What Inclusion Really Means

The university library is running a promotional campaign to assure students that they are, indeed, welcome inside, where the books are found.  The suggestion, as you shall see, is that many are presently skirting the library because they fear that bigots may haunt the stacks, and that hurtful words may be heard among the whispers.  Apparently it is this rumor of hostility (and not, say, ubiquitous access to the worldwide web) that has rendered the postmodern library such a forlorn and desolate place. Continue reading

Christianity, the Religion with No Benefits

You may have seen the article in the New York Times entitled “Christian Leaders Denounce Trump’s Plan to Favor Christian Refugees.” If not, and if you are not already struggling with suicidal depression, you can read it here.  This article reminds us, once again, that Christianity is the religion with no benefits.  Members pay dues, of course, but the table they spread is open to everyone. Continue reading

The Cure for Fascism is Almost Always More Fascism

Accusing people of fascism seems to be all the rage nowadays.  A popular jingle puts it this way:

No Trump!  No K.K.K!  No fascist U.S.A!

Getting the meter right is a little tricky at first, but as this jingle is almost always a mob chant, newbies seldom have to go it alone.  If you try it at home, I suggest that it is most fun to really dig into the three K’s, so that they sound like the rat-tat-tat of a pistol firing, and then stress the first syllable of the word Fascist in what the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins called sprung rhythm.  Don’t repeat the rat-tat-tat effect with the U, S, and A., though, since this trips up the meter. Continue reading

Repudiate the False, I Say!

Reading Isegoria this morning, this paragraph jumped out at me.

Offering kids the opportunity to pursue what they’d like, freed from societal expectations, is an undeniably positive thing — whether it has to do with toys, clothing, or their future aspirations. But the scientific reality is that it’s futile to treat children as blank slates with no predetermined characteristics.

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After Lust, Disgust

“From whence commeth these swimmings of the brain, these headaches, this continual heaviness to sleep, this gripe of stomach, these fiery eyes, this weakness of sight, this stiffness of sinews, this palsy, these stinking breaths, these hot burning agues these ulcers in the legs, and a thousand other such like, save only of drunkenness?” (Filippo Beroaldo, A Contention Between Three Brethren [1581])

I was reminded of this passage this morning as I examined a mug shot in our local newspaper.  This showed the puffy and somewhat blotched face of a young woman recently arrested on a charge that she “hit a man she was dating with a metal baseball bat.”  “That,” I said to myself, “is the face of a boozehound who has very recently tied one on.”  I cannot, of course, attest her “stinking breath,” but there was no mistaking that diagnostic combination of “heaviness to sleep,” “burning agues” and “fiery eyes.”  “That,” I said to myself once again, “ is the face of a woman in the grip of profound disgust.” Continue reading

An Ogre Hates My Patch of Blue Sky

“Once religious imagination and yearning have departed from a culture, the lowest, grimmest, most tedious level of material existence becomes not just one of reality’s unpleasant aspects, but in some sense the limit that marks the ‘truth’ of things.” (David Bentley Hart, In the Aftermath (2009)

For years I have had a recurrent daydream.  It may have originated as a sleeping dream, but it is now a staple of my waking imagination.  This daydream steals over me whenever I feel myself slipping under the anesthetic of a committee meeting, or I am forced to wander through a wasteland of what Hart calls “epic drabness,” or I am closeted with a vampiric atheist who invites me to loosen my collar and close my eyes.  With this daydream, my imagination proposes that all of these experiences are, at bottom, one and the same experience.  I am of a romantic disposition, so I take the propositions of my imagination very seriously. Continue reading