Thursday, 7/3/14

  1. Not one believed himself worthy
  2. Inventing the Internet Again
  3. Clickbait kitsch
  4. Worse argument than “wrong side of history”
  5. Systemic abuse
  6. Conservatives understand Liberals all too well


…”And He will judge and will forgive all, the good and the evil, the wise and the meek…And when He has done with all of them, then He will summon us, ‘You too come forth,’ He will say, ‘Come forth, ye drunkards, come forth, ye weak ones, come forth, ye children of shame!’ And we shall all come forth without shame and shall stand before Him. And He will say unto us, ‘Ye are swine, made in the image of the Beast and with his mark; but come ye also!’ And the wise ones and those of understanding will say, ‘O Lord, why dost Thou receive these men?’ And He will say,’This is why I receive them, O ye wise, this is why I receive them, O ye of understanding, that not one of them believed himself to be worthy of this.’ And He will hold out His hands to us and we shall fall down before Him…and we shall weep…and we shall understand all things! Then we shall understand all!…and all will understand, Katerina Ivanovna even…she will understand…Lord, Thy kingdom come!” And he sank down on the bench exhausted and helpless, looking at no one, apparently oblivious of his surroundings and plunged in deep thought. His words had created a certain impression; there was a moment of silence; but soon laughter and oaths were heard again.

(Marmeladov in Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment) This came via Father Stephen Freeman, who teaches a class at an alcohol and drug treatment program each week, where his “students” take great comfort and hope that God doesn’t hate them.

It is the true image of the great banquet – a gathering of the unrighteous with the Righteous One, the unworthy with Only Worthy. This is the other side of the “Narrow Door.” Here the difficult path is not marked by asceticism, but by a humility, indeed a humility wrought by a broken life. I have encountered such humility many times, and have frequently found my own “religious” accomplishments soundly rebuked. I do not need anyone to remind me that 1 Corinthians 6:10 says that “drunkards” will not inherit the Kingdom. But, O strange wonder, many of them will be found in the Kingdom while others are thrust out!

(Fr. Stephen) I dare say the same goes for other sins on Paul’s list, which is no ground for complacency, but it ample ground not to despair.


David Boies and Ted Olson apparently have invented the internet or some such revolutionary thing. Let us fall down and worship them. Full story here.


I think I’m unusually immune to the appeals of Clickbait kitsch. You know what I mean, don’t you?

Your homework today is to try and watch this and NOT cry,” announced a Facebook post that showed up in my social media feed three times in one morning. I clicked, and the link took me to to watch a video of an inspiring high school teacher interacting with his students.

Another post announced that “you too will cry after watching this . . . 90 percent of people cry.” The short video was about two orphans in Malaysia “discovering the power of unconditional love” on the eve of Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim holiday marking the end of Ramadan.

My feed includes at least one of these invitations every day. If I count the other emotions that I’m told to feel—amazement, wonder, laughter, inspiration—the number of those invitations multiplies …

Augustine … was more worried about sentimentality than about immorality in the theater shows of his youth—he feared that the theater tricked him into feeling more strongly for fictional characters than for the plight of real people.

And isn’t the promise of prepackaged emotional response in these clickbait videos exactly that—a virtual embodiment of sentimentality?

(Clickbait kitsch)


I’ve probably vented here about the tiresome trope that so-and-so is “on the wrong side of history,” which typically today is used of the same-sex marriage issue and yet again begs the questions of (a) what marriage is and (b) given that notion, why the state should be issuing licenses to everybody instead of nobody. But I think I prefer it to Sir Elton John’s claim that if Jesus were here today, he’d approve of same-sex marriage.

That’s not to say that many opponents don’t walk and quack like Pharisees, but there was more to Jesus than reflexively siding with sinners against Pharisees.

Like telling those sinners “go and sin no more.”


You know the American Conservative is not talking airheads when they publish something like Seven Reasons Police Brutality is Systematic, Not Anecdotal. This conveniently comes on the heels of a local video of a thug cop attacking a young man in a motorized wheelchair.

The police department itself wanted him fired; the Civilian Review Board lowered that to suspension and demotion – not a trifle, but I’m with the department’s recommendation. The video does seem to show the Lieutenant placing himself in front of the wheelchair and the victim not looking at the Lieutenant or his foot, which he ran over.

As our local TV station would put it, oftentimes this sort of thing happens. Too oftentimes.


[M]y nice liberal friends assume that everyone thinks exactly like them. For example, my nice liberal upper middle class female friends know that the only reason they would possibly have gotten pregnant as a teenager would be that they were completely ignorant of how babies are made, or that they were ignorant of contraception, or evil patriarchs blocked all access to contraception, or they were raped – because why else would you jeopardize your college education and career plans? Hence they truly believe that since working class and underclass girls get pregnant frequently, it must be a combination of all of those – complete ignorance about sex and birth control, no doubt because of rape culture and patriarchy – hence more sex ed classes and burning down hobby lobby will fix it.

[O]ur nice liberal friends … all go to the UU church in our town where they can obsess about which bathroom hypothetical transsexuals should use while ignoring the unemployment, drug addiction, and broken families down the road.

(Rod Dreher’s reader, Salamander, radiating so brilliantly in comment boxes that Rod gave her her own moment in the spotlight)

Having so introduced the topic, Dreher turned to the insights of Jonathan Haidt:

Haidt found that in general, the moral mind of liberals rests on two of the five bases: Harm and Fairness. The moral mind of conservatives rests on these two bases, but also the other three: Loyalty, Authority, and Purity. Because of this, Haidt says, liberals have a much harder time understanding conservatives than vice versa.

Since the law can’t be based on morality (saith even SCOTUS-level airheads), how can it be based on fairness or protecting against harm but not on loyalty, authority and purity?

Oh. Excuse me. The people in control don’t see harm and fairness as “moral” in the distasteful sense. Dreher fleshes that out pretty well.

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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.