Sunday, January 12, 2014

Troubling Sides Or One-Sided Troubles

Poor Karen Paperno. She opened a shop and did what she loved, only to find that the love was lost because of the money-grubbing sort that invaded her world.

She found her niche several years ago in the expanding market for breastfeeding supplies (I thought women came fully equipped but what does someone from the back of beyond know of accessories?) in the gentrifying neighborhood of Park Slope in Brooklyn. Being an increasingly trendy area, the clientele morphed from urban pioneer to wealthy status symbol displayer, much to Ms. Paperno's dismay.
The shop that was saved by acts of charity

When clients asked for a product that she refused to carry for her own personal reasons, she was horrified. Should they request something that was over-priced but highly desired, Ms. Paperno was equally upset. What was wrong with these people? She herself came from a left-wing upbringing, one that promoted sharing and equality and not too much for anyone.

Sort of like Catholicism but without the clergy. Or the guilt.

Self-guided religion leaves too much room to manuever, to pretend that you're following the tenets when in fact you're not. Like a person who owns a successful boutique selling breastfeeding paraphernalia and makes a comfortable living but doesn't realize that they've become the very sort they once found greedy.

The changing nature of her clientele forced Ms. Paperno to realize that fact. She had more than many. And her clients had more than her, and wanted even more. Was she then out of the middle class? Had she not risen as far as she imagined?

Her solution was to open a second store, to expand her nursing empire, when she could have just gone to confession and talked it over with the priest. How do I cope with these feelings of inadequacy, she would have asked, and the priest would have told her to say ten Hail Marys and a rosary and find the answer in her own heart.

Leftist parenting can't replace that kind of advice. At its foundation, and unspoken, are all the lessons that are drilled into receptive heads, imprinted on young minds by a nun with a cane across the palms if you didn't pick up on the catechism with suitable serioiusness. As for the Jesuits in secondary school, that's a whole other level of instilling Christianity, with a heavy dose of being of service to others. In other words, get your head out of your own arse and practice charity.

Alone, Ms. Paperno grew concerned that she was becoming too grasping, trying to match the financial wherewithal of her clients. She says she became self-conscious of her style of dress as she went about coveting her neighbor's goods without fully appreciating the purpose of the commandment.

So what did she do instead? She went off and stole a thing here or there, breaking yet another commandment. Then she blamed the world around her for her troubles, a world filled with grasping and the worship of money.

The New York Times wants us to believe that income inequality is the corrosive force at work, when in fact it has nothing to do with inequality. It has to do with jealousy, and understanding what it means to overcome the human desire to possess what others have. But that involves teaching religion, and Heaven forbid we do something so divisive or corrosive as that.

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