Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Scamming the Scammers


Got this via email today at our sister company, Upstage Productions ...


I am pleased to announce that Upstage Productions has been selected for the 2011 St. Louis Award in the Amateur Theatrical Company category by the US Commerce Association (USCA).


I'm sure that your selection as a 2011 Award Winner is a reflection of the hard work of not only yourself, but of many people that have supported your business and contributed to the subsequent success of your organization. Congratulations on your selection to such an elite group of small businesses.


My reply:


Gosh! What a shame. We're not an "amateur theatrical company" so that award you spent so much money on needs to go back to the company that took the time and effort to make it.


Good news, though - I have awarded the U. S. Commerce Association THE BEST ADVERTISEMENT IN THE "LET'S SEE WHAT KIND OF SUCKERS WE'RE DEALING WITH" CATEGORY. Just send me the routing number of your checking account, and I'll send the certificate right to you.


Kevin O'Brien
Vice-President & Artistic Director
Upstage Productions


***


For the report by the BBB designating the so-called U. S. Commerce Association as scam artists click here.

The End of Arguing without End


They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them.


The Lying Apologists have resorted to the claim, "the teaching that lying is inherently evil is not a teaching that requires our assent" (returning to the claim that began my involvement in all of this, when a Catholic correspondent wrote, "We are not bound by what the Catechism teaches").


So we've come full circle.


Or more accurately, we haven't gone anywhere.


However, I am willing to end this on my part by granting, freely, that if their consciences are clean on this issue, those making excuses for Lying may believe what they want (indeed, free will being what it is, they may believe what they want in any case). This is true for any Catholic issue - birth control, abortion, sodomy, social justice, etc. Each of us is always free - indeed, obligated - to follow his conscience even if it leads him to deny the settled teaching of the Catholic Church (though this is self-defeating, since the primacy of conscience is itself a settled teaching of the Catholic Church).


At any rate, it's high time for the argument to end, as it's no longer a rational argument.


For example, the fact that Janet Smith's case for Lying was utterly annihilated by Tollefsen and Pruss in First Things might give a Lying Apologist pause. But no! Such a defeat can be ignored. More than that, such a defeat can be celebrated. The fact that Smith's sophistry has been dismantled, that her position has been shown to be unsustainable piece by piece, has on the contrary, become proof that she was right. The Lying Apologists don't engage Tollefsen & Pruss's rebuttal. They simply say, "Ah ha! The debate continues!"


Follow the logic, then ... if you dare!


1. ASSERTION: The Catechism does not present the settled teaching of the Catholic Church and we are not required to assent to what it teaches.


2. REBUTTAL: No, the teaching on Lying being inherently evil goes all the way back to Scripture and has been affirmed by bishops (St. Augustine), Popes (St. Gregory), the Angelic Doctor (St. Thomas Aquinas), the Catechism of Trent (over four hundred years ago), and the current Catechism. It may not safely be ignored; it requires our assent.


3. REPLY: You are calling me a dissenter! That's an ad hominem attack!


or


1. ASSERTION: Janet Smith says it's OK to lie!


2. REBUTTAL: Tollefsen and Pruss show how utterly wrong she is.


3. REPLY: Proof that the debate continues! We may believe what we want!


And so it goes.


I will delete all comments on this issue, pro or con, so please don't leave any in the combox below. The argument, as you can see, has become something other than an argument - and so it's pointless to continue.


Let us pray for one another.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Coming Persecution


Here's the thing about being a Prophet. The trick is you don't peer into the future, you peer into the present. You simply take a look at what's going on around you, at the stuff everybody else sees but no one wants to notice. And you extrapolate.


For instance, you gather the hints being thrown out in the Father Pavone situation and you make the obvious connection, as I do here, that things are going to go from bad to worse - and the cause is the heresy of Americanism and our devotion to consequentialism, which will doom the pro-life movement from within, despite our best efforts to rationalize our sin.


Likewise, Fr. James V. Schall, S. J. writes a prophetic piece about the coming persecution of the Catholic Church, which is really only the present persecution extrapolated out in time. Fr. Schall points out, as an alarming example, the legal mandate that private insurance must now cover contraception, about which a commenter notes


I work for a Catholic-sponsored health insurance company. We are preparing to comply with the HHS mandate. There is NO sign that the company is fighting back. I'm an Eastern Orthodox Christian, and I'm terribly distressed by my company's apparently ho-hum attitude toward this assault on religious liberty. It affects all orthodox Christians (small-o and capital O). I don't know if there is a plan to fight back or not, but I've seen no evidence of it yet. I've already decided to resign if the company does comply with the HHS mandate. I don't think that I could in conscience work for an organization that goes against its own moral and ethical teaching.


... a very telling example of the reality of the coming persecution - it's already here and it's forcing people to lose their jobs at the very least.


Fr. Schall also predicts that soon in the United States, as in China, there will be two "churches", one an underground catacomb true Church and the other the government sanctioned "official church". The true Church will be persecuted and shuttered because of "hate speech" - which means pointing out the sins of sodomy, fornication, contraception, abortion, the abuse of children, the abuse of the poor, de facto slavery to the state and to corporations, and all the things we're not only tolerating but celebrating in our culture today. The "official church", the false church, will join in celebrating all these horrors and will make it all go down smoothly by offering services with gay guitar music and self-esteem workshops over coffee and donuts.



I will be bold enough to add another prophecy, based simply upon observing what we see today and what we've seen in the past generation. And that is this: two-thirds of the Catholic bishops in the United States will collude with the spirit of antichrist in the coming generation and will glibly and complacently join in the fun of the sham Christ and his sham Church.


Now, friends, I know this sounds just a tad apocalyptic. I know I sound as if I've put on a bad wig and am imitating Michael Voris, who has rightly been pointing out the sins of the liberals, while using the Orwelian tactics of a Ministry of Mis-information demagogue to do so.
I know I sound as if I'm a furious mad-trad, building a bunker with my bare hands to ward off the coming persecution, even though I have an obsessive-compuslive fear of getting my hands dirty. I know I sound as if I've performed the audio book version of too many end-of-times Michael O'Brien novels (which are quite good, by the way).


But here's why I'm not really crazy.


And here's why Fr. Schall is not really crazy. This is the last paragraph of his article:


Constitutional assurances of free speech, free exercise of religion, and limited government no longer carry much weight against entrenched “democratic” ideologies, something both John Paul II and Benedict XVI foresaw. Few of us like to think this way about America, no doubt. We recall the Polish bishops before 1939. But our “invasion” does not come from the outside. It comes from within our souls, as all disorders of polity do.


It comes from within our souls, as all disorders of polity do.


That's a great line, and it shows both the strength and the sanity of the Christian Faith.


The heart of this prophecy is the trouble in our hearts.


What the "professional prophets" such as Michael Voris fail to proclaim in their jeremiads is love - the love of the pierced heart of Our Savior which looks upon the Battle of the End Times not as a battle of "us vs. them" but as a battle for the salvation of souls, which is fought in each and every human heart and can only be won by the grace of God, by joining in His everlasting sacrifice, by suffering, by loving our enemies; and by realizing that the answer is not Activism (the heresy that nothing we do matters unless we effect some sort of broad social change - which underlies the motivations of the Lying Apologists and the errors of some in the pro-life movement); the answer is not paranoia and hunkering down (the neo-Puritanism of the mad-trads), closing our hearts to our neighbors and to the world; the answer is none of these things.


In the coming persecution, the answer is within you. It is the Kingdom of God, which is within you, among you, and the only "order of polity" that is not "disordered", for the Kingdom of God, the New Jerusalem, the Heavenly City of True Polity, is the fruit of our hearts united with His.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Sensitive Actor Responds to his Director


This is part three to this and this. And I swear I am not making this up ...


Here's part of what I deal with in my business. I placed an ad last week for an actor to play a part in an upcoming television series. I got an email from one guy and offered him a slot last Friday, audition by appointment, any time during the day or evening he could make it. "I've got to work," he tersely replied, and suggested no alternate dates.


Then I placed another ad this week. He applied again. I offered him 9:30 am this Friday (Sept. 23). He made the appointment, then emailed me late tonight (Thursday, Sept. 22) saying, "I've got to cancel. I've got to work."


When I told him I would not reschedule him, that two attempts were all I was going to make to audition him, he wrote back (and I swear I am not making this up, it's a copy and paste, punctuation and all) ...


"you should respect the artists personal life before your own selfish need. Dont reply back to me unless you are mature enough to understand my side."


I mean, you can't make this stuff up! This is why I LOVE this business!


DISCLAIMER: The photo above is not of the Sensitive Actor, but of yours truly portraying a Sensitive Actor.

Taking Them at Their Word


OK, against my better judgment, here goes.


The interminable Lying Debate has popped up again, thanks to a brilliant piece by Christopher Tollefsen and Alexander Pruss and Mark Shea's link to it, at which a very interesting discussion has erupted in his combox.


I wrote on this issue at length, beginning with my critique of James O'Keefe here, here and here, and specifically about the morality of lying, which I covered over the course of dozens of posts, best summarized here. It's also worthwhile to note Sean Dailey's editorial at Gilbert Magazine and the free-for-all in the comment box that ensued.


And while I don't want to dredge all that up again and make a whole bunch of Catholics mad at me, I do want to say one other thing that will make another whole bunch of Catholics mad at me.


And that is this: I think I know which way the Fr. Pavone dispute will play out.


And I don't think it will end well.


I say this not because I am criticizing or judging Fr. Pavone, who has worked tirelessly for the pro-life cause, but because if we take him at his word, then we see his actions of late are in line with what he says - and will probably continue to be.


There's lots to read on this subject all over the internet, but Phil Lawler's latest piece is a great summary of the issue, along with links to Ed Peter's excellent insights, Lawler's piece containing assessments of the financial issues involved, which have been hardly mentioned and which are the catalyst for Fr. Pavone's recall to Amarillo.


What is making me weigh in on this now (foolishly, no doubt) is Fr. Pavone sent out an email today criticizing Phil Lawler (quoting him without naming him) and painting with a broad brush the bloggers who are writing on this issue in a way very similar to the underhanded tactics used by Michael Voris. Voris, you'll recall, impulsively weighed in on the wrong side of the John Corapi scandal, and more than that, maligned all of Corapi's critics as being members of a shadowy liberal gay cabal. Vori's video is parodied here - though it's tough to parody a self-parody.


Now Fr. Pavone hasn't quite gone that far yet, but he's being unfair to Lawler and to the other pro-life Catholic bloggers writing on this issue, all of whom have expressed great admiration and regard for Fr. Pavone, who is, all the same, not beyond criticism.


Now what does this have to do with lying?


Simple. At the height of the Lying Debate this past spring, Fr. Pavone came out publicly in support of the tactics in question, of doing whatever it takes, of lying for a good cause, of consequentialism.


And many of us were willing to give him a free pass on that, pro-life zealot that he is.


But if a man says he thinks bad can be done so that good may come, that the ends justify the means, we really ought to take him at his word. For if the cause is great enough - and protecting the unborn is a great and noble cause, without question - then lying may be justified, disobeying your bishop may be justified, maligning fellow Catholics may be justified, even financial malfeasance may be justified. I hope I'm wrong, but if we look at what Fr. Pavone both says and lately what he does, the prognosis for how this situation will play out is not a good one.


And so let us continue to pray for everyone involved, especially the unborn, the true victims in all of this.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Persons of the Drama



PERSONA: 1. The name for the mask Greek actors would wear to portray their characters (possibly from Latin per+sona, "sound through", as their voices would "sound through" the speaking hole in the mask); 2. A character in a drama - plural "personae", as in "dramatis personae"; 3. The personality (persona-lity) we present to the world, our public "mask".


The story of our patron St. Genesius is the story of a dramatic conversion - literally. That is to say, it's the story of a conversion that happened during a drama on stage.


Genesius had the opportunity to perform a show before the emperor in Fourth Century Rome, a show mocking those pesky Christians. This would clearly be a great boost to his career! He would be playing a Christian-wanna-be in a scene mocking that ridiculous superstition Baptism. And so, like all good actors, he decided to research his role, which meant, in his case, pretending to be a catechumen - a pagan desiring baptism. So he hung around a group of Christians for a while and received instruction in the faith and then split - sort of like a young guy sleeping with a gal until she starts pressuring him to "commit". He had all the info he needed, after all.


And then it was opening night! A full house, and there was Diocletian in the V.I.P. seats! If the emperor liked it, Genesius had it made! A contract with Fourth Century Fox, money to buy a new house with a two-chariot garage, a Rolex sun-dial strapped to his wrist, all that stuff.


But, you see, there is something about Acting, and that something is the truth of the Incarnation.


One of the things God does is He sends ripples through the universe. One event, such as the Incarnation, is recapitulated both symbolically and actually throughout time. In this case, the artistic expression called Acting in its very essence reaffirms the truth of the Word become flesh. Acting is taking the Word and bringing it to bear: it is taking words on paper and fleshing them out on stage. It is taking a form and an idea and living it out in time, space and matter. All art does this, Acting more so than any.


All art is incarnational, and in that way it bears witness, even mutely, to the truth of the Incarnation.


This means that any good actor somehow becomes the character he portrays - but not in the way most people think. We don't really have identity crises based on the roles we're playing - "Am I Hamlet or am I John Smith? Who am I???" After all, our lives as actors are typically full of identity crises anyway, day in and day out (we're not the most mature or balanced of people) - so the roles we play don't really mess us up much more than we already are.


But it is true that certain actors are cast for certain parts because they "get it", they understand the part in their bones, the character is something they really are somewhere inside and so they can pull that part of them out and give it voice.


This is the mystery of Acting, the empathy behind it, the mystery of being, the mystery of pretending, the "virtue of IF". For the actor there is a safety in donning the mask, for the audience a distancing in sitting in the dark and watching life through a frame. In the midst, then, of this fiction, this hypothetical reality, we are free as actors and audience to become something new, even provisionally, even vicariously.


And thus we can see the two sides of the question raised by my post You Hate Me! You Really Hate Me!.


Regarding that post, my friend Kelly Kerr says, in so many words, why would non-Christian actors freak out when playing Christian parts? Isn't it the actors job to take on any part he is assigned?


While my friend Mark Holgate says, in so many words, what makes you think you can cast non-Christian actors in dramas or comedies that are spreading the message of Christ? Mark continues, "It's funny, isn't it? The same people [actors] think nothing of clumsy nihilistic preaching and ranting (it's 'realistic' and 'authentic') but mention Jesus in a show and they run for the hills. Power in the Name, methinks."


Kelly is looking at the artifice of acting, the mask; while Mark is looking at the truth the mask reveals, the word spoken through the persona of the mask.


When we began Theater of the Word Incorporated , I was willing to trust God, but only to a point. I had written shows for a four-person touring troupe, and I knew that it would be impossible to find three other actors who were


1. Talented


2. Reliable


3. Christian


4. Available to tour.


It's hard enough in St. Louis to find actors who are talented, or who are reliable, or who are available - and I did not know of any who were Christian, except one or two who were not available to tour.


And so I figured I would be the point man, the Christian actor in the troupe, and the others would simply play their roles and don their masks the way good actors should.


And, as it turned out, we had a few conversions along the way - one actor went from atheist to "I think I'm Christian now"; two others went from "I'm Christian, but I'll never be Catholic!" to full communion with the Catholic Church.


But, as a rule, the non-Christian actors could NOT simply "play their roles". Perhaps they could at first. Perhaps touring would be fine for a while, the acting good, the attitude acceptable ... but sooner or later I'd notice the actors would either


1. find themselves drawn to a more intimate relation with Christ


or


2. find themselves angry and uncomfortable with being in plays that (even in subtle ways) glorified Christ


The upshot of reaction number two has been actors getting difficult, quitting in a huff, or me no longer casting them, and then, apparently, spreading the word in town that I'm a horrible man to work for and a horrible man period. But that's the whole sign of contradiction thing. And it's all about Him, not me.


For, in the same way the Incarnation ripples throughout time in places you'd least expect it, so does the Crucifixion. If Christ were indeed simply a benign prophet, as the atheists and new pagans try to make Him, then there would be plenty of neutral ground in people's reaction to Him, as there is in our assessment of Buddha or Mohammed. The Cross still lives in that we either worship Him as God or crucify Him as an annoying thorn in our side, a disturbing voice in our ear that we dare not listen to.


He still lives, you see. And He is still being denied and crucified by all of us in one way or another.


In my own way it was my unwillingness to trust that God would provide His theater company with actors who were willing to follow St. Genesius the way St. Genesius followed Christ.


For, in the very moment the water was poured on his head, the moment the sarcastic cynical comic scene mocking these fools for Christ was played out before the emperor and the audience, something clicked in Genesius' brain, in his being. The instruction in the faith, the catechumenate that he thought was only an exercise in Researching a Role 101 must have touched him in a deep and hidden place, and the mask brought forth the true man, the persona on stage made the person beneath sound through, and our patron experienced a miracle. The pretend baptism - a baptism of mockery and vulgarity, a sick and cruel joke made by a sick and cruel culture (cf. any situation comedy currently on TV) - became a sudden "baptism of desire" and Genesius "went up", leaving the script behind and improvising a witness to the Living God who died and rose again - a witness to life - that would end in the end of the life of this particular actor, the beheading of Genesius - for we are "baptized into His death" (Romans 6:3) so that, like Him, we should walk "in newness of life".


G. K. Chesterton pointed out long ago a truth that was old even then, "As soon as you stop being against the Catholic Church, you find yourself oddly in favor of it. There is no in-between. There is no neutral ground."


And once I decided to trust God just a wee bit more, took the risk of dumping the actors who were resisting us and our mission, He suddenly sent me the impossible - an amazing cast of talented, reliable, available Christian actors.


The actor who told me I was intolerant last week was just an example of me putting my hand to the plow and turning back for a bit, of thinking it's impossible to find a good Christian actor to play a role in a show that's only mildly evangelistic, of making the old mistake over again.


But I should know better. After all, the old life is dying and the New Life is sounding through.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Tolerance and Hate

This is a post by Msgr. Pope for the Archdiocese of Washington DC in which he uses my alter-ego Stanford Nutting (played by me on EWTN and in many of our YouTube skits) to illustrate the hypocrisy of faux-tolerance.


Interesting that this has come up just after I've been lectured about being "intolerant" by a young actor who doesn't even know me.

Friday, September 16, 2011

You Hate Me! You Really Hate Me!


I have just been hit with one of the nastiest insults I've ever received. It was from a young actor that I'd just offered a fine part. He told me, in so many words, that the word on the street in the St. Louis acting community is I'm an intolerant bigot who fosters a horrendous working environment, and that I'd have to assure him I'd change my ways if he were going to accept the part and work with me. The kid is probably 24. I'm 50. I've been earning a living as an actor, producer and director since before he was born. And I'm offering him paying work, but he's lecturing me about who I am and what I do and how wrong it all is.


This scuttlebutt about the real me he heard from some of the pagan and atheist actors I foolishly cast in Theater of the Word shows over the years. Now I have worked with lots of pagans and atheists and gays and Lesbians and freaks and drug addicts and you name it - the motley neurotics and narcissists who populate this business - from the beginning - not an easy thing to do for an intolerant bigot. But when it comes to Theater of the Word Incorporated, it seems that if I put non-Christians in shows that seek to honor Jesus, their skin starts to crawl and I'm the one to blame for it.


As to the working environment, well, we don't put up with drug use, diva fits or promiscuity. We simply provide good direction, pay, and the promise that if everyone works hard we'll encourage them and guide them and if they don't, we'll get rid of them for the sake of the show and the other actors.


But here's the kicker - the actors who weren't Christian and who used to take work from me thinking evangelizing through drama was just an acting gig like any other acting gig were either drawn closer to the Church (we've had quite a few converts along the way) or (more likely) reacted violently against the Church sooner or later while on tour. I even suspect some of the actresses who took work in our pro-life show had probably had abortions that they'd never repented of or grieved over and naively assumed they could appear in a show that reveals the horror of abortion and not have it effect them.


But sooner or later it did, and sooner or later the Holy Spirit stirred things up and the next thing you know they're telling other actors how bigoted and intolerant I am.


Lord, what fools we actors be!


Update: I elaborate on this a bit more in this post: Persons of the Drama.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Art since the Garden of Eden


If you want to return to the Garden of Eden, head to Kansas. It's right there in the town of Lucas on the High Plains.


It's a quirky place, built by S. P. Dinsmoor, a Civil War veteran, who can only be described as a crank. The yard of his hand-built house, front and back, is filled with his own bizarre sculpture, expressing his own peculiar philosophy.




The climax of the tour is viewing the Body of the Artist as a Dead Man. You may peer into his crypt, in which S. P. Dinsmoor is laid out exposed to gawkers. For this privilege you must pay one U.S. dollar, per the terms of Dinsmoor's will.



The fun part about seeing the Garden of Eden in Lucas, Kansas is that it's such an off-the-beaten path adventure. The sad part is the locals pretend this kind of thing is "folk art".


Well, it may be "folk", but it ain't art.




Chesterton's famous quip, "if a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly" only applies to amateurs - and you might say, always applies to amateurs.


There is a thing out there called "community theater". Now if you read Chesterton and only Chesterton, you might get the impression that community theater, being a thing worth doing and a thing done by amateurs, would be a thing done badly. And you'd be right.


But in Chesterton's praise of the homespun generalist, in his praise of motherhood and education (from which his "thing worth doing" quip is taken), he overlooks sacrifice, the painful side of love, the love to which the word "amateur" refers (from the Latin amator, lover). An amateur, I would say in a more cynical quip, is someone who does something out of love, but a love for which he has yet to sacrifice. A professional has "paid the price".


For example, the reason we don't go to amateur brain surgeons is because if a man really loves brain surgery, he becomes a professional, he "professes" it - he spends a dozen years in school and countless sleepless nights studying it and perfecting it. If, by contrast, it's his "hobby" - well, a hobby is like a mistress, you might "love" her, but you ain't gonna marry her.


And an amateur actor loves acting the way a married man loves his mistress - indeed finding a mistress is one of the motivations of married men who do a lot of community theater.


By contrast, for those of us who are wed to a vocation of drama - well, here's what happens.


A winery in Southern Missouri expresses interest in our murder mystery dinner theater productions. I go down and meet with the owner, a woman who informs me that the community theater troupe out of Cape Girardeau is "a lot cheaper" than we are and she's thinking of using them instead.


Now, there's almost no answer to this. To point out that the reason we have been performing monthly shows at some wineries for twelve years straight with a loyal following, some of whom have seen over forty of our productions, is to point out the obvious. She'll get at most two performances out of the amateur troupe before word gets out that the mysteries aren't worth the $35 per ticket she'll be charging for dinner and show.


But in acting more than in any other profession, people on the outside say, "I can do that! How hard can that be?" And they pick up the scalpel and perform the do-it-yourself lobotomy and the patient never wakes up.


My point is, yes we should do things out of love, even the things we can only do badly and can only dabble at for fun. But let's not pretend "folk art" is "art" or the girl behind the counter at Wendy's who flirts with us is the woman we'd die for. The woman we'd die for is the woman we married.


And a vocation is not a hobby.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Few Observations


‎1. Ever notice how it's the little slights that hurt more than the big ones?


2. The Culture of Death is a magnet, a black hole, sucking everything and everybody into it.


3. That love is transcendent of time, space and matter is a fact that stares us in the face every day

A Revealing Headline



This headline is from stltoday.com, the website of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.


The Post-Dispatch is a notoriously liberal paper. Had the adult victim (the pregnant woman) killed the baby in an abortion clinic, no mention would have been made of the child's death.


Since a gunman killed both mother and child, the newspaper mentions it.


Murder is only murder if certain people murder, it seems.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Terrorism and Abortion


On Facebook today, I posted a comment made by Facebook friend Brian Douglass:


On 9/11/01 3,000 people killed by people who abused the skills they have been taught was called terrorism and mass murder. On every day in this country the over 3,000 people who are killed legally by people who abuse the skills they have been taught are called "a woman's right to choose".


Soon after I posted this, my favorite atheist Steve posted this:


Hey guys! Abortion doctors are just as bad-if not worse-than the 9/11 hijackers! I know this because Kevin O'Brien says so. Boy, have us secular progressives been morally confused for the past 10 years, going after those "terrorists" when the real terrorists are living comfortable lives at home. Killing a fetus because you aren't ready to be a parent and killing thousands of living, breathing human beings in cold blood because you want to restore an Islamic Caliphate are actually the same thing!


Now, Steve is a good guy and a very intelligent young man, one of my son's good friends, and a lot of fun to debate with - so much fun that at the last meeting of the ChesterBelloc Drinking and Debating Club I swore at him at the top of my lungs. But, seriously, Steve is no slouch, so I commented on what he had said thus:


***


Steve, my favorite atheist, if a fetus is an innocent human being, which it is, then yes killing an innocent in the womb is as bad as killing an innocent in a skyscraper. You follow the logic I'm sure.


You may not agree with the logic, but you follow it. However, you confuse the issue in your post above by bringing motive into the picture.


If the fetus is a person, then it matters not if you kill him because you don't want to be bothered with having a kid or because you want to establish an Islamic caliphate.


But if the fetus is not a person, then motive is also irrelevant. If the fetus is a clump of cells, then why bring up motive at all? It's convenient for me to take a crap and flush the clump of cells down the toilet. I could therefore understand you saying, "Kevin O'Brien compares the slaughter of innocent human beings in a terrorist act to taking a crap and flushing a toilet!" But what I don't understand is why you bring up motives.


If the fetus is a person, motives don't matter. If the fetus is not a person, motives don't matter. Unless your thinking is clouded by a conscience that's not so sure.


***


I have suggested that the discussion on Facebook move here to my blog where it can be followed by more than a select group of friends. We'll see what happens!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A New Credo


I believe in one head of hair, that of Michael Voris, hair from hair, more hair from more hair, and in his infallibility. I believe "professional Catholics" who make a ton of money on their faith, like Mark Shea, Kevin O'Brien and Timothy Jones, should be criticized in a vague nameless way. I believe in one holy Corapi, forced out of his ministry even though we all remember he quit. I believe we can make a good case for lying, torture, and the subjugation of the poor. I look for the election to come, Real Catholic TV without end, amen.




Pictured above: the Michael Voris look is all the rage!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Quitting Show Business

There are some days when I just want out.


For example.


On Friday I placed an ad at the St. Louis Auditions website seeking an actress to play the part of Juliet in Joseph Pearce's third season of The Quest for Shakespeare on EWTN. In Shakespeare's script Romeo and Juliet, Juliet is said to be 13 going on 14 (much younger than she is typically played). Joseph makes much of this in his brilliant analysis of the play, focusing on Juliet's vulnerability and the lack of support she receives from everyone around her. Consequently, I am advertising for an actress who can play that age. This, I have learned, is a dangerous thing to do.


As of today, I've had dozens of emails from stage moms all over the country - some of whom are so obviously "pimping" their daughters it's disturbing. It reminds me of the moms and dads who were letting their little boys sleep in the same bed with Michael Jackson, knowing darn well what was going on, all out of their hunger for fame.




Lola Falana, whom I interviewed for my television show here, (and who is pictured above with the aforementioned Michael Jackson) and who has had one of the most spectacular careers in show business, has talked privately to me quite passionately about the damage done to young people in this industry, the abuse she herself suffered as an underage dancer in Philadelphia, and her concern for the teen contestants who are fodder for shows such as American Idol. "They will chew you up and spit you out," she said. "There are predators in this business and they will take every bit of innocence and joy away from you."




And speaking of American Idol, the show's producer Nigel Lithgow was for some reason one of the faux-sincere hosts of this year's MDA Telethon. Not only does MDA pay their public relations director $400,000 a year, not only do they refuse to disavow embryonic stem cell research, not only did they force Jerry Lewis out after fifty years of giving his life to this cause, but they lied about what they did, asserted that he "retired" and mounted a bland quasi-tribute to him to open the show. This is the worst of show business, and it only reminds one of Sammy Maudlin:




Then again, you can't hate the art behind the business, the insight behind the cheats and scoundrels, the truth behind the empty pretense - it's what gives us parodies like the one above, and it's why we do this in the first place.


So I guess I'm not quitting show business after all. But if I do, I have my lines memorized for my next role ... "Would you like fries with that?"