Thursday, June 16, 2016

Diverging from the papal criticism

I'm laying into the Pope lately. Not exactly a good practice for a Catholic, but being annoyed by a goof can make me focus.

I'll make a simple point to cap this off on (assuming his holiness doesn't do something shit-tier in the next few days). It's a point most people already understand, but it bears repeating.

A little Shakespeare:
Mark Antony:Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears; 
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him; 
The evil that men do lives after them,The good is oft interred with their bones, 
So let it be with Caesar … 
The noble Brutus Hath told you Caesar was ambitious: 
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,And grievously hath Caesar answered it 
Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest, 
(For Brutus is an honourable man;So are they all; all honourable men) 
Come I to speak in Caesar’s funeral 
He was my friend, faithful and just to me: 
But Brutus says he was ambitious; 
And Brutus is an honourable man…. 
He hath brought many captives home to Rome, 
Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill: 
Did this in Caesar seem ambitious? 
When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept: 
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff: 
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious; 
And Brutus is an honourable man. 
You all did see that on the Lupercal 
I thrice presented him a kingly crown, 
Which he did thrice refuse: was this ambition? 
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious; 
And, sure, he is an honourable man. 
I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke, 
But here I am to speak what I do know. 
You all did love him once, not without cause: 
What cause withholds you then to mourn for him? 
O judgement! thou art fled to brutish beasts, 
And men have lost their reason…. 
Bear with me; My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar, 
And I must pause till it come back to me.
I quote this for a simple reason.

Let's say I quote this passage as evidence that Mark Antony wasn't exactly kind towards Caesar's killers.

Let's also say that you replied, 'Mark Antony is clearly praising Brutus here and he is criticizing Caesar!!!! ARE YOU BLIND CRUDE!? He said that Brutus is an honourable man MULTIPLE TIMES. He AGREED with Brutus that Caesar was too ambitious oh my God what do you want out of him. Quote me Antony's ACTUAL WORDS not your weird diabolical interpretation to prove your point!!!! YEAH I just SMACKED DOWN your claim! Mark Antony is awesome he knows right from wrong this wasn't a political speech it was a eulogy crazy conspiracy minded people like you think that and no one else!'

To that I'd be forced to admit something...

You have caught me in a grievous wrong, it's true.

Me, I look at that passage and I think to myself 'This is a textbook literary example, dramatized though it may be, of insinuation, of criticizing in fact while trying to seem above it all literally, of two-faced bullshit. It's passive aggression, it is malicious towards Brutus. But! That's my stupidity, and my predisposition towards conspiratorial thinking. No one can come away from reading that passage - no intelligent, sane person anyway - and think that Brutus was being criticized, or Caesar praised. I have been corrected, and my critics in this case would be brilliant men, and most certainly NOT bullshitters or feebs.

And, to those of you out there who would object that my words are clearly sarcasm, and that I'm actually insulting both the temperament and mental capabilities of my critics on this point, let me just say - how dare you, sirs. How dare you suggest I would insult people in such a roundabout way. Are Shakespeare's words not plain, as well as his meaning? I have been corrected, so please do not mimic my faults.

To suggest that I am actually insulting my critics here? Beyond reproach, gentlemen. Beyond reproach.

6 comments:

B. Prokop said...

Crude, you might find this article interesting.

Craig said...

Could this be an example of apophasis, the rhetorical figure of asserting something by pointedly denying it? I would never dream of suggesting such a thing.

malcolmthecynic said...

Bob,

Looks like the typical game where when the Pope says something, we either need to tut-tut and say "Context matters!" and ignore the obvious meaning, or else if he says something positive that happens to surround and be qualified by lots of bullshit we need to stop and pretend that none of that stuff exists.

Pass.

Crude said...

Bob, the idea that Francis can be blamed for the fall of Christianity in Europe is absurd, but it's just as absurd to claim anyone is making that claim. It's a strawman in its purest form - taking general criticisms of Francis, translating them into some absurd over-the-top form, and then repudiating that. No thanks.

The attempted defense of Francis on the muslim point is unconvincing. Saying 'Look, look, he's saying Islam is marked by conquest, that's so un-PC' is blunted when it's immediately followed by comparisons to Christianity and denunciation's of the latter's past. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that is the only way anyone on the left ever acknowledges any fault of Islam, or of Atheism: only if it's anchored to a (typically much larger) criticism of Christianity.

The claims that the Pope is big on spreading the faith gets multiple links and a claim that it's obvious to anyone who studies his speeches... but if you study those speeches, you're not going to find that importance. Instead you're going to find something else, in those links: the claim that it's important to do vaguely good things, and bitching about economic policies. It's a literature bluff, and the hope is that people will just assume those links say something meaningful, rather than reading them to find anything meaningful.

I think some things Francis has done is beneficial. But I bet you Weakland had a good day or two now and then too. I think the rotting of Europe has multiple factors, but here's one: a desire on the part of Christians to make their views and organizations more palatable to non-Christians, and making themselves more palatable largely by attacking and denigrating those Christians who still accept, follow and promote those unpopular teachings.

malcolmthecynic said...

Also,

Bob, the idea that Francis can be blamed for the fall of Christianity in Europe is absurd, but it's just as absurd to claim anyone is making that claim. It's a strawman in its purest form - taking general criticisms of Francis, translating them into some absurd over-the-top form, and then repudiating that.

That too. I've NEVER heard anyone, rad-trad or not, make the claim that Pope Francis is in some way responsible for the fall of Christianity in Europe. It's absurd on the face of it.

Crude said...

By the way, I want to point out something.

Check my blog history. I've written quite a lot in defense of Francis. Not just early on - as recently as his big encyclical on marriage, I was saying that after reading it, I couldn't put much stock in the more frantic denunciations of it. I argued with Malcolm about that, I believe. I understand the direction people come from in criticizing it and worrying about it, but I suspect both the criticisms and worries are overblown. If I was out to just hit Francis, I apparently missed a choice opportunity.