Wednesday, January 31, 2007

I can set you up with his manager, if you want...

As some of you may know, Cathy's boyfriend Dylan is an artist. Quite a good one, too.

For me, one benefit of this is that Jan and I have original art decorating our apartment.

One of the things I really like about his art is that without being boring he has a distinctive style. His work is recognizably his. It doesn't look like someone trying to copy Monet or Picasso or whoever. It looks like Dylan T. Farrell. Yet each piece really is different.

It also bears looking at for a long time. I feel that it stands up to close examination. He has real talent.

I'm no art critic, and confess that I am woefully uneducated in art history and art appreciation and such. But to use a cliche, I may not know much, but I know what I like.


Blogger forced me to change to the new blogger. I'm not impressed.

So ... it's been awhile.

I don't know what to tell you.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Sin of Snobbery

In his work Heretics G.K. Chesterton writes of heresy:

In former days there heretic was proud of not being a heretic. It was the kingdoms of the world and the police and the judges who were heretics. He was orthodox. He had no pride in having rebelled gainst them; they had rebelled against him. ... The man was proud of being orthodox, was proud of being right. If he stood alone in a howling wilderness he was more than a man' he was a church. He was the centre of the universe; it was round him that the stars swung. All the tortures torn out of forgotten hells could not make him admit that he was heretical . But a few modern phrases have made him boast of it. He says, with a conscious laugh, 'I suppose I am very heretical,' and looks round for applause.

Heresy is still, in our own age, far too often considered something to be proud of—when to anyone who really knows the meaning of the word is should be something to be vehemently denied. But perhaps worse today is the attitude toward snobbery.

Snobbery was once understood as a manifestation of pride. Pride—which C.S. Lewis considered the most demonic (rather than animal) of sins. Sneering, dismissive pride, which considers other people as insignificant. Pride, which demeans and dismisses God's image, and God himself.

Yet I've heard many people admit to snobbery with a tone of boasting rather than of confession. I've done it myself, and far more often I've privately congratulated myself on my snobbery. Too often we consider snobbery to be evidence of good taste. Especially when it comes to art—literature, visual arts, music—snobbery is touted as evidence of refinement and judgment.

It is debatable whether aesthetic judgments are objective or subjective. I personally am inclined to believe that there really is a difference between good literature and bad literature, good music and bad music, and that the difference is more than my own taste. However, the snobbish wholesale dismissal of certain kinds of art will necessarily impoverish a person's experience. Worse, snobbery is more than dismissing bad art, it is contempt for the producers and consumers of bad art. It is an implicit denial of the value, of the humanity of some people. It is blasphemy, for it is contempt for the image of God.

I am not immune to the sin of snobbery. I don't think anyone is. But it is a sin, and when we are clearsighted enough to recognize it in ourselves we should struggle against it, ask God for help to conquer it, seek forgiveness, not boast of our sin as if it were proof of our enlightenment or our quality. It is evil, and when I succumb to it is indeed proof of my quality.

God have mercy on me, a sinner.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Monday, January 08, 2007

How I spent my Christmas Vacation

It was a good Christmas.

No, scratch that, it was a great Christmas.

Niagara Falls was warm, and kinda rainy, and weather-wise, a little depressing. There was no snow. When we arrived, my sister Cathy, her boyfriend Dylan and their daughter Freda were already there, so we got to spend some time with them. Freda has grown a whole lot since we saw her last—she looks like a small person instead of a muppet.

My brother James, his wife Janine and their three children Zara, Caleb, and Elijah, live in St. Catharine's just 10 minutes from Niagara Falls, so we got to spend quite a bit of time with them too.

Finally, my oldest sister Jill and her partner India arrived on Christmas Eve, and we spent one evening hanging out with them, playing spades, chess and boggle.

It's been a while since my whole family has been together, and even longer since we were all together while all getting along.

A few highlights of the trip:

India suggested a game of basketball, and she, Jill, James, Janine, Cathy, Dylan, Jan and I ended up playing a few three-on-three games, which was a lot more fun that I expected it to be.

Teaching both Jan and India to play chess. Jan had no trouble remembering how the pieces moved, but had trouble with the strategy. India was very strategic, but couldn't remember which piece was which. I'm sure that should tell me something about their respective characters, but I'm not sure what.

We went on a big ferris wheel with my dad, who was very nervous. It's not kind to mock him, but it is fun.

Spending New Years' Eve with Zara, Caleb and Elijah, and—after they all went to bed—with Cathy and Dylan.

We got to spend some real time with everyone, and it was, all in all, a fabulous trip. Check out Jan's Musings for more.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Return of the Moffetts

We're back from Niagara. Tired but happy. Will write more soon re: adventures.