Tasty Tidbits 6/29/11

Here’s today’s tasty tidbits, concurrently Tweeted and Facebooked:

From the Department of Well I’ll Be Darned, I just learned that one of my high school acquaintances (small school makes it more notable), Gerrit Greve, is a world-famous artist in San Diego. I don’t remember him being notably artistic, though I do remember him playing acoustic guitar a little.

I really, really remember his mother, the school nurse, who was a bit of a legend. De mortuis nil nisi bonum. Most of us survived — I with some wounds.


Occasionally, James Taranto’s Best of the Web (at the Wall Street Journal site) is (cover your eyes) complètement de la merde.

I know this because he usually has the good sense to agree with me, so I’m kind of like the press reporting “man bites dog” when I assure you, in all factual sobriety, that Tuesday was a merde day for Monsieur Taranto.

The prosecution rests.

Taranto’s disclaimer pretty well explains his hatchet job on a scholar who, in a popular column, elided a few things in critiquing our messianic taste for endless war: “This columnist is a member of The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board.”  I’ll take Andrew Bacevich’s Op-Ed condensations over the Wall Street Journal’s foreign policy any day.

[N.B. Taranto apparently has Google tracking of his unusual last name, so I wouldn’t be stunned if he Tweeted this.]


I’ve flogged the same-sex marriage horse too much, so I won’t mention:

There seems to be a consensus among sensible observers that SSM is more symptomatic of marriage disorder than causative. But high fever is symptomatic, too, and that doesn’t mean that it can be safely ignored. Sometimes, the fever must be attacked separately lest it kill the patient.

That’s why, I think, some generally conservative folks have toned down the rhetoric. They still see SSM as a serious symptom, but after some years of states experimentating with it, the institution of marriage hasn’t completely died from it.

What drives me to near-distraction about it is the extent to which the common attitude seems to be

  1. Marriage is the public recognition of private erotic involvement.
  2. Private erotic involvement is nobody’s business.
  3. Therefore the state should recognize all private erotic involvements that seek such recognition, provided they come only in pairs (for now).
On point 3, I <metaphor> tear my hair out</metaphor>, screaming “No! No! No! If premises 1 and 2 are correct, the state should get out of the marriage business entirely! But really, we should restore the fuller, historic meaning!”


From the 30,000 foot altitude, where SSM in the Big Apple is less prominent, the Acton Insitute has posed though-provoking questions about how Christian anthropology should affect public policy — an enthralling topic for me. One Orthodox Source responds preliminarily.


Bath salts” illustrate a feature of our law: what is not forbidden is allowed — whence the saying “the law isn’t made unless first it’s broken.” General rule: we can ingest or inhale any damnfool thing we want. Exception: We can’t lawfully ingest or inhale things the legislature has explicitly forbidden us to. So another reason the drug war is dubious is that new recreational drugs can be created faster than the legislature can respond.

We really are sheep, and we really need a Good Shepherd because sheep are pretty stupid. Not to say that those who’d shepherd us with bath salts won’t burn in hell (or something) for their mercenary efforts.


It’s the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, the preeminent leaders of Christ’s Church in the first generation.

First-enthroned of the Apostles,
and teachers of the universe:
entreat the Master of all
to grant peace to the world,
and to our souls great mercy!

Both Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy commemorate these Saints, but of course the Orthodox do it better. 😉

Bon appetit!

4 thoughts on “Tasty Tidbits 6/29/11

  1. “But really, we should restore the fuller, historic meaning.”

    Any particular point in history? The relationship between marriage and state and marriage and church has changed quite a lot over the centuries and, to the extent we can tell, the millenia.

    1. For a start, we should revisit the wisdom of no-fault divorce, which as Maggie Gallagher has noted, spelled “the end of marriage” by effectively abolishing the idea of permanence. That would roll us back to the 1960s.
      One way of revisiting that would be through an optional “covenant marriage,” which the state would honor by requiring fault for the dissolution of such a marriage.
      If anybody is paying attention besides you and me, and perhaps even just from you, I can expect a torrent of objections and caveats, but that’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.
      One objection would be that would create two different types of marriage. But I think it is naïve to suppose that New York didn’t do that last week; do you really think that an institution that must be described as “same-sex marriage” (because of the contradiction between the adjective and noun) will ever be viewed as “real” marriage by a majority of the population?
      Beyond that, I’m less concerned about the role of the state than I am about the role of the churches. I may blog on the churches’ deficits in upholding the marriage ideal before too long.

  2. Well, on the “same-sex” marriage contradiction, I’m game for just calling it “marriage.” It’s something we’re not used to and, therefore, carries a descriptor. Along the same lines, I’m guessing down the road that “Chinese food” will become so commonplace around these parts that it becomes, simply, “food.”

    My concern about the covenant marriage is that people will enter into it for the wrong reasons. (And, honestly, I should probably have the same concerns about marriage generally — and that may well be the entire point.) My concern is a two-tiered marriage where a guy (I’m going to assume gender, maybe baselessly) gets pressured into the covenant marriage because his bride feels like, if he doesn’t, that means he doesn’t love her as much.

    I’ll have to think on this because I’m steeped in my own biases. I’m projecting my personal situation on to this. Due to the manner in which my own father left the family, I’m strongly opposed to divorce in my own life — as a child, I didn’t feel like it bothered me much, but as a father, when I look at my own son, I sometimes envision what my Dad did, done to my son, and it angers me. (It doesn’t take a psychiatrist to figure that as a pretty good indication that I probably have some issues of my own.) That said, if, prior to the marriage, my fiancee had become insistent on a covenant marriage; I may well have balked. I’m perfectly happy staying put. But, even though I wasn’t going anywhere anyway, I would resent the cage around me. And that resentment would possibly poison the marriage, or prevent it in the first place. (Maybe it’s one of those Heisenberg Uncertainty things.)

    But, I’m not prepared to say that my own personal prejudices are the stuff of which policies ought to be made.

    1. That wasn’t much of a torrent, but it’s a familiar objection to Covenant Marriage.
      As C.S. Lewis said, it’s the nature of love to make promises. I’m not too worried about guys with eyes on the back door being pressured into sincerely lifetime commitment. In fact, if I was counseling a woman and her betrothed wouldn’t make a Covenant Marriage, I’d suggest she not even enter the front door with him (especially if she professed the Christian faith). I would be ignored, in all likelihood, and people don’t seek me out, but ….

      If I worked at it, I probably could find some irony if not hypocrisy in the movement to make marriage more diverse in every way — except allowing people to make more binding commitments than have been recognized for the last 40 years or so in most states.

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