Monday, August 31, 2015



                       

                                      Rip Van Winkle and culture shock                     


When I was a New York City super adenoidal sophomore in college in 1941, college men wore ties, clean shirts  (tucked into trousers), jackets, (sometimes with padded shoulders). Crew cuts were the acme of  ‘Class“.  Long hair was considered  Gauche and  sort  of dirty. Every day  we “dressed” to go to school as we tried to be “sharp.”. We desperately tried to overcome the slurred and indistinct speech so associated with Hell’s Kitchen or San Juan Hill. We were in the special class called “college men” and we consciously tried to live up to some kind of social expectation. In our own self concept, we were “educated.” Even the non-college guys wore ties and fedoras to go to the Yankee Stadium to watch Gehrig and DiMaggio and Dickey. There was a kind of dress  code the breakage of which drew frowns and scowls even from my minimally educated uncle J.J. who was a mechanic in the Sanitation department of the City.

We danced the Lindy, the Bunny Hop and the Shag. We debated the musical virtues of Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw and Benny Goodman. We  loved the smooth, velvety sounds coming from the throat of a skinny Italian kid from Hoboken, named Sinatra who wore classy straw hats with a wide ribbon.  A guy from Spokane nicknamed “Der Bingle”  (or Crosby)  was the Gold Standard with  the golden voice. Kate Smith was everyone’s favorite when she sang “God bless America.” To call a person  Communist” was analogous to  giving some one the finger in this era or using the N word!

There were unspoken rules of conduct, consensually ingested and generally observed by both genders.   The girls wore saddle shoes, swirl skirts  and short curled hair. They rarely smoked and were anxious to  have a “good” reputation. A good date was going to the Parish dance and having a Cherry Coke at the local hangout. That was it!  A baby born out side of  marriage was called  “illegitimate” and social disapproval was enormous. Divorce was something one spoke of in whispered tones. Same sex behavior was so verboten it was hardly noted except in medical journals.

If by some strange potion I should have been put under a kind of Rip Van Winkle trance in 1941, and  just woke up in 2015, it would be a cataclysmic shock to see what I am seeing today!. How would I or how could I handle it?

The shock one would get from the miracle of technology would alone be enough to destabilize one! Calculators, computers,  cell phones, push button dialing,  ipads,
washer /dryers, television sets, four wheel drive cars,  the unending list of scientific
marvels,  all would look like a kind of science fiction from the cartoon astronaut
Buck Rogers of the 25th century or Dick Tracy, the cartoon  detective who had a two way  radio watch to catch the bad guys. I would be awestruck, speechless but enthused and fascinated,

However, the gross materialism, the “throwaway” mentality,  the utter absolutism in the need  to possess the latest  would be more unsettling  ---to put it mildly. I would have been deeply scarred by the terrifying years of an economic depression where we had no security but lived with the ever brooding specter of eviction from our cramped, little apartment. While we always had sufficient food, it was never gourmet. We were taught to be thrifty. Our clothing likewise was adequate but plain and far from plentiful. We were amazingly happy (even in pervasive  insecurity) with a meager wardrobe, one radio shared by the whole family and, of course, no automobile. To own one was possible only in one’s fantasy. We were thrown emotionally together, talked much to each other and laughed at little things.

During  the Great Depression, I saw my father’s hair go  white, almost overnight. His days were suffused with worry in caring for his little family of four. He took it all as his  responsibility. Not the government’s. Not family members. Not the Church. The current notion of entitlement  would have been  Greek or Sanskrit to him.   He insisted that we work for what we get. With his uneven income as an  actor we understood  that sometimes  we simply  “ did without.” To eke out survival was a truism we easily grasped. To suggest today that one might do without non-essentials would be met by a vacuous stare of incomprehension or an angry retort about “my civil rights.”
The options, in the old days, for a college education were meagre. Apart from winning  a scholarship  and working  a night job while going to school, one’s  ambitions were focused on  the generally  secure  “city job”  where one was fairly assured of that priceless commodity,  “ security”.  To be a cop or firemen or mailman was the gateway  to the American dream.
To see every  teenager take for granted   that he will have four enjoyable years as an undergraduate with some one else paying the bills or  with easily  accessible government loans   to be paid off  in some distant future  would strike the 1941 citizen as irresponsible  If not daydreaming.
But beyond the economic, the basic value system prevalent today would  probably be  the most  unsettling  of all. Religious, spiritual, social, family values, in  contrast to 1941, seem either essentially scuttled or abandoned altogether. And the abandonment is passionately justified, often with furious self-righteousness and almost vicious tirades against any disagreement.  As a general impression (with ample space for the truly impressive  grown up current modern), the modern  I meet so often  claims he is more adult, more accepting, more authentic, more  tolerant  than  any previous  generation including the “Greatest Generation.” He easily disparages those who disagree with him as racist, homophobe , bigoted, ignorant or hypocrite .  His impressions seem more based on his deep feeling level  (what he calls his empathy) than on adult delayed gratification. A true Catholic values compassion but believes  that compassion does not mean  endorsement!  Compassion without truth can be mush.
Yet, he seems more restless, more harried, more worried and using an old  but descriptive term, more neurotic.  His mental health index shows heavy uses of tranquillizer medication, prolonged services of mental health professionals, more suicides, more breakups of marital and non –marital relationships. He seems to me to be very angry.
But about what? My own “ gut “ sense is   that he, too, is looking  for and needs some form of basic “security.”  The widespread notion that anything goes and that there is no right or wrong  except  being uninvolved in eco-environment issues and caring  for  the seal population in  alaska, can be unconsciously unsettling.
When a white woman decides, in spite of the hard empirical science, that she is really black, when a 56 year old male decides that  despite his XY chromosomal formation, his big feet and an Adam’s apple,  that  he is really  female, when two men announce their “marriage” with neither one supplying the female requisites for procreation, when living babies are aborted with the nonchalance of taking  an aspirin, even with baby body parts being sold as an “honorable” business, the thinking  ( to one out of 1941) is, at the very least, borderline psychotic. That is to say the classic definition of “psychotic” is to have a break with reality.  The  current facts  don’t match the fantasy. The lame attempts to justify such thinking with maudlin and sticky sentimentality are thunder striking in their fragility.
The blindness to reality would seem to leave one with the notion that one’s thinking decides what is real.  There is no bed rock “security”.  There is only trial and error with a huge swath of luck and blind  hope. There is no reality  “out there”.  And the result may very well be an anger at being left in a morass of cosmic mush.  The “mush”, the ambiguity, is all over the modern scene, even with religious persons.
A  very  with it” nun I know   went to a Pub, dressed in slacks and sweater, met a young chap at the bar  and after a  few pops he made  the usual pass. Sister indignantly informed him of her exalted status and rendered the poor dude with mouth agape. But how would he know? In 1941  such an event would have been intrinsically impossible. Self concepts indicated that such behavior collided with the conscious  self definition one clearly possessed. Is there no normal criterion of  “correct” behavior? Or, in  fact, is  it that  anything goes if one desires  “it”?     
 In 1941 Catholic priests were required  to wear clerical attire in all circumstances  with possible exceptions  of the shower and the beach. It was  de rigeur, at the very least,  to carry  a hat, usually black, except perhaps in scorching weather when one might sport what was  called a “Panama”, or light  colored straw. To see a priest today dressed in clericals is a rare event. And if he wears or carries a hat he must be an actor in some re-make of “Going  my way.”
Priests were called “Father” with undercurrent mutual understanding that the priest lived  “for” his parishioners as a spiritual parent. There was an automatic respect and regard for any priest.  Today the priesthood is generally regarded as a disgraced, questionable, child molesting, marginalized group.
Churches were overflowing with believers in 1941 with souls the “modern” scorn- fully labels as infantile while he, the enlightened, announces  that  while he is a Catholic, he doesn’t believe in many  medieval practices as unfitting  for his superior attainment.  He blithely ignores clear teaching of his church  and supports manners,  mores, practices and customs which are antithetically  opposed to the Faith. These differences of these eras under study are blatant.
But some Catholic leaders are equally perplexing.  Even on the Cardinal level, we find instances where leaders seriously advocate and lobby to allow people in the state of public objective sin to receive the Eucharist  in spite of  the centuries tradition of  “state of  grace” requirement. Apparently, they do not care for or are unaware of the consequent pain  for the simple devout Catholic  who doesn’t read the sophisticated musings  of professional  theologians.
There are, of course, many good adult developments such as the obliteration of the disgraceful racial discriminations of the past and the unjust   treatment of homosexual people. The sin of anti-Semitism has been surfaced and confronted on all levels of Catholicism even though bigots seep through the cracks everywhere.
On  the whole, however, the eyes of 1941 would never recognize the  “life” of  the modern progressive Catholic. Or the state of the modern Church. Modernity can please the elite but it often leaves the mass of the Catholic body perplexed and insecure. Their favorite and sustaining devotions are either obliterated or marginalized. Rarely are the laity  urged to “visit” the Blessed Sacrament  ( or even so to  refer to the Eucharist reserved in the tabernacle).  The stations of  the Cross  for most of the Liturgical year are ignored except for Lent and  weekly Church dusting.
Yet,   there seems be deep Faith underlying   the  spiritual life of the  2015 Catholic who remains true to the Faith of the Fathers in spite of the modern gooey style  of leadership,  priest infidelities, secularism, ridicule from a progressive media, empty Churches,   relatively  few vocations. The belief that Jesus will be with this Church until the end of time seems  in good health.
So, half a loaf is better than none.  In  general,  Rip Van Winkle prefers it  as it is now. The technology, communication, transportation facilities make life a pleasure. The available money and luxuries are hard to ignore.  He can still worship God as he pleases with his Rosary and visits to the Blessed Sacrament and his  saints and devotions.
In spite of the obvious almost antithetical differences of the two eras, human nature  remains the same. Natura non fallitur!  What is wrong with expressing  one’s opinion even if one is in a  tiny majority?  Ah, yes!  We must not forget the great American privilege----the right to espouse unpopular causes. It is great fun  to   do that and still say:  “I am proud to be American  and Catholic.”
Welcome, Rip Van Winkle,  to 2015.




                       

                                      Rip Van Winkle and culture shock                     


When I was a New York City super adenoidal sophomore in college in 1941, college men wore ties, clean shirts  (tucked into trousers), jackets, (sometimes with padded shoulders). Crew cuts were the acme of  ‘Class“.  Long hair was considered  Gauche and  sort  of dirty. Every day  we “dressed” to go to school as we tried to be “sharp.”. We desperately tried to overcome the slurred and indistinct speech so associated with Hell’s Kitchen or San Juan Hill. We were in the special class called “college men” and we consciously tried to live up to some kind of social expectation. In our own self concept, we were “educated.” Even the non-college guys wore ties and fedoras to go to the Yankee Stadium to watch Gehrig and DiMaggio and Dickey. There was a kind of dress  code the breakage of which drew frowns and scowls even from my minimally educated uncle J.J. who was a mechanic in the Sanitation department of the City.

We danced the Lindy, the Bunny Hop and the Shag. We debated the musical virtues of Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw and Benny Goodman. We  loved the smooth, velvety sounds coming from the throat of a skinny Italian kid from Hoboken, named Sinatra who wore classy straw hats with a wide ribbon.  A guy from Spokane nicknamed “Der Bingle”  (or Crosby)  was the Gold Standard with  the golden voice. Kate Smith was everyone’s favorite when she sang “God bless America.” To call a person  Communist” was analogous to  giving some one the finger in this era or using the N word!

There were unspoken rules of conduct, consensually ingested and generally observed by both genders.   The girls wore saddle shoes, swirl skirts  and short curled hair. They rarely smoked and were anxious to  have a “good” reputation. A good date was going to the Parish dance and having a Cherry Coke at the local hangout. That was it!  A baby born out side of  marriage was called  “illegitimate” and social disapproval was enormous. Divorce was something one spoke of in whispered tones. Same sex behavior was so verboten it was hardly noted except in medical journals.

If by some strange potion I should have been put under a kind of Rip Van Winkle trance in 1941, and  just woke up in 2015, it would be a cataclysmic shock to see what I am seeing today!. How would I or how could I handle it?

The shock one would get from the miracle of technology would alone be enough to destabilize one! Calculators, computers,  cell phones, push button dialing,  ipads,
washer /dryers, television sets, four wheel drive cars,  the unending list of scientific
marvels,  all would look like a kind of science fiction from the cartoon astronaut
Buck Rogers of the 25th century or Dick Tracy, the cartoon  detective who had a two way  radio watch to catch the bad guys. I would be awestruck, speechless but enthused and fascinated,

However, the gross materialism, the “throwaway” mentality,  the utter absolutism in the need  to possess the latest  would be more unsettling  ---to put it mildly. I would have been deeply scarred by the terrifying years of an economic depression where we had no security but lived with the ever brooding specter of eviction from our cramped, little apartment. While we always had sufficient food, it was never gourmet. We were taught to be thrifty. Our clothing likewise was adequate but plain and far from plentiful. We were amazingly happy (even in pervasive  insecurity) with a meager wardrobe, one radio shared by the whole family and, of course, no automobile. To own one was possible only in one’s fantasy. We were thrown emotionally together, talked much to each other and laughed at little things.

During  the Great Depression, I saw my father’s hair go  white, almost overnight. His days were suffused with worry in caring for his little family of four. He took it all as his  responsibility. Not the government’s. Not family members. Not the Church. The current notion of entitlement  would have been  Greek or Sanskrit to him.   He insisted that we work for what we get. With his uneven income as an  actor we understood  that sometimes  we simply  “ did without.” To eke out survival was a truism we easily grasped. To suggest today that one might do without non-essentials would be met by a vacuous stare of incomprehension or an angry retort about “my civil rights.”
The options, in the old days, for a college education were meagre. Apart from winning  a scholarship  and working  a night job while going to school, one’s  ambitions were focused on  the generally  secure  “city job”  where one was fairly assured of that priceless commodity,  “ security”.  To be a cop or firemen or mailman was the gateway  to the American dream.
To see every  teenager take for granted   that he will have four enjoyable years as an undergraduate with some one else paying the bills or  with easily  accessible government loans   to be paid off  in some distant future  would strike the 1941 citizen as irresponsible  If not daydreaming.
But beyond the economic, the basic value system prevalent today would  probably be  the most  unsettling  of all. Religious, spiritual, social, family values, in  contrast to 1941, seem either essentially scuttled or abandoned altogether. And the abandonment is passionately justified, often with furious self-righteousness and almost vicious tirades against any disagreement.  As a general impression (with ample space for the truly impressive  grown up current modern), the modern  I meet so often  claims he is more adult, more accepting, more authentic, more  tolerant  than  any previous  generation including the “Greatest Generation.” He easily disparages those who disagree with him as racist, homophobe , bigoted, ignorant or hypocrite .  His impressions seem more based on his deep feeling level  (what he calls his empathy) than on adult delayed gratification. A true Catholic values compassion but believes  that compassion does not mean  endorsement!  Compassion without truth can be mush.
Yet, he seems more restless, more harried, more worried and using an old  but descriptive term, more neurotic.  His mental health index shows heavy uses of tranquillizer medication, prolonged services of mental health professionals, more suicides, more breakups of marital and non –marital relationships. He seems to me to be very angry.
But about what? My own “ gut “ sense is   that he, too, is looking  for and needs some form of basic “security.”  The widespread notion that anything goes and that there is no right or wrong  except  being uninvolved in eco-environment issues and caring  for  the seal population in  alaska, can be unconsciously unsettling.
When a white woman decides, in spite of the hard empirical science, that she is really black, when a 56 year old male decides that  despite his XY chromosomal formation, his big feet and an Adam’s apple,  that  he is really  female, when two men announce their “marriage” with neither one supplying the female requisites for procreation, when living babies are aborted with the nonchalance of taking  an aspirin, even with baby body parts being sold as an “honorable” business, the thinking  ( to one out of 1941) is, at the very least, borderline psychotic. That is to say the classic definition of “psychotic” is to have a break with reality.  The  current facts  don’t match the fantasy. The lame attempts to justify such thinking with maudlin and sticky sentimentality are thunder striking in their fragility.
The blindness to reality would seem to leave one with the notion that one’s thinking decides what is real.  There is no bed rock “security”.  There is only trial and error with a huge swath of luck and blind  hope. There is no reality  “out there”.  And the result may very well be an anger at being left in a morass of cosmic mush.  The “mush”, the ambiguity, is all over the modern scene, even with religious persons.
A  very  with it” nun I know   went to a Pub, dressed in slacks and sweater, met a young chap at the bar  and after a  few pops he made  the usual pass. Sister indignantly informed him of her exalted status and rendered the poor dude with mouth agape. But how would he know? In 1941  such an event would have been intrinsically impossible. Self concepts indicated that such behavior collided with the conscious  self definition one clearly possessed. Is there no normal criterion of  “correct” behavior? Or, in  fact, is  it that  anything goes if one desires  “it”?     
 In 1941 Catholic priests were required  to wear clerical attire in all circumstances  with possible exceptions  of the shower and the beach. It was  de rigeur, at the very least,  to carry  a hat, usually black, except perhaps in scorching weather when one might sport what was  called a “Panama”, or light  colored straw. To see a priest today dressed in clericals is a rare event. And if he wears or carries a hat he must be an actor in some re-make of “Going  my way.”
Priests were called “Father” with undercurrent mutual understanding that the priest lived  “for” his parishioners as a spiritual parent. There was an automatic respect and regard for any priest.  Today the priesthood is generally regarded as a disgraced, questionable, child molesting, marginalized group.
Churches were overflowing with believers in 1941 with souls the “modern” scorn- fully labels as infantile while he, the enlightened, announces  that  while he is a Catholic, he doesn’t believe in many  medieval practices as unfitting  for his superior attainment.  He blithely ignores clear teaching of his church  and supports manners,  mores, practices and customs which are antithetically  opposed to the Faith. These differences of these eras under study are blatant.
But some Catholic leaders are equally perplexing.  Even on the Cardinal level, we find instances where leaders seriously advocate and lobby to allow people in the state of public objective sin to receive the Eucharist  in spite of  the centuries tradition of  “state of  grace” requirement. Apparently, they do not care for or are unaware of the consequent pain  for the simple devout Catholic  who doesn’t read the sophisticated musings  of professional  theologians.
There are, of course, many good adult developments such as the obliteration of the disgraceful racial discriminations of the past and the unjust   treatment of homosexual people. The sin of anti-Semitism has been surfaced and confronted on all levels of Catholicism even though bigots seep through the cracks everywhere.
On  the whole, however, the eyes of 1941 would never recognize the  “life” of  the modern progressive Catholic. Or the state of the modern Church. Modernity can please the elite but it often leaves the mass of the Catholic body perplexed and insecure. Their favorite and sustaining devotions are either obliterated or marginalized. Rarely are the laity  urged to “visit” the Blessed Sacrament  ( or even so to  refer to the Eucharist reserved in the tabernacle).  The stations of  the Cross  for most of the Liturgical year are ignored except for Lent and  weekly Church dusting.
Yet,   there seems be deep Faith underlying   the  spiritual life of the  2015 Catholic who remains true to the Faith of the Fathers in spite of the modern gooey style  of leadership,  priest infidelities, secularism, ridicule from a progressive media, empty Churches,   relatively  few vocations. The belief that Jesus will be with this Church until the end of time seems  in good health.
So, half a loaf is better than none.  In  general,  Rip Van Winkle prefers it  as it is now. The technology, communication, transportation facilities make life a pleasure. The available money and luxuries are hard to ignore.  He can still worship God as he pleases with his Rosary and visits to the Blessed Sacrament and his  saints and devotions.
In spite of the obvious almost antithetical differences of the two eras, human nature  remains the same. Natura non fallitur!  What is wrong with expressing  one’s opinion even if one is in a  tiny majority?  Ah, yes!  We must not forget the great American privilege----the right to espouse unpopular causes. It is great fun  to   do that and still say:  “I am proud to be American  and Catholic.”
Welcome, Rip Van Winkle,  to 2015.




                       

                                      Rip Van Winkle and culture shock                     


When I was a New York City super adenoidal sophomore in college in 1941, college men wore ties, clean shirts  (tucked into trousers), jackets, (sometimes with padded shoulders). Crew cuts were the acme of  ‘Class“.  Long hair was considered  Gauche and  sort  of dirty. Every day  we “dressed” to go to school as we tried to be “sharp.”. We desperately tried to overcome the slurred and indistinct speech so associated with Hell’s Kitchen or San Juan Hill. We were in the special class called “college men” and we consciously tried to live up to some kind of social expectation. In our own self concept, we were “educated.” Even the non-college guys wore ties and fedoras to go to the Yankee Stadium to watch Gehrig and DiMaggio and Dickey. There was a kind of dress  code the breakage of which drew frowns and scowls even from my minimally educated uncle J.J. who was a mechanic in the Sanitation department of the City.

We danced the Lindy, the Bunny Hop and the Shag. We debated the musical virtues of Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw and Benny Goodman. We  loved the smooth, velvety sounds coming from the throat of a skinny Italian kid from Hoboken, named Sinatra who wore classy straw hats with a wide ribbon.  A guy from Spokane nicknamed “Der Bingle”  (or Crosby)  was the Gold Standard with  the golden voice. Kate Smith was everyone’s favorite when she sang “God bless America.” To call a person  Communist” was analogous to  giving some one the finger in this era or using the N word!

There were unspoken rules of conduct, consensually ingested and generally observed by both genders.   The girls wore saddle shoes, swirl skirts  and short curled hair. They rarely smoked and were anxious to  have a “good” reputation. A good date was going to the Parish dance and having a Cherry Coke at the local hangout. That was it!  A baby born out side of  marriage was called  “illegitimate” and social disapproval was enormous. Divorce was something one spoke of in whispered tones. Same sex behavior was so verboten it was hardly noted except in medical journals.

If by some strange potion I should have been put under a kind of Rip Van Winkle trance in 1941, and  just woke up in 2015, it would be a cataclysmic shock to see what I am seeing today!. How would I or how could I handle it?

The shock one would get from the miracle of technology would alone be enough to destabilize one! Calculators, computers,  cell phones, push button dialing,  ipads,
washer /dryers, television sets, four wheel drive cars,  the unending list of scientific
marvels,  all would look like a kind of science fiction from the cartoon astronaut
Buck Rogers of the 25th century or Dick Tracy, the cartoon  detective who had a two way  radio watch to catch the bad guys. I would be awestruck, speechless but enthused and fascinated,

However, the gross materialism, the “throwaway” mentality,  the utter absolutism in the need  to possess the latest  would be more unsettling  ---to put it mildly. I would have been deeply scarred by the terrifying years of an economic depression where we had no security but lived with the ever brooding specter of eviction from our cramped, little apartment. While we always had sufficient food, it was never gourmet. We were taught to be thrifty. Our clothing likewise was adequate but plain and far from plentiful. We were amazingly happy (even in pervasive  insecurity) with a meager wardrobe, one radio shared by the whole family and, of course, no automobile. To own one was possible only in one’s fantasy. We were thrown emotionally together, talked much to each other and laughed at little things.

During  the Great Depression, I saw my father’s hair go  white, almost overnight. His days were suffused with worry in caring for his little family of four. He took it all as his  responsibility. Not the government’s. Not family members. Not the Church. The current notion of entitlement  would have been  Greek or Sanskrit to him.   He insisted that we work for what we get. With his uneven income as an  actor we understood  that sometimes  we simply  “ did without.” To eke out survival was a truism we easily grasped. To suggest today that one might do without non-essentials would be met by a vacuous stare of incomprehension or an angry retort about “my civil rights.”
The options, in the old days, for a college education were meagre. Apart from winning  a scholarship  and working  a night job while going to school, one’s  ambitions were focused on  the generally  secure  “city job”  where one was fairly assured of that priceless commodity,  “ security”.  To be a cop or firemen or mailman was the gateway  to the American dream.
To see every  teenager take for granted   that he will have four enjoyable years as an undergraduate with some one else paying the bills or  with easily  accessible government loans   to be paid off  in some distant future  would strike the 1941 citizen as irresponsible  If not daydreaming.
But beyond the economic, the basic value system prevalent today would  probably be  the most  unsettling  of all. Religious, spiritual, social, family values, in  contrast to 1941, seem either essentially scuttled or abandoned altogether. And the abandonment is passionately justified, often with furious self-righteousness and almost vicious tirades against any disagreement.  As a general impression (with ample space for the truly impressive  grown up current modern), the modern  I meet so often  claims he is more adult, more accepting, more authentic, more  tolerant  than  any previous  generation including the “Greatest Generation.” He easily disparages those who disagree with him as racist, homophobe , bigoted, ignorant or hypocrite .  His impressions seem more based on his deep feeling level  (what he calls his empathy) than on adult delayed gratification. A true Catholic values compassion but believes  that compassion does not mean  endorsement!  Compassion without truth can be mush.
Yet, he seems more restless, more harried, more worried and using an old  but descriptive term, more neurotic.  His mental health index shows heavy uses of tranquillizer medication, prolonged services of mental health professionals, more suicides, more breakups of marital and non –marital relationships. He seems to me to be very angry.
But about what? My own “ gut “ sense is   that he, too, is looking  for and needs some form of basic “security.”  The widespread notion that anything goes and that there is no right or wrong  except  being uninvolved in eco-environment issues and caring  for  the seal population in  alaska, can be unconsciously unsettling.
When a white woman decides, in spite of the hard empirical science, that she is really black, when a 56 year old male decides that  despite his XY chromosomal formation, his big feet and an Adam’s apple,  that  he is really  female, when two men announce their “marriage” with neither one supplying the female requisites for procreation, when living babies are aborted with the nonchalance of taking  an aspirin, even with baby body parts being sold as an “honorable” business, the thinking  ( to one out of 1941) is, at the very least, borderline psychotic. That is to say the classic definition of “psychotic” is to have a break with reality.  The  current facts  don’t match the fantasy. The lame attempts to justify such thinking with maudlin and sticky sentimentality are thunder striking in their fragility.
The blindness to reality would seem to leave one with the notion that one’s thinking decides what is real.  There is no bed rock “security”.  There is only trial and error with a huge swath of luck and blind  hope. There is no reality  “out there”.  And the result may very well be an anger at being left in a morass of cosmic mush.  The “mush”, the ambiguity, is all over the modern scene, even with religious persons.
A  very  with it” nun I know   went to a Pub, dressed in slacks and sweater, met a young chap at the bar  and after a  few pops he made  the usual pass. Sister indignantly informed him of her exalted status and rendered the poor dude with mouth agape. But how would he know? In 1941  such an event would have been intrinsically impossible. Self concepts indicated that such behavior collided with the conscious  self definition one clearly possessed. Is there no normal criterion of  “correct” behavior? Or, in  fact, is  it that  anything goes if one desires  “it”?     
 In 1941 Catholic priests were required  to wear clerical attire in all circumstances  with possible exceptions  of the shower and the beach. It was  de rigeur, at the very least,  to carry  a hat, usually black, except perhaps in scorching weather when one might sport what was  called a “Panama”, or light  colored straw. To see a priest today dressed in clericals is a rare event. And if he wears or carries a hat he must be an actor in some re-make of “Going  my way.”
Priests were called “Father” with undercurrent mutual understanding that the priest lived  “for” his parishioners as a spiritual parent. There was an automatic respect and regard for any priest.  Today the priesthood is generally regarded as a disgraced, questionable, child molesting, marginalized group.
Churches were overflowing with believers in 1941 with souls the “modern” scorn- fully labels as infantile while he, the enlightened, announces  that  while he is a Catholic, he doesn’t believe in many  medieval practices as unfitting  for his superior attainment.  He blithely ignores clear teaching of his church  and supports manners,  mores, practices and customs which are antithetically  opposed to the Faith. These differences of these eras under study are blatant.
But some Catholic leaders are equally perplexing.  Even on the Cardinal level, we find instances where leaders seriously advocate and lobby to allow people in the state of public objective sin to receive the Eucharist  in spite of  the centuries tradition of  “state of  grace” requirement. Apparently, they do not care for or are unaware of the consequent pain  for the simple devout Catholic  who doesn’t read the sophisticated musings  of professional  theologians.
There are, of course, many good adult developments such as the obliteration of the disgraceful racial discriminations of the past and the unjust   treatment of homosexual people. The sin of anti-Semitism has been surfaced and confronted on all levels of Catholicism even though bigots seep through the cracks everywhere.
On  the whole, however, the eyes of 1941 would never recognize the  “life” of  the modern progressive Catholic. Or the state of the modern Church. Modernity can please the elite but it often leaves the mass of the Catholic body perplexed and insecure. Their favorite and sustaining devotions are either obliterated or marginalized. Rarely are the laity  urged to “visit” the Blessed Sacrament  ( or even so to  refer to the Eucharist reserved in the tabernacle).  The stations of  the Cross  for most of the Liturgical year are ignored except for Lent and  weekly Church dusting.
Yet,   there seems be deep Faith underlying   the  spiritual life of the  2015 Catholic who remains true to the Faith of the Fathers in spite of the modern gooey style  of leadership,  priest infidelities, secularism, ridicule from a progressive media, empty Churches,   relatively  few vocations. The belief that Jesus will be with this Church until the end of time seems  in good health.
So, half a loaf is better than none.  In  general,  Rip Van Winkle prefers it  as it is now. The technology, communication, transportation facilities make life a pleasure. The available money and luxuries are hard to ignore.  He can still worship God as he pleases with his Rosary and visits to the Blessed Sacrament and his  saints and devotions.
In spite of the obvious almost antithetical differences of the two eras, human nature  remains the same. Natura non fallitur!  What is wrong with expressing  one’s opinion even if one is in a  tiny majority?  Ah, yes!  We must not forget the great American privilege----the right to espouse unpopular causes. It is great fun  to   do that and still say:  “I am proud to be American  and Catholic.”
Welcome, Rip Van Winkle,  to 2015.




                       

                                      Rip Van Winkle and culture shock                     


When I was a New York City super adenoidal sophomore in college in 1941, college men wore ties, clean shirts  (tucked into trousers), jackets, (sometimes with padded shoulders). Crew cuts were the acme of  ‘Class“.  Long hair was considered  Gauche and  sort  of dirty. Every day  we “dressed” to go to school as we tried to be “sharp.”. We desperately tried to overcome the slurred and indistinct speech so associated with Hell’s Kitchen or San Juan Hill. We were in the special class called “college men” and we consciously tried to live up to some kind of social expectation. In our own self concept, we were “educated.” Even the non-college guys wore ties and fedoras to go to the Yankee Stadium to watch Gehrig and DiMaggio and Dickey. There was a kind of dress  code the breakage of which drew frowns and scowls even from my minimally educated uncle J.J. who was a mechanic in the Sanitation department of the City.

We danced the Lindy, the Bunny Hop and the Shag. We debated the musical virtues of Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw and Benny Goodman. We  loved the smooth, velvety sounds coming from the throat of a skinny Italian kid from Hoboken, named Sinatra who wore classy straw hats with a wide ribbon.  A guy from Spokane nicknamed “Der Bingle”  (or Crosby)  was the Gold Standard with  the golden voice. Kate Smith was everyone’s favorite when she sang “God bless America.” To call a person  Communist” was analogous to  giving some one the finger in this era or using the N word!

There were unspoken rules of conduct, consensually ingested and generally observed by both genders.   The girls wore saddle shoes, swirl skirts  and short curled hair. They rarely smoked and were anxious to  have a “good” reputation. A good date was going to the Parish dance and having a Cherry Coke at the local hangout. That was it!  A baby born out side of  marriage was called  “illegitimate” and social disapproval was enormous. Divorce was something one spoke of in whispered tones. Same sex behavior was so verboten it was hardly noted except in medical journals.

If by some strange potion I should have been put under a kind of Rip Van Winkle trance in 1941, and  just woke up in 2015, it would be a cataclysmic shock to see what I am seeing today!. How would I or how could I handle it?

The shock one would get from the miracle of technology would alone be enough to destabilize one! Calculators, computers,  cell phones, push button dialing,  ipads,
washer /dryers, television sets, four wheel drive cars,  the unending list of scientific
marvels,  all would look like a kind of science fiction from the cartoon astronaut
Buck Rogers of the 25th century or Dick Tracy, the cartoon  detective who had a two way  radio watch to catch the bad guys. I would be awestruck, speechless but enthused and fascinated,

However, the gross materialism, the “throwaway” mentality,  the utter absolutism in the need  to possess the latest  would be more unsettling  ---to put it mildly. I would have been deeply scarred by the terrifying years of an economic depression where we had no security but lived with the ever brooding specter of eviction from our cramped, little apartment. While we always had sufficient food, it was never gourmet. We were taught to be thrifty. Our clothing likewise was adequate but plain and far from plentiful. We were amazingly happy (even in pervasive  insecurity) with a meager wardrobe, one radio shared by the whole family and, of course, no automobile. To own one was possible only in one’s fantasy. We were thrown emotionally together, talked much to each other and laughed at little things.

During  the Great Depression, I saw my father’s hair go  white, almost overnight. His days were suffused with worry in caring for his little family of four. He took it all as his  responsibility. Not the government’s. Not family members. Not the Church. The current notion of entitlement  would have been  Greek or Sanskrit to him.   He insisted that we work for what we get. With his uneven income as an  actor we understood  that sometimes  we simply  “ did without.” To eke out survival was a truism we easily grasped. To suggest today that one might do without non-essentials would be met by a vacuous stare of incomprehension or an angry retort about “my civil rights.”
The options, in the old days, for a college education were meagre. Apart from winning  a scholarship  and working  a night job while going to school, one’s  ambitions were focused on  the generally  secure  “city job”  where one was fairly assured of that priceless commodity,  “ security”.  To be a cop or firemen or mailman was the gateway  to the American dream.
To see every  teenager take for granted   that he will have four enjoyable years as an undergraduate with some one else paying the bills or  with easily  accessible government loans   to be paid off  in some distant future  would strike the 1941 citizen as irresponsible  If not daydreaming.
But beyond the economic, the basic value system prevalent today would  probably be  the most  unsettling  of all. Religious, spiritual, social, family values, in  contrast to 1941, seem either essentially scuttled or abandoned altogether. And the abandonment is passionately justified, often with furious self-righteousness and almost vicious tirades against any disagreement.  As a general impression (with ample space for the truly impressive  grown up current modern), the modern  I meet so often  claims he is more adult, more accepting, more authentic, more  tolerant  than  any previous  generation including the “Greatest Generation.” He easily disparages those who disagree with him as racist, homophobe , bigoted, ignorant or hypocrite .  His impressions seem more based on his deep feeling level  (what he calls his empathy) than on adult delayed gratification. A true Catholic values compassion but believes  that compassion does not mean  endorsement!  Compassion without truth can be mush.
Yet, he seems more restless, more harried, more worried and using an old  but descriptive term, more neurotic.  His mental health index shows heavy uses of tranquillizer medication, prolonged services of mental health professionals, more suicides, more breakups of marital and non –marital relationships. He seems to me to be very angry.
But about what? My own “ gut “ sense is   that he, too, is looking  for and needs some form of basic “security.”  The widespread notion that anything goes and that there is no right or wrong  except  being uninvolved in eco-environment issues and caring  for  the seal population in  alaska, can be unconsciously unsettling.
When a white woman decides, in spite of the hard empirical science, that she is really black, when a 56 year old male decides that  despite his XY chromosomal formation, his big feet and an Adam’s apple,  that  he is really  female, when two men announce their “marriage” with neither one supplying the female requisites for procreation, when living babies are aborted with the nonchalance of taking  an aspirin, even with baby body parts being sold as an “honorable” business, the thinking  ( to one out of 1941) is, at the very least, borderline psychotic. That is to say the classic definition of “psychotic” is to have a break with reality.  The  current facts  don’t match the fantasy. The lame attempts to justify such thinking with maudlin and sticky sentimentality are thunder striking in their fragility.
The blindness to reality would seem to leave one with the notion that one’s thinking decides what is real.  There is no bed rock “security”.  There is only trial and error with a huge swath of luck and blind  hope. There is no reality  “out there”.  And the result may very well be an anger at being left in a morass of cosmic mush.  The “mush”, the ambiguity, is all over the modern scene, even with religious persons.
A  very  with it” nun I know   went to a Pub, dressed in slacks and sweater, met a young chap at the bar  and after a  few pops he made  the usual pass. Sister indignantly informed him of her exalted status and rendered the poor dude with mouth agape. But how would he know? In 1941  such an event would have been intrinsically impossible. Self concepts indicated that such behavior collided with the conscious  self definition one clearly possessed. Is there no normal criterion of  “correct” behavior? Or, in  fact, is  it that  anything goes if one desires  “it”?     
 In 1941 Catholic priests were required  to wear clerical attire in all circumstances  with possible exceptions  of the shower and the beach. It was  de rigeur, at the very least,  to carry  a hat, usually black, except perhaps in scorching weather when one might sport what was  called a “Panama”, or light  colored straw. To see a priest today dressed in clericals is a rare event. And if he wears or carries a hat he must be an actor in some re-make of “Going  my way.”
Priests were called “Father” with undercurrent mutual understanding that the priest lived  “for” his parishioners as a spiritual parent. There was an automatic respect and regard for any priest.  Today the priesthood is generally regarded as a disgraced, questionable, child molesting, marginalized group.
Churches were overflowing with believers in 1941 with souls the “modern” scorn- fully labels as infantile while he, the enlightened, announces  that  while he is a Catholic, he doesn’t believe in many  medieval practices as unfitting  for his superior attainment.  He blithely ignores clear teaching of his church  and supports manners,  mores, practices and customs which are antithetically  opposed to the Faith. These differences of these eras under study are blatant.
But some Catholic leaders are equally perplexing.  Even on the Cardinal level, we find instances where leaders seriously advocate and lobby to allow people in the state of public objective sin to receive the Eucharist  in spite of  the centuries tradition of  “state of  grace” requirement. Apparently, they do not care for or are unaware of the consequent pain  for the simple devout Catholic  who doesn’t read the sophisticated musings  of professional  theologians.
There are, of course, many good adult developments such as the obliteration of the disgraceful racial discriminations of the past and the unjust   treatment of homosexual people. The sin of anti-Semitism has been surfaced and confronted on all levels of Catholicism even though bigots seep through the cracks everywhere.
On  the whole, however, the eyes of 1941 would never recognize the  “life” of  the modern progressive Catholic. Or the state of the modern Church. Modernity can please the elite but it often leaves the mass of the Catholic body perplexed and insecure. Their favorite and sustaining devotions are either obliterated or marginalized. Rarely are the laity  urged to “visit” the Blessed Sacrament  ( or even so to  refer to the Eucharist reserved in the tabernacle).  The stations of  the Cross  for most of the Liturgical year are ignored except for Lent and  weekly Church dusting.
Yet,   there seems be deep Faith underlying   the  spiritual life of the  2015 Catholic who remains true to the Faith of the Fathers in spite of the modern gooey style  of leadership,  priest infidelities, secularism, ridicule from a progressive media, empty Churches,   relatively  few vocations. The belief that Jesus will be with this Church until the end of time seems  in good health.
So, half a loaf is better than none.  In  general,  Rip Van Winkle prefers it  as it is now. The technology, communication, transportation facilities make life a pleasure. The available money and luxuries are hard to ignore.  He can still worship God as he pleases with his Rosary and visits to the Blessed Sacrament and his  saints and devotions.
In spite of the obvious almost antithetical differences of the two eras, human nature  remains the same. Natura non fallitur!  What is wrong with expressing  one’s opinion even if one is in a  tiny majority?  Ah, yes!  We must not forget the great American privilege----the right to espouse unpopular causes. It is great fun  to   do that and still say:  “I am proud to be American  and Catholic.”
Welcome, Rip Van Winkle,  to 2015.




                       

                                      Rip Van Winkle and culture shock                     


When I was a New York City super adenoidal sophomore in college in 1941, college men wore ties, clean shirts  (tucked into trousers), jackets, (sometimes with padded shoulders). Crew cuts were the acme of  ‘Class“.  Long hair was considered  Gauche and  sort  of dirty. Every day  we “dressed” to go to school as we tried to be “sharp.”. We desperately tried to overcome the slurred and indistinct speech so associated with Hell’s Kitchen or San Juan Hill. We were in the special class called “college men” and we consciously tried to live up to some kind of social expectation. In our own self concept, we were “educated.” Even the non-college guys wore ties and fedoras to go to the Yankee Stadium to watch Gehrig and DiMaggio and Dickey. There was a kind of dress  code the breakage of which drew frowns and scowls even from my minimally educated uncle J.J. who was a mechanic in the Sanitation department of the City.

We danced the Lindy, the Bunny Hop and the Shag. We debated the musical virtues of Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw and Benny Goodman. We  loved the smooth, velvety sounds coming from the throat of a skinny Italian kid from Hoboken, named Sinatra who wore classy straw hats with a wide ribbon.  A guy from Spokane nicknamed “Der Bingle”  (or Crosby)  was the Gold Standard with  the golden voice. Kate Smith was everyone’s favorite when she sang “God bless America.” To call a person  Communist” was analogous to  giving some one the finger in this era or using the N word!

There were unspoken rules of conduct, consensually ingested and generally observed by both genders.   The girls wore saddle shoes, swirl skirts  and short curled hair. They rarely smoked and were anxious to  have a “good” reputation. A good date was going to the Parish dance and having a Cherry Coke at the local hangout. That was it!  A baby born out side of  marriage was called  “illegitimate” and social disapproval was enormous. Divorce was something one spoke of in whispered tones. Same sex behavior was so verboten it was hardly noted except in medical journals.

If by some strange potion I should have been put under a kind of Rip Van Winkle trance in 1941, and  just woke up in 2015, it would be a cataclysmic shock to see what I am seeing today!. How would I or how could I handle it?

The shock one would get from the miracle of technology would alone be enough to destabilize one! Calculators, computers,  cell phones, push button dialing,  ipads,
washer /dryers, television sets, four wheel drive cars,  the unending list of scientific
marvels,  all would look like a kind of science fiction from the cartoon astronaut
Buck Rogers of the 25th century or Dick Tracy, the cartoon  detective who had a two way  radio watch to catch the bad guys. I would be awestruck, speechless but enthused and fascinated,

However, the gross materialism, the “throwaway” mentality,  the utter absolutism in the need  to possess the latest  would be more unsettling  ---to put it mildly. I would have been deeply scarred by the terrifying years of an economic depression where we had no security but lived with the ever brooding specter of eviction from our cramped, little apartment. While we always had sufficient food, it was never gourmet. We were taught to be thrifty. Our clothing likewise was adequate but plain and far from plentiful. We were amazingly happy (even in pervasive  insecurity) with a meager wardrobe, one radio shared by the whole family and, of course, no automobile. To own one was possible only in one’s fantasy. We were thrown emotionally together, talked much to each other and laughed at little things.

During  the Great Depression, I saw my father’s hair go  white, almost overnight. His days were suffused with worry in caring for his little family of four. He took it all as his  responsibility. Not the government’s. Not family members. Not the Church. The current notion of entitlement  would have been  Greek or Sanskrit to him.   He insisted that we work for what we get. With his uneven income as an  actor we understood  that sometimes  we simply  “ did without.” To eke out survival was a truism we easily grasped. To suggest today that one might do without non-essentials would be met by a vacuous stare of incomprehension or an angry retort about “my civil rights.”
The options, in the old days, for a college education were meagre. Apart from winning  a scholarship  and working  a night job while going to school, one’s  ambitions were focused on  the generally  secure  “city job”  where one was fairly assured of that priceless commodity,  “ security”.  To be a cop or firemen or mailman was the gateway  to the American dream.
To see every  teenager take for granted   that he will have four enjoyable years as an undergraduate with some one else paying the bills or  with easily  accessible government loans   to be paid off  in some distant future  would strike the 1941 citizen as irresponsible  If not daydreaming.
But beyond the economic, the basic value system prevalent today would  probably be  the most  unsettling  of all. Religious, spiritual, social, family values, in  contrast to 1941, seem either essentially scuttled or abandoned altogether. And the abandonment is passionately justified, often with furious self-righteousness and almost vicious tirades against any disagreement.  As a general impression (with ample space for the truly impressive  grown up current modern), the modern  I meet so often  claims he is more adult, more accepting, more authentic, more  tolerant  than  any previous  generation including the “Greatest Generation.” He easily disparages those who disagree with him as racist, homophobe , bigoted, ignorant or hypocrite .  His impressions seem more based on his deep feeling level  (what he calls his empathy) than on adult delayed gratification. A true Catholic values compassion but believes  that compassion does not mean  endorsement!  Compassion without truth can be mush.
Yet, he seems more restless, more harried, more worried and using an old  but descriptive term, more neurotic.  His mental health index shows heavy uses of tranquillizer medication, prolonged services of mental health professionals, more suicides, more breakups of marital and non –marital relationships. He seems to me to be very angry.
But about what? My own “ gut “ sense is   that he, too, is looking  for and needs some form of basic “security.”  The widespread notion that anything goes and that there is no right or wrong  except  being uninvolved in eco-environment issues and caring  for  the seal population in  alaska, can be unconsciously unsettling.
When a white woman decides, in spite of the hard empirical science, that she is really black, when a 56 year old male decides that  despite his XY chromosomal formation, his big feet and an Adam’s apple,  that  he is really  female, when two men announce their “marriage” with neither one supplying the female requisites for procreation, when living babies are aborted with the nonchalance of taking  an aspirin, even with baby body parts being sold as an “honorable” business, the thinking  ( to one out of 1941) is, at the very least, borderline psychotic. That is to say the classic definition of “psychotic” is to have a break with reality.  The  current facts  don’t match the fantasy. The lame attempts to justify such thinking with maudlin and sticky sentimentality are thunder striking in their fragility.
The blindness to reality would seem to leave one with the notion that one’s thinking decides what is real.  There is no bed rock “security”.  There is only trial and error with a huge swath of luck and blind  hope. There is no reality  “out there”.  And the result may very well be an anger at being left in a morass of cosmic mush.  The “mush”, the ambiguity, is all over the modern scene, even with religious persons.
A  very  with it” nun I know   went to a Pub, dressed in slacks and sweater, met a young chap at the bar  and after a  few pops he made  the usual pass. Sister indignantly informed him of her exalted status and rendered the poor dude with mouth agape. But how would he know? In 1941  such an event would have been intrinsically impossible. Self concepts indicated that such behavior collided with the conscious  self definition one clearly possessed. Is there no normal criterion of  “correct” behavior? Or, in  fact, is  it that  anything goes if one desires  “it”?     
 In 1941 Catholic priests were required  to wear clerical attire in all circumstances  with possible exceptions  of the shower and the beach. It was  de rigeur, at the very least,  to carry  a hat, usually black, except perhaps in scorching weather when one might sport what was  called a “Panama”, or light  colored straw. To see a priest today dressed in clericals is a rare event. And if he wears or carries a hat he must be an actor in some re-make of “Going  my way.”
Priests were called “Father” with undercurrent mutual understanding that the priest lived  “for” his parishioners as a spiritual parent. There was an automatic respect and regard for any priest.  Today the priesthood is generally regarded as a disgraced, questionable, child molesting, marginalized group.
Churches were overflowing with believers in 1941 with souls the “modern” scorn- fully labels as infantile while he, the enlightened, announces  that  while he is a Catholic, he doesn’t believe in many  medieval practices as unfitting  for his superior attainment.  He blithely ignores clear teaching of his church  and supports manners,  mores, practices and customs which are antithetically  opposed to the Faith. These differences of these eras under study are blatant.
But some Catholic leaders are equally perplexing.  Even on the Cardinal level, we find instances where leaders seriously advocate and lobby to allow people in the state of public objective sin to receive the Eucharist  in spite of  the centuries tradition of  “state of  grace” requirement. Apparently, they do not care for or are unaware of the consequent pain  for the simple devout Catholic  who doesn’t read the sophisticated musings  of professional  theologians.
There are, of course, many good adult developments such as the obliteration of the disgraceful racial discriminations of the past and the unjust   treatment of homosexual people. The sin of anti-Semitism has been surfaced and confronted on all levels of Catholicism even though bigots seep through the cracks everywhere.
On  the whole, however, the eyes of 1941 would never recognize the  “life” of  the modern progressive Catholic. Or the state of the modern Church. Modernity can please the elite but it often leaves the mass of the Catholic body perplexed and insecure. Their favorite and sustaining devotions are either obliterated or marginalized. Rarely are the laity  urged to “visit” the Blessed Sacrament  ( or even so to  refer to the Eucharist reserved in the tabernacle).  The stations of  the Cross  for most of the Liturgical year are ignored except for Lent and  weekly Church dusting.
Yet,   there seems be deep Faith underlying   the  spiritual life of the  2015 Catholic who remains true to the Faith of the Fathers in spite of the modern gooey style  of leadership,  priest infidelities, secularism, ridicule from a progressive media, empty Churches,   relatively  few vocations. The belief that Jesus will be with this Church until the end of time seems  in good health.
So, half a loaf is better than none.  In  general,  Rip Van Winkle prefers it  as it is now. The technology, communication, transportation facilities make life a pleasure. The available money and luxuries are hard to ignore.  He can still worship God as he pleases with his Rosary and visits to the Blessed Sacrament and his  saints and devotions.
In spite of the obvious almost antithetical differences of the two eras, human nature  remains the same. Natura non fallitur!  What is wrong with expressing  one’s opinion even if one is in a  tiny majority?  Ah, yes!  We must not forget the great American privilege----the right to espouse unpopular causes. It is great fun  to   do that and still say:  “I am proud to be American  and Catholic.”
Welcome, Rip Van Winkle,  to 2015.