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August 15, 2005

Comments

"the smartest people ever were extremely serious Christians. Thomas Aquinas. St. Augustine. Dante. Abelard."

Just noting that you are mentioning only Catholic thinkers here. Catholiciam does have a healthy relationship with Reason that is sustained to this day. The arguments might be wrong or Jesuitical, but they believe it is important to make logical arguments subject to peer review.

The relationship of Protestantism to Reason is a little more complicated. But they do have their share of great thinkers. Leaving aside modern outliers like Kiekeggaard and Tillich, I have to wonder why people like Edwards and Wesley aren't more widely read.

Actually, all the thinkers I mentioned antedate the Catholic/Protestant split. But you're right about Edwards and Wesley, and Traherne, Butler (now he was brilliant), and the rest.

I would be utterly remiss here in not mentioning this, examined at length here.

"I am not to be taken foregranted"

Oh no--another kinky position I've never even *heard* of. I feel so *naive*.

Phil: I think it was Diderot who wrote a novel with a similar premiss. -- Actually, it's available online, here.

Actually, all the thinkers I mentioned antedate the Catholic/Protestant split.

But aren't they still Catholic even though there was no division when they lived? I thought the term Catholic antedated the split.

Please refrain from mentioning Abelard and genital upgrades in the same post. Some of us need to sleep, you know.

Jeremy: yes, it does; I just meant that everyone would have been Catholic at that point, so it was more a matter of having thought of the Middle Ages first (and Augustine, of course) than of a preference for Catholics.

Andrew: sorry ;(

Would anyone who had any sense of the glorious rejoicing, in deadly earnest, that Christianity can be imagine that her vagina's very first words would be "Let me begin with saying how pleased I am to be here"? I don't think so.

That's just a setup so the audience can say "Thank you for coming."

(Sorry.)

Why do I suspect Stacy wrote all those comments herself?

Yes, I know the answer to that is I'm jaded, but if the options are jaded or...whatever that is...jaded I'll be.

The relationship of Protestantism to Reason is a little more complicated.

Isn't this because of the Sola Scriptura origins of Protestantism? I think if you accept Sola fides and/or Sola Gratia, you can still have a dialogue with other faiths, but if you strictly accept a Sola Scriptura basis for your faith, you can't really admit anything else.

Eek, on a more recent post, she has chosen the very unfortunate pseudonym "Unplanned #3" for one of her children. I feel unkind even to point this out, but the name could be better covered, especially as the kid seems to be nine already!

"it's impossible to regard the universe as God's creation without concluding that He has a sense of humor, and a very dry and mordant one at that."

Rather like the wit of J.B.S. Haldane, who when asked what he had learned about God's purposes from his long studies of nature, answered "Only that God seems to be inordinately fond of beetles".

Well, her profile describes her thus:

"My Life: 36, Married To Dear Husband For 19 Years, Raising Our Three Unplanned, Unaborted Sons, Ages 18, 15 and 8, Christian Conservative With The Mouth Of A Teamster."

(Doesn't it go without saying that if you have sons aged 18, 15, and 8, they are unaborted? I mean, unless you're really, really strange...)

"Her", in my last comment, refers to Stacy, not God.

But DON'T fill out the "Warranty Registration Card" that comes with this letter. It's just a way for your vagina to get a lot of personal information about you.

Ack. I can only hope that her sons never find her site because her pseudonyms for them make it clear that, as far as her public persona is concerned, her children are all about her. Her choices, her politics, her framing.

She may be a great mother offline etc., but her public representation gives me the heebie-jeebies.

C'mon, now, folks--I think we have pried into this woman's life quite enough. After all the hubbub about being respectful to Ms. Sheehan, I hope we can exercise some restraint and decency about this woman's personal life as well.

Was Dante smart in whatever sense of the word is at issue (probably "a strong analytic thinker")? Obviously he had a terrifyingly powerful poetic mind, but then so did e.g. Tennyson, not otherwise a sharp cookie from what I've read. (I'm not remembering laughing much reading either.)

Tad: I hope we can exercise some restraint and decency about this woman's personal life as well.

You're right. But I admit I'm not accustomed to figuring out where the limits of restraint and decency lie when commenting on a public vagina monologue. To a certain degree, what you put online in your blog is open for comment. She's the one whose nickname for her third child is "Unplanned".

Hilzoy: (Doesn't it go without saying that if you have sons aged 18, 15, and 8, they are unaborted? I mean, unless you're really, really strange...)

Or on Not the Nine O'Clock News. (Woman: "I want an abortion." - Doctor: "How far along is the foetus?" - Woman, looking at her son: "Ten years.")

It's off the main point, and not particularly amusing, but I still find it somewhat distressing that "she" can say: "If you respect me, you will not be subjected to sexually transmitted diseases."

In this context, "respect" implies only cohabiting with one man, which is (IMHO) an acceptable ideal, even if not all of us share it. But given the considerable number of women who have in fact contracted STDs from their putatively "faithful" husbands, isn't this a peculiarly _dangerous_ (rather than just stupefyingly condescending) myth?

dr. ngo: yes, I thought about that when I read it, and said: huh? (By the way, it took me forever to figure out that your blog name did not mean that you were a James Bond fan working for a non-governmental organization.)

rilkefan: I think he was very smart analytically, as well as of course being one of the greatest poets ever. I am sort of permanently awestruck by Dante. -- Have you read the Vita Nuova?

I wonder what her ass would say?

Maybe it would speak in "tounges"?

This whole "-talking genitals-" and "brilliant people" association is one I'm still trying to wrap my brain around. Not literally. But I'll possibly let y'all know when I'm done, which is likely not soon.

I mean, I'm all for being friendly with one's genitals. But I've rarely found one that is actually an interesting conversationalist, as opposed to fun to interact with.

Possibly I just need to sample more. Hard to say.

Or is it "tongues"?

"Just noting that you are mentioning only Catholic thinkers here."

I don't know why Edwards isn't read more, but in my view C.S. Lewis counts as a great thinker who was also Christian. And what about Darwin?

Just kidding. Sort of.

I've only read Inferno and Purgatorio (and only half the latter in Italian) - guess I'll get around to La V.N. one of these years (maybe if we ever manage to go honeymooning in Tuscany) - but I clearly recall a lot of lectures about crackpot scientific theories of the day, and some of the Florencentricism struck me as just petty and small-minded, and I thought there was a good deal of theological wishy-washyness like Cato out of Hell, and the whole "limiti della ragione umana" thing grates my knuckles.

John Locke, Thomas De Quincey Karl Jaspers, Reinhold Niebuhr, Martin Luther King, Jr., Garrison Keillor, Luther Vandross…SHEEESH!!!


And second off, Protestantism has a Platonic rationalistic tradition as well as an irrational mystical Gnostic tradition.

So just calm down.

This is a version of "I Am Joe's Liver" that will not appear in Reader's Digest.

I mean, I'm all for being friendly with one's genitals. But I've rarely found one that is actually an interesting conversationalist, as opposed to fun to interact with.

Which is surprising, since they're often cunning linguists.

"I mean, I'm all for being friendly with one's genitals."

Why do some men name their genitals? Because they don't want 99% of their decisions made by a total stranger.

(Thank you, and please tip your server).

"Daddy: Oh, watch out, Melinda! Once a woman is introduced to a cunning linguist, she'll settle for nothing less."

hilzoy: "if my vagina started to speak and came out with this sort of banal and unimaginative drivel, then I would be well and truly ashamed."

What might you be "well and truly" proud to hear it/her say?

(Or must we wait for April and Poetry Month 2006 to find out?)

Just curious.

IMO, Aquinas is "Catholic" in the sense that he is only really read and revered today by Catholics. The Catholic-Protestant split left Aquinas clearly on the Catholic side of the line.

Augustine is revered by both Catholics and Protestants. His thought crosses the Catholic/Protestant line and is deeply influential in both.

So does this mean Bill Frist is going to begin opposing hysterectomies on Free Speech grounds?

"The Catholic-Protestant split left Aquinas clearly on the Catholic side of the line."

I was shocked when Aquinas placed 7th in that British "50 greatest philosophers" poll a while back. Pleased, but surprised. Can't explain.

I once knew a girl who could throw her voice.

And, by the way, today's Christians and their talking pudenda remind me of Henry Miller's fascination with vaginas in "Sexus", "Nexus" and "Plexus".

I like Miller better. Better conversation.

a few thoughts struck me as I read this letter.

"I have a purpose and should not be used for anything else other than my intended use."
am I wrong in feeling like a few examples of misuse should have been provided here?

So valuable am I, that a man will do just about anything to get me. You must be cautious, you must be vigilant.
doesn't this get old after a while? I am assuming that her husband's blog does not have an open letter from his penis telling him to chill out?

"I was given to you in order for you to give to one and only one man."
and what about rape (I guess I wasn't "vigilant" enough?) or being widowed?

Joy that cannot be explained to anyone who has never experienced it.
um, ok vagina, I guess I will take your word for it then?

"I will be there as you kiss the forehead of your child for the very first time."
but not any of the other times? isn't that rather weird?

all in all, a great post - thanks. I definitely needed a good laugh.

Well I am a Christian, an Orthodox Christian, but I do not speak for all EO, Eastern Orthodox, only my self. I have to say when I read that it struck me as stupid and false and a bunch of bullshit. What kind of world is the lady living in who wrote this? Certainly not the world I grew up in and live in. Come on. Give me a break!

"...imagine that her vagina's very first words would be 'Let me begin with saying how pleased I am to be here'? I don't think so."

My second thought: I'd be offended at having such an ungrammatical vagina. Not because it's bad grammar, but because it's bad writing. "...begin with saying..."? Please.

Kathleen, as a former Logic and Rhetoric instructor, I must agree that, at the very minimum, an example of "misuse" of a vagina should have been provided for the guidance of us all.

The author of this, um, exercise, showed up in the Pandagon thread to declare that

1) people in the thread were being rude

2) she's known people traumatised by having multiple sexual partners

3) she's known people who had STDs

4) she's known people who had had abortions, were unable to conceive, and had made a causal link between the two

5) the language of the vagina's being a "gateway" to children should not rule out Caesarean sections, as she's had three

6) and while she has "no issue with those who disagree with [her]," she won't return to the Pandagon thread, has deleted the Pandagon trackback, and has "bann[ed] your IP."

I could engage Ms. Stacy rather cheerfully about sex education because at the end of the day, somewhat unfortunate expressions aside, I think we're on the same side: teaching women to see themselves as powerful and empowered to make decisions about reproduction.

At the end of the day, be it c-section or vaginal birth, that child was wanted,or not; you've tallied all the dangers that precede a wanted birth, so how much of the mortality rates are you willing to, can you possibily make the mother's fault--and how much her choice?

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