Monday, May 28, 2007


Congrats to Rachel and Charles. It was a great wedding.


Monday, May 21, 2007

Some thoughts about Art.

This weekend I made a trip up to the Philadelphia Museum of art. I went to see the Duchamp works they have, and I was a little disappointed. But, I was sort of expecting to be disappointed. I think that for most of his works, reading about them is more interesting than actually seeing them. I like the idea of the "readymade," but seeing them in person does not really add a whole lot to the idea. However, I think that that is part of the point.

It was good to see the Large Glass. The object is interesting and impressive, but not really beautiful. Again part of the point probably.

Disappointments aside, here is the thought that I had:

I was looking at many of the works in the "modern" section, and I enjoy quite a few of them. But much of the stuff is so fragmented and disjointed that you can't help but ask why if you aren't already acquainted with the artist or the works. I was specifically struck by Cy Twombly's painting, "Achilles Shield."

It is great that he takes up classical themes, and I think that he even may have some profound things to say about them. One of the things that you are immediately confronted with is that the work is primarily just a bunch of scribbling on canvas. Maybe this is part of the statement that Twombly is making. Maybe I need to read more about his technique, and pay attention to the composition more, I don't know. But the bare fact remains: Homer, one of the most seminal figures in western culture has been reduced to crayon scribbles. What does that say about us as a culture?

After spending some time contemplating the scribbles and their relation to Homer, I still had some time left so I decided to go upstairs to where the "real" art is, you know the stuff with subjects that you can recognize. What I was really surprised by were the odd similarities that I found up there.

In particular there was one wall full of finely carved wooden trim that once resided in various houses from some bygone era. Interesting looking I suppose, and perhaps even historically significant. However, they were so fragmented, torn out of their original context that you felt a little odd. Then I walked into a room full of really beautiful religious art. Some nice altar pieces and various other adornments that once must have been in a church. Again totally torn out of their context.

This is where I begin to wonder. If the primary way that we experience art is through this vehicle of the museum, which tears out objects that once had a very significant function from their world (referential totality?) and places them on display as significant in and of them selves, then maybe the movement to more abstract art is an attempt to counter this violent wrenching of meaning.

Now you see artists who create works that are completely incomprehensible without the context from which they came. This is an art that says firmly, "You will not appreciate me without immersing yourself into my world." I think that the ready made is a great example of this phenomena. These are works that you would not know are "art" but for the context that they come with.

I am not claiming that this is what the artists that I saw were thinking, but rather just surmising some possible description of larger historical trends.

Anyways, it's a good museum I would recommend checking it out.


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Jihadist Rallies

*** This post does not endorse the misuse of the term "Jihadist." Suicide bombers are not holy warriors striving to know or serve the Almighty, they are evildoers properly termed "mufsidun," who are engaging in a psychopathic war against society, "hirabah." ***

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Tired of Philosophy

Friday, May 11, 2007

A Milestone

I know that a lot of you out there read this blog and are quite invested in all things Quincy, so I thought that it would be worth some reporting on how we are doing as a website.

Year to date we have now had visitors form six continents. (Antarctica what gives?)

For a more complete report you can download the PDF.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Jesus Bandages

Many people have interesting bandages, but I think that this takes the cake.

Jesus Adhesive Bandages :


Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Muslim Nations' Diplomats Studying the Church

So diplomats from Muslim countries are taking a three-week course on the Catholic Church and the Holy See's international politics. Participants learn about "the organization and functioning of diverse organizations of the Holy See, the diplomatic activities of nunciatures and the humanitarian activities of the Church that promote peace," Cardinal Bertone told Vatican Radio. You can read more about it on Zenit.

Now I'm all about soft power and dialogue and I realize the Church is not a typical international actor jostling for power. But still, I have to ask, is this a good idea? Are these visiting diplomats really interested in peace and dialogue and understanding, or are they interested in figuring out how the enemy works so they can better manipulate and divide him? I suspect there is some of both going on. The boys at the Vatican need to be careful that they craft their program in such a way as to strengthen the one group, while stonewalling the other. Christ admonished us to be "simple as doves," but also demanded that we be "clever as serpents" (Mt 10:16). Some days I think the Vatican's Secretariat of State could use a little more of the latter.

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Sunday, May 06, 2007

A great map

This post goes out to Charles.

I was talking with some friends about the small Catholic world that we seem to circulate in, and Charles, or someone, made the comment that someone should draw a map of the whole thing. I was reminded of this brilliant map of the internet by the guys over at xkcd. Check it out.

Any talented artists out there want to give it a try? I'll promise you free advertising of your map and any related merchandise on


Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Life is Hard