Grab Bag 6/27/11

Here’s today’s condensed grab bag, concurrently Tweeted and Facebooked:

Apropos of the Tiger Mother kerfuffle, you might want to read Lori Gottlieb’s How to Land Your Kid In Therapy at the Atlantic.

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. Every generation of parents screws up their kids. Or every generation of kids screws up and blames its parents.

The Orthodox Church tends to teach, consistent with some very early Church Fathers, that we do crazy things because of the fear of death, which fear holds us captive. I dare say a feral child would be screwed up without parents and would fear death. And I dare say parents do crazy things to their kids because of the fear of death. Ever see a parent trying to re-live life through their children? If you haven’t, you aren’t paying attention.


I’m a strong supporter of single-sex education (as well as religious day schools and homeschooling) as pluralistic options, but I’m reminded by this item that it has been 15 years since I visited Charleston and Savannah, which is too darned long. Beautiful cities both. Charleston enchanted me (especially The Battery), but Savannah haunted me.

The item reminds me of that because I was in Charleston the day after the Supreme Court’s VMI decision, which apparently was 6/26/96, and all residents there knew that it meant the death of The Citadel as a single-sex institution, as it was a state institution just like VMI.

It’s been even longer (1968) since I was in Europe. Not surprisingly, there are things about European cities that I almost certainly would like. But then, these cities were built, by and large, before the auto era — and the resultant human scale is part of their charm.


Resolved: Freedom of the Press does not extend to state secrets. Excellent debate.


Resolved: Any Representative or Senator in New York who voted for Same-Sex Marriage is an enemy of full religious freedom.

Those who have paid attention know that the conflict between the two is inevitable, though many still have their heads in the sand about that. The New York Times regrets the religious exemptions in the New York law. Its editorial board would prefer the more oppressive and chilling environment where Churches and affiliates had to invoke constitutional free exercise protections, rather than having protection spelled out explicitly. Chai Feldblum of Georgetown thinks gay rights should trump religious freedom (Wow! My own prior blog is on page one when you Google “Chai Feldblum gay rights religious freedom”!).

The curse “may you live in interesting times” is coming to pass.


Many “conservatives” are almost gleeful that the New York SSM vote gives them a partisan “wedge issue,” but four Republicans crossed the line in New York and it’s well known that a lot of rich financial types are on the other side of the issue:

A cadre of financial executives including Paul Singer, head of New York-based Elliott Associates, have been organizing efforts to support gay marriage for more than a year.

In September, Mr. Singer and Ken Mehlman, a partner and global head of public affairs at Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, were among the organizers of a fund-raiser to help push gay marriage legislation. Daniel Loeb, head of New York hedge-fund firm Third Point LLC, joined forces with Mssrs. Singer and Mehlman …


Genesis 1:26 “Let Us make man in Our Image, according to our likeness …”

John 19: 30 “Jesus … said “It is finished! …”

What was finished? Might it be a process begun in Genesis 19:30? This long lecture by Father John Behr, including “male and female He created them” (to open a conference on “Women Disciples of the Lord”) suggests so. It is long and rich, but not everyone’s cup of tea, no doubt.


I know a great many people in a constant state of agitation about the supposed monolithic evil of Islam. I’m not, despite not having forgotten 9/11. Islam is too like Protestantism — based on a book with no agreed authority on interpretation of that book — to remain monolithic in the face of the manifold temptations of consumerism and liberal democracy. Michael Novak seems to agree. I wouldn’t normally count that very good company (he’s a good scholar, but wrong-headed), but I’ll take my comfort where I can find it.


You may disagree with me on everything else I ever write, but surely you’ve got to agree that the Big Ten isn’t what it used to be.

Bon appetit!