Showing posts from December, 2013

Pope Francis Is No More A Socialist Than Is...: Living In The Age of Francis of Buenos Aires

“When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a Communist.” - Archbishop Hélder Câmara, of Brazil - "Is Pope Francis a Socialist?" My jaw dropped when I read the title of the cover article in the December 13, 2013, on-line edition of Newsweek over my iPad. I thought to myself, this pope is no more a socialist than is Barack Obama. Let’s face it: in America, if you offer to turn on the light switch for someone because the room is dark, conservatives will call you a socialist. Without a doubt, this first pope from Latin America (a child of European immigrants) is as everyone points out, humble and self-effacing. He has eschewed as the Newsweek article points out, a lot of “the pomp and circumstances and the lavish trappings of his office in the Vatican that helped conjure the awe and authority of popes down the centuries.” He took the name of a humble saint, Francis of Assisi. Wanting to lead a

Bah! Humbug! I Divested Myself From The Culture Of Consumption That Surrounds Christmas

To be honest, Christmas has always inspired more stress than excitement for me. This is the most relaxed I have ever felt this time of the year because I've totally divested myself from the culture of consumption that takes hold when Christmas comes around, which gets masqueraded by Corporate America as "a time for giving" (which makes sense from their standpoint, given that for some retailers, holiday shopping accounts for as much as 20-40 percent of annual sales). Thinking about the rampant consumerism that takes control of so many people I know around Christmas time made me think about the following passage from Guy Debord’s critique of consumer society in his book, Society of the Spectacle , thesis 42. "The spectacle is the moment when the commodity has attained the total occupation of social life. Not only is the relation to the commodity visible but it is all one sees: the world one sees is its world. Modern economic production extends its dictatorsh