Sand in the Gears

How we talk about good and evil

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013 Posted in Faith and Life | Comments Off on How we talk about good and evil

Those of you who caught my first essay, in which I argued that the layman no longer has adequate language to discuss good and evil, and who did not subsequently spit out your coffee while sputtering with outrage, might appreciate ...

The lost conservative mind

Monday, August 19th, 2013 Posted in Curmudgeonry | 1 Comment »

I recently read Russell Kirk's The Conservative Mind, and composed a thought about it in relation to the state of this country, which perhaps more than ever before mirrors the state of man today—outwardly self-reliant, inwardly flailing. My thought is ...

White ashes

Thursday, March 21st, 2013 Posted in Curmudgeonry | 20 Comments »

Last I checked there were 36,000 mentions of Jimmy Fallon in the news, and 8,820 of Kermit Gosnell. It's understandable if you haven't heard of Gosnell. He's a Philadelphia abortionist on trial for, among other things, murdering newborns by snipping their ...

Sodas and guns and minimum virtue

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013 Posted in Curmudgeonry | 13 Comments »

On the radio I heard a shill for some agglomeration of sugary drink manufacturers inveigh against NYC mayor Bloomberg's attempted regulation of soda sizes. "We believe New Yorkers are smart enough to make these decisions for themselves," he said. If you've ...

Cheaper by the dozen

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013 Posted in Curmudgeonry | Comments Off on Cheaper by the dozen

There is a difference between being anti-intellectual and being anti-intellect, and this is where Russell Jacoby foundered, in his essay last year about the lack of intellectualism among conservatives. As Peter Lawler notes, it's shoddily done for want of defining ...

On the Tweedledumbing of America

Monday, November 1st, 2010 Posted in Curmudgeonry | 5 Comments »

In the closing hours the advertisements are redoubled; we see the candidates peddling their functional families, juxtaposed with a grim gallery of closed factories and soup lines and dead children, for which the fresh-faced candidates' grainy-faced opponents are responsible, either ...

There’s no program for fixing rotten

Friday, April 30th, 2010 Posted in Fatherhood, The Art of Parenting | 6 Comments »

The thing you run into, when you are in the business of saving the world from itself, is that there is no lever marked: "PULL HERE TO SAVE WORLD." It fascinates me to see intelligent thinkers reason out top-down solutions to ...

The new Conservatism

Sunday, February 21st, 2010 Posted in Curmudgeonry | 29 Comments »

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 ...

Christian America?

Sunday, February 14th, 2010 Posted in Curmudgeonry | 4 Comments »

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 ...

Previously, on . . .

Monday, January 18th, 2010 Posted in Greatest Hits | 2 Comments »

The start of a new season of 24 got me thinking about that standard practice television series have of explaining what happened in the previous episode: "Previously, on ____". Sometimes it's a little funny because, while of course the particulars ...

On leading your children

Sunday, January 10th, 2010 Posted in Fatherhood, The Art of Parenting | Comments Off on On leading your children

Joanna Moorhead offers another example of surprisingly good advice flowing from disastrously poor premises. Among her flawed bits of wisdom: "Our children are entirely different from us. . ."; and ". . . the more you hold things to be ...

If only that communion bread were really holy…

Thursday, January 7th, 2010 Posted in Curmudgeonry, Theology | Comments Off on If only that communion bread were really holy…

It's no secret, my belief that, no matter how fetching or emotionally available a vampire is, the only proper response to him is a stake through the heart. Now Father Orthoduck opens a new can of worms, suggesting that one ...

Marionette parenting

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010 Posted in Fatherhood, The Art of Parenting | Comments Off on Marionette parenting

Judith Woods reminds us that there's a difference between good parental involvement and hovering overkill (i.e., "helicopter parenting"). We ought to dispense with calling it helicopter parenting, in fact, and call it marionette parenting. Parents should be in the helicopter, ...

Four out of five drug companies, er, doctors, agree

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010 Posted in The Art of Parenting | 4 Comments »

Fewer and fewer people favor spanking children, but increasing numbers of us are fine with abusing them via prescription.

He who spares the rod . . .

Monday, January 4th, 2010 Posted in Fatherhood, The Art of Parenting | 3 Comments »

. . . hates his child. Didn't know that was in the Bible, did you? And now a new study suggests that children who are spanked as youngsters go on to be happier and more successful. I'm sure even now ...

What my kids call theirs are just fine, thank you

Monday, January 4th, 2010 Posted in Curmudgeonry, The Art of Parenting | 4 Comments »

I don't know which is creepier, the fact that U.K. public schools are going to start teaching five year-olds the names of private body parts, or the fact that the U.K. has a "Children's Secretary." And given the aberrant practices ...

Don’t do as I do, do as I say

Sunday, January 3rd, 2010 Posted in Theology | 1 Comment »

This news from the BBC, about a rise in the number of pagan winter solstice celebrants in the UK, is disturbing. How could people raised in the Christian West miss the point that Christmas is about shopping until your debt rivals ...

Be it resolved

Friday, January 1st, 2010 Posted in Faith and Life | 3 Comments »

I read once that the historian's admiration for authority affects his assessments of civilizations past -- that oppressive regimes, with their monuments to state power, will draw his eye and his imagination more readily than a nation of citizen farmers. That's probably ...

Gioia on Cultural Decline

Thursday, August 9th, 2007 Posted in The Artful Life | 6 Comments »

Since literature seems to be the theme this week, check out Dana Gioia's speech delivered at Stanford's commencement exercises. Some highlights: "There is an experiment I'd love to conduct. I'd like to survey a cross-section of Americans and ask them how ...