Saturday, April 30, 2011

Mildly Irritated

Perhaps I’m getting too big for my intellectual britches here, but everywhere I look I see all sorts of poor habits abounding in the realm of scholarly discourse.  I mean, I know I’m not really an “anybody” as far as the study of history goes, but I’ve focused on how historians can go wrong, virtually from the beginning of the program.  We’ve looked at the pitfalls, we’ve examined the bad habits, and we’ve definitely spent lots of time discovering just how awful amateur history can really be.

So, the historian is easy prey for a whole litany of dangerous errors.  How much more so is the casual scholar (God forbid, one with an “education”) who doesn’t have a flaming clue as to how dumb they make themselves sound by utterly failing to properly contextualize their arguments.  For example, saying “The Church Killed People in the Inquisition for Religious Reasons” and “Hitler Killed People in the Holocaust for Religious Reasons” are both sloppy statements.  Both are a tiny bit true.  Both are easily misused.  And BOTH could be used properly and without error if you just took the time to drag a little bit of context out of the historical closet and use it alongside the original statement.

But alas.  This takes time.  This requires effort.  And (worst of all!) this might actually unearth information that makes your point invalid.  Dreadful.

Anyway, the latest mild irritant is all the fuss about the Royal Wedding, and (more to the point) all the fuss about the fuss about the Royal Wedding.  Myriad Catholics on the web, all a-twit at our disgusting preoccupation with (a) the Monarch of another realm, and (b) anything that doesn’t have to do with the economy, planned parenthood, vaccinations, or Ron Paul. 

“Hey, didn’t we fight a war to get rid of a King?”  “Stupid Americans.  So easily distracted by shiny things.”  Well, yes, doofus.  If it’s that simple to you, sure.  We did fight a war for that one single solitary reason.  [Cue above discourse on the need for context, and the dangers of anachronism.]  But did we fight a war to get rid of pageantry, of decorum, of tradition, of nods to heritage?  Um, no.  If we did, then it’s time to wage a fantastic war against the Papal Tiara, vestments, incense, polyphony, lingua latina, and all sorts of other traditions, ceremony, and pageantry.

For goodness’ sake, people.  Lighten up.  Let America enjoy her TV time, enjoy the inspirational spectacle of “two young people standing up at the altar” (thanks, Cait) for what it’s worth.  Stop naysaying the poor things on their wedding day!  That’s tacky!  And stop naysaying the simple Americans whose hearts are drawn to the glamorous and dignified. 

Silly Catholics.  Cranky as always.


  1. THANK YOU!!! I echo Dennis Prager (Jewish!) who said that we should be celebrating the coverage of a Christian wedding! Class, beauty, tradition, marriage. Why can't we be drawn to something true, good and beautiful when there is normally so much ugliness on the news?

  2. Thanks, Jenn. You voiced what I was thinking but was too irritated to state coherently. :P

  3. I agree with Fidelio and would like to add that without that royal pageantry, pomp and circumstance the world would be a very BORING place. Besides, our celebrities often put just as much effort into their own weddings which often don't last more than a few months or a couple of years. Somehow I think Kate and William will be married a lot longer than that.

  4. Right with you, Jen! Adrienne, I know how you feel. I was irritated enough to make a couple comments in some of the facebook arguments that were occuring, but ultimately didn't think it was worth wasting the time to get involved. Naysayers aren't going to change. While the media was overboard in their presentation of the whole thing, I still think it was good to have something happy and pleasant to focus on for a minute, not to mention all the good Jen pointed out about tradition, etc.