Monday, March 24


The Papal Visit Is Starting to Get Weird

First, the news that there was a Papal Skateboard design contest. Apparently some well-meaning soul decided the Pope will be presented with an official skateboard at the Youth Rally at Yonkers, which I suppose will take its place in the Official Hall of Weird Vatican Tchotkes (spelled "chachkas" if your name is Andrei Codrescu) along with that goofy Ten Commandments stick and all those turtledoves and candles he used to get for canonizations. As with all public art (has anyone been to an airport lately?), the competition was open not to talented graphic artists but to pre-teens, but the result was actually fairly handsome even if the artist appears not to have used a t-square (or to have reached puberty), and, moreover, we at the Shrine are glad to see it has a proper tiara on it instead of Archbishop Montemozolo's whatchamacallit.

More disturbing is item number two, that Kelly Clarkson will be singing Ave Maria at the said Youth Rally. I have not yet been informed if she will be singing the Schubert or Tomás Luis de Victoria versions, nor do I really think there is any answer to that question that will not make me start banging my head on the table. (Okay, I suppose I'd find something to complain about whoever they picked; even the now disturbingly (okay, mildly) sexed-up Charlotte Church gets on my nerves, and has, ever since I found out she'd she decided to stop being 11 years old some time ago. My latent inner dad keeps wanting to say, whenever I see a photo of her, "Young lady, where do you think you're going dressed like that?" I think I will enjoy being a father, if I am ever so lucky.)

Thirdly, it appears that the setting for the mass at Yankee Stadium is going to be built out of Legos, but, in a move to appease Traditionalists, they are using the medieval castle Lego series to set the artistic tone for the design.

Seriously, okay, it could be worse, and at least it has a nice royal purple, heraldic sort of vibe, and there's a baldachin and a great big throne of sorts, perhaps one even with the traditional seven steps, though I don't know. But still, it's pretty silly looking and one wonders what Bernini, who was in his day the Industrial Light and Magic of his age as well as one of the greatest architects of his generation, could have done with the place. Even some of the older folks at the Vatican could have probably done a much better job, considering the grand tradition of temporary Baroque decorations continued, in somewhat attenuated form, at St. Peter's well into the last century.

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