Tag Archives: culture

Entertainment Weekly and the crass cliché of a slutty nun

EW nun.jpg

I am not a subscriber to
Entertainment Weekly but this week when I saw the magazine I had another reason
for not reading this rag.  The well-known actress Jessica Lange is on the
cover wearing a religious sister’s habit, a crucifix around her neck, brandishing
a cane and wearing fire-engine red lipstick and painted nails advocating “American Horror Story.” Hmmm, the
artists got the look of many women religious, right?  It doesn’t take a
brain surgeon to see the ugliness of this image viz. with conversation the
Church is having with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR). 

While I am not a fan of what the LCWR stands for, or perhaps more accurately, what some members
of the LCWR stand for, there is no need perpetuate the crass cliché through
mocking portrayals of ruler-wielding nuns  who are seen as backwards and stupid. The vast
majority of religious sisters and nuns are not this way. One ought to ask, “What about the beautiful work of teaching children
Catechism, their work with the poor and the marginalized, all those women of prayer and
learning in hospitals, and schools?

I think EW has stooped way too low in publishing a cover with anti-Catholic stereotyping. One can’t claim
that some members of the media are not anti-Catholic when a prominent magazine puts silly things on the cover. Really, a terrifying nun to advance a fictional

What does one say when EW describes Sister Jude (Miss Lange’s
character) as a “scarily stern woman of faith…and a fan of corporal
punishment…who has a penchant for red lingerie and vivid fantasies about her
superior, Monsignor Timothy O’Hara.” Further, EW quotes Joseph Fiennes who
says, “Clearly she’s attracted to the monsignor for his grace and
religiousness.” Fiennes plays O’Hara, “the monsignor might play with that,
manipulate that.”  Slutty nun.  Manipulative priest.

The show’s
co-creator, Ryan Murphy says, “I’m scared of aliens and I’m scared of Nazis and
I’m scared of nuns.”

To posit that there is no anti-Catholicism, I would think you might want to revise your opinion given the presence of fact:  anti-Catholicism has a history,  it’s alive and well. Some Catholics are not bothered by dysfunctional nuns priests. Art, in this case, is claimed to be in the realm of opinion,
that is, subjective.  It is said that what is one person’s
good-natured ribbing is another person’s offensive stereotype. Do we
really think it is appropriate to hold this idea at all, never mind if we apply the whole issue to
those who hold Judiasm or Islam as their faith? Would the media think that
making fun of a rabbi, an iman or a Buddhist monk is a good thing? That doing so is good natured? Why do it
to Catholics?

EW’s incredibly sad portrayal of a Catholic sister as the
centerpiece of fictional show on TV is wrong, disrespectful, especially when
the reality is very different. The concept is ill-conceived.

Kellen Clemens is ‘Catholic by Blood’

Until I read this story in the National Catholic
Register (NCR) I didn’t know who Kellen Clemens was. Those who know me know
that I am not a follower of football, let alone any other sport for that
matter. I am not anti-sport, I am just not a sports-type-of-person. But, I fact
I fully advocate an integration of faith and morals in the world of sports;
something that many other sports-people could benefit from. What caught my eye
in the NCR were the words “Catholic” and “St Louis Rams.” Interest piqued. I am
glad it did. Until now one would think that Tim Teabow was the only man in
American football that had a faith life. As it turns out, Kellen Clemans also
believes in God, is a Catholic and a family man. Let’s pray that these virtues
remain solid for a very long time. The NCR story is not only a good human
interest piece but it emboldens the rest of us (I hope).

Read Trent Beattie’s
article “St. Louis Rams’ Quarterback Is ‘Catholic by Blood‘.” But one section
is worth quoting here (emphasis mine).

Did you grow up in a devout family?

Kellen Clemens.jpeg

I’m a cradle
Catholic, with four sisters, and the faith was always an integral part of our
lives. I went to confession, received holy Communion and was confirmed. We were
taught the difference between right and wrong and enjoyed the stability that
brings. We also benefited from being so close to nature on our family’s cattle
ranch. That encourages you to be humble and also to respect and work with God’s

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The Gremlin still prowls

Gremlin.jpgI’ve been walking past this AMC Gremlin for two years now. I am now taking a picture of it for the sake of culture, even if it’s a wrong side up. This car resides as it were on East 68th Street in NYC.

When I was kid my mother had a silver AMC Gremlin car. It was an interesting looking car but I remember a dreadful driving experience.

According to the stats the AMC Gremlin was manufactured for 8 years (1970-78) and with a production total of 671K. You can more about this car’s cultural relevance at the link above.

May it rest in peace.

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The matter is settled….

bear in woods.JPG

Difficulty with beauty

I met a man this afternoon doing some business with us on marketing and the question of beauty came to the fore. He remarked on how we are among the few clients he has who have concern for beauty, simple sophistication, not foppishness. I recalled for him that beauty is a theological datum; it is such a principled piece of Catholicism that it is shameful of what passes for beauty.

Several years ago I came across a couple of lines of Cardinal Ratzinger’s that speaks of beauty as really, really important. He said, “A theologian who does not love art, poetry, music and nature can be dangerous. Blindness and deafness toward the beautiful are not incidental; they necessarily are reflected in his theology.” In other words, don’t trust a theologian who has no regard for beauty.

Then on FB I noted this quote and image on beauty.

new beauty.jpg

It is one of the notable sadnesses of our time that so many are incapable of fascination with the deeper levels of human beauty, especially those rooted in the spirit, levels that far transcend physical attractiveness.  Before lofty human traits some people are more or less apathetic, listless, unmoved, even hardened. And many seem to die as they live. 

Thomas Dubay. S.M., The Evidential Power of Beauty, p.64-65.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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