Sunday, October 31, 2021
Saturday, October 30, 2021
When the NIH resumed funding in 2017, Collins wrote that GOF research on coronaviruses such as SARS and MERS “is important in helping us identify, understand, and develop strategies and effective countermeasures against rapidly evolving pathogens that pose a threat to public health.” On May 19 of this year, however, he said something different: “neither NIH nor NIAID have ever approved any grant that would have supported ‘gain-of-function’ research on coronaviruses that would have increased their transmissibility or lethality for humans.” But as another top NIH official recently admitted, the NIH/NIAID-funded research of Peter Daszak did precisely that.
Friday, October 29, 2021
In his work I am struck, not just by his erudition and elegant prose, but by his acknowledgement of fluidity, chance and human agency in culture and history. It is a liberating conception, giving weight to both daring leaps of individual genius and the smaller gestures and habits that form the tissue of society. He gives respect to our innermost selves, too. Speaking of Descartes and the split between rationalism on one side and impulse and intuition on the other, Barzun refuses to take sides: “The more science proves its worth, the harder it is for ‘nature’ or ‘the heart’ to feel free. Reason should guide — all moralists agree — but, as others point out, mind is not separate from heart. The astute Chinese have a character for heart-and-mind. They perceived that the urge to reason is itself a drive from the heart, which explains why rationalists are often fanatics
Did the writer of the article use the term spontaneously, or was it the end result of a serious deliberation, either on his part or that of the editor, as to what term would cause the least trouble with the intimidatory lobby that has, in the words of Rudyard Kipling, come up like thunder ’crost the bay, though in this case not from China? (In fact, how they must be laughing in China at this further evidence of Western decadence.)
Thursday, October 28, 2021
Wednesday, October 27, 2021
This elevation of scientific method to a philosophy of materialistic determinism is what some people have called Scientism, which Fr Scalia considers a form of blinding knowledge. Applied to those questions of the heart and inward life that matter most to us, the “truths” it’s capable of delivering are inevitably inadequate, and always will be. It prevents us from seeing the full truth.
Simenon claimed that living in the United States was a goal he had set himself as a young man, and soon after the war in Europe ended, he applied for visas for himself, his wife Tigy, and their son Marc. They landed in New York City in October 1945. Knowing almost no English, Simenon quickly hired an American agent and put out a request for a bilingual secretary to help him with his correspondence. He met the first application, a French Canadian woman named Denyse Ouimet, for an interview at a restaurant named Brussels near Central Park. As Denyse later told Simenon biographer Pierre Assouline, “I met him at the Brussels at 1:45. I saw him again at the Drake at 4:45. At 7:00 we were making love.”
In the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s, Vietnam veterans were portrayed mostly on TV and in films as drug addicts and homicidal maniacs. Although the vast majority of Vietnam veterans, like my brother and I, returned home from the war and adapted back into civilian life, the fictional portrayal of crazy Vietnam vets was prevalent and, sadly, many people thought it was an accurate portrayal.
It was not.
Tuesday, October 26, 2021
I am having a bad day. Went out to shop, but my knees and legs were not cooperating. Did what I had to do, sat in a nearby park for a bit and actually nodded off (not smart for an old guy in this city these days). Started to make it home, which proved very difficult — specifically, painful. As luck would have it, a friend drove by, stopped, helped me into his car, and drove me home. It may be the weather. I have been lying down for a couple of hours now and my legs are still killing me. In short, minimal blogging today.
Monday, October 25, 2021
The relative indifference to treason is a symptom of our intelligentsia’s weakening devotion to the nation state. "In the cosmopolitan atmosphere of globalism," Guelzo writes, "the notion of treason has acquired an antique feel." This is a weakening indeed. As Guelzo notes, for all its faults, the nation-state works (imperfectly) as a stay against ethnic, dynastic, and religious mischief of the kind that put Europe in a state of perpetual warfare until the 18th century. "To wave away treason as a crime is to put in jeopardy many of the benefits the nation-state has conferred in the last three centuries."
… just as even the most illustrious violinists frequently acknowledge awe of Jascha Heifetz—and the most illustrious pianists acknowledge awe of Vladimir Horowitz—so among organists of either sex one other name, not yet referred to, would be placed near the top of any list devoted to twentieth-century practitioners. That name belongs to Jeanne Demessieux, the centenary of whose birth (Montpellier, France, February 13, 1921) fell this year, and who has just been honored by an eight-CD boxed set.*
Almost exactly three years after my dad’s death, a short story by Uncle John appeared in The New Yorker called “Brother Grasshopper.” Everyone who knew me and my family knew that my uncle was John Updike. He married my mother’s older sister, Mary, when they were in college, and we Fisks spent every summer back East in Ipswich or Vermont or on Martha’s Vineyard with the Updikes. Each couple produced four children at regular intervals, so we had nearly parallel cousins. If you’ve read Couples or The Maples Stories, you know the general scene: beaches, chaos, shucking corn, tennis and cocktails, adultery. There were the usual family spats now and then, but as a child, I always thought of the four adults as good friends.
… the administrators would’ve had less leverage over Colbert if he had understood that the speech at issue was protected and that he would not be officially investigated or sanctioned for it. So they kept Colbert guessing as to whether or how he was being investigated or disciplined, and whether Yale administrators might report him to the bar, making vague insinuations and maintaining strategic ambiguity—even as Colbert explicitly, repeatedly, asked for clarity. They modeled abuse of authority of a kind Yale Law graduates denounce furiously when their clients are subjected to it, and gave all students and faculty reason to distrust the forthrightness of Yale diversity administrators.
Sunday, October 24, 2021
I hope the white donors follow suit and find another use for their money.
“It wasn’t 600 to 800 Spaniards who conquered [Tenochtitlán]. It was thousands and thousands of Tlaxcalans, Huejotzingas or other peoples, who were under the Mexica yoke and wanted to liberate themselves,” archaeologist Eduardo Matos Moctezuma told Radio Formula.
In his 1973 novel , Mano gave us a dystopian nightmare that managed to anticipate both the COVID pandemic we have endured over the past year and a half and the ravages of a cancel culture that seeks to outlaw any sense of pride in the heroes and achievements of the un-woke past. has long been out of print. If a publisher released the book today, people could easily believe they were reading a contemporary novel about the realities around them. But even that is not Mano’s most prescient book.
In 1978, Old Person gained perhaps his proudest title when he became chief of the Blackfeet Nation. According to archives from the Smithsonian Institution, the last principal chief of the Blackfeet Nation, Chief White Calf, died in 1903. His son, James White Calf, lived to be well over 100. During a formal ceremony in 1978, the family of James White Calf bestowed the tribal chieftainship upon Old Person.
Saturday, October 23, 2021
Friday, October 22, 2021
The novel’s castle is a far cry—and there are many far cries in the air hereabouts—from the cardboard Gothic pile erected by Hammer’s set designers. Paradoxically, given Dracula’s predilection for night and darkness, the Hammer movies, shot in gorgeous, acrylic-bright colours that seem always about to brim over and bleed into each other, present a noble ancestral mansion suffused with light, whereas at the end of the book’s first chapter what Harker arrives at is ‘a vast ruined castle, from whose tall black windows came no ray of light, and whose broken battlements showed a jagged line against the moonlit sky’. Similarly, Stoker’s Count Dracula, ‘a tall old man, clean-shaven save for a long white moustache’, is a drab figure indeed compared with Christopher Lee’s icily immaculate aristocrat, a Byron of the Carpathians. Let there be light, said Hammer, and we looked upon it, and found it good.
Thursday, October 21, 2021
Comedy is not dead. It’s scared. And when something is scared, it goes into hiding. I do admire those comedy writers who can pour their creativity and talents into non-humorous projects. Unlike my peers, who can channel their rage into more socially acceptable psychological projects, I have no marketable skills aside from crafting jokes. As a teenager, I was fired on my second day on a job as a store clerk at a pharmacy because I couldn’t do the very two things that the job required: making change and finding things.
The harm is not to those with the opinion that the military should invade our cities to assist police who are overwhelmed by rioters, but rather to the public sphere and the journalists whose job requires they have the humility to submit to the pursuit of fairness and truth. It’s public debate that bears the brunt of the damage. We are being denied the chance to hash out a controversy rather than hide from it.
Remember Stein’s Law: If something cannot go on forever, it will stop. This does not strike me as the sort of thing that can go on forever.
The Talmud, the comprehensive collection of writings covering law and tradition, also says, "There are three partners in a person – the Holy One, the father, and the mother." A child is intimately tied not to government, but to the parents who brought him or her into the world. So despite what is now oppressively asserted by school boards, teachers' unions, gubernatorial candidates, and even the U.S. Attorney General, parents should be in charge of what their kids learn.
Each loan lasts 45 days. Users are limited to checking out one title each, according to instructions on Saint Heron’s Instagrampage. (As of Tuesday, all of the library’s books had already been reserved, leading at least one Instagram commentator to inquire about a waiting list.) Books will be sent to readers’ homes with the cost of shipping and return included in postage, ensuring the service remains free, reports Valentina Di Liscia for Hyperallergic.
In later years, long after her dream of living in a house designed by the great man had finally been extinguished, Edith might have picked up that first single-line note from Wright—“We’ll see what can be done”—and retorted, “But nothing was done.” Pragmatism had been defeated by idealism.
Dave also sends along this: EDITH CARLSON HOUSE “BELOW ZERO” .
Wednesday, October 20, 2021
Tuesday, October 19, 2021
… COVID-19 wasn’t exactly the great equalizer. In fact, it was the exact opposite, revealing existing structural inequalities—many of which were only deepened by the public health response to the virus. Now, as the debate moves from school closures and Zoom workplaces to vaccines and mandates, the policies catering to the “pajama class” and hurting vulnerable people continue—and the delusional, self-serving rhetoric surrounding them only grows more poisonous.
From the Editors:
I’m wary of making grandiose claims for poetry. (Would that it were, that anything were, a unifying force!) Poets have always loved to talk about how powerful and important poetry is, and I’m no exception. Poetry’s power to fuse the private and the universal always amazes me, as does its ability to offer a reprieve (as you aptly phrase it) from the mundanity and suffering of day-to-day existence. But poetry’s role is more complicated than that. Poetry is often made of mundanity and suffering; if it excludes or flees them, it risks being empty, generic, sentimental. Each poet has to manage their own balancing act, whether in formal or thematic terms, or both, between the mundane and the visionary, the public and the private — one could add so many pairs. A complicating factor is that poets come with their own talents and temperaments, their own obsessions and models, their own reading and experience.
Monday, October 18, 2021
Although Antifa members fall into a range of ideological categories - “anarchists, communists, anarcho-syndicalists, Marxist black nationalists, and so on” (BLM is more purely communist) - the group has one overarching, unifying goal: to overthrow America. “Before May 20,” recalls Ngo in his splendid new book Unmasked: Inside Antifas’s Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy, “I never thought antifa could ever come close to achieving this goal.” (He prefers to write “antifa” with a lower-case initial “a.”) Then he saw Antifa take over parts of U.S. cities, whose elected leaders refused to fight back.
Nothing surprising about this. They are sure they know more and better than the rest of us. So why should we count? The funny thing is discovering, when you meet them, how ignorant they are. No wonder they don’t want to engage in dialogue.
Miłosz may not have been entirely aware that he was gradually turning away from the vatic tradition, remembering the effect it had on an idealistic generation of young men who gave their lives in a gesture of futile resistance and were buried in the wreckage in the United States, perhaps relieved to put some distance between and he would eventually come to a new understanding as he was later drawn back to a free Poland. In the meantim, badic pohey and messianism ouldt do in a country that was increasingly turning to science and technology to answer age-old questions.
Sunday, October 17, 2021
Ti Jean (Kerouac’s nickname) was baptized in Lowell, Massachusetts, to a family of “mill rats”—French Canadian Catholics who lived in ghettos. Kerouac’s favorite intercessor was St. Joseph (a “humble, self-admitting, truthful saint”), on whose feast he was born in 1922. Ti Jean’s devotion to St. Thérèse of Lisieux continued through decades; until death he watched for her roses from heaven. Even so, he left the Church at fourteen. Mystifying memories of Ste. Jeanne de Arc’s statues returned to him regularly, though. Hes believed that he was able to, at times, “stop being a maniacal drunkard” on account of “the Holy Mother”: “Ever since I instituted the little prayer, I've not been lushing.”
I suspect Kerouac’s imperfect faith is as common as it is in the end efficacious.
A. G. Mojtabai’s novella , published by Slant, is a recent example of literature that can draw one out of the banality of materialism and force us to grapple with the knowledge that . It can be read as an extended meditation on death and dying; by natural extension, it can also be read as an extended meditation on life and living. For if we don’t know what it means to die, can we be said to know what it means to live?
Four dear friends of mine have died in the past year. When you get to be my age, death and dying grow familiar. My brother died a few minutes before I arrived to visit him. But I saw him lying there. And my daughter Jennifer and I held her mother’s hand for about eight hours while she passed from coma into death. My first direct encounter with death took place when I was about 11 and discovered that the man sitting in the car in front of our house had committed suicide.
Saturday, October 16, 2021
Over the weekend, Venice logged yet another RV fire, this time outside Whole Foods. Dark plumes of smoke were visible from miles around. I was surprised to find on my last shopping trip that, three days after the blaze, the charred RV had not been removed. Now burned down to its metal frame, the RV remained in the same place where it had been parked for over a year. Soot covers the surrounding sidewalks and retail stores, and particles of ash and debris rustle in the wind. The windows of a nearby store were blown out and are boarded with plywood, and nearby vegetation is burned to a crisp. Someone scrawled “Boninville” on the RV, a reference to Los Angeles city councilmember Mike Bonin, whose inaction has frustrated residents living in deteriorating conditions alongside the homeless.
… the novel bursts with the life of so many unforgettable figures. They all ring true. Even the walk-on parts such as the Quartering Commandant, who regrets the vandalistic behaviour of the soldiers billeted at Brideshead, or the priest who administers the last rites to Lord Marchmain, Fr McKay, Glasgow Irish, are drawn with exquisite economy and are immediately recognizable, just as a great master of portraiture like John Singer Sargent, for example, was able to capture likenesses not only in his finished “swagger” portraits but also in sketches , using only a few perfectly sure pencil lines.
Friday, October 15, 2021
Unfortunately, as today’s American historians are demonstrating with increasing effectiveness (and controversy), much of this land’s history is colored by discrimination, hatred, exploitation, and violence.
Unfortunately, the same is also true of human history in general.
Within days of acquiring the dream house, Mr. Douthat awoke with a stiff neck. He found “a red swelling” six inches down from his left ear. “It’s just a boil,” said a doctor, his insouciant declaration the first of many diagnoses in which it was claimed that there was nothing physically wrong with him. Lyme—a debilitating bacterial disease acquired from deer-tick bites—was ruled out because many of his symptoms didn’t match a rigid checklist drawn up for the ailment by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This “diagnostic standardization,” Mr. Douthat writes, was “supposed to establish a consistent baseline for national case reporting, not rule out the possibility of atypical cases or constrain doctors from diagnosing them.” As a result of such inflexibility, he tells us, doctors miss “anywhere from a third to half of early Lyme cases.”
Thursday, October 14, 2021
My late wife Hilary, to whom I was wholly devoted, wanted me to find a new partner as soon as possible after she died, so much so that she brought up the subject more than once in her last months. “You’ll make a shitty singleton,” she warned me. I knew she was right, but I didn’t think it possible that I would get so lucky twice in a lifetime,
Wednesday, October 13, 2021
If you’ve ever been at a meeting of progressive Democrats, or even of the country club sort of Republicans who like to “get along” with them, such as the ones who define as “Never Trumpers,” you will detect an obvious disdain for working-class white ethnic groups. I have “passed” in those circles, being an attorney who practices in the so-called liberal field of immigration. Those who have not read my columns or heard me on the radio or TV assume I am one of them. It’s “Imitation of Life,” just substituting mindset for race. I’m not one of them, but I look like one of them and so the guard is down. Like that fly on the proverbial wall, I have access to what they say when they think no one is listening beyond the sterile bubble of elite wisdom.
When Brosman’s Breakwater appeared in 2009, I hailed its ambitious architecture, which drew into a single form meditations on the love found in a late remarriage to her long-estranged first husband, Patric Savage, alongside sketches of literary figures such as Mina Loy and D. H. Lawrence, whose troubled relationships with eros have much to teach us about where individual lives and entire civilizations go wrong. I had rarely seen a contemporary poet capable of entering so deeply, sharply, and unsparingly into that universal mystery of human life, the persistence and folly of romance.
While he deals most directly with this theme in Robbery Under Law — less a travel book than a sophisticated historical disquisition written following his return from a brief sojourn in revolutionary Mexico in 1938 — the concept of civilization under never-ending siege underlies all of his novels, which he succinctly described as ‘the creation of small independent systems of order’.
Tuesday, October 12, 2021
Not the pandemic itself, but the state’s response to it, has been a catastrophe for Britain. The waiting list for non-Covid medical treatment may soon approach 13 million people (out of a total population of only 67 million). Children have lost nearly a year of education. Mental health has decayed; domestic abuse has accelerated. Sovereign debt has soared; small business has been ravaged.
Monday, October 11, 2021
I very much liked The Language of God, and the impression I got of Collins while reading it was very positive. Perhaps he is one of those sad people who can compartmentalize mind and morals.
I think it is beginning to dawn on more and more people that what is still referred to as :higher education:" has become a joke — though not a very funny one. The older I get the happier I am for that day in 1965 when it occurred to me that I didn't want to spend the rest of my life in the faculty lounge.
Sunday, October 10, 2021
… World Renowned Psychiatrist: ‘Global Predators’ Fauci, Gates, and Schwab Behind the COVID ‘Reign of Terror’.“How does it make sense that they’re absolutely ignoring that in America now, we have over 13,000 reports of death (to the CDC) from the vaccine, and no one is investigating it?” he asked.
Breggin pointed out that in past years, if there had been only 200 deaths from all of the vaccines put together, it would have been considered a catastrophe.
“Now we have a vaccine that has more deaths than every other vaccine all put together. So how can we ignore that?” he continued.
Meanwhile, Breggin noted, there there are highly inflated numbers of COVID deaths that have been falsified by manipulating the reporting mechanisms.
Any student who was “traumatized” by a performance of one of the most compelling characters in literature by one of the best actors who ever lived deserves an “F.”
Some explanation is needed, of how a relatively weak and vulnerable and not-very-successful hominid proto-human later came to dominate the whole world and reach outward into the universe. How did that happen?
Saturday, October 09, 2021
The culture that produced the genius of a Balde began with the smallest of seeds. Today, the academic excellence and missionary drive of the Jesuits have planted universities and preparatory schools in their honor throughout the world. And it’s hard not to view the early beginnings of that educational dream through the lens of its later success.
I am a graduate of a Jesuit college. Edward Gannon, S.J. Was the most important intellectual and moral influence in my life. But Georgetown, Marquette, and Boston College seem more woke these days than Catholic. The current pontiff is not the sort of Jesuit who taught me.