Andy Nowicki published an indictment of bourgeois Republican ninnies’ sensibilities last month on Alternative Right: “Sex and Violence Traditionalism.” In short, Nowicki reprimands American Christians who find “family friendly” books and films the only acceptable art and entertainment. While criticizing the Christian review site Plugged-In, he notes that “their habitual tendency is to equate sanitization with sanctification and G-rated-ness with holiness.” Of course, there is a need for family friendly gatekeepers because parents who expose their children to popular culture need trusted and accessible information about the content of books, albums, movies, and shows. Yet, adults are more than parents, and culture is more than the Veggie Tales, however positive such cucurbitaceae morality plays may be. Nowicki offers Flannery O’Connor, Shakespeare, and holy writ as devastating counterexamples to the nauseating, saccharine tendencies of contemporary Protestant megachurch aesthetics.
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Ferris Jabr published an interesting piece for the Scientific American last month: “The Reading Brain in the Digital Age: The Science of Paper versus Screens.” Jabr reviews studies that compare our reading of books with our reading of digital screens, both “traditional” lit screens and the so called “e-ink” screens of digital book readers. Before I read the article, I had assumed that we would maintain books but that they would become more of a luxury or antiquarian item and eventually cease to be part of everyday life—until the collapse of modern industrial society, that is. (And if that dystopian future happens, people will be a bit too preoccupied with survival to read much, though books would survive thanks to small pockets of learning, as monasteries might once again carry the torch of knowledge through another dark age.) The article’s findings have made me re-evaluate my dismissal of the printed word. Gutenberg will not so easily cede his place to Boris Rosing and the gang.
And of all mankind!
A few weeks ago, Laura Wood posted a comment from the Patriarch of Moscow in “Feminism Destroys Nations.” Of course, I had to read a story about my head bishop. Wood linked to an article in The Guardian, a leftist rag in Britain, but you may read the original Interfax story, “Patriarch Kirill says feminism offers wrong priorities for woman’s role in society”:
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Russia said he criticizes feminism.
“I consider this phenomenon called feminism very dangerous, because feminist organizations proclaim the pseudo-freedom of women, which must appear firstly outside of marriage and outside of family,” the patriarch said at a meeting with members of the Ukrainian Union of Orthodox Women in Moscow.
Patriarch Kirill said that the center of the feminist ideology was not family and the upbringing of children “but another function of women, which is often opposed to family values.” It is no coincidence that most feminist leaders are unmarried, the patriarch said.
“I noticed this when I worked in Geneva, at the World Council of Churches, when the feminist theme was just beginning to develop,” he said.
Patriarch Kirill said there was nothing wrong with women pursuing careers, politics, business and many other spheres, “which today involve men mostly”, but the system of priorities should be straight.
A woman is first and foremost “a guardian of the family fire and centre of the family life,” the Patriarch said.
“A man is gazing outwards, he must work and make money, while a woman is always gazing inwards, where her children are, where her home is. If this incredibly important function of a woman is destroyed, then everything will be destroyed - the family and, if you wish, the motherland,” Patriarch Kirill said.
The patriarch said that today “the opinion is being imposed that woman’s calling to be a mother is humiliating, that there are higher and more honorable duties and that fulfilling woman’s natural devotion - and I would like call this devotion - puts a woman in an inferior position to a man.”
“I have a lot of contact with married people. I have seen very few families where a woman was in an inferior position. If one puts a powerful microscope and looks closely, in particular at a husband, and then analyzes the information, it will become clear who the head of the family is,” the patriarch said.
Patriarch Kirill said women’s organizations were the ones to pay attention to such issues as divorces, orphans and birth rate decline.
And to think that I was fearful of Patriarch Kirill’s elevation to the primacy, as he was the Russian Church’s most visible leftwing ecumenist! I have repented of that opinion, and I am ever surprised by the man. Imagine a Western bishop’s questioning feminism (sic), an idol of our heathen age. O Russia, land of fools, saints, and martyrs—often incarnate in the same human beings—how the Lord continually shows you mercy!
LiveScience published an interesting article about the children of blind mothers earlier in the month: “Babies of Blind Moms Excel in Vision Tests.” An excerpt:
Moreover, in tests of their visual attention and memory, the babies of blind mothers actually performed better than their peers at all time points. . . .
The team went back through the literature and found that bilingual babies also show a similar increase in visual attention. That led the team to wonder whether switching between sighted and blind caregivers could provide the same mental boost as switching between different spoken languages.
What a fascinating study!
A few weeks ago, Steve Sailer linked to a piece by Ross Douthat in The New York Times: “The Secrets of Princeton.” I always enjoy reading Douthat’s opinions, but he approaches H.L. Mencken’s level of hard honesty and humor in this article. Well done!
Last month, Dr. Bruce Charlton offered a simple Rosetta Stone to interpet contemporary politics in the West: “Attitude to the sexual revolution is the single most decisive litmus test of Leftism.” The post is short and worth quoting in full:
A positive attitude to the sexual revolution is the hallmark of Leftism, which trumps all other themes and unites disparate (and hostile) factions.
To be pro-the sexual revolution is not only the cornerstone of Marxists, Communists, Fascists, Socialists, Labour parties and Democrats; but is shared by mainstream Conservatives, Neo-Conservatives, Republicans; and by Anarchists and Libertarians; and by sex-worshipping neo-Nietzschian pseudo-reactionaries - such as those of the ‘manosphere’.
To be pro-the sexual revolution is the nearest thing to a core value of the mass media; and of art both high-brow and low.
This vast conglomeration is the Left alliance; it is modern local, national and international politics - united only by being pro-the sexual revolution: but this is enough.
What is the sexual revolution?
Simply the divorce of sex from marriage and family.
Marriage and family are social institutions; but sex cut-off from (‘liberated’ from) marriage and family is (sooner or later) a monstrous, insatiable and self-stimulating greed for pleasure and distraction.
Attitude to the sexual revolution therefore marks the difference between those who are ultimately in favour of human society; and those who delight in its destruction (aka Leftists) who see social collapse as primarily an opportunity to feed their personal addictions; to use other people to make themselves feel good about themselves; to distract themselves with pleasure, and pleasure themselves with distraction.
I wonder, though, about the Christian, specifically Roman Catholic, batallions of the Old Left. Think of Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker movement. These folks remain with us, even today, though they no longer appear to be well organized. The more conservative members of the “social justice” crowd may represent a form of traditionalist socialism that rejects the sexual revolution but affirms a state managed version of communitarian life.
Earlier in the year, I watched a video of the news reporting on the shootout between the Symbionese Liberation Army and the Los Angeles Police Department in A.D. 1974. Evidently, the coverage was one of the first “real time,” “on the scene” moments in media history:
What struck me as I watched the footage was how the people behaved compared to what we now see on the news. Here, in the midst of a dangerous street battle, one sees reporters and citizens acting like self-controlled adults with a reasonable amount of fear and caution. It is what we should expect of free people, without melodrama or over the top police state herding.
The United Kingdom this week celebrates the memory of Margaret Thatcher. She will be remembered for as long as the English nation survives. However, her effects upon the world will continue in the more common manner, as well, through her descendents. Her son Mark has two children, Michael and Amanda. The Daily Mail has a story on the grandson: “Entering the family business? Baroness Thatcher’s American football star grandson takes on the world of U.S. politics,” which includes football footage of the young man. The Telegraph also features a story on the grandchildren with a current photograph of Michael: “Margaret Thatcher: The grandchildren in the US who share the Iron Lady’s spirit”:
As they perused the well-stocked aisles of their local shop, the wealthy residents of Highland Park were charmed by the polite and handsome young man behind the counter.
They had no idea, however, that this former high school American football star was upholding a family tradition that began 100 years ago in the English town of Grantham, some 5,000 miles away.
Michael Thatcher, the only grandson of the grocer’s daughter who became the world’s most powerful woman, now serves customers at a store and pharmacy in Texas.
The Thatcher kids have been raised as Texas Republicans, for better or worse. I wish them every proper good.
Last week, Laura Wood featured a delightful video on The Thinking Housewife: “A Glimpse of Political Dignity.” It shows an interview of Margaret Thatcher wherein the Prime Minister refuses to dance like a monkey to entertain the plebs. It also shows the generational (and regime) difference between Thatcher and the interviewer. Not too long ago, the West’s leaders conducted themselves seriously. In the last few generations, we have seen the cultural spirit of democracy continue to triumph in the West, as every standard is lowered to the level of actors, trollops, and proles.
Sadly, the Anglosphere’s greatest leaders in the last century, including Churchill, Thatcher, and Reagan, never seemed to have realized the pernicious nature of democracy. For them, democracy was simply Lincoln’s rhetorical definition of the American republic—government of the people, by the people, for the people. Yet, democracy inherently breeds and facilitates the politics of resentment, jealousy, relativism, egalitarianism, thievery, and, eventually, tyranny. Only with mighty external supports like widespread and committed Christian piety and civic dedication to the common good could a people live decently in a democratic regime without succumbing to its harmful tendencies. We have forgotten the lessons of our founders as well as Tocqueville’s sage remarks.
Today, Britain conducts the funeral of its Iron Lady. May her beloved country reassert its worthiness to survive and to flourish, and may the memory of Margaret Thatcher be eternal.
View from the Right featured a dismaying post several weeks ago about the rot in America’s black underclass: “Life of an inner city security guard.” The post was in response to a story on The Blaze about an Atlanta mall security guard and his trials while working among the incorrigibles: “Shock Video: Mall Security Guard Forced to Tase Mother After She Attacks Him While Toddlers Hurl ‘Gay’ Insults.” It is horrifying, though not surprising. Neither the American elite and nor the middle classes enforce standards anymore. The poor, especially the non-white poor, live ferally without guidance, standards, or, all too often, consequences.