Author Topic: The Divorce of Cup and Saucer  (Read 1248 times)

Offline Maximilian

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Re: The Divorce of Cup and Saucer
« Reply #15 on: August 16, 2019, 01:44:28 PM »

My own cups and saucers are monochromatic, plain white. 

A symptom of our age. We are the monochromatic ones.

There is a false propaganda that presents the Middle Ages and traditional cultures as drab and colorless, when the reality is just the opposite.

One place where this is presented accurately is in Korean drama. In order to achieve historical versimilitude, they present the clothes and architecture and cultural items of past times as extremely colorful, in contrast to the drab Seoul of today.

It's almost like the "Wizard of Oz." We live in this bleak, black-and-white Kansas. An accurate historical movie will take us to another land where everything is in color.


Outside of a lobotomy, I don't think I could ever come to truly appreciate the floral designs on European sets. 

It's not a lobotomy that you need. Your aesthetic appreciation needs to be raised, not lowered.

It's easy to appreciate the exotic. One needs sensitivity to appreciate the virtues of the ordinary.


Chai is probably my favorite tea.  I make it with a 1:1 ratio of chai tea to vanilla soy milk.  The Indian subcontinent is the source of most of my gustatory pleasures.

Cardamon is the secret to good chai. If you are not already making your own chai spice mix, then adding a bit of cardamon to generic chai concentrate or tea bags will give your chai that alluring aroma.
 
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Offline Maximilian

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Re: The Divorce of Cup and Saucer
« Reply #16 on: August 16, 2019, 01:48:26 PM »

It does have a slatted bamboo board on which the pot and cups are (presumably) placed, so the functional quality of a saucer at least is retained, even though there are no saucers.  Whether this is common or traditional to sencha tea sets, I do not know.

The slatted bamboo board is more typical of Chinese rather than Japanese tea ceremony. It plays a role in traditional Chinese gong fu tea preparation.




 
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Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: The Divorce of Cup and Saucer
« Reply #17 on: August 16, 2019, 02:25:52 PM »
There is a false propaganda that presents the Middle Ages and traditional cultures as drab and colorless, when the reality is just the opposite.

This is true.  The costumes of those times were very colorful.  We can still see it in the traditional folk dress of some Eastern European countries.  It's not a favorite of mine, unfortunately.

It is a probably a subject for a different thread, but bright and variegated colors just do not appeal to my sensibilities.  As much as I like chai and Indian cuisine, I could never be an Indophile because of the riot of garish color that the Indian mind seems so inclined to.  Even from a religious standpoint, my soul was always drawn to sparse stone chapels and simple monastic cells than to gaudy and garish churches; and a certain recitation of the Low Mass is superior to the trilliest Solemn High Mass in my estimation.  There is a dour, pastoral Protestant aesthetic that I admire, mostly in the Shakers, Quakers, and Mennonite sects.  I also have an abiding love for black-&-white movies.  Color can have its place, though.  The cool, chiaroscuro, neon noir of the Asianized Los Angeles in Blade Runner is a terrific use of color.  But I think for the most part that I am just innately averse to bright colors and pretty flowers.

Cardamon is the secret to good chai. If you are not already making your own chai spice mix, then adding a bit of cardamon to generic chai concentrate or tea bags will give your chai that alluring aroma.

I used to make my own chai when I worked in a coffee bar, but no longer.  A company called Allegro sells a chai mix in teabag form which gets the mixture as close to my ideal as the market seems to offer.  They do include cardamom in their recipe.  The greatest progress I made with chai was switching from regular soy milk to vanilla.  To a dairy chai purist, this is one heresy on top of another, but the vanilla really makes it.


« Last Edit: August 16, 2019, 02:28:55 PM by Pon de Replay »
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Offline Sempronius

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Re: The Divorce of Cup and Saucer
« Reply #18 on: August 16, 2019, 04:04:36 PM »
Pon, you are not alone in your aesthetical preferences. St Philip Neri when he ordered to built his Church he wanted plain white walls but the ”spirit of the age” prevailed and he got chubby angels flying in the side altars. Interesting that he wanted only white walls..

For myself its baroque all the way, but its not doable anymore to create that atmosphere.
 
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Offline Markus

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Re: The Divorce of Cup and Saucer
« Reply #19 on: August 17, 2019, 08:14:27 PM »
I'm going to invite PdR and Markus to my home where I will serve them the finest Big Mac with Coke.  For dessert there shall be bubble tea, imbibed through a straw as it should be, and Chips Ahoy eaten out of the bag.  After dinner entertainment will consist of a discussion on the finer parts of 70s gangster rap.

The standard reaction of people threatened by good Catholic customs: Sarcasm.

Offline Josephine87

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Re: The Divorce of Cup and Saucer
« Reply #20 on: August 17, 2019, 11:05:53 PM »
How is drinking tea from a cup and saucer a good Catholic custom? It all originated in pagan Asia and Protestant England. My medieval European Catholic ancestors weren't swilling tea and they didn't use saucers. I stand by my bourgeois comment. Marx wasn't wrong about everything.
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Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: The Divorce of Cup and Saucer
« Reply #21 on: August 18, 2019, 08:16:09 AM »
How is drinking tea from a cup and saucer a good Catholic custom? It all originated in pagan Asia and Protestant England. My medieval European Catholic ancestors weren't swilling tea and they didn't use saucers. I stand by my bourgeois comment. Marx wasn't wrong about everything.

I could be misunderstanding the article in the OP, but I didn't read it as something distinctly Catholic.  It seemed to be more about the decline in propriety and decency in society, albeit with a particular view to the microcosm of hot beverage drinking (a fine choice of subject matter, in my opinion).  I think it could resonate just as well with a conservative Anglican or Eastern Orthodox reader as it could with a traditional Catholic one.  It appealed to this pagan.  (Edit: I noticed after posting that you were responding to Markus' comment above your own.  That was a indeed a strange claim for him to make).

It is true that tea did not originate in medieval Europe, but if we only go by what our ancestors did prior to the Reformation, then that would be a strange logic by which to dictate how we live.  Although a late arrival to the scene, the custom of tea drinking in Europe has been cherished long enough to have become a tradition.  Of course it is all a matter of taste.  People can dislike tea and that's fine.  But I fail to see how the OP is bourgeois.  It's not an exhortation to materialism or status.  Good sensibilities, like good manners, are universal, and irrespective of class or wealth.


« Last Edit: August 18, 2019, 08:19:37 AM by Pon de Replay »
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Offline Davis Blank - EG

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Re: The Divorce of Cup and Saucer
« Reply #22 on: August 18, 2019, 08:22:28 AM »
I'm going to invite PdR and Markus to my home where I will serve them the finest Big Mac with Coke.  For dessert there shall be bubble tea, imbibed through a straw as it should be, and Chips Ahoy eaten out of the bag.  After dinner entertainment will consist of a discussion on the finer parts of 70s gangster rap.

The standard reaction of people threatened by good Catholic customs: Sarcasm.

I wrote that primarily for PdR because I thought it would make him smile.  I added you in as I hoped you'd enjoy it too, but we see how that went down.

These are not explicitly Catholic customs.  They are customs of a civilization, and it need not be Catholic.  We have seen in this thread how Asian civilizations have the tea saucer as well.  I have three sets of European bone China (with saucers!) so does that make me a good Catholic?  I received them when still an atheist and from my non-Catholic grandmother.

I note that the height of Christendom was the Medieval period, in which to the best of my knowledge there was no tea saucer (nor tea or coffee for that matter, just beer & wine presumably in steins with food served on stale bread).  Yes such "unrefined" times were indeed the best for Christendom.  The tea saucer seems to be a British (Protestant) import from Asia during the Enlightenment.  Again, does not seem to have much to do with Catholicism or Catholic culture.

Are tea sets pretty things?  Yes, and I like them.  But they do not seem related to Catholicism at all.

Civilizations and the specific details of their cultures produced come and go.  Once they are gone they do not return.  Greece never came back, Rome never came back, and Medieval Christendom is not coming back.  But tea saucers are not even Christendom, they are a product of imperial wealthy globalist Britain whom was importing riches from distant oriental lands.  Whatever we want to call this, it is dead and gone as well.  These lowercase t traditions die and stay dead.  No one wears togas anymore.  No one lies down to eat as our Blessed Lord did.  No one jousts and recites poetry for damsels in distress anymore.  I am not stating that this is good or bad, I am merely stating what is.  Kicking against the goads of reality only serves to injure oneself.

We will ressurrect whatever good underly that Enlightenment era society as easily as we will ressurrect Medieval chivalry by bringing back the coats of arms.  It's putting the cart before the horse, it is an inorganic method of attempting to reach whatever good is aimed for.  Those societies took centuries to develop in very specific conditions to bring forth those fruits, and grabbing hold of those fruits when far removed from the culture that birthed it will fail to do good.  In this case it will likely bring forth vanity or pride.

The current reality is that the world has no living civilizations.  The Chinese Tang died off a thousand years ago but coasted for a millennia before the wheels fell off the bus (due to Western intrusion).  Christendom died in 1517 and from it came "the West" which is dead as well - I have yet to trace its death but whenever it was, it is clearly long since dead.  We are Wile E. Coyote coasting now.  Accept reality that civilized society is long dead.  Forming a new civilization is an extremely difficult process and only 20 some have ever existed globally (as per historian Arnold Toynbee).  The key element of a civilization is the process in which an existential problem is encountered, elites propose a solution that the peasants agree to attempt, the problem is truly solved, and then the process is repeated until it eventually ossifies and fails.  The only place on the planet that maybe, just maybe, fits this today is Russia.  Everyone else clearly does the exact opposite.

Point being, we aren't going to create a new civilized Christendom with a tea saucer or any such similar thing.  It does not truly fix anyone's existential problems, let alone society's as a whole.  It might make a few individuals happy, it might make a few fall into pride (the devil loves that), but it won't fix the spiritual hunger we emaciated Westerners are dying for.  Westerners tried to save themselves with science, then with materialism, but despite having more stuff than ever, knowing more about nature than ever before, we find ourselves as hollow and adrift as ever.  Whatever fixes this is what will lead us forward.  Good news is that Catholicism and its uppercase T Tradition has the answer.  But if a new Christendom is formed its specific lowercase t traditions will not be the same as before (as Medievals did not bring back eating on sofas like the apostles, a new Christendom will not bring back castles or tea saucers [which aren't Catholic anyways but...]).

Pile your energy, your intelligence and strong self control into finding out how to truly fix the spiritual hunger (through the Catholic faith) for us barren Westerners.
 
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Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: The Divorce of Cup and Saucer
« Reply #23 on: August 18, 2019, 09:24:37 AM »
Point being, we aren't going to create a new civilized Christendom with a tea saucer or any such similar thing.  It does not truly fix anyone's existential problems, let alone society's as a whole.  It might make a few individuals happy, it might make a few fall into pride (the devil loves that), but it won't fix the spiritual hunger we emaciated Westerners are dying for.  Westerners tried to save themselves with science, then with materialism, but despite having more stuff than ever, knowing more about nature than ever before, we find ourselves as hollow and adrift as ever.  Whatever fixes this is what will lead us forward.

True, but political fixes, ecclesial fixes, and cultural fixes are all parts of a whole.  If a future Christian revival is going to have a culture that supports it, then that culture will not be begun from zero.  All good cultures borrow the best from the past and the foreign.  No one indeed wears togas or jousts anymore (outside of Renaissance faires), and those things would not be discernibly beneficial to us, but the use of tea saucers is a tradition within living memory, and still practiced by members of the older generation (and among a few of the younger).  One isn't attempting an anarchronistic revival so much as one is trying to retain one of the last dying vestiges of the recent past.

I think a salient point in the OP is that even the supposedly small things are helpful in cultivating a mindfulness that informs the broader perspective.  If we have practices and traditions that help us keep decency and discipline in mind, then such a virtue is its own reward, Gentile or Jew.  Some may deride the use of tea saucers as dainty or fastidious, but a dedication to neatness and propriety can be a useful indicator of one's inner disposition—a sort of secular "outward sign of an invisible reality," so to speak.  And even when no one else is looking, hewing to an ordered practice orients a person to ordered thinking.  It will not change the world, but it's a commendable thing to practice on an individual level.  Deliver us from the slovenly, rambunctious, and careless.  That attitude alone is good for any future.
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Offline Maximilian

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Re: The Divorce of Cup and Saucer
« Reply #24 on: August 18, 2019, 06:57:04 PM »


These are not explicitly Catholic customs.  They are customs of a civilization, and it need not be Catholic.  We have seen in this thread how Asian civilizations have the tea saucer as well.  I have three sets of European bone China (with saucers!) so does that make me a good Catholic? 

It makes you a participant in a civilized society. That is a very important thing that shouldn't be confused with arguing about dogmas taken from Denzinger. Jesus chose to be incarnated in the Roman Empire, not in some uncivilized desert island.


I note that the height of Christendom was the Medieval period, in which to the best of my knowledge there was no tea saucer (nor tea or coffee for that matter, just beer & wine presumably in steins with food served on stale bread).  Yes such "unrefined" times were indeed the best for Christendom. 

No, no, it has already been pointed out on this thread that the stories you are repeating are Masonic lies. The Medieval period was much more civilized than today, judging by the cultures and customs and colors and artwork. It was not "unrefined." The bread was not stale. And tea came to Europe at a time when it was still universally Christian.


The tea saucer seems to be a British (Protestant) import from Asia during the Enlightenment.  Again, does not seem to have much to do with Catholicism or Catholic culture.

The word "tea" was originally French.
[As pointed out in this thread: https://www.suscipedomine.com/forum/index.php?topic=3.msg476026#msg476026]
Portuguese and other Catholic explorers first traveled to the East and brought back spices and tea.


Are tea sets pretty things?  Yes, and I like them.  But they do not seem related to Catholicism at all.

You have a blinkered view of Christian civilization. And that is precisely the point Tradition in Action is trying to communicate. They are trying to widen the minds of traditional Catholics to help them understand that a hypothetical, speculative, intellectual Catholicism is not a living, breathing, organic reality.


Civilizations and the specific details of their cultures produced come and go.  Once they are gone they do not return.  Greece never came back, Rome never came back, and Medieval Christendom is not coming back.

Rome is still with us. Greece is still with us. Medieval Christendom is still with us. Every element of our lives continue to be formed by these civilizations even today.


But tea saucers are not even Christendom 

You seem unable to appreciate the rhetorical device of synechdoche in which the part represents the whole.

Beautiful tea sets are small items which symbolize large realities. They symbolize bringing elements of beauty into one's everyday life. Yes, we can drink tea out of styrofoam cups. But we lower ourselves and degrade our souls when we do so. A world that lacks beauty is a world in which the soul cannot survive, like the body trying to live without air.


Whatever we want to call this, it is dead and gone as well.  These lowercase t traditions die and stay dead.  No one wears togas anymore. 

People continue to drink tea. I drink tea every day. They can do it in a manner that is civilized and beautiful or they can do it in a manner that is pedestrian and pragmatic.

When I bought a new house a few years ago, the first thing I did was to go onto Ebay and buy a large collection of beautiful tea implements. At a house auction I found a china cabinet to display them in. I bought some Edo-era boxes from Japan to store my puerh bing (tea cakes). I wanted to live in an environment of beauty. And so I do.


It's putting the cart before the horse, it is an inorganic method of attempting to reach whatever good is aimed for. 

How we live our daily lives every day is both the cart and the horse. We can live and embody civilization, and thus promote and prolong and give birth to new generations of civilized ladies and gentlemen, or else we can join the "people of Walmart." The way I live my daily life creates my own ontological reality. There is nothing anachronistic about it.


Point being, we aren't going to create a new civilized Christendom with a tea saucer or any such similar thing.  It does not truly fix anyone's existential problems, let alone society's as a whole. 

Drinking tea out of styrofoam cups is not going to fix anyone's existential problems. But bringing beauty into your own life just might.

It's like Marie Kondo. Start by cleaning your own closet if you want your home to be a place of spiritual renewal. If you live in a cluttered pig sty you will only fool yourself about having a spiritual life.
 
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Offline Davis Blank - EG

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Re: The Divorce of Cup and Saucer
« Reply #25 on: August 19, 2019, 11:45:43 PM »
Maximilian,

Quote
Jesus chose to be incarnated in the Roman Empire, not in some uncivilized desert island.

He chose to incarnate in a remote outpost, a tiny nothing of a village, to be laid in a manger that held animal feed.  That this land was distantly tied in to Rome was a part of Divine Providence in which God would use the systems of empire / civilization to spread the Faith.  He very explicitly did not come as a normal refined king would come.  He also came at a time in which decadence was setting in and the civilization was turning into a long-running terminal decline.

Quote
No, no, it has already been pointed out on this thread that the stories you are repeating are Masonic lies. The Medieval period was much more civilized than today, judging by the cultures and customs and colors and artwork. It was not "unrefined." The bread was not stale.

I have very high opinion of the Medieval period, it is the peak of Christendom and culture.  If the food was not served on stale bread then that is an interesting correction - that was something I had indeed learned as a school child (so certainly would have been under Masonic teaching).  In my mind I separate "high" or "refined" culture from what I believe as being culture.  What I deeply admire of the Medieval culture is its depth of Faith, its charity in dedicating centuries of labor towards building temples for God, its devotions, its constant Christian festivals, its chivalry, its colorful banners and clothing, its music and poetry.  To me, this is distinctly different from what I see as "refined" or "high" culture, in which I think of 18th/19th century stuffy Europeans raising their pinkies as they drink tea from a tea cup on a tea saucer which had best not be a coffee cup, for that would be the most grave of faux pas.

Meanwhile, the far more cultured Medievals were eating pottage and drinking beer from steins.

This is not to say that a Medieval would have turned down tea cups and saucers had he had them, or that a man cannot be as well cultured as a Medieval and also have these fine tea sets, but I think in the aggregate these two societies, which both seem to be well cultured, are dramatically distinct.  The Medievals were centered around God and worship of Him, celebrating festivals for Him (and His saints), building temples for Him.  The 18th/19th century culture is about man, about having nice things and living nice material lives.  Both seem outwardly very cultured, but I think the hidden fundamentals are opposite.

Again, none of which is to say that a God-centered man cannot have and enjoy nice things, but there is always a matter of degree, and the importance one puts upon these material things.  To me it seems like the era of the tea culture, and its millions of dining forks and spoons for specific purposes, is in the direction of excess.

Quote
The word "tea" was originally French.
[As pointed out in this thread: https://www.suscipedomine.com/forum/index.php?topic=3.msg476026#msg476026]
Portuguese and other Catholic explorers first traveled to the East and brought back spices and tea.

Given my close proximity to Macau, I am certainly aware of Portuguese involvement in the tea trade, although I was yet unaware of French involvement.  Anyways, I specifically said the tea saucer, not tea, which to my knowledge is a British import (but please correct me if I am wrong).  And this thread extolled the greatness of the saucer, not tea itself, of which I am currently drinking (but without a saucer, as I am a revolutionary bum).

Quote
If you live in a cluttered pig sty you will only fool yourself about having a spiritual life.

I agree.  As far as I am aware, monastic cells and devout priestly quarters are beautiful and well ordered, but without many material things.  A few quality constructed, but non-ornate pieces of furniture, an icon or two, a crucifix, and some books.  Beautiful and well organized.  But I am not aware of devout men such as those mentioned as requiring tea saucers and the such, or that we should look down upon them if they drink their beer in a stein.  Now if they were drinking it in a red solo cup or in a brown bag out of the bottle, that would indeed be odd - but this is all on a spectrum.  It is like a Georgian chest of drawers versus Baroque furniture and requiring that all man furnish his apartment with Baroque.  I would say requiring that is wrong.  I would similarly say that furnishing our apartments with orange crates is wrong as well.
 
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Offline Chestertonian

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Re: The Divorce of Cup and Saucer
« Reply #26 on: August 19, 2019, 11:55:10 PM »
this article is gayer than Elton John dressed in drag impersonating Barbra Streisand
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Offline Bernadette

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Re: The Divorce of Cup and Saucer
« Reply #27 on: August 20, 2019, 08:04:38 AM »
this article is gayer than Elton John dressed in drag impersonating Barbra Streisand

Hey, Ches.  :seeya: Any recommendations for a good violin? You being a piano teacher and all.
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Offline Vetus Ordo

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Re: The Divorce of Cup and Saucer
« Reply #28 on: August 21, 2019, 10:19:46 AM »
To be honest, I usually drink my tea from a mug.

No saucer whatsoever. In fact, I don't have any cups and saucers where I'm living right now.
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Offline SamVanHouten

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Re: The Divorce of Cup and Saucer
« Reply #29 on: August 21, 2019, 06:41:06 PM »
this article is gayer than Elton John dressed in drag impersonating Barbra Streisand

Hey, Ches.  :seeya: Any recommendations for a good violin? You being a piano teacher and all.

For the sake of avoiding the potentially jihadist ire of orchestra directors, do avoid any of these multicolored abominations in the link. They are made in a warehouse for very, very little and are unilaterally considered to be pieces of firewood molded into a string instrument by nearly all orchestra directors, private teachers, luthiers, etc. Those who want the veritable joyful noise of a unicorn being waterboarded would recommend you a Chinese-made violin.

Therefore, I would recommend to you anything but that.
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