Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: Koch-Funded Business School of Catholic University of America Holds Neocon Conference on Catholic Social Teaching with Nightly "Cigar Reception"

Note the nightly Cigar Reception for those attending the recent neocon-spun conference on Catholic social teaching at the Koch-brothers-funded business school of Catholic University of America. I'm grateful to Tony Annett in a recent Commonweal essay for pointing to it and suggesting how wildly incongruous it is in the kind of church we're told Pope Francis wants. (Annett's suggestion was, of course, ridiculed by a Commonweal regular who routinely flaunts [and loves to do so] symbols of heterosexual male phallic power — manliness, he calls it — in the faces of men he deems quasi-female due to their sexual orientation and of women.)

Proving Tony Annett's point, it seems to me . . . .

When I told my spouse about said Cigar Receptions, he replied with shock, "Do they think they can find some robber barons to interest in Catholic social teaching? Is this a recruitment technique for robber barons? Do they know what cigar receptions connote in the economic history of the U.S. — old boys, back rooms, wheeling and dealing, power plays, fat-cat men lording it over women?"

My response: of course they know all of this. That's the point of the Cigar Reception. It's an in-your-face assertion of all those values against namby-pamby feminized Catholic social teaching as interpreted by liberals. It's an in-your-face assertion about those to whom Catholic teaching belongs, those who have the right to interpret it and to use it against demeaned others. It's an in-your-face assertion of the hegemony of heterosexual or heterosexual-posturing males in the Catholic enterprise, and their right to lord it over men they regard as less than men, women, all sorts of demeaned and despised others.

I'm aware, of course, that women smoke cigars. I'm aware that some gay men love to butch it up and love to smoke cigars. I'm aware that sometimes cigars are just cigars. I'm talking here about what cigars have historically represented and have conveyed as a symbol of heterosexual male power and privilege — symbolism that I have no doubt at all those who chose this in-your-face item for the schedule of this neocon presentation of Catholic social teaching knew full well and wanted to exploit.

Some conference on Catholic social teaching!

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