Tuesday, August 14, 2018

How Mary Cassatt Became an Important Impressionist Figure

"Woman with a pearl necklace"
"Lilacs in a Window"
"The Cup of Tea"
 From My Modern Met:
As Cassatt's career was largely based in Europe, it is no surprise that traveling abroad as a child is what sparked her interest in art. In the 1850s, Cassatt spent many years in Germany and France, where she picked up the languages and developed an interest in drawing. Following her return to Philadelphia, she enrolled in the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where she began to study painting in 1861.

While her parents supported her interest in the arts, they—like many other people during this time—did not deem it a suitable career for a woman. Nevertheless, she continued her artistic education until 1865, when she grew tired of the restraints placed upon female students. One year later, she moved to Paris, France, where her career came to fruition. (Read more.)

Performance Journalism

From Townhall:
CNN’s Jim Acosta has become the favorite punching bag for the right. He and his network is a constant target for President Trump. He’s tried to fight the administration, every time he gets slapped down. Trump told him directly during one press spray in the Oval Office to get out. Even the White House staff knows how to deal with Jim.  Senior Adviser Stephen Miller took him to the woodshed during a presser about the Trump White House’s changes to our immigration policy concerning green card applications last year. From North Korea to the recent rally in Tampa, Florida, Acosta is being trashed. He then gets his television hot, where he laments how he feels like he isn’t in America anymore when people heckle him. Not everyone is receptive to this form of “performance journalism.” Former CNN producer Steve Krakauer called his antics embarrassing, while former MSNBC host Dave Shuster pretty much told Acosta to cut it out. Acosta had tweeted he was sad that Press Secretary Sarah Sanders didn’t declare that the press wasn’t the enemy of the people after the Tampa rally. Shuster more or less said suck it up, buttercup. (Read more.)

Child Sacrifice By Modern Heathens

From Life News:
Dr. Ben Carson has a way of putting things in perspective that endears him to pro-life activists. The neurosurgeon and the author of six best-selling books makes another compelling point about the issue of abortion that is sure to have everyone who opposes abortion concurring. He pointed out how ancient civilizations have been criticized for the brutal practices of human sacrifice and child sacrifice — but he wonders if modern society isn’t “guilty of the same thing” because we have legalized abortion. “Well, it’s interesting that we sit around and call other ancient civilizations heathen because of human sacrifice but aren’t we actually guilty of the same thing?” said Dr. Carson in reference to a question about abortion. “The good thing is the American populace is moving closer and closer to understanding that abortion is murder. Every year we’re getting better on that regard.” (Read more.)

Monday, August 13, 2018

Answering Twenty Centuries of Anti-Catholic Myths

Marie-Antoinette, Queen of France and Navarre
From Inside EWTN:
In a wide-ranging interview, Weidenkopf shared snippets from three widespread myths he was especially happy to debunk – and then discussed how the average person can discern if what he is reading is credible. Let’s start with the three myths:
  • MYTH #1: Christopher Columbus was an agent of Western imperialism, cultural destruction, and genocide.
Although Weidenkopf teaches church history, even he was surprised at what he unearthed when he researched Columbus, who he said “gets a very bad rap in the modern world. He’s seen as a poster child for what Europeans did wrong with the indigenous people.”

Without going into the entire story here, we can say that, on the first of his four voyages to the New World, Columbus met a peaceful tribe of Native Americans. However, on his second voyage, Weidenkopf discovered that the Caribs – a tribe of cannibals who “practiced sodomy and castrated boys from neighboring tribes” – had captured and enslaved the peaceful tribe.

Weidenkopf says he negotiated with the Caribs and actually paid for the captives’ release, which demonstrates that Columbus was very concerned about the Native Americans he met and was about a lot more than making money. In fact, Weidenkopf says Columbus’ main concern was “to bring the light of Christ to these people.” Yes, he was interested in finding gold, but not for the reason most people believe.

“He wanted to raise enough money to liberate Jerusalem from the Muslims,” says Weidenkopf. “You never hear about that. He believed if Jerusalem was back in Christian hands, it would usher in the Second Coming more quickly. He was very focused on his faith!”
  • MYTH #2: Marie Antoinette was a selfish and decadent Catholic queen who callously told her starving subjects to “eat cake.”
Weidenkopf calls this piece of propaganda is a “travesty of justice” and says “the outrageous lies about her [must be] erased from memory.” As a teenager, it’s true that the young queen was focused on herself and her hedonistic parties, but Weidenkopf says that changed as she matured. Many people hated her simply because she was Austrian and not French.

However, it wasn’t until the great financial crisis in France, caused by its aid to the U.S. in achieving independence, that the revolutionaries decided to solve their country’s problems by taking over the Church’s land, wealth, and power. Their “let them eat cake” and other propaganda “against this devoted Catholic, wife, mother, and queen,” helped topple the monarchy. However, Weidenkopf says that, contrary to popular belief, Marie established soup kitchens in parishes to feed her people and was very concerned about their welfare. (Read more.)

Is Collusion Criminal?

From Ben Shapiro:
Technically, collusion isn't a crime. There is no statutory definition of "collusion"; the closest we could come is "conspiracy." So let's be more specific: Would it be criminal activity if the Trump campaign solicited opposition research from the Russian government? The short answer: Not clearly, unless the campaign was also involved in underlying criminal activity, such as hacking the Democratic National Committee or the Hillary Clinton campaign. UCLA professor of law Eugene Volokh explained in the Washington Post last year that barring such activity, it seems violative of the First Amendment to prevent campaigns from talking with foreign citizens about opposition research on other candidates. After all, Clinton's team paid Fusion GPS to create an opposition-research dossier, much of the material provided by a foreign citizen, Christopher Steele. Even exchanging information with the Russian government wouldn't clearly violate the law, if Volokh is correct. (Read more.)

The Perfection of Jane Austen

From The Imaginative Conservative:
Jane Austen wrote a perfect number of perfect novels. In the probable order of her last attention to them these six are: Northanger Abbey, Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, and Persuasion. Their perfection, which I shall treat as given, presents at once an invitation and a difficulty. Devoted novel readers know that their attention is ever divided between the tale and their delight in its telling. And so, while reading, I find myself continually forming the question: Just what is so wonderful here? What is the essence of this perfection? But here arises the difficulty: It appears to be the nature of perfect works that they have no crevices by which to force an entry. Ordinarily, in dealing with an ostensibly truth-telling text, we bustle into it, we expound, expose, penetrate to something carefully secreted, decently hidden, unintended, or false. I wonder whether such burrowing is ever quite in harmony with the author’s hopes, except perhaps in the case of the Platonic dialogues. At any rate, confronted with these novels and ashamed to force unseemly entries, I am driven to the thought that their kind of perfection is impenetrable and has no obscure depth; that it presents a smooth, continuous plane, which is not a surface because it has no bidden center. These works repel the interpretative assault, whether it is attempted through a long siege of cyclical reading or in a straight dash through the six. And yet there is no escaping the insistent desire to lay hold of the essence of those novels, a desire which is really the wish to capture and fix their pleasure by an adequate reflection on its cause. But since a penetration of the novels seems to be a doomed undertaking—their essence apparently being that they have none—I thought I might satisfy myself by attempting merely to articulate and itemize the various perfections and felicities which make the novels what they are. (Read more.)

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Letter from Marie-Antoinette at the Vatican

 A letter conserved in the Vatican archives is from Marie-Antoinette to one of her brothers-in-law. It is appears to be a letter of shared condolences, perhaps on the occasion of the death of one of Marie-Antoinette's children, either the first Dauphin or Baby Madame Sophie. I am thinking it might be one of the Italian brothers-in-law, such as the Prince of Piedmont, the future King Charles Emmanuel IV of Sardinia, who was married to Clothilde of France. They were a loving couple but they had ongoing sorrows, including childlessness. Charles Emmanuel was also the brother of the Comtesse de Provence and the Comtesse d'Artois, as well as being close friends with his cousin Henry Benedict Stuart, Cardinal Duke of York. After his wife's death, the King abdicated and became a Jesuit lay-brother in Rome, which is probably how the letter came to the Vatican.

Charles Emmanuel IV of Savoy


Are Globalists Plotting a Counter-Revolution?

From Townhall:
For consider the fruits of free trade policy during the last 25 years: the frozen wages of U.S. workers, $12 trillion in U.S. trade deficits, 55,000 factories lost, 6 million manufacturing jobs gone, China surpassing the U.S in manufacturing, all causing a backlash that pushed a political novice to the Republican nomination and into the presidency. To maintain a belief in the superiority of free trade to economic patriotism, in the face of such results, is to recognize that this belief system is impervious to contradictory proof. Still, the enduring enthusiasm of free trade zealots is not the only sign that GOP globalists, having learned nothing and forgotten nothing, are looking to a post-Trump era to resurrect their repudiated dogmas. (Read more.)