Questions in the Blogosphere III

Questions in the Blogosphere III April 28, 2008

Q: Anchoress, if someone tells you that you cannot be credibly pro-life until you adopt a sick baby, and then you go out and adopt a sick baby (and then a second) and that person – who promised to become “pro-life” if you did it – never kept his end of the bargain, what does that mean?

A: It means you can’t form a conscience in fits and starts. You cannot become “pro-life” because of what someone else does, unless you are really willing to let their actions open up within you what you have previously closed and locked tight. And since Jim Caviezel gives witness that picking up on this friend’s cynical prompting has enriched his life and blessed him, it also means that God speaks to us through anyone – in any way – he chooses, even if they seem unlikely candidates for the job, so you might as well listen up respectfully and be sweet to everybody.

Q: Will there always be an England?

A: Starting to look a little doubtful, isn’t it? Within the last week we’ve seen the nation all but cancel St. George’s Day for fear of insulting their Islamist population, and they allowed the EU to issue a map without Great Britain. Note “The English Channel” is now “The Channel Sea.” My Celtic ancestors must be spinning in their graves. Brits at their Best has more on all that.

Q: So, Anchorage is digging out from yet another massive snowjob snowfall. But these folks say global warming is not cooling. Do you still say it’s all hoo-hah?

A: Yes, I say whether we are in any sort of “preventable” weather cycle is debatable, whether we can actually affect the earth’s weather is dubious (we can’t even predict next week’s weather accurately) and whether any of the interesting weather anomalies is “manmade” is hoo-hah, especially since we steadfastly ignore the sun. Mark Steyn is looking at ethanol ethics, as I did last week and last month. IBD wonders if we can undo the ethanol mistake. There’s all kinds of inconvenient truths out there, but the really troubling one, to my way of thinking, is people going hungry.

Q: Why do you refer to “Manmade” Global Warming as “hoo-hah” – don’t you know that’s a slang for a woman’s private parts?

A: Not in my neck of the woods. I don’t know who calls vaginas and vulva’s “hoohah’s;” on this blog we just call them what they are, and routinely mock the vulvic-worship. I learned “hoo-hah” at the knee of my Jewish neighbors, and I love the way it dismisses nonsense with beautiful and semitic simplicity. Kipling said “a woman is only a woman, but a good cigar is a smoke.” I say a vagina is just a vagina, but a surpassing bit of absolute blarney is a hoo-hah!

Q: Are you missing William F. Buckley?

A: Actually I do mean to read God and Man at Yale, but as with Ronald Reagan, I came to appreciation of Buckley rather late. However, there is a new piece up on the man by Fr. George W. Rutler. Rutler, you may remember, was the man who said to Christopher Hitchens, “you will either die a Catholic or a madman…”. Rutler offered to tell Hitchens the difference at that point, and I wish Hitchen had allowed him to, because I really want to know what it is. Hitchens, however, busily plugging his book with a “Whack-a-Christian” tour, did not allow Rutler to explain. This disappointed me. I think as a rule Hitchens’ very curious mind (and his sense of humor) would have looked forward to the answer as a whole new point of debate; but strangely, he didn’t want to know. Speaking of atheism, I notice that Pajamas Media has a feature piece on the Scientific embrace of Atheism, which looks like a good read. I have no problem with atheists, myself. I just think they should be as tolerant of my creed as I am of theirs, and stop trying to force their beliefs on me..

Q: Last week you were unhappy with Lisa Miller at Newsweek for her piece about Pope Benedict; do you like them any better this week?

A: You mean that incredibly tone-deaf piece on why Benedict didn’t “connect” with people? Too funny in retrospect, isn’t it? I have no animus toward Miller or Newsweek; I just think the magazine’s writers are supremely out-of-touch – almost endearingly so – with a huge portion of the country. They prove it again this week with this startlingly bigoted piece by Michael Hirsch in which he basically disses and dismisses people who are not like him and don’t live in the elitist coastal enclaves:

“…what we know today as Red State America. This region was heavily settled by Scots-Irish immigrants–the same ethnic mix King James I sent to Northern Ireland to clear out the native Celtic Catholics…Southern frontiersmen never got over their hatred of the East Coast elites and a belief in the morality and nobility of defying them. Their champion was the Indian-fighter Andrew Jackson. The outcome was that a substantial portion of the new nation developed, over many generations, a rather savage, unsophisticated set of mores. Traditionally, it has been balanced by a more diplomatic, communitarian Yankee sensibility from the Northeast and upper Midwest.

He also calls his fellow countrymen “yahoos” and goes on blathering like that for a while. Well, goldarnit, Barack shure did warned us ’bout folks like this ol’ boy, clingin’, bitterly, to his’n identity n’his secular-humanist creed!

Q: Um, aren’t you a New Yorker?

A: I am, born here and live here now, but there was that whole adolescence spent in the unnamed place among the cowpokes and prospectors, and I will forever have some real perspective into the south and west which allows appreciation. Hirsch should get out more and broaden his horizons a little. There is a whole interesting world beyond the Smuppity West Side.

Q: Aw, did you just invent a word? Smuppity?

A: Why yes, I did. Smug & Uppity = Smuppity. My word, as of right now. But you can use it.

Q: You’re awfully quiet on the Hillary-front, lately.

A: Well, I am busy inventing new words for the lexicon, but Hubbard is both amusing and smart on Hillary today.

Q: So, Anchoress, then you’ve had your fill of writing about Pope Benedict XVI?

A: Well, actually, I am going to be quoting rather extensively from his tremendous book God and the World (which is actually a three-day conversation with writer Peter Seewald, and it’s fascinating) during the week, but for now others are doing Benedict, or things papal, very well indeed. Check out Deacon Greg’s links about the book of victim names which Cardinal Sean O’Malley handed the pontiff in Washington DC (somehow I’d envisioned a yellow legal pad, but I’m not artistic), and this interview with a Jewish journalist covering the pope’s visit. Never forget to check out the Deac’s homily for the week, which is always an insightful gift.

Then check out Irene Lagan’s coverage of the pope’s Regina Caeli address to the audience following his ordination of 29 new priests, during which he mentioned some trouble spots in the world (particularly Africa) and also his recent visit to the US:

I thank God who greatly blessed this unique mission and allowed me to make be an instrument of hope of Christ for the Church and for the country. At the same time I thank him because I myself was confirmed in the hope of American Catholics: I found it a great vitality and determination to live and bear witness to the faith in Jesus.

The tireless Rocco Palmieri has the full text of the address.

Most surprisingly – and worth mentioning in light of Benedict’s ongoing, full-on engagement of both Islam and the Arab peoples – one of the newly-ordained is an Iraqi.

Meanwhile, I totally agree with this comparison between John Paul II and Benedict. And I agree with Rod Dreher that this is a great “commercial” for Catholicism.

Q: Well, you just live in a sunny, “everything-is-beautiful” la-la land, dontcha?

A: No, I don’t, and I’ve had my forays into the darkling company, but I’ve never written about it with Gerard’s power and unstinting honesty. And for a sad but also rather lovely and uplifting story, check out Okie on the Lam’s tribute to his late mother-in-law. The greatness of the Greatest Generation was not gender-exclusive.

Q:Get any interesting review copies, lately?

A: Well…yes and no, but mostly no. I have an advance of A Persistent Peace by Fr. John Dear, S.J., which will soon be released by Loyola Press, (forward by Martin Sheen) and I will talk more about it when I’ve finished it, but so far…well, I’m trying very hard to appreciate the good father’s ultra-pacifist philosophy (and I’m sure some regular readers of the blog may enjoy it) but – perhaps because I am Irish – I don’t quite get it. I know all the intellectual arguments for pacifism (it reduces us to the behavior of the aggressors, violence begets violence, love is the answer) and I even agree with that to a point. There there is that point, where I must say that “yes, love, love, love is the answer but it is not expedient.” And sometimes – as when you have people plotting to release poison in a subway, or something, expedience is the other answer. This is why I can never fully embrace either the “full pacifist” stance or the warrior mentality. Too much of either seems out-of-balance to me, and Fr. Dear’s book – page after page of noble pacifism drenched with hero-worship of Ghandi and Tutu – after a while makes me feel rather clammy. Oh. I guess I did just review it!

On the other hand, Instapundit has received a review copy of a book I wish they’d have sent me: Chesterton on War and Peace: Battling the Ideas and Movements that Led to Nazism and World War II. Insty calls it: A collection of essays, including one on a particular breed of pacifist that Chesterton saw as new in the 20th Century: “He does not so much believe in his own conscience as disbelieve in the common conscience which is the soul of any society. His hatred for patriotism is very much plainer than his love for peace.”

Indeed. Heh.

Speaking of Chesterton, Maureen Martin has some fun with him, here:

Chesterton joked that while his friends Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton led lives that convinced people to help the poor and commune with God, that he, Flannery O’Connor, and Walker Percy were quickly becoming the patron saints of people “who just read all the time.”

Very cute.

Q: Don’t you think Chesterton and Antonin Scalia would have hit it off?

A: Absolutely. I’d love to have seen Stahl interview both of ’em.

Q: Was that you I saw last Friday night at Carnegie Hall singing Molly Malone with Bryn Terfel?

A: Yep! I agree with Nordlinger, too, that his Mozart was the unintended highlight of the night. Bryn’s voice and Mozart are a match made in heaven.

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