Friday, November 24, 2017

Insight …

Artistic growth is, more than it is anything else, a refining of the sense of truthfulness. The stupid believe that to be truthful is easy; only the artist, the great artist, knows how difficult it is. That afternoon nothing new came to Thea Kronborg, no enlightenment, no inspiration. She merely came into full possession of things she had been refining and perfecting for so long. Her inhibitions chanced to be fewer than usual, and, within herself, she entered into the inheritance that she herself had laid up, into the fullness of the faith she had kept before she knew its name or its meaning.
— Willa Cather, The Song of The Lark 

Yet another …

 Nobel literature academy ensnarled in #MeToo sex scandal wave.

Man at work …

… Rare 1915 Film Shows Claude Monet at Work in His Famous Garden at Giverny | Open Culture. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Always memorable …

… The Writer’s Almanac for November 19, 2017 | First Formal | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Chronicling a love affair …

… Jazz Profiles: "The Great Jazz and Pop Vocal Albums" by Will Friedwald as Reviewed by Ted Gioia. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

In his new book Mr. Friedwald builds on his unique expertise in defining a canon of 56 classic jazz and pop vocal albums. But this is anything but one of those glib “list” books so popular nowadays. Mr. Friedwald digs in deeply in his analysis—almost every album gets more than 5,000 words of attention. Each track is weighed in the balance. In fact, Mr. Friedwald assesses virtually every arranger’s trick, instrumental solo and vocal inflection in his path.

Sources …

… Milton’s blinding reading list | The Spectator. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

 We’ve long known that Homer, Lucan, Lucretius, Ovid and Virgil exercise transformative influences on the meanings of Paradise Lost; thanks to Poole we can now supplement this list with a much longer series of more obscure authorities — including Apollonius of Rhodes, Aratus, Dionysius Periegetes, Hesiod, Nicander, Quintus Smyrnaeus, and Oppian — who Milton engaged with very carefully both in his educational programme and his later poem.
This is certainly interesting, but if appreciation of the poem depended on knowing this the poem would be an exercise in scholarship, not a demonstration of poetic genius.

Hmm …

… Why I’ve Had Enough of George Orwell - The American Interest. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



I think the corruption of discourse he wrote of is still with us.  I did not know of his anti-semitism, but that would make him fit right in with many of today's anti-Israel types.




Something to think on …

The most tyrannical of governments are those which make crimes of opinions, for everyone has an inalienable right to his thoughts.
— Baruch Spinoza, born on this date in 1632

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Worth bearing in mind …

 Modern Scientists Are Wrong Far More Than You Think - Pacific Standard. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Finally getting his due?

… Banging on about Swift – An Irishman’s Diary about why Dublin doesn’t make enough noise about one of its greatest writers. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

RIP …

… Jon Hendricks, 96, Who Brought a New Dimension to Jazz Singing, Dies. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Not surprising …

… California Poet Laureate Dana Gioia Brings Literary Star Power to CSUN | CSUN Today.  (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

“The early experience of reading opens up something in an individual’s mind and imagination, which makes him or her begin to lead their lives differently,” Gioia said. “Children, from the very earliest age, need to read stories. They need to know how many possible outcomes any story has, how many characters, how many plot reversals. If you don’t train the imagination early on, it tends to be locked into a very narrow set of possibilities."

In case you wondered …

… What Mary Oliver’s Critics Don’t Understand | The New Yorker. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Oliver’s new book, “Devotions” (Penguin Press), is unlikely to change the minds of detractors. It’s essentially a greatest-hits compilation. But for her fans—among whom I, unashamedly, count myself—it offers a welcome opportunity to consider her body of work as a whole. Part of the key to Oliver’s appeal is her accessibility: she writes blank verse in a conversational style, with no typographical gimmicks. But an equal part is that she offers her readers a spiritual release that they might not have realized they were looking for. Oliver is an ecstatic poet in the vein of her idols, who include Shelley, Keats, and Whitman. She tends to use nature as a springboard to the sacred, which is the beating heart of her work. Indeed, a number of the poems in this collection are explicitly formed as prayers, albeit unconventional ones.
I, too, am a fan.

Holiday books …

… From Grace Kelly to the humble spoon, coffee-table books cry out to be gifted.

Picks …

… 100 Notable Books of 2017 - nytimes.com. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Holiday greetings …

… Informal Inquiries : Thanksgiving haiku.

Something to think on …

Only truthful hands write true poems. I cannot see any basic difference between a handshake and a poem.
— Paul Celan, born on this date in 1920

In case you wondered...

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Dumbing down higher ed…

… Instapundit —  IN THE CLOSING OF THE CANADIAN ACADEMIC MIND, Rod Dreher writes: If you have ten minutes, it would …

Good for the University president, though.

Masterful …

A reality like Dr. Archie, poking up out of the past, re-minded one of disappointments and losses, of a freedom that was no more: reminded her of blue, golden mornings long ago, when she used to waken with a burst of joy at recovering her precious self and her precious world; when she never lay on her pillows at eleven o'clock like something the waves had washed up. After all, why had he come? It had been so long, and so much had happened. The things she had lost, he would miss readily enough. What she had gained, he would scarcely perceive. He, and all that he recalled, lived for her as memories. In sleep, and in hours of illness or exhaustion, she went back to them and held them to her heart. But they were better as memories. They had nothing to do with the struggle that made up her actual life. She felt drearily that she was not flexible enough to be the person her old friend expected her to be, the person she herself wished to be with him.
Willa Cather, The Song of the Lark 

Tracking the decline …

Things to ponder …

… Informal Inquiries : Dickinson, Shakespeare, and Christian Existentialism.

Unseen benevolence …

 Fargo: The True Story - Image Journal. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The series is based upon the classic Coen brothers’ film from 1996. I have no idea what the Coen brothers believe, but I put them up against anyone for depicting faith and doubt as it has been understood in the Judeo-Christian tradition. And in Noah Hawley, the creator and writer of the television series, they have found not only a man who appreciates their imaginative universe, but one who has expanded upon it in a consistent way.

And the winners are …

… Winning Poems for 2017 October : IBPC.



The Judge's Page.



(Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Q&A …

… Christian Wiman: Enabling Faith – An Interview | The Englewood Review of Books. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

We’re exhorted all of the time to love God, but I don’t know what that means. How do you love God? If I think of this in the abstract I have no idea how. All of my understanding of love is concrete and human, and so I am at a loss when some preacher just tells me to love God. But when I think of it in the context of Christianity then I see that God is incarnational, that God is in the world and that Christ gave us all sorts of models for how to love and I understand. I understand that there’s no difference between loving God and loving my wife, loving my children, loving my neighbor – that those are the same things and to love God is to love them and that there is not this separate thing called “God.”

Worth considering …

 Readers Picks For The Holidays | North of Oxford.

Come one, come all …

… Crazy Patrons Need Answers, Too — Annoyed Librarian. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Something to think on …

A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is the bone shared with the dog, when you are just as hungry as the dog.
— Jack London, who died on this date in 1916

Revisiting a piece...

...I wrote three years ago: The little compromises of life

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Preserving language …

 PM quashes bid to make French less macho.

Poetry and life …

 Informal Inquiries : Emily Dickinson on pain's future and past.

Tracking the decline …

… Penn Jillette: Brandeis censored Lenny Bruce.

Brandeis banned this play about Lenny Bruce because students thought it might upset them. Maybe it’s not a good play. Who cares? I don’t have a dog in this fight. I never went to college. I’m not paying for college. College students can choose to spend their money to avoid the risk of being offended. It’s a lot of jingle — family money, scholarships, government loans and personal loans. Maybe they don’t want to pay to be challenged. That’s a lot of debt to carry to be comfortable.

Mostly good …

… Informal Inquiries : 100 Best Catholic Novels.



This is a pretty good list. I do wonder about Cornac McCarthy’s The Road being included. Besides being awful, there’s nothing Catholic about it.

Credit where due …

… Cli-Fi.Net -- the world's largest online 'Cli-Fi' portal for Cli-Fi: SPUNKY KNOWSALOT knows a lot: Bill McKibben's secretly-coded sweet dedication page nod to his wife, the writer and fellow intellectual Sue Halpern, is one for the books.

FYI …

… Your brain does not process information and it is not a computer | Aeon Essays. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The faulty logic of the IP metaphor is easy enough to state. It is based on a faulty syllogism – one with two reasonable premises and a faulty conclusion. Reasonable premise #1: all computers are capable of behaving intelligently. Reasonable premise #2: all computers are information processors. Faulty conclusion: all entities that are capable of behaving intelligently are information processors.

Blogging note …

Much to do today away from my desk. Blogging will resume whenever.

Honoring a mentor …

… Anita Desai: my literary apprenticeship with Ruth Prawer Jhabvala | Books | The Guardian. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

One day she placed in my hands a copy of To Whom She Will, her first novel that had been published in faraway England, an unimaginable distance from Alipur Road, Old Delhi. Holding it, I felt I had touched something barely considered possible – that the scribbling one did in one’s hidden corner of the world could be printed, published and read in the world beyond.

Monday, November 20, 2017

The absent beloved …

 Forgotten Poems #33: "Apart," by Clara Augusta Jones Trask.
Do read the commentary. It is informative and insightful. 

Hmm …

Ottenburg shrugged his shoulders. "A few dull young men who haven't ability enough to play the old game the old way, so they want to put on a new game which doesn't take so much brains and gives away more advertising that's what your anti-saloon league and vice commission amounts to. They provide notoriety for the fellows who can't distinguish themselves at running a business or practicing law or developing an industry. Here you have a mediocre lawyer with no brains and no practice, trying to get a look-in on something. He comes up with the novel proposition that the prostitute has a hard time of it, puts his picture in the paper, and the first thing you know, he's a celebrity. He gets the rake-off and she's just where she was before. How could you fall for a mouse-trap like Pink Alden, Archie?"
Willa Cather, The Song of the Lark

Bad guy …

Taking off …

… Informal Inquiries : Blogging Note, Benjamin Franklin, and Thanksgiving.

Vintage interview …

… Boston College magazine: My Lunch With George. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Staged seduction …

… The McPhee Method - Los Angeles Review of Books. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

…  there has to be the right way in. Any essayist on any subject knows this, and no essayist knows it better than McPhee. Finding a way in means more than having a hook or an angle. Hooks and angles are good, but they won’t take you the whole distance. You need a way of seeing the matter that is expressly your own.

Birthday poem …

… After Making Love in Winter by Sharon Olds | Poetry Magazine. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)



Sharon Olds turned 75 yesterday.

For your listening pleasure …

(Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Honoring faith as lived …

… Superior trolley operator steps toward sainthood | Superior Telegram. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Something to think on …

The ways of Providence cannot be reasoned out by the finite mind ... I cannot fathom them, yet seeking to know them is the most satisfying thing in all the world.
— Selma Lagerlöf, born on this date in 1858

Who would've thought...

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Discovering poetry …

… Figuring It out in the Air: On “The Education of a Young Poet” - Los Angeles Review of Books. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

In short, fragmented chapters that move around in time, Biespiel recounts pivotal experiences in his early life and the lives of some of his ancestors, revisiting the places where he discovered poetry, where the impulse to be a poet and learn the work of poetry occurred.

One reviewer’s choices …

… Best poetry of 2017 - The Washington Post. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Centenary …

… The Legacy of Korean Poet Yun Dong-ju - Editor's Picks - News - NHK WORLD - English. (Hat tip, G. E. Reutter.)

This year marks the 100th anniversary of Yun's birth. He is well known in his home country, and gaining attention in Japan. Last month, a civic group in the city of Uji erected a monument to Yun, whose life was cut short by the political turmoil of the times.

Malign neglect …

 “They Killed Him”: Denial of Medical Care in China and the Literary Conscience - PEN America. (Hat tip, G. E. Reutter.)

Awkward voices …

 Leontia Flynn: Serious about the butts of her jokes. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Life with Mother …

… Mother Land by Paul Theroux review – a phenomenally strange novel | Books | The Guardian. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

“Mother” – she is never named, her family of origin and pre-marital life sketched so lightly as to suggest a wilful, defiant incuriosity – is almost without redeeming features: spiteful, devious, petty, mean, treacherous.

In case you wondered …

… What We Can Learn From Multiple Translations of the Same Poem | Literary Hub. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

A translation may go smoothly for a while, and then come upon a section or line that, for any number of reasons (semantic, syntactic, stylistic, cultural), runs into trouble. The trouble spots are the places where multiple translations are most apt to differ. Looking at them carefully can take us more deeply into the nuances of both the original language and English—and, more generally, challenge our assumptions about how language itself works. More specifically, multiple translations can give us a much better sense of the poem than a single translation can, so that even if we can’t read the poem in the original language, we can come closer to that experience.

Inquirer reviews …

… including one by yours truly.

… 'Hank & Jim': Fonda and Stewart, together and apart.

… Hayden Saunier's 'How to Wear This Body': Gems that deserve rereading.

… Book World:'Orient Express': Knowing the end won't spoil the fun, of either novel or film.

Something to think on …

What is the force and power of the blessings and curses of men, even if these men be such giants as Plato and Aristotle? Does truth become more true because Aristotle blesses it, or does it become error because Plato curses it? Is it given men to judge the truths, to decide the fate of the truths? On the contrary, it is the truths which judge men and decide their fate and not men who rule over the truths. Men, the great as well as the small, are born and die, appear and disappear - but the truth remains. When no one had as yet begun to "think" or to "search," the truths which later revealed themselves to men already existed. And when men will have finally disappeared from the face of the earth, or will have lost the faculty of thinking, the truths will not suffer therefrom. 
— Lev Shestov, who died on this date in 1938

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Even Lenin approved …

… The Prime of New York City | City Journal. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

New York’s history has been so eventful that any 20-year chunk of it would make for an interesting book. But the first two decades of the Consolidation offer particularly rich material, and Wallace covers as much of it as he can. In his introduction, he describes his approach: a series of views from above that move closer and closer to the ground, from a discussion of Wall Street–Washington relations (in which such figures as J.P. Morgan and Elihu Root loom large) to the merger mania that created the trusts (from petroleum to chewing gum) and conglomerates (U.S. Steel, the first billion-dollar corporation). In models of concise summary, he offers swift yet remarkably detailed histories of the city’s investment banks, commercial banks, trust companies, and insurance companies. Wallace is a superb writer: he has the experienced scholar’s sure sense of what to put in and what to leave out, and his prose has almost breathless forward motion, keeping the reader going page after page after page. He zooms in on different levels and aspects of the urban experience: from garbage collection to opera, from zoning (introduced in New York in 1916) to immigration (this is the era of the southern Italian and eastern European Jewish mass migrations). This was also the era of the building of New York’s greatest institutions—universities, museums, and libraries. In a section on the New York Public Library, Wallace quotes Lenin, who, after reading the 1911 annual report of the New York Public Library, wrote in Pravda of his awe at what New York had accomplished: “making these gigantic, boundless libraries available, not to a guild of scholars . . . but to the masses, to the crowd, to the mob! . . . Such is the way things are done in New York.”

Companion volume …

… Informal Inquiries : Ernest Hemingway — and a different direction for reading.

Luckily for us …

… Cli-Fi.Net -- the world's largest online 'Cli-Fi' portal for Cli-Fi: "We all live in the real Anthrocene" --- a novelty song based on melody and lyrics of the Beatles' ''YELLOW SUBMARINE'' (1969), updated to the Anthropocene Age.

I took the lead-in from this poem by D. H. Lawrence.

Well, why not?

… Paul Davis On Crime: Happy 75th Birthday To Martin Scorsese, Director Of 'Goodfellas,' Casino,' and 'Mean Streets'.

Non-stop action …

… Informal Inquiries : Terminal Freeze — my BookLoons review from 2009.

To each his own …

… Derek Mahon: Why I chose the typewriter over the internet. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



I type better at a computer keyboard. And you can use technology without being possessed by it.

Belated birthday note

… Black Earth by Marianne Moore | Poetry Foundation. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)



Marianne Moore's birthday was this past Wednesday.

RIP …

… Acclaimed Kansas City Poet Michelle Boisseau Dies At 62 | KCUR. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

This just keeps happening …

 Chinese Songwriter Formally Arrested For Song About Late Liu Xiaobo. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

A fan's notes …

… The Harvard professor of Bob Dylan studies: 'My thesis is that he has become Odysseus' | Books | The Guardian. (Ht tip, Dave Lull.)

… Thomas is engaged in a decoding of his own, looking for imagery, biblical allusions in the early days, classical references in his later years, Woody Guthrie breaking into a song like a phantom, Ovid blasting into a love stanza. Other times, unable to fathom a source, Thomas gazes in admiration at the poetry. “Where did the music come from? In the 60s, these incredible lyrics, ‘It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)’. The poetry of them, these lyrics, ‘Mr. Tambourine Man’ – ‘dance beneath the diamond sky, with one hand waving free./ Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands./ With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves’. Where does that come from?”
Where all art does.

Have a look …

 Paul Davis On Crime: The Best Bond: Sean Connery's Top Four James Bond Scenes.

Hmm …

… Year One: Rhetoric & Responsibility | by Marilynne Robinson | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

To be painfully candid, I consider a great part of what is offered to students as intellectual discourse, at least in the humanities and social sciences, to be a sort of higher twaddle. This so-called learning, most recently “theory,” seems harmless in so far as it has no meaning outside the classroom, or beyond the journals and conferences that sustain it and establish the hierarchy of its practitioners. But it is deeply harmful in that it wastes time and teaches students to think and write badly, to master as they can the terms and assumptions of twaddle. It lifts words from other disciplines and languages, which for its purposes suggests a sort of sophistication that floats above particulars, above the interesting books and cultures that are its putative subject, for example. Reading, writing, and thinking are so closely linked, and learning by means of them is so highly individual, that the intrusion of fashion-driven academic pidgin between the reader and the text is a defeat of the purpose of education. 
Maybe we should stop identifying education with being schooled. Good schools are wonderful. Bad schools are pernicious.

True water bird …

… Zealotry of Guerin: American Pied-Billed Dabchick (Audubon), Sonnet #379.

Something to think on …

The more the poet grows, the deeper the level of creative intuition descends into the density of his soul. Where formerly he could be moved to song, he can do nothing now, he must dig deeper.
— Jacques Maritain, born on this date in 1882

Friday, November 17, 2017

Obsessive learning...

Philadelphia's historic past...

...Not exactly literary, but preservation does have an artistic bent.

Forgotten no more …

 Paul Davis On Crime: Getting Carter And Ted Lewis: The Great British Crime Writer You’ve Never Heard Of.

FYI …

… Books of the Year 2017 | The TLS contributors decide. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Just the fax …

… Seamus Heaney's biographer races to see poet's faxes before they fade | Books | The Guardian.

“My one terror is that his favourite communication mode was the fax, and faxes fade. So I’m going to have to find out who has faxes from him, and read them quickly. At the end, [Heaney’s publisher] Faber had a fax machine that was kept just for Seamus,” said O’Toole. (Hat tip, G.E. Reutter.)

In conclusion …

… The last dog in the world - Guernica. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

The great perhaps …

… Informal Inquiries : Coda on the occasion of death’s stealthy wooing.



One account of Rabelais's last words has him saying, "I go to seek a Great Perhaps."

Chuckles …

… Paul Davis On Crime: 20 Minute Video Of The Best James Bond Jokes, Puns and Witticisms.

In case you wondered …

… Christians & the Death Penalty | Commonweal Magazine. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Let us grant, for argument’s sake, that the death penalty is indeed a just and proportionate response to willful murder. So what? That has never been the issue for Christians, for the simple reason that the Gospel does not admit the authority of proportional justice, as either a private or a public good. The whole of the Sermon on the Mount, for instance, is a shocking subversion of the entire idea. Christ repeatedly and explicitly forbids the application of such punishment, even when (as in the case of the adulterous woman) this means contradicting the explicit commands of the Law of Moses regarding public order and divinely ordained retribution. According to Paul, all who sin stand under a just sentence of death, but that sentence has been rescinded purely out of the unmerited grace of divine mercy. This is because the full wrath of the Law has been exhausted by Christ’s loving surrender to the Cross. Again and again, the New Testament demands of Christians that they exercise limitless forgiveness, no matter how grievous the wrong, even in legal and public settings. And it insists that, for the Christian, mercy always triumphs over judgment. In a very real sense, Christian morality is nothing but the conquest of proportional justice by the disproportion of divine love.
I believe it was Auberon Waugh who pointed out that the best argument against capital punishment is that it is wrong to kill people.

Something to think on …

If you want to study writing, read Dickens. That's how to study writing, or Faulkner, or D.H. Lawrence, or John Keats. They can teach you everything you need to know about writing.
— Shelby Foote, born on this date in 1916

Thursday, November 16, 2017

More about Miss Emily …

 Informal Inquiries : "The Belle of Amherst" (and a personal postscript).

Pushback …

 I’ve been accused of white, male privilege. Here’s my response. - The College Fix.

As a sophomore this year at Chapman University, my critics judge me by the color of my skin, not by the merit of my argument. They have no idea about the hard work I put in to get here, the financial struggles I faced, the sacrifices I’ve made. They don’t know and they don’t care. They see white skin and they decide I should shut up.

Appreciation …

In recent months I’ve been obsessed again with Horgan, with wanting, again, to understand. I’ve read for the first time his burnished recollections of his friend, Igor Stravinisky: “His hands were like exposed roots in winter, all gnarl and frosty fiber.” I’ve read, again, that devastating kitten scene: “I could remember the hot thin supple body of the kitten under its wet fur, and the pitifully small tube of its neck, and the large clever space between its ears at the back, where all its thoughts seemed to come from, and the perfectly blank look on its wide-eyed face as it strove to escape me and the hurt I was possessed of.”
I’ve turned to his craft book, Approaches to Writing, after writing my own—and been epigrammatically put in my place: “How can the negative ever create?” And “We begin to ‘create’ when we see everyone else as ourselves.” And “Originality for its own sake is always dishonest and thus irrelevant.” And “Every act of art is an act of love.”

In her own words …

… The Belle of Amherst | The Point Magazine. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

This is why the Court Theatre’s staging of William Luce’s Belle of Amherst is so remarkably refreshing. The play, which opened in Chicago on November 2nd and is directed by Sean Graney, dedicates just under two hours to Dickinson’s poetic voice. Much of it is fictional, of course, but the script draws upon a rich sampling of the poems and letters, as we listen to Dickinson think and dream and sound out her stanzas. If a one-woman production based on the words and ways of Emily Dickinson sounds a bit staid, you haven’t seen Kate Fry. In between baking rhubarb cupcakes, quoting from the Springfield Republican, and gossiping about her schoolgirl days at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, Fry recites Dickinson’s own words with unfailing gusto.

Hmm …

… Sins of omission – should Catholic confession always be confidential? | World news | The Guardian. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Odd that no mention is made of conditional absolution. There was a case where such figured when I was in high school. A four-year-old girl was raped and murdered. The person who did it was a high school student. He confessed to one of the priests at his school, who told him he could only give him absolution on condition that he turn himself in, since the sin he had committed was also a crime. The kid asked the priest if he would call the police for him, and the priest did exactly that. The business in this article about someone wanting absolution for something like adultery who has no intention of stopping the adultery sounds very strange to me, since not continuing to commit the sin is what repentance is all about.

FYI …

 The Right to Tell People What They Do Not Want to Hear’ – Lingua Franca - Blogs - The Chronicle of Higher Education. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

 If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. 
That dictum is highly relevant today. It has no truck with the notion of “safe spaces” where topics are prohibited lest offense be caused to those of a differing persuasion; it opposes not just government censorship but also voluntary segregation into isolated media bubbles; it offers no comfort to the idea of trigger warnings permitting unwelcome subjects to be evaded; it rejects the strategy of keeping unpopular speakers off campus.
All true. Which is why the bad press universities have been getting is not unjustified. The article in the Economist has more to do with the students' views, not the administrators' actions: "University administrators, whose job it is to promote harmony and diversity on campus, often find the easiest way to do so is to placate the intolerant fifth,the article says. Well, not really. Their job is to do the right thing, and tolerating intolerance is not the way to do that.

See also: Unpopular opinions are in danger of extinction – but you can change that.
Yes. she is Evelyn Waugh's granddaughter.

More winners …

… Here Are The 2017 National Book Award Winners. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

And the winner is …

… Tawada wins inaugural Women in Translation Prize | The Bookseller.

Something to think on …

Zen does not confuse spirituality with thinking about God while one is peeling potatoes. Zen spirituality is just to peel the potatoes.
— Alan Watts, who died on this date in 1973

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Charmed and charming …

 BOOK REVIEW: 'A Bientot' by Roger Moore - Washington Times.

Later in the book Mr. Moore laments that the English language has become informal and lazy, but wanting to blend in, he offers his own old folks’ text shorthand:
“ATD — At the doctors. BTW — Bring the wheelchair. BYOT — Bring your own teeth. FWIW — Forgot where I was. IMHO — Is my hearing aid on? GGPBL — Gotta go, pacemaker battery low. ROFLACGU — Rolling on floor laughing and can’t get up. TTYL — Talk to you louder.”

Faith and polity …

 Informal Inquiries : God & Empire -- a book review (and a personal postscript).

Helping the ignorant …

 Hey Millennials: Communism Sucks, I Lived It | Trending.

Not something to look forward to …

… A History of the Future: how writers envisioned tomorrow’s world. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Bowler’s survey is packed with such arresting details, but the frame of reference in which he presents them is superficial and unilluminating. On the whole he represents those who welcome technological advance as optimistic progressives, and those who warn against its human costs as reactionary pessimists. The historical record is more interesting and more paradoxical. Many who have been optimistic about the possibilities opened up by technology have wanted to use it for purposes that would now be recognised as highly regressive; some of the most widely influential among these people have been renowned progressive thinkers. When a cult of technology is joined with fashionable ideas of human improvement, the upshot is very often gruesome inhumanity.

Footwork …

… Counting Feet: On Running and Poetic Meter | Literary Hub. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The strange analogy between running feet and poetic rhythm goes deeper than the mere units that we try to find in poems. The English word “foot” can be traced back to the Latin words pes and ped, and the corresponding Greek words pous and pod (think “podiatry”). Slugs and snails have the taxonomic label of gastropods, “stomach-feet,” because of their strange physiological arrangements.

November Poetry at North of Oxford …

… Poetic Extracts: Study #7 FasterSmarter – Guide to Microsoft® Office FrontPage® by Sean Howard.

 Roll Your-Own Lamb by Joe Dolce.

… Regarding the Shelves by David P. Kozinski.

… The Rhino by Tyrel Kessinger.

Something to think on …

Who makes quick use of the moment is a genius of prudence.
— Johann Kaspar Lavater, born on this date in 1741

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Beautiful …

It is a glorious winter day. Denver, standing on her high plateau under a thrilling green-blue sky, is masked in snow and glittering with sunlight. The Capitol building is actually in armor, and throws off the shafts of the sun until the beholder is dazzled and the outlines of the building are lost in a blaze of reflected light. The stone terrace is a white field over which fiery reflections dance, and the trees and bushes are faithfully repeated in snow—on every black twig a soft, blurred line of white. From the terrace one looks directly over to where the mountains break in their sharp, familiar lines against the sky. Snow fills the gorges, hangs in scarfs on the great slopes, and on the peaks the fiery sunshine is gathered up as by a burning-glass.
— Willa Cather, The Song of the Lark

FYI …

 Jim Remsen’s History Nuggets – Embattled Freedom.

Tracking the decline …

 At Universities, Philosophy Is The Handmaid Of Political Correctness. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Here’s the basic rundown. After class one day, MacDonald got into a conversation with some other grad students in which the topic of Islam came up, and he expressed, as he later put it, that “I was bothered that I could be killed in ten Muslim countries.” MacDonald is bisexual, and there are in fact Muslim countries in which homosexuality is punishable by death.
Notice that, as stated, MacDonald isn’t making an argument against Islam, he is merely pointing to a verifiable fact that implies something negative about Islam. If you’ve been following what’s going on in the universities, you can venture a guess at what happened next. In the Intersectionality Olympics, the constant struggle to determine which group’s “oppression” gives it power over everybody else, the top spot is closely contested between transsexuals and Islam, but Islam usually wins—even if that means downgrading such longstanding “progressive” causes as tolerance for homosexuals.