August 19, 2019

Misdirection. A form of deception in which the attention of an audience is focused on one thing in order to distract its attention from another. Managing the audience’s attention is the aim of all theater, it is the foremost requirement of theatrical magic. – Wikipedia On November 6, 2018, in a much-anticipated game on the first day of the NCAA men’s basketball season, the preseason 4th-ranked Duke Blue Devils, led by the incomparable South Carolina freshman Zion Williamson, thrashed the… Read more

August 18, 2019

Previously in Calvin’s Ghost – The Spin Here is Eli Wheeler in September 1969, a 9-year old, freshly commissioned 4rd-grader, all innocence and watchful awareness. Was he happy? Certainly not. But Eli was expectant. At recess, sprinting with his mates, out the back door of the classroom to the playfield. The stately elms filtering sunlight. The blue asphalt warming. Eli loved school, especially his short, attentive teacher, Mrs. Greenberry, with her Jackie Onassis bouffant and perfume smelling of earth and… Read more

August 18, 2019

This is a guest post from journalist Andrew Schwartz, who spoke with Andrew Yang in October 2018, shortly after Yang declared his improbable candidacy for the presidency as a Democrat. This article originally appeared in the online journal of popular culture, Mangoprism. Last fall, I interviewed the presidential candidate Andrew Yang for half an hour before he held a rally in Chicago. His candidacy was relatively unknown at the time, so he was (and I believe still is) taking all… Read more

August 17, 2019

For those inclined to take a weekend break from the tedium of Catholic natural law moral philosophy, right-wing ethno-racio-sexuo-politics, and the existential counterspin of climate change, please consider Calvin’s Ghost, an old-fashioned and virtuous Protestant novel, set in bucolic campus settings in the latter decades of the 20th century.  I’ll post 2 new chapters each weekend. Please click here for more information. Synopsis Calvin’s Ghost is an American tragedy about grief and brokenness that leads us ever more deeply into the… Read more

August 16, 2019

The Max Boot Chronicles (Continued) This post continues my account of the internecine dust-up between post-conservative military historian and Washington Post columnist, Max Boot, and his former colleagues and allies at stalward Catholic conservative magazine, The National Review (think Raylan Givens/Boyd Crowder in Justified). For purposes of continuity, I include below the final paragraph of the previous post. Sixth, but matters really get jiggity when Charles Cooke, National Review editor Rich Lowry, and various fellow travelers such as Ricochet editor and Jewish… Read more

August 15, 2019

The Max Boot Chronicles When I was taking a second spin through Berkeley in the early 1990s, Max Boot was an undergraduate writing pissant columns for The Daily Cal student newspaper. Max Boot stood out – to everyone. He was really smart. He was really conservative. And he had a fantastically authoritarian name. I disagreed with nearly everything he wrote, but loved reading it all. There was no doubt in my mind he would make his mark in the world…. Read more

August 14, 2019

The Masturbation Chronicles I just read the Patheos post by Catholic apologist Dave Armstrong, entitled Masturbation: Thoughts on Why it is as Wrong as it Ever Was. Which I initially thought might be a joke. But it is not. At the end of Armstrong’s essay, you’ll see a long list of citations for other articles on the sin of self-pleasuring, which encompasses both the prohibitions on masturbation and on contraception. The canonical statement on the origins of these prohibitions is of course,… Read more

August 14, 2019

Drycephalus Water is poetry. Loose-limbed and supple. Deserts are prose. Hard, inflected, and jagged. Water is the condition of civilization. Limpid sheath of collective self-awareness. Hymn to synchronicity. Deserts are the absence of water. Pure heat. Pitiless heat. Reduction to cause and effect, reflex and reaction, metabolism and instinct. Water is spring, rebirth and renewal. Heralded by mountain snow melt, unfathomable quantities of stored fresh water annually released to fill streams, estuaries, lakes, and reservoirs. Stored water pleating the soil. Replenishing itself…. Read more

August 12, 2019

In 2007, Professor Robert George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University, delivered the John Dewey Lecture in Philosophy at Harvard Law School. George himself received his legal education at Harvard, and was there introduced to ideas about the relationship between law and morality, the study of which, as he happily tells us, became his life’s vocation. George’s 2007 lecture, entitled “Natural Law” (and subsequently published in the Harvard Journal… Read more

August 10, 2019

In this otherworldly, discordant political moment, I’d like to reclaim two fine articles published just prior to the 2016 presidential election that pay attention to the deeper structure of the tortured, mangled language games that beset us. Neither essay claims to have answers, but both in their humble, searching manner point us toward definitions of the problem: a kind of drenched solipsism that has dissolved our public institutions at a moment when we most need them, and so hurtles us… Read more




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