Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Take My "Ineffable," please!

There's a heated exchange over at PTB's combox (that state of being ought to be formally declared "oxymoronic") regarding "Two Views on the Missal at the National Post.
Before getting to my portion of the fire-stoking there, which is of no consequence to the discourse whatsoever, I'd like to present exhibit "A"-
Mr./Dr./Rv. Richard Verver offered these thoughts:
I don’t know how versed you are with ancient philosophy, since many philosophy graduates only treat it as part of a survey at the undergraduate level.

Not only did Arisitotle know about change, but he knew the philosophies of the pre-Socratic pilosophers. This Cambrian explosion of philosophy more or less produced every philosophical position imaginable. From Parmenidian monism on the one hand to Heraclitean perpetual flux on the other (we even have primitive notions of evolution by natural selection and atomic theory).
On the question of change, one of Aristotle’s principle contributions is his theory of act and potency. Indeed, the whole issue of hylomorphism is related to the philosophical problem of change. Even the 10 categories of being (substance + 9 categories of accident) are part of his solution to the question of change.
For what it’s worth, the modern worldview doesn’t actually undercut Aristotle’s metaphysics. If the metaphysical principles begin to understood in a pseudo-physical way (as say, Francis Bacon did, prompting him to jettison them in the Novum Organum) then they do begin to clash with our knowledge of the world. But, as strictly metaphysical principles, no evidence can, in principle, disprove them.
Hmmm. As Todd would declaim: I am, after all, just a liturgical musician with all the rights and privileges due that do not pertain to liturgical expertise. But I really can't make heads or tails of the above. Please, kind-hearted souls, don't send me the Great Courses CD on the survey of Western Philosophy, I need to stay awake when I'm driving. So, I'm content to hum "Don't know much about history, don't know much biology, but I do know that I love you...and what a wonderful world this could be."

On a lighter note: Regular PTB contributor His Reverence (HT to JMO), the Reverend Father Joe O'Leary made this assessment responding to one statement made by the proMR3 columnist:
Cherish the beauty of the English language — what humbug!
Well, you know me, couldn't leave well enough alone....
Pere Joe, bless you for bolstering, edifying and championing Fr. DeSouza’s argument. You could have simply said “-what nonsense.” But you chose “humbug” instead. Beautiful! Now I have a clearer, if not precise, comprehension of your disdain. Thanks.

And to think you could also have have employed ” babble, balderdash, baloney, bull*, bunk, drivel, empty talk, gibberish, hogwash, hooey, hot air, poppycock, pretense, rubbish, silliness or detritus, etc.” if you wanted to beat the Dickens out of your point. Marvelous. The beauty of English: ineffable, er, I mean “priceless.” Or in the words of Adrian Belew in the King Crimson song, it’s all “elephant talk. ;-)”
To which Padre Joe retorted:
The stink from the new translations continues to rise. It is nauseous and noisome. The stink will not go away, for it comes not from subjective perceptions or ideological investments but from the sheer badness of the English of the new texts.
Then with all the flair and nuance of John McEnroe, I volleyed back:
Hey Vater Joe, “where you goin’ wid dat gun in yo’ hand?”

Sorry, Hendrix/Leaves Sixties Flashback. You dream of Bugnini, I dream of, well, the genius of Jimi.
Speaking of flashbacks, in #5 you defended “humbug” as if I had demeaned the precision of your rhetorical choice. Dude, I applauded your choice. Where’s the love? Or did you assume I was jes “Scroogin’ around?
Regarding this “stink” you posit that “comes not” from whatnot but, yea, from “sheer badness”; is that a good or a bad thing? Here in the states something being “bad” is often connotated as a supreme compliment. Paradoxically, being designated a “Bad *ss” here in the colonies (and I suspect as well in Australia) is a welcomed moniker.
“Sick” is also well on its way towards rhetorical transmutation in regular ‘merican usage. So, perhaps one might even have to reconsider declaring “It stinketh like Gehenna” as the syntax, or is that “sin tax?”, isn’t discernable off the page or aurally without context. But “sheer badness” still has cachet; I’m gonna file it for future ponderment. Right now, “sheer badness” elicits a sort of Lady GaGa enfatuation one of my trad colleagues in RotR evokes.
It’s all good. Or bad, if bad is, in fact, good.
Maybe Msgr. Maroney will consider my “bottoms up” perspective next go round:

Holy, holy, holy Caller of shots for some f’sure crews of da Bad.

All thems in all hoods’ cribs know y’all the baddest…

Y’all beyond sick, word.

Easy time for homes that gets your kites to the hood.
Y’all beyond sick, word up.

I dunno. Has anybody suggested lightening up and giving ourselves permission to breathe freely, find a belly laugh here and there, not cut someone's jugular with their intellect for a change? That goes for all of us who are trying to help the faithful transition not only with this liturgical issue, but also the larger question of what it means to "go to Mass" and then "go out to serve the Lord and one another." The Cafe, despite what some would claim as false advertising, pretty much keeps to its "mission," a hangout for those who love, and love music and chant. PTB's second billing is "worship, wit and wisdom." I may not have the IQ to quibble finer points of an exegesis with Xavier Rindfleisch about "worship" and "wisdom." But I sure as heck know and love me lotsa "wit." I'm not feelin' the love of wit comin' from across the street from the Cafe. I could be wrong. In fact, I generally am wrong. So, brudder, can ya spare a paradigm and 'splain to me why everything has to be so life and death lately? Bada boom. I tell ya, I can't get no respect!