Thursday, May 30, 2013

Why I'm Not Overly Excited About the Gosnell Verdict

Kermit Gosnell
The reports on the Kermit Gosnell case flared up, received as little attention as was possible, and were quickly ditched in honor of a different type of horror house.  During the miniature uproar, proud pro-lifers and staunch abortion advocates stood up, convinced that the chilling stories, heart-wrenching images, and bloody evidence would convert everyone to their viewpoints.  Pro-lifers cried, "We told you so!" and desperately tried to explain to the public that all abortions were done in these violent ways, that these "tools of mass destruction" were shared by even the cleanest abortion clinics, and that- just as the babies whose spines had been cut were murder victims, the children who are disassembled in their mothers' wombs hourly are victims also.  But just as they declared the need to turn away from this violent form of child abuse, the pro-choice sides pulled out their now cliché hangers, waving them as reminders of the filthy, dangerous, pre-Planned-Parenthood, back-alley abortions and warning America that if they outlawed abortion, they were just asking for all women to be subjected to treatment like Gosnell's. 

Well, both sides managed to create such a noisy havoc that neither side won.  Though the Gosnell case did open some people's eyes to the truth about what abortion is, for many it only solidified their belief that offering birth control and "safe, legal" abortion was necessary.  Despite this, what the pro-choice side tries to sell the public is deceptive, and the graphic images which came out of Gosnell's facility are not that different from the horrific sights abortion "doctors" see every day.  The suffering, scars, hurts, and wounds which Gosnell's customers were left with are identical to the lasting pains "safe and legal" abortion procedures cause.  Unfortunately, the media did not take this angle.

To a certain degree, justice was done.  Kermit Gosnell was found guilty of first-degree murder, but only of three babies who were delivered alive before being killed.  Though I am happy that he will suffer punishment for his outrageous abuses against life, I would have been happier to see him convicted for numerous murders- murders which jars of body parts promise existed. 

Which is why, though I am pleased that he was found guilt of something, I feel that other, more clear and triumphant victories which have upheld the pro-life cause and their growing power give more reasons to celebrate.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Great Gatsby's Relevance

The Great Gatsby, the popular American novel known for depicting the Roaring 20′s with striking honesty, is now a major motion picture, starring the great Leonardo DiCaprio and superhero Tobey Maguire. As I read the book, I had a chilling sensation as I realized that our culture seems to be sliding back into the sinful, sexual habits of that long-gone era. That being said, this book’s story and message are particularly appropriate for the young adults of this age, who are being told by everything, everywhere, that a promiscuous lifestyle is fun, normal, and painless.

Unlike today’s sitcoms, the characters in Gatsby are living glamorous lifestyles, but are not happy with them. The narrator’s cousin Daisy is married to a handsome polo player (though he would rather not be known as such) whose frequent extramarital affairs cause her constant grief. Her husband himself carries on these affairs despite the pain they cause, affairs which not only pull him into adultery, but his mistresses as well. The narrator, Nick Carraway, is repeatedly put in the uncomfortable position of being trusted with scandalous secrets which he did not want to know or keep.

Gatsby himself outshines the filth of the culture around him because he is carrying a love which is more pure and unfailing than the affairs of his frequent house guests, the people of New York, who flock to the over-the-top parties he opens his house up to weekly. His love lasted for five lonely years, as he watched the object of his affection marry for money (partially out of necessity), and he fashioned his whole life around trying to win her back. Unfortunately, though Gatsby’s love is much deeper and more beautiful than that of most, he also makes the mistake of fashioning his life around an earthly love, a worldly longing, as opposed to an eternal one.

Thus, when Gatsby stoops to join the society around him in his efforts to be with his love again, his foundation being built on an unattainable, fallen person, he must suffer the consequences that come with believing “the end justifies the means”. Though his hope is unfailing- and is a virtue to be admired- it was misplaced, and thus failed him. But he is not the only one who suffers, and no one walks away from the glittering Long Island scene without scars.

The movie, which has been receiving quite a bit of mixed attention, captures the suffering endured in
a way which shocked me. Honestly, I had expected Hollywood to soften an ending which warns against the very lifestyle the cinemas sell to their viewers. But this adaptation of the classic novel does its job well, in my opinion. I enjoyed DiCaprio’s Gatsby, and felt he captured the magic, desperation, vulnerability, and virtue of the legendary figure effectively, while the rest of the cast performed well also, though Maguire’s Nick was dry at times.

Many people have complained about the soundtrack, which incorporates modern rap and hip-hop music and is set against the vibrant scenes, but the music helps fulfill a greater purpose – it takes this story and helps make it modern. As the director himself explained, “It’s gotta feel modern, of the moment.” This relevant feeling helps the audience to realize that the short thrills and long-suffering is not something of the past, but something that could happen again, could happen here and now, could happen to them.

Because there was one scene which went further than I feel was necessary, I would not recommend this to anyone not yet in the older years of ”teenagehood”. That being said, I feel that this book has a particularly important message, which this generation needs to hear. Within The Great Gatsby, Pope John Paul II’s words about the degradation of intimacy are played out. As the Blessed Pope wrote in his well-know Evangelium Vitae, “…sexuality too is depersonalized and exploited: from being the sign, place and language of love, that is, of the gift of self and acceptance of another, in all the other’s richness as a person, it increasingly becomes the occasion and instrument for self-assertion and the selfish satisfaction of personal desires and instincts.” As the pages of the book and the scenes of the movie progress, the false, shimmering depiction of the shallow sexual lifestyle is betrayed, and exposed in all of its confusion and emptiness.

Though the book teaches a somber lesson, the reader is not left without hope or inspiration. Gatsby’s virtues, though misguided, are admirable, and hint at the heights one can reach when he holds onto hope unceasingly. And through Nick Carraway the brilliant author, F. Scott Fitzgerald, leaves his audience with a promise for a better future, if only they would “take arms against the sea of troubles” in the spirit of Shakespeare, and create a future that is brighter than the past:
Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter- to-morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther… And one fine morning-
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
May this honest tale of disappointed hopes and wayward souls inspire this generation to rise above its influences, to place their hopes in a light more bright than green, and to finally reach that goal which all their lives should be striving towards- a goal which is truly worth fighting for.

Written for and originally published at Catholic Stand.

Monday, May 13, 2013

I'm Back Again!

Hello dear followers!

Long time, no "see"!  I apologize sincerely!  My computer had a blocking system which disabled me from being able to access my editing dashboard; now that the problem has been resolved, I will be able to update things here more regularly!

Quite a lot has happened in the last few months of my absence.  We have a new Pope- first of all- the wonderful Pope Francis.  The Gosnell case surrounding Philadelphia's House of Horrors has finally begun to receive long-overdue media coverage, especially now that he has been found guilty of first-degree murder, though the heart-breaking case in Cleveland has now become front-and-center.

There are some long-awaited movies coming out, and some interesting topics on the horizon, so I thank you all for your great patience and invite you to continue to follow me as I attempt to tackle as much of the upcoming news as possible!

God bless!