Quote Of The Day.
Friday, April 23, 2004
Pat Tillman, RIP.Pat Tillman, the gridiron great turned real-life hero, was killed in action in Afghanistan Friday. Tillman did the unthinkable for modern man, he gave up safety and material comforts to embrace a life of sacrifice and courage. He was a very good football player who may have shown greatness if he had gotten to play for a better team. He wasn’t the superstar the media is currently spinning him as, but he was a tremendous player. His memory will be an inspiration to future athletes in more ways than one and will stand as a rebuke to the self-obsessed players who will take the field come Fall.
posted by Lee Ann on Friday, April 23, 2004 | link
Wednesday, April 21, 2004
Things That Make You Go Hmmm. . . .The ads for that new Seasonale drug are out. Seasonale is the new version of the Pill that lets you menstruate only 3 or 4 times a year. Having eradicated the inner nature of the Eternal Feminine, it’s now time for the her external trappings to be obliterated too. Seasonale lets you dispense with the illusion that you are a normal, fertile, menstruating woman. With the regular Pill, you get your monthly bleed. It’s not actually a period. Women on the Pill don’t really menstruate; they have withdrawal bleed. Seasonale lets you put off withdrawal bleed for months at a time. Now you can be a much more convenient sex toy for the penis you’re currently amusing. Finally, the very essence of your female self can be suppressed with hormones until you are virtually indistinguishable from the run of the mill adolescent male.
The ads are running in Vogue and Bazaar. They feature a still of the woman (from the link above) in a white pants suit, very masculine. The woman has no breasts and no hips. She is dressed in archetypically male clothes and has cultivated an archetypically male physique. She has no externally noticeable female sexual signals. Thanks to Seasonale she has no internal ones either. A coinicidence, I’m sure, but one of those fashion rags has an article on the infamous Brazilian bikini wax. The one that removes almost all your pubic hair, leaving you with a tiny Hitler’s mustache of hair down there. Very pedophilic if you ask me. Ephebophilic too, in a way. With the Seasonale woman’s boyish figure, the removal any feminine secondary sexual characteristic would make her even more palatable to the mysogynist, boy-loving perversions of modern culture, no? Queer eye indeed.
posted by Lee Ann on Wednesday, April 21, 2004 | link
Read This . . .Only if you have a very strong stomach. It is a nasty little encapsulation of our murderous family court system. It is horrifying what an all-powerful, unaccountable court can do to the family and to fathers in particular. While my sister is going through a bad divorce from a man who deserves everything these Stalinist kangaroo courts can dish out (we’re talking multiple mistresses, theft, and embezzlement; paging Geraldo!), the family court system is a disgrace. The only good news is that enough judges have been themselves (or had a family member) victimized by the family injustice system that reforms are on the way. The bad news is that more children will be emotionally tortured by their rotten mothers and by self-righteous courts before that happens. And yes, if you destroy your child’s family and torment his father like this, you are a bad mother. The women who do this to their husbands and children are bad mothers and bad human beings. There is a special place in Hell for them.
posted by Lee Ann on Wednesday, April 21, 2004 | link
Bestiality symp Peter Singer, every leftist's favorite bioethicist takes aim at President Bush in his new book, The President of Good and Evil, and Douglas Kern over at Tech Central Station is not impressed:
"Whatever your biases, left or right, this book will reinforce them.
"Briefly: The President of Good and Evil is tedious, regurgitated left-wing cant. Occasionally it pretends to be a critique of George W. Bush's ethical philosophy, as expressed in his speeches, his appointments, the magazines he probably reads, the thoughts he may sometimes think, and the fevered whispers of his guru, "Melvin" Olasky (who may be Marvin Olasky, as misidentified by one of Singer's lazier research interns). It is a higher-I.Q. version of the many dreary left-wing pamphlets now in circulation, with titles like Tell Robert Bork to Eat Hot Death! or Rick Santorum is a Big Smelly Creep and I Hate Him or something equally classy."
Singer, apologist for such delights as abortion on demand and euthanasia, apparently can't help but apply his "ethics" to political figures, the world of bio-ethics being so undemanding a field, and major publishers are willing to oblige. I'll put it right up there on the non-existent shelf where I keep the collected works of the Nazi scientists.
posted by Robert on Wednesday, April 21, 2004 | link
Monday, April 19, 2004FIRST OF MANY SHOES DROPS VIS SPANISH CAPITULATION
Muslims all over Spain are demanding to hold services in Cordoba Cathedral. Should the Catholic Church hierarchy accede, that would be the annulment to end all annulments, wouldn’t it?
Were I pope, though, I might negotiate: One Spanish cathedral for every Syrian mosque built on the ashes of a church Mohammed razed. I might be wrong, but I think there are far more of the latter. Just a thought.
posted by Robert on Monday, April 19, 2004 | link
Saturday, April 17, 2004KILLER VIRUS STRIKES ISLAM
One may be forgiven for feeling hopeful regarding Western opinion makers when mainstream columnists like the liberal Toronto Sun’s Michael Coren begin publishing pieces like his “It’s religion gone mad,” wherein he excoriates Muslims whose moral character allows them to send their own children to their deaths—instead of hiding them, the natural instinct of parents—and the moral character of Muslims who disembowel their enemies and hang their corpses from the nearest fence, and the moral character of the Muslim majority who either remain silent in the face of these and numerous other atrocities or abet and condone it.
In the name of Islam.
The religion of peace.
"We used to be told by pop stars and other philosophers that "the Russians love their children too." It was self-evident then that all people loved their young. Now I'm not so sure. Do the Palestinians, for example, love their children too?
"I should think most of them do.
"But I have to be candid: many of them don't. We can't just rely on tired old relativism when we look at all this. Nobody who loves his or her child will send that little being out as a suicide bomber. Nobody who loves their children will line them up in front of tanks.
"The natural instinct of a loving parent is to hide the children. Armed struggle and resistance I can understand, even if I do not approve. This, though, is something different. I've seen it myself. Mothers screaming for their tiny offspring to come out of the house, stand in front of Israeli patrols and throw stones at soldiers."
Executing hostages, mutilating corpses, and barbarisms beyond number are not new to the human race, but what the Palestinians are doing to their kids is something new under the sun. That there is not an outcry to heaven from Muslims the world over should be ominous: What unprecedented acts remain to be done by the depraved who live among them—whom they abet in the name of Islam?
A final note for those anti-war Western parents who remain willfully ignorant of the threat to their own children: Is your ignorance protecting your children—or is it the only prop left supporting your own selfishness?
(Once again, thanks to Little Green Footballs for the link. Charles, you are the Paul Revere of our time!)
posted by Robert on Saturday, April 17, 2004 | link
Friday, April 16, 2004FABRIZIO QUATTROCCHI
Behold, a man!
posted by Robert on Friday, April 16, 2004 | link
Thursday, April 15, 2004HOT TIPS FOR AMBITIOUS POETS
From Academic Questions, a publication of the National Association of Scholars (Summer 2003):
“The appointment of our newest U.S. Poet Laureate inspired Richard H. Huber to compose the lines below:
‘The Way to Become a Poet Laureate
The way to become a poet laureate
Is to think about yourself.
Then write it all out in prose.
No melody of rhyme or meter,
No discipline of sound or beat.
Oh, one demand is made.
The meaning must be obscure.
The more ambiguity the better.
When the reflections are done,
Format the prose into columns—
And voila, you have a poem.’”
I would add that, if a poet is obscurity-challenged (hard to imagine), and must address a topic, pick a theme politically correct (find it in the Times), thereby displaying the prudence demanded by today’s cultural gatekeepers—like their kissing cousins, the Stalinists of old.
posted by Robert on Thursday, April 15, 2004 | link
Monday, April 12, 2004LEPANTO
My comments, expanded from an earlier post, on a new edition of G. K. Chesterton’s Lepanto, “a poem for the West,” is up today at Enter Stage Right. ESR, to which I am too infrequent a contributor, is always worth a look.
“I could not love thee, Dear, so much,
Loved I not honor more.”
– Richard Lovelace, “To Lucasta, On Going to the Wars.”
(update: my Lepanto review also up at Filling up Space)
posted by Robert on Monday, April 12, 2004 | link
Friday, April 09, 2004
Happy Easter.Having been pretty postless for the past week or so, I won’t be getting much better before next week. My personal and professional lives have conspired to ensure that I am in total overload. Good thing I’m a pessimist so I don’t have any of that “hope” stuff dragging me down. I have nothing very inspiring to say about Easter, so I’ll just wish you all a happy one. My Easter gift will be a choice morsel from my current read, Our Hearts were Young and Gay by Cornelia Otis Skinner, the only thing that’s made me laugh out loud in a coon’s age:
“The family received a constant stream of callers and whenever we thought them sufficiently well-known we’d horn in if possible. One afternoon Sybil Thorndike was to come to tea, also Gilbert Miller. The prospect of meeting Gilbert Miller made me rather twittery. I was about to launch forth upon the stage and, who knew, Mr. Miller might offer me a job if I made an impression on him. It seemed a golden opportunity. They arrived and their visit passed pleasantly. Also a decided impression was made on Mr. Miller, but not by me. My thunder was stolen by Emily, who in her excitement over this distinguished occasion ate the baby-ribbon which was tied around the sandwiches. It was hard to chew and even harder to swallow because it got untied in transit and she had to gulp it down like a stomach-pump. But to pull it out hand over hand would have been even more spectacular, so she washed it down with tea, hoping it wouldn’t start tying itself in bowknots around her appendix. Gilbert Miller never took his eyes off her. He never even blinked. And as for topping that impression, I hadn’t a chance.”
P.S. The Literarium has been updated too. The post above is there and if you scroll down a little you can read where I put the smack down on St. Blog's.
posted by Lee Ann on Friday, April 09, 2004 | link
FROM FALLUJAH: A marine writes home (first posted at Andrew Sullivan's blog:
"Things have been busy here. You know I can't say much about it. However, I do know two things. One, POTUS has given us the green light to do whatever we needed to do to win this thing so we have that going for us. Two, and my opinion only, this battle is going to have far reaching effects on not only the war here in Iraq but in the overall war on terrorism. We have to be very precise in our application of combat power. We cannot kill a lot of innocent folks (though they are few and far between in Fallujah). There will be no shock and awe. There will be plenty of bloodshed at the lowest levels. This battle is the Marine Corps' Belleau Wood for this war. 2/1 and 1/5 will be leading the way. We have to find a way to kill the bad guys only. The Fallujahans are fired up and ready for a fight (or so they think). A lot of terrorists and foreign fighters are holed up in Fallujah. It has been a sanctuary for them. If they have not left town they are going to die. I'm hoping they stay and fight.
"This way we won't have to track them down one by one.
"This battle is going to be talked about for a long time. The Marine Corps will either reaffirm its place in history as one of the greatest fighting organizations in the world or we will die trying. The Marines are fired up. I'm nervous for them though because I know how much is riding on this fight (the war in Iraq, the view of the war at home, the length of the war on terror and the reputation of the Marine Corps to name a few). However, every time I've been nervous during my career about the outcome of events when young Marines were involved they have ALWAYS exceeded my expectations. I'm praying this is one of those times."
Says Sullivan: "Pray for them. This is a critical moment."
posted by Robert on Friday, April 09, 2004 | link
Wednesday, April 07, 2004SELECTIVE REPRESSION
Free speech is alive and well on college campuses---provided the speaker is politically correct or the performance edgy (read left wing or vulgar). Case in point: Bucknell University in Lewisberg, PA, where Republican Congressman Pat Toomey, a candidate this year for U. S. Senate, has been banned from speaking, and where Ralph Nader, a candidate for president will be speaking as scheduled. According to a press release posted at Critical Mass:
“The Bucknell University Conservatives Club (BUCC) invited Toomey to campus to give a speech on April 8 on the topic of “civic engagement,” under the condition that he would “not solicit contributions or workers for his campaign or attack campaign opponents while at the University.” According to an account in The Bucknellian, the same speech topic and conditions were imposed on Nader due to a University policy stipulating that no single political candidate can appear on campus during an election year.”
Says BUCC president Charles Mitchell:
“This decision is blatant hypocrisy,” BUCC president Charles Mitchell stated. “If the Bucknell administration is willing to break its own rules to have Ralph Nader come talk about ‘civic engagement,’ then it should be willing to do the same for Pat Toomey.”
“This policy is just one more ridiculous Bucknell restriction on free speech, and not surprisingly, it’s only enforced against certain speech. Selective repression such as this has no place in a free society, much less at a university. Apparently Bucknell’s official version of ‘diversity’ doesn’t include conservative congressmen.”
One of the previous travesties Mitchell is referring to is the annual mounting of The Vagina Monologues at Bucknell—student attendance obligatory!—in apparent violation of Bucknell’s own (unfree) speech code, just one more piece of evidence that the academy in America has decayed to the point where truth is anathema.
posted by Robert on Wednesday, April 07, 2004 | link
Tuesday, April 06, 2004POEM FOR THE HARD OF HEARING
Kudos to the American Chesterton Society for lovingly producing a new edition of Lepanto, G. K. Chesterton’s martial masterpiece of a poem about that seventh day of October 1571, when Don Juan of Austria and his ships destroyed a superior fleet sent by Turkish Sultan Selim II to the Gulf of Lepanto (now Naupaktos), an armada equipped and manned to conquer Venice and Rome. It was the greatest naval engagement of its time, one still studied at Annapolis, as are the gargantuan WW II naval battles at Midway and Okinawa. 1571 is one of those dates, like 1492, that the Muslim world remembers and the West tries to bury in the cloying syrup of tolerationism that has gripped even Spanish voters who should know better, March 11, 2004 being the alarm they are struggling to suppress.
Lepanto contains not only the poem, first published in 1911, but two essays by Chesterton, copious notes demonstrating the remarkable literary and historical grasp the author had, and new essays commenting on the text and contexts including a particularly illuminating piece by historian William Cinfici. Putting the poem and the times it illustrates squarely in our era, Cinfici says:
“Since the fall of the Ottoman Empire, Muslims have focused upon trying to eliminate the state of Israel and upon fighting around the periphery of the Islamic world, as is currently the case from Chechnya Kashmir, from Ivory Coast to Indonesia. However, the question is whether we have reached the point that Hilaire Belloc predicted would come when Muslims rise again to challenge the West.”
Only a somnambulist would doubt that Belloc, at least on the matter of a resurgent Islam, knew whereof he prophesied. Again, from Cinfici:
“It is noteworthy that the despots who have emerged in recent years, from the Ayatollah Khomeini to Osama Bin Laden to Saddam Hussein, do appeal to a significant portion of the Arab and Islamic world, despite their brutality even to fellow Muslims, because of their casting of the conflict as one between Islam and West. Although Saddam’s regime was snuffed by overpowering Western forces, led by the United States, the irony remains that the Islamic world still has a better chance of re-uniting under one leader than does the Christian West. That is because there is no Christian West.”
Remember the date, 1571. Selim quickly rebuilt his fleet after seemingly total defeat. Christian unity, tenuous at best, finally collapsed in bloody internal warfare during the next few decades. Even now, Muslims clearly have reason to hope, given lack of European resolve in the face obvert, militant action. Does the post-modern West have reason, much less hope?
“Dim drums throbbing, in the hills half heard,
Where only on a nameless throne a crownless
prince has stirred,
Where, risen from a doubtful seat and half-
The last knight of Europe takes weapons from
The last and lingering troubadour to whom the
bird has sung” …
And if our troubadours, our poets, now sing of our demise—and they do, so many of them—then where may we find such a poet. In a democratic system, where a prince?
We post-moderns would do well to recall now Roman poet Juvenal, when he wrote, “Count it the greatest sin to prefer life to honor, and for the sake of living to lose what makes life worth living.” We, the living, must turn a deaf ear to the living dead.
posted by Robert on Tuesday, April 06, 2004 | link
An item from the March 31st Tongue Tied:
"A newspaper in England has been banned from reporting on a kids’ soccer league because it called a 29-0 defeat in one of their matches as a 'trouncing,' reports the BBC.
"The Sheffield and District Sunday League said reporting on such losses in such language is too humiliating for the little tykes. It said that normally, no games with scores more lopsided than 14-0 may even be reported in the paper.
"The editor of the Derbyshire Times said he would not abide by either rule. 'It's pointless. If you play competitive sport, the scoreline's an important part of it,' he said.
"League chairman Matt Hardman said such reporting was cruel. 'The children know they've suffered a heavy defeat and they don't need to see it in large print with words like 'emphatically trounced,' he said."
I would comment--but I don't want to hurt anybody's feelings.
posted by Robert on Tuesday, April 06, 2004 | link
Sunday, April 04, 2004ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?
One of the last seven phrases uttered by Jesus is “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” (also found in Psalm 22). Richard John Neuhaus reflects on it in his Death on a Friday Afternoon, a book Charles Colson calls “a masterful explanation of why Christians call the day on which Jesus dies ‘Good Friday.’” Why such agony, such a profound sense of abandonment from the Son of God? Says Neuhaus:
“In the sweated prayer of the garden of Gethsemane, and perhaps at other times in his earthly life, he agonized over the will of God. It was not the agony of the conflicted self resisting the will of God, but the agony of the abandoned self seeking to discern the will of God. Because his will and the will of the Father were perfectly one, [it is commonly thought] that the drama and the merit are somehow diminished. After all, he did what he wanted to do, didn’t he? The way of popular religious ‘spiritualities’ is a gnostic escape from the conflicted self; the way of our radically subjectivized art and entertainment culture, whether high or low, is the idolatry of the conflicted self.”
Perhaps this in part explains the virulence of some of the reviews of the Gibson Passion, especially those regurgitated by The New York Times and The New Yorker, self-appointed guardians and gatekeepers of American culture whose vituperation over the film may not be so much from hate as from fear—fear that this story told faithfully is, in fact, true. And if it is true--true in a sense that neither escape nor idolatry can ever be true--then why am I, all of us scribes must ask, wasting so much ink on what is not?
posted by Robert on Sunday, April 04, 2004 | link
Friday, April 02, 2004SCHOOL’S OUT—FOREVER
I am reminded daily of the futility of the post-modern liberal position in academia and in the greater world upon which it casts its ironical eye. Ever quick to subvert inherited principles, especially those that give it its own authority, the professoriate is focused on nothing so much as its own power, having deconstructed everything of worth that crossed paths with its infantile nihilism. Drowning, for example, in a flood tide of student plagiarism, the professoriate refuses to admit its undermining of academic authority and exaltation of transgression may have alerted students that anything could now be attempted with impunity, was, in fact expected of them.
It gets worse, much worse. The professorate would simultaneously coerce its own arbitrary moral code, a confusing, hodgepodge glued together only by a thin moral relativism. In his Kneller Lecture presented to the North American Philosophy of Education Society meeting in Toronto last month, John Kekes clearly exposes this mess for what it is:
"What makes this coercive moralizing even worse is the hypocritical double-talk by which it is presented. For the stifling of opinions is said to be required by toleration. Its defenders advocate toleration of discrimination in favor of minorities and women (but not against them); of obscenity that offends religious believers and patriots (but not African-Americans and Jews); of unions' spending large sums in support of political causes (but not corporations' doing the same); of pot smoking (but not cigarette smoking); of abortion (but not capital punishment); of the public lies of Clinton (but not of Nixon); of hate speech against fundamentalists (but not homosexuals); of sex education in elementary schools (but not prayer); of jobs open only to union members (but not private clubs open only to males); of lies about American imperialism (but not the Holocaust); of sacrilegious of language (but not of language that uses "he" to refer to all human beings); of scientific research into just about anything (except racial differences in intelligence); and so on and on. We are awash in this ocean of hypocrisy, lies, and falsifications." more>>
posted by Robert on Friday, April 02, 2004 | link
Thursday, April 01, 2004YOU WERE EXPECTING SHAKESPEARE?
You can’t make this kind of stuff up: At a theater just a two minute walk from Ground Zero tomorrow night, following a talk by playwright Tony Kushner (Angels in America), there will be a benefit reading of works including "a politically charged play starring Marcia Gay Harden, which will have Laura Bush reading from The Brothers Karamazov to a group of dead Iraqi children."
More appropriate to the reality of our times, it seems to me, would be Laura Bush reading from Demons, Dostoevski’s masterpiece on terrorists and their apologists, to a group of moonbats from the New York theater world.
posted by Robert on Thursday, April 01, 2004 | link