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Quote Of The Day.

Saturday, June 28, 2003

About All Diversi-Tied-Up?

I know, every pundit around has weighed in on the recent Supreme Court decisions re diversity in higher education, but I have to mention Carol Iannone's excellent essay, “Diversity and the Abolition of Learning,” in the just mailed winter 2002/2003 Academic Questions, a publication of the National Association of Scholars (must be an NAS member or subscriber to access AQ on the Web), in which she asks, “…what does mandating group representation mean for a country built on individual rights?” In answering that question, Iannone gives a generally favorable hearing to Peter W. Wood’s recent book demolishing the ideology of diversity, Diversity: The Invention of a Concept (Encounter Books, 2003), according to her “an invaluable new book… [that] gives us some insight into the way in which this poison weed came to take such deep root in our society.” Her well-argued answer to the question she raises above is this: “The rise of diversity is not an expansion of the promise of America, but the gradual death of what America uniquely is.”

Remember, this controversy is not about the fact of biological diversity but the ideology of diversity, a counter-constitutional movement to introduce politico/social faction into every nook and cranny of American life. And, with the Supreme Court weighing in as they have, it seems the movement has free reign to accomplish its ends.

(To subscribe to Academic Questions got to the NAS website.)

Interested in non-politically correct academic opinion on the diversity rulings? While browsing the NAS Forum, I came across this letter by D. Rayner (the pen name of a professor at a Southern university) worth quoting in full:

“So the Supremes have ruled on affirmative action as many predicted they would: OK'd the Michigan Law School's "narrowly tailored" racial preference, but outlawed the in-your-face undergraduate school's 20-point racial advantage. But they still accept that the Law School had a compelling interest in "obtaining educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body."

”The problem is: no benefits have been demonstrated. The Gurin study, offered by the University of Michigan as proof of benefit, is deeply flawed (see Wood and Sherman and Staddon on this site). Perhaps the best such study, by Rothman, Lipset & Nevitte ("Does enrollment diversity improve university education?" International Journal of Public Opinion Research 15:8-26, 2003), finds no or even negative correlations between "diversity" and racial climate: "When student, faculty, and administrators' evaluations of the educational and racial atmosphere were correlated with the percentage of minority students enrolled at a college or university, the predicted positive associations of educational benefits and inter-racial understanding failed to appear."

”The Supreme Court's verdict supposedly has a basis in utilitarian arguments about diversity. But in fact it has no basis in reason or science -- or the U.S. constitution. Their verdict seems instead to be a political accommodation to the full-court press exerted by educational and even some business elites in favor of racial preferences. "Diversity" has replaced the Trinity as the new fundamentalism of our great universities. It's a toss-up which idea is the more mysterious.”

As for me, I’ll take the Trinity and give points in any bet about which will be around longer.


posted by Robert on Saturday, June 28, 2003 | link

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Thursday, June 26, 2003

Greetings from the People's Democratic Republic of Seattle. I am largely driven insane by this place but I stay for the dreary climate. (Really - you try growing up in Florida when five minutes in the sun burns you and see where you end up living. Plus, Florence King is right: it takes a Southerner to appreciate sleeping under a blanket in July.)

In the summer, every morning before the sun comes up, I take Stormy, the best dog in the universe, for a two-mile jaunt around the neighborhood. We walk up the street, across the freeway, over to the next main street, down and back around. And almost every morning we walk past what I have come to think of as the quintessential Seattle car, an old VW van covered in bumper stickers.

When I was younger, I was quite the fan of P.D.Q. Bach. I remember one particular musical piece called the "Quodlibet" because there wasn't a single original theme in it. And I now think of this van as the Quodlibet car: if an original thought were placed on it, it would probably explode. Herewith a selection:

The Road to Hell is Paved with Republicans. Not the first time they advocate harming those with whom they disagree.

They got the libarary at Alexandria; They're not getting mine. Who exactly is "they" here? I can't figure it out. According to a paper I read rather quickly, the suspects were Julius Caesar, Theophilus, the Christian Patriarch of Alexandria, and a Muslim Caliph, Omar. Out of these three, who do they think is after their library? Or perhaps they think John Ashcroft has been alive for a couple thousand years.

Will teach for food. I doubt it. The Washington Education Association would never stand for it. Besides, wouldn't this constitute union-busting, volunteering to work for less than union wages? Given the various pro-union stickers on the car, all I can say is "Consistency, thou art a jewel."

Flush Rush and Rush is Reich. What do these people have against Rush Limbaugh? If anyone suggests silencing any of their heros, they immediately scream "McCarthyism" and raise all sorts of unholy hell. But, since it's Rush, a Republican, it's different.

How can this be a free country if everything is for sale? I have a feeling they only think those legislators and regulators are for sale who have the audacity to disagree with them. Not to mention, I guess they never thought of what P. J. O'Rourke said: When the legislature determines what can be bought and sold, the first thing on the block is the legislators themselves.

America: one nation under fraud. God knows which conspiracy this is referring to. Enron? The 2000 election? It's too old to refer to weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, but just about anything else since the 2000 election is fair game.

D.A.R.E to keep Republicans out of office. Not exactly a brave statement in the heart of Seattle, where the Republican Party can't even be bothered to field an opponent against Baghdad Jim McDermott

Guns don't kill people; Radical pro-lifers kill people. Well, they are half right, for a change.

Mall-Wart, your source for cheap plastic crap. Note the contempt for the poor in this. I'm not poor, but I have been known to shop at Wal-Mart because it has good prices. Why should I pay more if I don't have to? And what about the people who don't have any option but to go with the lowest price they can possibly find? "Screw them," seems to be the attitude of this sort of leftist.

And my personal favorite, absolutely the most horrifying:

When trade is free, the people aren't. The moral stupidity of this ought to be obvious but that is too much to hope for. When trade is entirely controlled by the state, the consummation these fools so devoutly seem to wish, how on earth is anyone free? Buyers aren't and sellers aren't, and we are all one or the other all the time.

When I looked closely at these stickers, I found that they came from Northern Sun Merchandising and the Northland Poster Collective. Anything that has the word "Collective" in its name is automatically suspect and they live down to what you might expect. But it was Northern Sun Merchandising that I found more appalling. How's this for a slogan on a T-Shirt: Every time a Republican dies, a gay angel gets their wings. Somehow it makes me think of Eric Rudolph Roberts: Let's go out and kill Republicans, shall we? and help angels gain status in heaven. I'm sure they would say that I am supposed to have more of a sense of humor about this but think of the uproar if the tables were turned: Every time a gay person dies, a Republican angel gets their wings. The flap would never die down, ever.

Now you believe me, don't you? I really do live here for the climate. God knows it isn't for the intellectual discourse.

posted by Carol on Thursday, June 26, 2003 | link

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Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Things That Make You Go Hmm.

Why do Lefties love dictators so? You’d think that any political group that so fetishizes “the people” would be less cavalier about their wanton slaughter. This article tackles the question, taking a new biography of Napoleon as a starting point. Here’s a sample:

“So what accounts for those who professed beauty but worshipped evil? It was not merely the romantic naïveté of artists and men of letters; a wide array of them from Beethoven to Coleridge quickly sized up Napoleon's atrocities in Spain and Switzerland. Here Johnson is not so explicit in his diagnosis, but implies something more deliberate: some intellectuals, cut off as they are from the practical life, are impatient with the clumsiness of republican government. They yearn for the enlightened autocrat, the philosopher-king who can by fiat do le peuple ‘good.’ As Napoleon put it, ‘The people must not be judge of its own rights.’ We still see this leftist attraction for the military in aspects of modern-day Clintonism, which, when thwarted by Congress, looked to implement its social agenda among the military, where it could be imposed rather than ratified.

“Add also a warped system of values that puts a higher premium on artistic and literary sensitivity—brilliantly and cynically exploited by the mostly ignorant Napoleon—than on mundane and unheralded morality. A Shelley no more knew or cared about typhus in Cairo, frostbite at Moscow, or mass executions of Swiss farmers than does a Noam Chomsky about the thousands murdered in Cuba, or Dominque de Villepin about the one million victims of Saddam Hussein's three-decade reign of terror. For the armchair idealist it is the grand gesture alone that matters.”


For the self-worshipping idealist, image is preferable to reality. Image is easier to manipulate. Image obeys you. Image is created in your own likeness, so to speak. The "grand gesture" allows one to imagine oneself as an all-powerful being. Reality does not. The fact that dictators rapidly learned to flatter the Idealists only shows how self-serving most idealism really is.

posted by Lee Ann on Wednesday, June 25, 2003 | link

Broke Down Blues.

Wanna sing the Blues? First, you gotta know the rules. My fave is number 6.

“6) Teenagers cain't sing the Blues. Adults sing the Blues. In Blues, ‘adulthood’ means being old enough to get the electric chair if you shoot a man in Memphis.”


posted by Lee Ann on Wednesday, June 25, 2003 | link

Quiz Time.

Heh, heh, heh.





Which of Henry VIII's wives are you?

this quiz was made by the lycanthropes at Spookbot


posted by Lee Ann on Wednesday, June 25, 2003 | link

Summer Solstice.

I interrupt this literature blog to present a music review. I went to a concert by the Red Mountain Chamber Orchestra on Saturday. The RMCO is a semi-amateur outfit. They don’t get paid but they are way too professional to be true “amateurs” in the modern sense of the word. I went because I’m a Vivaldi freak and the advertised set list had Vivaldi on it. They played one Vivaldi number but the performance was mostly Mozart. On the whole the concert was very good. One piece was badly chosen. There were times when I wasn’t sure if they were warming up or had started the piece. But after the first piece things flowed smoothly. Before I get into this, I want to say that I may love music but I know jack about it. My knowledge is secondhand from my musically inclined friends. Here’s the full review:

Mozart, “Kegelstatt” Trio, in E-flat Major, K. 498. I had never heard this piece before (that I know of) and can’t say I’m hyped to hear it again. This was the badly chosen piece. It was too slow and it was hard to tell if the players had started the piece or were still warming up. I’m guessing this was the first show of the summer season. The trio in question was a viola, piano, and a clarinet. The viola was a bit hesitant and the clarinet I hated. I don’t know whether it’s the piece or just the acoustics of the stage. It definitely made me question the wisdom of performing in an acoustically perfect auditorium a clarinet piece written for acoustically crappy salons. The clarinet was high, whiney, and harsh. Me no likey.

Mozart, Violin Concerto No. 5 in A Major, K. 219. I liked this whole lot better. Maybe the players were more in the groove but it flowed easier. The centerpiece of the piece s a violin solo. It was obviously the Violinist’s first time as the feature player. He sweat a lot and was very nervous. He also played the fastest largo I’ve ever heard. His molto allegro must be supersonic. I’ll spot him the nerves because on the whole he was very good. The piece bopped along, not too boppy, but more in a summer mood. Good.

Vivaldi, Concerto Grosso, Op. 3, No. 8, in A Minor, for Two Violins and Orchestra. This was the money shot, so to speak. This is what got me through the door. Okay, I might have gone anyway but this ensured my presence. Want my fine, feathered fanny in your concert hall? Play Vivaldi. I was expecting the third movement of the Four Seasons, otherwise known as Summer but, alas, no Seasons. Maybe that would have been too obvious. The feature players were two violins and they harmonized incredibly well. This was a great performance. It was zippy and rich. The music really enveloped you and carried you along. Great, great, great piece.

Mozart, Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra, in Bb Major, K. 191. Yes, bassoon. This was the first piece I’d seen with a featured bassoonist and I’ve been to many a classical concert. I’ve seen Isaac Sterne live and been to a tuba recital, but I ain’t never been to a bassoon party. It was really good. This was the best of the Mozart pieces. It was well chosen and well performed. It had good energy. The RMCO had found its groove and the musical selection really gelled from this point. I would have started with this one. It had the energy of the Vivaldi and of the later pieces, but had a flowing calm to it that would have set the tone for the whole concert. Great.

Paganini, Sonata Concertata, for Guitar and Violin. I am so used to Paganini as a violinist I forget he composed. This was an interesting piece. I haven’t heard too much Paganini so I’m not sure how this reflects on his other work. It had spirit. The guitar took a back seat to the violin and gave the piece a lot of depth. It also managed to avoid that whole “Spanish guitar” thing. This is definitely one you listen to over and over again and then whistle the rest of the week.

Granados, Danza Espanola No. 5, for Flute and Guitar. This was also very good. I’d have to say these last three songs were the strongest part of the program. They flowed together and were well chosen. I think this was the peppiest piece and was very Spanish. It was very cheery. Invigorating really.

Kreuzer, Trio in D Major, Op. 9, No. 3, for Flute, Violin and Guitar. This was also good but the flautist lost his place a couple of times. This was a great way to wind up the concert. The three instruments harmonized well. The tones blended and took on a nice new tine. It started allegro and ended rondo so it brought you back down from the other pieces and got you ready to face the world.

The concert was very good and I’m hoping to catch another. It was at the Museum of Art which reminds me I have to go back down there and catch the Joan Mitchell exhibit.

posted by Lee Ann on Wednesday, June 25, 2003 | link

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Saturday, June 21, 2003

Representing Relativism

Via Critical Mass, Erin O’Connor runs clear and direct reporting and commentary that focuses mainly on the foibles of academia, often about legal issues—and these days those issues often become brutal career-wise and legally for those individuals going up against Big Education. That everybody seems to think it’s important their kids go to college right out of pre-school, her focus is important. Her recent entry on “the discomforts of academic relativism” is stimulating, not only because of what she has to say, always to topic, but because she tracks and documents threads so assiduously, the hard work of blogging. Here’s the grist from her entry:

“The point about "relevance" is right on: the increasing shrillness, snobbery, and grandiosity of so much humanist scholarship can be traced directly to the attempt to argue for the social, political, and cultural relevance of the arts. And of course they are relevant--they give meaning, depth, and texture to our lives in precious, priceless ways. But they are not relevant in the ways many scholars insist that they are. You cannot discern the ideology of imperialism from Jane Eyre--but there are scores of critics who say you can. You cannot detect a uniquely homosexual literary style in the work of a Walt Whitman or a Henry James--but there are critics who say you can. You cannot argue that a poem or story single-handedly subverts patriarchal hegemony or that a novel or play may be read as a microcosm of the culture in which it was written. But critics do it all the time, and they do it because they want to make works of art into something they are not. Making exaggerated, often irrelevant claims about the relevance of particular works and making those claims stick: that is the work of the professional humanist today. By and large, it's what gets rewarded, it's what gets published, and it's what gets taught.”

I agree but I must add this: a lot of the fads out there in academia are supported by well-meaning folk, who, though agnostics at best, and thereby inadequately armed to confront a hoary old enemy (see Dante, Inferno, Canto XXXIV, "emperor of the woeful kingdom"), have been reacting to recent (19th century) utilitarian, mechanistic notions of what a university should be—and, it should go without saying, those same notions of what people should be (see John Henry Newman, "The Idea of a University"). Disturbed by world systems—whether mass corporate or mass science (the same thing, now, no?)—they desperately want an “identity” that doesn’t make them another cog or grommet. Who can blame them? Who can blame the sincere ones, that is, and not the cynics who play the identity game looking out for numero uno.

Come to think of it, isn’t “representing” oneself or one’s group by definition a term for egotism?

Come to think of it, the gulls in the must-see animated “Finding Nemo” must make more than a few academics in the audience squeamish.

[For O'Connor's thoughtful response to this post go to Critical Mass.]

posted by Robert on Saturday, June 21, 2003 | link

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Thursday, June 19, 2003

Attack of Mega-Poetry Post!

Remember my Mega-Post on Poetry that I posted here a couple months ago? Well, it's back and over at the Literarium. I reposted it due to popular request (okay, one request) and am sincerely interested to get feedback this time around. Vanity, thy name is comments box. So click on over and sound off. No, you don't have to rhyme.

posted by Lee Ann on Thursday, June 19, 2003 | link

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Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Quiz Time.

Didn’t expect this one, did you?

Which Lure Are You?
Which Lure Am I?
Fine out at Reels Not Heels



posted by Lee Ann on Wednesday, June 18, 2003 | link

Confused Postmodernists

John F. Cullinan takes sharp aim in NRO at the tiny cell of Eurocrats cobbling a constitution for the European Union. Says Cullinan: “Only postmodern Europe could have manufactured a draft constitution extolling its ‘cultural, religious and humanist inheritance’ while pointedly leaving out any explicit reference to its essential Judeo-Christian patrimony.” Or, as my pastor said in last Sunday’s homily, “they’re having a hard time figuring out how to put God into the preamble because they worry about the feelings of the hundreds of thousands of non-believers” in today’s Europe. My pastor, unfortunately, seemed later to imply that since there were so many images of the Trinity and the saints all over Europe putting God’s name into the constitution was probably unnecessary.

In the modern era, unbelievers have shown little, if any, concern for the feelings of Christians as Christians at least since the French Revolution, its anti-religious precepts coming under particular scrutiny in Cullinan’s article. In fact, cruelty to Christians became a national sport in France, for one. My concerned, sympathetic pastor and the Eurocrats he makes excuses for might recall the Talmudic warning that those who are kind to the cruel will likely be cruel to the kind.

Cullinan ends his counterattack on the Eurocrats by quoting the Rev. John Courtney Murray, “the great American theologian and author of the Catholic Church’s modern teaching on religious freedom at the Second Vatican Council. Reading the signs of the times nearly a half century ago, what Murray feared most was political life being reduced to establishment of ‘a technical order of the most marvelous intricacy, which will have been constructed and which will operate without true political ends: and this technological order will hang, as it were, suspended over a moral confusion; and this moral confusion will itself be suspended over a spiritual vacuum.’”

Murray wouldn’t have been surprised at all that Europe loves a Bill Clinton and hates a George W. Bush.

(James Taranto also weighed in on the subject Monday at Opinion Journal’s Best of the Web Today, catching Valery Giscard D’Estaing—lead Eurocrat drafting that constitution—in some historical confusion conflating Thomas Jefferson with James Madison, a common enough error for American high school students but unforgivable in an intellectually arrogant former French head of state.)

posted by Robert on Wednesday, June 18, 2003 | link

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Saturday, June 14, 2003

Personal Time.

I went to Confession today. I had thought about going for a while but wasn’t really intending to go today. After work, I headed out to get a Father’s Day present for the Notorious G.U.P. But as I drove to the store, I kept heading towards church. I kept telling myself that I didn’t really know when Confession was and that I wouldn’t know what to do anyway. It would be illogical to drive all that way with nothing to show for it. It would be foolish to go. I thoroughly convinced myself. I went anyway. I couldn’t not drive there. I wanted desperately to be wrong about the time. Once I headed there I didn’t want to go. I went. I even parked legally, behind the church, instead of at the public library across the street like you’re not supposed to but everyone does anyway. Even as I walked in the door, I was hoping the door would be locked. That I really would be wrong about the time. They weren’t, I wasn’t. I knew that’s how it would be. He was telling me where to go. I wish I could say that I heard His voice telling me to go to Confession and return to the sacramental life of the Church. I didn’t. There was no Voice that isn’t a voice. I’m not the sort who gets voices. Whenever God has “spoken” to me, he does so physically, not with words. The physical sensations He speaks with I understand as if they were words, but they aren’t.

So I got there. I entered the church. There were people there. I wasn’t expecting that. The reality that there would be other people there never occurred to me. Now here I completely embarrass myself. I asked if I was interrupting something. The nice older couple at the head of the line said no. So I had a panic attack. I got nervous, okay terrified, and wanted to chicken out. I mumbled something about not wanting to cut in line and plotted my retreat, but the older couple smiled and welcomed me. They told me to stand with them, the priest was a wonderful, holy man and would be there soon. Panicking, I admitted I hadn’t confessed in about 13 years. True, as the last time I was in Confession was just before my Confirmation. The old guy perked up, told me it would be all right and how blessed I am that Jesus has called me back to Him. The guy in line behind me, okay them as I cut in, told me to stay where I was and go before him. The old guy then took me in the Confessional to show me around and to calm me down. It didn’t really work. I still wanted to chicken out. But I couldn’t leave. I knew He was telling me to be there. So we waited for the priest to arrive. I was on the ball enough to know that I was supposed to be recollecting my sins. That was the easy part. The tough part was trying not to cry and make an even bigger fool of myself. Because at that point I knew I was staying. Fear makes me stubborn.

There is nothing inherently scary about Confession. You go in, confess to Christ in the presence of His priest, and are absolved. Yet it’s very tough because to confess your sins you have to confront them; admit to them; take full responsibility for them. The idea of presenting myself to God and vocalizing how I’ve failed Him gave me the shakes. Just as I’m calming down nicely and getting a grip on myself, the priest arrived. He was a visiting Franciscan monk. I got panicky again. I don’t know why honestly. I’ve never responded like that to any sacrament, even when I went to Confession as a child. Maybe I subconsciously understood the significance of the act better than I consciously did. Maybe I’m just a freak. The older couple offered to let me go first but I decline. If you are going to get weepy in front of a strange priest, why hurry it? As I waited my turn, the guy behind me leaned over and said, “if it was easy everyone could do it.” Then it was my turn. I went in and confessed. I can’t tell you the details, but I will say the priest gave me Kleenex. I’m apparently not the only panicky, weepy, freak-loser in the Church.

After I left the Confessional, absolved of my sins, I went to pray for a bit. When I went as a child, I always left the Confessional floating on air. Not literally, but spiritually. A great burden had been lifted and I always felt a physical lightness after absolution. Today, I didn’t feel that. But as I prayed I got the physical sensation of light breaking through darkness. You know how the light of a room changes when the sun breaks through the clouds? It was like that, except there was no physical change to the atmosphere. It was as if all the sensory receptors that would be triggered by a sunburst were triggered, but not by a physical stimulus. God rather quietly told me that my child’s sense of physical elation at absolution was now a mature woman’s sense of joy. I felt clean and light and pure and good. I had been praying, mostly in praise and gratitude, for several minutes, but right then I could not consciously pray. I knelt there knowing a prayer more than saying one. Then I got up and left. The old couple was gone. I wish I could have thanked them.

posted by Lee Ann on Saturday, June 14, 2003 | link

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Friday, June 13, 2003

Quiz Time.

This is so me.


[take the test] - [by krystaljungle.com]



posted by Lee Ann on Friday, June 13, 2003 | link

Toldja So.

Cheese Louise, I think the Scandal broke just a year too early. Get this:

“In a step critics charge could result in decriminalizing sexual contact between adults and children, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) recently sponsored a symposium in which participants discussed the removal of pedophilia from an upcoming edition of the psychiatric manual of mental disorders.”

Pedophilia Chic has gone mainstream. Will the Lefties lay off the Church now that their beloved shrinks say raping kids is okay? Didn’t think so.

posted by Lee Ann on Friday, June 13, 2003 | link

My Main Man.

Wahoo! My main man, Pius XII, gets a pretty fair treatment in this article form the Star out of South Africa. Fr. Peter Gumpel has almost completed his 4 volume study of Pius’s life (will it be on Amazon?) which will form the basis of his canonization process. The material will have to be reviewed by more historians, theologians, and other experts, but things are looking good.

posted by Lee Ann on Friday, June 13, 2003 | link

Quiz Time.



Bow-yeah!

Malamute
What Common Breed of Dog Are You?

brought to you by Quizilla

posted by Lee Ann on Friday, June 13, 2003 | link

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Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Literarium.

The Literarium has been updated. There's true crime and a mondo post on Documenting the American South, an essential resource for you Southern Literature or History buffs. Especially for you Black History buffs.

posted by Lee Ann on Wednesday, June 11, 2003 | link

Sowell Patrol.

Random Thoughts from the Sowell Man:

“You can fail to achieve any of the things you planned and still live a happy and fulfilled life, because of opportunities that come along that you never planned for. But these opportunities can be missed if you stick doggedly to your preconceived blueprint.”

“People have a right to their own cultures -- even Americans. Those who come here and say that they cannot follow some of our laws that conflict with their culture are free to leave.”

“It is heartbreaking to watch people -- especially young people -- throw away gold and go for brass.”


posted by Lee Ann on Wednesday, June 11, 2003 | link

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Monday, June 09, 2003

Fisk City.

It’s been a long time between fisks but the drought is over. Thanks, Patrick, for the link. I knew I could count on you. The victim, I mean, esteemed journalist of the day, is Paul Baumann, Stockholm Syndrome Catholic. He’s reviewing a new book called Anti-Catholicism: the Last Acceptible Prejudice by Phillip Jenkins.

“The Catholic Church today suffers an enormous credibility gap, both within its own ranks of the faithful and from liberal and secular critics outside the faith.”

Said the journalist. This could only have been better if the Times published it. Okay, for starters, if the faithful didn’t find the Church credible, they wouldn’t be in it. As for the “liberal and secular critics outside the Faith,” they’re pretty much the topic of the book. This is a Duh Moment, Paul it really is. Oh, and “the Faith” is always capitalized. That’s a Duh Moment too.

“Much of the trouble stems, of course, from disclosures of sexual abuse of minors by priests and the cover-up of such crimes by some bishops.”

Paul forgets the complicity of the various prosecutor’s offices that helped the bishops keep things quiet so as not to upset a core constituency. He also forgets that other entities do the same thing, a certain celluloid industry comes to mind.

“So it would seem that a writer would have to be either unusually confident or preternaturally foolish to come forward to debunk the pervasiveness of so-called pedophilia among the Catholic clergy.”

You mean the New York Times? The Slimes, ever so trustworthy, did it’s darndest to create the illusion of a pedo-priest epidemic. They did a survey of criminal court records for the past 50 years and came up with the shocking results: 1.8% of priests have been accused of sexual misconduct in the past 50 years. That’s just accused. The number would go lower if the fraud and extortion cases were thrown out. Didn’t hear about that study? The Times buried it because it didn’t give them the desired results. So much for pervasive.

“Perhaps tenure explains such chutzpah.”

Defend the wronged only when fashionable? Thanks Paul, you’re an inspiration.

“In any event, Philip Jenkins, distinguished professor of history and religious studies at Pennsylvania State University, has drafted a provocative brief on some of the uglier prejudices lurking behind today's Catholic controversies.”

Rats. I was hoping for the prettier prejudices.

The New Anti-Catholicism is a spirited, if uneven, polemic that alerts readers to the forgotten history and persistence of anti-Catholic biases in American politics and culture. At bottom, Jenkins's plea is for evenhandedness.”

Judging from that last paragraph, he didn’t get it. You’d think a guy reviewing a book calling for evenhandedness towards an insulted religious minority wouldn’t start out by stacking the deck. Instead of addressing Jenkins thesis, Paulie-boy sets him up by associating all accusations of anti-Catholicism with reactions to the Situation. Slick.

“As he writes about contemporary films that exploit ancient stereotypes alleging the conspiratorial workings and sexually predatory habits of the Catholic clergy, ‘The question is not why American studios bankroll films that will annoy and offend Catholics, but why they do not more regularly present subject matter that would be equally uncomfortable or objectionable to other traditions or interest groups.’ ”

Works for me. Considering Hollywood (amen-corner for Roman Polanski) has been making the same “evil repressive Church and her horndog priests abuse and repress the helpless morons who follow her until beautiful Outsider saves the day with sex” for the past 40 years. Just the same treatment they give every other religion. Look at their searing portrayal of Muslim oppression.. And their daring debunking of Judaism. And their in-depth films covering the sexual abuses in Buddhist monasteries all over Asia. Oh wait, none of that ever happens. Never mind.

“His answer is that anti-Catholicism is so tangled up with contemporary gender and sexual politics, and has historically so often played the stock villain in the essentially Protestant creation myth of American democracy, that the prejudice is ineradicable.”

Paul picked the wrong weekend to object to this one. In honor of Pentecost, the Gay Fascists have been disrupting and desecrating Masses. And I guess the regular church desecrations hosted by the Feminazis have nothing to do with gender politics. Now that that’s settled, I’m going to St. Patrick’s and chug a Sam Adams.

“Jenkins is a nimble writer and astonishingly prolific. Most recently he has written a provocative study on the vitality of traditional Christianity in the Third World (The Next Christendom). He first questioned conventional assumptions about clergy sexual abuse in Pedophiles and Priests (1992).”

Dear God, the man mastered his subject matter!?! Has he no shame?

“Jenkins's intellectual instincts are best described as contrarian.”

Be like Paul. Go along to get along.

“For instance, he argues that the only reliable studies of sexual abuse among the Catholic clergy do not show that celibate priests are more likely to commit such crimes ‘than their non-celibate counterparts.’ ”

See the above cited study from the notable pro-Catholic (snort) NYT. Lets be generous and round the figures for pedo-priests up to 2%. That puts them below Protestant clergy, who hover around 3.5 – 4% and far below the general population at 6%.

“Most abuse cases, he notes, concern homosexual priests and adolescent boys, not prepubescent children, and hence are not pedophilia.”

True, it’s called Ephebophilia and a few years ago the American Psychiatric Association was seriously considering moving it into the “normal” category. Just before the Scandal broke the liberal media and the academy were drooling over a book by some woman shrink asserting that sex between men and adolescent boys was healthy for the boys and better for them than not having a man-lover. Oops, was I supposed to forget that?

“Eager to goad the politically correct and sniff out hypocrisy among the enlightened, Jenkins, in his willingness to question conventional wisdom about the sexual-abuse scandal, has won the enmity of such liberal authorities as Garry Wills.”

Oh no! Garry Wills has the Holy Opinion Column of Antioch! Run away!

“In The New Anti-Catholicism Jenkins doesn't shy away from picking fights with feminists, gay activists or high-profile Catholic dissenters such as Wills and James Carroll.”

Feminists desecrate churches, gays disrupt Mass and intimidate worshippers, Wills writes boring columns about baseball, and Carroll writes propaganda screeds falsely accusing a pope of complicity with the Holocaust, and it’s Jenkins who’s picking a fight?

“Jenkins covers a lot of territory,”

Probably in an SUV, too. The stinker.

“and his arguments tend to be cursory,”

All the cool kids write manuscript.

“but he does have counterintuitive and useful things to say about a host of issues, including the church's putative responsibility for the Crusades, the Inquisition and the Holocaust.”

He ain’t so dumb as he looks, neither.

The New Anti-Catholicism, in short, will irritate anyone convinced that, because the church does not ordain women, opposes abortion and condemns homosexual acts, it is anti-democratic, deeply misogynist and a bastion of sexual repression and intellectual obscurantism.”

Isn’t that pretty much the whole argument of the liberal and secular critics and their gender and sexual politics?

“Jenkins argues that a pronounced double standard takes hold when principally liberal-minded critics attack the church and Catholic beliefs.”

Just because they can safely say things about the Church that would get them Rockerized if they said it about anyone else doesn’t mean there’s a double standard. Don’t be so simplissime.

“Scurrilous protests, such as the desecration of the Eucharist in New York's Saint Patrick's Cathedral by ACT-UP or the grotesque mockery of Catholic belief employed in Christopher Durang's ‘Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All to You,’ have few parallels among other religious or ethnic groups.”

Thank you Captain Obvious.

“Jenkins scores points by showing how objections raised by Catholics to insensitive depictions of the church or Catholics are written off as attempts to censor or as the reactions of yahoos. Movies and art insulting to black or Jewish sensibilities are viewed as more serious problems.”

No, movies that insult blacks or Jews are viewed as racist attacks by latent Nazis. Movies insulting Catholics are considered Oscar contenders.

“Jenkins is right to say that ‘the principal force driving modern anti-Catholicism is divisions within the Church itself, and the ferocious anti-clericalism that has accumulated during decades of strife among Catholics.’ ”

To say nothing of what the liberals and secularists have been doing.

“He is less reliable in explaining the sources of those divisions. His analysis of the reaction to Humanae Vitae, the 1968 papal encyclical reiterating the church's ban on artificial contraception, is worse than cursory. Jenkins suggests that the reforms of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) introduced the scourge of liberalism into an unchanging church.”

True, V2 didn’t introduce any liberalism. The deliberate misunderstanding and falsification of V2 brought in the liberalism. Read the recent clarifications and republications of V2 documents. Oops, that’s dangerously close to research.

“He then points to Humanae Vitae as marking ‘the first definitive stop on what had previously appeared an unrestricted road toward liberalization and conformity with the American Protestant mainstream.’ ”

Good. The Church was never trying to fit in with the Protestants. Some Stockholm Syndrome, social climbing Catholics wanted to fit in with the Protestants. That’s why the Church has to keep issuing encyclicals to reassert the true teaching of the Faith.

“First, the reforms of Vatican II were initiated and implemented from the top down. Change, in other words, originated in Rome. Second, aping the ‘Protestant mainstream’ was hardly a Roman aspiration, nor were most Catholics aware of such a temptation."

Dang, Paul got something right!

“What Catholics found unpersuasive about Humanae Vitae was its logic.”

No, the logic is fine. What Catholics found unpersuasive was the idea that they should do what is right, not what they found convenient.

“The pope's rejection of the recommendations of a committee of bishops, theologians and lay people he established to study the question of contraception didn't help.”

Those guys were asked for advice, not handed a tiara and made co-pope. If you want rule by committee, talk to the Protestants.

“Jenkins too often identifies the most divisive church teachings, like the ban on contraception and the refusal to ordain women, with what is most distinctively Catholic. Nor does Jenkins adequately deal with the main source of the historic American skepticism toward Catholicism: the church's rejection of religious freedom.”

Two points: first, Jenkins is a Protestant and is focusing his arguments on those aspects of Church teaching that the most people are aware of and can understand. Nobody understands the Transubstantiation so that isn’t a touchstone of bigotry. People do understand that women can’t be priests, although they’ve never bothered to find out why. So they get hung up on ordinations. Second, name one religion on earth that does not have a history of rejecting religious freedom.

“ ‘Error has no rights’ was the Catholic position until the Second Vatican Council.”

It was the Protestant’s until this century as well. Shall we talk about Islam?

“Thanks largely to American Jesuit theologian John Courtney Murray, the church finally embraced religious liberty.”

All hail holy Murray.

“Yes, there is still a good deal of ignorance and unthinking bias at work when people talk about Catholicism. But just as often the conflict between the church and American democracy, as in the case of abortion, is driven by conviction on both sides.”

In other words, the Kat’liks are askin’ for it.

“That is not necessarily a bad thing. Each has more to learn from the other than partisans on either side think.”

Why do they hate us, eh? As a wise man once said of a blood-sucking alien, “what can we learn from that thing, except a quicker way to die.” Learn from those who hate and attack you? Learn what? Better ways to hate and attack? Just imagine what black people could have learned from the Klan.

Paul Baumann is editor of Commonweal magazine.

Remind me to cancel the subscription I don’t have.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, June 09, 2003 | link

Quiz Time.

Boffo!

You are BERTIE WOOSTER!
You are BERTIE WOOSTER!

You're a bit of a git--but you are tremendously fun
in every circ. And if there's anyone out there
who objects to a bit of fun--well, let him biff
off.


Which Wooster and Jeeves Character Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, June 09, 2003 | link

Welcome Aboard.

Hey howdy there, Robert. Congrats on your first post. Doesn't it give you a warm, fuzzy feeling inside? No? Me neither.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, June 09, 2003 | link

--------------------

Sunday, June 08, 2003

Muchos gracias, Lee Ann & Gena. Just a quick post to let everybody know I'm here. It regards the Hillary book and a quote in an article today in the rather liberal New York Newsday reporting on the kickoff of her book tour. (Can't bring myself to watch Hil with Barbara tonight.)

Rutgers political scientist Ross Baker makes an astute comment on Hillary's credibility: "In a sense she's the wronged party and this certainly gets her sympathy, but I'm not sure that's a great asset for a presidential candidate to say she bought into this fairy tale, 'I'm just going over to the Oval Office to minister to a troubled young person." Probably true, but my guess is that Hilary's faithful are well trained in the art of wanting to believe her when actually believing her is impossible.

Baker makes a few other observations, but the one that caught me by surprise was this, regarding what Democratic primary voters might think about Bill and Hil's excellent "marriage": "Americans are closer to the Arab world than Western Europe in terms of their social views." I think that's probably true, if Baker means Americans are generally more religious than Europeans. The irony, of course, is that it is for that very reason Islam hasn't made the inroads here in the U.S. that it has in Europe. We've already got religion(s) -- and we get most of our "guest workers" from our distinctly non-Islamic neighbor south of the border.


posted by Robert on Sunday, June 08, 2003 | link

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Friday, June 06, 2003

Welcome Nuevos Spinsteros!

There will be two, count ‘em, two new Spinsters to enlighten your screwy little world. Carol the Intrepid Freedom Fighter has consented to fight freedom online. Although neither female nor unmarriageable, Robert the Righteous Poet will jump in to provide much needed maleness. Spinsters is, after all, a site devoted to equality for all except for the stupid.

posted by Lee Ann on Friday, June 06, 2003 | link

News Roundup.

Just to show there’s nothing new under the sun, even when I neglect to comment on it:

Hamas refuses to stop killing Jews.

Richard Chamberlain finally accepts that his career is long since over, admits homosexuality. The rest of us knew this 20 years ago.

NBC gets rights to 2010, 2012 Olympics, guarantees status as least watched network.

posted by Lee Ann on Friday, June 06, 2003 | link

--------------------

Contact Spinster Lee Ann at calhounista_at_hotmail

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Two Babes and a Bob! Opinion, insight, commentary, sarcasm, scathing polemic, and wit by Lee Ann, Carol, and Robert. Featuring the spectral presence of Gena.
Contact the Spinsters at: brodskii@yahoo.com (Gena) calhounista@hotmail.com (Lee Ann)

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