I'm doing some thinking...

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I'm stepping out on a limb, here, because I know that many St. Blog's folks probably read and enjoy the New Oxford Review. The magazine budget around here only stretches so far, and I enjoy First Things, Touchstone and crisis enough that there has never been a reason to drop one to pick up another. I have occasionally had the opportunity to read an issue of NOR here or there, courtesy of a friend who has a subscription and would toss me a back issue or two when she was in the midst of cleaning and organizing.

Before I go further, let me say that I have long seen their advertisements in National Review and have thought them funny, in a dark sort of way. Mama T is NOT without her dark side.

But I just finished looking at the September issue. Or as finished as I will ever be with it. It is the oddest feeling. While sharing many of the same basic beliefs as the writers in this publication (particularly the article about "When You Get a Letter from the Diocese"--sorry, McBaby's asleep in the other room, I can't get the magazine for the exact reference), I have never felt so, so, so....I don't know--slimey? soiled? something. The whole experience of reading it was just.......eeeeeuuuuuwwww.

Maybe it's a "girl thing." Maybe men, or better women than I, can read the magazine and react simply intellectually to the arguments. But I found it so very adolescent in its adamant conviction of its own righteousness and truthfulness. And I'm not a stranger to being adamant in the conviction of my own righteousness! I don't, however, think that those are my best moments--the ones I will be most proud of when I stand before Christ. But then maybe that's just me.

In praying the daily office lately, we have read through some of the OT prophets--who had harsh messages to give Israel. Unsugar-coated to the extreme. But it didn't seem like those OT prophets took any delight AT ALL in giving Israel the message. In fact, their response was almost the opposite. "Please, don't make me say this. I don't WANNA!"

Perhaps that is what seems missing to me in what I read in NOR. The sense of broken-heartedness over the message. "Oh, how I wish I didn't have to tell you this." It seemed, at least to this Mama, that any broken-heartedness had morphed into some sort of angry glee over pointing out the failures of others....

Anyway, it caught me by surprise. I truly didn't expect to have such a visceral reaction to a group of folks with whom I probably share more beliefs in common than not.

Then, last night as I was reading in bed, I came across something that seemed appropriate. It's from Fr. Groeschel's book A Still, Small Voice: A Practical Guide on Reported Revelations. I'll post it later, as morning prayer calls for me now.....


Dear Summa,

Yes, you have precisely articulated my response to the magazine. The word I'd use is "unctuous." Keep to the good magazines you read. NOR makes some very fine points, but nothing the others don't do with a great deal more class and panache.



I know what you mean about the tight mag budget. I wish they could combine First Things and Touchstone, throw in New Yorker's cartoons plus some cleaning hints and funky decorating tips. There would be everything I look forward to....all in one mag. (ads for beauty products, contraceptives and quick loss potions would be strictly taboo!)


i only like NOR during certain times of the month when i'm typically feeling a little randy and testosterony. . . is that a word?

I was reading Cardinal Newman's letters today and he said that his virtiol directed at Kingsley was not that he hated him - he said he didn't know him, i.e. had never met him - but that it was because his assertion that he was truly convinced of the truth of Rome and would not be believed if he'd responded in a calm matter. Interesting.

That said, I've never read NOR. I think the Pope is pulling us in the opposite direction (i.e. towards more gentleness) and so I'm going to try to follow the commander although I struggle with that, especially regarding the Iraq War since he's appears to be against it.

MamaT -- I am so with you on that "dirty" feeling. I let my subscription drop about three years ago because I had a similar feeling after having read it of having been soiled somehow -- something like embarrassment or guilt, like I'd been caught doing something shameful and wrong.

I'm not sure I'd use the word "unctuous," since that carries connotations of making some effort to please or ingratiate. (The thesaurus gives fulsome as the first synonym: too obviously extravagant or ingratiating to be accepted as genuine or sincere and goes on to suggest glib, honey-mouthed, honey-tongued, ingratiating, mealy-mouthed, oily-tongued, smooth, smooth-tongued, suave; buttery, flattering, wheedling

As opposed to the NOR, which seems to glory in its abrasive tone ("offended? then we're doing our job, you complacent mealy-mouthed pew-sitting uncatechized wimp!)"



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This page contains a single entry by MamaT published on October 11, 2004 7:17 AM.

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