Tofu Tidbits* 11/29/11

  1. OWS explained.
  2. “A Mongolian Idiot …”
  3. New Catholic Mass update.
  4. So many hopeful signs….
  5. Bye-bye, Barney.

* Temporarily renamed in honor of the Nativity Fast, about which Mystagogy has some more information.


Occupy Lafayette has clarified its “objectives. It supports a basic sentiment about a basic meaning of generally agreeing to address three things.

Oh, gee, I’m glad they cleared that up.

Think I’m exaggerating? That’s why I hyperlinked.


Back in the Evangelical world, a video has been made, and played in at least one Detroit megachurch, about the former Chairman of ServiceMaster, Kenneth Hansen. It was narrated by his daughter and son-in-law, who were two years behind me (and good friends of my younger brother) in boarding school.

Hansen wanted to be a missionary, but his firstborn child, a son, had Downs Syndrome. The mission field became less feasible, and he ended up a very, very successful business leader.

He had a way out of the “burden” of his son, who the doctor called a “Mongolian idiot,” proposing to commit him to an institution and to join in a lie to Mrs. Hansen that the baby had died. Last I knew, the “Mongolian idiot” was happy and clean, in his late 30s, which was uncommonly old back in those days. I did not know the family well enough to say that he was a special bright spot in the family, but he was no blight spot, either.

I hope you joined me in a shudder at the callousness of this early-1940s American doctor. But she was a product of her eugenic times.

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: if the fiend Hitler hadn’t given “scientific” eugenics a notorious genocidal twist, we’d be (or would have gone through and emerged) a thoroughly eugenicized, sanitized, even more consumerized culture today.

“It” can happen here. “American Exceptionalism”? Feh!


Stories continue on the reception of the new Mass in the Roman Church.

GetReligion has a collection of comments on the journalistic aspects under the heading “Do They Think Catholics Are Stupid?” Dunno the answer to that one, but they must think their readers are stupid when they write stuff like this:

New words for various liturgical services include “consubstantial,” “ineffable,” “incarnate” and “ignominy.” Archaic words like “shall,” wrought” and “thwart” are also employed in the new translation.

(Clevelad Plain Dealer) GetReligion’s Mollie decided to see about the occurrence of  shallwrought, and thwart on Google News. Suffice that they’re not uncommon.

Meanwhile, a dissident in the Milwaukee area, a proud 5-decades Catholic, deplores the change:

Maribeth Lynch, 51, a publisher from the Milwaukee suburb of Elm Grove, said she was “distraught” over the changes and would refuse to “learn the damn prayers.”

“It’s ridiculous. I’ve been a Catholic for 50 years, and why would they make such stupid changes? They’re word changes. They’re semantics,” she said. The priest “spent 40 minutes today on the changes instead of on the important stuff, like changing water into wine.”

Ah, yes! Changing water into wine! That’s what the priest does to celebrate the sublime magic tricks of the dead Jewish Rabbi with a girlfriend, whose mother, by some accounts, immaculately conceived him.

The Roman Church might want to dust off the Catechism of the Catholic Church and follow up the new mass translation with a little catechesis.

One of the objections to the new translation, by the way, apparently is that the new translation tries to “undo Vatican II.”

#Fail. I was unaware that Vatican II produced a new Mass, the prototype of which is in Latin, and that the new mass translation is an effort to be more faithful to that prototype. It’s not patterned on the older Tridentine Latin Mass.

So who‘s trying to screw up Vatican II?


There are so many hopeful signs, by which I mean that good and resourceful people seem to be catching on to how bad things have gotten, and intend to do something about the new economic realities that face us. “Do something” means “adapt,” not “prevent,” as the changes are inevitable. “Conservatism has always had to make the best of a bad situation—the human situation in general.”

I can’t help but think of James Howard Kunstler as a conservative unaware. I love his opener today:

It’s really something to live in a country that doesn’t know what it is doing in a world that doesn’t know where it is going in a time when anything can happen. I hope you can get comfortable with uncertainty.

Neither Kunstler nor I is apocalyptic. I’m very bearish on the economy, but think we’ll adapt, less or (probaby) more grudgingly.

And someone in authority (albeit only the Governor of Vermont) invited and got a sort of “small is beautiful” message to Vermont politicians by academic Bill McKibben.  (HT Rod Dreher)

So I regret to break from the good news to report that Newt Gingrich swept a recent CatholicVoter straw poll, with fully 44%.

Now, I don’t put my trust in princes (and neither should you), but I’d like a President who, however smart, does not suffer from ADD/HD and logorrhea.

Newt? I’d like him to be one phone call away from the President to help break the policy equivalent of writer’s block with some off-the-wall ideas.


The Atlantic’s Megan McArdle reports on why we should all lament the departure of Barney Frank.  Really. Hint: “Don’t compare me to the Almighty. Compare me to the alternative.”

His flaws are well-known, so lets celebrate his virtues for a moment.  For the record, I found the zhlubby, flamboyant Barney a real hoot and asset to PBS back in the day. Congressional wits rarely come any quicker, and he could fling zingers that sometimes put things in right perspective.

Don’t be a stranger, Barney.

* * * * *

Bon appetit!

Having become tedious even to myself, I’m Tweeting more, blogging less. View this in a browser instead of an RSS feeder to see Tweets at upper right.

I also have some succinct standing advice on recurring themes. Maybe if I link to it, I’ll blog less obsessively about it.