October 25, 2007

Various & Sundry: Arts & Lit Edition

I very much enjoyed William F. Buckley's favorite movie, The Lives of Others. Now I'll see if I like fellow conservative Bob Novak's favorite, the 1962 film The Leopard.

In a recent New Yorker there's a riveting review of the life and thoughts of Jacques Barzun, the last generalist in a specialist world. He was the wise man I recently recommended to aspiring film-maker Ham o' Bone without remembering his name! (Am I aging?) A proponent of the great books, i.e. those authored mostly by dead European white men, Barzun also resisted the Marxist shibboleths that entranced and shipwrecked many an academic. But alas no hero is without an Achilles’ heel, least of all one in academia. Turns out he kisses the ground of the pragmatist philosopher William James. Barzun's love for James makes sense given that he loves the Romantic Era. Beneath the placid scholarly surface must roil a Steven Riddle-like emotional life.

Are you, like me, tired of Germans being the cause of everything bad in the world, including two world wars, the Reformation, the rise of Jesus Seminar-like biblical criticism, and pernicious philosophy (Nietzsche)? Well then you get to blame them for contemporary church music too. But banish your prejudice by taking two deep breaths and repeating after me: "Pope Benedict is German. Pope Benedict is German. Pope Benedict is German...."!

My employer is offering an (optional) diversity meeting titled "Same-sex Marriage". There is no diversity in the presenters, of course; reading the bios of the speakers you immediately see why there is no question mark after the title. Your cubby reporter might well be there, a mole, a secret agent, a spy, though one not too well camouflaged given my extreme white maleness (the next extreme sport?) and wedding ring. (Shhhh! Don't tell nobody.) Ham o' Bone might make an appearance though he's concerned about his acting ability. He's not Irish like me and we Irish are sneaky. We had to be in order to survive the perfidious British. I'm actually not surprised by the way things are going on the gay marriage front...It's not as intuitively wrong as abortion and it's clear that when sex was severed from procreation there would be huge negative societal repercussions. Sad but true.

The banner alone proves that this blog has the capacity to stand out in the crowded blogophere.

Happened across the following tidbit:
A synchronicitous moment, is when a weird coincidence seems to have strange undertones of real meaning. The Greeks with their ancient culture have the word, “Kiaros” which means exactly the right moment.This strange story is completely true and is a living example of Synchronicity, coincidence and Kiaros. St. Thomas Aquinas, the great catholic theologian once said; ”the highest manifestation of life consists in this, that a being governs its own actions, a thing which is always subject to the directions of another is somewhat of a dead thing." But believers in synchronicity say that beings do not govern their own actions, these actions are governed by a greater force than either human or coincidence.

Is a line in this poem - "To insist on dispensation" - modernity's rallying cry?

Another poem:
Man and Derailment
by Dan Chiasson

When the man took his son down the ravine
to view, along the opposite bank,
the pileup of a passenger train,
backhoes and cranes, things the child had seen
only in miniature, now huge, hauling
life-sized train cars out of the deep ravine,
inside his life-sized head the quiet boy
wondered how he would remember the scene
and, once he knew his father better, later,
and later, knew himself better, what it would mean.

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