“I Pledge Allegiance . . .”

My task today is to compose a panegyric to the globalist world order.  Not here in this post, but in the manuscript I have just now pushed aside, feeling the need for some fresh air.  The panegyric is part of an application for the certification of certain geography courses as satisfying certain requirements in the education of a global citizen.  This education touches on the origin and operation of the globalist world order, but really dwells on what I would call personal devotion to that order.  Continue reading

“What ha’ ye done?”

A Catholic friend once told me of a Protestant who said that he doubted Catholics actually believe the doctrine of transubstantiation. This Protestant said that if he were proceeding up the aisle to receive what he believed were the body and blood of Christ, he would do so on his knees, his eyes ablaze and his hands atremble. Perhaps this is true, but I doubt he would have done any such thing. I believe he would have shambled up the aisle, picking his nose and scratching his butt, just like everyone else. Continue reading

Blackwashing the Maid of Orleans

“Earth, the Bedlam of the universe!
Where Reason . . . runs mad,
And nurses Folly’s children as her own.”
(Edward Young, Night Thoughts [1742-1745]).

Last fall I noted that the Folger Shakespeare Library was staging Anthony and Cleopatra with the African-American actress Shirine Babb in the lead female role.  This morning’s mail brings notice that the Folger is about to host a performance of George Bernard Shaw’s Saint Joan, with the African-American actress Dria Brown playing the Maid of Orleans.  Continue reading

Some Slogans of Satanic Audacity

I passed a university bus this morning, and emblazoned on its side was the slogan “Driven to be Unstoppable.”  All of the university’s busses presently sport such bumptious sentiments as part of an ongoing “national reputation campaign.” The eponymous slogan of this campaign is “Fearless on Every Front,” and the obvious purpose of the campaign is to raise awareness (and money) with some lively tub thumping. Continue reading

Profiles in Prurience

“For she had a tongue with a tang,
Would cry to a sailor, ‘Go hang!’
She loved not the savor of tar nor of pitch,
Yet a tailor might scratch her where’er she did itch.
(Shakespeare The Tempest, ii, 2)

The adjective prurient has long signified an inflamed sexual appetite.  We have this word prurient from the Latin prurire, which literally means “to itch,” and our language has recognized the metaphorical “itches” of various importunate hankerings for a very long time.  Metaphorical prurience was most strongly associated with the itch for venery, whether in a woman or a man, as can be seen in the epigram above, but the metaphor always had wider application. Continue reading

Whores and Gamblers, Gamblers and Whores

“The whore and gambler, by the state
Licensed, build that nation’s fate;
The harlot’s cry from street to street
Shall weave Old England’s winding sheet;
The winner’s shout, the loser’s curse,
Shall dance before dead England’s hearse.”
William Blake “Auguries of Innocence” (1803)

If you ask a modern man to define a “whore,” he will most likely tell you that it is an archaic and prejudiced name for a “sex-worker.” In other words, he agrees with Elton John that a whore is a “sweet painted lady” who is “getting paid for being laid.”  He may chuckle roguishly and mutter something about “the world’s oldest profession.” Continue reading

A Pleasing Array of Spines (Or the Catharsis of Culling One’s Library)

Commenting on my latest post, Thomas Bertonneau mentioned some reflections he had had while culling his library. His particular reflection was that many of the books he had been obliged to read in graduate school were distinctly repulsive volumes. That they should be discarded he never questioned, his only doubt being whether fire might be safer than the landfill. Cracking the covers of a once-celebrated slab of postmodern lit-crit was, as often as not, like cracking the cover of a long-forgotten Tupperware container from the back of the refrigerator. Poor Thomas recoiled from the metaphysical odor of dead and rotten things. Continue reading