Monthly Archives: February 2010

Scouting the handbook

In Friday’s Wall Street Journal I assess the state of the Boy Scout Handbook after 100 years of revisions: Scouts founders hoped the BSA could remain above politics and address character. They couldn’t anticipate the day when a future honorary Scout president would insist that the word “is” has debatable meanings. UPDATE: And yes, if …

Own it

Jim Taylor on instilling self-esteem in children: “Parents were told to love and praise and reinforce and reward and encourage their children no matter what they did. Unfortunately, this approach created children who were selfish, spoiled, and entitled. . . without [a] sense of ownership, children are thoroughly unprepared for the adulthood because in the …

The new Conservatism

Mickey Edwards explains why he didn’t go to CPAC, the annual Conservative self-lovefest, arguing that the traditional conservatism of America has been supplanted by a state-aggrandizing European-style conservatism. I’m not sure if the shift is even that intellectual, or if it’s simply that Conservatives — like members of any tribe facing an enemy tribe — …

Christian America?

Maybe instead of pouring all this energy into haggling over claims in watered-down, non-primary source, lowest-common-denominator, utterly de-contextualized, ponderous textbooks, we ought to try harder to get kids to read more, and read more of what matters. Does anyone really think that one sentence about Cesar Chavez or Samuel Gompers is going to be the clincher between …

The verisimilar edge

Listening to a local film critic’s tired dismissal of the new film, Edge of Darkness, I was struck by the need, in film, literary, and art criticism just as much as in theological or architectural or epicurean criticism, for a foundational sense of what makes something good. All else flows from that. For some critics, this …

Book it

I’m pretty sure that somewhere in the unofficial New Yorker film critic handbook there’s a rule that goes something like this: If Christian faith is central to a film, don’t be afraid to stoop to name-calling and character assassination. Thus it wasn’t surprising to see in what manner David Denby unleashes his ire on The …

Intent

On the one hand, I can appreciate the fear that nefarious people will spirit away Haitian children for wicked ends. On the other hand, I doubt this class of people includes Baptists from Idaho. And there is the sticky question of what constitutes an orphan in Haiti, where parents and other relatives routinely hand over …