Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Popes & Planes & Plutocrats

The Beanie Boys have been sequestered! The Vatican has ordered the Cardinals in Rome for the Pick-a-Pope-alooza to stifle themselves. And that goes for you too, Timmy Dolan, who has brought the art of avuncular clerical schmoozing with the media to whole new heights, even inviting journalists to their own special Mass over the weekend. Dolan, always surrounded by a gaggle of reporters, has finally been gagged. Hallelujah.

And while the Cardinals are jamming in the Sistine Chapel, the Holy See has made sure that outsiders will not see or hear anything. They have installed a special jamming device in the inner sanctum. But not to worry. The whole shebang is apparently so boring that officials have not only issued a press gag order, they have also effectively muzzled the chatterboxes even within their own august company: 
Today cardinals participating in closed-door deliberations ahead of the conclave adopted a five minute rule to limit the length of speeches. So far, 51 cardinals from five continents have addressed the group.
At least one participant reportedly expressed his frustration with some of the speeches.
"No matter how brilliant you may think your speech is, do we really need it?" (a soon-to-be-muzzled) Nigerian Cardinal John Oneiyekan told the National Catholic Reporter.

Meanwhile, since that other Sequester is predicted to engender miserable long lines at TSA-depleted airports, the TSA has finally decided to just admit defeat. You are now invited to bring your small knives onto planes, as well as those other travel essentials -- hockey sticks and toy baseball bats, pool cues and golf clubs. Flight attendants are said to be ticked off because space on planes is so limited to begin with. Just imagine how hard it will be to practice your drives and line up your billiards shots in those crappy cramped aisles in business class.

So thank god that shaving in airplane bathrooms will still be impossible, due to the continuing ban on razors. Ditto for box cutters. In the best tradition of Newspeak, TSA has provided a perfectly cogent, clear and sensible explanation of its thinking processes for you:
TSA continues to evolve and strengthen its multi-layered approach to aviation security – through better technology, expanded data analysis capabilities and an enhanced understanding of current intelligence. The decision to permit certain items in carry-on luggage was made as part of TSA’s overall risk-based security approach and aligns TSA with International Civil Aviation Organization Standards and our European counterparts.
If it's more luxuriously spacey travel that you crave, reservations will soon be accepted for the maiden voyage of the Titanic II, brainchild of Australian billionaire Clive Palmer. Rest assured that class divisions will prevail as the Chinese-manufactured exact replica of the ill-fated luxury liner sets sail. According to The Guardian,

Palmer's current plans seem aimed at creating an Edwardian theme park on the waves where passengers will have the option of wearing period dress. In an odd move, Palmer aims to replicate the class structure of the Titanic – right down to the steerage class inhabited by poor immigrants on their way to a new life in America.
But then you realise that Palmer – who is the son of Australian silent movie star George Palmer – appears to be in love with James Cameron's movie Titanic as much as the historical ship. Instead of talking about the Titanic disaster, with its class-ridden horrors as the rich saved themselves and the poor drowned, Palmer speaks of Titanic II as a symbol of love and togetherness as if Cameron's doomed movie lovers Rose and Jack were real people.
"Titanic II is an opportunity for people all over the glove to come together with an idea. That idea of course is one of love and understanding. It emphasises the things that we have got in common, rather than our differences. A family, you know, someone to fall in love with in our lives as we travel together through time," he said.
Just like in the movie, first class passengers will be encouraged to go slumming in third class, but only if they first purchase a special golden ticket. They can even mingle in Second Class amongst the dwindling middle. But the steerage peasants, in fantasy as in reality, will not be allowed to bother the plutocrats. And now as then, they will remain huddled, since Titanic II will provide only narrow, hard single occupany bunks.

Update: via Jim Romanesko, via Barry Blitt, comes this New Yorker cover of Joe Ratzinger lolling in the entitled hammock of ecclesiastical retirement: 

Look closely at the placement of Joey's right hand, advises an astute tipster. He seems to be holding on to something other than his copy of L'Osservatore Romano, no? Asked for comment, Blitt remarked: "Oy vey!"


Kat said...

Oh this reminds me-- did you catch Janet Napolitano on the news? She was describing the dire consequences of the sequester while standing before a backdrop emblazoned with the words "Bank of America". Kind of tells you all you need to know.

4Runner said...

Karen, thanx for your witty wisdom re the latest papal bull. It is especially appreciated by us (we?) who were coerced into a Catholic childhood by well-meaning but misguided parents. Surely a form of subliminal child abuse? I mean, what do you call it when our youthful selves were forced to submit to daily dumps of holy horseshit emanating on high from that all-around Vatican anus. Vaticanus diarrhesus...

Denis Neville said...

Media frenzy over the election of new Pope (old men in frocks, voting for an old man in a frock)

Hans Kung, one of the world's most prominent Catholic theologians, has written about evangelical simplicity and pontifical pomposity. Kung says the Catholic hierarchy is corrupt and apathetic to the true concerns of its church's members. He urges a revolution against the absolutism of papal power from below to unseat the pope and force radical reform at the Vatican.

The Catholic Church of today has little or nothing to do with the teachings of Christ. It's all about blind obedience, power and control.

“The rulers of the earth have realized long ago what potent poison inheres in the Christian religion. That is the reason they foster it; that is why they leave nothing undone to instill it into the blood of the people. They know only too well that the subtleness of the Christian teachings is a more powerful protection against rebellion and discontent than the club or the gun.” - Emma Goldman, The Failure of Christianity

Louis CK and the Catholic Church:

Not every priest is guilty, but it is hard not to believe that every bishop and cardinal is guilty. Their silence has been a big, big issue. They didn’t get to be bishop or cardinal without having covered up abuse at some point in their career.

Will said...

Thanks for the laughs this morning, Denis. Louis CK is the best.

Here's a lovely quote I'm quite fond of from another gentleman named Denis. I'm fairly certain I first encountered it in the text of a Hallmark card:

"Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest." -Denis Diderot

James F Traynor said...

Let me tell you a little story. When I was a child in a stroller (and rely, therefore, on my mother as to the accuracy of this tale) a priest approached us. Time,1931. Place, Manhattan, westside.
"Good morning, Catherine."
"Good morning, Father."
Followed by the usual small talk. Then.
"I understand Michael is involved with the union."
More a statement, not a question, met with a pleasant, pokerfaced silence on the part of my mother. She looked at me directly as she related this. The look told me of her silence.
"Now, why would they want more money, Catherine? And what would you do with it, if you had it?"
An answer was not expected, nor did she give one. She knew it to be a warning, if not a threat. Not even her closest friends or family knew of my father's activities in the then nascent union. She told me this when I was attending a Catholic high school. A caution about what I heard in class.

My mother was a devout Catholic until she died. And I also remember the Maryknoll nuns and the 6 Jesuits in El Salvador and the role of this country in their deaths. I left religion and my former beliefs a long time ago but I still honor these people. But the Church? Well, that's an entirely different thing.