Saturday, December 31, 2022
The danger is that this narrowly scientistic account of reason affords humans a much lower status than the one granted them by classical philosophy and revealed religions. You can do anything to people, especially the weak and the poor, if you view human beings as mere collections of particles, lacking any special origin or destiny.
Friday, December 30, 2022
Thursday, December 29, 2022
The authorial challenge Lewis takes on here is supremely audacious – to imagine a true state of innocence in a way that won’t be misinterpreted by dirty minds. To describe colors the reader has never seen and tastes he’ll never taste, without sounding precious. To provide a parable of the life by of faith that even skeptics can appreciate – even if they don’t get the point.
Wednesday, December 28, 2022
Here’s the surprise: This company has been a failure at digital media, and has succeeded by embracing the most antiquated technology of them all: the printed book.
Tuesday, December 27, 2022
Part of what is offensive about this rubbish is that a great and humanly very important topic is treated in a jocose manner. (I am assuming, charitably, that the author did not write his piece as a joke.) But that is not the worst of it. The worst of it is the incoherence of what is being proposed.
I am not a scientist, though, having having had three lab courses in science (physics, biology, and chemistry) I am sufficiently literate scientifically to have done a good bit of science editing (also medical editing). I think that Covid made it clear that the media these days doesn’t really know science.This article makes clear the nature of the problem. The writer of the piece being critiqued should have asked more questions, rather than just extrapolate on his own. I think I share the views of the writer of the piece, but it’s wise to be careful,
What some radical Catholic writers like Leon Bloy and Bernanos meant by the term bien-pensantwould apply to some middle-class Catholics in America who are much more middle class than Catholics. Radical statements rock the boat, and you were unfortunately exceptionally good at a religious form of épater les bourgeois—upsetting the self-righteous and complacent who don’t want their religion to get in the way of their careers or their social relationships.
Monday, December 26, 2022
Sunday, December 25, 2022
Wilson distinguishes two meanings of “good.” The first is the more familiar. He would call it sentimental. Wilson’s preferred meaning can be thought of as ontological. “Good Friday, 2013, Driving Northward” has potentially the most banal of premises: the speaker is driving home in the dark, having promised his wife he would arrive before the children wake. Somewhere in the Appalachians, the humblest of events occurs: dawn. Wilson likens it to “deep breathing underneath a blanket, / Where things declare themselves by being what they are within; / So much, it seems, that every blessed thing which comes to light / Stands forth to show its birth from that first fruitful wakefulness.” The poem concludes: “[A]ll is blessing, all is light.”
Saturday, December 24, 2022
the Code of Canon Law does not state that the possible penalties for these two offenses include dismissal from the clerical state. Canon 1368 states that a person who utters blasphemy is to be “punished with a just penalty.” Canon 1371 states that “a person who does not obey the lawful command” of his Ordinary “and after being warned, persists in disobedience, is to be punished, according to the gravity of the case, with a censure or deprivation of office or with other penalties mentioned in can 1336, 2-4.” Canon 1336, 5, which is not included in the scope of punishments for a violation of canon 1371, mentions dismissal from the clerical state.
To be chosen and known and loved by such a woman is not a small thing. It is seeing Mary without him that breaks George enough to make him ask for life, as it is her just anger at him that sends him into the most desperate phase of his downward spiral. When he chases the alternate Mary through the streets, his desperate cry is not “Mary! What have they done to you?” but “Don’t you know me? What’s happened to us?” If Mary does not know him, if Mary does not see who he really is, he must not exist indeed.
Friday, December 23, 2022
If he’s remembered nowadays, it’s only during December, when his version of “White Christmas” briefly returns to heavy rotation. Even today, it ranks as the bestselling single of all time. There aren’t many records that last eighty years, and least of all in the record business, but Crosby still sits atop this chart.
The average American college hopeful would be better off drilling a hole in his head than attending a present-day university. He’d learn about as much, wouldn’t be financially crippled with student debt, and would likely avoid acquiring a variety of sexually transmitted diseases. And if a drill to the head sounds like self-harm, what do you think four to six years of safe spaces, trigger warnings, grievance studies, and neo-Marxist indoctrination amounts to, if not an expensively acquired ritual lobotomy?
Thursday, December 22, 2022
Wednesday, December 21, 2022
Tuesday, December 20, 2022
… Nabokov reported writing an essay on the cinema, but if it was ever completed, it does not survive. What we have is this poem: a metropolitan miniature, a confession of love, a gentle parody, and a refusal of snobbery.
Monday, December 19, 2022
For let us be Catholic for a moment. God does not expect us to lie in the cause of religion, or in any other cause. We cannot claim, or timidly imply, a knowledge that is beyond our means. We accept tradition, and value it on its own terms, which are extravagant enough – neither discounting nor inflating its claim upon us.
As I have said of Dope Francis before (the historically informed will know the reference): Will no one rid us of this turbulent priest? I am opposed to abortion for the same reason I am opposed to capital punishment: It’s wrong to kill people (the child in the womb is a genetically unique individual, not a condition the mother is suffering from; pregnancy is not an illness).
As for my rude reference to the reigning Pontiff, no I don’t want a cluster of knights to kill him. But he is making it difficult for this cradle Catholic — abandoning a key doctrine I was raised to believe. Maybe Francis will cut a deal with Planned Parenthood regarding the sale of organs from aborted children so the Church can gain some revenue. This “vicar” of Christ may end up destroying the Church. God I loathe him.
Sunday, December 18, 2022
Saturday, December 17, 2022
… it is a point of phenomenology that love intends to reach the very haecceity and ipseity of the beloved: in loving someone we mean to make contact with his or her unique thisness and selfhood. It is not a mere instance of lovable properties that love intends, but the very being of the beloved. It is also true that this intending or meaning is in some cases fulfilled: we actually do sometimes make conscious contact with the haecceity and ipseity of the beloved. In the case of self love we not only intend, but arrive at, the very being of the beloved, not merely at the co-instantiation of a set of multiply instantiable lovable properties. In the case of other love, there is the intention to reach the haecceity and ipseity of the beloved, but it is not clear how arriving at it is possible.
Friday, December 16, 2022
Thursday, December 15, 2022
As part of their effort to decolonize light, the three wrote, they plan to develop courses with indigenous scholars and “Knowledge Keepers” in which indigenous knowledge is elevated and Eurocentric western science is de-centered and scrutinized for its alleged past and present contributions to colonialism.
I think the aim is supposed to be to determine which is scientifically correct.
Wednesday, December 14, 2022
Tuesday, December 13, 2022
Monday, December 12, 2022
Sunday, December 11, 2022
As Coleridge would put it, they’d snapped the “squeaking baby-trumpet of Sedition.” Still, Nicolson makes the case that, insofar as poetry can pursue political ends by other means, “Wordsworth and Coleridge were moving faster and further than the most famous radical in England,” John Thelwall. For though their activist friend experienced “failed encounters between the champion of the poor and the poor themselves,” the Somerset poets “were wanting to understand them as people,” not “as a political problem.”
Saturday, December 10, 2022
- It was either the case that sex wasn't much fun in 1920, or that D. H. Lawrence couldn't figure out how to write about it. Because I doubt the former is true, I've settled on the latter: for all of Lawrence's references to "loins" and "passion," I must admit, I missed the sex. I mean: I looked for it, and I thought it was coming a few times, but then when it did, it was so thoroughly obfuscated -- so vague and shadowy -- that it amounted to nothing at all.
- Women in Love is a novel of two couples: but the personalities of these individuals are so uncertain, and their motivation so unclear, that anything they have to say about love or sex is shrouded in a frustrated veil of philosophy. At least three of these characters have very little background, and the fourth, who is propped up with a generic story about early capitalism, doesn't fair much better: all of these characters approach sex as some moralistic thing warranting endless discussion. But as I say, I wondered by the end whether all this discussion was a sign of Lawrence's simple inability to capture the sex act itself.
- You could argue that, despite its title, this is a novel less about love and sexuality than it is about violence, gender relations, and humanity's relationship -- of all things -- with animals. And I suppose all of that would be true. But the fact is: there are other novels about these topics which are more successful, and which were written at about the same time as Women in Love.
- One area where I will concede that Lawrence has charted interesting ground is around love and its association with monogamy. Lawrence's characters -- especially the men -- wonder about this: whether marriage, for instance, precludes the ability to maintain loving, or "eternal," relationships with other men. Put differently, these men wonder whether they can have both: sexual intimacy with women and intellectual companionship with men. Lawrence seems to suggest that this dynamic -- this rivalry -- is a frustrated one, and the novel, which ends by engaging this topic, seems not to fully answer the question.
Friday, December 09, 2022
Thursday, December 08, 2022
“Freedom is not something that anybody can be given; freedom is something people take and people are as free as they want to be. One hasn’t got to have an enormous military machine in order to be un-free when it’s simpler to be asleep, when it’s simpler to be apathetic, when it’s simpler, in fact, not to want to be free, to think that something else is more important”
Wednesday, December 07, 2022
Tuesday, December 06, 2022
Monday, December 05, 2022
Sunday, December 04, 2022
… it can take Li up to three weeks to finish a novel. “When you spend two to three weeks with a book, you live in that world,” she says. “I think reading slowly is such an important skill. Nobody has ever talked about it, or taught me that. I’m a very patient reader. Even if it’s a very compelling book. I don’t want to rush from the beginning to the end.”
Saturday, December 03, 2022
Friday, December 02, 2022
Thursday, December 01, 2022
O’Connell could be sharp-tongued. He could also be wrong. Several times in the volume he hinted at his own skepticism about the Church’s teaching on contraception. But he also had a bit of the prophet in him. His 1990 address to the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars, “An Historical Perspective on Evangelization in the United States: Shifting Concentration of Interest,” looks remarkably prescient three decades later. At a time when Catholics in the United States had achieved a remarkable degree of power and prestige, O’Connell noted the already cratering numbers of priests, baptisms, and weddings. He thought that the American Church had returned to the state of its earliest days—a quest for “survival.”
Wednesday, November 30, 2022
This sort of either/or thinking is absurd, but they appear to believe this. Such is the only explanation I can conceive for why it is better to close down healthy parishes if the only way they can be salvaged is to fill them with Latin Mass Catholics, or to let seminaries and religious orders die if the only way to perpetuate them is to restore traditional theological or liturgical practices to them. Better to let the Church die off, apparently, than have it fall into the hands of people you think are fundamentally evil.
I am at a loss as to why Jesus doesn’t call the Pontiff home and have s chat. Happily, I remember that Jesus remains the head of the Church. Francis is only a stand-in.
Tuesday, November 29, 2022
Politics, for Stoppard, can only go so far in extricating us from the scourge of politics. A playwright preeminently of ideas, in such works as (1982), (1993), and (1997), Stoppard in shows his audience the vanity of ideas, especially political ones, when confronted by the monstrous evil of race hatred.
Monday, November 28, 2022
Are their own voices so compelling that the rest of us are expected to listen, heeding advice which overturns two-thousand years of Catholic Christianity? Are the witness of countless saints and scholars, popes and martyrs, to count for nothing? The authority, no less, of Christ Himself, who made provision for none of the changes being proposed today?
Sunday, November 27, 2022
For our purposes here, it’s more important to focus on the two very different ways our competing hemispheres have of changing the world. For the left hemisphere, we change the world by manipulating and controlling it. For the right hemisphere, we go out into the larger environment and transform both ourselves and our world in a way that feels more like merging or transcending. That is precisely the hero’s journey described in this book, and songs are better tools for that transformation than a hammer or a gun.
Saturday, November 26, 2022
… A. E. Stallings: Two Poems: Crows in the Wind & The Younger Memnon. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
Porter’s unconventional harmonic shift from the first to the second theme surprises the listener. His second delivers a gift: instead of the standard 32 bars, we get 48, heightening the lyric’s expression of passion.