Tuesday, 10/29/13

    1. Prayer to St. Stephen (Colbert)
    2. Obstruction
    3. Unworkable pragmatism


I for one think that Stephen Colbert, good Catholic boy that he is, is a future candidate for canonization. I won’t see it in my lifetime, but I earnestly hope that my children will one day be able to pray: “Saint Stephen, by thy blessed irony, deliver us from the blow-hard pomposity of politicians and televangelists; by thy sacred innuendo, save us from our obsession with fatuous celebrities, reality shows, and diet plans; teach us that we shall know the truthiness and the truthiness shall set us free, that we might come to share the sniggers at human folly enjoyed by the saints in heaven, Amen.”

(Gregory Wolfe, The Steeple and the Gargoyle, Image No. 78)

This issue included, in addition to this adaptation from a commencement address given for the Seattle Pacific University master of fine arts in creative writing, a few poems, not available online, that were quite extraordinary, too: Bruce Beasley’s Cleft for Me Let Me Hide Myself from Thee and Garret Keizer’s When Honor Faced Off Against No Honor. The Keizer poem pretty much froze me in my tracks.

Such is the nature of poetry, or at least of these two poems, that snatching a “fair use” line or two just wouldn’t work.

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The Cardinals beat the Red Sox in World Series game 3 when the Boston 3rd baseman accidentally fell into the path of a Cardinal rounding third for home, causing a little trip and delay by the Cardinal runner. The throw home clearly beat the runner, who was tagged shy of the plate, from what I hear.

But he was safe, due to baseball’s obstruction rule. My favorite response from the Tweets: “If you can’t trip a guy at third base then I weep for America.”

My stake in the controversy is to note how many people think that if something was an accident, then there should be a cosmic do-over or something. “A game shouldn’t end that way” is just a microcosm.


I can’t remember the last thing Thaddeaus Kozinski wrote that I didn’t like.

It is necessary for the perfection of human society that there should be men who devote their lives to contemplation.
–St. Thomas Aquinas

The trouble with mere pragmatism is that it doesn’t work.
–G. K. Chesterton

I would like to put liberal education in its place, by unmasking its essential uselessness to students and to society at large. And I would like to apologize for all the time wasted by my students and all liberal-arts professors in trying to make liberal education useful. However, the place I would like to put the liberal arts is at the forefront and foundation of education, as the raison d’etre of every college and university in this country and the world. And my apology is to those who have suffered under any educational program not ultimately founded on and integrally oriented towards the study of the liberal arts, that is, to what is ultimately useless. For, such is inherently dysfunctional. Purely non-liberal education doesn’t work.

Whet your appetite? Sate it here.

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“The remarks made in this essay do not represent scholarly research. They are intended as topical stimulations for conversation among intelligent and informed people.” (Gerhart Niemeyer)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.