats, and to resist violence directed against persons and property fit the definition of a conservative war," he says, and nothing of that sort was at stake in Iraq.
A Brief History of Sino-Vatican Relations and Confucian Rites
Writng for the NY Times, Prof. Liam M. Brockey begins When Celestial Kingdoms Collide* thusly:
    ONCE again, one of the world's largest countries is at loggerheads with one of the world's smallest. Yet before thinking of David and Goliath, remember that in one way, both are equally large — China and the Vatican each claim the nominal allegiance of about a fifth of humanity. The recent standoff between these two powers over the appointment of bishops in China, and their broader struggle to normalize relations, is thus a matter of global significance.
The rest of the article recounts the conflict of ancestral rites which began in the XVIIth Century. A century earlier, Matteo Ricci, S.J. determined that the rites were merely ceremonial, not religious. No less a source than The Analects of Confucius state that the spirits of the ancestors are not present during the rites. Nevertheless, the rites were decried as "ancestor worship" and not allowed until Vatican II. Interestingly, the situation was the opposite for Protestants. While initially allowed, the ancestral rites are now forbidden by most Protestant sects, causing much conflict in many Korean families.

*Use to bypass registration.
Korean Protestant Natalists
    Woman Gives Birth to 12th Child

    A church pastor and his wife living in Kumi, North Kyongsang Province, gave birth to their 12th child Sunday, adding another member to their already large family.

    Rev. Kim Suk-tae, 47, and his wife Um Kye-suk, 42, a couple married for 20 years, will now shepherd the country's largest single family.

    Previously, the largest family in the country was believed to be that of Nam Sang-don, 43, and Lee Young-mi, 41, a Seoul couple who had their 12th child in July last year. However, tragedy struck the family when their last child died of respiratory illnesses after three months.

    "My wife and I consider every child as a gift of God and we are thankful that our children are all in good health," said Kim, who had to make the family's dinner table by cutting the wood himself, as it was hard to find a table large enough for 14 people.

    "Financially, its not easy to sustain a family as large as ours, but happiness within the family clearly outweighs any burdens,'" said Kim, who earns about 800,000 won to 1 million won per month.

    Kim and his wife now have seven daughters and five sons. The eldest child, daughter Bit-na, is now 19-years-old.

    The story of Kim's family is certainly an unusual tale in a country where policymakers are increasingly concerned over a birthrate that is hitting record lows.

    According to a report by the National Statistical Office (NSO) earlier this year, Korea's fertility rate, or the average number of babies born to women aged between 15 and 49, was at 1.08 last year, from the previous low of 1.16 in 2004. Last year's birthrate was the lowest since 1970 when the NSO began taking data.

    Korea's birthrate was already the lowest among the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) member countries in 2004. Korea's figure of 1.16 was even lower than that of Japan at 1.29, long famous for its low birthrates. The rate stood at 1.71 in Sweden, 1.73 in Britain, 1.89 in France and 2.04 in the United States.
[link via Lost Nomad]
Neocons explained...
by Pravda, in Iraq, Iran and the end of petrodollar: The waning influence of the USA in the Asian century.

Here's an excerpt:
    The economic power of the United States was in stagnation since the 1970s and is in decline since the end of the Cold War. Particularly its share of world trade and manufacturing is substantially less than it was just prior to the end of the Cold War, and its relative economic strength measured against the EU and the East Asian economic group of Japan, China and other Southeast Asian countries is similarly in retreat. The persistent use of US military power can be viewed as a reaction to its declining economic power and not merely as a response to the post-Cold War geopolitical picture. The American neo-conservative leaders see the military power of the USA's trump card that can be employed to prevail over all its rivals', and thus stop this decline. This is what the Bush administration is trying to achieve: to create a militarised world in which the strength of the US military forces can change and re-define the rules of the game. This is a clear goal, a specific agenda, which does not constitute a conspiracy. It is merely the way in which the system currently works, and the US administration is taking advantage of existing structural opportunities. This article is an attempt to provide primarily a macroeconomic explanation to the origins of and motivations behind the recent US policies shaped by the neo-conservative Bush administration.
[link via The Discalced Yooper]
South Korea's Anti-American Catholic Priest
From US feels sting of South Korean protest:
    A firebrand Catholic priest leads daily slogan-shouting protests at the epicenter of the worst standoff in nearly four years between South Korean forces and an array of student groups and labor organizations.

    The priest, Moon Jeong-hyun, 69, returned here less than a week after holding out for most of a day on the roof of the school building with nine other priests and two National Assembly members defying the riot police, who drove the activists from the building, some of them kicking and screaming.

    A distinctive figure with a flowing beard, often seen holding a video camera as he records prayer meetings and confrontations, Moon and his cohorts were promised they would not be arrested before descending down a ladder from the roof on May 4.

    Moon has lived in the village for the past two years, making it the center of the same anti-US struggle that he led during enormous protests in Seoul after the deaths of two schoolgirls, run over by a 50-ton US armored vehicle during military exercises nearly four years ago.

    "Pray for this land," Moon preaches to the villagers. "You have prospered on this land. Pray for your homes. You have built these homes. The land is yours. Your prayers will protect you."

    Now Moon is protected by activists manning checkpoints at entrances to the village within shouting distance of police blocking off narrow paved roads across the rice paddies into the village, on the western fringe of the bustling town of Pyongtaek, on the main railroad to Seoul.
Koreans, According to a Member of a Prominent Protestant Missionary Family
Dr. Samuel H. Moffett, Professor Emeritus of Ecumenics and Mission at Princeton Theological Seminary, quoted in American professor returns to his roots:
    I love the Korean people... I call them the Welsh of the Orient, because they sing so lovely. And we call them the Irish of the orient because they fight so easily - even against each other.
I especially agree with the first point. I am always impressed by the beauty of Korean singing at church, all the more so since I can hardly carry a tune.
Was the Bard a Crypto-Catholic?
A review of The Hidden Existence of William Shakespeare: Poet and Rebel in the Catholic Underground:The Shakespeare Code
"Not Just Entertainment"
From Reading "Da Vinci Code" does alter beliefs: survey:
    "The Da Vinci Code" has undermined faith in the Roman Catholic Church and badly damaged its credibility, a survey of British readers of Dan Brown's bestseller showed on Tuesday.

    People are now twice as likely to believe Jesus Christ fathered children after reading the Dan Brown blockbuster and four times as likely to think the conservative Catholic group Opus Dei is a murderous sect.

    [Click in the link to read the rest.]
Meanwhile, Christians in Thailand, India, South Korea, Singapore, and the Philippines have the right idea: Asian Christian groups plan boycotts of 'Da Vinci Code' movie.

Even our fellow monotheists in India are lending a hand, as illustrated by these comments from Maulana Mansoor Ali Khan, general secretary of the All-India Sunni Jamiyat-ul-Ulema, quoted in Muslims join Da Vinci criticism, an article linked to by Seattle Catholic:
    The Holy Koran recognises Jesus as a prophet. What the book says is an insult to both Christians and Muslims....

    Muslims in India will help their Christian brothers protest this attack on our common religious belief.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
I've never been very impressed by anything about her other than her stunning good looks. Had she left Islam for the Catholic Church or even the Dutch Reformed Church, that would be something. Instead, she left the The Great and Enduring Heresy of Mohammed, which at least acknowledges the Creator, to become an atheist and militant secularist, like her colleague Theo van Gogh. Now, after lying to get asylum in the Netherlands, Miss Ali is coming to the USA to work for the neocons: I'm leaving but I will continue my work, Hirsi Ali vows.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Visit Reactionary Radicals Today!
Dystopias and Metric Measures
This article from The American Conservative has been on-line for some time, but I never got past the headline until my print edition arrived from across the Pacific a few days ago: Big Brother Watches Britain: The rights of Englishmen make way for litres and ID cards..

Realizing that the article takes on one of my most hated enemies, I decided I would be remiss not to link to it. Here's how it begins:
    One of the oddest and most eerily prophetic passages in 1984 finds Winston Smith, unwisely searching for a key to the lost past, entering a sordid alehouse in a proletarian quarter. There he sees an old man, a survivor of former times, trying to order a pint of beer, once the standard English measure. The barman either does not understand him or pretends not to do so. “What in hell’s name is a pint? Litre and half-litre, that’s all we serve,” he says.

    England, likewise, has ceased to exist, and its sophisticated currency has been replaced by the standardized decimal dollars and cents of Oceania. In Brave New World, the dystopia is different in almost every way, but the drug soma is prescribed in metric grams, and England has also disappeared, this time into a globalized Fordist state, governed by ten world controllers. Mass production and advertising have brought into being the borderless, godless world dreamed of by Karl Marx, in which German and French are dead languages and Trotsky a common surname.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, the British Imperial System is more human than the Metric System, that child of the French Revolution. The same can be said of the traditional Korean system of measures or of that of any other culture. Fractions, likewise, are more human, and require more intelligence, than decimal figures. Sure, the Metric System is more efficient, and may have its place in Science, but which system would the Taoist Chuang Tzu, that hater of efficiency, have preferred? Which system, I wonder, was used at Oświęcim (Auschwitz), that model of XXth Century efficiency?
Saving Face in South Korea
For "those who want to appear busy, rich or both when they are neither:" Short of Kudos? The 'Honor Industry' Can Help.
My Church and My Bank
"A software program to set all the parishes of South Korea in a network and to streamline their administrative management has been launched last week with the support of the Woori Bank who will manage the network:" Korean Catholic Church launched administrative streamlining of Korean dioceses through computer software.
The Man Who Consecrated Himself Bishop
Here are two looks at a man described as "ambitious" and "very close to the Party:" Monsignor Zhan Silu installs himself as bishop and condemns himself to isolation and Zhan Silu, a bishop against everything and against everyone.

From the latter comes this description of his diocese:
    The Mindong Diocese consists almost entirely of believers who belong to the underground Church: out of 80,000 Catholics, more than 70,000, well organized and with a lot of vitality, are underground and can count on over 45 priests, 96 nuns and 400 lay catechists.  There are about 10 official priests for a few official parishes.  The possession-taking of the diocese goes to interrupt a process of reconciliation in the diocese.

Monday, May 15, 2006

The WaPo Debunks Duh Vinci
You needn't go to a Christian source to learn the historical inaccuracies of the DVC; here's an article from a newspaper often decried as "liberal:" Contentious Notions: Are They True?*

Tangentially, the book and movie came up in my evening non-credit class tonight. All of the students, most of them graduate students and, by coincidence, most of them Catholic, had read the book. [It is, after all, the best selling novel ever.] One student, a Sunday school teacher at my parish and a very upright young man who once discerned a vocation, reported that his students had asked him about the book's claims. He did his best to refute what Dan Brown wrote, but said that his students refused to believe him. Sad it is that a book is having such a effect on young Catholic minds.


*Use to bypass registration.
Crunchy Schism
    [E]ven if the Catholic church was [sic] run by psychopathic tyrants, that has nothing whatever to do with whether or not the Catholic faith is true.
In Orthodoxy and me, Rod Dreher credits Father Andrew Greeley with above idea, but spends the rest of the article discounting Fr. Greeley's "crucial point." Sorry, but the handling of the gay priest scandal and a bad experience with a hypocritical parish priest are not sufficient evidence of the falsity of the Catholicism, just as the "crunchiness" of the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, as beautiful as it is, is not sufficient evidence for the truth of Orthodoxy. To be fair, Mr. Dreher hasn't yet converted, but these reasons seem insufficient for provoking the "Kierkegaardian dilemma" he speaks of. I've heard of Orthodox priests turning away prospective converts for suspecting them of being Russophiles, not lovers of Christ. What would an Orthodox priest say of Mr. Dreher?

That said, I understand Mr. Dreher's attraction to Eastern Orthodoxy. When I decided to leave Protestantism in 2002, the year the of the gay priest scandal broke, had there been an Orthodox parish in Pohang or even Ulsan, I would have likely swum the Bosphorus, not the Tiber. I had easily seen the truth of Apostolic Succession. While Papal Primacy was my last stumbling block, it was not long before I became an Ultramontane.

Both Tom Herron (in Rod Dreher: Ex Oriente Lux) and William Luse (in Catholic burnout) take on Mr. Dreher's reasoning.

The more I read, the less inclined I feel to read Mr. Dreher's book: Crunchy Cons : The New Conservative Counterculture and Its Return to Roots.

The book that is the subject of the post immediately below this one seems more to my taste: Look Homeward America : In Search of Reactionary Radicals.