Cafeteria traditionalism and Communion for unrepentant usurers

May 2, 2016 § 91 Comments

I left the following comment – which was removed by the moderator and not published, according to Disqus – on this article at The Remnant.  Apparently, pointing out that pre-Vatican II (and still ongoing) ‘pastoral mercy’ granted to unrepentant usurers is very similar to post Vatican II ‘pastoral mercy’ granted to unrepentant adulterers, was not considered on topic.

Or perhaps the observation doesn’t fit well with some other overarching narrative or worldview, I suppose.

The ‘whitewash away metaphysically realist doctrine with anti-realist pastoral accommodation’ thing has been done before, and is still fully in force in the case of usury. Humanae Vitae is simply becoming the new Vix Pervenit.

If you want to grasp what is currently happening in the domain of sex and marriage you need to first grasp what had already happened, before any of us were born and before Vatican II was a twinkle in John XXIII’s eye, in the domain of usury.

I document this in some detail here:
https://zippycatholic.wordpres…

I’m not a regular reader of The Remnant, although I have some of the article author’s books.  As I understand it the title of the magazine refers to a putative small ‘remnant’ of orthodox Catholics in an ocean of heterodox cafeteria Catholics.

But some might think that deafening and willful silence about so-called ‘pastoral mercy’ toward unrepentant usurers combined with outrage over so-called ‘pastoral mercy’ toward unrepentant adulterers, is its own sort of cafeteria Catholicism.

UPDATE:

According to the moderator it was just the inclusion of a link that got my comment removed.  That seems odd though, because there are other comments (for example this one) in that thread with links to outside websites, blogs, etc.

§ 91 Responses to Cafeteria traditionalism and Communion for unrepentant usurers

  • Alex says:

    I can’t read the remnant at all. Whenever I try accessing their page, the connection ends up timing out. It happens even with proxies (but not, for some reason, with google translate).

  • Wood says:

    Zippy,

    I’m trying to pull up the weeds. And so I tell myself that walking into my local bank should give me at least some degree of unease as if I were walking into the local brothel, or Planned Parenthood clinic, or gay bar. All have business models that depend upon grave sin for their success. But still it just seems so easy to point to someone who is, well, has committed adultery. Or is formally cooperating with adultery. It’s not so easy to me with usury even though its likely even more prevalent. I mean, who is actually committing usury? Or formally cooperating with usury? The local bankers and car dealers? Where I’m from bankers are the pillars of the community, which I guess makes your point about how numb moderns are to usury. It’s pretty sad stuff, and in a way makes this more recent adultery stuff seem like small potatoes.

  • Zippy says:

    Wood:
    I’d peg the total “pastoral” capitulation on usury to about the time of the American civil war. If a similar capitulation is taking place right now on sex and marriage, then imagine how current attitudes toward (e.g.) cohabitation, contraception, etc will evolve over the next 150 years assuming the Church just goes silent on the subject the way she went silent on usury in the mid 1800’s. Even Catholics won’t really have a rudimentary grasp of what marriage/divorce, contraception, etc are and are not; and won’t have any idea why prehistoric generations saw them as moral wrongs.

    Of course that assumes that things just keep plugging along for another century and a half. That might seem intuitively unlikely, but if events like the Great Depression and WWII didn’t wake the world up to the consequences of defying nature through usury it seems possible that willful ignorance on sex and marriage could persist for a lot longer than intuition suggests.

  • Zippy says:

    If I am not mistaken, in the TV series “Firefly” the whore was considered to be in a very high class profession. That was why I personally found it unwatchable: the sheer implausibility of even a “high class” whore being thought of as actually high class broke the show’s social plausibility for me.

    But I’ve noticed that I am in the minority in even noticing this as something atrociously implausible socially; which tells me that, despite being born in the midst of the sexual revolution, my social expectations are quite old fashioned. Younger people do not seem to find a legitimately high class whore socially implausible (think “womanizing nerd” to see how it strikes me) the way I do.

  • But I’ve noticed that I am in the minority in even noticing this as something atrociously implausible socially; which tells me that, despite being born in the midst of the sexual revolution, my social expectations are quite old fashioned. Younger people do not seem to find a legitimately high class whore socially implausible (think “womanizing nerd” to see how it strikes me) the way I do.

    “Firefly” takes place in a future world that is socially very liberal (intentionally so). So given that background it made sense to me. Certainly the liberals I know, and who probably agree with Whedon’s social views, would consider such a thing plausible…and since it was a world created with those views in mind, I could buy it.

  • MarcusD says:

    Do you think younger generations are on a collision course with the notion of usury as slavery (or, indentured servitude)? Related:
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-02/visa-unveils-plan-burden-millennials-billions-debt

    If such a realization dawns on a large enough percentage of people, do you think usury will ‘go away’? Will the Church seize an opportunity? I see some mentioning of usury, but mostly amongst atheists/secularists.

    Maybe it could be sold as Sharia-compliant instead? (~/s): http://www.breitbart.com/london/2016/01/15/austria-now-offer-sharia-compliant-bank-accounts/

  • Josh says:

    College loans are just about the most blatant form of usury we have and student loan debt is becoming a popular issue. If ever there was an easy time for the Church to articulate her position it would be now.

  • William Luse says:

    That seems odd though, because there are other comments (for example this one) in that thread with links to outside websites, blogs, etc.

    Surely you understand that it takes time to verify someone’s sanity.

  • Zippy says:

    Malcolm:
    Right, I have no doubt that it was a personal quirk of mine.

    The pillar-of-the-community professional whore selling respectable supermodel Madonna sex to “beta males” is in reality just as plausible as the pillar-of-the-community professional usurer providing instant beer money to negative net worth wage slaves. (Sure there will still be the equivalent of payday lenders: but mainstream whoredom isn’t exploitative like that).

    Heck, it may be the plausibility of such a near future that made it unwatchable for me. All I know is that that aspect of the show constantly reminded me that I was watching some writer’s fantasy world, destroying the ‘suspension of disbelief’ that is necessary in order to enjoy a story. So I thought it – the fact that most people who have watched it find the professional pillar of the community whore perfectly plausible – might make an interesting example in context here.

  • Mike T says:

    Zippy,

    Inara was from a class called “companions” IIRC. They were essentially geishas who would have sex with clients, not prostitutes who can hold a conversation. I wouldn’t even say that she was considered “objectively high class” like she had a standing comparable to a high society lady, but rather that it was socially acceptable for high society men to be seen with her much like it is socially acceptable for high society men in Japan to be seen in the company of a geisha.

  • Mike T says:

    There is also the fact that she was “high class” compared to the rest of the crew. They were considered scavengers and smugglers, so even if she were literally just a high class hooker, she’d still be more “respectable” than the crew of Serenity in general.

  • Zippy says:

    Whatever the case, my own tendency to see whores (and PUA for that matter) as disease ridden and pathetic qua whores obviously puts me in the minority. Extrapolate a bit from current attitudes and you can easily see professional whores and professional usurers as social peers.

  • Zippy says:

    Bill:
    I suppose the default assumption that any given person you’ve just encountered on the Internet is insane isn’t necessarily unreasonable.

  • Marissa says:

    Joss Whedon, the show ‘s creator, is all about showing how “empowering” it is for women to allow men to treat their bodies like a communal Kleenex tissue.

  • Mike T says:

    Whatever the case, my own tendency to see whores

    Whedon was clearly riffing on the geisha with the “companions.” His radical leftism made him turn them more into hookers than a proper geisha. However, geishas are not considered low class in Japan so his perspective is not entirely unreasonable, in no small part when you consider that his future is explicitly a fusion of American and Chinese culture out of necessity.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    A geisha is just a kind of whore, so I don’t know what we are arguing about, if we are arguing about something. That some cultures find some kinds of whores respectable just reinforces the point I was making to Wood: the fact that we are inculturated to view professional usurers as respectable pillars of the community isn’t necessarily surprising.

    This is complicated by the fact that not all banking and ‘lending’ is usurious. If whoredom became a respectable branch or aspect of nursing or medical care we might have a pretty solid analogy to the current social state of usury.

  • Zippy says:

    Or try this analogy: being a banker is like being a lawyer, and being a whore or a professional usurer is like being a typical divorce lawyer.

  • Zippy,

    I do get what you’re saying, and it’s a good point. I suppose we can’t really help what personally breaks our suspension of disbelief.

  • Mike T says:

    A geisha is just a kind of whore

    Actually, they aren’t. A geisha is like a high priced escort who can hold a real conversation and engage in performing arts.

    Probably without intending to, Whedon actually got the socio-sexual relationships about right. The only man who ever actually intrigued Inara, let alone drove her mad, was Mal.

    That some cultures find some kinds of whores respectable just reinforces the point I was making to Wood: the fact that we are inculturated to view professional usurers as respectable pillars of the community isn’t necessarily surprising.

    A 10/10 will always carry more status in general society than a 1/10. Humans are just hard-wired to assign a certain intrinsic difference of social status to a drop dead gorgeous woman than a super fugly woman. It’s just who we are in our hind brains. It’s also why a lot of high status men don’t think it’s beneath them to use the services of a high end call girl.

    Human nature often assigns status to certain evil people for reasons like “she’s hot” or “he carries himself well.” The reality is that many bankers are morally closer to crack dealers whether or not they wish to see that. However, the suit, clean office and professional veneer create a distinction without a difference of substance.

    This is why we are warned to judge in righteousness and not with partiality toward the traits we like (ex. favoring the rich or the poor because we like one better than the other).

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:
    That a particular kind of whore doesn’t kiss or doesn’t do coitus or whatever doesn’t mean that she is not, in the only general sense that matters here, a whore. If her job is professional sexual companionship or stimulation at any level or of any sort she is a whore, as far as it matters for the present discussion.

    I don’t know if the character on the show was or was not selling coitus specifically, nor do I really care. That specific issue has no real bearing on the point I was making in using the show and character as an example.

  • Mike T says:

    I think a geisha is intrinsically no more of a whore than a banker is intrinsically a usurer. In fact, both are respectable when they stick to the proper boundaries of their profession. What Wood does not get is that when you introduce the sin aspect (fornication with the geisha; usury with the banker) that respectability becomes a very dangerous thing. Hence my point about how in actuality a respectable usurer is actually a lot like a crack dealer on a moral level. However, most people will never see that because a typical crack dealer is a lower class, classless thug just like a typical whore is not even remotely respectable. That mixture of the once respectable profession with the sin angle provides a lot of opportunity to conceal the nature of what is really happening.

  • Mike T says:

    I don’t know if the character on the show was or was not selling coitus specifically, nor do I really care. That specific issue has no real bearing on the point I was making in using the show and character as an example.

    I’ve watched it several times, and I think it makes your point better than you realize. What makes the Companions so morally dangerous is precisely that when it comes to sex and companionship they glide effortlessly between the “sinful” and “legitimate” just like a banker can do a usurious loan in the morning and finish the afternoon with one that is firmly moral in its terms.

  • I think a geisha is intrinsically no more of a whore than a banker is intrinsically a usurer.

    This makes absolutely no sense. That a geisha performs sexual services is part of it makes her a geisha – that alone makes the job intrinsically immoral.

  • Clicked on the Wikipedia link. Rather odd. Now I’m not even sure if a geisha is a good example of what Inara is – probably not.

  • Mike T says:

    hat a geisha performs sexual services is part of it makes her a geisha

    If you want to post something contradicting the link I provided, then by all means I’m open to correction on my understanding of what geisha work historically entails. However, the Wikipedia link I provided along with my general understanding from other sources is that geishas do not provide sexual services. Some do, but the profession is not supposed to do that. They are entertainers, not prostitutes.

  • Zippy says:

    At the risk of prolonging one of the most irrelevant digressions in the history of irrelevant digressions – the example I used was the whore character in the show, not a geisha or geishas generally speaking – it is far from obvious that a geisha is an ‘entertainer’ other than in the same sense that a stripper or porn star is an ‘entertainer’; even according to that authoritative arbiter of all objective reality, Wikipedia. That is to say, it is hardly obvious that the geisha’s profession even precisely as described involves no intrinsically immoral behaviors.

    According to the article many geishas were really whores but technically a Really True Geisha was not expected to perform actual coitus. Whether that involves the kind of winking and crossed fingers behind the back that we employ when we westerners use the term “escort service” isn’t clear, but even a stripper that won’t let you touch her is a whore in the sense that she is selling sex. Paying a woman to flirt with you and act like you are attractive to her is paying for sex: in a very general sense she is still whoring herself.

    But again, this is all very much beside the point. Whether the whore in the show was or was not in some sense or other ‘modeled after a geisha’ doesn’t change the fact that the character in the show was, quite unambiguously, a whore — in every unequivocal and unambiguous and rigorous sense of the term. Her profession included performing sexual acts with her clients. At least that is what I recall, though, as I said, I found it so implausible and distracting that I was constantly being reminded that I was watching a show and therefore found it unwatchable..

    As a show targeted at nerds it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest to find that Firefly pushes the trope (if in fact it does this) of the successful alpha male paying for the sexual attentions of hot women. That is what losers who pay for female attention always tell themselves as self-affirmation: that this is what successful alpha males do. Hugh Hefner built an empire on the modern loser ‘beta male’ paying for sex (very broadly speaking, no pun intended) while convincing himself that he was a high class top of the ladder social sophisticate.

  • Mike T says:

    Now I’m not even sure if a geisha is a good example of what Inara is

    Just to clarify, malcolm, I said she is like a geisha who is also a prostitute which is pretty much the ideal “high class woman” to many liberal men like Whedon. She is also in that role analogous to many bankers today in that she combines a legitimate business side with one that really isn’t. The “companion” can play geisha in the morning and whore at night just like the banker can sign you up for all sorts of usurious loans in the morning and then conduct a business transaction where there is not a hint of usury before he locks his office door for the night. Also fitting, the larger society in Firefly thinks of the Companion as mainly a geisha with a naughty side (when she’s really a whore with a “high class side”) just as modern society tends to see the banker as something other than a loan shark or financial crack dealer because society focuses on the respectable angle of his business.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    She is also in that role analogous to many bankers today in that she combines a legitimate business side with one that really isn’t.

    It is not at all clear that what geishas do is morally licit in the first place, nor is it clear that the character in the show had a mix of legitimate and illegitimate businesses — though not having watched most of it I suppose I can’t really speak to that.

    Many bankers aren’t involved in consumer lending at all. Many banking institutions are not involved in any consumer lending at all.

  • Mike T says:

    Zippy,

    I’m not arguing with you that Inara was a whore. She was more than a whore, but still a whore. Hell, half of the interaction between her and Mal (the most alpha/sigma character on the show) was him calling her a whore and her being pissed about it.

  • Mike T says:

    Many bankers aren’t involved in consumer lending at all. Many banking institutions are not involved in any consumer lending at all.

    That’s certainly true, but given the ties within the financial industry they may not be clear of the usury issues. For example, the bankers who securitized mortgages before the crisis were certainly collaborating with the ones who may have been drafting usurious loans to consumers (some weren’t, but many probably did not stop at the home). Probably the best defense they’d have is that they didn’t pay attention to the terms of the loans they were buying, but that’s damning with feint praise since that would be an admission that they didn’t likely do due diligence on the “assets” backing the security which adds further fuel to the claim that their risk claims were bovine excrement.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    That’s certainly true, but given the ties within the financial industry they may not be clear of the usury issues. For example, the bankers who securitized mortgages …

    … are directly involved in consumer finance. Securitizing full recourse consumer debt is being “involved in consumer lending”.

    There are many, many banking and finance professionals who are no more involved in consumer lending than you are.

  • Cane Caldo says:

    There are many, many banking and finance professionals who are no more involved in consumer lending than you are.

    As long as we’re lending to whores in the Guild, then it’s ok…

    This has been a massive and enjoyable digression.

    If I am not mistaken, in the TV series “Firefly” the whore was considered to be in a very high class profession. That was why I personally found it unwatchable: the sheer implausibility of even a “high class” whore being thought of as actually high class broke the show’s social plausibility for me.

    So you don’t love everything pre-modern. 😉 She’s a courtesan in an Anglo-Franco-Shino-patterned universe. There’s an aristocracy with titles and everything. Historically, where there are aristocrats, one gets high class, influential, respected whores courtesans in the package.

    Personally, I found her totally unnecessary and unlikeable. I’m a spiritual descendant of roundheads, after all.

  • Alex says:

    By the way (sorry if I am being too off topic), Zippy, have you read “Liberty: The God that Failed”? I heard it is pretty good, but I wanted to know your opinion.

  • Wood says:

    Mike,

    Despite an initial annoyance at your reading into “what I do not get” I see where you’re coming from. But, notwithstanding my confused wording, I was approaching it from different angle. I see how the pillars of the community comment could be misleading, but I wasn’t so much marveling specifically at the “respectability” of bankers (and incidentally I kind of regret even using the term “bankers” and instead wish I had used the more specific and charitable term of Zippy’s “professional usurer”) nor do I think I was engaging in partiality to those guys over there in the nice suits and offices. Take all that away, and we still have usury normalized and institutionalized in our society to the extent we (ok, maybe just I) don’t even flinch at it. Even that’s not accurate enough. I’m not trying to be overly dramatic, but I’m feeling like I just found out it was an execrable sin to take the trash out. I don’t know how to “not” materially cooperate with usury yet. No ATM’s, or bank accounts, or student loans, or…. To think that my children or grandchildren or whatever could think similarly about sexual immorality just fills me with dread and opened my eyes that I’ve been a lot more complicit with this whole situation than I ever realized.

    On the other hand, I’ve never even heard of that show ya’ll are talking about so at least I got that going for me.

  • Zippy says:

    Wood:

    I’m feeling like I just found out it was an execrable sin to take the trash out.

    Shaping moral intuitions is a tricky business. At least, it isn’t a subject about which I have any special insight.

    I don’t know how to “not” materially cooperate with usury yet.

    I am not at all sure it is possible to do so, other than by living ‘off the grid’ I suppose. We live in a very, very interconnected world. The first order of business is to make sure we aren’t engaged in intrinsically immoral behaviors ourselves, nor in formally cooperating with intrinsically immoral behaviors.

  • Mike T says:

    Personally, I found her totally unnecessary and unlikeable. I’m a spiritual descendant of roundheads, after all.

    I thought the dynamic between her and Mal was one of the best parts of the show. In fact, it was probably the most realistic socio-sexual display on the entire show and undermined most of the liberal nonsense that Whedon tried to bring in. At the end of the day, the man she was in love with was not the rich delta males who tried to woo her with fine words and overlooking her character, but the sigma (using Vox Day’s hierarchy here) who called her a whore to her face.

  • Cane Caldo says:

    @Mike T

    I’ll wait a bit for Zippy to respond as to whether he’d prefer I let the Firefly digression die or not.

    …but I do want to say that I know I should have wrote Anglo-Franco-Sino- above. I knew Chino- wasn’t right but I couldn’t think of the proper…anyways…

  • Zippy says:

    Cane:

    Nah, I don’t care. It is my fault anyway.

  • Patrick says:

    I found all the female characters on Firefly irritating. The tough-girl mechanic, the tough-girl second-in-command, the ultra-tough-girl special needs woman. Even secondary characters like the tough-girl redhead manipulator or the tough-girl brothel owner. The only one who wasn’t a tough-girl proper was a whore. But the captain and the mercenary Jayne (girl’s name of course) made it entertaining enough for me to watch.

  • Cane Caldo says:

    @Mike T

    I thought the dynamic between her and Mal was one of the best parts of the show. In fact, it was probably the most realistic socio-sexual display on the entire show and undermined most of the liberal nonsense that Whedon tried to bring in. At the end of the day, the man she was in love with was not the rich delta males who tried to woo her with fine words and overlooking her character, but the sigma (using Vox Day’s hierarchy here) who called her a whore to her face.

    1) Mal is an alpha according to Vox’s chart. Sigma’s don’t need a crew, or at least they think they don’t. Mal needs a crew and revels in having one. He is also deeply concerned with what his crew thinks of him. He can’t bear to leave behind anyone who was in his care; even if he is leaving them in good circumstances.

    2) While it may be true that women ought to love the tough-talking leader (according to socio-sexual dynamics) it doesn’t follow that a leader like Mal ought to fall for a whore. You have ignored that point, or at least left it unmentioned.

    3) There is a pedigree to the Mal and Inara storyline, though: Gunsmoke, Lonesome Dove, Silverado, various Wyatt Earp tales…you can’t throw a rock without hitting a western with a whore-loving cowboy in it. There is a huge difference in the way writers in the past treated the cowboy/whore trope and how Whedon does. Traditionally (heh) cowboys and whores in stories took to each other as various “last resorts”. It might be because she’s the only woman in town, or because he’s a wreck of a former cowboy, or because they both decide they’ve done enough bad things that they don’t deserve someone who is relatively unsullied by their past actions. There are numerous other time-hononered reasons why the cowboy and the whore settle down, and they’re all spelled d-e-s-p-e-r-a-t-i-o-n. (The same pattern persists in noir films; which could be fairly called “desperation films”.) In Firefly, Whedon mostly trashes that paradigm by writing Inara as successful in every way and giving Mal plenty of spirit, i.e., not desperate. (see point 5)

    4) Real whores like money a lot. I’ve never interviewed one, but it seems obvious to me that money and status would trump a lot of good vibrations towards a perpetually-broke space cowboy. Sure, she’d go some rounds with Mal (if he was inclined) because she has feelings for him (and no inhibitions) but a whore isn’t going stop loving money more than good vibrations. I have know some sluts, though, and they know better than anyone how fickle”true love” feelings are, and how foolish it is to follow them.

    5) You’re right that Whedon likes to throw in liberal nonsense. Inara is some of that. The point of the Mal/Inara storyline is to teach the viewers that real men shouldn’t be scared of sexually empowered (worn) women, and that men are letting fear of the same interfere with their own happiness. Related to this is the false equivocation of sex and violence that Whedon employs. If men will just stop calling whores whores and accept their copious sexual history as a gift (just like his fighting experience is the gift of protection) then they can have a super and equal and super-equal relationship of bliss.

    As I wrote I shuffled these points around a bit to try to match them, or make them flow, but there’s a lot of inter-relation.

    As I said above: I find the idea of high status and influential courtesans wholly credible. I don’t, however, find the idea of Mal and Inara committing to each other as even possible. Would he take her onto his crew? Sure: She’s useful. Would he nurse feelings for her? Doubtful…and if he does then it’s against the pattern of realistic socio-sexual dynamics. Against-pattern relationships happen all the time in real-life, but either way Mal and Inara are not an example of “realistic socio-sexual dynamics” that undermine liberal nonsense. Mal and Inara are part of that nonsense.

  • Inara was indeed the worst. The worst episodes of “Firefly” tended to center around her – most infamously with the terrible “Heart of Gold” (the only REALLY terrible episode of the show), but also in the episode “Trash”, which was just a lame rehash of “Ariel”.

    She also tended to mess up the great episodes. Inara is all right when left in the background. But “Jaynestown” is a borderline classic. The main plot is legitimately one of the show’s best, and the ending as moving as any the show ever did. What drags it down is Inara’s plot, which is tacked on, predictable, and lame in comparison – as her stories pretty much have to be. What can you really do with a whore doing her job besides have her, you know, have sex?

    Keep in mind, you’re talking to a super-duper-uber “Firefly” fan. I’ve watched the entire series multiple times. “Serenity” is one of my all-time favorite movies. I think I’ve seen it four times, including with director commentary (outstanding for all you would-be writers, by the way). I’ve had articles published on it. My article “Firefly’s Dark Heart of Gold” is (probably) going to be in the Superversive SF Hugo packet.

    …And the show is at its worst when Whedon decides to take time to preach his weird vaguely creepy social views as opposed to letting his world and characters speak for themselves. That’s why “Out of Gas”, which is an episode steeped in Mal’s libertarianism (which Whedon does not share) is amazing, and “Heart of Gold”, which exists to uplift whores and denigrate families, is lame: One belonged in that universe, the other did not…But I can go on and on about why “Heart of Gold” was a failure on most fronts.

    Mal is the man, though. I was also a great admirer of the underrated Simon as well. There’s a “The Searchers” dynamic there between the two of them.

  • (Now that we’ve heartily committed to the digression – for those who don’t know/remember “Heart of Gold” was the ridiculous episode where Mal and co. went to the frontier planet with the whorehouse, and all the men there were evil patriarchal monsters. The villain was a Bad Man who wanted the whore to give him his son. When she refused on the grounds that it’s better to raise children in whorehouses, he leads an assault on the whorehouse, who, lead by Mal, fight back.

    It ends with the Evil Man – the baby’s father, remember – getting shot in the head by the whore mother. It is implied she becomes the new Queen of the Whores after the death of the previous Queen, who Mal was also somehow mystifyingly attracted to (he slept with her – the previous Queen, that is). The baby is to be raised among the whores, apparently the better for it.

    This episode features such classic scenes as the Evil Man forcing his wife to give him a blow job in front of a cheering crowd. Naturally it was nominated for a Hugo award.

  • Mike T says:

    2) While it may be true that women ought to love the tough-talking leader (according to socio-sexual dynamics) it doesn’t follow that a leader like Mal ought to fall for a whore. You have ignored that point, or at least left it unmentioned.

    Haven’t watched it in a few years, so maybe I don’t remember something, but I don’t recall Mal actually acting on the attraction. What makes Mal stand out from most of the other characters WRT whores is that he might sleep with them, but he doesn’t overlook what they are.

  • Zippy says:

    Cane:

    As I said above: I find the idea of high status and influential courtesans wholly credible.

    “High status and influence” doesn’t quite capture the narrative unreality which kept smacking me in the head and reminding me that I was watching some author’s fantasy. “Respectable, trustworthy, and decent” might be closer. EDIT: “noble” is cognate. The medieval Jewish and Lombard usurers were certainly influential and arguably high status in a sense, but ‘everyone knew’ they were selfish low life scumbags who were going to Hell.

    The few episodes of the show I watched framed the whore as a kind of virtuous influential aristocrat, a princess-prize of a woman. (Of course modern people view aristocrats as selfish scumbags, so me framing it that way might make it more difficult to grokk rather than less, for some folks).

  • Mike T says:

    The medieval Jewish and Lombard usurers were certainly influential and arguably high status in a sense, but ‘everyone knew’ they were selfish low life scumbags who were going to Hell.

    Much of what is wrong with the world today comes from losing the sense captured in the part that follows “but.” Kim Kardashian would just be a floozy and courtesan of sorts rather than a role model if society had a proper view of grace and judgment.

  • Mike T says:

    In a real sense, we struggle with our animal, sinful nature and how it tends to grant status and the proper eternal view of such things. That is how those usurers can simultaneously be high status in a sense and be low life scum in another. It’s not even hypocritical, but the natural result of the divide in even most devout people.

  • buckyinky says:

    Not sure if this is sufficiently on-topic with cafeteria traditionalism, but I’ve been wondering what publications like The Remnant hope to accomplish in publishing obviously unflattering photographs of the Holy Father in silly poses. It may be difficult to find photographs of him that aren’t like this, but I know they’re out there; and there’s always the option of publishing no images at all. If his office is to be revered as tradition informs us, why rub our noses in the fact that his actions make it difficult for us to revere?

    The sedevacantists are understandably scandalized when the traditionalists give the Holy Father treatment that makes him appear to them little more than a celebrity or politician.

  • Historically, where there are aristocrats, one gets high class, influential, respected whores courtesans in the package.

    Whores were respected in Victorian England? Medieval France? The Papal States?

  • Cane Caldo says:

    @AR

    Are you implying none were?

  • Mike T says:

    Whores were respected in Victorian England? Medieval France? The Papal States?

    It’s prostitution when it’s how you get by. It’s upward mobility from a horizontal position when you do it to get ahead (see courtesans and a lot of examples in the modern workplace).

  • Zippy says:

    I think the discussion terms people are using are rather plastic.

    The whore in the show, as best as I can recall, was an independent businesswoman professional or guildschick, answerable only to herself, with the chosen socially noble profession of charging money from clients for sex.

    I think Cane is employing a rather more broad (no pun intended) understanding of women who make mercenary use of sex in his historical claims. When it comes to the historical question I won’t pretend to even care much about the various answers which can be given to either the focused question or to Cane’s characteristically defocused and enfuzzled ‘nothing new under the sun’ reframe.

    The ‘noble pillar-of-the-community independent professional whore’ in the show is a pretty good parallel to the ‘noble pillar-of-the-community independent professional usurer’ in our actual society. That an antisocial rebel character did or didn’t agree with the fictional society’s general approval of whore-as-nobility doesn’t really alter the point.

  • Zippy says:

    buckyinky:

    The sedevacantists are understandably scandalized when the traditionalists give the Holy Father treatment that makes him appear to them little more than a celebrity or politician.

    Agreed. In the age of mass media it is easy to get caught up in the idea that we just have to pay attention to, and react to, everything a Pope says and does. And posting photos of Grumpy Cat in a tiara or whatever does seem counterproductive if the idea is to bolster ‘smells and bells’ Catholic reverence.

  • @Cane

    I am implying that the assertion that being a whore (or in a whore front occupation) was considered respectable in those times and places, is false.

  • Alex says:

    @Buckyinky

    I am not sure either, but I think they may hope that doing so will sufficiently disgust people that they may take some action. The situation right now, I think, is very frustrating. The people who are in position to do something all act with what seems to be very little strength. They seem to refuse to call a spade a spade and while their language may not be as roundabout and unclear as that in some papal documents, they do lack strength.

    I am not trying to justify The Remnant or other similar sites. I think this kind of constant nitpicking of the pope makes them look petty and stupid, which only leaves us worse than where we started. Nor am I trying to condemn bishops, who may well be justified in their actions for reasons I don’t know about. I am just trying to point out that the frustration of it all can make people do stupid things.

  • Cane Caldo says:

    @Zippy

    I think Cane is employing a rather more broad (no pun intended) understanding of women who make mercenary use of sex in his historical claims.

    That’s too (many) broad(s). I limit myself to women who would have been known as taking pay in trade. Kept mistresses should make the list, but women who were merely incontinent would not even if they sometimes gained by their sexual associations.

    Cane’s characteristically defocused and enfuzzled ‘nothing new under the sun’ reframe.

    That’s a long way of saying “timeless”.

    It puzzles me when you–almost randomly–decide to resist the grouping of things into kinds, and reject kinds as a useful reference in deciding how to approach various species.

    The ‘noble pillar-of-the-community independent professional whore’ in the show is a pretty good parallel to the ‘noble pillar-of-the-community independent professional usurer’ in our actual society.

    Totally agree.

    @AR

    I am implying that the assertion that being a whore (or in a whore front occupation) was considered respectable in those times and places, is false.

    Well then it’s a good thing I didn’t say that it was.

    But this is a lame game you’ve played. Under other circumstances we would agree that mistresses and courtesans are species of whores. Of course women called Whores would not be respected then or now. If only mankind were as discriminating with actions as they are with words.

  • @Cane

    If you’re asserting that mistresses were socially respectable in those times and places, you’ll need to support that assertion.

    The game seems to be you trying to use some sort of vague association with . . . something, to discredit aristocracy.

  • Wood says:

    I think the guys at The Remnant are good folks. I hesitated a long time supporting them – mainly for their views on the SSPX combined with my own unease in that situation – but I have now subscribed and enjoy the older articles on art, philosophy, devotions, etc. I skip over the pope stuff, mostly because I think its the same article re-written 4 billion times. Now that Ann Barndhardt is a contributor I might have to reconsider my support. Maybe they are the Catholic version of what (if I’m not mistaken) Zippy has described as the postmoderns? The nebulous “no authority but the traditional Faith” I suppose could really be the answer, but that looks self-contradictory to me.

  • Cane Caldo says:

    @AR

    If you’re asserting that mistresses were socially respectable in those times and places, you’ll need to support that assertion.

    Because influential mistresses among the nobility are news to everyone; nor has anyone ever countenanced the idea that women who share the beds of powerful men have power and, yes, respect.

    The game seems to be you trying to use some sort of vague association with . . . something, to discredit aristocracy.

    Yes, it’s all very mysterious.

  • Mike T says:

    If you’re asserting that mistresses were socially respectable in those times and places, you’ll need to support that assertion.

    Are you implying that being the mistress of a powerful man actually lowered the social status of a woman through most of human history?

  • @Cane

    Again, if you’re asserting that being a mistress was respectable back then, you’re going to need to support that.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    Are you implying that being the mistress of a powerful man actually lowered the social status of a woman through most of human history?

    You’ve changed a question about absolute status into a question about change in relative status. That is known as a red herring.

    Cane:

    It puzzles me when you–almost randomly–decide to resist the grouping of things into kinds, and reject kinds as a useful reference in deciding how to approach various species.

    I do often enjoy your poetic observations, but on many questions you seem to suffer from a characteristically fuzzy thinking.

    The historical question is entirely irrelevant.

    Because even today in 2016, in the good ole U S of A, unambiguous prostitution (of the sort practiced by the character on the show Firefly) is not widely considered a respectable, ennobling, pillar-of-the-community profession. Prostitution may be the oldest profession, but it has literally never, at least in Western society, been considered a noble, pillar-of-the-community profession.

    It is precisely this categorical incongruity that made the show, despite its other merits, unwatchable for me personally. It is also what makes the comparison – between professional usurers and professional whores – work editorially.

    Digressions (whether accurate or inaccurate) about courtesans, mistresses, sexual peccadilloes amongst aristocracies, etc throughout history are entirely beside the point.

    My understanding that those digressions are entirely beside the point is not “almost random”: it is simply a grasp of manifest reality.

  • […] talks about Whitewashing and “pastoral […]

  • Cane Caldo says:

    @Zippy

    Prostitution may be the oldest profession, but it has literally never, at least in Western society, been considered a noble, pillar-of-the-community profession.

    I’ll have to look into this.

  • Cane Caldo says:

    Ok, let’s back up. You wrote this

    But I’ve noticed that I am in the minority in even noticing this as something atrociously implausible socially; which tells me that, despite being born in the midst of the sexual revolution, my social expectations are quite old fashioned. Younger people do not seem to find a legitimately high class whore socially implausible (think “womanizing nerd” to see how it strikes me) the way I do.

    and I found that perfectly reasonable. None of my comments should be read as an attempt to refute it. My opinions on Firefly were meant to

    1) Explain how it is that “younger people” find a “legitimately high class whore” socially plausible
    2) Banter with MikeT about a TV show we’ve both watched.

    In the course of that, I provided historical context…which is where we get to this round’s declaration of “fuzziness”.

    Several times now you have accused me of attempting to hand-wave away problems with “nothing new under the sun”. Maybe it’s a communication problem with our writing styles. I will admit I am a less disciplined thinker and writer than you and many of the bloggers I read.

    Regardless of the reason, when we slightly disagree(1) on a thing–and in the course of my disagreement I either cite context around that thing, or attempt to see through to the essence of a thing–you will write that I’m hand-waving about their being nothing new under the sun. You attempt to discredit my argument because you have imagined I attempted to discredit yours, or that I’m saying something defeatist; as if I mean “Yeah, so what? It’s been around forever and so there’s no reason to concern ourselves with it.” In fact, in every instance I can recall, what I mean is something along the lines of “There’s no reason for fear. It’s not new. Our forebears fought this battle here, here, and here. We can fight it, too.” That’s why it strikes me as “almost random”.

    In other words: You hand-wave that I’m hand-waving when I’m not. It doesn’t happen all the time and that’s why they strike me as almost random. Perhaps those times you don’t are when you like the poetry. I don’t know.

    Back to the present:

    Prostitution may be the oldest profession, but it has literally never, at least in Western society, been considered a noble, pillar-of-the-community profession.

    This seems to be true with the exception Greece (who neighbors the East and it hasn’t been true there for a very long time).

    On the other hand: Only the merest of disguises is necessary to deflect from the charge of prostitution. Under such a mere disguises (mistress, courtesan, porn starlet, Kardashian, madam, whathaveyou), many women have de facto been ennobled with money, celebrity, title, and status. The difference seems to be in the clients and the length of contract. Open-ended whoring with rich and powerful men and which bears plausibly-deniable resemblance to serially- monogamous fornication doesn’t draw the charge. The essence is the same though.

    But, no, prostitution by name is not openly a noble, pillar-of-the-community profession.

    Once one recognizes that the essence is the same, and if one accepts this present nihilism and free-wheeling spiritualism, a We-Are-the-World-Melted-Pot future with high class whores called “Companions” is plausible. In a future with sexbots (SFW link)

    all the low class whores won’t exist. Real live girls will be highly valued.

    (1) It happens most often when we disagree on some minor thing related to the larger point on which we are in near-full agreement.

    NB: This comment contains no “scare-quotes”. Except those.

  • Zippy says:

    Cane:

    On the other hand: Only the merest of disguises is necessary to deflect from the charge of prostitution.

    I’ve always been a big fan of keeping some things in the closet where they belong. The difference between (1) social enforcement of the closeting of vice, when it cannot be eliminated, and (2) celebration of professionalized viciousness as a pillar of the community is, well, essential.

  • Marissa says:

    How come you don’t write posts on W4 anymore? Happy Feast of the Ascension!

  • Zippy says:

    Marissa:
    Playing well with the other children has never been my strong suit. One of two things inevitably happens. Either there is a constant stream of bloody noses and other playground violence, or some of them end up tagging along with me into mischief. Inevitably they all end up in serious trouble, as I watch the mayhem from behind my Teflon trouble shield.

    After a while you (the generic “you”) come to grips with the fact that the one constant in all your troubles is you.

    So anyway, doing my own thing is better for everyone.

  • Dalrock says:

    On the issue of social status for prostitutes and mistresses, I think Cane and Zippy are talking about two different things. Women derive social status primarily from the investment they evoke from men. Quality matters here, so the amount of investment they can demonstrate and the status of the man combine to determine the status benefit the woman receives.

    A publicly recognized mistress of a high status man benefits a great deal from her sexual immorality. A common prostitute on the other hand can’t demonstrate investment from her clients, and even if she could most often the men themselves have little to no status to offer even if they were invested. I may be reading this wrong (and I haven’t watched Firefly), but Zippy seems to be talking about the latter, and Cane is talking about the former.

  • CJ says:

    In Firefly, the crew is a collection of scruffy rogues with hearts of gold. Think Han Solo with a larger crew. They aren’t the most respectable lot, to say the least.

    The prostitute character, Inara, has the highest social status among them, even higher than the Christian pastor on board. There’s one episode where they’re detained by law enforcement in a frontier town, and she’s able to secure their release just by virtue of her status. In a flashback showing how the crew came together, she is able to extract a substantial discount from the captain for renting a shuttle because her presence would lend them respectability.

    The show tries to have it both ways. She belongs to a “Companions guild” can play instruments, and knows everything from fencing to chemistry. She counsels the pastor through a crisis of faith. OTOH, she turns tricks at whatever port the ship visits (but only after a Buddhist tea ceremony!) and has male and female clients. Hookers outside of the guild at derided as common whores. Inara is deeply offended whenever the captain calls her that.

    To hazard a guess, I think what broke Zippy’s suspension of disbelief was the social status afforded to the juxtaposition of cultured courtesan and common whore. She held her status qua Companion, not by association with a powerful man. I suppose the guild was supposed to fill the role of status-granter.

  • Zippy says:

    CJ and Dalrock:

    I think that is about right. To the extent a concubine in a story has any believable social status at all it is derived entirely from her owner and his status; and even then it is dependent upon the extent to which he chooses to make his sexual access to her exclusive. Even just passing her around to his friends lowers her status dramatically, let alone renting her out to whomever has the money.

    A common whore, an independent woman selling sex for money, who has pillar-of-the-community social status, is simply unbelievable in that asininely stupid way that constantly reminds me that I am watching a show. It is like the writer popping onto the screen with a pimply adolescent face every thirty seconds or so saying ‘look at me, I am sexually pathetic and here is my masturbatory fantasy in which I can pay for sex with a high status woman – she isn’t a gutter skank, you jerk!. I know how to write code for decent money, I can get with hot women in a future like that!’

  • CJ says:

    The show does mention that Companions can enter an exclusive long term contract with a client, but there’s no indication that it confers any additional respectability. And in fact, Inara only offers it to a bad guy to convince him not to kill the captain.

    I saw the whole Companion thing as your typical progressive “I’m subvertin’ all your mores, because future” that one generally has to tolerate in sci-fi, so it didn’t pull me out of the show. My biggest problem was the ham handed treatment of the pastor. Atheist writer + Buddhist actor probably wasn’t the best combo for that part. Atheists certainly can write good Christian sci-fi characters (see Babylon 5 “Passing Through Gethsemane”), but Whedon badly mishandled that character.

  • Zippy says:

    CJ:
    I don’t remember how many episodes I watched, but it was probably more than two and less than six. So there is no doubt plenty that I missed; and it was really just this one aspect that kept breaking the fourth wall for me.

    The show does mention that Companions can enter an exclusive long term contract with a client, …

    That doesn’t really solve the problem though, at least for me (now that I’ve thought about it).

    A concubine’s status doesn’t come from the fact that some nerd who happens to have a lot of money paid her to be with him, like buying ( or really leasing) a gold plated toilet.

    It comes from the fact that a powerful man owns her, and keeps her for himself.

    Modernity’s take on even heterosexual relationships is, as usual, very faggy.

  • CJ,
    I do disagree about Shepherd Book. I didn’t like him originally, but having rewatched the show and the movie I view him much more sympathetically than initially.

  • CJ says:

    Malcolm-

    I’d be curious to see how I feel about it after a rewatch. My current opinion is that Book is poorly realized as a Christian clergyman. He comes off as a religiously clad spokesman for Whedon’s conceit that what you believe is not all that important, so long as you believe in something. He more or less says it explicitly in the movie.

    That’s rather pernicious, and it dovetails with the most recent post up at your place (and a point Zippy has made often): SJW’s really do believe in their “principles.” It doesn’t make those principles true, but they sincerely do believe in them. Sincere belief without reference to the content of said beliefs isn’t necessarily virtuous.

    If you’re familiar with Babylon 5, try to imagine Brother Theo in Book’s place in that last scene with Mal in the movie, or in the scene where Book finds River “fixing” his Bible. I think the scenes would’ve gone very differently, and that Theo’s responses would’ve been much more authentically Christian.

  • He comes off as a religiously clad spokesman for Whedon’s conceit that what you believe is not all that important, so long as you believe in something. He more or less says it explicitly in the movie.

    Once again, that’s what I thought initially but on a rewatch I changed my opinion. Whedon obviously doesn’t really believe that; the character of the Operative is evidence of this. Inara specifically says that he’s “A Believer”, which is what makes him so dangerous. So he sees the danger in sincerely held but nevertheless loathsome beliefs.

    Whedon was rejecting nihilism. Book’s advice wasn’t general advice. It was specifically given to MAL. Book was a doctor and Mal was having a heart attack. You stabilize that before you fix the diet. In Book’s case, hewouldn’t have given that advice to the Operative, but he was trusting that Mal was a good man, and would pick a good substitute to nihilism.

    And in fact, Mal made his “driving belief” the truth. Book was right. It’s a good start.

  • Mike T says:

    It seems we’re not much better at understanding free trade, immigration and comparative advantage than we are at understanding the implications of property taxes.

  • Dear Zippy. This REALLY opened my eyes. God Bless you

  • http://www.onepeterfive.com/cardinal-muller-reminds-church-marriage-doctrine/#comment-2665404900

    Fr. RP I am not Spartacus • 19 hours ago

    When I was newly ordained (or, more precisely, just before ordination) I asked the Bishop if it would be possible for the Diocese to lend me enough money to have the old Chalice I was given replated and to buy a Mass Kit for Travel and some vestments. He said of course and set up an appointment for me with the CFO of the Diocese. I presumed that it would be an interest free full recourse loan (I am the one responsible for repayment directly, without security that becomes forfeit should I default and that then fulfills the loan in it’s entirety) , because usury is intrinsically evil. A couple of days later, as I was waiting to meet with the CFO I chatted with the Bishop about the upcoming ordination etc…as I was leaving I jokingly said “Well I have to go now for that meeting with —— to get that loan. At least I won’t be the one going to hell for usury.” Then I laughed. The Bishop’s face reddened and he said, it’s not usury, and the Vatican Bank does it…” I didn’t understand what he was talking about. Then I had the meeting and realized that they were charging me 5% interest on the loan….

    It was usury by definition…charging me for something that doesn’t exist. Not a fee for processing the loan, but interest for making me the loan in the first place in order the Diocese to profit from the loan.

    Imagine, you’re a new priest (or about to be) and the Diocese actually charges you interest on a loan in order for you to get things for the Celebration of the Mass….yet that is exactly what happened to me. Oh, and if I was late on a payment, I got hit with fees and if I missed more than one payment the interest on the loan increased…

    During the meeting I had originally asked if the Diocese would pay my student loan for me and then I could pay them back instead of the Bank, so I wouldn’t get hit with the interest, they told me to stick with the Bank because the Diocese couldn’t match the low interest rate I had with the Bank…!!! They would have charged me more than the Bank did in interest if I had the loan with them. Let that sink in. I gave my whole life to be a Priest for God and serve him in this Diocese. When I went to seminary, the seminarian was held responsible for paying for his own undergraduate degree, even though that degree was a prerequisite for Major Seminary. Even after he was ordained, he still had to pay for the student loan for his undergraduate degree that he had to get in order to enter major seminary. I still make student loan payments…for my philosophy degree, and for the expense I was charged for attending my own Diocese’ college seminary!

    I understand the analogy with Usury quite well.

  • Zippy says:

    Interesting MJY.

  • Anchises says:

    You’ve compared usury to slavery in the past, but it occurs to me that there is one important sense in which the usurer is actually worse than the owner of a chattel slave. A man who buys a slave at a slave market does not make the slave’s condition objectively more degraded- he was already a slave before he was purchased, and does not become “more slavey” afterward. The usurer, on the other hand, not only unjustly transforms a formerly free person into a form of property, but does so in a fashion by which his condition can perpetually worsen (if he continually fails his payments). The usurer, then, is not like a slaveowning planter who benefits from an existing evil, but rather like a slaver who creates new evil as he kidnaps free men and sells them for profit. (For the same reason, even many Antebellum proponents of Southern slavery were repulsed and disgusted by slave importers who did business in Africa).

  • Zippy says:

    Anchises:

    Good point.

    In addition to that, Calvin Elliott observed that, unlike a slave owner

    The usurer has no personal interest in his slave. He has no care for his health or his life; they are of no interest to him. He may live in a distant state and has no anxiety about those who serve him. Their personal ills give him no concern.

    A usurer, by the nature of the arrangement, has less care for those whom he enslaves for his own ends than the owner of a horse has for the horse.

  • Whores were respected in Victorian England? Medieval France? The Papal States?

    Sodomy had reared its ugly head (yeah, sick puns) in such dramatic fashion that in Catholic Florence, the City Fathers hired belled-whores (bells on their hats) to walk amongst the sodomites and tempt them back to masculinity.

    In Catholic Venice, the same sodomitic sickness obtained and so the then Doge and his boys placed nekkid whores in buildings with large windows so the passing sodomites would be tempted back to masculinity.

    One can still see and walk across the Ponte de tette (bridge of Tits) in Venice today.

  • CJ says:

    Eh. You might hire the Visigoths to fight the Huns. Doesn’t mean you actually respect the Visigoths.

  • Mike T says:

    Sodomy had reared its ugly head (yeah, sick puns) in such dramatic fashion that in Catholic Florence, the City Fathers hired belled-whores (bells on their hats) to walk amongst the sodomites and tempt them back to masculinity.

    Would have been cheaper, and probably more effective, to chuck a few of them off the top of Il Duomo.

  • CJ.. Knowing Italians and their appreciation of feminine pulchritude, I suspect they did have at least a modicum of more respect for their whores than did…

    I mean, come on, even the whore’s puttanesca sauce, for crying out loud, is a measure of our respect for them whereas what culinary creations did the visigoths famously contribute to man?

    Boiled cabbage?

  • donnie says:

    Zippy,

    Have you seen the comment section of this recent Remnant article?

    http://remnantnewspaper.com/web/index.php/catholic-social-teaching/item/2552-testem-benevolentiae-nostrae-americanism-and-pope-leo-xiii

    One of the commenters there is clearly a reader of yours.

  • Zippy says:

    Well at least someone reads here haha. Thanks for pointing it out donnie.

  • Anymouse says:

    I am in all serious going to jump into the Geisha discussion over 30 days after it began.

    Distinction between urban and rural geisha. The latter basically just high end prostitutes. The former were highly professionalized and cartelized.

    Urban geisha were not prostitutes. They were sometimes concubines/lovers of a of sponsor, but they could not in any way offer sexual services to rank and file clients because that would have been a violation of the regulations that protected the brothel cartel (who did not want competition), and would have cheapened them. Many left the field as virgins to get married to former sponsors. They did, and do offer pure entertainment. Music, conversation, etc. Adds a feminine charm to dinner parties full of businessmen. And nowadays, when no-one goes into this field of entertainment, they are basically impossible to book without a referral they say.

  • […] noticed a tendency in cafeteria traditionalist or conservative commentary to treat the opinions and selective saint-citation of dead clergymen or […]

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