Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Pipe-weed, et cetera

There is another thing about the Hobbits of old that must be mentioned, an astonishing habit: they imbibed or inhaled, through pipes of clay or wood, the smoke of the burning leaves of a herb, which they called pipe-weed or leaf, a variety probably of Nicotiana. A great deal of mystery surrounds the origin of this peculiar custom, or 'art' as the Hobbits preferred to call it.
-From the introduction to The Lord of the Rings: Concerning Pipe-weed

I've bought a pipe. It's been a long time coming, this purchase. I've enjoyed cigars for some time, albeit on somewhat rare occasions. This hobby, however, does not quite agree with my present economic situation. Pipe smoking, on the other hand, is a little cheaper. Besides, there's something alluring and artful about the experience of sitting in a nice lounge chair and smoking a nice pipe. Of course, here at the seminary, I'm consigned to an outdoor courtyard with poor lighting when I engage in this behavior, so it loses some of its mystique, as I cannot exactly curl up next to a fire with a volume of Dickens. Nonetheless, I can sit there and wax philosophical with my fellows, wisecracking in a pretentious Chestertonian idiom.

It has been pointed out to me already by concerned parties that this is an "unhealthy habit." I presume that they’re talking about smoking, and not quoting Chesterton. Although, depending on where you are, the latter is probably a lot more hazardous to your health (e.g., a NOW conference or an Ecumenical meeting). However, (a) it’s not a habit – yet; and, (b) I don’t foresee a cause for canonization in my future, so to embrace what might be regarded a small vice wouldn’t be all that objectionable to me anyway. The defense rests.

In other news, I have been exploring the possibilities of starting a club here to celebrate the literary and philosophical prowess of what I call the first and second Oxford movements. The former is the Oxford movement, properly speaking, and the latter is, I think, a direct result of it – namely, the 20th Century Christian literary Renaissance of Belloc, Chesterton, Eliot, Lewis, Tolkien, et al. I need a name for the club. And a less confounding way of describing it, because right now it's too vague. I guess, in a way, we'd be tracing the cultural implications over two centuries of (quasi-)Catholic literature and discussing the import of artistic expression and social activity for the modern Church. I don't think enough consideration is given to this matter nowadays. There aren't many great literary figures left in the world, but among the few who merit attention, there are none with the in-your-face religious bent of the Chesterbellocs of old.

Anyway, as always, suggestions are welcome.


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9/28/05, 8:06 PM  
Blogger JMT said...

I remember about 2 summers ago when you took to walking around with Mr. J's pipe hanging from your mouth. I still sorta half (fully?) expect to see soap bubbles cascading over rather than smoke wafting from any pipe in your mouth. It just seems more in tune with your nature. ;-)

9/28/05, 10:09 PM  
Anonymous hmmmm... said...

it’s not a habit – yet

Yeah, and family history taken into consideration and all... you're not prone to making it a habit, eh? *rolling eyes*

btw, ever get that link problem figured out?

9/30/05, 1:33 PM  
Blogger Joey G. said...

Yes, we fixed the links. And I know my limits. I don't feel any real "affect" of pipe-smoking that I would associate with anything habit forming. It's not even a stress reliever. Unless I'm already relaxed, it won't do anythign to help me reach a relaxed state.

Anyway... Thanks for your help with the links ;-)

Give my nephew a hug and kiss for me.

9/30/05, 8:04 PM  
Blogger Josh said...

Hey dude,
checked out your blog...
I have a link on catholicism. You need to check it out because it is from your own catechism.

Go to my blog.

10/3/05, 10:32 AM  
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