Monday, January 3, 2011

Superior Catholic Finger

Can't type much right now as I had surgery on my finger due to a dishwashing accident. No, I am not kidding. So I'm resurrecting another oldie but goodie from one of my previous blogs in honor of my Superior Catholic Finger:

Books Ever Recovering/Ex/HalfAssed/Angry Former Catholic Should Own
May. 26th, 2008 at 2:10 PM

I found this in a folder I brought with me from Florida (why this folder and not the 20 other ones in my trunk? Don't know) of stuff that I wanted to put into my 'zine, Superior Catholic Finger. There's a ton more books that could be on this list, but there are only so many hours in the day... I re-wrote a lot of it since it's over 10 years old, written in sharpie on legal paper. Man, I loved sharpies and legal paper back when I was a zine freakazoid.

1. Lesbian Nuns: Breaking Silence
Found this in college and spent many hours hidden under the covers in my freshman dorm room so that no one saw me reading it. Recently, I saw the beginning of an episode of the L Word that starts off with a bus full of nuns. One of them is reading this, and then proceeds to get it on with another nun on the bus covertly. Hells yeah.
2. Eunuchs For The Kingdom Of Heaven: Women, Sexuality and the Catholic Church by Uta Ranke Heinman and Peter Heinegg.
I remeber that I got so angry when I was reading this that my skin felt hot. Catholicism still has that effect on me. Scary.
3. Saints Preserve Us!: Everything You Need to Know About Every Saint You'll Ever Need by Sean Kelly.
I believe this was the little gem that introduced me to Saint Bibiana, the patron saint of hangovers. So *that's* who I was invoking all of those times I spent draped over my toilet bowl! I think I should go into business making Saint Bibiana toilet seat covers. Bet they'd go over great here in Las Vegas. Every casino should take stock in them immediately...
4. Any Jesuit conspiracy theory book (no, Foucault's Pendulum does not count!)
5. Discipline and Punish:The Birth Of The Prison by Michel Foucalt (but Foucault himself does count, ha ha)
"On 2 March 1757 Damiens the regicide condemmed 'to make the amende honorable before the main door of the Church of Paris', where he was to be 'taken and conveyed in a cart, wearing nothing but a a shirt, holding a torch of burning wax weighing two pounds'; then, 'in the said cart, to the place de Greve, where, on a scaffold that will be erected there, the flesh will be torn from his breasts, arms, thighs and calves with red-hot pincers, his right hand, holding the knife with which he committed the said parricide, burnt with sulphur, and,on those places where the flesh will be torn away, poured molten lead, boiling oil, burning resin, wax and sulphur melted together and then his body drawn and quartered by four horses and his limbs and body consumed by fire, reduced to ashes and his ashes thrown to the winds" No, he's not talking about the first day of Catholic school, but sometimes I think he really might have been...givien the Church's longstanding history of support of torture and imprisonment (Inquisition, anyone?) I think this absolutely belongs on the list.
6. The Coming of The Cosmic Christ by Matthew Fox.
Any book that causes the Catholic Church to officially silence you is defintely worth reading and probably worth living. I love the review on that calls it "tired heresies." Catholics love that fucking word, heresy. When I was in school, my teachers (nuns and lay teachers) seemed to always refer to Martin Luther as "Martin Luther, The Heretic." I swear they never said the man's name without that appellation.
7. The Basketball Diaries by Jim Carroll
Heroin and Catholic school boys, oh my.
8. The Complete Stories of Flannery O'Connor:
Because sometimes, Catholicism is actually a force for the good and genius.
9. The Spiral Staircase: My Climb Out Of Darkness by Karen Armstrong
Kind of like a really erudite Catholic version of Escape From Witch Mountain, only with nuns and academia and epilepsy.
10. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
Yeah, yeah, I know---it's so not a good book. But anything that causes Catholics to nearly riot on the streets should be on this list. They even protested here in Las Vegas when the film was playing, how ironic. I loved the South Park parody of this with the Bunny Pope. It made me happy.
11. The Last Temptation Of Christ by Nikos Kazantzakis
Boy, this really got the Catholic's goat when it came out as a movie. I still love the power of Mary Magdalene to piss off overzealous Catholics everywhere.
12. Justine by the Marquis De Sade
Holy blasphemy, batman. Despite all of my initial nascent feminist teenaged misgivings (actually, more like hatred) about De Sade, I found this to be wildly amusing when I re-read it as an adult. WWDSD?
And last but not least---lucky number thirteen:
13. The Index Librorum Prohibitorum
What would a list of books for "bad" Catholics be without a book that tells you exactly WHAT to read because it's heretical, blasphemous and immoral? Thanks, Vatican! Although this hasn't been around since 1966 or so (gotta love Vatican II---taking all of the fun out of being Catholic. No more Latin Mass, no more banned books...damn you...), it's still pretty interesting to check out what made it into the Index and what didn't. Who did: Voltaire, Nikos Kazantzakis, Pascal, Flaubert, Simone de Beauvoir (that's my girl!), Andre Gide, Jonathan Swift and John Milton, just to name a few. Who didn't: Hitler's Mein Kampf. Figures. I mean, look at the current Pope. I rest my case.

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