urticaria existencial

I have all the links for a Friday Link Spam collected but not formatted, and a post about thunderstorms hastily scribbled across several pages of a notebook, but this week has been busy with entertaining so instead I leave you this Friday with my New Favorite Phrase:

“urticaria existencial”

or, en anglais,

“existential hives.”

It comes from our very own Papa Francesco, in a interview that I read part of here. The whole interview is here and no doubt says lots of interesting things but tragically I still don’t know Spanish well enough to read the whole thing.

Anyway, thanks to Google Translate/my smattering of French, il papa was here concerned with talking about contemporary portrayals of Pope Pius XII, who was pope during a little conflict called WWII and, as Pope Francis put it, “le han tirado encima de todo.” He went on to say, “También quiero decir que a veces me da un poco de urticaria existencial cuando veo que todos se la toman contra la Iglesia y Pío XII, y se olvidan de las grandes potencias” which, as far as I can tell, means, “Also I wanna say that I get a little bit of existential hives when I see everyone ganging up against the Church and Pius XII and ignoring the Allies,” i.e., ignoring that the Allies made mistakes too.

And OH what a glorious phrase il papa has given to us here. Who doesn’t know the feeling of sitting there while someone says something that’s, at best, technically correct in a very narrow sense sorta kinda but not really OH WILL YOU PLEASE STOP TALKING LET ME AT LEAST EXPAND YOUR HORIZONS ON THIS ISSUE COME ON? If you haven’t been there, probably you should take a moment to read the comments section on any blog (excepting mine). Come back when your fingers are just ITCHING to start typing, and we’ll talk about existential hives, okay?

Of course, as the linked comic implies, it is not always the best idea to scratch our existential hives. If we want to correct someone else for the sake of self-aggrandizement, if someone is proposing an alternative that would require change and effort on our parts, or if our correction veers too deeply towards the ad hominem approach, we ought to practice discipline. Look at the pope. His hives stem from attacks against his Mother Church and predecessor and usually come from people who are seeking to tear down both for the sake of their own historical agenda, rather than to build anything up. That’s worth some gentle correction. (Needless to say, all existential scratching should be gentle. Souls are fragile things, and scratching so hard you draw blood only offers the occasion for festering infections.) (SEE HOW GREAT THIS METAPHOR IS?)

People trying to convince you say that any of the The Hobbit movies are worth spending money on and they really enjoyed them–maybe internally you are screaming NO NO NO WRONG but since it’s subjective (oh and you wince at that because come on) you shouldn’t harsh on their joy EVEN WHEN THEY ARE REALLY, REALLY WRONG–let it go. (People insisting that Frozen is good cinema despite its uneven pacing, confused thematic elements, and subliminal messages that all the movies you loved as a child were stupid DESPITE RELYING ON THE SAME TACTICS–)

I spend a lot of my time suffering from these hives. I am better about not scratching mosquito bites. But now I have a phrase to describe my suffering! Thanks, Papa Francesco. Now, to work on that whole meek and humble thing you’ve got going…

Thanks to Fr. Jerabek for wondering what this phrase meant. Next time on Jo Interprets the Pope: “self-absorbed promethean neo-pelagianism.” It might be a few weeks, folks.

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Categories: random thoughts | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “urticaria existencial

  1. YES YES YES I love this phrase and it perfectly describes what happens to me on the Internet all. The. Time.

    (also I don’t know what it was but I really enjoyed the second Hobbit movie. Though not as an adaptation of the Hobbit.)

    • I KNOW RIGHT? And then again to me at dinner tonight when our guests were like “how can you be a true Harry Potter fan if you haven’t seen all the movies.”

      (see, part of my problem with the first film wasn’t just that it was a bad adaptation but that it was bad cinema? It dragged and a lot of the lighting/CGI was not that great and things felt cobbled together and poorly inserted and anyway if the second one managed to come together as a better film I’m happy for it.)

      • Because– because– because– they never quite got it right and the books are where we all started ahhhh I enjoy the movies but understand your pain/itchiness there.

        Wait for the reboot. I recently read commentary that suggested a TV series would be a stronger medium for an HP adaptation and may even improve on the source material (I’m happy to go on believing people on the internet have authority if I like what they’re saying.) Not that that’s actually happening, but it’s a more realistic possibility now than it would have been fifteen years ago.

        (The first film bored me to tears and really smacked of “oops, maybe we shouldn’t have stretched this three hundred page book into a nine hour series of movies. I thought the second film would go the same way, but I wound up really enjoying it. The extraneous stuff actually added plot and conflict this time, and felt like a logical extension of the worldbuilding. Even the Tauriel thing was a lot less obnoxious than we’d been led to believe it would be.

        It’s more an extrapolation than an adaption, though, and the Hot!Dwarf pandering is pretty painful.)

        • I enjoy parts of the movies and then other parts just hit on that deep teenage-love nerve in me with their wrongness and I cannot abide.

          TV reboot would be so wonderful if they can reboot The Hulk like three times they can reboot Harry Potter come on now.

          (Yeaaaaaaah that. So, again, glad to hear the second one was at least better cinema. Still grumpy about poor Evangeline Lily have to do a love triangle. And about Legolas being in a love triangle at all. And just romance being in The Hobbit and nope nope never gonna watch it.)

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