Saturday, April 30, 2022
What troubles me almost as much is the film’s lack of entertainment value. It’s slow and ponderous, with a plot that makes little sense. A criminal named the Penguin seems to run a night club whose habitués indulge in a cocaine-like substance. He’s intent on destroying his competitors and is untroubled by law enforcement, though he and his cohorts do suffer repetitive beatings under the fists of the Batman. What drives our hero’s ferocity? The film doesn’t explain.
Friday, April 29, 2022
Thursday, April 28, 2022
A team led by John Ioannidis looked at attempts to replicate 34 highly respected medical studies and found that only 20 were confirmed. The Reproducibility Project attempted to replicate 97 studies published in leading psychology journals and confirmed only 35. The Experimental Economics Replication Project attempted to replicate 18 experimental studies reported in leading economics journals and confirmed only 11.
When American Christian colleges are all reducing themselves to little more than secular colleges with [a] chapel, we need a robust option that highlights the church’s rich intellectual and imaginative tradition, which is why I signed my name to Hildegard College. Named after a polymath who gave her life to the Lord, Hildegard College is a place where faculty and students will embody her legacy.
“It is through fully situating myself within language that this world, the true world, a real human world—and beyond human—occurs. Language itself is the mystical experience, if you will.”
The Oxford academic Julian Thompson, an expert on Amis’s work, once remarked that he was mystified how “that consummate literary professional Kingsley Amis has gone down in history as a drunken, women-hating bigot”. In his centenary year, the man once regarded as the greatest comic novelist since Evelyn Waugh is now seen as little more than a joke himself, a Blimpish caricature of a bon viveur whose major books are little more than reactionary relics of a (thankfully) bygone age, and whose minor works are, at best, blessedly forgotten squibs and, at worst, vile indicators of personal failings that would, in our more enlightened era, have immediately led to Amis’s cancellation.
Wednesday, April 27, 2022
When Les was interviewed by , he claimed of his writing methods, “I often don’t have many drafts in handwriting,” but the contents of the box disproved this assertion. Instead, the box was proof of just how meticulous a craftsman Les had been, and of how hard he worked to polish every line, even of those poems that read like spontaneous quips
Tuesday, April 26, 2022
The first full-scale technological war would invert and empty the noble myths and chivalrous vernaculars; in Lt. Robert Graves’s famous poem, a “grey, grim” Goliath handily cuts open a “calm and brave” David. But before this sensation was registered in the stanzas of the war poets, it was felt by ordinary soldiers, by some lanky person crouched in a rain-battered trench, gripping his rifle as he prepared to “jump the bags,” the phrase infantry used to describe the act of heaving oneself over the sandbags of a trench to begin the march across the Stygian blightscape of no man's land. Fussell believed the overbearing irony of postmodernity was born here, in this moment, because what this soldier was about to experience was worse than anything he could imagine.
… when my well-nourished mentor took me to one side with a confidential air, in a deserted brown passageway, I was ready for anything. I thought he might be going to pass judgement (too late) on the appalling suit I had bought for my new job, or to tell me my expenses were too low and I was letting down the side or even maybe to fire me. But no, out of one side of his mouth came the words “You’d be taken more seriously if you put on a few pounds. Gain some weight.” I looked to see if he was joking, but it was clear he was perfectly serious. And given our freedom in those days to take people out for lunch pretty much without question or limit, provided it produced a story, I was able to do as suggested. I became considerably fatter, though without being taken more seriously, then or later. The years roared and tumbled past, as the pounds of lard solidified in all the usual places. I still didn’t fit in, but I also didn’t stand out any more in the gaunt college graduate way I had once done.
Monday, April 25, 2022
Sunday, April 24, 2022
It’s when he turns to politics, in the broadest sense, that Mamet is at his best - and bravest. An unashamed patriot, he refers to America as “our magnificent country” and as “the freest and most prosperous [nation] in history.” Looking back at some of the individuals and organizations whose cockeyed ideas helped shape the contemporary scene, he puts Margaret Sanger and John Dewey in their place and deplores the ACLU as “the most absurd bunch of Jews since the Three Stooges.” He recalls that his initial reaction to the coinage “Department of Homeland Security” was to find it (as I did) not just “loathsome, clunky, and offensive” but “un-American” and, indeed, rather unpleasantly “Teutonic.” Moving on to the present, he’s splendidly dismissive of all the claptrap du jour - from Critical Race Theory and man-made global warming to covid hysteria, gender insanity, and Trump Derangement Syndrome.
Overall, the three economists conclude, “excluding the geographically unusual cases of Hawaii and Alaska ... there is no apparent relationship between reduced economic activity during the pandemic and our composite mortality measure.” The disease, easily transmissible and often asymptomatic, spread mostly regardless of restrictions, killing many, three-quarters of them over age 65, before vaccination became near-universal — and fewer afterward.
Saturday, April 23, 2022
Friday, April 22, 2022
In addition to sharpening his focus on authority in the military and political spheres, his firsthand observations also gave Aeschylus the opportunity to introduce the tension between realism and idealism in his works. The playwright was not limited to his imagination when describing the realities of war. The conflicts of Aeschylus’s times enabled him to imbue his plays with lyrical descriptions of warriors, battles, and bloodshed, all of which the playwright saw for himself.
There is much to ponder in this book, and I can’t claim I understand it all. I need to read it again. But the answer to the problem of getting to know the mind of Christ, as Klavan sees it, is seeing how in all nature – not only the natural world around us but our own nature – the truth of Christ is revealed. The Trinity is everywhere, giving us glimpses behind the veil, calling out to those who have eyes to see and ears to hear. The life that Jesus lives is promised to us. The Romantics at their best glimpsed this, and some of them embraced it in the end.
I want us to release art from the stranglehold of relevance—from the insistence that works of art, whether classic or contemporary, are validated (or invalidated) by the extent to which they line up with (or fail to line up with) our current social and political concerns. I want to convince a public inclined to look first for relevance that art’s relevance has everything to do with what many regard as its irrelevance.
… I must say that “IT” has finally happened. By “IT” I mean the arrival of that elusive creature history buffs and reenactors have awaited so long. At long last, there is a good Viking movie. Possibly a great Viking movie.
Thursday, April 21, 2022
Wednesday, April 20, 2022
Tuesday, April 19, 2022
… animals live in a completely different sensory environment than we do. They see things we cannot see. They hear things we cannot hear. They smell things we cannot smell. And they sense things we cannot sense. These may not always be important things, but they’re there, nonetheless. Humans arrogantly assume that the reality they perceive is the true and complete version of reality. How can this house not be empty? And this night not be silent? And this air not be odorless? But of course, all of this is just mediated through our senses and is necessarily limited, or we would become overwhelmed by the input. Evolution equipped us with what we needed, no more and no less. Different animals have had different evolutionary needs, and thus their senses are equipped differently, and their experience of the world is different, sometimes very different.
Judaism to Meyers is a series of bien-pensant beliefs that achieve their true and real form in works of middle-brow entertainment. The movie theater becomes a temple while an actual temple is no more than the most antiquated of theaters: one without a projection booth.
Monday, April 18, 2022
The Twitter board, Dorsey then replied, has “consistently been the dysfunction of the company.”
I take back the negative thing I have sometimes said about Jack Dorsey. I think I understand matters better now.
Sunday, April 17, 2022
And it came to pass, whilst he was at table with them, he took bread, and blessed, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him: and he vanished out of their sight.
Particularly noteworthy is that there were no accounts of witnesses who came forth and disputed these appearances or called it a “hoax.” Not a single one. Nor do we find any historical record of any witness accounts that were contradictory.
Saturday, April 16, 2022
Erica Anderson, 71 — who is transgender herself — told the Los Angeles Times that she is horrified that even 13-year-old kids are now getting hormone treatment without even meeting with psychologists.
Some of the dumbest people I’ve met were quite literate.
“Various changes, not all of them educational, have seen to it that most of the men and women who use words in public don’t care any more which words they are, apart from a feeble hankering after the seemingly stylish. The concept of finding the right word, which used to be a strong influence on that of finding a good word, is being lost. How such people keep awake while they write is beyond me.”
Friday, April 15, 2022
Septimus knew what he was doing, quietly replacing the dominant image with a different one, a more “monastic” interpretation. A subversive wit was one of the weapons in his own armoury, if a man of such a stable temperament could be said to have weapons at all. He was no respecter of persons, especially if he suspected them of cant or riding roughshod over the interests of others. He enjoyed doing commissions for churches especially because they were public and sacred spaces where his sculpture could take its place without drawing attention to itself only as an admired object.
In his new book Digital Communion: Marshall McLuhan’s Spiritual Vision for a Digital Age (Fortress Press, 2022), Nick Ripatrazone puts McLuhan the media theorist, the glib performer, the Renaissance scholar, and the devout Roman Catholic on full display. And he makes compelling claims for revitalizing McLuhan’s ideas and his methods today, as we navigate the digital worlds McLuhan predicted. In Ripatrazone’s view, it is McLuhan’s Roman Catholic faith that has been underexplored and remains necessary for appraising his work and applying it within both sacred and secular environments today.
In my day you jerked off, went to confession, and cane back the following week. You sure in hell didn’t feel the need for therapy.
I grant that in religion orthopraxy trumps orthodoxy. But correct practice presupposes correct belief. Belief in turns refers us beyond the immanence of practices, rites, rituals, formulas and the like; to believe that such-and-such is to believe that such-and-such is true. The very intentionality or object-directedness of belief ‘resurrects’ the question of the correctness of what is believed, and thus the question of objective truth.
I quite agree.
Thursday, April 14, 2022
There’s not a clear alternative to this cultural encroachment. After all, flyover states may be skeptical about an influx of Californians, but what should “refugees” do when they can’t afford the cost of living? Is it worth avoiding technology to support traditional industries like agriculture if, as the Cato Institute argues, its subsidization causes “all sorts of economic, environmental, and political problems”?
My colleagues at The Inquirer used to tell me I was the only person they knew who vacationed in the Midwest, usually Wisconsin. Well, farm country can be beautiful. Drive near Soldiers Grove when the apple orchards are in blossom. And farmers are pretty smart. Those I got to know did not approve of the federal agriculture subsidies, pointing out that it was targeted for the big industrial farms, not family farms.
I have hundreds of books in my house, and I know if I dug around for awhile I’d find a few others about cats. Just the other day I was tidying the tall to-be-read pile on my office floor and found The Cat Inside, a slender book of short pieces by William Burroughs. I’d bought this book a few years ago, along with a copy for my mother and one for my sister, with the idea that we could read it and have a little book club discussion about it, which for whatever reason didn’t happen. The only time we successfully did this was with the trash-memoir Mommie Dearest, and I might have been the only one who read much of the book, but we laughed a lot.
… the clearest, most obvious form of antisemitism that tries to obscure itself behind antizionism is when one can substitute the word "Zionist" for the word "Jew," and one is left with an obvious, longstanding antisemitic trope.
From experiences I have had lately, antisemitism is increasingly popular with certain people.
Tomorrow I am going to New York to do a number of errands and otherwise nothing at all. Perhaps I shall have my hair cut. I know almost no one there any more, so that I am like a ghost in a cemetery reading epitaphs. I am going to visit a bookbinder, a dealer in autographs, Brook’s about pajamas, try to find a copy of Revue de Paris for December because of an article about Alain that it contains, visit a baker, a fruit dealer and, as it may be, a barber. An ordinary day like that does more for me than an extraordinary day: the bread of life is better than any souffle
Wednesday, April 13, 2022
Jonathan Malesic [witing in Commonweal] finds the traditional explanation "suspiciously pious." (My inclination is to say that his rejection of the traditional explanation is suspiciously post-modern.)
Where did the young Kingsley Amis learn to turn class differences into a source of biting comedy? For years, the American paperback edition of carried on its cover the following blurb from Arthur Mizener: “No one has been so funny in this vein since Evelyn Waugh was at his best.” While Amis has consistently acknowledged the influence of Waugh, he has also been careful not to overemphasize it. “I’m flattered,” he said in 1985, “but the analogy is misleading. Waugh wrote very elegant comedy. His people spoke beautifully. Compared with his works, mine look like grim documentaries.”
Dave also sends along this: Amis (Pronounced “Ames”) Centenary.
Tuesday, April 12, 2022
… 32,415 arrivals from mainland China landed in Canadian airports over 28 days.
Waugh’s is not a scholarly or academic biography. It is rather, as the novelist Graham Green remarked, “a model of what a short biography should be”. In the Preface to the first edition, the author explains that he has deliberately chosen to avoid excessive notes as well, offering references only where “the actual words of a document are quoted, or where the point is likely to be controversial.” The second appendix provides what was at that time a list of the most readily available sources on which Waugh relied for his research.
It is in seeing poems like “Hamlen Brook” as events and things in their own right that we may also discern their theological and theophanic potentials. This is key to an understanding of ‘sacred’ art or poetry in general: our creative works may be considered sacred, not simply for what they say, but for how they say it: indeed for what they are as instantiations of a transfigured world.6
“Classical education guides us into freedom by making us self-reliant and responsible, capable of governing ourselves and taking part in the self-government of our communities.”
Some private schools also used the curriculum.
Lee makes use of the drama in Stoppard’s life in telling her story. She has also been given access to his personal letters, and she demonstrates a novelist’s skill in depicting the complexities of her many characters. This includes not just Stoppard but his three wives, three siblings, four children, and many others. Lee is also a sensitive critic, and she has a deft touch in noting when Stoppard’s work has fallen flat, as with his convoluted spy drama “Hapgood.”
Monday, April 11, 2022
Sunday, April 10, 2022
More daring and more rewarding than a straightforward biography of the self-exiled Polish poet, A California Lifechannels the tensions between Miłosz and his adoptive home and lets that friction energize the project. In other words, this is less about a poet and his life and more about how a brilliant artist and thinker steeped in Old World culture learned to exist in the amnesiac fog of California.
Saturday, April 09, 2022
For the Ukrainian-American poet, editor, and translator Boris Dralyuk, Hollywood is “a grand old dame reduced to dishabille, / her glory far too faded to restore.” Dralyuk sees the city from the perspective of immigrants and refugees, as the seat of exile and hope, connected by mythology and money to each of its surrounding communities. His individual poems may at first appear slight in their ambition, but they accumulate a vision and recover a history too few remember. With a verbal facility reminiscent at its best of Byron or Pushkin, Dralyuk writes often in received forms like the Onegin sonnet. He rhymes cleverly: “Pasadena” with “misdemeanors,” “demolished” with “polished,” “aloes” with “gallows.” His subjects are faded landmarks, artists one doesn’t expect to find in LA like Thomas Mann, Aldous Huxley, Arnold Schoenberg, or film stars of a bygone age. He writes with enthusiasm about diminished lives, and the result in this first collection of poems, My Hollywood, is a book of elegant realism, a worthy addition to the poetry of “Los Angeles.”
See also: BORIS DRALYUK.
Friday, April 08, 2022
The Pentagon documents state that people who observed unidentified flying objects frequently displayed a cluster of similar physical symptoms: Injuries consistent with exposure to electromagnetic radiation (such as burns), heart ailments, and sleep disturbances. A report speculates that these could be caused by "energy related propulsion systems" and warns that the underlying technology could pose a "threat to United States interests." Additionally, in cases that would not seem out of place in an "X-Files" episode, there were accounts of "apparent abduction" and "unaccounted for pregnancy."