August 11, 2019

THE TRANSGENDER BACKLASH IS COMING



Don't forget to go after Big Pharma, too, kids!

(Notice that the trans-industry has to create a problem and then solve it. Like mouth wash, hair and skin products, teeth whitening...basically all advertising.)





August 5, 2019

NETFLIX: "STRANGER THINGS 3"




The justifiably eagerly-awaited third installment of the 1980’s sci-fi pre-teen protagonists action thriller is here. On Netflix. And it’s not the end! Stay tuned for Part 4.


Part 1 was family fun and family friendly, Part 2 went too far in language and aggressivity—almost to the point of my not being able to recommend it—but Part 3 is back, much more like Part 1, much more appropriate, but preserving the non-stop tension, stakes and intensity. Lots of intensity.

I want so much to unequivocally like this series, but I’m still a bit ambivalent. It has a lot of good stuff in it, but not even a whisper of human beings acknowledging God. There’s no religion. Nothing. (Perhaps a more accurate reflection of 2019, but not 1980’s Middle America.) There’s only evil, evil human beings and good human beings. We’re on our own to face the monsters.

I’m going to do this review in bullet form: 

 --Seems no one has anything else important to do besides sleuthing (and saving the planet). No jobs, school, etc.).

--Wynona Ryder just gets better and better. Good sets. ST respects kids’ intelligence and the identical twin young writer/director brothers know it’s good to be a kid.

--Only the young girl can slay the dragon (Middle Ages, anyone)?

--Parts of ST are just so good and so human. Things slow down and we take time to be human. In real time. Real human time.

--Great concept: “DOOR between worlds.”

--Part 3 is much more manic, fun, funny, tongue-in-cheek, day-glo shiny and kid/pre-teen friendly.  Fun, fun study of the 80’s. ST is so self-consciously 80’s (not bad for filmmakers born in 1984) with the greatest soundtrack that actually fits and isn’t “greatest hits” or cheeseball. Sadly, still a lot of “JC” and one  “HOLY MOTHER OF GOD” (so I guess there is some God in it—I’m dead serious, this counts in a very negative way). But overall an attempt seems to have been made to make it more kid friendly again.

--Fine acting by 2 slightly older young adult men (Steve & Billy, especially Billy).

--11 (El) is learning to be a human being.

--At times, ST3 is only and all about pre-teen “dating.”  All about. With some terrifying sci-fi and maybe some real sci-non-fi thrown in.

--A little bit of feminism here and there—(mostly the girls building up their confidence), but fairly OK (not radical feminism). ST thoroughly enjoys hearkening back to a slightly simpler, slightly more wholesome time. I find that Millennials really love the 80’s for that (and SEE the 80’s as a time of innocence, something like the 1950’s, except for the LANGUAGE coming from the “mouths of babes.”)

--Hopper, the chief of police, tries to be Dad to El—does good, then turns into an idiot again (he’s never been a paragon of virtue).

--Frightening and grotesque disfigurements here and there when the creature(s?) strikes. Although the creature-enemy-monster is a run-of-the-mill, gummy mouthed blob, the terrifying thing about it is that when you chop it up, each severed piece takes on a life of its own. (Gives new meaning to “divide and conquer.”) Bits of torture. Lots and lots and lots and lots of intense prolonged violence by youth and often directed at youth. Lots and lots of continuous high-stakes action. The kids are heroic.

--Not a lot of parental supervision. Not all parents are bad examples or buffoons in ST. Some great parents and parenting moments.

--Our young stars are growing up gracefully. They are age-typical (if sometimes not exactly age appropriate), not smartypants or smart alecs to adults (only to each other).

--Interesting story line that makes sense with its own mythology / gooey mouthed creature which is a little scarier because it’s spider-like (and spiders usually are female in art…hmmm. Will this be an “Aliens” thing in the end)?

--S3: E6 The monster presence (never resting, always on a mission) starts as a kind of sense of evil, wanting to take over everything like Satan. Satan’s one job that keeps him very busy is getting you to hell. He has so much work with so many people to ensnare and get to damn themselves. Good portrayal of good vs. evil.  THE EVIL SEEMS TO BE GROWING LARGER AND LARGER. I don’t know that the depth of all the symbolism has been totally thought out, but it pretty much works.

--“Back to the Future” pop culture reference. Some smoking (making a comeback in films these days).

--Some de rigueur loose morals among adults.

--The Monster to El: “You let us in, now you have to let us stay. We built it for you and now we are going to destroy you and then your friends and then everyone.” My spiritual director said: “Satan would like nothing better than we all kill ourselves.” Very apocalyptic. Very much for our times with rising suicide rates and the ongoing, multi-dimensional Church crisis. Vigano: “To fight and win with Mary the battle with the ancient dragon.”  “Your opponent, the devil, is like a prowling lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, solid in your faith.” –St. Peter the Apostle

--Could ST be called a horror-comedy? (Yes, there’s quite enough chuckles to warrant it—the cherry slurpee scene alone, a good kind of campy).

--Cast of thousands--thousands of young people!

--Sweet, realistic romance, young love, how young people SHOULD  be talking to each other, how they SHOULD acting with each other (which was easier before media devices silenced everyone). HUGE JOHN HUGHES FEEL.

--For all her superpowers, Eleven/El needs Mike and can be fragile. She never acts "superior" to the others, but instead is trying to fit in.

--One gentle, sensitive “coming out” scene. Young adult guy hits on girl. Young adult girl sez she wishes Tammy was looking at her…. That’s it.

--“WHAT DO YOU WANT???” Billy to monster before monster takes him over (like a possession). Why Billy the lifeguard? Why anyone? Satan wants everyone. He has one job that keeps him very, very busy till the end of the world. ST3 really made me think so much of this! The gooey monster(s) divides and separates and lives on and just never goes away. Such hatred of humanity. Can’t help but think of the devil.  Spider-like (and spiders are always scary. And gross. And female?) Evil is powerful, getting bigger, makes weird, sticky, liquidy, chortling sounds. If you believe we’re kinda nearing the End Times or at least the Great Tribulation/Chastisement in real life? This film will feel prescient.

--As the great American mall dies today, it was thriving in the 80’s  (now we know what killed the great American mall! LOL).

-- I’m in awe of these young North Carolina dude filmmakers who understand the glee with which we people of the Cold War used to say “commie b*st*rds!”—of course, angelic moi did NOT say that—the Duffer Brothers must have been listening to their parents/parents’ friends. ST3 also proves, once more, that the Russkies make the best bad guys, the best USA nemesis, and we miss the good old days.

--These kids are pretty heavily NERD KIDS. They would have to be to be involved in the investigative/espionage/combat  they’re involved in.

--As bombastic and seizure-inducing as ST is, there’s also something cozy and comforting about it.

--“SHUT DE DO’ KEEP OUT THE DEVIL!!!!” THE DOOR!!!! THE OPENING!!! THE PIT OF HELL that will one day open during the final battle (see the Book of Revelation)!  A NEWS REPORT ON A TV SEZ: “ARE ALL THESE TRAGEDIES LINKED TO AN INCREASE IN SATANISM?” (That could be a Freudian slip, or mocking the 1980’s upsurge in preoccupation with Satanism, and seeing Satanic symbols everywhere and behind everything.)


Such a great comment! I was trying to see what medal he was wearing and I kind of missed all this! So, of course, the "life guard" has to go first! ⚜


From my research on ST2, it seems the kid actors themselves really got into using the foul, blasphemous language themselves (even to the surprise of the filmmakers who wanted to cut it back a little) and demanded that they say it.












July 26, 2019

MOVIES: "GOOD BOYS"


THIS FILM IS A NEW LOW AND CROSSES A HUGE LINE.
SETH ROGEN HAS A LOT TO ANSWER FOR.


The movie-making and entertainment bar has just been lowered to a depressing new low. Seth Rogen (who brought you “Superbad” and “Sausage Party”) has a new, raunchy, “R”-rated film entitled “Good Boys” about three middle school friends who innocently get caught up in today’s depraved culture. A new line has been crossed with this show. It’s something NEW, something evil. Watch any iteration of “Good Boys” several different trailers and you will weep. You’ll wonder how a more-or-less mainstream creative mind—such as Rogen’s--could come up with something so devilish. Actually, it’s not that his mind WENT there, but that he EXECUTED this complete degradation of young people—a previously taboo, off-limits maneuver.  Think about it. I’m sure plenty of studios and screenwriters and producers and actors and show-runners have dreamt up nasty story-lines involving kids--but basic human decency prevented them from moving forward. That is no longer the case.

You see, when you call something a comedy, especially an “over the top” comedy—wink, wink…anything goes, even  the dismantling of childhood (although I would suspect even some comedians known for their lascivious adult stage shows will agree that “Good Boys” goes too far, because…kids). It’s open season on kids if you haven’t noticed. We are destroying our children and youth through neglect, porn, lack of parenting, removing boundaries, questioning the very concept of childhood, allowing unbridled media use—not to mention gaslighting them with false gender ideology. And legally? We’re quickly smashing anything that protects young people from adults who wish them different types of harm.

Even if something is fiendishly clever and thereby also humorous, what we audiences actually choose to watch and what we actually laugh at says a lot about OUR character. And we’re complicit by our support and by feeding ourselves with refuse like “Good Boys.” What greater mockery of goodness could we have than wishing to corrupt youth at younger and younger ages? Men are the initiators of the gift of love and life. It’s bad enough that—in the absence of strong, noble fathers/father-figures/mentors—young men socialize each other to exploiting power and the abuse of women and children (when they are called to use their power to protect women and children). Now we want to wickedly de-moralize young boys? Start ‘em off younger and younger on the wrong road?

You’ve never heard me say this before, but I hope you loudly BOYcott this film—AND squawk any way you can: to sponsors, theaters, the filmmakers, friends and family. Get petitions going. Resist. Fight back. Fight for our kids. If you care. As for Seth Rogen? He has a lot to answer for.

God does not take kindly to those who harm kids.

TRAILER:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=asgS75u7wW0


(I knew this day would come. If everything is just a social construct, so is childhood.)



CONTRACEPTION VS. NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING--WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?

July 14, 2019

THEOLOGY OF THE BODY IN ART & MEDIA PODCAST


Listen to parts 1 & 2 of interview w/ on "Theology of the Body in Art & Media" … (Part 1=July 11, Part 2=July 18)


THREE THEOLOGY OF THE BODY PRINCIPLES FOR ARTISTS:

1. The personalistic norm: "A human being may never be used. The only appropriate response to a person is love."
2. For artists, ethics ARE aesthetics.
3. The purpose of art is the same as the purpose of the body: to make visible the invisible; to reveal the deepest, unseen meaning of things.

THREE MAIN POINTS BY WHICH SR. HELENA REVIEWS A FILM:

1. Excellence in filmmaking
2. Overall experience of the film (and where is film coming from/why was it made?)
3. How does the film jive with a Judaeo-Christian, biblical, sacramental, Theology of the Body worldview?

SHOULD I WATCH THIS FILM (AS AN ADULT)?
1. Pray. Pray before, during, after the film.
2. Know thyself.
3. Hit pause. It's OK to look away / fast forward / turn off / walk away / walk out / take a stand.
4. Ask yourself: Why am I watching this film in the first place? We are always disciples of Jesus Christ and must always glorify Him in all that we do, including our media/digital lives. Will watching this film glorify Him? (Even if it might be objectionable in parts, am I watching it to study it and help myself and others? Never use "I'm studying it" as an excuse!)
5. Be brutally honest about how this film is affecting you, body and soul. How it's affecting your relationship with God, self, family, others, enemies, all Creation.


















June 17, 2019

GOOD NEW VATICAN DOCUMENT ON GENDER THEORY


Good new doc from Vatican Congregation on Catholic Education entitled "Male & Female He Created Them: Toward a Path of Dialogue on Question of Gender Ideology in Education." Skeletal but good start. My 2 cents (nuances) below.

Here's the document itself: http://www.educatio.va/content/dam/cec/Documenti/19_0997_INGLESE.pdf


MY COMMENTS ON NEW DOCUMENT FROM VATICAN CONGREGATION FOR EDUCATION ON GENDER IDEOLOGY:

--#11-12 The definitions of “sexual orientation,” “transgenderism” and “queer” are slightly different than my (current) understanding of them (since language, too, is subject to fluidity!) and I think could have been defined with more nuance, precision and explanation.

--#16 This statement is not clear to me: “welcome all legitimate expressions of human personhood with respect.”

--#17-18 “A further positive development in anthropological understanding also present in writing on gender….” then is quoted a portion of the Church’s thinking on “femininity” (that radical feminists to not agree with, I assure you!) not general/secular “writing on gender” (unless the point is putting the Church’s contribution on the same level as “gender studies,” which is not a bad idea). However, the new document goes on to outline--lopsidedly--only women’s sacrificial self-giving and motherhood, while nothing is said about men’s sacrificial self-giving and fatherhood (which is a huge, huge problem in the Church itself today)! We then wonder why young men aren’t formed into responsibility and handling their life-giving powers well! On top of that, we disparage men for not doing what they’ve never been taught/challenged to do. This fact, rightly, is what feminists of different ilks bring to our attention: women are just automatically expected to serve others because it’s their “special gift.” What about the men?

--#24-25 After describing the condition of intersex (without naming it as such) the document in the next breath lumps “intersex” (which means born with certain biological indeterminacies with regard to sex in varying degrees, including genes, genitals, neurology, etc., often with characteristics of both sexes) in with transgender (as a psycho-affective condition). However, it’s OK to call the condition of being born intersex “intersex” without deeming it to be a “3rd sex” or negating the reality of male or female, or using it to support the notion of transgender.

I would also be very, very careful about saying ONLY medical professionals can determine which sex (male or female) an intersex baby is! Medical professionals have often determined wrongly and intervened toward a sex that the child growing up does not feel themselves to be! (The intersex community rightly gets very angry about this!) Some cases of intersex are slight, but others are more complicated. The parents can make an educated guess (with the help of medical professionals) and begin organically, gently raising the child toward one sex or the other without medical intervention. Let the kid figure it out as they grow up. Wait to do medical interventions (even till after puberty and into young adulthood). The intersex person knows who they are. For an intersex person to choose medical interventions for themselves when they are physically and emotionally mature enough has nothing to do with transgenderism. It’s treating and correcting a physical disorder as one might choose to medically correct any other physical disorder. But neither is the intersex person obliged to do this. 

Here is a very good article about a (blended) family who have two intersex girls. The first XXY child had a medical intervention towards male, but she grew up feeling female (and hips and breasts developed in pre-teenhood)—which caused her much grief and pain (and physical violence)! The second XXY child they did no intervention on, and at five years old, she has gravitated to being female. https://toronto.citynews.ca/2019/06/09/lovingly-a-family-raises-an-intersex-child-again-2/

--#30ff As stated in the subtitle of the document, the Church is hoping for “dialogue” with families, school, professionals, society, etc., participating (always with an acknowledgment that parents are the first educators of their children) regarding the best information and milieu for children regarding sexuality. (It does mention Catholic schools specifically, also.) However, the home is truly the best locus for this. I believe the best support would be educating parents’ groups (often along with their teens at the same time), and helping them prepare their younger children for today’s hypersexualized, pornified, misinformation Sexual/Gender Revolution culture. See resources here:  www.tinyurl.com/TOBsexED  

Although we can always hope for true dialogue, and we must keep trying, the well-heeled, ever more powerful global LGBTQ+ movement has made deep inroads into law, governments, military, sports, education, teachers’ unions, media, news, entertainment, courts, academia, bio-ethics, hospitals, etc., and into the Catholic Church itself. We need an emergency-crisis-mode mentality. A wedge is being driven between parents and their children by many of the above-mentioned entities, now to the point that children can be legally removed from their homes by case workers to they can live as their “true selves” (viz., transgender—which the child has falsely been indoctrinated and persistently affirmed that they are) in a “trans-friendly”home/environment.

--#40 “Tolerance” is not a Christian virtue. Charity is. True charity is willing and doing the good of the other. "Tolerance applies to people, but never ideas. Intolerance applies to ideas, but never people." --Fulton Sheen





May 30, 2019

HOW "BIRTH CONTROL" BETRAYED WOMEN


"No one, no one tells young women how their body works. I know people who graduated from med school knowing only how to tell women to take the Pill."

OF COURSE, I disagree with her advice to go ahead and do condoms/contraception "if you're having sex with random people." Don't have sex with random people.

May 20, 2019

MOVIES: "US"



The new film, simply entitled “Us,” is the much anticipated follow-up to Jordan Peele’s runaway success “Get Out,” which won a 2018 Oscar for “Best Original Screenplay.” “Us” is not a sequel, but continues to tell African-American stories in the horror genre. I didn’t quite see how this was a social commentary (as is the delicious “Get Out”). The best I could figure—if it IS a social commentary at all—is that it’s a contrast between the privileged and underprivileged, those considered more human and less human. Either way, it’s a fun-enough thriller, although the pacing is inconsistent at times, with beats, scenes and sequences that are too drawn out, automatically dulling the suspense. Also, the mise-en-scene is almost too calculated and precise as to be antiseptic and remind us we are in a film.

A loving family of four: Mom, Dad, teenage girl and younger son set out on a family vacation at Santa Cruz beach, the very place that Mom had a harrowing experience as a young girl. She’s reluctant to go at first, but her sanguine husband convinces her. All is going swell…until it isn’t. A family of four (yes, Dad, Mom, daughter and son) in red jumpsuits suddenly shows up in the driveway. At night. Wielding scissors. The red-clad family are doppelgangers: primitive, feral, brute-like copies who immediately go on a murderous spree. Each family member is pursued by their own mirror-image. (Reminded me here of the excellent little film, “Coherence.”)

What do these miserable creatures want? Your life. No, not just to extinguish your life but to take it over. To live your life. To be you. The main character is the Mom and her nemesis (the only one of the humanoids that seems able to speak, albeit in a menacingly raspy voice). It’s personal, and yes, it’s related to Mom’s ordeal as a small child. What chance does the little family have confronted by these zombie-like beings? In an all-out war to survive, the family that slays together stays together. At a certain point, the kids must save the Mom (reminiscent of “Incredibles 2”). There is no danger that anyone will abandon ship and run for their lives, because “family means there are people who will die for you” (according to a play I once saw performed in Hollywood).

The storyline is unfussy and linear with a few flashbacks to Mom’s childhood experience.
Dad and others provide dark comic relief at the tensest moments. The gore is, blessedly, like an old school film, off camera (thank you, Mr. Peele!), while the blood splatters on the faces in the frame. The soundtrack is superb and intense, an experience and story within itself, busy and lively but never detracting or distracting from the visuals. There’s even a dance to the death at the end. Quite a marvelous metaphor.

Jeremiah 11:11 is the ominous theme. “No escape,” eh? Whether you know it or not, horror movies aren’t supposed to have happy endings.

OTHER STUFF:

--Is it social commentary when the monsters say “We are human, too”? “We are human beings, too?” “You could have taken us with you?” “It’s our time now?”When the only safe place is Mexico? When the police will take too long to save the night? When the family becomes vicious, hacking slaughterers themselves?

--Do the white rabbits represent experimentation or Alice in Wonderland or both?




April 8, 2019

THEOLOGY OF THE BODY FOR TEENS--PETERBOROUGH, ONTARIO


Teens from neighbouring dioceses welcome!


These P-bo teens already did the TOB Retreat and look how stoked they are!