I awoke at 2 this morning to a temperature of 55 degrees, heading downward before dawn. I'm hoping this means that the August-like muggies of the past week have dissipated entirely, have vanished quite!
I attended the poetry workshop this past Wednesday night and brought a small poem called "Chasing the Waves." I was immensely gratified that the participants of the workshop seemed to think well of it. It was also gladdening to hear everyone else's poems: vivid, adventurous, creative, alert.
Last Sunday I took myself to the emergency room for nagging chest discomfort. All the heart tests (EKGs, chest x-rays, and the like) were normal. So I was sent home after a few hours. But this week, Wednesday and Thursday, as a precaution, I am undergoing a bipartite nuclear stress test at the hospital in Cambridge.
Today I'm attending a coffee hour, a get-together for all the lectors and extraordinary ministers at my parish. (I am a lector, and have been since June of last year.) It starts at nine this morning. By that time, I will have already had more than a litre of coffee! But it will be nice to meet the other folks.
This year, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will be electing a new governor, and neighbouring New Hampshire a United States senator. The Boston TV stations are, of course, saturated (one is tempted to say, infested) with political advertisements. The tiresome quality of most of these ads reinforces me in my tendency to watch little besides PBS and Boston's CatholicTV.
I wish I had something to say about the Synod of Bishops in Rome.
There has been much cause for concern in some circles. Will Pope Francis "cave to the progressives," Cardinals Kasper and Marx? Will he attempt to wrench Catholic teaching out of shape in order to placate a clamant minority within the Church?
I have to confess, I have been fretful of late. But then I recalled two vitally important things.
1. Papa Francesco loves Our Lady.
2. Our Lady loves Papa Francesco.
Recalling these two truths, I am serenely hopeful, secure in the knowledge that the Church -- even more so than drivers insured by Allstate -- is in good hands.
Recently, someone on the social media accused me -- the verb is correct -- of coming from a privileged background. I am, it would seem, rich and aloof from the concerns of common folk.
The fellow leapt to this egregiously mistaken conclusion, I believe, on the basis of two things: (1) my conservative, sporadically libertarian, politics; (2) my facility with the English language. In fact, when I jokingly retorted, "Oh, I am just awash in privilege!", the fellow groused, "Sure sounds like it."
Sounds like it? Do I sound privileged because of my politics? Because of my vocabulary? Perplexing! And silly!
I cautioned the fellow, "Make no assumptions, sir, about someone you don't know."
Privilege! From ages six to eighteen, I lived in an unassuming triple-decker on a small side street in East Boston. I didn't know the names of birds or beasts or flowers. I had fire hydrants for scenery, and airplanes overhead from nearby Logan International. My family was often impecunious, but we did the best we could.
But I am astonished by the assumption that a poor person cannot learn to use language at a level appreciably above functional literacy. If I pepper my obiter dicta in a comment thread with phrases like -- oh, I don't know -- "summum bonum," -- or for that matter, "obiter dicta" -- if I am prone, somewhat vaingloriously, to a Buckleyite flourish of rhetoric every now and again, does this bespeak "privilege"?
In a way, I suppose it does. The privilege of a solid high-school education, still obtainable by any Boston student capable of passing the exam that gets you into the Boston Latin School. No tuition. But lots of hard work. (At least, in my day, that's what you could expect!)
I am privileged inasmuch as I had many excellent teachers of English, of modern European languages, and of Latin, who helped foster and fortify my burgeoning love of the word.
But to assume that because I argue a conservative position at times, or because I do so using words and expressions that are a tad recherché, I must be financially privileged, or I must have no knowledge of what working-class folks go through -- a consummate absurdity!
Well, thanks for listening, dear Dark Speechers! Peace and blessings to you all.
Oh, and here's a selfie, taken yesterday.
|Portrait of an eccentric tycoon.|