What’s happened to the mommies?

I noticed something a while ago and it’s got me thinking about our daughters and the messages we’re letting the world send them, and the examples we’re setting. It started as a casual (if annoyed) observation and led to a pondering.

I’d seen some time ago that Dora the Explorer was removed from Netflix. Don’t know why, contract ended or whatever. All Nickelodeon content is gone and replaced with Cartoon Network, which doesn’t even bother with semi-educational programs for kids. Not their niche, fine. But I live in a house with a little girl who loves Dora and is desperately in love with Diego. Her heart beats for Diego. No kidding. She’s learned to live without her love and their TV trysts. She just pretends he’s still there. (Sounds kind of like me from the age of thirteen onward.)

Today the kids found the Bratz cartoon. Seriously? We went from Dora to Bratz, with no second look? It makes me cringe. I’m pretty sure ‘Bratz’ is shorthand for ‘baby hoodrats,’ and they’re certainly not models for any child I want to share a house with. Goodbye Dora, a smart, helpful, friendly girl whose passions included polyglossary and blueberries, who could look past her best friend’s freakish physical defects and boot fetish and love him for his deeper character. Instead of that model for our girls to admire, we have Bratz. Makeup-wearing, pouting, catty hooker-hatchlings in skimpy clothes. Those characters for whom the most admirable nobility is to be cool, look hot, be the prettiest, rather than to be a faithful, honorable friend wherever one is needed.

Then I thought, How did we get here? How did we get to a place where the dolls made for little girls to play with were such nauseating springboards for pretend play?

But it’s demand, of course. Little girls want to be big girls. Little girls want to look like the women influences they admire–their big sisters, their moms and aunts, the women they see their women influences influenced by. Little girls want to look and act grown-up, and right now, grown-up means sex. So we have Bratz dolls, with bedroom eyes and pouty lips. We get Victoria’s Secret marketing for teens and pre-teens, with little product change (girls’ panties that read “Call me” on the crotch?)

Thinking more on this I realized that it’s nothing new. Little girls have always modeled older girls and women. It isn’t the girls who have changed and become more sexual at an earlier age, it’s the women who have changed and are modeling something very different than little girls used to imitate.  What did little girls used to play with? What did they pretend, in the not-so-long-ago?

They pretended they were mommies. They had babies and nurtured them. They modeled care and love and tenderness. Little girls walked their baby dolls in strollers, fed them from magical bottles with disappearing mystery juice, even changed their diapers. They pretended to change diapers, for Pete’s sake! You could get dolls that pooped! Little girls wanted to model their mommies so much they made up ways to clean poop. That’s how much little girls want to be like their grown-up role models.

There was Barbie, of course, but even in her ridiculous, impossible proportions she was a woman girls could safely look up to. She had one boyfriend for, what, sixty years? She was faithful (except for flings with GI Joe, but those were fantasies sold separately). She had a little sister she took care of (like my sister! thinks the little girl playing Barbies). She cared for and nurtured her family. I don’t think she ever had children of her own, but she was always very young. But she had a career! Dozens of careers! She was an educated, skilled young woman with ambition, with goals, and determination to achieve them. Even the most ditzy, air-headed blonde bimbo of the doll world let girls aspire to greatness (I can be a veterinarian! Or a mermaid!)

So even in the eighties when the big deal was women overtaking the workplace and breaking the glass ceiling and looking like hair-helmeted linebackers and damned if they needed a man, at least the girls had something to copy. They had babies, or they had careers. Now they have party girls.

What do little girls see their mother doing nowadays? What are they copying? Apparently nurturing and caring for babies and children is a long way down the priorities list (although still hanging on as some of us insist on seeing pregnancy and childbirth not as life-ruining debilitating diseases, but sort of a higher calling, a mission from God). Makeup and looking sexy and being fun and ready to party, being cool and desired by all the boys are what they’re copying now. Their value derived not from their loving life-giving to other people but their desirability, their wantedness as a commodity.

Does Mom read Cosmo for sex tips (The Same Fifty Lame Ideas We Had Last Month! With More Puns! Innuendo! Be Selfish!) or catch up on celebrity gossip (she may not look like a Kardashian but even little girls can see whom Mommy idolizes)? Is her time spent on going out with friends whenever she can, or at home cheerfully serving and loving her family? Is there a healthy scad of drunk poses on Mommy’s FaceBook page? To whom does she talk on the phone, and about what? Daughter dear is listening. She is absorbing. She is repeating, in her playroom, with her dolls. She is learning that there’s no amount of thigh that’s inappropriate to show. She’s learning that boys must want her, for what she’s not exactly sure but is quickly learning because Mom watches her shows.

We’re teaching our girls. They’ve always modeled Mommy, but Mommy has changed over the last couple decades. Mommy doesn’t primarily take care of children, they’re a side effect of her exciting party life.

I admit, I didn’t play with babies when I was a little girl. I was the youngest and never saw my mother with babies until I was past the age of playing with dolls. My mother wasn’t a party girl, but she was a lot of things. Maybe she was too many things for me to model accurately, too many essences to distill down to one role. She was a student, a nurse, a mother, a tutor. She was an artist and an expert of the symbols of grave markers. She sculpted and painted and drew and cut the portraits of the departed into granite. She worked and taught and snuggled and lost her temper (things I’m learning about now) and said funny things when she was half-asleep. I played my own games, my animals exploring, getting married, doing what they dreamed. I ‘arted,’ and still do, and am teaching my children to art now too. I learned what I loved and I played in cemeteries and brought home baby mice named after the headstones under which they were found, or adopted nests of cemetery bunnies and returned them, very much deceased, back to their cemetery nests.

I think there were maybe too many things my mother did for me to consciously imitate (I’m a mommy, too!). But the more I think of it, the more I think maybe it was ingrained, just the same. The imitation was so deep and multifaceted I perhaps never attributed it to being ‘just like Mommy.’ But I do now so much of what she did then. What money I make is as an artist. I teach my children and work in my home and lose my temper with my children and hold them on my lap and just love them.

Even with vague, or perhaps rather very complex, roles of role models, girls imitate. They copy their older women. Now we, as the older women, as the grown-ups, the mothers and aunts, have to give them something worth imitating, or God help their daughters who will be imitating them.

Why the Mayan Doomsday Enamored Us


Yesterday, of course, marked the end of the world, according to those who put their faith in prophecies of a dead civilization that somehow saw the end of the world, but not the end of their own empire. I’m sure we’re all equally shocked that gravity did not reverse and the ground did not open and swallow us into the molten core of the planet. Some disappointment, too.

But the end of the world prophecies happen every few years and are a pet passion of Americans in particular. We’ve had more than our fair share of end-times prophets giving dates and revising dates and then offering explanations when the dates come and go and there’s no worldwide cataclysm and no rapture. Of course the Europeans flirt with the occasional apocalyse panic, especially at the end of the first millenium and during the ravages of the plague, but like French fries and German chocolate cake, America really grasped the concept and mastered it. (On a side note, I can see why we haven’t named any of our foods after England. Trifle? Blech.)

Although the Mayans (and all the others) were wrong, the end is coming. It’s taking a while, but it will get here eventually. You could be walking down the street and a blood clot will lodge itself in your brain or your lung and pow, the world has ended. Oh, not what we were talking about? But I think it is. It’s easier, and a lot more gratifying, to think of the entire world splitting in half, incinerating billions of people, than to think that someday, you yourself may cease. Playing with end-times scenarios gives us the feeling that even though “the end” happens, there are ways to survive if we are prepared, if we are brave, if we paid attention to the warning signs and did not sit by and continue as though the world would go on forever, people marrying and giving in marriage. We like those romantic stories where the end happens, the world is gone, but we are alive.


But it’s just a roundabout way of approaching, in a less immediate, terrifying way, the reality of our own end. We all know it’s coming. We all know someone it’s happened to. Every man owes a death and, be all our sins forgiven, that debt must still be paid. There was a time when you were not, and there will be a time when you are no longer. It’s an eventuality we all face to varying degrees of maturity, either by having a will written or by daydreaming about asteroids.


The movies and zombie apocalypse shows are on (vaguely) the right track, though. Even at the end of the world–our world–we can survive. If we are prepared, if we are brave, if we have paid attention to the signs and acted. Oh yeah, you’ll still die, but if you’re ready for it, the end of your life isn’t the end of you. Just as the tiny smithereens of post-meteor-impact Earth will persist in a different form, so will you continue on, changed from what you are now. Prepare your soul, fight the good fight, endure to the last, be transformed rather than conformed to the world. We are living in a world that is not our home, we are foreigners, restless travelers that will not see our destination in this life, but we must be at peace and ultimately welcome that, because our home is greater than our exile. The imperfect world will pass or we will pass from it, but its greatest glories, its most stunning beauties, pale in comparison to the Vision that awaits if we are prepared. If we have been brave. If we have not mistaken life as it is now as life as it is meant to be. If we have acted in this life to make ourselves fit for the next.

Before stocking up for the next superflu pandemic, stock up on virtues, prayer, and sacrifice. Pray for those who have already faced the end of the world and are stepping, either bravely or fearfully, into the next. Live comfortably with the reminder that the end is near, nearer for you than for this rugged little planet, and prepare yourself for that last journey. There is, after all, a reason the Last Sacrament is called Viaticum. 

Top Ten Reasons why Catholicism is so Goth


Don’t forget that scary heavy metal upside down cross… that St Peter rocked two thousand years ago!

Originally posted on Catholic With A Vengeance +++:

Top-Ten Reasons why Catholicism is So Goth.


1.)  We speak an arcane tongue.

Latin is one of the most mysteriously beautiful and ancient languages.

Its sound, rhythm and flow are almost magical, timeless and can be quite creepy in the dark. Our millennia-old Latin may seem cold as stone, foreboding as death, angry as fire or ecstatic as the throes of passion.



2.)  We pray and worship over tombs.

Yep, at least our predecessors did. A prime place for early Christian worship was deep in the catacombs, right over a martyr’s tomb. In this dark place, we lit candles, sang psalms and celebrated Mass. For centuries, tombs reminded us of our hope for eternal life, the shortness of mortality and our fear, pretty much, of nothing.



3.)   Ash Wednesday.

Where can you go, have black ashes smeared on your forehead and get told “Remember man…

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Abstraction in Religious Art and why it’s bad (and not just because I don’t particularly care for abstracts)

This is something I’ve been thinking about a while, especially since I started the Divine Mercy painting I may either be currently working on or finished with (I haven’t decided yet). I usually do quite a bit of research (read: Googling) for a piece in sketch-phase, either for poses or details or, in this case and with iconography, to get my symbols right and not have a picture that ‘says’ the wrong thing. This isn’t as much of a problem with nonreligious works like Octopus or Three Skulls, which don’t particularly have any meaning beyond the image itself–aesthetic value. Allegorical pieces like Vanitas that rely on symbolism benefit from acknowledging the common language of symbols in order to convey its message, but even then the symbols may be skewed or played with to the same effect (like the change from the memento mori’s common butterfly to a jet with contrail in the distance, or the modernized symbols of success and worldliness).

But with religious images there are more hard-and-fast, if unwritten, rules or understandings that bear heavily upon the message of the piece. When you’re making a piece with some kind of religious significance, the execution bears on what the ultimate message is. For example, the essential style of the piece–is it a faithful representation (not necessarily photographic) or an abstraction? Symbols and details aside, this facet gets under my skin, especially when used in churches, where religious icons should be held to a higher standard of orthodoxy than one would expect in a secular coffee house or gallery.

For centuries the Church has used images as a way to preach the Gospel to the illiterate or ignorant, through icons, statues, stained glass windows, and paintings beyond number. Clarity of message is absolutely necessary if the Gospel, doctrine, practice, or application of the faith is to be understood by the viewer. When an image rather than literature is used to convey truths of the faith it is paramount that the image be faithful in its content and not mislead the viewer, whose only exposure to the Truth may be through illiterate means.

For example, during my research for the Divine Mercy I found several pictures of the very common theme in nonabstract, representational (if not photorealistic) form. Here is the original image created at the direction of St Faustina Kowalska:

  (The banner along the bottom reads, “Jesus I trust in You.”)

This is a recognizable human form, yes? And yet, faithful to Catholic dogma, there are also nonhuman elements, notions that point to the divine–the glow and halo, the mystical rays from His wounded side, the hand raised in divine benediction. Because, of course, Jesus was not only fully human but also fully God. As an image it is representative of both His human and divine natures to the detriment of neither.

The problem with abstraction, however, is that it does detract from either His divinity or His humanity. It bastardizes the human form created in the image of God. (Abstraction is fine in an artistic reference, it’s only when it’s supposed to be used as religious imagery that it causes trouble.) It either warps the human figure or ignores it altogether, replacing biology with geometry.

Here is another Divine Mercy image, in abstraction:

We’ve lost all of Jesus except His hands (which could as well be aboriginal animal shapes) and face, which is still pulled and elongated past human resemblance. His Body (and all of its ramifications for us Christians who actually form His Body on earth as the Church) has disappeared. We have lost the human nature of Christ to this abstraction, we have lost that the son of God was made Man.

The halo and rays are retained, but also abstracted. The crown of His divinity is accentuated to the loss of His humanity. See what happened there? If this image were used in a church, that’s teaching your adherents heresy (namely denying the hypostatic union) and is generally frowned upon.

In a gallery or on a postage stamp, fine. But churches (and church artists) need to be aware of what their imagery teaches. Then you have the true wonders of modernism, where the body of Christ is reduced to geometric shapes (like an inverted stepped pyramid to represent His ribcage) or this monstrosity, which effectively destroys both the human and divine natures of Christ:

The point of the image of the crucifix, of Divine Mercy, of all images of Christ, is to relate to the viewer the truths of Who He is. When you put your hand to this kind of work, you are putting yourself in a kind of bondage to integrity rather than novelty: hundreds of thousands of people over the centuries have put their lives on the line to protect and promote the truth you’re trying to depict. Who was He? Who did He tell us He was? Was he a floppy ballerina robot, or was he the God-Man?

If it weren’t a matter of pedagogy it wouldn’t particularly matter. You wouldn’t get your religious education from an art gallery (I would hope)–you would go to the source of that religion: the Church. But, should you see one of these representations in a church, what would you benefit from it? “Oh, what a fine modernist statement on the theme of the crucifix.” But as far as the Truth behind the crucifix? Apparently, looking at the first abraction, a blue Indian threw a bird and flashed gang signs.

Artists, myself included, please bear in mind what your work says about the Christ you are picturing. The style, content, and medium all contribute to or destroy the message.

PS–No blue-eyed Jesuses. Just don’t.

Update on Cameron, pre-surgery

This past Monday we drove up to Omaha for Cameron’s pre-op appointment. We re-did all the tests (CT, MRI, etc) to be certain of the size and condition of the tumor in his leg. Since he began radiation treatments, the tumor shrunk from roughly softball size to a disc about the circumference of a quarter or wooden nickel. Amazing, to say the least. Whereas before it was pretty grotesque, now, if you didn’t know it had been there, you wouldn’t notice anything out of the ordinary. He’s had such a good attitude the whole time, much better than I have had, and we’ve both been very grateful that everything that could go right, did go right.

There was some struggle, starting about a week after radiation ended, with his skin around the site, first with a fungal infection probably exacerbated by the steroid ointment, and then with the radiation burn finally working its way up through his skin. He was in a lot of pain but toughed through it and took some years off Purgatory for a lot of people, I’m sure. His doctor, thank God, got him the medicine he needed and the change in his skin was almost overnight. By the way, soaking a cloth in black tea and laying on a wound helps, but the caffeine absolutely gets through. He said he was beyond wired all day, heart racing.

With good medicine and incredibly goopy Eucerin lotion, his skin is 99% better, with just a little place behind his knee that has yet to scar over or heal. Both his doctors in Manhattan and Omaha cleared him for surgery, and we’re glad. We’re both ready to get it done.

In order to be sure to get all of the tumor, the incision will go from the knee most of the way to the groin, because the doctor will need some room to poke around and examine once he’s in there, make sure there are no feelers or surprises. He’ll be under general anaesthetic and surgery will last two or three hours, basically as long as it takes to get it all, and we’ll be in the hospital for three or four days.

We’re going up Thursday night and staying in the hospital’s lodging upstairs (kind of like Ronald McDonald house but in the top floor of the hospital) that night, and then because of financial limitations I’ll be staying in the room with Cameron the remaining days. I’m looking forward and hoping I will be as good a help to him as he was the (many) times I’ve been in various and sundry hospitals.

I keep telling him, his ideas for out-of-town dates like this suck. Hospitals are not romantic.

We appreciate everyone’s prayers up to this point and will gladly have them keep on coming. We’re closing in on the home stretch on this challenge, just that much closer to beating it into the ground. Prayers please for his speedy recovery, and for accommodations to come together for the kids to be taken care of while we’re gone. (My relative who was going to care for them hurt her back and won’t be able to come after all, so we’ll need to figure something else out. Prayers for her, as well, because she’s a darn fine lady.)

And Now Cameron’s Turn…

Last Thursday we got biopsy results for the lump in my husband’s leg. It is cancerous (myxoid liposarcoma). Fortunately it is low-grade and, God willing, can simply be removed and never thought of again. But that’s never a word you want to hear your doctor say. We knew that, whatever it was, we’d be looking at surgery to remove it, a large mass the ultrasound shows to be about six inches in diameter, and although all the other possibilities had been ruled out, I don’t think either of us had seriously pondered that it might be cancer. I didn’t, at least not in the forefront of my mind. But there it is.

Dr. told us in his office Thursday afternoon. We were both sitting on the exam table, Cameron had arrived before me. Dr. came in and laid it out straight, as he tends to do (we do love our family doctor, and his nurse is very dear to me). I started tearing up and tried to stifle it. Of course that never works, so I just had a slow but increasing leak as they talked. Cameron I think converts stress to bravado, so he was joking about cutting it up like a bread loaf or something. We both spent some time in tears as it sank in. Nurse came in after several minutes and held us both while we cried. She has been an indispensable background player in our little family’s story, from my heart and pregnancies to Benny’s diagnosis, to Philomena’s emotionally difficult pregnancy and her heart problems. She told us that she had had cancer some years ago, that that was why she could no longer have children of her own, and that we must cry, and fight. When we sat in the car for a few minutes afterward, as Cameron called his boss, she came out and hugged me again and encouraged me.

It’s not aggressive, Dr. said, according to the samples taken. The plan is to remove it surgically, and then test it through and through to make sure it’s all made of the same stuff–no metastasizing cells hiding inside. Then we could be sure if it was done with or he’d need radiation (since this does not apparently respond to chemotherapy). It’s not death, not even dismemberment. It’s between the two main muscles of the thigh, so his walking shouldn’t even be affected (but the Thigh Master may be difficult now). But it’s still scary as hell.

We spent that evening calling our relatives and friends, asking for prayers and letting them know all we knew. Cameron copes differently than I do. He talks it out and feels better being around people, talking a problem down to size. I can’t do that. I can hardly speak at all under duress, and I certainly don’t want to talk to people. I have to contain and suppress, and then I can deal with it. Then we can get to work.

Over and over we got the same kind of responses, generally along the lines of When it rains, it pours or You just can’t catch a break, huh? Those kinds of things confuse me. I guess we don’t think about all the … excitement … that follows us around. I know what they mean, though. My heart, Mena’s heart troubles, slow weight gain and growth, slow speech and motor development, and later her surgery, Benny’s autism, my do-I-have-lupus/RA-ish adventure… I wouldn’t say we’re beset with tragedy, but I could see how someone would think so.

A relative I spoke to gave his condolences on this and all the stuff that’s gone wrong in our lives, all the health problems and challenges, all the bad news (all of which has, pretty much, not been as bad as it sounded). “You guys just can’t catch a break, can you? It just keeps coming at you!” He went on for some time like we were jinxed with bad luck. I kind of let him (he’s the kind of relative you don’t talk to; you can’t get a word in edgewise). But what I wanted to respond was, “No! It’s not like that!” You can’t live your life on pity, seeing terrible things on every side, in every event.

From the time Dr. had left us in the exam room to let the news sink in, I kept thinking something the aunt of a friend had said, just a few weeks ago (this in reference to the particular challenges Benny gives us): This is what it takes for you to become a saint. Which, sitting on the crinkly paper covering the exam table, followed with my first thought: Then I don’t want to be a saint! I want my husband healthy. Let me be the sick one, that’s fine (I’m more or less used to it, you know?), but not my husband. He’s needed to see the doctor twice in the years we’ve been together. Well, this episode is the third time.

But the thought repeated and repeated in my mind, This is what it takes…, until I reached a quiet resignation that yes, it may be hard, but I do want to be a saint. I want to see my husband a saint, as well–and it is my job to get him there. We are to make saints of each other. We have these challenges, they seem to crop up every month or two, either health or money or money or health, not because there is some force out to get us and beat us into hopelessness as Relative would believe, but because gold is refined by fire.

Relative said, If you guys get through all this crap, by the time you’re thirty you’ll have a strong marriage. I had a little inward laugh–first, because there is no ‘if’–that implies an option of not getting through it together, and second because I like to think we do have a strong marriage. Not perfect (I am fully half the team, so there’s a marked disadvantage), but we always know whose side we are on, we are always working together rather than in competition. And hell, almost five years ago the paramedics loaded me onto a helicopter telling my husband that by the time he got to Kansas City, he may be both a father and a widower. If all goes as well as it can, this will be small potatoes compared to that. Of course we’re strong. We stick together, we fight our battles side by side, and we don’t seem to remember until someone reminds us that challenges follow us around like a hungry dog.

I get discouraged. I start to woe-me and want to give up. But there is no giving up–nowhere to retreat or hang a white flag. You have to keep going, and you can do it dragging your feet or dutifully. Not necessarily joyfully into the fire, but the road only goes one direction, and you’ve got to walk it. I’m walking it with my best friend, my partner, who sums it up thus: “Whatever happens, we’ll deal with it.”

Another friend put the same issue in a different light: “God must love you very much to give you so many crosses.” Besides being a little frustrating (Thanks, God, I really wanted another reason to argue with insurance companies this year), once you get past the selfish desire for everything to be right and happy and comfortable in your life, there’s reason behind it. God is giving us these crosses, these challenges, so we may use our lives to honor Him, by bearing under the weight voluntarily, offering it to Him, and humbly begging His help. Is that a contradiction, that He would give us a cross so we’d ask Him to help us carry it? Maybe so, but ad maiorum Dei gloriam: to the greater glory of God.

I forget things. A lot. I was astounded by the thoughtfulness of a friend who, when she came down with a sickness, asked for prayer requests on Facebook so that her suffering would be a glory to God, rather than letting it be a millstone tied to her spirit. That’s the sort of thing I forget–that ‘offer it up’-itude that moves my misery out of myself and makes it into a tool for not only my good, but the good of others as well. Sometimes I think, For the poor souls in Purgatory, and continue to be miserable (haha, you’ve missed the point, numbskull!). This Friend reminded me that our suffering can be used, in a very real way, for the Holy Souls and for the living.

I want to make this trial especially a chance to realign our lives to the ideal Christ and the dear saints have set. Knowing I will fail, I want to get this right. If we must face this challenge, drink this cup, then let it be for the glory of God rather than our bereavement. We will be stronger on the other side of this, as we have become stronger after seeing our Philomena through her surgery, and as we became stronger after I did not in fact croak in the helicopter (although I very nearly peed my pants). Hopefully, with prayer and use of the Sacraments, we will be holier, as well, a little more dross burned away so that the beauty of God’s work may be seen more clearly in us. I hope.

I don’t feel like we are attacked on all sides. I don’t feel like we have nothing but rotten luck. If anything I feel like there is something we are not quite apprehending, not quite achieving, so the opportunity is being presented by a merciful God, again and again, so that we may finally grasp what He’s telling us.

Last Sunday at Mass, two days before the biopsy, I felt graces coming from the Lord that I don’t usually experience so tangibly. Not being in the state of grace, I could not receive Communion, but stayed kneeling in the pew and watched my brothers and sisters in Christ, my husband, strangers united by the Real Presence, and received a dose of that peace as a spiritual communion. I wonder now if that was an inoculation of sorts, to prepare me for the next cross.

Please remember us in your prayers, especially Cameron, that his surgery will be enough (or, you know, that the damn tumor would evaporate sometime in the immediate meantime would be good, too), and also my Sister, who was kind enough to move to the area, quit the job she had to be a SAHM for a while, and has been press-ganged into babysitting a lot more than we ever intended.


A final note, Father Novak* offered this wonderful prayer within his homily today:

Dear Jesus, friend of sinners, help us to open our hearts to the world beyond our pointing fingers.



*Every time we witness him saying Mass, on the way out Cameron always says, “I want to be Father Novak when I grow up!”  He’s that awesome. Pray for him, as well.

Man Gave Names to All the Animals … and Everything Else

I was thinking of something the other day while Cameron was hypothesizing what was wrong with the car, and it occurred to me: people love to name things. We have a word for everything and somewhere, someone is thinking up more words. I mean, we all know the Bible story of Adam naming the animals in Eden (based on a Bob Dylan song) but he didn’t stop there. He had a whole world to name, to subdue by attaching words to the components (and you know, I bet there’s some deep theological parallel to be drawn between Jesus as the Logos and man, created in God’s image, applying logos to creation).
But with the car, there are parts you never even imagine are there and yet, someone not only invented, but named this doohickey (because ‘doohickey’ isn’t badass enough for engineers I supposed). Cameron was talking about a torque converter and, well I was trying to listen but I got stuck on that name–what the hell is a torque converter? Who picked that name? I’m sure it does exactly what it says, but probably in a much less glamorous way. Torque converter makes it sound like the honey badger of car parts. Torque converter grabs the torque by the neck and forces it to convert until it cries uncle, and if it doesn’t, then your whole engine blows apart from the sheer magnitude of Torque converter’s unleashed rage. Defy the Torque converter? Not on your life, little engine.

But someone came up with that name, for something that, as long as the car is working, no one would ever even see. There are names for things we can’t see, how obsessed with names are we? I wonder if it is some striving on our part to imitate the Creator, who breathed and created and sent the Word, and we eager little mortals busily go about applying words in a miniature creation, acting out how we were made in the image of God. That may be extrapolating.