Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Duchesse de Berry in a Blue Velvet Dress

Caroline of Naples, great-niece of Marie-Antoinette, in 1824. Portrait by Madame Lebrun. Share

The Cost of Amnesty

This article is a few years old; no doubt the numbers have increased. To quote:
Unlawful immigration and amnesty for current unlawful immigrants can pose large fiscal costs for U.S. taxpayers. Government provides four types of benefits and services that are relevant to this issue:
  • Direct benefits. These include Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance, and workers’ compensation.
  • Means-tested welfare benefits. There are over 80 of these programs which, at a cost of nearly $900 billion per year, provide cash, food, housing, medical, and other services to roughly 100 million low-income Americans. Major programs include Medicaid, food stamps, the refundable Earned Income Tax Credit, public housing, Supplemental Security Income, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.
  • Public education. At a cost of $12,300 per pupil per year, these services are largely free or heavily subsidized for low-income parents.
  • Population-based services. Police, fire, highways, parks, and similar services, as the National Academy of Sciences determined in its study of the fiscal costs of immigration, generally have to expand as new immigrants enter a community; someone has to bear the cost of that expansion.
(Read more.)

In Defense of Elitism

From Roger Scruton:
There is a very famous phrase, “the tyranny of the majority,” that was introduced into political discourse by two near contemporaries in the nineteenth century. Alexis de Tocqueville, the famous French writer who wrote Democracy in America, travelled around this country trying to understand how it is that people can survive without an aristocracy. He was amazed to discover that they did, he being a member of the aristocracy. And while he thought that human life could change in a democratic direction, he discerned a permanent danger, which he described in these terms: the tyranny of the majority—that is to say, the danger that every public decision will be taken by the majority for the majority and disregard both the rights of minorities and the possibility of disagreement. He discovered that in America this tyranny of the majority had not emerged. So he asked the question, why? (Read more.)

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Celebrating Christian Dior

From Harper's Bazaar: "To fête Christian Dior's birthday today, we're taking a look back at the way the designer transformed the fashion scene post-World War II, all thanks to his iconic New Look in 1947." Share

To the Catholic Left

From The Liturgy Guy:
As one of the many cassock-wearing, Communion-on-the-tongue-receiving, Latin-loving, Extraordinary-Form-Mass-saying young priests that have passed through the halls of Theological College, allow me to say plainly to anyone who would agree with the tone and sentiment of this article that you have deliberately and painfully pigeon-holed men who love the Church and cast us to be pompous little monsters simply because we have a different theological/liturgical outlook than you.

You condescend towards us as if we were not thinking, opining, and sincere men.

You gossip about us, ensuring that we are “put in our places” and “taught a thing or two” by your confreres.

You confuse our strong convictions with arrogance and accuse us of being staunch when we are trying more than anything else to be faithful, helpful, and loving.

But let’s be quite honest…you don’t really know us because you never took the time to get to know us. You saw us when we were in the seminary chapel or over breakfast…but that’s about it. Have you seen us at 2:00 AM in the hospital? Have you seen us working late into the night on a funeral homily? Have you seen us giving up our one day off a week to visit with a lonely elderly parishioner? Have you seen us on our knees at night before the tabernacle weeping because we just buried a child earlier that day?nHave you seen us celebrate four Masses on a weekend, hear hours of confessions, and still show up to Sunday evening Youth Ministry? Have you seen us wear the same pair of socks two days in a row because we simply ran out of time to do laundry? Have you seen us muster a smile even when we’re exhausted, or miss Christmas with our families because we’re assigned 300 miles away, or forget to eat dinner because there’s another meeting to go to?

The answer is no. What you see are the cassocks and birettas and fiddleback chasubles and accuse us of being “out of touch.” Well the reality is, you are guilty of the very thing you accuse us of. You ignore our humanity, our struggle, our sincerity, and you fixate on external things to make your judgments. (Read more.)

Jane Austen and Modesty

From the Circe Institute:
I have observed a tendency among some Christians to equate “Christian” and “biblical” with “old-fashioned.” I once attended a very conservative Christian conference that had such an extreme view of modesty that many young women dressed like characters in a Jane Austen novel. In their homemade empire-waist Regency dresses, they were all quite modestly attired by today's standards. But the irony was not lost on me:  to the young men of the Regency period, those dresses were hardly quaint and certainly not without the ability to inspire desire and lust.

Because while principles of modesty may be unchanging, practically speaking, what behavior and attire titillate is quite culturally relative. Compared to the stiff, structured dresses of the previous generation, the free-flowing dresses of the Regency period were alluring because they clung to a woman’s form. When a woman moved in one of those dresses, there was much to attract the eye of a man. In fact, women of this period dampened their dresses before a night out so that their clothes clung to their forms even more alluringly. That’s right. Those prim and proper heroines of the Austen era were just as capable of pushing the limits of modesty as any modern girl.

But there has never been a time when women did not want to attract the attention of men. And there has never been a time when there wasn’t conversation about where the line of propriety lies. There was no golden age of history when everyone agreed on what constituted appropriate, modest behavior and dress. Even an old fashioned dress can be alluring and inspire lust in the right circumstances.
Modesty is an issue of the heart, which is not to say that it is not also an issue of the eyes, hips, and shoulders. But if we fail to get to the heart of the matter, we will forever be arguing with Scarlet O’Hara about the appropriate placement of sleeves before noon. And we will get nowhere. (Read more.)

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Peaceful Sojourns

A trip to Burgundy. From Victoria:
With its colorful, glazed-tile roof and Gothic facade a beacon of hope, the Hospices de Beaune was founded in the fifteenth century as a hospital for the destitute. Through the years, gifts from wealthier classes afforded expansion and an impressive art collection. The original structure, the Hôtel-Dieu, now functions as a museum.

Roses outside the café—the casual counterpoint to gastronomic La Table de Levernois—welcome patrons to the mansion’s eighteenth-century kitchen. (Read more.)


Gender Dysphoria

From The Public Discourse:
First, though, let us address the basic assumption of the contemporary parade: the idea that exchange of one’s sex is possible. It, like the storied Emperor, is starkly, nakedly false. Transgendered men do not become women, nor do transgendered women become men. All (including Bruce Jenner) become feminized men or masculinized women, counterfeits or impersonators of the sex with which they “identify.” In that lies their problematic future.

When “the tumult and shouting dies,” it proves not easy nor wise to live in a counterfeit sexual garb. The most thorough follow-up of sex-reassigned people—extending over thirty years and conducted in Sweden, where the culture is strongly supportive of the transgendered—documents their lifelong mental unrest. Ten to fifteen years after surgical reassignment, the suicide rate of those who had undergone sex-reassignment surgery rose to twenty times that of comparable peers. (Read more.)