Saturday, September 23, 2017

It Wasn't the End of the World - Just a New Beginning


Today, the world didn't end. It's now 12:33 AM GMT, so it's official. Instead, something else started. It's the first good news faithful Catholics have heard in a long time.

The Formal Filial Correction will be dismissed by all the usual suspects. The Pope won't say anything explicitly about it, of course. (It was actually sent to him six weeks ago.) Instead, his minions will go into overdrive with their "ankle biting," as Bruvver Eccles put it. They'll claim that it's just a few "conservatives" or "radical traditionalists" - people who get their jollies from bashing a liberal Pope. No doubt in the United States it will be associated with the machinations of the "alt-right" or whatever.

The only bishop to sign was Bernard Fellay, the Superior General of the SSPX. He apparently only heard about the Correction after it had been initially sent. His signature will allow the Pope's men to suggest that the effort is schismatic.

They can and will say anything.

It doesn't matter.

What does matter is that the Pope's heresies, associated with but not limited to the actual text of Amoris laetita, have finally been officially noted and corrected. On paper, as they say. Apparently this hasn't happened since 1333.

See, this Pope has brought us back to the Middle-Ages.

What we are seeing is the beginning of the process whereby Bergolio's malicious actions to undermine the Church and its teachings will be repudiated and rendered void by the Church itself.

Don't take my word for it. Take His in Matthew 16:18. If you are Catholic, you must take His word.

As for the Correction, Priests and lay Catholics did it, not bishops or cardinals. As much as it pains me to say it, Cardinal Burke, whose own long anticipated Correction never came, now looks a bit of a fool. Or he looks like someone who, if not a coward, was too timid by half for the task required. It's gone beyond him now. Perhaps he can almost breathe a sigh of relief.

It's a commonplace to say that the renewal of the Church and the purging of its poisons will take generations. Our grandchildren may live to see it, and all that. Maybe.

Or maybe not. Perhaps a moderate optimism about the near-term is more healthy.

Nicolae Ceausescu's rule was among the tightest in the communist world. It cracked and broke like an egg in a matter of days.

And then there was Poland's Solidarity. The spirits of many were crushed when martial law was declared in 1981. The Communists were just too powerful, it was claimed. Totalitarian regimes were...totalitarian. They had, it was argued, sort of a built-in defense mechanism that made them impossible to get rid of (except by outside armies). After all, it had never happened. That it would happen at all, let alone soon, was just too much to expect. Maybe our grandchildren would see it.

It appeared that way all the way up until the good guys won. No one who witnessed the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe can deny how unexpected it all was. One day you came home from work, flipped on the TV and saw people dancing on the Berlin Wall. It really seemed to happen that fast. "It will never happen" became "it was a forgone conclusion." How right. How obvious.

The good guys won because even when things seemed hopeless some of them didn't run from the fight. They knew that they had truth on their side even if it appeared they had little else. And yes, Solidarity used that iconic image of Gary Cooper in High Noon for its first election poster in 1989. Just one man doing the right thing. Solidarity's victory in that election meant the end of Communist rule in Poland and heralded the fall of the Wall in Eastern Europe later that year.

Is this a model for what will happen inside the Church? Some see Bergoglio as a Peron, or sort of a frumpy Che. But how about Ceausescu?

Or Wojciech Jaruzelski?

Too optimistic? Probably.

But it sure beats the end of the world.

Monday, September 11, 2017

"Flight 93" - Filk Singer Leslie Fish's Moving Tribute to the Heroes of 9/11

Leslie Fish

This post is not really about Islam.

It's certainly not about any sort of "tragedy."

It's about heroism.

Another word for that is love. Love for one's neighbor. Love for justice. And, yes, love for life. Even if you think you might lose it.

"We've nothing to fight with, and may wind up dead,

But we've voted to stand up and fight them instead,
And we might keep them from getting through."

United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in a Pennsylvania fie
ld on September 11th, 2001, killing all aboard - 34 passengers (including a near-term unborn baby) and 7 crew. 4 hijackers also died. The plane had been comandeered 45 minutes after takeoff by terrorists - confederates of the men who steered their 3 hijacked planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

These hijackers were a few minutes late in their mission (the plane had been delayed taking off), which gave the passengers enough time to figure out what their mission was - a suicide strike against the U.S. Capital Building or the White House.

"One man's been stabbed, and we can't reach the cockpit,
But somehow we'll alter the flight.
We've guessed that the target is likely the White House,
And if we fail, we'll surely die."

Who is Leslie Fish?

Leslie Fish is a writer, folk singer and "filk" musician - "filk" being the term for music tied to the science fiction and fantasy fan convention scene. She is a libertarian anarchist whose political activism has spanned the breadth of the movement. She has protested the Vietnam War, worked with the "Wobblies" (Industrial Workers of the World), defended gun rights and praised the Moon landings. On anarchism she wrote:
What sort of anarchist future would I like to see? There's no reason for a government-free society to be nothing but agrarian, no reason at all that it couldn't be industrial and space-faring.
She is a quasi-pagan. And a Trekker. Or "used to be," according to Fish:
I sort of lost interest when NEXT GENERATION came along; it's just too pussy, Yuppie-ish, and bloodless for my tastes.
Fish also wrote "Flight 93," the most moving and inspiring artistic tribute yet made to those heroes of 9/11.

"We've nothing to fight with except our bare hands,

But we'll keep on trying until the plane lands
One way or the other. We've taken our stand.
My darling, I love you. Goodbye."

If you listen to it and do not agree, listen to it again. If you still do not agree, then I cannot help you. If, on any listening, you do not cry, at least a little, then you are stronger than I am.

He watched while the passengers battled and died,

And knew that no help would be found.
The guard was distracted. Just one chance to win.
There's one case where suicide isn't a sin.
He weighed all his chances. He said: "Auger in!"
And drove the ship into the ground.

The passengers on Flight 93 almost succeeded in wresting control of the plane from the terrorists. Most believe that they effectively breached the cockpit. But there is controversy over who w
as at the controls at the end. The song implies that it was a passenger - "Jason the pilot" - but the cockpit tapes appear to indicate that a hijacker crashed the plane, fearing that he was seconds away from being overpowered. It's also possible, of course, that there was a fight over the controls.

Flight 93 hit the ground at full speed,

And no one aboard her survives.
But the White House still stands, and a few thousand folks
Can thank those aboard for their lives.
There's no guarantee, when the Bad Guys come in,
That they won't kill you all to a man.
So when some fanatics are out to have fun,
There's nowhere to hide and there's nowhere to run.
Then pray that the law lets you carry a gun,
But fight back however you can.

So the song is a tribute but also a lesson. Don't expect the bad guys to have any scruples or mercy. Someti
mes, they just want to kill you, and perhaps thousands more in the bargain. No hero wants to die. But there are worse things than natural death. And better things than giving in.

Flight 93 no more will fly.
Dead on the ground or dead in the sky:
You might not survive, but at least you can try.
Stand up and bring the ship down.

A YouTube link to the
song follows, along with the full lyrics. Here are links to a few of Fish's other more notable songs - The Day it Fell Apart, a righteous anti-corporate ballad, also about heroism, in this case, hospital workers dealing with the results of a mine explosion, Valhalla (warning: graphic paganism), one of her most well-known "filk" efforts, and Gamers (warning: graphic nerdity), a light-hearted hymn to gamers and their battles against prejudice and the government. I also recommend her blog, LeslieBard, whose most recent post has a distinctly nonconformist take on Charlottesville.

I've also included the full version of United 93, a straight-ahead, non-ideological narrative of the events, which manages to also be moving and inspiring. I highly recommend it.


"Flight 93"

by Leslie Fish

She took off from Newark on a warm autumn day,
With forty-five travellers and crew.
They all were unarmed at the will of the law;
Security passed them all through.
An hour into flight-time, four Arabs jumped up --
Two Ahmeds, Ziad and Sa'eed --
Announced a hijacking and waved knives around
(Razorblades, box-knives and steak-knives they'd found),
And a box that they swore was a bomb up and down;
They thought that was all they would need.

Flight 93 no more will fly.
Dead on the ground or dead in the sky:
You might not survive, but at least you can try.
Stand up and bring the ship down.

CeeCee the stewardess had a cell-phone,
And called up her husband to say:
"The plane has been hijacked. We'll do as we're trained;
Be quiet and humbly obey.
They'll dicker for money or some social cause.
The government surely will pay.
They'll put us out somewhere and leave with their score,
Or maybe police will come catch them and more.
That's always the way this has been done before.
With luck, I'll be home in a day."


Flight 93 no more will fly.
Dead on the ground or dead in the sky:
You might not survive, but at least you can try.
Stand up and bring the ship down.

Next was Mark Bingham, who had a phone too,
And used it to call up his Mom.
He said they'd been hijacked by "three foreign men"
Who had knives and said they had a bomb.
But some of the passengers plotted, he said,
To take back the plane as it flew.
"But first tell me, Mom, is it true what they say?
That three other airplanes were hijacked today,
Flown straight into buildings and blew them away?"
His mother cried, and said: "It's true."


Flight 93 no more will fly.
Dead on the ground or dead in the sky:
You might not survive, but at least you can try.
Stand up and bring the ship down.

Jeremy Glick called his wife on the phone,
And told of the bomb and the knives.
He said: "If these stories we're hearing are true,
We might as well fight for our lives."
His wife told him: "Yes, the World Trade Center's hit,
And maybe the Pentagon too."
He left the phone hanging, then came back and said:
"We've nothing to fight with, and may wind up dead,
But we've voted to stand up and fight them instead,
And we might keep them from getting through."


Flight 93 no more will fly.
Dead on the ground or dead in the sky:
You might not survive, but at least you can try.
Stand up and bring the ship down.

Thomas Burnett phoned his wife several times,
Reporting the course of the fight.
He said: "One man's been stabbed, and we can't reach the cockpit,
But somehow we'll alter the flight.
We've guessed that the target is likely the White House,
And if we fail, we'll surely die.
We've nothing to fight with except our bare hands,
But we'll keep on trying until the plane lands
One way or the other. We've taken our stand.
My darling, I love you. Goodbye."


Flight 93 no more will fly.
Dead on the ground or dead in the sky:
You might not survive, but at least you can try.
Stand up and bring the ship down.

Jason the pilot could hear the whole tale.
He'd signaled as well as he could.
He saw that the terrorists still held the cockpit --
And one way to stop them for good.
He watched while the passengers battled and died,
And knew that no help would be found.
The guard was distracted. Just one chance to win.
There's one case where suicide isn't a sin.
He weighed all his chances. He said: "Auger in!"
And drove the ship into the ground.


Flight 93 no more will fly.
Dead on the ground or dead in the sky:
You might not survive, but at least you can try.
Stand up and bring the ship down.

Flight 93 hit the ground at full speed,
And no one aboard her survives.
But the White House still stands, and a few thousand folks
Can thank those aboard for their lives.
There's no guarantee, when the Bad Guys come in,
That they won't kill you all to a man.
So when some fanatics are out to have fun,
There's nowhere to hide and there's nowhere to run.
Then pray that the law lets you carry a gun,
But fight back however you can.


Flight 93 no more will fly.
Dead on the ground or dead in the sky:
You might not survive, but at least you can try.
Stand up and bring the ship down.

Cross posted at Save Versus All Wands.