catholic with a small “c”

Goodness, BILL RUSSELL.  I wasn’t even trying to upset anyone this time.  In response to the music video of the Black Keys that I posted yesterday, you wrote:

[I]t is beyond me to explain how a Catholic can consider loud and inarticulate rock percussionism to be music. I know there will be a laborious apologia, but the fact is that fanciers of rock music are one more artifact of a degenerate culture. Does the author spend more time listening to this noise than to Mozart or Bach or Chopin? If not, why? Just asking.

I won’t trouble you with a “laborious apologia,” mainly because it’s 12:53 a.m. and I just got home from taking eleven children to the drive-in theater for a birthday party.  Talk about laborious.  We brought two ice cream cakes, too. 

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However, it happens that on my personal blog today is a short piece about music (among other things).  I hope it answers your question about my listening habits.  I wouldn’t really say that I “fancy” rock music, though.  I just . . . wouldn’t say that.

I guess all I do have to say is that I know something about music.  I’ve listened to all kinds very attentively my whole life, and thought a lot about what it’s for.  Not all rock music sounds good to me, but this song does.  I see that you’re not hearing what I’m hearing. 

Well, sometimes I don’t hear what other people hear. Hearing is strange.  I don’t like Beethoven, for instance.  I know darn well that he’s Very Good, and I’m glad he was there, but his big, noisy symphonies  just don’t do anything for me.  Brahms, on the other hand, turns me into pudding on the inside.  Same for Schubert.  Same for Steely Dan, Cachao, and Gnarls Barkley.  Why?  Who the heck knows?

I think the key is to understand that individual human beings are not designed to be receptive to everything.  It’s kind of like the guy Oliver Sacks wrote about, who, by some neurological disorder, could suddenly smell as keenly as a dog.  It was a revelation to him, and whole worlds opened up — but on the other hand, it drove him crazy, and he couldn’t get anything else done.  Maybe it’s just as well that rock music doesn’t sound like much to you.  It sounds like you are already pretty busy, what with remembering your Plato, and regulating Catholic culture and whatnot.  

There are plenty of things which Catholics really shouldn’t say.  “I like this rock song, ” however, hasn’t made it to the official black list yet.  


  • Simcha Fisher

    Simcha Fisher is a cradle Hebrew Catholic, freelance writer, and mother of eight young kids. She received her BA in literature from Thomas More College in New Hampshire. She contributes to Crisis Magazine and Faith & Family Live!, and blogs at I Have to Sit Down. She is sort of writing a book.

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