Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Mixed media

Food, music, logic, and media criticism (to be more specific) -- the part-time pundit's equivalent of this fountain in downtown Cary, NC. Originally published a few days ago, but still fresh.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Scorched earth and its consequences

Progressive ideology has so corrupted western culture that in many places, that ideology now passes for conventional wisdom.

The #MeToo movement seems to have become a prime example of that. Have you read Neo (formerly known by the nom de plume "Neo-Neocon")? I don't know of any other blogger who has so succinctly summarized why that is so, which means that her thoughts on the #MeToo movement are worth pondering. She points out that it "always contained the pernicious idea 'believe the women', " and the problem with that reflexive response is that it is "a rubric incompatible with fairness and justice." In a just society, what we ought to believe is the evidence (hence that cornerstone of American jurisprudence that lawyers like to call "the presumption of innocence.") Moreover, #MeToo has what Neo calls "a built-in contagion effect in which the very title of the movement encourages a willingness to join in the accusative chorus and be part of the victim group."

That same penchant for finding victims and turning them into totems inevitably corrupts public discourse by weaponizing empathy and compassion so that they become clubs with which to beat ideological opponents. In the minds of activists, this is a feature, not a bug. In a milder form, it's what made a former writer for Sesame Street claim that Bert and Ernie, the iconic Muppet duo, are gay. Muppet creator Frank Oz tried to set activists straight (heh!), but they had the temerity to claim that Oz did not understand the characters that he and the late Jim Henson had created, or what those characters meant to the people hoping to hijack their identities.

Here's hoping that Frank Oz has a chance for a friendly beer with Hank Azaria, the actor who took fire from the left for voicing the estimable Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, Indian-American grocer extraordinaire on The Simpsons.

David Harsanyi shed light on what happens these days when he noted in a recent essay for The Federalist that "According to liberals, every conservative-run institution is illegitimate" and "Working out how it's illegitimate is the only question." Forensic looks at that "problem" start in academia.

Ironically, the mindset that sees illegitimacy in things like the Electoral College refuses to see it in such cultural touchstones as Roe v. Wade, and this in spite of the fact that (as National Review once opined) "the abortion regime was born in lies." More specifically, "The abortion lobby lied about Jane Roe, claiming her pregnancy resulted from a gang rape. It lied about the number of back-alley abortions." And Justice Blackmun, writing the majority opinion, "relied on fictitious history to argue, in Roe, that abortion had never been a common law crime." 

Not to jump too far down the rabbit hole, but abortion corrupts everything it touches -- including logic, the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the nomination process for Supreme Court justices. If the vitriol looks one-sided, that's because only one of the two major political parties in the U.S. explicitly endorses abortion in its party platform (see, for example, this language from 2016).

David Horowitz agrees with David Harsanyi: "Under the leftist mantra of 'social justice,' " he writes, "American society is falsely portrayed as a system of racial, gender, and sexual hierarchies." Accept that assertion (as progressives do), and you are paradoxically empowered, because if the deck is stacked against you, then victimhood in that twisted calculus exempts you from norms of civilized behavior. That's why, as people have noticed, "leftists have a huge problem with the concept of rational debate with people who think differently than they do."

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Aftermath of the storm

All is well, says "thunder dog," who was with me throughout Hurricane (and then Tropical Storm) Florence.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Late Summer in the Carolinas

Right place at the right time to capture a double rainbow late on a stormy afternoon.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Some sobering church thought

Weasel Watchers recently discussed the change to the Catechism of the Catholic Church and what it says now about the death penalty.

Meanwhile, John Zmirak kept heretical comments by a papal adviser from being flushed down the memory hole.

I'd like to file both of the above stories under the "theology" label, but the truth is that if I regularly used a "politics" label, that might be more accurate, even within the church.

In times like these, the following quote by 20th-century Catholic apologist Frank Sheed is worth remembering:

"We are not baptized into the hierarchy; do not receive the cardinals sacramentally; will not spend an eternity in the beatific vision of the pope. Christ is the point." 

The grand jury report from Pennsylvania that made news for describing sexual abuse by Catholic clerics in that state over many years raises serious concerns of its own. This reaction by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf (aka "Father Z") is worth reading. "This is primarily a supernatural battle that is being fought right now," he notes.

Reaction from Pope Francis to that news, when it came a few days later, was heartfelt but also inadequate because it tried to collectivize guilt and make predatory priests and their enablers a microcosm of injustice throughout society. But if everyone is guilty, then no one is guilty. Some bishops did better.

POSTSCRIPT: This homily by Fr. Robert Altier is well worth a listen. Among other things, Fr. Altier explains twin assaults on the church that started in 1924 and 1929, respectively (documentation backs him up about both starting points). Let the Marian-driven housecleaning commence!

As Fr. Altier noted: "Our Lady gave the bishops 16 years to clean up this mess, and they did nothing...but remember that our faith is in Jesus Christ, period." He also developed a fine analogy: "Back 2,000 years ago, Jesus cleaned out the Temple, but he did it like a man. He picked up the big stuff in the middle of the room. This time, He's sending his mom, and she's gonna clean like a woman. There won't be a cobweb left, and there will be no dust, even in the corners. She's gonna clean house, and it's gonna be beautiful. But it's not gonna be pleasant getting there. The resurrection will happen only after the crucifixion. And are we gonna remain faithful?"

If you're more inclined to read (or don't want to spare 22 minutes), Neo-Neocon (who, as far as I know, is not Catholic) does a good job summarizing the lowlights.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Answering a pessimist

An assistant professor of English at the University of Notre Dame insists on walking around with a cloud over his head, it seems. The New York Times trades in pessimism of that kind, but I don't. Ergo, a new essay at American Spectator Online -- "Even Sunset is a Harbinger of Doom" (for progressives)

Note: An algorithm at the Spectator website might confuse my essay with this fine piece by H.W. Crocker III on why America's next Civil War will be worse than its previous one. I liked that essay, which features a cameo appearance by none other than George Armstrong Custer, but it's not mine.

Postscript: WoW magazine now has the essay, also.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Messing with my childhood

From the Karen Grassle archive at IMDB
Well, that tears it...

It turns out that Leftists don't like Little House on the Prairie.

I believe it's time I finally read those books by Laura Ingalls Wilder on which the fondly-remembered TV show of my youth was based.

Wilder was not a bigot.