Charlie's Blog: Physical Graffiti


Physical Graffiti

I'm at my best when I am exhausted and under pressure.

Lately, I have been contemplating the benefits of sheer and utter exhaustion. It has been one week since my vacation, and I have to admit that I didn't get much done except rest and reflection. This is why the Jimmy Page quotation above keeps coming back to me. It lingers in my mind because it is the first time I have seen someone praising exhaustion. But there it is. Obviously, those words refer to that point in a concert or the end of a tour when he was tired. At that moment, his guitar playing became magical. I don't know what that is like because I don't play guitar. I write. But Page may be on to something.

I tend to write in the morning. The idea of writing after a day of work seems absurd to me. I have always tried to write from a point of freshness and clarity of mind. But I merely assume that this is when the best writing occurs. I can't remember ever trying it the other way. Naturally, I will have to give it a go. But it really would be a gamechanger for me if Page was right. I see exhaustion as hindrance, but it may be an asset.

I don't intend to stop sleeping or taking breaks. But I do think I can do more work. I suspect Page stumbled upon a benefit of corporal mortification. You don't want to be too easy on your body. You need to hurt and suffer on a regular basis. I swear by it.

In other stuff, I have given some thought to the trainwreck that is Donald Trump's hair. The conventional wisdom is that Trump is covering up baldness with a comb over technique, but my internet research indicates to me that the man is not bald underneath that bird nest of hair. One doctor speculated that he thinks Trump had a "flap" procedure where the scalp is cut and stretched to cover a bald spot. It sounds hideous to me, and I feel sorry for the man if he subjected himself to this butchery. My personal belief is that Bruce Willis had the perfect answer to male pattern baldness:

There is a dignity in a man who accepts that his hair is falling out. So, instead of fighting it, he embraces it. St. Paul writes in 1 Corintians 11:14, "Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him?" I won't place greater theological meaning on this verse except to say that St. Paul is pointing out the unmanliness of men who spend a great deal of time on their hair. Nature even takes the lead in this by making men bald.

The bald head is more manly. Do you doubt this? Here are some exhibits of what I am talking about. Here is KC from KC and the Sunshine Band with a full head of hair:

On this album cover, KC looks girly. This guy is a lover not a fighter. But then KC was blessed with male pattern baldness and found his manliness again as evidenced in this picture:

KC does not look like a girl here. He looks like a dude you don't want to mess with. In short, he looks like a man. When I think of men with a full head of hair, it reminds me of Travolta in Saturday Night Fever telling his family to watch out for his hair. He spends a lot of time on his hair. Pathetic.

Do real men shave their heads? Yes. Shaving your head is the extermination of vanity and the reclamation of manliness. People may argue this point with me, but this is how I win the argument:

The man bun is the abomination of our times. This is a disgrace to men everywhere. Now, I know in certain times and places men did not have access to scissors and razors. I get that. Jesus had some long hair in his times. Put me in the Antarctic for six months where water freezes before you can rinze your razor, and I will let my hair and beard grow like weeds. But it would all disappear the moment I got back to the States. To me, hair is something to be removed like dust from furniture.

Beards are another matter. Beards are manly. The reason men removed their beards was a military thing dating back to Alexander the Great who thought beards were a disadvantage in close combat. I've never thought to grab a man's beard in a fight, but I will keep it in mind if I ever duke it out with a member of ISIS. I think the primary reason the military likes the shaved face and head is because it eliminates the head lice problem that was almost certainly an issue with men living in close quarters. Personally, I never worry about lice or picking up ticks in the woods.

Trump's hair is a disaster, and I think he would be better to have shaved it. Unfortunately, such a step would be drastic at this stage. Sudden changes like that make people think you lack self-confidence. Trump is committed to looking ridiculous, and he pulls it off.

Recently, I read an article from John Allen over at Crux, and this bit jumped out at me:
On that landscape, here’s another category I’ve long felt would be useful: Documents that cause a huge fuss in the media, but change little on the ground.
As a classic for-instance, take Pope Benedict XVI’s 2007 decree liberalizing permission for celebration of the older Latin Mass. It sparked widespread debate, with many liberals seeing it as an attempt to roll back the clock on the reforms of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), and traditionalists predicting it would transform Catholic worship in the direction of sobriety and reverence.
Almost a decade later, however, its practical effect has been fairly limited. Most Catholics who wanted access to the older Mass already had it, and neither the apocalypse nor the renaissance suggested by overheated commentary ever occurred.
The article was not about the Latin Mass, so this passage was relatively disposable. Yet, it makes a damning indictment that Traddies would probably prefer not to hear. When Pope Benedict XVI issued Summorum Pontificum, it opened up everything Traddies needed to restore the Latin Mass. Ever since Vatican II, we've heard how the old mass would restore the Catholic Church to its former glory days. The TLM would match and surpass the Novus Ordo as the preferred Mass. It would be the first step in a long restoration of Catholicity in the Church and the wider world. These expectations have yet to be met. In fact, the Latin Mass in a parish or diocese is likely to be the one least attended. Monsignor Charles Pope wrote an incisive article this year about this problem. Basically, the TLM had great attendance at the beginning when it was reintroduced and then faded out. Like it or not, the Traddies have lost the argument on this.

Truth is not defined by what is popular, so I don't want to make arguments about the validity of the TLM from numbers. I appreciate the Latin Mass. I like that it is celebrated. But the effect of Summorum Pontificum has been to render mute all those arguments the Trads make. The simple fact is that most Catholics prefer the Novus Ordo. This includes the faithful Catholics who attend Mass weekly and even daily. Traddies may deride the Novus Ordo for being "Protestant," yet they never bother asking what Protestants get right about worship. They had this wacky idea that people wanted to understand what was being said when they worshipped. They wanted to be included.

The Trad answer is not that they needed the freedom to do it the right way. They need the prohibition on others to keep them from doing it the wrong way. This attitude has what has sidelined these people into irrelevance. The most potent example of this irrelevance is the SSPX. Perhaps if these people would return to the fold and attend the Latin Masses offered, it would be a different story. As it stands, these people aren't budging. They like being on the outside. Being against something is what has defined them. It's like Republican pundits who secretly wish Hillary was president because it makes their jobs easier when they have an enemy to bash. I read an article where someone made the argument many pro-life groups would rather keep abortion legal because outlawing it would mean they would have to get new jobs. This is the same argument I hear people make about drug companies that seek to relieve symptoms of disease as opposed to finding cures. The simple fact is that the enemies of change are often the people who clamor for it the most.

I'm out of time now. I have to go shave my head for church.