Tom and Jerry: Defenders of All Things Right and Good

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Jerry's Letter to Fr. Jenkins

As you will see, I took a somewhat different approach than you may have expected:

Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.
President of the University of Notre Dame
400 Main Building
Notre Dame, IN 46556

Dear Father Jenkins,

While it is my opinion that Notre Dame’s invitation to President Obama to deliver the commencement address is inappropriate, and its bestowal of an honorary law degree to him - in light of his policies and actions - is completely antithetical to an institution that is devoted to the intrinsic value of human life at all stages, I shall not bore you with arguments in support of my opinion. I’m sure they have been made repeatedly by those far more educated, articulate, and persuasive than myself.

You have stated that your intent in extending the invitation and honor to the President is to “to engage in conversation.” As Hadley Arkes, the Ney Professor of Jurisprudence at Amherst College, noted in an article this week,

President Obama’s press secretary, Robert Gibbs, noted that the president had met recently with Francis Cardinal George to discuss matters of interest to the Church. And with that background, he said, the president "looks forward to continuing that dialogue in the lead-up to the commencement" at Notre Dame.

While Professor Arkes continues on in his article to propose a debate between the President and a member of the Notre Dame faculty, I would highly doubt that President Obama would agree to such an event, even if held in private. I am also aware that many demonstrations are being planned by Notre Dame students and alumni; while I appreciate their conviction and passion, I do not think that any such direct confrontation will make much of an impression on the President.

However, Alan Hunt, a former Protestant minister now a Catholic convert, offered a suggestion in an article this week, which I have reworked somewhat to be more practical and applicable. I would humbly suggest the following:

You could invite Obama to a reception hosted by ND students and alumni who were the result of unplanned and/or unwanted pregnancies. As my biological mother was an unwed high-schooler in 1966 Chicago, and I was in an orphanage until after my 1st birthday, I would be happy to attend and/or participate in the organization of the event. The hosts would act as waiters and bussing staff, serving drinks and food to the attendees, and clearing dirty glasses and dishes. However, only a few of the staff would actually be visible and working. After a period of refreshment, I would suggest:

• You thank the President for attending, and reiterate your wish to engage him on issues concerning the dignity of each human person from conception to natural death.

• You thank the wait staff for their service, and mention that each member of the wait staff is a student or alum who was an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy.

• The leader of the wait staff could accept your thanks, and say a few words to reiterate the dignity of each human person from conception to natural death, regardless of whether they are "wanted" or not.

• The leader could then state "Unfortunately, since 1973, over half of unwanted pregnancies have been terminated by abortion**. Had the intrinsic value of each human life not been denied them, here is what our wait staff would be capable of."

• The remaining wait staff, which would slightly outnumber those already visible, would then enter the room. The reception would continue, with the full wait staff clearing dirty glasses and dishes.

**-The best data I could find in my preliminary search was that an average of 2 million pregnancies annually are "unplanned or unwanted", and an average of 1.3 million abortions are performed annually, hence the "more than half" claim. I can find more complete statistics, complete with citations, if you would like me to.

In this way, President Obama would neither be insulted nor be directly confronted, but would be offered a glimpse of void incurred by the failure to recognize and protect the intrinsic dignity of each human person from conception to natural death. As Mr. Hunt wrote of his similar proposal:

This simple reception humanizes the case. The conversation moves beyond theory into reality. What better way to open the eyes of Obama than by greeting him with the joyful smiles of live humans who fortunately were not seen by their mothers as "punishment"....This experience is the embodiment of showing grace to a misguided, sitting president. Confront moral error with the very real presence of children. In accomplishing only this much, Notre Dame will have demonstrated its own faith and also pioneered a new tack in changing the heart of our pro-abortion president.

Imagine the experience George Wallace or Bull Connor might have had if they had been welcomed by the administration and graduates of Morehouse College, say in 1963…..Might that not have been a new humanizing arrow in the non-violent quiver of the civil rights movement?

Whatever course of action you pursue in "engaging" the President on his views on the protection of the intrinsic dignity of each human person, I will be praying for the success of your efforts.

"...And our hearts forever love thee Notre Dame"

In Christ and His Blessed Mother,

John Gerard Beckett
Class of 1995

I'm sure that there are those that are surprised I did not pursue the "condemn and threaten" route. I'm sure that there are those that think me a fool - or, at the very least, quixotic - for thinking that a) Fr. Jenkins actually intends to engage Obama, b) Obama actually would listen, c) that the suggestion I outlined in my letter will ever reach Jenkins' eyes, and/or d) that he would actually ever consider it. I can already think of a few such people.

It is very likely that you are right. It is also certain that I don't give a damn.

I've already contacted Notre Dame's Center for Ethics and Culture outlining the proposal in my letter to Jenkins. Although I was told that the Center is already considering various methods of "engaging" President Obama, they were intrigued enough to refer me to Professor Elizabeth Kirk, the faculty sponsor for ND's Right To Life group. I can think of a few other groups that might be interested. I will continue my support of and work with the Sycamore Trust. And, of course, my nightly rosary, undertaken with a renewed vigor as Notre Dame's Catholic identity gains a prominent spot in my intentions. As EWTN's Raymond Arroyo remarked in his interview with the Trust's president, William Dempsey, on Friday's World Over program, the breadth and volume of the reaction by Notre Dame students and alumni to Obama's invitation/honor indicates that, as far as Notre Dame's Catholic identity, "there's still a lot of sap in the tree."

Damn right there is.

When it comes to preserving and enhancing Notre Dame's Catholic identity, I am a loyal son of Notre Dame, a Fighting Irishman, and I have only yet begun to fight.

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

A letter to the President of the University of Notre Dame

Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.
President of the University of Notre Dame
400 Main Building
Notre Dame, IN 46556

Dear Father Jenkins:

Thank you for your loyal service to our Alma Mater.  You encouraged me with your January 23rd, 2006 speech where you emphasized the importance of Catholic character at the University of Notre Dame.  I am a loyal alumnus, a donor since 1995, and a member of the Edward Frederick Sorin Society who believes Notre Dame ought to be first and foremost a Catholic university.   

It was disappointing to learn of your plan to offer an honorary law degree to President Barack Obama.  It appears that gaining prestige in the secular world is more important to the University’s leadership than promoting Catholic values.

You no doubt have heard all of the arguments for and against your proposal to honor President Obama.  I will not belabor them here except to say that the operative issue is scandal.  The most prominent Catholic university in America honoring the most pro-choice President in history will serve to legitimize pro-choice policies in the eyes of the Catholic faithful.  No nuanced explanation about honoring the President for his other accomplishments will mitigate the scandal.  The University is sending a clear signal that the right to life of the unborn is secondary to other concerns.  If the Fighting Irish will not fight for the most fundamental of human rights, then I can no longer support their efforts.

I am, therefore, halting my undesignated donations to the University and I am dropping my membership in the Sorin Society.  Instead, I will donate to pro-life organizations that intend to protest the University’s ill- conceived decision.  Please reconsider your decision, reverse the University’s present course, and restore Notre Dame’s Catholic character.  You and the University we love will always have my prayers, but, until Catholic character is your top priority, you will not have my financial support.


Class of 1995

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Sign the Petition

You may sign a petition to protest Notre Dame's honoring President Obama here.

The petition was initiated by the president of the Sycamore Trust, William Dempsey. He and I have spoken on the phone numerous times in regards to issues raised by the Trust.

Mr. Dempsey is to be interviewed by Raymond Arroyo on his The World Over program on EWTN this evening between 8:00 pm and 9:00 pm EDT (7-8pm CDT).

CNN News reported last night that there are already more than 100,000 signatures on petitions protesting Obama's being honored by Notre Dame. There are also more than a dozen on-campus groups actively protesting this honor.

UPDATE 1:17pm: As of right now, there are over 186,000 signatures on this petition alone.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Some Clarification

[Note: Much of what follows I originally wrote as a comment in the comment thread of the below post. Since the comments were quite long, I thought it best to reproduce the gist of my response to accusations of "equivocation" in more easily readable post. - JGB]

The 2004 US Bishop’s statement instructs:

The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.

I thought it debatable as to whether Obama, in giving the commencement address, is being given a platform which would suggest support for his actions, especially since he will be sharing the stage and podium with pro-life-to-the-core Mary Ann Glendon (who is receiving a much higher honor, the Laetare medal, than Obama) and Fr. Jenkins. It would be tempting to argue that he is being given such a platform, and should therefore be denied it; in response, one could reply that one has no idea what he is going to say, and follow that by invoking "academic freedom" and "role of dissent" - terms that make debate almost impossible, as you soon find yourself splitting hairs as to what those terms actually mean: Been there, done that, slammed head against wall. It is a debate that would go round and round, and I have no interest whatsoever in engaging in debates that will bear no fruit - it may allow me to feel good and bask in the glow of like-minded individuals, but would only harden the resolve of my opponents and give them plenty of ammunition. So I would hold my tongue, and if I were a student, bring a "I am thankful my unwed teenaged mom didn’t think I was a ‘punishment’" sign to the commencement.

However, it is not debatable at all that Obama, in being awarded an honorary law degree, is being given an honor which would suggest support for his view of law and its application, especially in regards to legally unsound and morally reprehensible Roe decision. Protesting this is a cause I will pursue with great fervor. As such, I...

a) am signing the petition put forward by the Sycamore Trust, a group dedicated to preserving Notre Dame's Catholic identity, of which I am a member.

b) have composed my own letter of concern and protest that will be sent to ND's president, Fr. Jenkins.

c) spent Sunday afternoon compiling a list of addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers of Board of Trustees members at the request of William Dempsey, president of the Sycamore Trust. Each of these folks will receive the letter I am sending Fr. Jenkins.

d) will contact the Law school, to inquire as to what role they played (if any) in the decision to award this honorary degree to Obama. I have a hunch that this was not their initiative, but I'd like to know. If it was, they'll be getting a letter from me also.

As a faithful Catholic, strident pro-lifer, and enthusiastic alumnus of Notre Dame, I am attempting to be faithful to all three while being careful not to play into the hands of those who harbor contempt for any or all of them.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Step Forward, A Step Back

I had hoped that with the discontinuation of the Queer Film Festival and with the announcement of the Center of Ethics' new pro-life fund (as covered on the First Things web site) that Notre Dame was traveling the path of convincingly and publicly embracing its mission as a Catholic university. Given Obama's positions and recent actions in regards to abortion and embryonic stem cell research, that ND has chosen to award him an honorary law degree astounds me.

I have no objection at all to Obama being invited to speak at Notre Dame. I do have a rather stringent objection to him being awarded an honorary law degree. While I do not agree with Obama's policies in regards to the economy, taxation, or national defense, I would never cite these differences in opposition to Notre Dame bestowing an honorary degree on him. Indeed, he would be welcome to offer his views. Hell, even if he was somewhat wishy-washy on abortion and embryonic stem cell research, it wouldn't raise my hackles for ND to honor him: if Our Lady's University can stand having a clown like Richard McBrien on its Theology faculty for 30 years, having such a character receive an honorary degree isn't such a big deal. However, Obama's positions on life issues - and his actions as Illinois senator and now as President - are as callous and about as anti-life as one can get. His actions in regards to embryonic stem cell research are, as Charles Krauthammer recently wrote, "morally, ethically, and scientifically bankrupt". The same could easily said about his vote against the Born Alive Infants act and his support for FOCA (which would permanently enshrine the most specious and ill-supported court decision in US history as a fundamental right).

There is simply no logically sound method by which one can claim (as some Catholic writers have attempted to) that Obama's policies are somehow "pro-life". The argument that his economic policies will offer more economic opportunity to the poor (which is a dubious argument in and of itself), thus reducing the demand for abortion, is vitiated by the lengths he is willing to go to ensure that there is no impetus whatsoever for anyone that desires an abortion - at any age, at any stage of pregnancy, for any reason - to obtain one. I could not reasonably be thought of as pro-bank security if, in addition to addressing what I believed was the cause of bank robbery (lack of money), I removed all police, security personnel, and all security measures from banks, and required all bank employees to cooperate with (whatever their personal beliefs about the wrongness of robbery) and assist the robbers. Trying to convince oneself that Obama is really pro-life requires a similar suspension of reason.

Even claiming that Obama is merely "pro-choice" and not "pro-abortion" does not match either his rhetoric or actions. "Pro-choice" would imply that there is a choice to be made between the value of the unborn child's life and the degree to which a woman should have the authority to terminate that life. The death of a child is a greater imposition on the child than the carrying the child to term is on the mother. So unless the mother's life is in eminent danger, the life of the child must be preserved. Others would make exceptions in the case of rape or incest. Still others would weigh the value of the life of the child vs. the woman's autonomy to varying degrees. Obama, however, has given no indication that he thinks there is anything at all of value in regards to the unborn child's life worth weighing; in fact, his callous rhetoric and lack of any recognition that a life is being extinguished (or, in the case of embryonic stem cell research, being created in order to be stripped for parts) should trouble anyone with even an ounce of moral sense, as should his view that each person should be able to decide for themselves whether a human life has intrinsic value. Neither is a mark of a careful thinker, as the logical concluding point of these views is societal suicide.

President Obama speaking at commencement? No problem, and he's most welcome. Him receiving an honorary law degree? Completely inconsistent with an institution that values human life at all its stages.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Another Tough Theological Question

From various internet sources, there are rumors, postings, and lots of speculation - including "leaks" from "insiders", frame-by-frame video parsing, and even (purported) forwarded email messages between Melissa and Jason - that this season's The Bachelor was not on the up-and-up.

To save you the time it would take to wade through the din of online voices crying "Foul!", here's the compiled version of what "really" happened :

Just prior to the Final Five, Jason informed producers that Molly was the one.

Producers asked Jason who he liked second best and he identified Melissa. They told him to bring her to the Final Two, pick her at the Final Rose Ceremony for drama and that she would get America’s love and attention — to set her up for The Bachelorette. They convinced Jason that he would do no irrevocable harm to Melissa, because she would get the popularity.

However, Melissa really did fall in love with Jason. The host, Chris Harrison, and the show's staff saw it and they were rooting for her, unaware of the "plan". Only Mike Fleiss, another producer, and Jason knew of what was to happen.

Immediately after the Final Rose Ceremony, Harrison and the rest of the staff were informed of the plan and what would go down at the after-show.

After Jason returned to Seattle he got in touch with producers and they put him in touch with Molly. Molly did not know about this plan at the time of the show's taping, but did learn of it from Jason within a couple of weeks.

Melissa was head over heels in love. She saw Jason every other weekend and told Jason she was planning on moving out to Seattle, loved Ty, wanted to start a family. In the meantime, Jason and Molly are seeing each other on weekends that Melissa was not in Seattle. Jason made all of this seem great. He is playing the game, before finally realizing after one of these “heart to heart” talks that Melissa was seriously falling for him.

Jason backed off, called the producers and they hastily arranged the "after-show" that was taped in January and shown on Monday night, where Jason breaks up with Melissa and asks Molly for another chance.

Melissa is asked by the producers to be the next Bachelorette. She turns them down flat. The Bachelor shows that are still in post-production editing are re-edited to portray Jillian (the producers' next choice for the Bachelorette, who accepts) in the best possible light.

None of this will come out because ABC makes each contestant (and the bachelor) sign a lifetime agreement stating they will not reveal details of the show. Breaking this agreement would incur a $5 million dollar lawsuit.

OK, fine. Did Molly and Jason have contact between the end of the show and January's "after-show" taping? I would find it hard to believe that they didn't. And contrary to my first impression of the first "after-show", I think Melissa knew that she was going to be dumped - she didn't greet Jason with any warmth at all, and wasn't wearing her engagement ring - but had to go through with it for contractual purposes. I can also readily believe the part about editing the show to portray Jillian in the best light possible once she had agreed to do The Bachelorette.

The rest of it sounds a little too "conspiracy theory"-ish to me. I could investigate further, but quite frankly I am already rather embarrassed that I ever paused a moment to give a damn about the travesty that is The Bachelor, let alone blog about it. The only people who come out of this mess with their dignity intact is Melissa's parents.

So here's my tough theological question:

Is it possible for God to forgive me for

a) watching this crap ?
b) caring about this crap ?
c) wasting the time and effort that it took yesterday to blog about this crap ?
d) wasting the time and effort that it took today to blog about this crap again ?

Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Because I Ask The Tough Theological Questions

As the birth of daughter next month, Lynda and I have been busy preparing for the life changing experience of being parents. We’ve

• Chosen a name: Maria Rosa Guadalupe. One of the great things about being married to a woman of Mexican descent is that when naming your child, you don’t have to settle on a first and middle name; you just pick the names you like and string ‘em all together.

• Been rearranging the house: the baby will get what is now the little room where the dog sleeps. We will move from the upstairs master bedroom into what is now the guest bedroom, downstairs right next to the baby’s room. This means the dog will now occupy the master bedroom (which has its own bathroom). Geez. Maybe we should get a little red velvet throne for the dog to sleep on…

• Been buying baby furniture. Lynda changes her mind on what she likes about twice a week. All I know is that I will be putting it all together. Therefore, when she asks me “What type of furniture do you like?”, my answer is “Assembled.”

• Been reading baby books. I’m currently working on The Baby Whisperer. Though I don’t believe the author is any relation to Cesar Milan (The Dog Whisperer), I am prepared to discipline the child by yanking on a leash that I’ve put around her neck.

• Been watching a lot of TV, as we anticipate that this particular activity will become a rare occurrence after next month.

In regards to the last item, Lynda and I have just finished watching this season’s edition of The Bachelor, the first time I have ever watched more than a few minutes of any episode of any season in the long-running franchise. It is from this experience – especially last night’s finale (when he picks the “one”) and the “aftershow” which was taped in mid-January (the finale had actually taken place last November) – that my important theological question arises. I invite anyone with advanced theological training to ponder and respond to my question, as it is of monumental spiritual complexity and importance.

For those who have not been viewers, this season of the show featured Jason Mesnick as The Bachelor. Jason is a single dad of a three year-old boy, Ty, and lives in Seattle. Mr. Mesnick was last seen on his knees last summer in the finale of The Bachelorette, proposing to Deanna Pappas, who turned him down. Jason was a gentleman about it, thanking her for the opportunity “to learn that he could love again.”

Apparently, truckloads of single women all over America and Canada simultaneously went “Awwwwww”, as he had been a very popular contestant. The producers of The Bachelor scooped him up rather quickly, and this season was the most anticipated one ever.*

* - Just getting into the spirit of the show here, folks, where every week is “the most dramatic episode yet!”, every “Rose Ceremony” (where women who don’t get roses are eliminated) is “the most dramatic rose ceremony ever!”, and each season finale is “the most exciting conclusion ever!”

Among the 25 women Jason had to choose from was Melissa Rycroft, a Dallas gal and Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader in 2006 and 2007. She appeared prominently on the Country Music Network's The Making of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders in 2006 as a rookie candidate, and was by far one of the most down-to-earth of the group. So Lynda and I were kinda rooting for her. There was also a Canadian lady named Jillian, a restaurant designer, who seemed the most “put together” of the group of 25 – looks, brains, personality, maturity, down-to-earthiness, lack of bitchiness – that Lynda and I were also rooting for.

So, take a fellow who seems like a “good guy”, a couple of women you think would be pretty good choices for him (or pretty much any guy that likes attractive, intelligent women), a host of other gals among whom there also some good choices, and what transpires? Ugh.

• By the end of the second episode, Jason had narrowed it down to 12 women. On the third episode, he made out with (on camera) each and every one of them at one time or another. This would continue for the duration of the season: every woman still on the show would be in passionate lip-lock with him at some point every week. Then he would talk on camera about what a great “connection” he had with whomever he had just French kissed. Later, when he had eliminated her, he would claim “I just didn’t feel that connection.”

• Jason seemed to sense whenever one of the women was “being reserved” or “was putting up a wall”. He would confront her, and the poor girl would feel the need to apologize, as if there was something inherently unnatural about being uncomfortable about “dating” a guy who’s simultaneously “dating” multiple other women, all of whom you are currently sharing living quarters with. Once the girl had reassured him that she possessed the required level of adoration for him, he would ram his tongue down her throat. Ah, romance.

• Jason's three big test questions: Are you ready to settle down? Are you ready to be a stepmom? Are you ready to move to Seattle? Sweet leaping Moses on buttered toast, man, do you really think any of them would even be on this show if their answer was “Nope. Not really.”? (And if they show the slightest bit of hesitance, refer to the above point.)

• Jason showed no reluctance or even hesitation in exploiting his son for TV “moments”. Broadway musicals are less “staged” than Jason’s repeated on-camera time with Ty.

• Any poor soul who participated in a The Bachelor drinking game - in which one had to take a drink every time Jason said the word “amazing” - is now in detox. Jason, go to the bookstore and buy a Thesaurus. “Amazing” is under “A”.

Fast forward to the second to last show: Jillian and Melissa are among the final three, along with Molly, a pretty, intelligent gal who doesn’t seem to have any personality whatsoever. Not that I really fault her for this though, considering the emotional squeegee of living in the artificial world of The Bachelor, where you’re

a) living with other women who are chasing the same man you are
b) aware that he’s making out with and then eliminating one of these women every week,**
c) now halfway around the world in New Zealand (for the remainder of the show), so just in case you are eliminated, the plane ride home will be that much more excruciating.

** - Which, of course, begs the question “Why on earth are you interested in a guy who would make out with you, then turn around and make out with numerous other women?” However, I made a rather generous share of "Why did you pick her?" mistakes in my pre-Lynda lifetime, so I'm not in a position to judge.

As a result, each of these three women is a shell of what they were a few weeks ago. Every time Jillian is on camera without Jason, the most “put together” of the group looks like she’s about to burst into tears. Melissa seems to have regressed a year in age for every week she’s been on the show, and now seems more like an 18 year-old girl than a 25 year-old woman. Whatever personality Molly had has disappeared entirely, along with any sense of identity: whatever answer Jason wants to hear from Molly, she hopes she says it.

On this second-to-last episode, Jason has a date with each woman that includes a steamy make out session in a hot tub and an overnight stay in his bed. The women are not lodging together, so they have no idea that Jason had the need to change the sheets every morning. Jillian’s turn in the hot tub was particularly creepy, as a) describing it as “soft porn” would not be a stretch, b) we had just met her parents in a lengthy and somewhat endearing segment the previous week, and c) Jason eliminated her at the end of the show, claiming he thought of her more of a “best friend”. Needless to say, none of my “best friends” and I ever had evenings in a hot tub that Cinemax would be interested in.

So, I went into viewing last night’s finale knowing that Jason’s tongue would spend a generous portion of the evening massaging both Melissa’s and Molly’s tonsils, that he would yammer on about “being in love with two women” without anyone calling “bulls#&t” on him, he would propose to one of these two and they would accept, and a few “amazing”s later I would call it a night. However, little did I know what was in store; for though the field is crowded and the history of ‘reality’ TV short, Jason Mesnick would secure his claim to the title of “Biggest ‘Reality’ Show Schmuck Of All Time”.

His accomplishments in the finale:

• Both women get to meet his family. Melissa’s parents had declined to meet Jason on camera a couple of weeks ago, saying that “meeting their potential future son-in-law is a private, sacred thing”. Jason continues to harp on this, framing "Melissa's parents don't want a bunch of television cameras in their faces when they meet their potential son-in-law" into "they wouldn't meet with him." Couldn't he have offered to come by on his own? Generally, making the extra effort when meeting the parents is a good idea, isn't it? I mean, that and not being simultaneously involved with numerous other women....

• He continues to attempt to turn every on-camera moment with his son into a freaking Hallmark moment. I spent the entire episode wishing Ty would ask his dad “Daddy, what’s the word for the male version of ‘slut’”?

• Jason repeatedly gets all choked up. Or, more accurately, Jason repeatedly pretends to get all choked up. When I can see a guy checking for camera placement out of the corner of his eye, I’m not really buying it.

• Deanna Pappas, who turned him down as The Bachelorette, shows up to tell him…uh, something. She had broken up with the guy she chose over Jason, she regretted her decision not to pick Jason, that she had followed her heart and her head and it didn’t work out…um, so what on earth is your point here? I couldn’t really figure out what the hell she was trying to say, other than “I want to be on TV again”. Jason takes this as another opportunity to talk about his love for two women, when he should have been asking “You came all the way to New Zealand for this?”

• After telling Molly that he doesn’t “know how I could ever let you go”, he tells Molly that he isn’t choosing her. Molly leaves, and Jason cries his “look how sensitive I am” tears. Jason proposes to Melissa, who reacts like she just got asked to the prom. He tells her he fell from her from the start (which he demonstrated by making out with and groping a dozen other women).

Now comes the After The Final Rose show, in which Jason puts on his lead boots and presses the “I Am A Complete Jackass” pedal to the floor.

Normally on this show, the host, Harrison, would talk to the happy couple and "celebrate their journey to love," he says, but there's no audience here, because what's happened is so "dramatic" and so potentially "emotionally difficult" that they wanted to make things as intimate as possible - as intimate as it can possibly be in front of television cameras recording you for millions of people to watch.

Jason tells Harrison that “since this all ended, things have been different.” Really, genius? You mean after the cameras and stylists and free lodging in exotic locations and free, extravagantly staged ‘romantic’ dates, that the dynamic of your relationship with Melissa……changed? Oh, do tell.

Jason says things have been “different” for him (without explaining what he means by this), and that Melissa senses this. Then comes the moment when he crosses the line from “sleazy, opportunistic jerk”, wanders through “what an a#%h*@” territory, and takes up permanent residency in the land of “Deserves to be eaten by a pack of feral dingos”: he informs Harrison that over the last few weeks he hasn't been able to stop thinking about Molly, and that when Melissa comes out for their ‘couple interview’, completely unbeknownst to her, he’s going to end things with her.

On national f#&*ing television.

Jason says he needs to talk to Melissa first and give her a chance to be mad and hate him and all that. Oh, don't worry about that, big guy - you didn't propose to or dump either myself or Lynda, and we’d like to beat you senseless.

Give it a view:

Part I:

Part II:

Some highlights:

• Part I- Jason tells Melissa, “You have every right to be irritated.” No, Jason, she has every right to punch you in the mouth.

• Part I – Jason repeatedly says “If I could control my heart and my head [in regards to his inability to stop fantasizing about Molly], I would give you the world.” Dude, men who cannot ‘control their heart and head’ - when it comes to thinking about women they are not engaged to - aren’t worth a damn.

• Part I- Melissa starts talking about herself in the third person, though in the context of the conversation it doesn’t come off as pretentious, just angry. She recovers nicely, though, and calls him a bastard. Good for you, honey.

• Part II – Jason starts off by saying “I hate myself for what I’m doing to Melissa.” [You’ve got plenty of company there, dude.] “Nothing matters now except what she’s going through.” Please, dear readers, pardon my language...but this, for me, was the last goddamn straw with this guy. This would have been the opportune time for him to just shut the hell up, and instead he’s still trying to sell Melissa and the viewing public on him really being just a great, sensitive guy.

• Part II – Harrison decides to give them “a moment alone”. Presumably to get some sponges and soap in case he needs to clean Jason’s blood off the walls.

• Part II - When Melissa says, "Don't call me. Don't text me anymore. Leave me alone", I thought the candles and filtered lighting just added to the sense of romance and wonder.

• Part II – The Clincher: After Melissa walks out, Jason goes into his “I’ll shed some tears now to show you how sensitive I am and how hard this is for me.” act. That he thinks he can do this and that anyone on earth is going to a) believe it or b) give a flying fig about he feels at the moment speaks volumes about the depths of his vacuousness.

I thought Melissa held it together pretty well for being ambushed on national TV. The last time I got dumped, it only received some regional media coverage and was just a brief item on CNN a couple of days later, and I was a wreck.

Molly comes on, and Jason hits her with “I just dumped Melissa and would like to try things with you.” Molly is shocked, and judging by the expression on her face for the next couple of minutes, viewers all over the country were offered the briefest hope that she would tell him to go jump in a lake. But she admitted that she had daydreamed that this would happen, and though she can’t quite believe that it is actually taking place, gives him a kiss and tells him that she’s open to “seeing where things go”.

Tonight, there is a “follow-up to the follow-up" show, where we will get updates on the whole drama since the events of last night's show. Hopefully 6 weeks of reflection has given Molly enough time to realize that she would be the 3rd woman Jason will have proposed to within the last year, and that Jason is a jerk for even trying to weasel his way back into her life.

So here’s my important theological question:

Tonight, during the “follow-up to the follow-up" show, would it be theologically permissible to pray that either a) one or both of these women kicks Jason in the balls and tells him to shove his ring up the orifice of their choice, or b) Jason spontaneously bursts into flames?

I admit it's a tough one. Where's St. Thomas Aquinas when you need him?


Just watched the “follow-up to the follow-up" show. No testicle punting or bachelor flammability exhibited, just a fawning Molly and a host of the eliminated women along with a majority of the interviewed studio audience members commending Jason for "following his heart" and "his courage in making a tough decision". Melissa was not present, ostensibly because (according to the host) "it was just too emotional for her", but more likely because she now has good enough sense to stay as far away as possible from the steaming pile of manure that is The Bachelor. Personally, I would rather watch David Gordon's 1993 field goal that enabled Boston College to beat Notre Dame 41-39 (costing the Irish the national championship) on an endless loop for all eternity than to watch one more minute of this travesty.