Wednesday, 5/6/15

  1. Folk and pop culture
  2. Sex a la carte
  3. Environmentalisms
  4. Crime and Punishment in America
  5. Thank you for asking, Professor
  6. Turkish foot-in-mouth disease
  7. Je ne suis Charile
  8. Din drowning out Christ


The real difference between Folk culture and pop culture is that one is made in the plaza or Town square from a rich matrix of religious, ethnic, and historical experience, and the other is downloaded.

When school budgets have to be cut, the first programs to go our arts-related. Words like global, competition, markets, and technology are given ritual obeisance while words like wonder, attention, and imagination are rarely heard.

(Gregory Wolfe in Image)


I don’t mean to set tongues clucking with this. I really think it helped me understand something. From Rod Dreher’s blog, an “anonymized” communication from a private school teacher begins:

Why all my students love love love gay marriage: because they are, for all intents and purposes, gay.

That is: their relationships are temporary, experimental, experiential, and casually genital.

In other words, they have grown up in an insane “achievement first” culture that prizes credential grabbing, resume building (in the Brooks’ sense) over and always against a kind of semi-serious “courting” of middle-America or their perceptions “of the way things used to be.” They have grown up with the notion that relationships are necessarily divorced from any kind long term commitment, because how can you focus on your career and not have the flexibility to move from NY or BOS to DC and back on a whim. And they have been taught that they should NOT tie themselves down prematurely…every friggin’ movie that came out in the 90′s seemed to have a throughline in it that their parents were divorced because they got married to early “and then grew apart” or some such bit.

But for them, sex is sex. All is a la carte. All relationships, since they are sterile and contracepted, are actually “gay” relationships.

Thus, when one of their gay friends comes out, they see this as a way of carving out a meaningful future for themselves, they who have forsaken so much to “achieve.”

I assume that “words like wonder, attention, and imagination are rarely heard.” And that they consider themselves “progressive,” despite credulous adoption of vulgar goals.


Catholic teaching on [protecting the natural environment] is profoundly different than pagan-inspired environmentalism. Catholic environmentalism is Christ-centered, not earth-centered; the Church teaches that Christians are called to protect the environment because caring for creation is part of God’s plan for salvation. The pagan, in contrast, disregards Christian theology, and sees environmentalism as a way to exalt Mother Nature over everything else. And since pagans view children as mortal threats to the environment, they have tried to suppress their numbers through aggressive population control and abortion: humanity must be sacrificed to pay heed to the pagan gods.

(William Doino, Jr.) Doino’s “pagans” (a/k/a the Culture of Death) are learning that Pope Francis is not with them, and they’re just furious about it, repeatedly goading that if he really cared, he’d command his hoards to become as sterile as environmentalist pagans.


More than 2.2 million people are currently incarcerated in US jails and prisons, a 500 percent increase over the past forty years. Although the United States accounts for about 5 percent of the world’s population, it houses nearly 25 percent of the world’s prison population. The per capita incarceration rate in the US is about one and a half times that of second-place Rwanda and third-place Russia, and more than six times the rate of neighboring Canada.

(Jed S. Rakoff) I do mean to set tongues clucking about this symptom, though I’m uncertain about the disease and thus about the cure.

  • Are Americans uniquely lawless? Why?
  • Are Americans uniquely desperate, mentally ill, or otherwise prone to self-medication with drugs and alcohol? Why?
  • Is American “justice” uniquely harsh and punitive? Why?
  • Is this sort of the thing the eventuality of “diversity”?
  • Have Haven’t our “penitentiaries” (places we sent wrongdoers to promote their penitence) morphed back into frank prisons (where we consign the Other)?

Surely the symptom says something is desperately wrong.


Here we go again.  Another hard look at why a significant percentage of the public has not signed some form of advanced directive.  In April 2015, GAO issued Advance Directives: Information on Federal Oversight, Provider Implementation, and Prevalence, its response to requests made by Senators Bill Nelson (D-Fla), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga), and Mark Warner (D-Va) who were inquiring into the role of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in overseeing providers, including hospitals and nursing homes, that are mandated by law to maintain written procedures and provide information about advance directives.

Perhaps it is just me, but whenever legislators raise this topic, it seems to me the not-so-subtle underlying message is “why aren’t people agreeing in writing to forego aggressive health care as they near the end of life so that we can save more money on health care?”

No, Professor Pearson, it’s not just you. Thank you for asking. That lets me know it’s not just me.

I particularly like the Orwellian name “Patient Self-Determination Act” that led to stuff like 15-year-olds with broken bones being asked “Do you have a Living Will or advance directive?”


Other countries can face up to their acts of past cruelty and openly apologize for them: Germany has apologized for Hitler; Britain for the Irish Potato Famine and Amritsar Massacre; South Africa for Apartheid; the United States for Slavery, Japanese wartime internment, and its treatment of the Native American, and so on. Yet Erdogan remains in a state of denial over the atrocities, and viciously lashes out at those who assert them to be the historical facts they undoubtedly are.

In response to the Pope’s intervention and the European Parliament’s recognition of the genocide, Erdogan said that it would “go in one ear and out the other” and that the 100,000 Armenians presently working in Turkey are not citizens, and thus “We can deport them, even if we haven’t yet.” Since most Ottoman Armenians died during their “deportation” to the Syrian desert, he was (surely deliberately) adding gross insult to a century-long injury.

Not what one would hope for from a NATO ally, even a rapidly Islamicizing one.

(Andrew Roberts) As David Frum Tweeted, “It never happened, and if you keep insisting it did, we’ll do it again.”


I intend to live as if I’m under no duty to do something obnoxious just because it will piss off Islamists. This may put me at odds with Ross Douthat and Eugene Volokh, but I can’t see any way around it, nor can I find it in me to unequivocally admire as friends of the first amendment those who engage in provocation/defiance just because it will provoke or defy.

Conversely, I am not obliged to stop something obligatory because it pisses off American progressives – who are reputed to be considerably less lethal than Islamists, to be sure.

Je ne suis Charlie. Je suis un hérétique. Sorry Allahpundit (who got me thinking about this again).


Father George Calciu on the post-Communist spiritual assault of Romania:


(H/T @TheIllegit)

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“In learning as in traveling and, of course, in lovemaking, all the charm lies in not coming too quickly to the point, but in meandering around for a while.” (Eva Brann)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.