Tuesday 11/29/16

  1. How lovely to be Your guest
  2. More, more, more!
  3. Provincial Brooklynite rants against provincials
  4. Foreign reactions to Trump
  5. Obamacare
  6. Recount’s Silver Lining
  7. The Trumpista Monster Responds


First Things

1

O Lord, how lovely it is to be Your guest. Breeze full of scents — mountains reaching to the skies — waters like a boundless mirror, reflecting the sun’s golden rays and the scudding clouds. All nature murmurs mysteriously, breathing depths of Your tenderness. Birds and beasts of the forest bear the imprint of Your love. Blessed are you, mother earth, in your fleeting loveliness, which wakens our yearning for happiness that will last forever in the land where, amid beauty that grows not old, rings out the cry: Alleluia!

In the wondrous blending of sounds, it is Your call we hear. In the harmony of many voices, in the sublime beauty of music, in the glory of the works of great composers, You lead us to the threshold of paradise to come, and to the choirs of angels. All true beauty has the power to draw the soul towards You and make it sing in ecstasy: Alleluia!

The breath of Your Holy Spirit inspires artists, poets, scientists. The power of Your supreme knowledge makes them prophets and interpreters of Your laws, who reveal the depths of Your creative wisdom. Their works speak unwittingly of You. How great are You in Your creation! How great are You in man!

Glory to You, showing Your unsurpassable power in the laws of the universe.
Glory to You, for all nature is filled with Your laws.
Glory to You for what You have revealed to us in Your mercy.
Glory to You for what you have hidden from us in Your wisdom.
Glory to You for the inventiveness of the human mind.
Glory to You for the dignity of man’s labor.
Glory to You for the tongues of fire that bring inspiration.
Glory to You, O God, from age to age.

(Excerpts from Akathist Hymn Glory to God for All Things)

Tertiary Things

2

Our politicians pledge economic growth like priests promising eternal paradise in heaven, as if producing and consuming 3 percent more smartphones, assault rifles, and bacon-flavored beverages this year than we did last year is our best bet to achieve the good life …

America doesn’t just need a wake-up call. We need new narratives about what the good life is and how to achieve it.

(Sam Bliss, What will spark a degrowth movement in the USA?)

3

Commenting on Kate Zambreno’s Postcard From America in Guernica:

What’s most interesting about it, at least to me, is not that a Brooklyn-based feminist writer believes these things about the country in which she lives, but that a magazine of some prestige finds worth printing the ranting of a woman so fragile that the sympathetic gaze of Middle Americans upsets her, and contributes to her “rage against provincial minds and Catholicism.” Kate Zambreno is not a marginal figure; she’s someone whose work is reviewed in major literary and cultural publications. Seriously, when you get past the hothouse-flower freakshow qualities of the boutique jeremiad, the more fascinating question is: Is this how the people in the American literary and academic establishment see the rest of us?

Or, to be more precise: Even if they don’t share Kate Zambreno’s extreme opinion, are they the kind of people who think that this construal of America as a Boschian hellscape filled with ogres who gorge themselves at The Golden Corral and then gape sweetly at pregnant strangers — do they think this is normal? That it has anything to do with the country as it is?

I think the answer is yes. Which explains the Fukishima-level meltdown they’ve had in the face of the Trump tsunami. I know regular readers think I’m virtue-signaling when I say repeatedly that I didn’t vote for Trump, but I only point that out because a lot of people come to this blog via social media links, and they don’t know where I stood during the campaign. So: I didn’t vote for Trump, but most of the people in my state did, and it was easy for me to understand why, even if I didn’t share their judgment. If you ask me, the best thing someone who wants to be a real writer can do is to get the hell out of Brooklyn and all these other culturally progressive bantustans that train your mind to think that unfashionable Ohioans at the rest stop who try to comfort a pregnant stranger in distress with a kind glance are the Enemy.

(Rod Dreher) There may come a day when Ms. Zambreno comes to her senses and is gladdened that she only published this is Guernica and not the New York Times.

4

Reactions to US Presidential Election from abroad:1

  • “What great news. Democracy is still alive.” (Victor Orban, Prime Minister of Hungary, on Facebook)
  • “We once again thank Americans for keeping this warmonger [Hillary Clinton] from the reins of power.” (Editorial in The Herald, Zimbabwe)
  • “Aberdeenshire business-owner wins presidential election.” (The Buchan Observer, Peterhead, Aberdeenshire)

(1 Not representative. From the November 12 The Economist. Yes, I fell behind on reading The Economist — so sue me.)

5

If you figure out a demonstrably proper balance between

  1. A reported 20 million Americans who have health insurance under the Affordable Care Act which they couldn’t get before, and
  2. Tens of millions, probably more than 20 million, who are facing double-digit health insurance premium increases (42% in one case I know) this year for the second year in a row — partly because many of the 20 million are in poor health — or who are out of the job market because a second income would forfeit premium subsidies and leave the family worse off,

I’m dying to hear it. Come Inauguration Day, there’s a Republican President and Congress, too, who’ve been promising to “scrap Obamacare and replace it with something better” who might appreciate a little help on the “put up” part of “put up or shut up.”

6

Of the Green Party, now joined by Hillary, demand for recounts in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin:

The silver lining may be to teach a lesson in electoral federalism. It’s all but impossible for hackers to rig U.S. elections because they are run locally and voting machines aren’t connected to a national internet network, as Hans von Spakovsky and John Fund explained on these pages in September. Progressives, not conservatives, want to nationalize election laws. So go ahead and do the recounts and then accept that Mr. Trump won fair and square.

(Wall Street Journal, The Recount Hail Mary)

7

I wrote critically 15 days ago about a Muslim New York University Freshman who went berserk, in print in the New York Times, upon learning that her roommate was “a Trump supporter.”

Well, as it turns out, her roommate didn’t even vote, and “outed herself” only because she believed the billing about the function of diversity in a university:

The presidential election was the last thing on my mind on Nov. 8. I had essays to write and Italian vocabulary to learn. Sure, I kept New York Times and Wall Street Journal tabs open on my laptop, but I was uninterested in indulging in conversation about an election that most everyone could agree was a time bomb.

As a student at New York University and the daughter of a civil servant at the United States Department of State, I am familiar with political unrest and its potentially disastrous outcomes in the arms of ignorance and hysteria. I did not hold any particularly strong opinions about Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. If I had voted, however, I would have picked Mr. Trump. I was focused on school. I had no idea that a few days later I would be dismissed as a “Trump supporter” and a person of “privilege” who “reflected an us versus them mind-set” in an essay by my college roommate in this publication — an essay that would go viral and change my life.

I did not feel that I should lie to my new college friends, especially at N.Y.U., where we are supposed to be open to hearing opposing views, able to discuss them and put any bias aside. I never tried to persuade my roommate to accept my side, my choice or my views. I even agreed with some of her opinions about Mr. Trump, who has said divisive things about Muslims and other minority groups. As an independent, my feelings toward the campaign were very mixed. I felt strongly that as a country we needed to focus on domestic issues, and for me, the Republicans were more prepared to do that.

(K.N. Pineda, Divisions in My Dorm Room, New York Times) Note the (unquoted) ancestry of Ms. Pineda — which makes her an even less plausible monster than she appeared in her roommates online frenzy.

Yes, the Times gave her a chance to respond. I don’t know the backstory on that. But I send the Times a one-finger salute for publishing an hysterical public shaming that of Ms. Pineda, and for enabling the self-sliming of her immature and impetuous roommate (who has apparently seen the error of her ways). It would be nice if the newspaper of record were run by adults who think about how two young women may be affected for decades to come.

* * * * *

“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.