Monday, December 30, 2013

Bread upon the waters

Frankly, this is an angle to save the dwindling The American Conservative (TAC) I would never have thought of: selling indulgences.

To be vague - or, in the how-to-blog-like-Rod-Dreher style we have all become rapt students of by now, UPDATE: - it's not clear whether TAC and Rod are actually actively selling indulgences or only that Scot F. Martin, claiming to have given money to TAC, would now like Rod to offer prayers for his business to be successful in the new year.

However this interesting venture potentially works out for TAC and its supplicants, I'd have to say it definitely fits TAC's mission to set a new (or, perhaps, very much older) and different course for conservatism’s next generation.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Let's learn to blog like Rod Dreher

I know there are a bunch of you out there asking yourselves, "Why am I busting my hump working at a real job when I could be making money telling the world all about myself online instead?"

Well, today's your lucky day. Today we'll learn step by step how to blog like Rod Dreher using a tutorial post he's generously provided for just that purpose.

Now, if you're going to edit, notate, and "curate" your blog and its comments - because, in the final analysis, how much different is Rod Dreher's blog (or yours!) from a museum like the Louvre when it comes to "curating"? - first and foremost you're going to need a naturally docile and slavishly sympathetic readership. So the first thing to do is to establish yourself early and often as an existentially victimized object of perpetual sympathy for the widest possible audience. You, grasshopper, are a slice of soft, white bread a-sail on the seas of sympathy gravy. You sop, therefore you exist.

It really doesn't matter what that victimizing factor is: a religion that failed you, a mysterious malady that provides you with regular cat-naps, a childhood penpal friend who dies, even a close family member who departs at an extremely opportune time. The important thing is that you leave no quarter for any existing shut-in Great Aunt Gertie, her GG bosom powdered to avalanche danger, or her petulant, failed-to-launch 36-year-old grand-nephew Wurlitzer, or Wurlitzer's tenure-free adjunct Professor of Verbiage Loris, or Loris's understandably yearning wife Almond, or any other remotely emotionally trigger-happy creature to escape every possible opportunity to feel sorry for you, wish you were better, and thus naturally want to do anything to help to make it all better for you. Like, for example, blindly acceding to the rules of your universe and all the thinking that governs it. Others, be gone. Did you get a boo-boo today? Blog it.

The next step is to constantly work topical material into your act, the more provocative the better, regardless of whether or not it's in any way pertinent or germane to anything you're saying. These days, for example, anything "Duck"-Robertson will do. In our tutorial post, frankly, an arbitrarily chosen Willie would have served just as well as the arbitrarily chosen Si (Gertie has apparently become temporarily weary of Phil), but Si has more of that Phil-as-not-Phil gravitas you wanted to push, so you used Si. And of course - a fundamental principle in its own right to never forget - it's not as if anyone can prove anything you're blogging didn't happen just as you say it did. This is also why you curate an obeisantly sympathetic readership: it would be a matter of being just plain mean to an obviously suffering person (you) not to believe any event you relate at face value. So they will and do. And therefore your reader will readily believe on his own accord that Si rather than Phil or Willie must have come up in some unblogged part of the blogged conversation, because no reason to mention him is given in the blogged part.

Now it's at this point that things may get a little technical, but if you want to become a blogger like Rod Dreher rather than working for a living you'll hang in there. It involves something we could call auto-deep-linking (like auto...whatever): in this case, linking back into a previously published post in your own blog so as to provide it with hits again from a different source and to tie both posts together.

In this post, Miriam dies tragically, far too young, from breast cancer, and her verbosely blogged death serves its greater purpose, lining your readers up in the milking shed. However, in this, our tutorial post, Miriam is now not only already dead, but also already sympathy-blogged post mortem. So what purpose other than redundancy does another mention of her serve?

Ah! I see you're beginning to catch on, grasshopper. As the Big Lebowski (long may he abide) would say, she becomes the rug which ties the whole room together. Her function as an auto-deep-link is really secondary: her primary function is to become the reason for the Facetime conversation (if it even ever actually happened, and no sympathetic reader would doubt it did) to have occurred at all. Without Miriam, no trifecta Facetime conversation which reprises sympathy, deep-links to a previous post, and miraculously offers up another conveniently gratuitous serving of Duck.

Why Si? At this point, really, why not?

So this is how you blog like Rod Dreher: sympathy, gratuitous topical references, unfalsifiable narratives, recycling and re-purposing the dead, and auto-deep-linking rugs to tie the whole room together.

Oh - I also threw a tag in for TLWORL on my post here for none other than the same reason Rod pulled Uncle Si (rather than Phil, Willie, etc.) out of thin air: so that anyone searching on that phrase might be baited into clicking on my post.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead

Aaand...despite Our Working Boy Reporter Rod's breathlessly gushing breaking news flash,

UPDATE: As several of you have pointed out (thanks), prostitution was already legal in Canada...


This is an important distinction, obviously, but it doesn’t, to my way of thinking, invalidate the point that when someone like Generalissimo Francisco Franco becomes dead, it behooves us all to remind one another on a regular basis that he is still dead lest we inevitably sled down that slippery slope into the arms of a hooker from the Great White North whose conversation is interminably peppered with "Eh"s and "aboot"s.

However, this post of Dreher's immediately helped me to finally understand his recent surge to cover himself in all things Phil Robertson over the span of several recent news cycle-sensitive posts. As someone cursed with only a whip-like filament of cartilage himself, expedient for cultivating the Sullivansphere and critical for maintaining his own readership as Rod might find it, Robertson's sharply contrasting, unbending religious moral spine on display in the CG interview would be something a younger, equivocal male like Dreher might naturally be drawn to as he would to any instructive father figure.

But I believe an equally compelling though less obvious draw the post tends to confirm is Phil Robertson's educational and scholastic superiority over Dreher. As someone who holds a Masters Degree in education, Robertson would never make the foolish factual mistakes a J-school BA rookie like Dreher routinely embarrasses himself with in his haste to hit the "Post" key. There's also little doubt Phil Robertson knows exactly where he was and what he was doing on 9/11.

Ultimately, this is the crucial difference between a businessman who can build a $500 million dollar empire out of duck calls the hard way and someone who serendipitously scores a miraculous rebound from unemployment from the tragic death of a relative: first and foremost getting it straight, then telling it straight.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Say no to bunker Christianity

Erika Rudzis on

Why Bunker-Christianity isn’t an option

Shorter: you can try to hide where God won't let your pants be pulled down, or you can be a Christian, but you can't do both.

This post flows like a gentle, inexorable stream from source to delta, so you should without question RTWT.

Here's what I'm eating. Please send money!

I don't know if anyone noticed, but I had kind of stopped posting on Rod Dreher's incessant nuttiness. I outsourced that job to Keith who is just as insightful, and more entertaining. But Oengus linked to a new post which seems to be an attempt to entice readers to contribute to his magazine by showing them some food which he is eating. Whiskey, tango, fruitcake.

Anymore I skim these things, make an observation and let the rest of you help pick the plate clean. So here's the first comment which made me laugh.

Nick says:
December 19, 2013 at 3:57 pm

Rod, I love your blog. Read it every day. I’d be happy to contribute to your success. But the last time I gave money to TAC in response to one of these donation campaigns, it turned around and published that asinine Jon Huntsman piece on gay “marriage,” one of the worst paean’s to secular humanism and free market idolatry I’ve ever had the misfortune to read.

Since then, I have come to question whether there is really any intellectual coherence at TAC.

I’d like to give to support you, but I’m just not sure what else I’d be giving to. Maybe I should just send you a check personally.

[NFR: No, don't -- send it to the magazine. I didn't like the Jon Huntsman piece either, but I'm glad I work for a magazine that publishes stuff like that. Surely you get more than your fair share of the opposite viewpoint from this blog, yes? Anyway, thanks so much for your support. -- RD]


Dreher proclaims that TAC is broadly libertarian, but when regular readers use phrases like free market idolatry you have to wonder what kind of libertarianism they're talking about.

Nick's offer to pay Dreher directly comports with the fact that he pulls at least half the load of web-hits at TAC as we reported earlier.

Nick complains about intellectual incoherence, and Rod gives him more incoherence with his "I didn't like the Jon Huntsman piece either, but I'm glad I work for a magazine that publishes stuff like that." Huh? What if there was a piece extolling the virtues of Wal-mart like George Will did many moons ago? Or something supporting the Iraq War effort? Would any writer at TAC be glad to work for a magazine that publishes "stuff like that"? Of course not. It looks from here like the main support for TAC's existence is taking positions contrary to mainstream conservatives. So they have basically cobbled together a coalition of groups who are at complete odds on some big issues. Thus the resounding dissonance to just about everyone except other hardline contrarians. And they are often short of disposable cash.

TAC probably had to pay their writers this month since it's the Christmas season, so they are groping for sugar daddies. But, man, what a pose. "No, I'm not ideological. I did compose a 10-point manifesto for my first book. But I'm not ideological. I have a sausage wrap, but no ideology. And who really needs coherence anyway?"

I know why Rod had to write this post. It's his alternative to pulling some kind of cheesy stunt like holding up a cardboard sign which says "Will blog for food."

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Obamacare Karma

H/T Dennis Prager. It's always a great story when the cheerleaders get their comeuppance. Dennis highlights this paragraph:

It is not lost on many of the professionals that they are exactly the sort of people — liberal, concerned with social justice — who supported the Obama health plan in the first place. Ms. Meinwald, the lawyer, said she was a lifelong Democrat who still supported better health care for all, but had she known what was in store for her, she would have voted for Mitt Romney.

Obamacare is a bitch that bites the hand that feeds it.

The Joy of Life

Nice. Of course I'm partial to the GP/FBB version of the tune.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Phil Robertson: "We never, ever judge someone."

Wow, Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty agrees with Pope Francis and the Catholic faith about homosexuality. Excerpt:

We never, ever judge someone

I know that excerpt pretty much tells you everything you need to know about what Phil Robertson said, but really, RTWT*. It's awesome.

(* - Read The Whole Thing)

Monday, December 16, 2013

Went in dumb, come out dumb too

Rod Dreher charges gay marriage greases a slippery slope to greater religious freedom for traditional conservative Mormons in Utah.


Surely this guy is a liberal fifth columnist masquerading as a conservative, deliberately sowing sabotage in an effort to make social conservatives look desperately ridiculous. Not even a monkey on acid could accidentally make an argument this stupidly contradictory and self-defeating.

Hmmm, but looks like the spell didn't take first go-round. Muons maybe. So he doubles down. The monkey averts its eyes out of compassion, and Alex Jones begins to look sharper by the minute.

"And I'm not saying I'm smart!!"

Anyone here have the bird flu? Have you been rounded up into a concentration camp? Enrolled in a Babylon Mystery School? And do you remember the existence of aliens being announced? Or the internet being shut down?

The "neocons" support Hillary Clinton?

If you don't believe Alex Jones, he thinks you are a dumbass and a stupid freak. (Listen to around 10 minutes in.)

Well there is one thing Alex Jones says that I can totally agree with: "Judge a tree by its fruits."

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The moral courage of Brave Sir Rod and The Last Man

I touched on this post in a comment exchange with Pik, below, but I think another commenter exchange deserves its own post for showcasing a moral cowardice so profoundly congenital that it's become completely transparent to its utterly obtuse host.

In the post Help! Help! They’re Not Being Oppressed!, Rod tells us that the PEN writer's group is being a bunch of ninnies for feeling chilled from writing because of the NSA, concluding:

Please. Such self-important drama. I could be wrong here, but I think that anything not written by a contemporary American writer because he is afraid of the NSA is not something society will suffer from not having. If fear of the NSA prevents, say, Alice Walker from bloviating about cultural politics, well, that’s a point in the NSA’s favor.

Besides which, if you are so afraid of the NSA that you don’t write a book or give a speech on something that matters to you as a writer, the most useful thing someone can say to you is: Nut up.

An important (because it's in all caps, bolded) UPDATE tasks us to go that extra intellectual distance that Dreher has made his hallmark and wonder

UPDATE: In fact, if you think about it, who is more at risk of having her writing career damaged by something she was written: an American writer who publishes a book or article highly critical of the US national security establishment, or an American writer who publishes a book or article highly critical of gay rights, or progressive feminist and racial orthodoxies? Would your career be more in danger as a writer for defending Edward Snowden, or Pope Benedict XVI?

Commenter Andy, however, takes issue and points out

The comparison in your UPDATE: is complete nonsense. Nobody was asserting that writers were afraid that the NSA would hurt their careers. They are afraid of the NSA period. So it’s irrelevant to start with.

It’s also apples and oranges. On one hand we have a government leveraging their authority to do something (what isn’t exactly clear; just spy on the writer extra hard i guess) because they are upset by what someone has written. On the other hand you have a writer not being successful because they write things that are very unpopular. How are those the same?

Writing in favor of traditional subjugation of women, gays, and minorities isn’t bad for your career becuase of some conspiracy. It’s bad for your career because it grosses out an extremely large number of people. You are smart enough to see which way the wind is blowing. I can respect you for spitting into it anyway on principal, but whining about it is just pathetic.

But, uh-oh, Andy...checkmate! Rod thinks he has him here and crawls up belly to belly inside his comment sweater to confront him face to face:

[NFR: "Traditional subjugation," eh? You make my point for me: it is far riskier for a writer to take positions opposed to the progressive cultural orthodoxies of the institutions -- academic, media, publishing, etc. -- that she depends on for her livelihood than it would be to oppose the government. That you imagine the only threat to one's livelihood and creative freedom coming from the government is pretty naive. -- RD]

The threat to one's livelihood and creative freedom. From the progressive cultural orthodoxies. Of, like, the publishing marketplace.

But, ummm...

Isn't the whole point of having principles, particularly those religious moral principles Dreher so frequently and ostentatiously reminds us make up his very being one of being rooted in and guided by something more stern and demanding of the self than the sugar snacks of mere convenience, expediency, and the sense of entitlement to the sort of easy life comforts Earl Butz once vulgarly characterized as "loose shoes, tight pussy, and a warm place to shit" in the racist remark that got him fired way back when?

One really has to wonder what a founding Christian martyr, even an early run-of-the-mill follower would make of the NFR above:

Roddus Tummius: "That you imagine the only threat to one's livelihood and creative freedom coming from the Romans is pretty naive, Petra. What do you really expect a wannabe Christian scribe like me to do about the progressive cultural orthodoxies of the Parchment Guild? Do you really expect me to risk being reduced to begging for scraps of stringy aged goat instead of dining on young Spring lamb as I am accustomed?"

If one really has and holds to principles rather than to lifestyle expediencies and really has and holds to the moral courage to speak up and out for them, one does so without regard for whatever relative discomforts or other hazards might be the price of doing so. Period. If not, one is trading in the public square in cheap brass plate, not in the gold so valorously but falsely advertised.

Sorry, Rod. There is, to the best of my knowledge, no cultural or vocational welfare "set-aside" for principle - anyone's principles - of the sort you implicitly seek. Either one is a man of principle and one sneers (even understandingly) when one hears someone whining that standing up for one's principles might involve discomfort, even hardship - or one is simply something else entirely. Can't be both, much as anyone might want to.

But, huh. What could this loose shoes, non-principled something else Rod is actually embodying turn out to be?

Oh, I know! I know! I knew this NFR reminded me of something I'd heard somewhere before.


Lo! I show you the Last Man.

"What is love? What is creation? What is longing? What is a star?" -- so asks the Last Man, and blinks.

The earth has become small, and on it hops the Last Man, who makes everything small. His species is ineradicable as the flea; the Last Man lives longest.

"We have discovered happiness" -- say the Last Men, and they blink.

They have left the regions where it is hard to live; for they need warmth. One still loves one's neighbor and rubs against him; for one needs warmth.

Turning ill and being distrustful, they consider sinful: they walk warily. He is a fool who still stumbles over stones or men!

A little poison now and then: that makes for pleasant dreams. And much poison at the end for a pleasant death.

One still works, for work is a pastime. But one is careful lest the pastime should hurt one.

One no longer becomes poor or rich; both are too burdensome. Who still wants to rule? Who still wants to obey? Both are too burdensome.

No shepherd, and one herd! Everyone wants the same; everyone is the same: he who feels differently goes voluntarily into the madhouse.

"Formerly all the world was insane," -- say the subtlest of them, and they blink.

They are clever and know all that has happened: so there is no end to their derision. People still quarrel, but are soon reconciled -- otherwise it upsets their stomachs.

They have their little pleasures for the day, and their little pleasures for the night, but they have a regard for health.

"We have discovered happiness," -- say the Last Men, and they blink.

Nut up, Rod.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Do you have a Miss Piggy?

Awesome Blues Brothers mall chase reenactment.

Hat tip goes to the G-File for providing this link.

Friday, December 6, 2013

More PIE

Now dead, Nelson Mandela is unable to flee baptism by the dependably incontinent Rod Dreher.


Today's quiz: who said this?

Hey, kids, here's today's quiz. What prominent Catholic said the following:

...I always knew the questions in advance. They concerned the ordination of women, contraception, abortion and other such constantly recurring problems.

If we let ourselves be drawn into these discussions, the Church is then identified with certain commandments or prohibitions; we give the impression that we are moralists with a few somewhat antiquated convictions, and not even a hint of the true greatness of the faith appears. I therefore consider it essential always to highlight the greatness of our faith—a commitment from which we must not allow such situations to divert us.

Hint: one of my favorite d00ds.

Facts on Catholic clergy sex abuse

As always, the latest release from the Catholic League will irritate some people, but there are no denying the facts. So I republish them here.

Now that Pope Francis has set up a commission to study priestly sexual abuse, Bill Donohue urges reporters to get their facts straight:

Myth: Children have been the main victims of priestly sexual abuse.

Fact: Since more than 95 percent of all the victims of priestly sexual abuse, as reported by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, are not prepubescent, that means that adolescents have been the primary victims.

Myth: Pedophile priests have been the problem.

Fact: Homosexual priests have been the problem. Proof: 81 percent of the victims have been male, and more than 95 percent have been postpubescent. When males have sex with postpubescent males, it is called homosexuality.

Myth: The problem is on-going.

Fact: The homosexual scandal took place mostly between the mid-1960s and the mid-1980s. In the last ten years, the average number of credible accusations made against 40,000 priests is in the single digits.

Myth: The Church’s repressive teachings on sexuality are the problem.

Fact: It was liberals outside the Church who pushed for the sexual revolution, and it was liberals in the Church who abetted the revolution in the seminaries. Moreover, it was liberals who promoted therapy as the way to deal with molesters, instead of using punitive measures.

Myth: The Church has done nothing about the problem.

Fact: Pope Benedict XVI made it more difficult for active homosexual priests to enter the priesthood, thus getting directly to the source of the problem. Also, steps have been taken in every diocese to ensure that anyone who works for the Church must participate in a training program aimed at curtailing the abuse of minors.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Erin Manning goes Andrew Sullivan

By which I mean for the duration of Advent her blog will consist only of her posts, without comments.

Now I don't orbit by Erin's blog that often, mostly because the inside baseball Catholic stuff she usually posts about is simply outside my wheelhouse, but when I do, I read it for the comments, to the extent of ordering the posts I read by the number of comments they receive.

Why? Probably that basic human being social animal thing: it's the interaction among people that's the most interesting thing to me, not Erin Manning's sole thoughts in and of themselves (I don't know her, so why would I care what she thinks any more than I care about what anyone else I don't know thinks?) I'm interested in how the only objective measure of what she tried, the grasp and judgement of others, measures her success or failure from the beginning of whether she is even being articulate to the end of whether she has ended up being convincing or not. I'm interested in where her public thoughts fit into the multi-person human world, not in what she and Sullivan are now doing, tight-beaming their special individual mind dumps to Alpha Centauri.

When a blogger blogs without comments it seems to me they're saying a number of different things, either outright or implicitly:

1) I didn't have enough space anywhere at home to keep this private diary, so I'm using this public platform I stumbled across as a last-ditch makeshift workaround. If-ay I-yay ew-nay ig-Pay atin-Lay, I-Yay ould-way even-ay ite-wray it-tay ere-hay in-nay at-thay oo-tay eep-kay it-tay even-ay ore-may ecret-say, but I don't.

2) What I have to say is so important in its own right that it doesn't even matter if anyone reads it, so I don't need to know by way of someone commenting if anyone did read it or what they thought.

3) I already wrote 2) just now. Any comment could only spoil that, don't you agree? Don't answer.

One of the reasons Erin gives for her experiment in isolation is that there is a completely unknowable "depressingly large number of people in the world who feel free to put all sorts of sludge in your comment boxes," which suggests, a bit too facilely it seems to me, that anyone not positively reviewing Erin's output could be suspect of being an inhabitant of that vague and infinitely elastic purgatory.

But Erin is not Andrew Sullivan, so just as with her self-published book output - I think she just finished churning out her fifth or so 50,000 word manuscript in the series, the book(s) her mentor Rod Dreher has yet to even acknowledge exist - what she has effectively done is abandon her blogging now as well to the same sort of private self-publishing for that safely known audience of herself and anyone in her inner circle who considers her special enough that they will phone her or text her or email her personally about it.

This isn't really narcissism, it's more like a self-imposed sort of autism, and it seems to be a way of coping with the internet: people want to be noticed by the public, but only on their own, unilateral terms. So, in between isolated bursts of tight-beaming, they rock to and fro, in self-imposed isolation.

Frankly, it seems to me that a better course for anyone like Erin, even for a raging narcissist like Sullivan who, unlike Barbra, has only achieved first name status in-house, would be to take a closer look at why they are so allergic to the knowable public responses of others to their output.

If the comments Erin actually gets really is disproportionately a depressingly large amount of "sludge", what is she doing to generate those terrible results, and what could she do differently to achieve better ones?

If the problem is feeling rejected at anything short of adoration, that, too, begs for corrective action, action which can only be undertaken and guided in response to the very same feedback that is being preemptively rejected.

In short, a better experiment for Erin might be to explore in more depth why as a public author and blogger she seems to be having trouble getting along with her readers. Solving that social problem might put her further along the path to being a more successful author on top of being a happier blogger.

Yeah, I didn't link to Erin's experiment. Why would I? By her own hand, she's designated it as not really something for public interaction.

[NFP: But I am linking to Ms. Manning's post so I can see if it shows up in her "Links to this post" section. Mwa-ha-ha.]

[NFP2: In this context, NFP stands for Note From Pauli, not "Natural Family Planning". But you all knew that.]

Monday, December 2, 2013

A "revolution in the self-understanding of the Catholic Church"

George Weigel on Pope Francis. Excerpt:

He is a man of broad culture, well-read theologically but more given to literary references and illustrations than to scholarly theological citations in his preaching and catechesis. Thus one of his recent daily Mass sermons praised Robert Hugh Benson’s early 20th-century apocalyptic novel, “Lord of the World,” for raising important cautions against dictatorial utopianism, or what the pope called “adolescent progressivism.”

Pope Francis also grasps the nature of the great cultural crisis of post-modernity: the rise of a new Gnosticism, in which everything in the human condition is plastic, malleable and subject to human willfulness, nothing is simply given, and human beings are reduced, by self-delusion, legal definition or judicial dictums to mere bundles of desires.

And the conclusion:

As he wrote in “Evangelii Gaudium,” Pope Francis is not a man of “political ideology.” He knows that “business is a vocation and a noble vocation,” if ordered to the common good and the empowerment of the poor. When he criticizes the social, economic or political status quo, he does so as a pastor who is “interested only in helping all those who are in thrall to an individualistic, indifferent and self-centered mentality to be freed from those unworthy chains and to attain a way of living and thinking that is more humane, noble, and fruitful.”

Pope Francis is a revolutionary. The revolution he proposes, however, is not a matter of economic or political prescription, but a revolution in the self-understanding of the Catholic Church: a re-energizing return to the pentecostal fervor and evangelical passion from which the church was born two millennia ago, and a summons to mission that accelerates the great historical transition from institutional-maintenance Catholicism to the Church of the New Evangelization.

I agree with Weigel's summary.

The Children's Crusade

Just about anything I could write would subtract from the sheer joy and magic of this narrative, so, as we aspiring scholastigators like to say, just read the whole thing:

Hard Sell: Going door-to-door for Obamacare

If you're drinking something in front of your computer, swallow and put it down. If you have a cold, blow your nose first.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Premature Intellectual Ejaculation (PIE)

If you're a narcissistic charismatic writer prone to spontaneous blogging emissions requiring you to immediately follow up in comments with six (6) or more corrective NFR's to make your original point compelling or even intelligible, maybe because your reader isn't reading you closely enough, perhaps because they're low in openness, or maybe just because you yourself are guilty of disingenuously [e]liding so basic a fact about your own beliefs and work with an accusation against his reading comprehension, you may be suffering from a chronic case of Premature Intellectual Ejaculation, or PIE.

When your brain spontaneously starts that windup toward "uuunnnNNHHH!!!" and your hands get itchy on the keypad envisioning how Downton Abbey is really a metaphor for a French cassoulet which is really a metaphor for Dante's Divine Comedy which is really a metaphor for your own gluttonous eating like pigs in shit - STOP.

Just stop. Stop, run some cold water over your head, and see if it is possible to use it for some semblance of systematic rational processing for a change rather than just as a warehouse for your limbic, Komodo dragon-like carnal appetites.

Premature Intellectual Ejaculation is curable, but it requires a specific, disciplined regular exercise we commonly call thinking. However, if you do these thinking exercises faithfully, you will find yourself far less likely to impetuously and embarrassingly blurt out something like how The Apostles were the original Smurfs and your writing as a result will probably require far fewer panicked NFRs to correct someone else's alleged failure to read your professional writing closely enough.

Premature Intellectual Ejaculation (PIE). It is curable, but you must first put your reader's satisfaction ahead of your own spontaneous urges to emit.

Monday, November 25, 2013

"He was close; I could smell the cookies."

I know. It's so wrong. But so funny.

Awwww, the wittle baby penguin....

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Friday, November 22, 2013

Friday on the bus with Merle and Toby

No, not a euphemism for vomiting. 

But in honor of Will Wilkinson's "graf"  (whoever Will Wilkinson is), as breathlessly brought to us by Our Hero, I thought I'd add a little informal rendering of some low-openness music for today:

Couple of fine baritone voices there.  I don't know who the guitar player is, but he's pretty good, too.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Ruthie Leming: Low in openness

Our favorite backbiting coward Rod Dreher, fresh off the sting of having to take his kids to see the Duck Dynasty Robertsons instead of vice versa, turns to writing expert Will Wilkinson to once again drag his dead sister Ruthie's name through the mud now that she is safely beyond being able to talk back to him or otherwise stand up for herself

This Wilkinson graf, I think, explains why my sister had a permanent chip on her shoulder about something as trivial as my food preferences:

     My best guess (and let me stress guess) is that those low in openness depend emotionally on a sense of enchantment of the everyday and the profundity of ritual. Even a little change, like your kids playing with different toys than you did, comes as a small reminder of the instability of life over generations and the contingency of our emotional attachments. This is a reminder low-openness conservatives would prefer to avoid, if possible. What high-openness liberals feel as merenostalgia, low-openness conservatives feel as the baseline emotional tone of a recognizably decent life. If your kids don’t experience the same meaningful things in the same same way that you experienced them, then it may seem that their lives will be deprived of meaning, which would be tragic. And even if you’re able to see that your kids will find plenty of meaning, but in different things and in different ways, you might well worry about the possibility of ever really understanding and relating to them. The inability to bond over profound common experience would itself constitute a grave loss of meaning for both generations. So when the culture redefines a major life milestone, such as marriage, it trivializes one’s own milestone experience by imbuing it was a sense of contingency, threatens to deprive one’s children of the same experience, and thus threatens to make the generations strangers to one another. And what kind of monster would want that?

Well, there you have it, expert writer Will Wilkinson's best guess - until the next random opportunity presents itself.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Only You

Monday, November 18, 2013

Mark Shea Uses JFK Assassination Anniversary to Judge Baby Boomers

Actually, it's the comments which are more illuminating.

Hat tip to Erin "Amen" Manning, namesake half of Rod Dreher's Evans-Manning award for civil commentary.

[caption contest]

"I have a beard too!"

Attached to a post tagged "Duck Commander" and "Duck Dynasty" in order to draw traffic seeking those topics, one which somehow simultaneously manages to both sneeringly resent and suck up to Phil Robertson's family ("I simply cannot get over that these hirsute, Jesus-loving rednecks are massive rock stars getting filthy rich just being themselves. Sometimes, the good guys really do win."), this Duck Commander Nation-related "update":

UPDATE: Hey, don’t forget to come see me at the Chennault Museum in Monroe today, speaking at 3:30 and again at 6:30, and meeting folks and signing The Little Way Of Ruthie Leming in between (Books-a-Million will be there selling copies). I have a beard too! Not nearly as impressive as some people’s beards, but one does what one can.

Hi, Phil. I'm a pathetic internet dog tick named Rod Dreher. Can I live in your beard and suck blood from your face? Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeezzzzzzeeeee?

The American Conservative: becoming even more so any day now.

 (You didn't expect me to insult the Robertsons further by adding a "duck" tag to this post, did you?)

High School Student Ground and Pounds Common Core


Hat tip goes to The Blaze.

Can't wait until Ethan Young's book comes out.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

TAC discovers Obamacare!

Not a day after that pants-on-fire lying liar Keith had the temerity to claim that not even a glancing bird-dropping mention of Obamacare stained the TAC web site but whuddya know, the green fairy of inspiration miraculously lurches to its feet and prompts Our Working Boy to phone in a post on that very topic, an issue obscured in the world as it has been these last several weeks by, well, anything else it was remotely possible to write about. And what a comprehensively perfunctory roundup it was, too!

In a sulking voice that could only be more taciturn if it were begrudgingly grunting out a response above a week's worth of whiskey and wildebeest-impacted piles, Reporter Rod finally reveals all to those dozens of us who previously had no clue:

The perfect storm of mistrust. Intentionally or not, Obama misled people to get this thing passed, and his team constructed a failed website that they cannot fix in a timely way. You can gripe about GOP knotheadedness, but these problems of Obama’s are entirely self-inflicted.

OMG! Could this be true? O. M. G.

And then, like the Roadrunner.....Meep-meep-okay-boss-I-did-like-you-said-now-lemme-outa-here-and...mercifully, mercifully back to Paris.

Beautiful, carefree Paris, where life forever trickles through a sugar cube. As it should.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Monday, November 11, 2013

"The Future that Never Was"

If the point of The American Conservative wasn't necessarily to make money, as some have commented previously, it looks like "Mission Accomplished".

Washington Free Beacon gleefully reported on the most recent circulation numbers for the TAC print version.  For example:


David Brooks wrote that the American Conservative had “become one of the more dynamic spots on the political web” in a New York Times column headlined “The Conservative Future,” last November.

The latest issue of the American Conservative features a critique of the Gettysburg Address; a column by Greek shipping heir Taki Theodoracopulos; a review of Max Blumenthal’s anti-Zionist book (headline: “Will Israel Go Fascist?”); and a piece called “JFK Warmonger.”


Wick Allison has got to be shaking his head:  surely article headlines like those are a cinch to bring in the masses of "Americans" and "conservatives" just like him and Dreher.  Where are they all?

As Our Hero would say, read the whole thing.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Colorado and Washington ignore federal health care laws with impunity

So why can't every other state?

I'm referring of course to federal health care laws regulating commerce in and the consumption of leafy green weeds of the Cannabis and Indica families. Come on, you didn't really think those federal laws were there because of marijuana's funky smell, did you? No, they're in place because the feds have thought for a century or more that smoking weed is bad for your health, so bad they'll put you in prison for subjecting yourself and others to its dangers.

Here, though, is where we take a right turn from what you might have thought was going to be a pot-legalization post into what is in fact an Obamacare-ignoring state by state post.

Remember, insurance companies and the policies they offer are (or were) state-, not federally-licensed, pretty much as 10th Amendment as you can still get in this day and age. What would it take to return them to that condition unconditionally?

Why, to do exactly what Colorado and Washington states have done with respect to their marijuana laws: ignore the feds, and proceed as if the management of health insurance was as much a wholly state matter as the management of marijuana.

To be sure, the main reason Obama and Holder are standing around holding their bongs with respect to the moves by Colorado and Washington is that pot-smokers are a larger Democratic Party constituency than they are a Republican Party one, so yes, the non-prosecution of Coloradans and Washingtonians under federal anti-marijuana drug titles is also an egregious case of corrupt selective federal judicial prosecution.

Still, this brings us finally to where everything ultimately really does get decided in politics: civil obedience or disobedience to whatever domination is proposed, and the ultimate recognition that the fault that we are underlings lies ultimately with ourselves. Not with the bogeyman we might make of the amateur community organizer Obama, or the purring Harry Reid, or the supercilious Pelosi, or the vague shadow army of the lefties, or the main stream media, or anyone else behind Obamacare. With ourselves, for passively submitting to it. If you want your obeisance, you can keep your obeisance. Period.

Legislative potheads in Colorado and Washington just rolled back a century of obedience to federal anti-marijuana laws. At this point in the absurd tragicomedy still unfolding across health insurance, how hard would it really be for state legislatures truly concerned for their citizens' health insurance to do exactly the same thing with Obamacare?

Pre-apology Propaganda

Guess who came up with some of the most damning material on Obama's "If you like your plan" lie? The White House!

I have a computer, not a "lot of free time." But I have common sense. Plus an insurance plan that doubled in price. Raising your costs because of onerous regulations isn't being a bad apple. It's called "staying in business".

Obama's weak apology is far too wordy, just like every time he talks. He should have just said, "I misspoke. What I meant to say was if *I* like your plan, then you get to keep your plan."

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

President Pinocchio

I really don't have to say anything more, do I?

Mark Steyn: "In entirely non-ideological, technocratic, utilitarian terms, Obamacare is a bust."

With regard to outreach, Steyn continues his tradition of apocalyptic stand-up and gets the messaging pitch-perfect for the majority of Americans. "Obamacare don't work, Ma."

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been opposed to government health care because, as I’ve said in at least two books, it fundamentally redefines the relationship between the citizen and the state into one closer to that of junkie and pusher. But that’s a philosophical position. Others prefer constitutional arguments: The federal government does not have the authority to do what it’s doing. Dear old John Roberts, chief justice of the United States, twisted himself into a pretzel to argue that, in fact, the government does. But he might as well have saved himself the trouble and just used Nancy Pelosi’s line: Asked by a journalist where in the Constitution it granted the feds the power to do this, she gave him the full Leslie Nielsen and said, “You’re not serious?” She has the measure of her people. Most Americans couldn’t care less about philosophical arguments or constitutional fine print: For them, all Obamacare has to do is work. That is why the last month has been so damaging to Big Government’s brand: In entirely non-ideological, technocratic, utilitarian terms, Obamacare is a bust.

The emphasis is mine, not because I don't find the philosophical, economic, moral, ethical and constitutional arguments compelling, but because that is where we are now. There is enough to blast about Obamacare now that you don't have to bring up what Reagan thought about government-controlled healthcare systems, nor what chapter of Socialism Ludwig von Mises would have added Obamacare to, nor what Sarah Palin wrote on Facebook about Death Panels. Improving Obamacare with a laughably-named "tech surge" is a worthless exercise in turd-polishing. There is no way they can get to 46,000 signups a day by March, unless maybe they get Michelle Obama's imaginary Facebook friends on welfare and SSA simultaneously and sign them all up.

Steyn ends with the line "Obamacare is not a left–right issue; it’s a fraud issue." I agree. Conservative I-told-you-sos are worthless at this juncture.

Conservative inreach and conservative outreach

Given the popular response which has greeted my last two posts on Charles Krauthammer but more broadly on conservative voices in general, I'm going to wrap up this effort by offering two basic categories within which conservative principles get promulgated, catechismal inreach to the faithful and missionary or diplomatic outreach to the faithless yet to be converted.

Obviously, if your conservative sway in the world is already powerful enough to secure your practical, real life conservative interests, all you need are the voices of the former category to keep everyone true to the principled mission. If not, if what you find yourself actually living in is a practical world of principled hope over practical conservative experience, you pretty obviously need recruits and converts from the not-yet-conservative outside to make that practically effective conservative majority a reality.

At the top of the list of conservative voices of conservative inreach I myself would have to put Rush Limbaugh, with a radio audience consistently faithful enough to date to have enabled him to produce for his efforts an impressive $370MM net worth.

From my previous posts I think it's reasonably obvious that I put Charles Krauthammer in the latter category of those conservatives more effective in swaying those not yet firmly within the conservative fold, if at the same time not considered to exhibit the same fidelity to conservative principles as a Rush Limbaugh. I would put George Will firmly in this second category as well.

But in the real world these categories don't break into a brightly separate either/or: conservative voices will more or less rally the faithful internally while more or less swaying the faithless externally, the latter often dependent on to what extent they are first able to even reach them.

At this point I'll turn the post over to commenters to list and discuss if they want to which conservatives fall where along my spectrum from mostly conservative inreach to mostly conservative outreach, and which, if any, do the best job of bridging both categories, and why.

Monday, November 4, 2013

This is all Margaret Thatcher's doing

Here's the most amazing thing I read today.

The trials and tribulations of Morrissey continue: according to a statement posted on fan site True to You, Moz has been “discharged from Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles following treatment for concussion, whiplash, and an arm injury.” It’s unclear how he sustained the injury — maybe he fell out of his chair after finding chicken in his alfredo at Olive Garden? — but the statement adds that he “would like to thank the medical staff at Cedars-Sinai for their ‘outstanding level of care and attention.’”

The laureate of English literature was previously sidelined this year for severe food poisoning (from tomatoes and pasta), which resulted in the postponement of his South American tour. Before that, he scrapped most of his North American leg due to a series of medical mishaps, including a bleeding ulcer, Barrett’s esophagus, and double pneumonia.

Poor guy. Didn't know about True to You. Gee, haven't heard the word Zine in awhile. I got to the article from a FB friend's link to this goof piece about the 90's. C'mon, face it—nostalgia sucks, period

Why "Obamacare"?

Why should conservatives, that is, conservatives who want to elect Republicans, continue to deliberately short-change their political prospects by thoughtlessly continuing to call the ACA "Obamacare"?

Consistent with his role as a nobody who really hasn't done much of anything else as President for the last 5 years except live large and play golf, apart from pitching the lies about keeping your insurance Obama really had very little to do personally with creating the ACA monster either. So who did?

The Democrats did. Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, all the Democrats who voted for it, and those industry insiders who wrote it and who will make out like bandits from the Democrats' legislated funding of their interests did. The Democrats as a group created the ACA all by themselves. Unlike almost all other legislation, the ACA is a purely partisan achievement of the Democrats alone, all by themselves.

So why not weld the blame permanently in place where it belongs and call it Democratcare? Not catchy enough? Because Obama is the transient Democrat president and we owe it to both the Democrats and the news media that puts Obama in the news every day to honor their temporary titular chief by continuing to call it "Obamacare"?

In 3 years Obama the cipher will be gone, but like a massive toxic chemical spill the Democrat ACA, even its ineradicable remnants (just try to reinstate underwriting for pre-existing conditions now), will be poisoning health care markets and business in general for decades to come.

So why allow the very culprits who wrought this thing to ever escape its legacy? A Democrat can distance himself from Obama. He can't ever distance himself from a disaster that carries his very own political party name, though.

"I'm a Democrat. You may have heard of me. There's a rotting albatross stinking up your lives named after me. It's called Democratcare. Should I count on your vote?"

Democratcare. It's the gift from the Democrats to generations to come, and as a political party as a whole the Democrats should be given eternal, unrelenting credit for their gift - by name.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

In a world where Charles Krauthammer's not conservative enough...

Yeah, you should probably read that subject line in the voice of Don LaFontaine.

While the original post that this one's spinning off of was originally intended only to contrast a true conservative writer with a pretentious scrunchy con clown, it turns out, news to me, that Bubba and Kathleen and so probably others - Bubba linked Andrew McCarthy - don't think Charles Krauhammer is conservative enough, or is the wrong kind of conservative, or in some major wholesale way doesn't serve the conservative cause well or even at all.

Let me right now distinguish the wholesale standard or non-standard I just described from just disagreeing with Krauthammer periodically on different points or statements he may make. For example, I strongly disagree with his sympathies toward amnesty, but I think he probably settles there in what is probably just academic naivete simply because he doesn't know enough working class black and white and legal Hispanic people displaced from potential jobs in construction or hospitality by the illegal aliens which took those jobs and depressed the wages they used to pay. If that's the only sort of dispute any of the people named above have with him - just occasional disagreements on points - say so now and consider that my retraction of what I claimed above.

However, anyone, McCarthy included, who is taking a disagreement on particular isolated points or statements and extrapolating them to generally define Krauthammer's conservatism as a whole, if that's what it turns out they're doing, is leaving rationality behind in pursuit of a more subjective, purely personal disregard for him.

Speaking of which, it could also be that someone just straightforwardly dislikes Krauthammer personally - that haughty little nose, for example - for reasons ultimately having nothing to do with his writings. I'm the same way, just not with Krauthammer. In that case, they might agree perfectly well with many of the things Krauthammer actually writes but find he somehow puts a stink on them they just can't abide.

There is also the possibility that Krauthammer is being measured in some quasi-religious way against some sort of idealized potential conservative savior who will not only perfectly embody all conservative principles but will also unilaterally bestow some sort of conservative salvation on everyone else as a matter of grace without them having to do very much themselves. If that sort of perception is out there, I'm sorry, but, unlike Christianity, I just don't think politics, any politics, has ever worked that way or ever will. If someone is waiting for someone to act conservatively on their behalf, the person they're really waiting for is probably themselves. Unlike in Christianity, in politics there are no saviors, and there is nothing and no one involved in politics which is not to some degree incomplete, broken, impure, or dirty.

Which brings me back to my original point. In a world where Charles Krauthammer with his canon of writing as a conservative is not considered conservative enough - what sort of world, exactly, do those who feel that way imagine they're really living in? What are their realistic expectations for the present and the future, of conservatism, and particularly for conservatism to actually shape the world they and their children inhabit in ways it's not doing now?

Let me point out that, if they're in fact not doing anything less than repudiating Krauthammer in that wholesale way I first described above, then what they're effectively doing is repudiating everything that's only Krauthammer-type-and-degree conservative and below and accepting only that more complete, more fully realized, more pure, more intense, or more whatever conservatism cream that is somehow better or richer or more intensely pure than the mere Krauthammer-type-and-degree conservatism they reject.

If so, given what I and a number of others find as Krauthammer's sufficient conservatism, I can see only two alternatives.

First, if their view is conservatively incorrect, their view of the world may be, to use a term from Krauthammer's psychiatry, "cognitively dissonant": their view of how they want the world to be is so realistically out of joint with the way the world will necessarily be that it will never serve them well.

Second, if their view is in fact the only true conservatively correct one, they may find that they're in fact able to practice it themselves in some ways in the world, but just not in any way that has any noticeable effects on the world beyond them and those particular co-conservatives who share that same rarefied vision with them. In other words, they might be confining themselves to permanemtly limited and circumscribed, impotent academic cult status. Conservative, perhaps, but permanemtly limited and circumscribed, impotent academic conservative cult status nevertheless.

Finally, here's Krauthammer's most recent column, Obamacare Laid Bare and his take on the

three pillars of Obamacare: (a) mendacity, (b) paternalism and (c) subterfuge.

Read it - or not - and decide for yourself.

Charles Krauthammer seems conservative enough for me.

Friday, November 1, 2013

You can really hear the bass on this version

Video is a little bit ahead of the audio in this concert version of Ian Dury's Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick, but the incredible bass line is much more audible than in other versions. And yes, the sax player does his double sax solo.

Re: the bass line: the raised third in the chorus is a little bit jarring, and it's not the way I'd have played it. But it does hit you -- can't argue with that. Punk jazz rock at it's best.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Ted Cruz blows up objections to "Stand Your Ground"...

...with an inconvenient truth.

"That's that hard part again!"

This cartoon reminds me of Obamacare.

Jerry's Uncle Paco has a high opinion of his own performance and just has to stop now and again to explain why he's having trouble with the hard parts. Jerry is smiling delightedly the entire time because he loves Paco and patiently supports him even though his friend, well, sucks.

Go on over to Dailykos or other places where they love big government and you can read all kinds of love pieces about how fabulous Obamacare is. Like this one. Even though a majority of Americans think it's a train wreck and now have hard evidence to support their belief.

This will be a fun day for Sebelius in Washington DC. My advice to her is to start crying at a strategic point so she appears to be human. My advice to Republicans is to throw water on her like Dorothy does to the witch in Wizard of Oz.

But seriously, doesn't it seem like Sebelius and company are whistling past the graveyard here? From another article:

A component of the online system that has been working relatively well experienced an outage Sunday. The federal data services hub, a conduit for verifying the personal information of people applying for benefits under the law, went down in a failure that was blamed on an outside contractor, Terremark.

"Today, Terremark had a network failure that is impacting a number of their clients, including," HHS spokeswoman Joanne Peters said. "Secretary Sebelius spoke with the CEO of Verizon this afternoon to discuss the situation and they committed to fixing the problem as soon as possible."

Jeffrey Nelson, a spokesman for Verizon Enterprise Solutions, of which Terremark is a part, said: "Our engineers have been working with HHS and other technology companies to identify and address the root cause of the issue. It will fixed as quickly as possible."

There's the new line. "We've identified the problem and it will be fixed as soon as possible." Sounds an awful lot like Paco's "That's that hard part again." Someone from CGI is going to write a book about this debacle, and none of it will be a surprise any more than this little factoid revealing the affirmative action/cronyism behind the website development.

Saturday, October 26, 2013


I love this Verizon commercial.

I don't know what is more pathetic. Darth Vader dog or 3-year old Princess Leia with metal brassiere attached to Jabba dad.

Friday, October 25, 2013

What a best-selling book by a conservative looks like

LOL. Don't be ridiculous.

No, I mean this:

Number one on Amazon under the category, uh, yeah: books. Take a closer look at it here.

Why, you may ask, is Charles Krauthammer an actual Pulitzer Prize winner rather than merely a self-promoting nominee? Why is his book number one under "books" rather than number 60 under "category/sub-category/sub-sub-category/an even lower category/no, even lower/is the temperature rising?/how deep are we now, exactly/oh, God, please, let's go back up now while we still can/"?

The answer is almost certainly because liberal psychiatrist-turned-conservative columnist Krauthammer is a genuinely thoughtful man, but more importantly, an intellectually honest one, to the core. If you disagree with him, be prepared to bring your A argument game, because you can be sure that what you may want to contest is something he's already tested and re-tested himself a hundred times before, not merely the first impulse that may have come to his mind before being slapped on a page.

For any who may be reading this before 9:00 PM CDT/ 10:00 PM EDT tonight, October the 25th, Bret Baier will be hosting an hour-long interview with Krauthammer on your local Fox news station. Oh - did you know he's been in a wheelchair for 32 years? But you won't hear him whining about that.

If you miss that interview, console yourself with this instead.

So which of these architects built

Or did they team up on it and build it together?

Dang masons.

Bird with the broken wing

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Trailer for Captain America: The Winter Soldier

There is so much Cleveland in this; I love it already. The part around 2 minutes in where he's riding the motorbike on the bridge is the part they filmed a block from my house which I blogged about earlier. Here's a still I lifted:

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Pope Francis: "Don't accept relativism! Be vigilant!"

...and "please let's not do business with the Devil!"

Hat Tip Carol McKinley.

Points to Ponder from Phil Lawler's Upcoming Book

I really like this approach of Philip Lawler to the Church's current crises. The type of renewal we need is best served by non-institutional efforts, at least at this point. Priests and bishops should do what they do best, i.e., liturgy, homilies, sacraments, canon law, and leave "the rest" of the work of evangelization to the laity. What constitutes "the rest"? Lawler provides the example of EWTN:

My favorite example of this phenomenon—and arguably the greatest success story of 20th-century American Catholicism—is the growth of the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN). Who could have predicted that a cloistered nun with no background whatsoever in broadcasting, and with serious physical ailments, could found a Catholic radio-television empire that spans the globe? Mother Angelica began with nothing but a vision and a commitment supported by faith. She had no experience or expertise in broadcasting, no connections with the industry, no powerful corporate sponsors. For years she faced opposition from the US bishops’ conference, which poured millions of dollars into a competitive effort. Yet against all odds it was EWTN that prospered, while the lavishly funded effort by the bishops’ conference disappeared from the scene without leaving a trace.

Here's how he looks at the "Francis effect":

So let me ask the question again. Could there be something stirring within the Church: a subterranean rumbling, a movement for renewal that could burst forth to change the religious landscape? Since his election in March 2013, Pope Francis has prodded us all—not only Catholics, but the whole world—to look upon the work of the Church in a new way. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that Pope Francis wants the Church to look at the world in a new way: with eyes fixed resolutely outward, concentrating first on the needs of our neighbors rather than on the internal housekeeping of Catholic institutions. His unconventional approach has caused some confusion—even a sense of disorientation—among faithful Catholics. But his popularity is undeniable. Thanks to “the Francis effect,” many more people are interested in the Catholic Church. People are asking questions about the Church, wondering if there is something about Catholicism that they have not quite understood. Yes, it is a time of great uncertainty; but it is also a time ripe for evangelization.

A lot of goofy ideas are floating to the surface recently, and they are based on a "spirit of Pope Francis" rather than authentic Catholic teaching. Some of these ideas floated up in a homily I heard recently given by a priest visiting from San Francisco. The man cherry-picked from every source he used—not just the pope's words—and served up the kind of thin gruel that turned the mainline protestant churches into ghost towns in the 20th century. I might blog about that in more detail later. The fact that I am able to communicate on the subject on this blog is the kind of thing that gives me hope. Good useful ideas will push out the useless, dopey ones. People will take the meat over the gruel when it is presented to them; that's the key.

A great religious revival does not necessarily begin with a formal announcement, and the people who take part in it do not necessarily realize that they are part of a historical movement. Decades from now, historians may look back and declare that a resurgence of the Catholic faith had already begun in the early years of the 21st century. They may even say that you and I helped to start it! And if a religious revival is gathering force in America today, it is arriving just in time to save our society from disaster.

In this book I am examining the influence of the Catholic Church on society, rather than on individual souls. Theoretically, I suppose, it is conceivable that a spiritual revival could occur without producing dramatic effects on society. But in practice, a vigorous movement of faith always produces social effects. A spirit of worship—of “cult” in the classical sense—cult gives birth to a culture.

By the way, this is not a brand new or unique approach to bringing the Gospel to the world. Opus Dei has been pushing this approach for years since its inception. It's actually the real intention of the Vatican II council which is supposed to be about the Catholic laity's role in the world, not the laity's role in the Church.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

I'm listening to this over and over and over again

Funk gods.

"There's naught wrong with gala luncheons!"

"There's more to life than culture." Awesome line.

One-size-fits-all doesn't lower prices

Here's a sobering article about reality in the wake of Obamacare's utopian promises. 400,000 people get cancellation notices from their health insurers. Here's my favorite excerpt:

As a replacement, Regence BlueShield is offering her a plan for $79 more a month with a deductible twice as large as what she pays now, but which limits her potential out-of-pocket costs to $6,250 a year, including the deductible.

“My impression was...there would be a lot more choice, driving some of the rates down,” said Malean, who does not believe she is eligible for a subsidy.

Regence spokeswoman Rachelle Cunningham said the new plans offer consumers broader benefits, which “in many cases translate into higher costs.”

Why would you think there would be a lot more choice with greater regulations? These companies have to offer more benefits under the regulations of the Obamacare law. A consumer must by a high-end plan. The only reason I can keep my plan for the present is that it is a grandfathered plan, i.e., I've had it since long before 2010. But I am paying much more for it, trust me.

Liberals love one-size-fits-all. It's a corollary to their fetish about equality. "Spread the misery around" should be their motto.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Oh, come now

Pauli, where do you get this stuff? Really.

A "giant leap" for women's hair styles

More synchronicity. Hat tip goes to my wife for sending me a link to this site, along with the note "Thought you would appreciate the absurdity of this." Perhaps since my own "hairdo" makes my head look like a full moon. But apparently you ladies can harness the power of the moon to achieve beautiful hair.

There's nothing like tidal-wavy hair.

Friday, October 18, 2013

It joins all

Causally connectable, man.

Sub-atomic laws, baby.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

From Turtle Boy to Rag Picker

"That's the way he wants it!"

The Peanuts do "Peanuts"

Wow, never saw this one before now. This is a companion piece to the one I knew about, arguably funnier; I was laughing almost the whole way through. When Snoopy does his dance to the Andy Summers shred solo....

...way too much, man. LOL for real. I just marvel at this sort of thing.

Peanuts was always one of my faves from the Police debut. A cool video would be one of Sting, Summers and Copeland watching these to get a reaction.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A Southern Boy, Too Many Parisian Oysters, and the Stressors of a Good Life

Apparently making a good enough living typing at home about God and Man that his wife doesn't have to work, banking a near million dollar book advance and hectoring others about how to live while eating Parisian oysters on multiple elective vacation trips to Europe is far more stressful and unhealthful than anyone knew. I asked my invisible, anonymous friend Maria, the journalistic source of all my unverifiable anecdotes and a single mom of four who cleans bathrooms at the Greyhound station when her Walmart shift is over, what she thought of this:

So, I went to see the rheumatologist about my chronic mono. Tests were ordered, but his considered opinion is that my immune system has broken down because of persistent and serious stress. He will see me in three weeks to go over the test results, but predicts that the answer for me will be “trying to find inner peace.”

He said that, this physician, talking like a priest. He told me he sees this a lot in his practice these days: people’s immune systems being unable to cope with multiple stressors. Who knew?

Tears streaming down a face pallid and doughy from years of night work at two jobs and a diet of Big Macs and takeout tacos, Maria could only shriek in agony at the top of her lungs, "WHO KNEW!? WHO KNEW!?", and then she broke down completely, and then while trying to console her I started sobbing uncontrollably with her, and I'm sorry, folks, I'll try to finish this when I can finally compos

Not an ostrich

Recent insinuations that I don't take serious problems in the Catholic Church seriously are perplexing to me. My first instinct is to link to some previous posts which should make the point that I'm not being some kind of head-burying ostrich.

Tom's and my remarks on Pope Francis "hysteria"

St. Ignatius School in Cleveland assigns crap for summer reading

Leaving no doubt I think Faithful Citizenship is garbage

Georgetown: A Lapsed Catholic University?

Dr. Jeff Mirus ponders formal excommunications

Weigel on the "Bernardin Era"

Do we really need so many Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist?

Cleveland Micro-schism

Bishop Aquila corrects Pelosi's distortions of Catholic teaching

Father Michael Phleger wigs out in Obama's church

But if you don't really have time to read a bunch of boring old posts, I offer this one to you. Ed Peters on the "perpetual state of collapse." It may shed some light on my attitude. I hope my posture is one of resolution and recollection and not shrugging stoicism. Feel free to contest this as always, using libelous "ad hominem" arguments and vuvuzelas if necessary.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Everybody sing!

Let's give it up for Toots and the Maytals!

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Tea-hadist

72 virgins for the Tea Party:

Thomas Jefferson is weeping, and not just for the cheapass theft of copy.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

So how does Rod Dreher actually practice his beliefs out in the real world?

Brave Sir Roddy stamps his foot and runs away. Takes a powder. Hits the road, Jack. Becomes a late Catholic (or parrot, depending on your species). Bats for the other team in protest.

He explains here:

In a few minutes, I’m going to walk over to the courthouse and vote either Democrat or Libertarian as a protest, which is to say, I’m throwing my vote away to object to the Tea Party. The current crisis in Washington is the last straw.

His very first commenter, sk, wonders how this makes a bit of sense at all:

sk says:   
October 12, 2013 at 1:05 pm   

“Jay Morris is pro-life, pro-gun, and pro-traditional marriage! Jay Morris will lead the fight to build the wall along Mexico and protect our nation’s borders!

… The single most important action facing our Congress is to defund Obamacare.”

I really don’t get what is wrong with these statements, per your own standards. He wants to restrict abortion, he wants to restrict illegal immigration, and he wants to restrict gay marriage. He wants to defund Obamacare. He also believes in the right to bear arms, and supports freedoms related to gun ownership. I feel like I understand pretty clearly where he stands.

Are you expecting him to write a replacement for Obamacare (perhaps his own 3,000 page alternative document)? Are you expecting a freshman congressman to have a plan for rewriting the laws in these five issues? Are you expecting that a freshman congressman that you vote for will have any direct, independent power to do any of these things? You are the political analyst: as you know, freshman congressman basically have the power to vote.

So perhaps you expect each candidate for their first time in national office to understand the legal and bureaucratic outlines of how to genuinely make changes on the five hot button issues of our time, to have written appropriate legislation to say how they would independently change things, and then acknowledge that they actually won’t have the power (due to their inexperience and freshman status) to do any of it?

I’m just not getting your complaint.


Rod feels exactly the same way, then goes on to explain why voting for this Republican candidate is the wrong approach, but voting for the Democrat or Libertarian instead in protest is the right one:

[NFR: For immigration restriction? Me too. But "build a wall along the Mexican border" is unreasonable, and I don't think he really means it. I think he's pandering to anti-immigrant sentiment. And if he does mean it, that's worse, because it's crazy to think we could build a wall that long. Against abortion? Me too. But what is he going to do about it, given the realities of the Supreme Court's rulings? What can be done in the real world? I'd like to know. He doesn't say. Gun ownership? I probably agree with him, but I don't get the level of panic many conservatives have over the issue. On Obamacare, you know what I would like to see? Republican Congressmen talking about how Obamacare can be reformed. For better of for worse, defunding the thing is not going to happen. They're tilting at windmills. I get that he hates Obamacare. That was a respectable position two years ago. Today, though, Obamacare is in place. Continuing to fight its very existence is futile, and dramatically hurting the party. That all these GOP candidates are taking these maximalist positions, despite the political realities on the ground having changed, is very discouraging. It tells me that conservatives who don't like Obamacare are going to lose bigtime because these Tea Party people are unwilling to compromise at all. If it's all-or-nothing, and you lose, then your side gets nothing. -- RD]

See, it works like this. As long as everything is theoretical, whether religion or politics or "culture", Dreher's catch-all term for that vast universe of things he doesn't understand and can't articulate, it's all good. There aren't any consequences in theory, except, of course, only theoretical ones. It's safe and warm in theory, because theory doesn't have to exert and defend itself out in the real world, only real choice and action does. If you're only theoretically a conservative, everyone can still like you, because you haven't actually done anything real to them out in the world through any sort of boots on the ground political action. You haven't taken any less than perfect actions that might get you scorned or laughed at. You can "be" against abortion and your friend's wife, who just had one, will still invite you over for dinner, because you're harmless. You're safe, like your wife or girlfriend's gay guy friend. Better to stay safe, not like those actual real world Republicans whose hands, unlike Pilate's, can never be absolutely, perfectly clean.

Of course, in theory, safe you hasn't actually restricted abortion, or illegal immigration, or gay marriage, or anything else worth doing either, but you are still a hero, because of course you believe in heroism. And you just know that, when exactly the right opportunity presents itself, you'll be that hero you believe in, or that conservative. Because that's how the world works. In theory. And in the 8-year-old mind.

Unless, of course, the porridge or the Congressman is not just exactly right, the way you demand they should be. Then you can play your get-out-of-heroism card, because, you know, they're not playing by your rules. Rod's all for the theoretical conservative bowl of porridge, you see. It's just that, just as with the case of his personal Rodist Catholicism, out in the real world where there isn't any theoretical Conservative Party, only Democrats or Republicans, the real world Republicans haven't made the porridge exactly the way Rod would have prepared it in his own theoretical kitchen. Too hot perhaps. Or too cold. Maybe not seasoned to perfection. And what sort of hero eats an imperfect actual porridge? I mean, really? Or remains a communicant in an imperfect Catholic Church? Or votes for a real Republican Congressman over a theoretical conservative one? Or a Democrat?

So the only way for Rod to really register the depths of his developmentally arrested, petulant rejection of the imperfect real adult world that won't conform to his childish, imaginary demands is to vote for that Republican Congressman's Democrat opponent. That'll show them how he wants his porridge. That'll show them all!

Makes perfect sense to me.

Coda: so how did Rod really vote? Only he knows. Hell, he might have even voted Republican, for that very same Congressman he tore apart in his blog post. So what? What difference does it make? As with all things Rod, the important thing here is not what Rod actually did, but what he talked about doing. Oh, not what he talked about doing to further conservatism, or to restrict abortion, or illegal immigration, or gay marriage, or to preserve religious liberty. What he talked about doing that parroted what the Obamacons who pay him want to hear said about their political opponents. About Republican Congressmen running for office.

So maybe Rod Dreher really is a principled, man of action conservative after all - at least when it comes to conserving his own livelihood. When it comes to actually standing and fighting for anything else, though...

Brave Sir Roddy ran away.
Bravely ran away, away.
When real world choice it reared it's head
He bravely turned his tail and fled.
Yes Brave Sir Roddy turned about
He gallantly chickened out.

Bravely taking to his feet
He beat a very brave retreat.
Oh bravest of the brave, Sir Roddy.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Pope Praises Radical Catholic Group

Pope Francis praises the radical Catholic group Knights of Columbus.

Vatican City, 10 October 2013 (VIS) – “I wish to express my gratitude for the unfailing support which your Order has always given to the works of the Holy See”, began the Holy Father's address to the Knights of Columbus, whom he received in audience this morning in the Sala Clementina of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, on the occasion of a meeting held by the Order in Rome. He thanked them for their prayers and witness of faith, and concern for brothers and sisters in need.

Swords are pretty radical, don't you think? I always carry a couple in my trunk. Our Lord told us to do it, so you should carry one or two as well.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

"Caught like a rabbit"

Love the dude's voice.

Props to Destiny for saying what needs to be said

I was appalled at the clownish females dressed in pink parading down Center Ridge about a month or two ago, tying up traffic and causing me to feel embarrassment for the ridiculous-looking participants. It was some type of breast cancer walk, I guess, You know to raise awareness about breast cancer, yada, yada, yada. (Wow, I had no idea women could actually get cancer in their breasts, did you? Why aren't the Republicans and the people who own Wal-mart doing something about that?!) There was a huge bread truck with some type of risque boobie theme on the side. I forget the exact innuendo; unmemorable at this point in my life. There were SAVE THE TA-TAS signs everywhere, etc. I only had one son with me and we were going to get his new glasses, so that was probably a small blessing. He did ask me what everyone was doing and I told him the official line: "They are making sure everyone knows about breast cancer." What I wanted to say is "These women are making absolute clowns of themselves in public because they've been brainwashed to think they are doing something helpful."

This is why Destiny's rant is welcome on the even worse phenomenon of Boob-sta-gram, a risque cleavage-picture-rating site which brazenly claims to be about promoting cancer awareness. Her title is true and carries the apropros amount of bluntness: This Just In: Letting Dudes Jerk Off To Your Rack Will Not Cure Breast Cancer.

It might give a giggle (among other things) to the men... if you even want to call them that... who thought up this stupid gimmick, but contrary to popular belief "No Bra Day" is just another dumb ploy to turn young women into pieces of porn. The idea behind the campaign is to raise awareness by going braless on the 13th and then posting pics or your chi-chi's on the internet. Hate to break it to ya, but this will NOT raise breast cancer awareness, ladies. Unless of course "breast cancer awareness" is your gross little codename for trouser tents.

As a matter of fact, a friend of a friend had a wonderful idea just in case the sleazeballs behind this "campaign" really did want to raise awareness...

"If you want to use pictures... show women who have lost their breasts to a mastectomy! Now THAT might scare women into being aware and getting those all important mammograms... but of course MEN won't want to see that."

Of course not. But that's not the point here anyway, is it?

Destiny is a new feminist, pro-life, happily married with kids and realistic about the difference between men and women. She is appropriately funny even when she's incensed. Some people need to read this kind of take-down because these sleazeballs slap a "BREAST CANCER AWARENESS" label on their exploitation site, proclaim it edgy, fun and original, and some people won't think there's anything harmful about it. That's the problem: people don't think, the corollary is that women don't think, men think with their nads, and those facts explains why this kind of thing has 16,000+ Facebook likes.

One of the reasons young women fall for this is because they bought the old guard feminist mantra that this sort of flaunting of their feminine charms empowers them. But even the old guard feminists would realize this website isn't breast cancer prevention but merely what Destiny says it is, jerk off material. The people which are empowered most by women exposing themselves are men who wish to target them and use them. This turns them into lesser beings as well so, in the end, everyone is exploited and made more miserable.