Monday, September 01, 2014

Helpful hints …

… Bari Weiss: How to Survive—and Maybe Enjoy—PC University - WSJ.



I can almost understand why college administrators would turn out to be PC dimwits, but the students buying into such crap really amazes and appalls.

Haiku …


A yellow leaf drops
In your lap. Why does this seem
So fraught with meaning?

Introducing …

… Assay, the New Journal of Nonfiction Studies | BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog.

I weigh in on...

Count me in...

On family law and other subjects...

Aesthetic commitment …

… modern lover - bookforum.com / current issue. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The autobiographical essays gathered here, pleasingly meandering and chatty, are among Davenport’s most accessible writings. At their best, they offer a direct road into the heart of his sensibility: omnivorous, alert to unsuspected revelations, but also committed to devoting sustained attention to whatever is under his gaze. He was not a humble man, but there is an essential modesty to his intuition that knowledge of any given thing is inexhaustible.

Remembering Maxine …

… A Great Crime Novel Recommendation | Petrona Remembered. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Form and nature …

… Bruce Charlton's Miscellany: Why is scripture so unclear? Wittgenstein suggests. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

This fits my oft-stated conviction that the proof-texting/ chapter-and-verse way of reading scripture segmentally - as if it was a law book or list of rules - obscures its truth and leads to confusion and conflict.
I share this view.

 

Q&A …

… 10 Questions for Kimmika Williams-Witherspoon | Fox Chase Review.

Blunt or a stunt?

A thought for today …

Men resemble great deserted palaces: the owner occupies only a few rooms and has closed-off wings where he never ventures.
— François Mauriac, who died on this date in 1970

A world gone mad …

… Sesame Street: not suitable for children | Lifeandstyle | The Guardian.



I certainly didn't grow up on Sesame Street, but my stepchildren did. Naturally, my favorite, Cookie Monster — someone with a clear and passionate goal in life — is singled out for censure.

Graven into the skin...

...Saved

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Pay attention, too …

… The American Scholar: List, List, O List! — Sandra M. Gilbert. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



This is very well-written and thought-out piece. And the list is impressive.

On the road …

… The Tao Of Dante | The American Conservative. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

In the beginning of the Commedia, Dante finds himself in a dark wood of confusion and fear, his escape routes blocked; he has lost the “straight path” — that is, the tao. In Dante’s thought, as in Christianity, if we follow the tao of Christ, we will find our way out of our own dark wood, and move steadily toward enlightenment — which is to say, union with God — culminating in gaining heaven.

Haiku …


If the Cross be true
Something went gravely awry
In God's creation.

Cast your vote …

… Do You Like the Term “Nonfiction Novel”? | BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog.

The mark of a man...

Modernist at heart …

… Waugh Revisited by Kenneth R. Craycraft, Jr. | Articles | First Things. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

In Patey’s reading, the modernist crisis reflected in the early novels is at heart a crisis of the rootlessness, alienation, and disorientation of British youth coming of age in the 1920s, in the aftermath of World War I. The institutions and conventions that gave direction to the manners of Edwardian England had been discarded, leaving nothing to fill the void but the vertiginous excesses of Waugh’s Bright Young People. But even in these pre-conversion novels, Waugh sees the jettisoning of traditional Christianity as the immediate cause of the crisis. 

Labor of love …

… Translator's 25 years with St. Augustine.



In 1695, Louis Sebastian Le Nain de Tillemont, a French priest and historian, wrote what is considered the most comprehensive biography of Augustine. In his 16-volume history of the church, covering the period from after the apostles until the year 513, he devoted an entire volume to Augustine.

A bleak view of the future …

… Irresponsible gods — FT.com. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

We’ve grown used to thinking of ourselves as the only species of humans. But for most of its history Homo sapiens shared the planet with several humanoid species – the Neanderthals being only the best known. “The earth of a hundred millennia ago was walked by at least six different species of man”, writes Harari. Suppose some or all of these species had survived alongside ourselves up to the present. What would become of the cherished sense that we are set apart from the rest of the natural world by having some peculiar transcendent value? Human uniqueness, Harari concludes, is a myth spawned by an accident of evolution.

Inquirer reviews …

… Stories of the unsettled and disoriented.

The perils of prophesying in Princeton.

… Adolescence is murder.

A thought for today …


The first idea the child must acquire is that of the difference between good and evil.
— Maria Montessori, born on this date in 1870

Maybe troll is not the right word there...

Saturday, August 30, 2014

What a difference a year makes …

Instapundit — FACEBOOK FRIEND WHO’S TOO MODEST TO WANT CREDIT HERE POSTED THIS: Let’s accept, arguendo, that …

Not to worry …

… US Hurricane drought still in record territory - newsnet5.com Cleveland.



This is weather, not climate. Anyway, it's probably caused by global warming, which can usually be shown to cause anything climatically — extreme heat, extreme cold, drenching rains, scorching drought, you name it. That a single factor would cause all climatic phenomena seems peculiar.

Out of any depth …

The Book Haven | Cynthia Haven's blog for the written word.  

The idea that the human person has any kind of innate dignity, that we draw a veil over at least sex and death (as well as bowel movements), that any kind of human activity is private or intimate – increasingly strikes people as arbitrary and an anachronism, especially if sex, death, or a marriage proposal is click-bait. We are losing a language to even discuss such matters in a culture where the greatest fear is boredom and becoming fat. People are feeling increasingly uncomfortable at any kind of depth, any view of their roles as something other than a consumers of videos, electronics, sports, as “seekers” of the most shallow and transient kind of “happiness.” We’re a long, long way from Antigone, who sacrificed her life to honor and bury her slain brother – she disappeared in the rear-view mirror decades ago.
Sad, but true.

More on Hemingway

From the NYRB:

"...For the past fifty years, ever since his embittered older sister Marcelline reported that their mother had dressed the young Hemingway as a girl and had tried to raise the two of them as twins, and ever since his posthumous novel The Garden of Eden (1986) revealed his androgynous fantasies, the conventional reading of Hemingway explained him away as the product of sexual confusion and category-crossing. This turns out to be as simplifying and crude as the he-man image it supplanted. These letters make clear that both the he-man and the androgynous fantasist were surface expressions of a deeper wish that shaped Hemingway’s life and work, a driving impulse that ultimately had nothing to do with sex..."

A tyrant's life …

… BBC Radio 4 - Digitising Stalin.



Daniel emails: "Non-UK residents... I believe the BBC normally puts these things up on its website for a week after broadcast. If they do I shall emanate it."


Haiku …


In a moment's flash,
A life's panoramic shot:
The concept of dread.

End of summer …

… First Known When Lost: Other Worlds.

The eyes have it …

… Zealotry of Guerin: Portrait of Sonia (Henri Fantin-Latour), Sonnet #199.



The poem is as lovely as the painting, and I'm honored by the dedication. Years ago, when I worked in D.C., I always made a point of visiting whenever I went to the National Gallery, which was often.

Hmm …

… New Statesman | The new Luddites: why former digital prophets are turning against tech. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



A good many years ago, a friend of mine, who had headed a large manufacturing firm, told me that manufacturing would go the way of agriculture, that robots would end up doing most of the work. From the owners' standpoint, this would seem advantageous. Robots won't go on strike, don't need healthcare, etc. But then, there's the downside: if a lot of people are put out of work, who will you sell your products to? Of course, you could simply work out some sort of automatic system whereby everyone simply got what they needed to live, and were left to pursue whatever interests they found fulfilling. The devil, as usual, lies in the details, but I'm sure someone could work out a plausible theoretical model. Were such to happen, though, that probably would spell the end of humanity, because I suspect a lot of people, maybe most, would have a problem with too much time on their hands.

I wonder, too: Is this not just Almighty Evolution going about its undirected business?

Getting the hang of it...

'My life is poetry'...

A thought for today …


Of all created comforts, God is the lender; you are the borrower, not the owner.
— Ernest Rutherford, born on this date in 1871

It's come to this …

… I was taking pictures of my daughters. A stranger thought I was exploiting them. — The Washington Post.


Friday, August 29, 2014

Opus posthumous …

… The Millions : Last Words: On Michael Hastings’s The Last Magazine: A Novel. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Around the time of his death, he had just published “Why the Democrats Love to Spy on Americans,” an aggressive indictment of the Obama administration. According to reports, he emailed colleagues that he was now “onto a big story” and needed to go “off radar” for a while. Some say he was being tailed by the FBI.

Squaring off …

… Review: 'Why Football Matters' versus 'Against Football' - LA Times. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)