Potpourri 2/13/14

    1. What doesn’t kill you makes you weaker
    2. Hacking a currency?!
    3. “Blacklister” – who came to mind?
    4. A luxury, if you’re not starving
    5. “Wrong side of history”
    6. The fittest survivor of all
    7. Last Great Act of Defiance
    8. Who ya gonna believe …

1

[B]ehind the “hide that thing!” demand lies the crippling new conviction that what doesn’t kill you makes you weaker. Like a patient with no white-blood cells left, the most minor exposure to a disturbing idea could send you into intensive care. The world must accommodate with sterility.

(Lenore Skenazy: Fear and Loathing at Wellesley -A life-like statue of a guy sleepwalking in his underwear awakens a protest by campus feminists.)

2

Since I, like, totally don’t understand Bitcoin, can’t remember (and don’t care to go back and review) how this is supposed to be “money,” and suspect that someone, somewhere, is getting obscenely rich while smirking, I don’t know whether to find a picture of this imaginary currency reassuring or infuriating.

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(Wall Street Journal image, to the story, disturbingly, Hackers Launch Attacks on Bitcoin Exchanges)

3

Ask a lot of people the first thing they think of when they hear “blacklist,” and the response will likely be “Joe McCarthy” or “HUAC.” The proper response would be “Andrew Cuomo.”

… it’s instructive to know that, by the lights of its 56th governor, I am in New York on sufferance: much like I was, I suppose, when I crossed into East Berlin in 1987 and was given a hard stare by the goon who examined my U.S. passport and looked at me as if I were a lower life form.

… Where have all the liberals gone, long time passing?

(George Weigel) I’m wondering which circle of hell McCarthy and Cuomo will share?

4

My old Orthodox Cyberfriend blogs one of his now infrequent updates:

I spent Christmas Eve with my daughter and grand baby at Superior Court and the Sheriff’s Department taking out an order of protection against her boyfriend. The very short story is, it took over a year for her to see what I saw in him within a couple weeks. My daughter says she got the “only learn the hard way” genes from me. Probably so. But he is gone and out of my daughter’s life now and I didn’t have to do anything I’d have to do time for.

After two years as a “guidance counselor” I learned that Education is an industry. It is not about “no child left behind”.  Education is really about “no federal dollar left behind”.  Yes, there are sincere people who love to teach and have the best interest of the students in mind. God bless ’em. Most of the teachers I know are fundamentally discouraged with the state of American education. The bottom line is that the students are now the product that is being sold to the State and Federal education departments for money.  Standardized test scores, graduation and drop out rates and attendance hours are the benchmarks for payment. The thing no one wants to address in the latter days of our American self-image culture is this: No, not EVERYONE can be ANYTHING if they just try hard enough.

When I returned to school after the Christmas break, I knocked on my Principal’s office door and said, “Do you have a few minutes?” She said, “Only if you aren’t going to resign.”  I turned and walked away and she said, “Oh, no… come on in.” It was hard to leave the job.  I told her it would be much easier if I was pissed at someone or hated the people I worked with, but the fact of the matter was, I loved my co-workers and the essentials of the job:  I loved my students and families. I told her the financial bottom line was we were going deeper and deeper in debt and I needed to make more money, whether it was with the Fortune 500 job or construction.  It wasn’t worth getting into the philosophical education issues.  Discussing philosophical issues is a luxury that people can engage in  if they aren’t starving.

Thanks, S-P. You are living proof that Orthodoxy doesn’t turn us into zombie clones.

5

How does the “on the wrong side of history” canard differ from “C’mon! All the cool kids are doing it!”?

Although I have supported eliminating HJR-3’s second sentence, I admire the young people who went to Indianapolis Tuesday to argue, from “the wrong side of history,” that the state must not, ever, incentivize fatherless or motherless families.

In fact, putting it that way is maybe the best way of suggesting that lawsuits to acertain the meaning of the second sentence (intended, one assumes, to ban civil unions by any name whatever) would not be too high a price to pay for family protection.

6

If evolution is a struggle for survival, then wouldn’t a trait or habit that allows one to survive death be the fittest of all? (Paraphrased from a recent podcast homily.)

7

[S]omeone who has spent a lifetime opposing the teaching of his own church on so many different issues (to the complete confusion of Protestants such as myself, I hasten to add) … choose [s] to end his life in breaking one last church taboo.

To what could such a cryptic characterization apply? To the impending suicide of Hans Kung, putative Catholic, gadfly and provocateur extraordinaire.

Last great act of defiance

One is tempted to say “don’t let the door hit you on the way out,” but that would be uncharitable. He has millstones enough already.

8

There’s a joke, of sorts, about an abusive man caught in flagrante delicto by his wife. The punchline (no pun intended) was “Who ya gonna to believe, %^#@&: me, or your lyin’ eyes?”

Advocates for a 6,000 year-old earth based in a strict literalism find themselves having to resort to notions of a universe created in a manner to only “appear” old. A single, flawed reading of Scripture is preferred to the reliability of simple observation. With such caprice as dogma, Christianity would be embracing a literalist tyranny. Nothing in the world is reliable, only a narrow reading of the text.

(Fr. Stephen Freeman) So, I guess, Ken Ham & Co. are saying “Who you gonna believe, waffler: da Scofield Bible’s marginal notes or your lyin’ eyes?”

* * * * *

“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.