Saturday, August 3, 2013


A reader sent me this comment on Rod Dreher's post Everything as Miserabilism. The reader had attempted to post it in the combox over there, but it was not approved. That's OK; we'll just read it and discuss it here. If the reader wants to claim the comment, the reader might do so in the combox; I'm posting this with permission. I really don't think Dreher reads this blog, at least not very much.

RD: Everything As Miserabilism

Certainly somewhere, somehow, in all of this there has got to be a tie-in to The Little Way of Ruthie Leming.

Maybe Ruthie was a kind of anti-miserabilist.

RD: At the end of my years as a Catholic, I had allowed anger over the abuse scandal to become almost the only way I could relate to the Catholic Church.

This is about the 10th thousand time you have reminded everybody about this. We are getting weary and miserable hearing about it, yet one more time. I suspect you might be having a bout of miserabilism here because miserabilists love to remind everybody not only about all their present miseries but all their past ones as well.

Perhaps, anti-miserabilists make miserabilists especially miserable in that the miserabilists obsess about what it is about those anti-miserabilists that makes them so dang un-miserable. I imagine that some miserabilists, being so obsessed with this perplexing issue, can concoct some very elaborate and far-reaching theories regarding the nature of Anti-Miserabilism.

Miserabilists might say to themselves something like this: “Why are all these dang anti-miserabilists not properly miserable like us? It just cannot be right. Don’t they know what’s going on in the world? Don’t they know that there’s something wrong with Kansas? There has got to be some kind of connection to anthropology or philosophy here! Maybe there’s this cultural predisposition among some backwards people that causes them to be anti-miserable when they should be cultivating all the proper feelings of misery that advanced people like ourselves have? After all, to be miserable is to be enlightened and refined and educated. Or maybe it is the food the anti-miserabilists eat? They are not getting the necessary nutrients and gastronomic experiences needed to render them properly miserable like us. Or maybe they listen to too much Fox News or Rush Limbaugh and they just don’t read enough profound and intellectual books like we do? They just need to study more Ludwig Wittgenstein or Søren Kierkegaard or Arthur Schopenhauer! Or Friedrich Nietzsche! Ah, we know! There has got to be a Unified Field Theory of Miserabilism. That explains it. It must be like matter and anti-matter meeting each other, except that instead of everything disappearing in a flash of gamma rays, their Anti-Misery Field causes our Misery Field to become even more amplified, thus making us even more miserable.”

Now here are my comments. Let's start off with some self-plagiarizing from two years ago. I made this in response to the anonymous Orthodox commenter; I provide his/her comment in italics:

There is no reason ever to convert to the Orthodox Christian faith unless one genuinely believes that it is the true faith. From the beginning, the signals from Mr. Dreher were that he did not convert to Orthodoxy because he believed it was the truth, but only because it was not the Catholic religion. It was sad to witness.

Thanks for this, Reader, you speak wisdom. We can't know for sure what is going on in someone's mind, but the evidence supports your balanced analysis.

If there is one thing I am trying to bring to light in my posts about Rod Dreher it is that he is haunted by the Catholic Church day and night. He can't stop writing about his Catholic experiences even when he tries to write about something else. He can't stop criticizing the Catholic church even when he is in the midst of criticizing a different church. He has become the professional ex-Catholic which he claimed to loathe. I see only one happy ending for Rod and that's to come back to the Catholic church quietly and take a seven year hiatus from writing about religion. If he can't bring himself to do the first, the least he could do would be to try the second.

I still stand by these words, and I'm still trying to hope that he does come back. People who consider themselves friends with Rod who are Catholic are certainly hoping that he returns. And they know that he knows that they want him to return to the church.

Here are my last thoughts about the matter. On the day I converted to the Catholic faith as an adult, a priest gave a group of us a talk basically stating that what we were about to do was one of the most serious and consequential things anyone could do. Based on that he said “No one will think or feel any less of you if you get up and leave and decide you don’t want to go through with it.” Something like that. I don’t know if Rod heard the same thing, but it really doesn’t matter—as a potential convert embracing the faith you know it already. I lost a lot of friends by converting, and my family was more religious than Rod’s so there were harder feelings there. Joining the Catholic church isn’t something you do on a whim. However it seems to me that Rod may have left on a whim. I wouldn’t be surprised if the man has tremendous guilt feelings about leaving the Church, and he is constantly “kicking against the goads” so to speak, and blogging endlessly about his departure is his continuing attempt at catharsis.

I don't think it's working. He's been at this for years now. We notice that the man's miserabilism about Catholicism flares up whenever there is Catholic stuff in the news. Flannery O’Connor famously stated that she didn’t know if the American South was Christ-centered, but it definitely was “Christ-haunted”. And along those lines, I believe that this man is haunted by the Catholic Church.


...Ripple is stuck in my head. So you guys all get to share the wealth.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

How "Gun Free Zones" work

Do not try this at home. Or anywhere else.

I repeat: do not try this at home.

"Don't worry, it's going to be all right."

I think I'm right, I hope I'm right

Along the lines of Kaitlyn Hunt's mom's 370% inflation of the number of sexually active teens, here's another inaccuracy from the Daily Beast which, I believe, overstates deviant sexual behavior. This time its an X-rated film star advising Sydney Leathers—the most popular of the Weiner Girls—not to start down the road of pornography unless she intends to go "all in", so to speak. Here's the line I care about:

Most people have sent a sexy text or steamy photo, so they can empathize.

She obviously means "most people I hang out with have sent a sexy text or steamy photo...." When she writes "sexy text" she is obviously talking about messages akin to the Anthony Weiner/Sydney Leathers conversations which go way beyond flirtation and suggestiveness. It seems to me like both she and Kelly Hunt Smith are projecting their experiences in their world onto the larger population who have far more propriety and/or self-control. And then she suggests that anyone who has sent a "sexy text or steamy photo" would "empathize, meaning they would toy with the idea "hey, maybe I can make a sex tape and make a bunch of money."

Well, it's disturbing that anyone at all considers or follows through on these horrible errors in judgment and gives into gross indecency. I hope she's wrong in her assessment of how "most people" behave and think, I hope I'm right—that's how I'll end this.

"Not the first time or the last time we'll have been had."

O. J. Simpson is back in the news, so it's an occasion to post one of my favorite prank calls ever. The lust for news really put the hook in Jennings and company. The idea that a guy who talked like this lived in O. J. Simpson's white bread neighborhood is pretty ludicrous, but the screeners obviously overlooked this clue.

Steampunk Convention

So awkward. So painful. So funny.

Kind of makes the "crazy lady" who hangs out at your cathedral all day seem not so crazy.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Winner of "The most helpful critical review"

Check it out. So far, according to Amazon, I have written the "Most helpful critical review" of The Little Way of Ruthie Leming: A Southern Girl, a Small Town, and the Secret of a Good Life. So raise a glass of whatever floats your Cajun Shrimp Boat. "I'd like to thank the academy, God, my agent..." etc. etc....

I'd also like to say thank you to you awesome readers for marking my review helpful. If you have time, please go over and mark other reviews not helpful, especially if they read like this one:

If you have a book club, PLEASE CHOOSE THIS BOOK. The minute I finished Little Way, I knew I wanted to recommend it to my book club. It is a story that is rich with the complex themes of life, and you don't need to have chosen any of the paths Mr. Dreher did in order to enjoy it. I live in a big city, I have no siblings or any kind of extended family, I'm not religious. I loved the book, and I was bursting at the seams to discuss it with other people. My book club read it and you will be amazed at the different ways it reaches people. There are so many discussions to be had--what does community mean? Can one have community in a big city? What is the nature of forgiveness? One aspect of the book which I have never see covered in any of the reviews is the way one deals with the news of cancer. The way Ruthie dealt with the news and how she related it to her children was, it seemed to me, quite different from what is considered the 'acceptable', current approach. That, in and of itself, is a long and thoughtful exchange of views. Really, this book will set a gold standard for group discussion.

Or maybe this one:

I might have finished this tale much more quickly, had I not had to physically close my Kindle in order to halt the uncontrollable sobbing which blurred the words and made it impossible to continue time and again. I did not know Ruthie Dreher, or her brother, until I read his account. I had only briefly met "his tireless Julie" and Lucas in a chance encounter at the Daniel Clinic, but was curiously drawn to her references of having moved back here to be with Rod's family. Later that week I found out from Mrs. Johnette Rettig that Mrs. Dorothy Dreher's back porch was the magical place my 7 year old spoke of so often, where "the Lady with the pet deer" allowed him to feed them from his hands. An indelible mark on my newly countrified son who had recently moved to this small town with his Brother, Father, and I. There are countless highlights in my electronic version, too numerable to list, but suffice it to say that this book moved me deeply. And Christian Daniel Tregle is right...those kind of things do happen here. All the time. I am undeservedly privileged to call this place home.

And especially this one:

What a great story that reminds us about family, faith and love. A great read for all many ages. Wow!

Wow, indeed. If you provide this feedback for so many of the 5-star reviews—not all, but many—you'll be doing a great service to mankind. And you probably have free time on your hands if you're reading this.

New book by Samuel Gregg: Tea Party Catholic

This will probably irritate all the right people. Here's the pitch on the Amazon page.

Over the past fifty years, increasing numbers of American Catholics have abandoned the economic positions associated with Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and chosen to embrace the principles of economic freedom and limited government: ideals upheld by Ronald Reagan and the Tea Party movement but also deeply rooted in the American Founding. This shift, alongside America’s growing polarization around economic questions, has generated fierce debates among Catholic Americans in recent years. Can a believing Catholic support free markets? Does the Catholic social justice commitment translate directly into big government? Do limited government Catholic Americans have something unique to contribute to the Church’s thinking about the economic challenges confronting all Catholics around the globe?

In Tea Party Catholic, Samuel Gregg draws upon Catholic teaching, natural law theory, and the thought of the only Catholic Signer of America’s Declaration of Independence, Charles Carroll of Carrollton—the first “Tea Party Catholic”—to develop a Catholic case for the values and institutions associated with the free economy, limited government, and America’s experiment in ordered liberty. Beginning with the nature of freedom and human flourishing, Gregg underscores the moral and economic benefits of business and markets as well as the welfare state’s problems. Gregg then addresses several related issues that divide Catholics in America. These include the demands of social justice, the role of unions, immigration, poverty, and the relationship between secularism and big government.

Above all, Gregg underlines how economic freedom’s corrosion in America is undermining the United States’ robust commitment to religious liberty—a principle integral not only to the American Founding and the life of Charles Carroll but also the teaching of the Second Vatican Council. As a creative minority, Gregg argues, limited government Catholics can help transform the wider movement to reground the United States upon the best insights of the American Experiment—and thereby save that Experiment itself.

Should be interesting.

Let's go down to the ol' scratchin' tree

New saying: "Are you kidding me? Do bears scratch their backs in the woods??"

Buena all the time!

A little late '70s party band music from Texas for y'all: 

I told you I had Dreher fatigue.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Love your mugshot, man.

Ladies and gentlemen, Russell Malone & co!

Anthony Weiner Caption Contest

Sourpuss Huma's obviously thinking, "Where's my burqa?" but the caption I'm looking for is what Señor Danger is proclaiming with his hands in this interesting position.

Dennis Prager: "There is great benefit to the liberal sinner in being a liberal."

I commend Dennis Prager for being able to write an article like this. No Weiner jokes, just straight-ahead wisdom and truth about the widespread evidence that liberalism enables bad behavior. (Of course I appreciate Weiner jokes as much as the next conservative male....) Excerpt:

Consider the example of the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. He had been expelled from college for paying someone to take his exams. His role in the death of a woman with whom he spent an evening would have sent almost anyone without his family name to prison -- or would have at least resulted in prosecution for negligent homicide. And he spent decades using so many women in so public a way that stories about his sex life were routinely told in Washington. Read the 9,000-word 1990 article in GQ by Michael Kelly, who a few years later became the editor of the New Republic.

When this unimpressive man started espousing liberal positions, speaking passionately about the downtrodden in society, it recalled the unimpressive students who marched on behalf of civil rights, peace and love.

It is quite likely that Ted Kennedy came to believe in the positions that he took. But I also suspect that he found espousing those positions invaluable to his self-image and to his public image: "Look at what a moral man I am after all." And liberal positions were all that mattered to the left and to the liberal media that largely ignored such lecherous behavior as the "waitress sandwich" he made in a Washington, D.C. restaurant with another prominent liberal, former Senator Chris Dodd.

Boy, you said it, Chewie!

Hilarious. An intense yet civil argument.

Diane, this is for you and all other dog lovers out there.


It is you.

You know, I think I'll take this opportunity to just thank everyone who reads my blog and especially those who comment. I think you guys are some of the smartest people I know. I know we've never met in "real life", but maybe we will sometime. I hope so.

Sometimes I read the comments people leave here to my wife and she gets as big a kick as I do. I always tell her that I really don't deserve such a large return on such a small investment. That might sound like false humility to you guys since you naturally think I'm great, but she's married to me in real life so she knows better.

One of my real life friends told me once, "You know, you're pretty good at this blogging thing." I laughed—he doesn't read many blogs. But it's sort of like owning a business, being able to say "I'm incorporated." People are impressed by that fact alone, never mind it's not really any more of an accomplishment than owning a trumpet. Making something out of a business, turning a profit with it is the accomplishment which is analogous to making pleasant sounds come out of the trumpet rather than bad fart simulations.

Starting a blog isn't that hard. Keeping people interested in reading it is, and that's where you fellows and ladies come in. You all post a lot more copy than I do, especially keeping in mind that we're all hobbyists here. We've had a lot of great discussions and great laughs together, and you've all carried as much water as I have to keep things rolling. My hope is that we can keep this thing going and going and going for years and years.

I observed recently that some blogs run professionally which get huge amounts of hits and readership suddenly become inaccessible when they are no longer generating income. My intention is to not let that happen to Est Quod Est, regardless of how many people ever read it. I hope it becomes a small part of the real life of everyone who reads it.

From Genesis to Revelation

Monday, July 29, 2013

Demand Full Benghazi Investigation

Sign the petition.

Anniversary gift warning for dudes

Guys, don't be stupid, talk to her friends if you're clueless.

Don't buy your wife a bankrupt city!!

"I want steak-ums."

Kaitlyn Hunt Update

I posted earlier about the Kaitlyn Hunt case which originally had a bunch of hysterical homophiles flipping out. R. S. McCain has a good update from earlier this month.

There has been further Facebook ranting by Kaitlyn Hunt’s mother Kelley Hunt Smith this past week that I haven’t had the stomach to transcribe, but part of which involves her reiteration of some of her favorite themes: She feels her daughter is being “singled out” for prosecution; this prosecution is wrong because it is a consenting “relationship,” because the girls are relatively close in age, and because the girls went to school together. At one point in her long rant, KHS wrote:

“I will continue to fight for Kate, and to change the laws to actually protect teenagers from being prosecuted as felons for doing what 99.9% of teenagers are doing all over the world.”

Uh … “99.9% percent”? Are 99.9% of teenagers having sex?

No, actually not. According to one national study, “27% of youth ages 14-17 were sexually active during the survey year.” And that data was cited in a 2005 U.S. Department of Justice study about reported cases of statutory rape, which K.J. Copp called to my attention. The study is quite relevant because it demonstrates that Kaitlyn Hunt (the 18-year-old Florida girl charged with two felony counts for having sex with a 14-year-old) is not being “singled out.” In fact, laying aside the same-sex nature of her case, it’s actually typical.

The Support Honest site is still the place to go to understand the truth about the case. It has been updated since I linked to it earlier.

Here is a comment posted on McCain's site. If it's true, it's good news. But I'm not going to bother trying to verify it. I'm not going to any of these whacko's Facebook pages.

I don't know if you have been watching but the facebook group has lost almost 4000 followers in the last 2 weeks or so, it seems like people are waking up, either that or they are banning people en masse over there.