Catholic Teddy Bears: Is Shia LaBeouf Playing You?
Catholics do the Church no favor by suspending warranted skepticism for the easy gratification of prematurely claiming a pop culture ally in the liturgy wars.
Before you accuse me of plagiarism, the quote comes from here.
The article repeats, in an excellent way, the theme of one of my posts of some weeks ago, when I warned from the ueberschnell promotion of Mr LaBeouf to new Catholic hero for our times.
The article makes for very interesting reading, in that it touches on two issues that were – my bad, of course – new to me: the plagiarism, and the vastly different language registers in different interview about the same issue (his conversion/repentance/redemption).
As to the first, the man appears to have such a history of plagiarism that you would think he is a relative of Joe Biden. Not only that, he goes very stupidly about it, which does not engender any confidence in the solidity of his intellect and, therefore, of his proposits.
The second, much more ominous in my eyes because extremely recent, is the frequent use of expletives and the careful avoidance of the Latin Mass theme in repeat videos on his troubles (and conversion) destined to a different audience from the Catholic one.
To me, this is sheer marketing.
If you have had a sincere conversion, you don’t go around spitting expletives to look cool with the atheist kids. More disquietingly, if you have found the Latin Mass a touching, spiritual, growth-inducing experience, you want those who don’t go to mass or are not interested in Catholicism to be the first to know.
There is nothing of this in Mr LaBoeuf’s performances. There is, in fact, an actor.
Mind, this does not necessarily mean that the man is lying. Like many actors, he might merely be in love with the idea of his conversion (or with himself as converted) whenever it is useful to him, reverting back to the usual A-H mode when he is in a different company. He might, also, have experienced a very tepid, slow-burn, conversion, again in contrast to the big proclaims and interviews. But as a whole, this whole affair is screaming at us to be prudent.
Let me quote the author of the linked article again:
Sentimentality is the enemy of true compassion. It is the self-centered substitute of one’s own feelings, one’s druthers, for conscientious appraisal of reality.
This is, I think, exactly what has been happening. Emotional (probably, largely female) Catholics can’t wait to adopt the new Famous Guy like he is the latest Catholic Teddy Bear. But there is no sound reasoning behind this.
Sound reasoning would command, first of all, prudence, and a truckload of salt.