Archive for January 5th, 2014

“Writing” Icons?


It has always bothered me when people insist that icons are “written”, not painted. I understand the logic: icons are a word of God in line and color.  And one needs a certain knowledge of symbolic language to “read” them. But this insistence has always seemed wrongheaded; I always pointed out to my students that if icons are “written” they are written in paint, and thus “painting icons” is perfectly acceptable. And it bothered me because this judgement is usually rendered with a sense of superiority, as if the advocate of “written” icons is somehow privy to some sort of arcane knowledge.

There is quite the discussion of the subject on the Orthodox Arts Journal site, with both sides of the thing presenting their arguments; scroll down a bit and there are three posts on the subject: http://www.orthodoxartsjournal.org/:

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Because sometimes the best answer to moral evil is mockery. Here Mr Stewart, who is Jewish, puts a certain kind of Catholic in his place. And thanks to the Alliance Catholic Worker for calling my attention to this….

And speaking of sarcasm, here is world class smart ass Mark Shea’s summation of how the Right is handling this problematic pope:

“The shout down strategies that are emerging from the Manufacturers of Thought for the Thing that Used to be Conservatism across the Rightwingsphere media are a mix of the following:

  • the pope is evil and an enemy of the True Faith and only the conservative dissenter embodies this;
  • the pope’s evil viziers are evil and are leading him astray from the true faith that only the conservative dissenter truly embodies;
  • the pope is stupid and naive and doesn’t understand what he is talking about, due to his Ivory Tower clerical ignorance of the Real World, or his Third World Argentinian bumpkinness that does not grasp the power and glory of American capitalism, embodied now only by faithful conservative dissenters who really know what’s going on and who also embody the true Catholic faith;
  • the pope is a vain rock star caught up with the hype of damn libruls who love him and is just saying crap to keep up his stock with them, unlike the conservative dissenter who embodies the true Catholic faith by resisting the siren call of media popularity;
  • the pope is a well-meaning sentimentalist who does not understand hard facts of life.  Real Catholics (i.e. dissenting conservatives) pat him on the head and then set about the real work of real people in the real world as they embody the ideal of the faith in hard work and business as usual;
  • the pope is a meddling fool who is trying to destroy the Church, unlike the conservative dissenter, who embodies all that is right and true about the Faith;
  • the pope has been totally mistranslated and it is impossible to tell what he means at all. Maybe someday an absolutely perfect translation will be made. But till that time we need to just ignore him and stick to the teachings of conservative dissenters, who embody all that you really need to know about *real* Catholic teaching;
  • the pope is a liberal mole bent on destroying both the Church and our way of life due to his Marxist hatred of God, puppies, and free enterprise.  Dissenting conservatives, who embody the real faith, can see this clearly;
  • the pope is trying to destroy the work of his predecessors in his unbridled malice toward Real Catholics and his love of the Church’s enemies. Dissenting conservatives, who embody the real faith, can see this clearly;
  • the pope is not speaking infallibly and, as everybody knows, that means you are completely at liberty to totally ignore what he says and pay attention to the really sober and reliable tropes, slogans, and nostrums of conservative dissenters who are drawing a discreet veil over the out of control old Marxist in the Vatican until this unfortunate bout of papal Tourette’s syndrome passes. It is their office to do this since they embody what it means to be a Real Catholic and it is therefore their job to defend the Church from the pope as brave Larry Kudlow, courageous Stuart Varney, and gutsy Adam “Francis is Obama, God help us” Shaw have stepped up to do.”

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