Following up my last post, the non-political portion of the stuff I’d collected.
More on Beuchner
Again, with the caveat that I never read any Beuchner:
His first novel was a great success. After his second, he came to faith. He was attending a church service in New York where the pastor was talking about how Jesus is crowned amid confession, tears and great laughter. “At the phrase great laughter, for reasons that I have never satisfactorily understood, the great wall of China crumbled and Atlantis rose up out of the sea, and on Madison Avenue, at 73rd Street, tears leapt from my eyes as though I had been struck across the face.”
He spent the rest of his life as a border-stalker, too literary for many Christians and too Christian for the literary set. His faith was personal, unpretentious and accessible. “Faith is homesickness. Faith is a lump in the throat. Faith is less a position on than a movement toward.” It is sensing a presence, not buying an argument.
David Brooks, The Man Who Found His Inner Depths
“Too literary for many Christians” means “not sufficiently neat, tidy and pious.”
Another author I’ve heard of but not read. (You can learn a fair amount by reading New York Times obituaries.)
In her year and a half living as Ned, Ms. Vincent put him in a number of stereotypical, hypermasculine situations. He joined a blue-collar bowling league, though he was a terrible bowler. (His teammates were kind and cheered him on; they thought he was gay, Ms. Vincent learned later, because they thought he bowled like a girl.)
He spent weeks in a monastery with cloistered monks. He went to strip clubs and dated women, though he was rebuffed more often than not in singles bars. He worked in sales, hustling coupon books and other low-margin products door-to-door with fellow salesmen who, with their cartoon bravado, seemed drawn from the 1983 David Mamet play “Glengarry Glen Ross.”
Finally, at an Iron John retreat, a therapeutic masculinity workshop — think drum circles and hero archetypes — modeled on the work of the men’s movement author Robert Bly, Ned began to lose it. Being Ned had worn Ms. Vincent down; she felt alienated and disassociated, and after the retreat she checked herself into a hospital for depression.
She was suffering, she wrote, for the same reason that many of the men she met were suffering: Their assigned gender roles, she found, were suffocating them and alienating them from themselves.
“Manhood is a leaden mythology riding on the shoulders of every man,” she wrote, and they needed help: “If men are still really in power, then it benefits us all considerably to heal the dyspeptic at the wheel.”
Norah Vincent, Who Chronicled Passing as a Man, Is Dead at 53 – The New York Times. The book alluded to is Self-Made Man.
Science and sciencey
Science is tentative, reformable. And so it’s too early conclusively to bid adieu to the Big Bang hypothesis. But stay tuned.
Total dudes, or at least dude-adjacent
I’m glad the hospital produced these videos. They ought to be open about what they’re doing to children. And I’m glad these doctors are talking about their diagnoses of toddlers who dare to play with the wrong color toys or teen girls who hate their bodies. It’s then extremely fair to simply disagree and say, hey this isn’t good. As a former toddler who played with trucks, I’m glad I’ve managed to keep my uterus as long as I have.
Nellie Bowles, Last Hurrah Before the Baby!.
Nellie played with trucks. She’s lesbian, not male, not trans. And she’s having a baby (from her womb, not from her “wife” or a surrogate). I firmly believe that some girls who play with trucks are straight.
The most infuriating part of the trans mania to me is that it takes the most simplistic stereotypes of gender-appropriate behavior and turns deviation from them as evidence of transgender identity. Far likelier that it’s non-conclusive evidence (i.e., a hint) of homosexuality.
The second most infuriating part is of pseudo-science like trans medicine (also from Nellie):
In the new gender belief system, female-ness and male-ness are feelings, removed from the physical body. So what is femaleness, then? It is a sense of weakness, receptivity, softness, and submission. Duh.
And so it makes sense that a powerful, dominant uterus-haver in, say, 15th-century France, could not possibly have identified as a woman, not if she (they?) knew what we know now. Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre is putting on a play about the life of Joan of Arc, and in it she is not a she at all. How could she be? Joan is strong and independent! So Joan is recast as a nonbinary hero and goes by they/them. From the Globe’s website announcing the show: “Joan finds their power and their belief spreads like fire.” (Spreads like fire . . . you see Joan was burned at the stake, so they’re doing a metaphor with that.)
You know who else was nonbinary, according to the new academic experts? Elizabeth I! Yes, all through history powerful people who thought they were women were, in fact, total dudes or at least dude-adjacent. All of them, from Cleopatra to Sojourner Truth—they were never women. That was just us imposing the gender-binary on all these super awesome people of indeterminate identity.
The way to know that this is sexism is to imagine something similar being done to a historical man. Like: this historical man was really submissive and quiet, so our play now re-imagines him as a woman, which we think he was.
Now that you’ve joined our sleeper cell …
Creepy posts like this will certainly not do anything to attract emotionally healthy people who are reticent about integralism or other postliberal legal approaches.
Unusually good KAL cartoon this week in the Economist:
Originalism has become, as Richard Primus of the University of Michigan Law School says, a “surname of a family of approaches to constitutional law” that might not recognise one another around the dinner table.
America tussles over a newly fashionable constitutional theory (The Economist)
I’m growing increasingly convinced that originalism is the correct way to analyze constitutional questions, but Professor Primus isn’t totally wrong, either. Inter-originalism tussles will, I hope, resolve to a shared method.
How could there be multiple members of the “originalism” family that don’t recognize one another? Well, for instance, an originalism that reflexively looks only to first founding and averts its eyes from the post-Civil War amendments is missing the mark:
Elizabeth Wydra, president of the Constitutional Accountability Centre, a law firm and advocacy organisation, is not waiting for liberals to take hold of the court. She finds powerful originalist sources for progressive causes—especially in the Reconstruction Amendments. These provisions, which ended slavery and guaranteed equal rights for formerly enslaved people, “reflect broad conceptions of equality, inclusion and liberty”. For true originalists, Ms Wydra says, “the 14th Amendment should matter just as much to you as the Second Amendment.”
This doesn’t mean I’ll agree with Ms. Wydra’s conclusions on cases, but she’s right that the nation had a “second founding” 160 years ago, and that, too, affects “original meaning.”
“The Frenchman works until he can play. The American works until he can’t play; and then thanks the devil, his master, that he is donkey enough to die in harness ….” (G.K. Chesterton)
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