#161: René Girard on What Makes Us Tick—Gil Bailie (Free Version)

#161: René Girard on What Makes Us Tick—Gil Bailie (Free Version)

Despite teaching at prestigious universities, René Girard (1923—2015) was an outsider to the world of academe. The French philosopher and social critic began teaching literature because he needed a job. This venture set up his discovery of just how similar the various novels and classics were that he was lecturing on. He realized over time that, primarily, people want what other people want, a dynamic he called mimetic desire.

This mimetic desire is tied to social behavior such as Twitter mobs, gossip, office politicking and—here we get to the kernel of his lifework—the scapegoat mechanism, which happens when “me against you” is transferred to “all of us against him.”

Which came about in its highest form in the murder of Jesus Christ.

Buckle up as Gil Bailie, founder of The Cornerstone Forum and longtime friend and student of Girard unfolds the basic lines of thought of the great man, called by Bishop Robert Barron “a 20th-century father of the Church.”

In this episode you will learn

  • Why people tend toward the same objects of desire, and why jealousy and rivalry are inevitable sources of social tension
  • Why violence and the sacred are not polar opposites
  • The basic story of Girard’s theories and their origin
  • Why imitation is the fundamental mechanism of human behavior
  • How this scapegoat mechanism is found in the Old Testament and culminated in the New
  • Why Christianity is the solution to mimetic rivalry
  • How the filmography of Mel Gibson shows Girard’s proposed dynamic in action

Resources mentioned in this episode

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On The Brevity of Life

On the Brevity of Life

Christmas is a season, so, Merry Christmas!

In this video, I dive into some word origins and Bible verses that have to do with the brevity of life. Natura is the Latin root for nativity and nature and natural — and it has to do with things coming into being.

We often treat life like a giant game of dodgeball and we hear about someone dying we think “Oh, that’s too bad they got hit with the ball” as if we’re never going to get hit. We’ll be the last man standing forever.

The word of God teaches us otherwise. you and I will spend a brain-fracturing long amount of time in eternity in the life to come, whether in heaven or in hell, compared to the short decades we spend here in this life.

With each 52-week unit of time known as one year that we experience the subsequent 52-week units of time seem to go by faster with each passing year.

Isn’t that true?

Didn’t Christmas seem to come around every 10 years or so when you were a little kid?

So here are seven Bible verses on the brevity of life:

 

1. Psalms 90:10

2. Psalms 144:4

3. Job 9:25-26

4. 1 Chronicles 29:15

5. Luke 12:20

6. James 4:14

7.  Hebrews 2: 14-15

 

The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ have changed death from a black pit into a well-lit door.

The great playwright and Catholic convert Tennessee Williams wrote something fascinating and very practical about the brevity of life. I’ll close with this:
“In the time of your life–live!” That time is short and it doesn’t return again. It is slipping away while I write this and while you read it, the monosyllable of the clock is Loss, loss, loss, unless you devote your heart to its opposition.”

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#160: It’s a Wonderful Movie—Mary Owen and Karolyn Grimes

#160: It’s a Wonderful Movie—Mary Owen and Karolyn Grimes

This episode debuted exactly two years ago, and I could think of no better show this year to honor my all-time favorite movie, Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life (1947)  through the eyes of two women with close ties to its creation.

If Mr. Capra didn’t write it, why do I call it “Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life? It’s because that’s how the movie was marketed, which helps explain why the film got only a so-so reception when it was first released. Most of Mr. Capra’s pre-World War II movies were so sweet-hearted that they later earned the moniker “Capracorn,” not meant as a compliment.

It’s a Wonderful Life is one of the most critically acclaimed films ever made. Nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Picture, recognized by the American Film Institute as one of the 100 best American films ever made, and placed number 11 on its initial 1998 greatest movie list, it also ranked number one on its list of the most inspirational American films of all time.

Think about that. In light of the fact that hundreds of thousands of movies have been made, this is a jaw-dropping achievement.

By the end of the Second World War, though, the mood of the movie-going public had shifted, as I wrote about the making of the movie in National Review a few years ago HERE.

The next day after it was published, an appreciative email from a woman named Mary Owen arrived in my inbox. Turns out, Mary is the daughter of actress Donna Reed, who played Mary Bailey, the wife of James Stewart’s George Bailey.

I thanked her for the lovely email and we had a few back-and-forths. After my podcast was up on two feet and spreading around the world (110 countries and counting), I thought it would be fun to have her on the show to talk about her mother’s role in this now-international favorite Christmas movie and to learn some back story to her mother’s career and her commitment to writing back to the G.I’s who wrote to her from the trenches and the gun turrets of World War II.

The interview segues nicely into the next one, a rich conversation with actress Karolyn Grimes who played Zuzu, one of the four Bailey kids. Remember Zuzu’s petals? This was a real treat for me who loves the movie so well, and I know it will be for you as well.

I learned, among other things, how much Mrs. Grimes suffered as a teen when her mother died and then the next year her father was killed and she became a ward of the state—then “rescued” by an aunt and uncle in Missouri, which was an unhappy home situation. Karolyn also played Debbie, the daughter of David Niven and Loretta Young in another Christmas favorite, The Bishop’s Wife.

For those of us who can’t gobble up enough trivia and true stories about It’s a Wonderful Life, Mrs. Grimes is a treasure trove of first-hand memories and insights! Yes, I was star-struck, okay? Is that so wrong?

In this episode you will learn

  • How Donna Reed’s work represents the best of the Golden Age of television and movies
  • Why she made sure she was “just a regular mom” with Mary and her other real-life children
  • The story of how Reed’s children found a shoebox full of correspondence with American soldiers from the War in her Bel Air home 65 years later
  • Why Owens thinks the movie that made her mother a household name has such enduring appeal
  • Who is the oldest living cast member (hint: it’s not one of the child actors)
  • What it was like to be on set with Frank Capra and to appear with Jimmy Stewart
  • The ways in which It’s a Wonderful Life touched the lives of the cast and crew forever.

Resources mentioned in this episode

 

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Question of the week: Which scene grabs you the most emotionally and why?


Three Christmas Movies You Must Watch (an addendum)

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Three Christmas Movies You Must Watch (an addendum)

This is an addendum to the December 14 video called Three Christmas Movies You Must Watch. 

 

 

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Who Wrote This About Christmas?

Who Wrote This About Christmas?

In this Christmas video, I cite a writer writing about Christmas.

 Without Googling, can you guess who wrote it?

The mystery writer starts according to John’s Gospel:

“And the Word was made flesh, and came to dwell among us; and we had sight of His glory, glory such as belongs to the Father’s only-begotten Son, full of grace and truth.” – John 1:14

I’ll give you a major hint: the writer is a Christian.

Leave your guess in the comment box below.

A merry and blessed and peaceful Christmas to you and your family!

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#159: How to Distract-Proof Your Brain—Nir Eyal (Free Version)

#159: How to Distract-Proof Your Brain—Nir Eyal (Free Version)

Do you find yourself distracted all day by the pings and dings of your smartphone, by the lure of that Amazon Prime movie, or hilarious kitten videos on YouTube, or your favorite news commentary, or the funny pages, or making a hot coffee before you “really get down to work”?

Stop me if this sounds like you, because it certainly sounds like me.

Fortunately for the distracted brethren of this world, a practical guide to distract-proofing your brain is now available. New York best-selling author Nir Eyal has put 5 years of research into one place.  It’s called Indistractible: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life.

Nir does not spout platitudes or make generalizations. He provides practical tools that build the kind of habits that enable you to stay on task and to use your time wisely and deliberately. Lots of objective data to back it all up as well.

In this episode you will learn

  • The four strategies that begin (in an ongoing growth process) to make you indistractable
  • The most accurate definition of distraction and why it’s important to know it
  • Common myths about time management
  • How’s this method wonderfully aligns with the Catholic  and biblical understanding of virtue
  • How to create your own time boxes and maximize what’s important  to do as opposed to what seems urgent to do
  • The benefits— short-term and long-term—that come with being indistractable

Resources mentioned in this episode

                                              

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What is the relationship between the things and people I say I value in light of the amount of time I a lot for them?


Three Christmas Movies You Must Watch Before You Die

Three Christmas Movies You Must Watch Before You Die

My essay, “The Little Story That Did,” about the making of It’s a Wonderful Life in National Review.

My Cinephile column in “Catholic World Report” on Meet John Doe.

In this video, I describe what these three classic Christmas movies are must-watches. (NB, Die Hard has some potty words, so it’s not for kids.)

End of the debate right here: Die Hard is, in fact, a Christmas movie by saying Die Hard is, in fact, a Christmas movie.

1. Die Hard

I know it was released in July of 1988, I know it does not feature the baby Jesus, and I know the audience applauding when a lot of people are blown away by machine-gun fire may seem out of line with the spirit of Silent Night and We Three Kings.

But this movie, directed by John McTiernan based on Roderick Thorp’s 1979 novel Nothing Lasts Forever, certainly qualifies. I explain why.

Hints: it’s set on Christmas Eve—and features a soundtrack with lots of Christmas carols, its co-writer Steven de Souza has said in public—and with unashamed pride in his breast—that he intended his adaptation to be a Christmas movie, despite the fact that Bruce Willis argues that it is actually a blankety-blank Bruce Willis movie, its hero (John McCain) is married to a woman named…Holly; my friend Clarence Gilyard plays the evil computer tech guy Argyle. And Argyle sweaters and socks are very popular with men at Christmas time. Come on!

2. It’s a Wonderful Life

A lot of things have been said about the Frank Capra 1946 classic and here are a few more.

The story is based on a 1938 Christmas circular letter by Philip Van Doren Stern nobody wanted to publish. After a long and unlikely series of twists and turns, a man by the name of Frank Capra hired writer after writer until he got a script he was ready to shoot.

It’s a Wonderful Life I believe is the greatest film ever made. Not a typo.

The story, boiled down to its bare elements, is about the intercessory prayer of a woman named Mary.

Think about it.

The classic movie begins with an earthly-minded heaven and ends with a heavenly-minded earth. “Atta boy, Clarence!”

3. Meet John Doe

Here is, from my money, the second greatest Frank Capra film—the one he shot five years before making It’s a Wonderful Life.

It stars Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck and also tells a story that leads up to a dramatic finish on Christmas Eve. But that’s really where its similarity to It’s a Wonderful Life ends.

It’s tempting to give away more about what happens in Meet John Doe, but let me just say I think you’ll be amazed to see how eerie it is to see Saul Alinsky tactics and media manipulation of crowds were predicted and depicted 80 years ago in this unheralded movie.

Happy Advent everyone and have a very Merry Christmas!

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#158: The Story Behind the Pachamama Story—Alexander Tschugguel (Free Version)

#158: The Story Behind the Pachamama Story—Alexander Tschugguel (Free Version)

Two months ago, Alexander Tschugguel (chu-goo-gle) was almost a complete unknown, apart from pro-life activism in his native Vienna, Austria. All that changed when he released the video his removal of five Pachamama idols that sat at the side altar of the church of Santa Maria of Traspontina in Rome marching them on the ancient Ponte Sant’Angelo over the Tiber River and knocked them, one by one, into the drink.

Now Alexander is, if not world famous, certainly admired by millions of faithful Catholics around the world for his daring early morning (on October 21, 2019) cleansing of a church built for the worship of God alone.

He has been praised as a hero by Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Prof. Roberto de Mattei, Dubia Cardinals Walter Brandmüller and Raymond Burke, and Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò—and derided as a “controversial thief” by Crux Now news.

In that single, simple act, all the dysfunctions and pathologies of the Catholic Church today seemed to crystallize into the image of the ugly statues splashing into the Tiber. This interview with him delves into his upbringing and conversion to the Catholic Faith, his motivations, and how his effort to resist corruption has just begun. 

In this episode you will learn

  • Why Tschugguel became a Catholic in the midst of a Lutheran family
  • His motivation to return to Rome after witnessing the worship of the Pachamama Idol Gardens in the presence of Pope Francis
  • Why the young Austrian believes Catholic culture does not need to be invented but merely reclaimed
  • The reason why the Pope’s apology to anyone who is offended by the removal of the idols came as a relief to Tschugguel
  • The recent examples of LGBT-themed scandals brought about by…Christoph Cardinal Schönborn, the general editor of the Catechism of the Church, and formerly reliable orthodox prelate
  • Some inspirations for people who are tepid or afraid to be labeled as “activist” to get in the fight to restore Christ’s Church in order to bring more souls to the Lord according to His standard

Resources mentioned in this episode

Our Sponsors 

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What is stopping you from actively fighting Church corruption okay in your sphere of influence?


The Truth About the Sheen Snub

The Truth About the Sheen Snub

In this video, I summarize the story so far of the sudden postponement of the Bishop Fulton Sheen beatification, which had been slated for December 21, 2019.

I also provide some important context for the lead up to the “Sheen Cause Pause,” and give you the lowdown on WHY it was halted, as well as give a short introduction to the great man himself.

In his day Bishop Sheen was a household name.

Every aspect of his very public life has undergone extraordinary scrutiny already. The miraculous raising of the dead of young James Fulton Engstrom is a certified bona fide miracle (see my interview with his mother Bonnie in the link below), and Pope Francis himself authorized Bishop Sheen as worthy of beatification.

But…the Diocese of Rochester confirmed last Thursday that it had requested a delay of the beatification of Archbishop Fulton Sheen, which had been scheduled for Dec. 21 until it was postponed indefinitely earlier this week.

The Diocese of Peoria says the Rochester Diocese has left out key facts as to WHY.

This is what this video addresses.

The bottomline is, Fulton J Sheen is clean. The screeching halt to his Cause, was orchestrated by Bishop Salvatore Matano of Rochester (Rome sources say he was abetted by Cardinals Cupich of Chicago and Dolan of New York—no surprise there). It’s a sham.

Does Cardinal Dolan’s silence in particular have something, maybe, possibly something to do with the fact that he lost in four different legal Appeals in a row—costing the faithful of New York hundreds of thousands of dollars for high-priced attorneys to keep Bishop Sheen’s body in Saint Pat’s Cathedral?

Will no US bishops stand up in defense of their brother bishop and sainthood candidate?

In the end, Catholics should be glad the Cause was halted. I explain why in this video.

Venerable Fulton J Sheen, Ora Pro Nobis.

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The Top 12 Manly Christmas Gifts

‘Tis the season to be manly! If you are a man, or someone who loves one, and you’re looking for the perfect manliness-enhancing gift, look no farther.

In homage to the 12 Days of Christmas (plus bonus Number 13), the following gifts are user-tested, man-tested, and trustworthy. Brothers, don’t be shy! Send your “wishlist” to your woman, she will appreciate it. Of just snag something on your own. Is that so wrong?

In no particular order (click on the images to buy in Amazon):

 

1. Vintage silver business card case:

Tired of bending or losing business cards? I use this bad boy every day. Its original purpose was for old school cigarette smokers, but it’s perfect for giving and receiving…business cards.

2. Classic fedora:

’nuff said about the main visual feature of my logo and the “valor values” it represents. Hey, you can spent $200 on a fedora, but this elegant felt version is a great money $aving start.

3. Meet John Doe (1941):

Directed by Frank Capra (DVD). This is the OTHER Capra Christmas classic about a good man tempted to suicide from a great height on Christmas Eve. Villains take it in the jaw, chicanery is exposed, and the hero may even get the girl. Talk about a manly plot. Plus, fedoras all around! An annual tradition in Coffinlandia.

 

 

4. Poems Every Catholic Should Know:

Ed. by Joseph Pearce. Come on, brothers. How can you focus for on sports stats, assassin novels, and golf magazines—for years—but not spend a few hours marinating in the best poems ever written? I say swap the Man Cave for a Man Library. Poetry can change your life.

 

5. Cedar shoe cleaner box:

A man’s shoes say a lot about his attention to detail, not to mention etiquette. After noticing your sex, hair and eye color, shoes are the next thing people notice about you. Your shoes looking ratty and worn? Spruce ’em up with this elegant shoe box with all the gear you need get started on the Royal Road To Spiffy.

 

6. Spitfire Supermarine fighter:

This 72:1 diecast of Britain’s powerhouse World War II fighter plane is perfect for your study, desk, or over the hearth. Be inspired to fight, fight, fight the devil and his minions!

7. Starting Strength Training:

By Mark Rippetoe. This is the bible of basic barbell training. Gentlemen, our muscles were made to be worked. Benefits include weight loss, general well-being, self-discipline, and…upper body strength that will definitely increase your productivity. You know you want to.

 

 

8. Gerber mini-knife:

By mini is not meant tiny. This knife is great for the everyday carry needs: strings, receipt stems, tape, boxes, letters, anything needing sharp separation from anything else. When someone asks for a knife, they’re really asking for a man.

 

9. Daily Roman Missal:

What the name says. This sturdy Missal has physical heft and spiritual depth. A good incentive to start going to Mass through the week. This Missal includes the Scripture readings for Mass, assorted prayers, discrete Latin accompaniment, rites, rich biographical information on the Saints. Not cheap, but well worth it for its priceless content and the positive habits it instills.

 

 

10. It Starts With Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways:

By Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. Do you dream of dropping that muffin top that overruns your belt line, or what like an extra chin? Feel drained by 10AM? Trust me; this 30-day science experiment on your body will change your health and your attitude toward that which you put in your piehole. The first time I did the Whole 30, I dropped 22 pounds. Boom. Repeat after me: “It’s only 30 days.”

 

 

11. Gentleman Jon Deluxe Wet Shave Kit:

O how I wish I had started with this deal and a half! Many thousands of smart men are converting to the traditional wet shave, and this kit from Gentleman Jon will get you started right away. To see my simply tutorial on safety blade wet shaving, click HERE.

 

12. Three Stooges Triple Feature:

If you have to ask why….

 

And as a bonus, our popular super soft, Be A Saint T-shirt:

Show your support to Patrick Coffin Media with this super-soft, 100% cotton shirt featuring Patrick’s popular tagline “Be a saint; what else is there?” A great conversation starter! …

 

 

Happy Advent!

 

157: The Scapegoating of Cardinal Pell—Andrew Bolt (Free Version)

157: The Scapegoating of Cardinal Pell—Andrew Bolt (Free Version)

If you think George Cardinal Pell is innocent, and you happen to be a Catholic, you’re open to the charge of protecting your a hero from your tribe or—worse—disbelieving victims. Andrew Bolt is a top TV journalist, and host of “The Bolt Report” on Sky News in Melbourne, Australia, and he is firmly convinced that the guilty verdict, when the facts of the case are closely analyzed, is dead wrong.

Bolt, who happens to be an agnostic, is Australian’s most prominent and controversial commentator. “Fascist reptile” is one of the more charming things he’s been called.

He says the mob mentality surrounding the Pell case resulted from the collision of two factors: a Victoria law enforcement system that trawled for “Pell victims” at least a year before any actual victims came forward, and a media culture which is knee-jerk and virulent in its anti-Catholicism.

Anyone who stands up to the mob does so at a price. Andrew Bolt is one of the rare exceptions to the “media rule,” as his reputation as a conservative contrarian in a left-tilting media industry has earned him the predictable kinds of enemies.

Sticking relentlessly to the facts and with special attention to the dissenting argument of Justice Mark Weinberg, Bolt further disproved the claims of the alleged victim by filming himself walking along the same path trod that December 1996 day when the double rape (in broad daylight, minutes after Sunday Mass with dozens of people milling around nearby) is supposed to have happened. The timing makes it obvious that the story falls apart.

If you know nothing about the Pell trial and its backstory, don’t miss this conversation.

In this episode you will learn

  • On what basis the trial began in the first place
  • Why the 2011 Rolling Stone article by Sabrina Rubin Erdely describing a Philadelphia case (which was also disproved!) is almost exactly the same story (getting caught swigging communion wine, sudden oral rape, same m.o, etc)
  • Why the mob mentality, selective focus on certain elements and ignoring of others, took hold of the proceedings and led to the conviction of an innocent man
  • Why the Weinberg dissenting argument must govern the High Court, which has agreed to hear the case (itself a rare event.)
  • The reasons Bolt says it is physically impossible for Pell to be guilty of what he’s accused of doing
  • The credibility of the accuser vs the powerful #MeToo movement

Resources mentioned in this episode

Our Sponsors 

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Covenant Eyes: Is an accountability software designed to help you and those you live life free from pornography. Use code Patrick and try it out for Free for 30 days. Click here.

Join the Conversation

Doesn’t the sheer fact that the church teaches that humanity is divided in the end by two categories—the saved and the damned—prove that Balthasar’s theory is wrong?