Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Super Moon, Blue Moon, Blood Moon

From East of the Sun, West of the Moon.

From Unveiling the Apocalypse:
The above encyclical of Pope St. Pius X cites an allegory of Pope St. Gregory the Great comparing the Church to the Barque of St. Peter in the midst of a great tempest. This was a deliberate allusion to the accounts of Christ's calming of the storm in the Gospels. Alongside the symbolism of the Battle of Lepanto, this very same theme predominates St. John Bosco's famous prophetic Dream of the Two Pillars. A prophecy which seems to be of especial significance this year, considering the fact that we have a very rare occurrence of a "blue and blood moon" on 31st January this year - which is the feast day of St. John Bosco himself. This is the first occurrence of a "blue and blood moon" in over 150 years, and will also appear during yet another "super-moon" phase (the last of three consecutive such appearances), when the moon is at its closest point to earth.
The last time a "blue and blood moon" lit up the night skies was on 31st March, 1866, while St. John Bosco was still overseeing the construction of the Basilica of Our Lady of Help of Christians in Turin, which wasn't completed until 1868. During its construction, St. John Bosco insisted on incorporating several prophetic elements into the architecture of the Basilica itself, based on the various prophetic dreams and visions he had experienced over the years.  The most notable of aspect of these curious additions to the architecture of the Basilica was an allusion to a prophetic date pointing to some time in the 20th century as the moment of another great Marian victory:
...additional work on the Church of Mary Help of Christians was in progress. Each of the two belfries flanking the facade was to be surmounted by an angel, nearly eight feet tall, fashioned from gilded wrought copper, according to Don Bosco’s own plan. The angel on the right held a banner…bearing the word “LEPANTO” drilled in large letters through the metal, while the one on the left offered…a laurel wreath to the Blessed Virgin standing atop the dome.
In a previous design, the second angel too held a banner on which the figure “19” was drilled through the metal followed by two dots. It stood for another date, “nineteen hundred,” without the final two numbers to indicate the specific year. Though ultimately, as we have said, a laurel wreath was put into the angel’s hand, we have never forgotten the mysterious date which, in our opinion, pointed to a new triumph of the Madonna. May this come soon and bring all nations under Mary’s mantle. (Lemoyne, Biographical Memoirs IX, p276)

The first prophecy of St. John Bosco then continues with the theme of the Second Pentecost:
Things follow too slowly upon each other, but the great Queen of Heaven is at hand; the Lord's power is Hers. Like mist She shall scatter Her enemies. She shall vest the Venerable Old Man with all his former garments. There shall yet come a violent hurricane. Iniquity is at an end, sin shall cease, and before two full moons shall have shone in the month of flowers, the rainbow of peace shall appear on the earth. The great Minister shall see the Bride of his King clothed in glory. Throughout the world a sun so bright shall shine as was never seen since the flames of the Cenacle until today, nor shall it be seen again until the end of time...(Biographical Memoirs)
Note the mention here of "two full moons" shining "in the month of flowers", which may be of some importance to our present scenario, since in addition to the blue and blood moon which occurs on Jan 31st this year (the feast of St. John Bosco), there will be another blue moon in the month of March 2018 - which is a possible contender for the "Month of Flowers". This blue moon occurs on the 31st March, 2018, which also coincides with Holy Saturday, which commemorates Our Lord's descent into Hades and the Harrowing of Hell (recalling Christ holding the keys to death and Hades in his hands in the Apocalypse).
The theme of the Second Pentecost is continued in the second prophecy of St. John Bosco concerning the March of the 200 Days, which as well as being directly associated with the Dream of the Two Pillars, also contains imagery strongly reminiscent of the Third Secret of Fatima:
It was a dark night, and men could no longer find their way back to their own countries. Suddenly a most brilliant light shone in the sky, illuminating their way as at high noon. At that moment from the Vatican came forth, as in procession, a multitude of men and women, young children, monks, nuns, and priests, and at their head was the Pope.
But a furious storm broke out, somewhat dimming that light, as if light and darkness were locked in battle. Meanwhile the long procession reached a small square littered with dead and wounded, many of whom cried for help.

The ranks of the procession thinned considerably. After a two-hundred day march, all realized that they were no longer in Rome. In dismay they swarmed about the Pontiff to protect him and minister to him in his needs.

At that moment two angels appeared, bearing a banner which they presented to the Supreme Pontiff, saying: "Take the banner of Her who battles and routs the most powerful armies on earth. Your enemies have vanished: with tears and sighs your children plead for your return." One side of the banner bore the inscription:
Regina sine labe concepta [Queen conceived without sin], and the other side read: Auxilium Christianorum [Help of Christians]. (Read more.)
 And more from Fr. Richard Heilman, here:
 I believe the Super Blue Blood Moon on the Feast of St. John Bosco is God trying to get our attention that there is something God wants us to notice, related to St. John Bosco.

Historic Light Being Shone

After 100 years of Satan’s unbinding, as prophesied by Pope Leo XIII, we are now seeing an “historic light” being shown on evil, that had been, up until now, allowed to move unabated, and is now being radically called into question. Even Pope Benedict held that this 100 years, most likely, began with Our Lady of Fatima’s warning in 1917 and would conclude in 2017, as he said this in 2010 …
May the seven years which separate us from the centenary of the apparitions hasten the fulfillment of the prophecy of the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to the glory of the Most Holy Trinity“. (Homily of His Holiness Benedict XVI, Esplanade of the Shrine of Our Lady of Fátima Thursday, 13 May 2010)
It is more than interesting that the volcano of exposés (historic light) erupted with Harvey Weinstein on October 5, 2017. This was just two days before the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary (and the conclusion of the 54 day Novena for Our Nation), and just nine days (a novena of days) before the 100th anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun in Fatima. Also note, these exposés erupted only 13 days after the September 23, 2017 Revelation 12 sign.

Now, Hollywood – Yes! Hollywood! – is standing against the sexualization and objectification of women! WOW!

Add to this the exposés (historic light) on corruption and collusion occurring within the ruling class; the cultural elites of politics and media. This “swamp” is being drained at an alarming rate. Please watch this speech: HERE. Judge Louis D. Brandeis is often quoted in situations such as this: “Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.”

I believe this “historic light” is what St. John Bosco’s dream is pointing to when he wrote, “…a sun so bright shall shine as never seen since the flames of the Cenacle until today.”

Consider how far we have fallen into paganism in our times. Consider the worst genocide – abortion – in all of human history. Consider marriage redefined for the first time in all of civilization. Consider the “normalization” of corruption and collusion for gaining political power. All of these, and more, are being exposed as the horror that they are, just in the past few months, since the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.

Epic Battle

Recall that I alluded to the September 23, 2017 Revelation 12 sign. In the book of Revelation, it is interesting to note that this “sign” marked Satan being “thrown down.” This occurs precisely as the 100 years of Satan’s unbinding comes to an end. This sign is followed by the passage that says,
“Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven.” -Revelations 12:7-9
“The dragon and his angels fought back.” Look at the fierce battle being waged all around us, as the forces of death and darkness are panicked as they see their entrenched evil threatened. As Revelations 12:12 says, “…for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!Secular Satanism, as Matt Walsh refers to it, is calling upon every worldly minion and every source of influence, in one of the most aggressive campaigns to retain all of the ground they have gained, up to now. But, their evil empire is crumbling before their eyes, and they know it. (Read more.)


Feminism and the Working Class

Feminism once again shows itself to be a luxury for well-off women with no bearing on the reality of working class women, who have always worked. From The Spectator:
This is the nature of feminism today: it has become a well-off women’s racket. It has become a means for educated women to secure their position in the media, business and politics. Witness the new feminism’s myopic obsession with numbers of women on company boards, or the exact ratio of male-to-female guests on the Today programme, or how female MPs are addressed on Twitter. The vast majority of women, and men, do not work in these fields, of course. Feminism, clearly, isn’t for them. In fact, feminism is very often against them, especially if they are those ‘bad women’ who take jobs or have points of view that mainstream feminists disapprove of. Those women will be raged against by the sisterhood.

The way feminists talk about certain working-class women is disgraceful. The young glamorous hostesses at that ridiculous Presidents Club dinner were utterly infantilised by those FT reporters, and others in the media, to whom these women are not conscious creatures who made a decision to do a certain job but rather are wide-eyed victims in need of rescue. The glamorous darts women are laughed off the public stage as if their choices and lives do not matter. As journalist and feminist Sally Howard said on This Morning yesterday, their job losses are ‘necessary’ — ‘every social change has people who suffer from it’. Imagine being so cavalier about women’s livelihoods. Page 3 girls? Sack them. Women who work for lads’ mags? Erase them. Women who question the MeToo movement, whether it’s film stars like Catherine Deneuve or just an ordinary working woman on Twitter who doesn’t think a hand on the knee is all that bad? Shout them down. Shut them up. ‘Be silent, woman, you don’t know what you’re talking about.’ (Read more.)

Secular Progressive Revolution

From Roman Catholic Man:
The “Secular Progressive Revolution” has hit our culture like a tsunami wave. It is enormous, it is devastatingly destructive, and it has hit us with little or no warning. And, our country is left to repair the damage as we recover from this sudden and destructive force. And so, “truly concerned priests” are speaking out. Are these just a matter of “politics?” …

No, it is not “health care” to kill babies in, what once was, the safest place in the universe … our mothers’ wombs.

No, we should not redefine, for the first time ever, the very bedrock of civilization … the marriage of one man and one woman for the procreation of children.

No, we should not force people of faith to do anything that directly opposes their faith (e.g., pay for other people’s abortions).

No, it is not a good idea to enact laws that makes it difficult for couples to marry and have children.

No, it is not “freedom” to collude with and support movements exposing children to sexually explicit content.

No, we should not put unions, who pay for elections, ahead of the education of our children, which keeps them in poverty.

No, we should not support movements that advocate killing law enforcement officers.

No, we should not put our women on the front lines of war.

No, we should not support any baby killing and baby body parts selling industry.

No, we should not allow satanic rituals at anything our children can see, including Superbowl halftime shows.

No, corruption, collusion and deceit are not acceptable as long as it supports an ideology.

No, grown men should not be allowed to enter the bathrooms of our little girls.

Again, I could go on and on, and I imagine you could too. (Read more.)

Tuesday, January 30, 2018


From the Turkish boudoir of Marie-Antoinette at Fontainebleau. Share

Christianity is Growing Stronger

From The Federalist:
New research published late last year by scholars at Harvard University and Indiana University Bloomington is just the latest to reveal the myth. This research questioned the “secularization thesis,” which holds that the United States is following most advanced industrial nations in the death of their once vibrant faith culture. Churches becoming mere landmarks, dance halls, boutique hotels, museums, and all that.

Not only did their examination find no support for this secularization in terms of actual practice and belief, the researchers proclaim that religion continues to enjoy “persistent and exceptional intensity” in America. These researchers hold our nation “remains an exceptional outlier and potential counter example to the secularization thesis.” (Read more.)

Kindness Is Not the Same as Love

From Monsignor Charles Pope:
We do well to ponder that being loving is not the same as being kind. Love should not be reduced to mere kindness, but our reductionist culture has tended to do so. The results have often been problematic. To reflect on this problem, I’d like to use some insights from an article by Peter Kreeft, written some years ago.

Kreeft defines kindness as “sympathy, with the desire to relieve another’s suffering” [Envoy Magazine, Vol 9.3, p. 20]. Kindness is certainly a good thing and has an important place in our relationships. It is evidenced by goodness, charitable behavior, pleasantness, tenderness, and concern for others. According to Aristotle, kindness is an emotion manifesting itself in the desire to help someone in need without expecting anything in return.

However, as Kreeft himself notes, it is a great mistake to equate kindness with love. Kindness is an aspect of love but it is necessarily distinct from it, for it sometimes happens that love, which wills what is best for the other, may deem it best not to remove all suffering. For example, a father may impose punishment on his child out of love.

Kindness generally seeks to alleviate suffering and negativity, but love understands that suffering often has a salvific role. My parents disciplined me out of love. Had they been merely kind to me, I would likely have been spoiled, undisciplined, and ill-prepared for life. (Read more.)

Monday, January 29, 2018

Cats and Royalty

From Royal Central:
Cats also helped to guard the cavernous Winter Palace in St. Petersburg and were valued for keeping down its resident rodent population, in a parallel with how cats were officially employed (from 1868) by the British Post Office for this same purpose. The tradition of keeping cats dates from the reign of Empress Elisabeth Petrovna, who was offered five cats by the city of Kazan in answer to her 1745 edict of appeal regarding the rat problem at the Winter Palace. Her successor, Catherine II ‘the Great’ is said to have admired the feline breed of ‘Russian blues’ inside the palace, whilst continuing the tradition established by Empress Elisabeth regarding ‘working cats’ at the Winter Palace. These palace cats, known popularly as the ‘Hermitage Cats’ – were so valued in Imperial Russia, that even had their own servants until the October Revolution, with their food paid for every month by the Treasury. The imperial palace was gradually absorbed into the vast Hermitage museum, in a transformation which began in 1918 and lasted until about 1939. 
The Hermitage’s stalwart, feline guardians all died during the brutal blockade known as the 872-day long ‘Siege of Leningrad’ (1941-1944), when the heroic city of Leningrad, as St. Petersburg had become known from Petrograd in 1924, became starving, yet remained boldly resilient. Following the end of the Second World War, two wagon-loads of new cats arrived in the city to fulfill the purpose that Empress Elisabeth intended for them. The Hermitage now has its own ‘Cattery’, today located in the vast Museum’s basement, as reached by a stone staircase. The ‘Hermitage Cats’ may be found in the galleries themselves or outside the Hermitage, even on the embankments of the river Neva. (Read more.)

A True Scholar and Teacher

From The American Thinker:
Peterson objects to speech police tactics, and he does it eloquently.  That's a threat to and dangerous for the academic poobahs who live and breathe censorship and intellectual tyranny.  Bartlett's essay is an alert: watch out for this conservative who has a bad attitude on lots of things and opposes our new pronoun gender identity group project and our promotion of the grievance status of the newly formed sex-gender-dysmorphist deviant group.

After I wrote to others about my discovery of Peterson, I was directed by one reader to a recent Peterson media splash, a YouTube interview cum debate by a feminist firebrand interviewer Cathy Newman at Britain's Channel 4.  Ms. Newman, a veteran U.K. TV personality, engaged Dr. Peterson on her claim that unequal female pay and power in business and other organizations are an example of gender persecution and oppression by patriarchal Western societies.  Ms. Newman came, all armed up, shouting her flinty-edged argument that gender job inequalities are due to bias and abuse by men.  Then came a well deserved Peterson social sciences buzzsaw refutation of her arguments, delivered with a smile to the visibly frustrated and increasingly desperate Newman, who seemed relieved when the 30 minute "interview" ended. (Read more.)

Trash and More Trash

From the National Center on Sexual Exploitation:
There’s no doubt fans of Fifty Shades et al, will argue it’s fantasy. They may even make the point that successful fiction has long featured abused women at the hands of powerful men, from Jane Austen’s Mr Darcy who destroys Elizabeth Bennet for 400 pages, or Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler (the role every actress on the planet wants to play) a woman objectified by three men, whom she still flirts with. And there’s Samuel Richardson’s Pamela, the upstairs/downstairs tale of the toff whose “courtship” of the eponymous heroine features attempted rape and slavery. But after a sound ravishing, she marries him.

Yet, while these stories are products of their time, we’re still pursuing the same theme; young vulnerable woman being pursued by a hugely powerful man, lured into a world of promise. (Weinstein?) And whether in real life or fiction, even if the female (eventually) consents, does this remove the physiological damage created to reach this point?

Katherine Blakeman, of the US National Center on Sexual Exploitation, argues for storylines of domination to be booted hard in the development strategies. “It is incredibly socially irresponsible to uphold Fifty Shades as mainstream entertainment, while at the same time we express our outrage at Harvey Weinstein, and his ilk, and while we work to eradicate sexual harassment, sexual assault, and the rape myth mentality from our culture.”

Blakeman’s comment begs other questions; would Fifty Shades devotees consider watching the S&M adventures of Christian and Ana if Harvey Weinstein were the producer? And what are men to make of women’s appetite for entertainment in which female characters are debased? Some feminists argue it’s wrong for a man to place an unsolicited hand on a woman’s shoulder; touch a knee and you could be soon be reading a solicitor’s letter. Or worse. (Read more.)

Sunday, January 28, 2018

The Marianne Trilogy

From Coin Update:
The Monnaie de Paris have launched (19th January) the second set of coins which is part of their very popular Marianne Trilogy series that focuses on one of the country’s most enduring symbols of nationhood and the French Republic: Marianne. Following the series of collector coins featuring the Sower, Hercules, and the Rooster, the Monnaie de Paris honours a major symbol of the French Republic for the second year.

Since the earliest days of the French Republic in 1792, Marianne was envisaged to become a personification of liberty and reason — the ideals and aspirations of the new society which emerged out of the French Revolution. The revolution saw an end to France’s millennium-old Ancien Régime (the old order) with the execution of King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette, and what emerged from the ruins of the now-defunct French monarchy was an allegorical portrayal of the Goddess of Liberty. This female representation soon became a symbol of Republican France, with an effigy of Lady Liberty soon gracing the obverse side of new coins of the republic, replacing that of the king’s likeness. Typically Marianne is depicted wearing a Phrygian cap, a soft felt cone-shaped hat, the depiction of which has evolved over the years, more influenced by artistic and period-era style.

Although the origins of Marianne regarding how or when she received her name remains unclear, she has continued as a reminder and an evolving attachment of the common citizen to the revolution which founded the French Republic. During the reign of Napoleon, the restored kingdom in 1816, and the Second Empire from 1852 until 1870, Marianne had been replaced with symbols representing Napoleon I, King Louis XVIII, Charles I, Louis Philippe, and Napoleon III — including the likenesses of each monarch. From the Third Republic to the present, the likeness of Marianne was restored on state issuances such as coins, stamps, and bank notes. (Read more.)

The Holocaust: The Ignored Reality

An old article from the New York Review of Books:
The very reasons that we know something about Auschwitz warp our understanding of the Holocaust: we know about Auschwitz because there were survivors, and there were survivors because Auschwitz was a labor camp as well as a death factory. These survivors were largely West European Jews, because Auschwitz is where West European Jews were usually sent. After World War II, West European Jewish survivors were free to write and publish as they liked, whereas East European Jewish survivors, if caught behind the iron curtain, could not. In the West, memoirs of the Holocaust could (although very slowly) enter into historical writing and public consciousness.

This form of survivors’ history, of which the works of Primo Levi are the most famous example, only inadequately captures the reality of the mass killing. The Diary of Anne Frank concerns assimilated European Jewish communities, the Dutch and German, whose tragedy, though horrible, was a very small part of the Holocaust. By 1943 and 1944, when most of the killing of West European Jews took place, the Holocaust was in considerable measure complete. Two thirds of the Jews who would be killed during the war were already dead by the end of 1942. The main victims, the Polish and Soviet Jews, had been killed by bullets fired over death pits or by carbon monoxide from internal combustion engines pumped into gas chambers at Treblinka, Bełzec, and Sobibór in occupied Poland. (Read more.)
My review of Holocaust by Bullets, HERE. Share

Lambert Simnel and the Blind Poet

From English Historical Fiction Authors:
When writing about the Lambert Simnel Affair of 1487, two years into Henry VII’s reign, André provides an account that is quite shocking, yet which just might make sense of the whole muddled business. Andre begins his explanation of the events by describing how ‘the cruel murder of King Edward the Fourth’s sons was yet vexing the people’. On the surface, this is an explicit assertion that both of the boys were dead and is presumably meant to be understood to implicate Richard III. He had earlier written of Richard that ‘After the tyrant, safe in his London stronghold, slew the lords he knew were faithful to his brother, he ordered that his unprotected nephews secretly be dispatched with the sword.’ Referring to news that a coronation of this supposed King Edward of the House of York had taken place in Dublin, André does not refer to the boy as Edward, Earl of Warwick, as the official Tudor version of events has it. The poet specifically states that ‘word came back that the second son of Edward had been crowned king in Ireland’. This second son would have been Richard, Duke of York, yet everywhere else it is made clear that the boy was named Edward. If he was a son of Edward IV named Edward, then he can only have been claiming to be Edward V. (Read more.)

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Fresh and Fragrant Linens

 From Victoria:
Using gentle methods fresh from the pages of Victoria, impart lasting scent to beloved textiles. From the calming influence of lavender to the invigorating effect of lemongrass, favorite fragrances enhance the sensory pleasure of living with—and caring for—these beautiful household treasures. In the boudoir, evoke the bliss of a bouquet with an aromatic spray.
  1. To a 4-ounce glass atomizer, add 15 to 20 drops of lavender or rose essential oil and a pinch of Epsom salts.
  2. Add distilled water to fill, and cover.
  3. Shake to combine before spritzing bedding.
(Read more.)

Homeschooling and Cases of Abuse

From The Federalist:
Most of the homeschoolers outperformed their public schooled peers. “They exhibited a half-grade advantage in math and were more than two grade levels higher in reading.” Those educated in “unstructured” homeschool environments underperformed compared with their public-schooled peers.

Here we see a spread emerge that anyone familiar with public schools should recognize. There are good schools, and there are bad schools. There are good teachers, and there are bad teachers. There are districts where students graduate well-prepared for college and career, and there are districts where students graduate barely able to read. The same is true in homeschooling, although on the whole, it yields better results. (Read more.)

True Cause of the Black Death

From Independent:
Computer modelling carried out by a research team from the universities of Oslo and Ferrara suggests the first outbreak may not have been down to the rats, but instead can be “largely ascribed to human fleas and body lice”. Using mortality data from nine outbreaks of the plague in Europe between the 14th and 19th centuries, the researchers plotted how the disease would likely spread by different means. Seven out of the nine models indicated that transmission by human fleas and lice was the most likely cause of the disease’s spread, when compared to transfer by rats’ fleas, or airborne transmission. (Read more.)

Friday, January 26, 2018

French Beauty Secrets

Madame Élisabeth of France
From the Trianon Health and Beauty Blog:
For French women, beauty begins at your “base”--which is to say, with  your natural features: skin, body and hair. Have you ever noticed how  these natural beauties seem to just radiate that youthful glow? It all  starts with healthy, hydrated skin. Since the makeup trend for these  women has long been “less is more,” they see skin care as a critical  component of their beauty routine. The way they see it, the more  beautiful your natural base, the less you need to do. (Read more.)

Science and the Pro-Life Movement

From The Atlantic:
Scientific progress is remaking the debate around abortion. When the U.S. Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade, the case that led the way to legal abortion, it pegged most fetuses’ chance of viable life outside the womb at 28 weeks; after that point, it ruled, states could reasonably restrict women’s access to the procedure. Now, with new medical techniques, doctors are debating whether that threshold should be closer to 22 weeks. Like McGuire, today’s prospective moms and dads can learn more about their baby earlier into a pregnancy than their parents or grandparents. And like McGuire, when they see their fetus on an ultrasound, they may see humanizing qualities like smiles or claps, even if most scientists see random muscle movements.

These advances fundamentally shift the moral intuition around abortion. New technology makes it easier to apprehend the humanity of a growing child and imagine a fetus as a creature with moral status. Over the last several decades, pro-life leaders have increasingly recognized this and rallied the power of scientific evidence to promote their cause. They have built new institutions to produce, track, and distribute scientifically crafted information on abortion. They hungrily follow new research in embryology. They celebrate progress in neonatology as a means to save young lives. New science is “instilling a sense of awe that we never really had before at any point in human history,” McGuire said. “We didn’t know any of this.” (Read more.)

The Modern Aversion to the Male Psyche

One of the aspects of modernism and feminism is the determination to emasculate our men and boys. We forget that while God forgives, nature never forgives. When we defy nature, the repercussions are disastrous. From Monsignor Charles Pope:
I read an article over a year ago in First Things by Sally Thomas entitled: The Killer Instinct. The article ponders the modern aversion to the male psyche. Young boys are full of zealous energy, full of spit and vinegar, and have a a proclivity to rough and even violent play. Many modern parents and educators seem troubled by this and often attempt to soften boys, make them behave more like girls. Sadly there is even an attempt by some to diagnosis typically rough-house and energetic boys as having ADHD and they are put on medicines to suppress what is in the end a normal male energy. I do not deny that there can be a true ADHD diagnosis in some cases, but it may also be a symptom of an increasingly feminized culture that finds normal male behavior to be violent and a diagnosable “disorder.” What I have said here may here may be “controversial” but in the finest male tradition, remember, we can always “spar” in the comments section!

I’d like to present excerpts of the article here and then add some of m own comments in red. You can read the whole article by clicking on the title above.

The default mode of many parents is to be as alarmed by [the] proclivity in their sons [to shoot and stab at things and be aggressive]…..An obvious fascination with shooting things might seem like one of those warning signals we all read about…It used to be that parents waited for Johnny to start torturing the cat before they worried. My generation of parents seems to worry that owning a rubber-band shooter will make Johnny want to torture the cat. A friend of mine told me that he and his wife had decided not to give their boys guns for toys. What they discovered was that without the toy everything became a gun: sticks, brooms, scissors, their fingers. In the end, they “made peace” with the fact that boys love guns and swords and stopped worrying about latent tendencies to violence. Somehow it was in a boy’s nature and they couldn’t “nurture” it away.

(Read more.)

From The American Thinker:
There has emerged a war on masculinity.  Why?  Because masculine men are harder to control under tyrannical socialism.  The modern beta male, on the other hand, craves socialism.  This is why the left has branded masculinity as toxic: it stands as a roadblock to their endgame. 

Leftists blame, of all things, masculinity for the recent spate of sexual harassment scandals.  For eons, masculinity has been considered a natural and even required trait of being male, but it is now apparently the reason for deviancy.  Who knew?

The glaring problem with this argument is that the men who are typically being accused of such transgressions are anything but masculine.  Sexual harassment is bipartisan; both liberal and conservative men in positions of power seem to harass women with aplomb.  But where is this referenced masculinity?  Harvey Weinstein?  Al Franken?  Louis CK?  I posit that a consistent theme among most accused harassers is a complete lack of masculinity.  I would go so far as to suggest that the lack of masculinity is a contributing factor to this problem. (Read more.)

Thursday, January 25, 2018

The Royal Menagerie

The Royal Menagerie at Versailles
From Royal Central:
Marie Antoinette would not have been shocked by the number of animals at Versailles; she, of course, created her own private domain ‘en plein air’ at her hameau, the Petit Trianon. In keeping her own pets at Versailles, she was very much keeping up the tradition long established here, dating back to the reign of Louis XIV, with his beloved ‘sporting dogs’ – who had their own special room in the Palace, the Cabinet des Chiens – and of course, the Royal Menagerie at Versailles. This menagerie contained an elephant during the reign of Louis XVI; we know this because Marie Antoinette’s brother, Emperor Joseph II visited Versailles in 1777 and joked of the fact that there was a female elephant in the Austrian imperial menagerie – so, perhaps, the occasion for yet another alliance between the two reigning families: “We could make a marriage” (Antonia Fraser, Marie Antoinette, Pg 183). The Austrian imperial menagerie was, of course, the ‘Schönbrunn Zoo’, at the magnificent summer residence of the Habsburgs outside Vienna. Today, it is the oldest baroque zoo still in operation. (Read more.)

The Price of Welfare

How the welfare state destroyed the black family. From the Independent Sentinel:
“The undeniable truth is that neither slavery nor Jim Crow nor the harshest racism has decimated the black family the way the welfare state has,” said George Mason professor Walter Williams in his column for The Richmond Times-Dispatch.

 There is little evidence to support the idea that slavery, racial discrimination and poverty caused the problems of today’s black Americans, the economics professor wrote. The number one problem is the weak family structure:

In 1960, just 22 percent of black children were raised in single-parent families.
Fifty years later, more than 70 percent of black children were raised in single-parent families.

According to the 1938 Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences, that year 11 percent of black children were born to unwed mothers. Today about 75 percent of black children are born to unwed mothers. That can’t be a legacy of slavery, it can’t be some delayed reaction. As Professor Williams said, the bottom line is that the black family was stronger the first 100 years after slavery than during what will be the second 100 years. All blacks were poor originally but now 30 percent are poor. Two-parent black families are rarely poor. (Read more.)

Music for the Empress

From Royal Central:
Following the success of his first debut in Munich, playing for the musically-gifted Elector Maximilian III Joseph of Bavaria, the six-year-old Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart set out for the imperial court of Vienna, arriving on 6 October 1762. He was accompanied by his parents, Leopold Mozart and Maria Anna Mozart, as well as his elder sister, Maria Anna ‘Nannerl’ Mozart. The concert that the young Mozart would give at the imperial summer residence of the Habsburgs, Schönbrunn Palace outside Vienna, meant that one of the palace’s many rooms (today numbering 1,441) could claim a significant place in the history of music.

It also was in a way, symbolic of the long-standing but strained relationship that Mozart himself would have with the Habsburg Imperial Family, for despite the many occasions his works had connections with essential events in the life of the Imperial Family, he never attained the committed patronage he may have hoped for. This, in turn, set him on an arduous path of enquiry, trailing the royal courts of Europe for appointments and finally settling as a freelance composer in Vienna.
As Leopold Mozart reported to his landlord and friend, Lorenz Hagenauer, in letters clearly intended to be shared with the rest of the Salzburg community back home: “At 11 o’clock that same evening [10 October 1762] I received orders to go to Schönbrunn on the 12th. But the next day I received fresh instructions to go there on the 13th….”

A member of the Imperial Family, Archduke Leopold of Tuscany [the future Kaiser Leopold II] was overheard by Leopold Mozart at the opera, saying that there was “a boy in Vienna who plays the keyboard so well…”. Leopold Mozart describes how Archduke Joseph [the future Joseph II] had been told of the concert of the Mozart children gave en route in Linz, who himself then told his mother, the Empress Maria Theresia. The mention of “that same evening” is significant; it means that the summons to court for the Mozart family the same evening that Leopold Mozart overheard the talk about Wolfgang at the opera, shows the fame of the children had already reached the capital before they announced their arrival. (Read more.)

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Another Print

From somewhere on the internet. Share

The Civilization of the Lie

From Return to Order:
The Ancien Régime , the period of French history before the French Revolution, was one of them. While not perfect, many historians today admit to its cultural and social refinement and general well-being. If popular opinion is any guide, the three million tourists who flock to the Palace of Versailles every year – not to mention the many books, plays, and films that romanticize the period – reveal a widespread sympathy for a time that had, in the words of Talleyrand, much douceur de vivre or “sweetness of life.”

On the other hand, the name “Roaring Twenties” describes well the degenerate spirit of post-World War I Western society. Les années folles, or “the crazy years” as the French call them, saw unprecedented materialism, cultural change, and sexual immorality. Nineteen-twenty’s philosophy, art, music, literature and the newly invented medium of the motion picture were saturated with an enthusiasm for all things “modern” and a rejection of tradition.

Every era, of course, is judged by future generations. What name will our great-great-great-grandchildren give to ours? Long after the NFL, Wall Street, Hollywood, and Silicon Valley have disappeared in the sands of time, these characteristics will remain, as it were, like the ruins of Pompeii, without there to make excuses. What will our bones reveal about us?

They won’t have many good things to say. Twenty-first century Western society has mostly apostatized from the Catholic Faith that built it. Pagan religions such as Wicca, Buddhism and even Satanism have become mainstream, filling the void. Apostasy from the Faith goes hand in hand with rejection of Christian morals. Beginning with divorce and contraception, the sexual revolution steadily advanced until abortion, pornography, homosexuality, and now transgenderism – unthinkable a few decades ago – were imposed on conventional society.

Socialism, once considered beyond the pale in American politics, is making inroads. On the one-hundredth anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution research by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation showed that more millennials would prefer to live in a socialist country (44%) than a capitalist one (42%), and 7% even preferred a communist one.1 If not explicitly socialist, large numbers of millennials favor socialist policies such as gun control, the government takeover of health care, homosexual “marriage,” and confiscatory wealth redistribution. (Read more.)

The Science of God

 From Return to Order:
How different is the science of God to the science of men. In her sublime purity, Our Blessed Mother was made fertile. The words of the virgin Saint John the Baptist were tremendously fruitful in preparing the Chosen People for their Redeemer. The blessed words of the chaste evangelist are still repeated until our days. If you consider the works of men to be their children, as Saint Benedict taught, we can see how fruitful the celibacy of the priesthood has been. Due to the apostolic zeal of chaste priests throughout the centuries, the Church’s children past and present number in the billions. However, Our Lord also demanded chastity of all people. For those who are not married, He demanded purity of both mind and body. Within the chaste and holy bonds of matrimony, Our Divine Savior safeguards the chastity of the couple by demanding absolute fidelity among spouses. (Read more.)

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Call of St. Joan

By Angela Wang. From East of the Sun, West of the Moon. Share

The Dreamer Debate

From TFP:
Thus, the debate over DACA is not about children and dreams. It has turned these poor young people into hostages of a contrived narrative, using them as mere pawns in a bigger game—the charting of America’s course as a nation and the determining of what role government will continue to have.
In this broader struggle for America’s soul, liberals see DACA as an ideal battlefield. They have occupied the higher ground by wrapping themselves in the flag of fuzzy warm compassion. They have infused the issue with emotional hype, making rational debate impossible. This passionate framing of the narrative has divided conservatives. They are torn between Christian compassion and the need to uphold the rule of law. With the media as its willing partner, liberals see this conservative division as a win-win situation to be exploited....
Since the ocean of emotions is a battlefield upon which conservatives cannot win, they should pivot to where they hold the advantage. This new battlefield must be based both on the rule of law and on principled compassion. Accordingly, it should be informed by the following principles and considerations:
  1. It is the natural right of the State to regulate immigration into its territories in the interest of the common good of its citizens. It also has the duty to protect the nation’s best interests in the realms of defense, economy, health, culture, and social harmony and cohesion.
  1. While every individual has a natural right to immigrate, this is not an absolute right enforceable against an established nation. From time immemorial, an immigrant’s admission into a host country has depended and continues to depend on the approval of that nation’s government. Government consent, freely given, is what distinguishes immigration from invasion.
  1. The natural moral law obliges those who immigrate to respect the laws of the country in which they settle and to obey its government. (Read more.)

A Jesuit for Our Times

An interview with Dawn Eden Goldstein from The National Review:
Lopez: What was prophetic about Father Francis Canavan?
 Goldstein: Canavan had a gift of discernment that enabled him to rightly judge the signs of the times. He also read the literal signs of the Times — the New York Times, that is — along with bumper stickers, everyday conversations, and other things that clued him in to what people were talking about and thinking about. In that way, he was able to identify trends in popular sentiment that were not adequately understood by many of his peers in the world of academia. In particular, Canavan dissected the philosophical errors that have led contemporary culture not only to embrace radical individualism but also take it to its logical conclusion in utilitarianism. Writing years before the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, he had the foresight to observe that “the primacy of choice is wrecking our sexual morality, but not only that. At a deeper level, it is destroying our ability to have a social morality that goes beyond sexual conduct to question the right of any society to establish and maintain social standards on any other than utilitarian grounds.” (Read more.)

Monday, January 22, 2018

Favorite Movies and Shows of 2017, Part Two

 Jackie (2106)

I watched Jackie (2016) starring Natalie Portman on Amazon Prime and thought it to be one of the best Kennedy biopics I have ever seen. First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy is portrayed on the day of her husband's assassination followed by what seems to be almost a moment by moment struggle to keep herself together in the agonizing aftermath. I say "moment by moment" because it is easy to feel pulled into Mrs. Kennedy's anguish in which every minute must have seemed like an hour as her mind struggled to absorb the trauma. The senseless horror of her experience is given some meaning by her conversation with a Catholic priest (John Hurt), who says to her:
Jesus once passed a blind beggar on the road, and his disciples asked, Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind? And Jesus said, Neither this man nor his parents sinned. He was made blind so that the works of God could be revealed in him. And with that, he placed mud on his eyes and told him to wash in the Pool of Siloam. And the man did, and he came back seeing. Right now you are blind. Not because you've sinned, but because you've been chosen. So that the works of God can be revealed in you.
I thought Natalie Portman portrayed Jackie as appearing too nervous and shy. Although she might have been so interiorly, in public Jackie conveyed a calm unruffled poise. Other than that, I thought Natalie Portman was superb in the role.

 Godless (2017)

Godless is a seven-episode Netflix production starring Michelle Dockery as the tough widow Alice Fletcher who helps defend a town of women against a band of murdering outlaws. The outlaws are led by the psychopathic Frank Griffin (Jeff Daniels), truly one of the most subtly terrifying criminals to darken the screen. Dressing like a minister and quoting scripture, Griffin and his gang thrive on sadism and cruelty; the opening scenes of the saga show a mining town in which every man, woman and child have been savagely murdered. As Griffin and his gang of godless wretches slowly make their way across the West several subplots surrounding the town of La Belle unfold. La Belle is where all the men died in a mining accident, leaving the women, children and old people to fend for themselves. The various story threads converge around Alice and the mysterious young man whose life she saves and whose presence transforms her family forever. While definitely not a family show, Godless is a searing portrait of a Western town in the midst of its own apocalypse.

Alias Grace (2017)

Based upon the Margaret Atwood novel of the same name, Alias Grace is not without a strong dose of radical feminism. All men are sexual predators on some level, while all women are oppressed by the structures and traditions of a patriarchal society. The bad behavior of the men is perhaps a bit exaggerated. In Victorian times, a man who knocked down his wife in public would be arrested for disorderly conduct, although in Alias Grace when Grace's mother is knocked down in public no one says a word, as if such behavior were considered acceptable. In spite of the Atwood agenda, the series is well-written, beautifully staged and costumed, with remarkable acting, especially on the part of Sarah Gadon in the role of Grace. Based upon a true story, Grace Marks, a lovely young Irish-Canadian immigrant who has endured multiple traumas and losses, finds herself accused and convicted of complicity in a pair of brutal murders. The drama focuses on a young doctor who comes to interview Grace at the prison in Kingston, Ontario, where she spends thirty years. The closer the doctor comes to unraveling the mystery of her guilt or innocence, the more her true nature eludes him. The story is told in flashbacks and is gradually pieced together like the patchwork quilts that Grace loves.

The Crown (Season 2, 2016-)

Based upon the life of Queen Elizabeth II, now gloriously reigning, The Crown is without doubt the crown jewel of all the Netflix offerings. Season 2 deals with the ongoing marital problems of Elizabeth and Philip while the monarchy faces vociferous criticism from various quarters and Great Britain faces international humiliation. Elizabeth must grapple with both the expectations and the limitations of her role as a twentieth century constitutional monarch. In the meantime, her younger sister Princess Margaret seeks happiness and meaning in her own way. The episodes regarding Margaret's romance and marriage with society photographer Anthony Armstrong-Jones are the most sultry of the series so far. The episode which I found incredibly stirring is the one which portrayed both Prince Charles' and Prince Philip's years at the Gordonstoun School in Scotland, an experience which shaped both men in different ways. Along with the lively screenplay, The Crown can be enjoyed for the exquisite clothes, jewels, houses and furniture, and especially the scenes of the Scottish highlands.

The Magnificent Century (4 Seasons, 2011-2014)

The Turkish production Muhteşem Yüzyıl is based upon the sixteenth century life of Suleiman the Magnificent, sultan of the Ottoman Empire, and his marriage to the Russian Christian captive Alexandra, called Hurrem, who became his co-ruler. On one level the drama can be seen as a Turkish soap opera, and an extremely soapy one at that. However, it depicts the thriving slave trade of fair-skinned women that endured for hundreds of years in Central Europe and Asia in order to fill the harems of wealthy Turks with white girls. The story of Hurrem is the tale of a woman who through intelligence and determination overcame the life of slavery to which she had been condemned. Not only through brains and grit, but through the love she shares with Suleiman, she manages to become his legal wife and the mother of five of his children. In the meantime, every attempt is made by other members of the Sultan's household to destroy Hurrem. Most of the episodes deal with her ongoing power struggles with the Sultan's mother Hafsa and with Mahidevran, the mother of the Sultan's oldest son. The Sultan's grand vizier and brother-in-law Ibrahim Pargali also tries many times to ruin Hurrem and her influence with Suleiman but by doing so brings about his own destruction. Muhteşem Yüzyıl was a run-away success in the Middle East, but for some reason only Season 1 is available on Netflix. The entire series can be watched on YouTube but the later episodes are without subtitles. I found the synopses on Facebook which helped me to follow the drama, HERE.

Seyit and Sura (2014)

Kurt Seyit ve Sura is a Turkish production based upon the true story of  Kurt Seyit Eminoff, a Crimean Turkish officer of Tsar Nicholas II, and his love affair with Russian countess Alexandra Julianovna Verjenskaya, called "Shura" or "Sura." Seyit meets the sixteen-year-old Sura at her first ball in St. Petersburg in 1916, even as World War One rages and Russia totters on the brink of violent revolution. The two fall hopelessly in love and, in spite of family efforts to keep them apart, run away together to the Crimea. When Seyit's parents are murdered by the local Bolsheviks he is consumed by guilt for defying his father and choosing Sura instead of a Moslem girl. He postpones marrying her, even after they escape Russia and seek sanctuary in Istanbul. There they openly live together at an inn run by a devout Moslem family, who encourage them to marry. At the inn, Seyit and Sura and their friends become entangled in the problems of post-war Turkey and are continually haunted by the past so that they seem unable to face the future together. The rest of the series traces the ups and downs of their relationship amid social chaos and upheaval, as certain "friends" do whatever is necessary to destroy their trust in each other. It is ultimately a tale of many tears, as Seyit and Sura are unable to be together in spite of an undying devotion.

 The White Princess (2017)

The sequel to the Starz production of The White Queen, The White Princess reprises the Philippa Gregory interpretation of the Wars of the Roses and the early years of Tudor England. It is 1485 and Richard III has been slain at Bosworth Field as the new Tudor king, Henry VII, consolidates his rule by marrying the Plantagenet princess, Elizabeth of York. There are several liberties taken with history, such as Margaret Beaufort being portrayed as a serial killer, and Henry and Elizabeth traveling to Spain to meet with Isabel and Ferdinand. As in The White Queen, the writers insist upon using modern nicknames such as "Lizzie" and "Maggie" instead of "Bess" and "Meg" which were more likely used. However, the drama does well in capturing the sense of chaos and displacement that must have been experienced by the York princesses and by their mother, Queen Elizabeth. In a few short years they had endured the deaths of Edward IV and the princes, a declaration of illegitimacy, and now the complete fall of the House of York. The young Elizabeth must now be wife to the enemy of her family, Henry Tudor. She is resolved to work for the House of York in secret, but unexpectedly she finds herself coming to love Henry and thus is naturally protective of their growing family. She is eventually placed in an agonizing position of having to choose between Henry and a young man who claims to be her long lost brother Richard of York. No matter what she chooses, there will be tears.The tragic circumstances of Margaret Plantagenet Pole and her brother Edward of Warwick are also heartrendingly depicted. While it is not a family film, it may be enjoyable to some history buffs.

Coming Out

As a Republican. From The Federalist:
Yes, I was in despair, but I was also outraged at not being understood for views that felt so plainly obvious to me logically and experientially. These were not pie-in-the-sky views I was advocating in order to provoke. The Affordable Care Act has made medical treatment of my bipolar disorder more expensive than ever. Under the nuclear agreement, Iran flagrantly continues to enrich uranium and fund terrorist activities.

As a small business owner, I am regularly assaulted with financially crushing, nonsensical red tape and bureaucracy, much implemented as lip service to environmental protection. With few exceptions, every one of my good friends feels more economically hopeless after the “recovery” than before, and abject homelessness on the streets of my beloved city has swelled to egregious levels.

In desperation, like a closeted teenager sneaking into a porn theater, I surreptitiously began to explore the forbidden territories of Fox News and other conservative outlets. Incredibly, I found myself agreeing more often than not. (Read more.)

People with Tidy Homes

How they stay tidy. From Nesting Place:
1. Tidy People don’t act like a slob all day, and then get their house tidy in one fell swoop.
Tidy People are smart, and know that cleaning up all at once is hard and not fun.

I’m my biggest enemy when it comes to keeping my house tidy. The number one thing I’ve learned from Tidy People is how valuable it is to develop some simple, non-drastic, tiny habits that when added together will change the level of tidiness in your home.

Tidy People are in a constant state of low-grade tidying, I don’t even think they realize it. (Read more.)

Sunday, January 21, 2018

The Goldwater Takedown

From the City-Journal:
At the height of the 1964 race between Arizona’s junior senator, Barry Goldwater, and President Lyndon Johnson, the cover headline of Fact magazine’s September–October issue practically screamed: 1,189 PSYCHIATRISTS SAY GOLDWATER IS PSYCHOLOGICALLY UNFIT TO BE PRESIDENT! Inside, every page was given over to the feature, titled “The Unconscious of a Conservative: A Special Issue on the Mind of Barry Goldwater.”

Forgotten today, Fact even then was far from a major player on the journalistic scene. It had launched earlier that year and would survive just until 1967. Still, it enjoyed a status among the day’s progressive bien pensants far beyond what its limited circulation might suggest. Edited by the profession’s reigning provocateur, Ralph Ginzburg, its early issues had generated buzz with ahead-of-the-curve investigations of the tobacco and soft-drink industries, as well as American policy in Vietnam.

The issue’s introduction set the tone for the 63 pages to follow. Ginzburg described Goldwater as the product of a “sadistic childhood,” a “paranoiac” with an “obsessive preoccupation with firearms” who “compulsively must prove his daring and masculinity,” adding that “psychoanalysts who find a connection between sadism and an anal character will not be surprised that bathrooms seemed to fascinate Goldwater.”

The “psychiatric evaluations” that took up the next 40 pages were in response to a question that Fact sent to the nation’s psychiatrists from a list supplied by the American Medical Association: “Do you believe Barry Goldwater is psychologically fit to serve as President of the United States?” Ruth Adams of New York replied that she saw in the GOP candidate “a strong identification with the authoritarianism of Hitler, if not identification with Hitler himself,” and other responding psychiatrists echoed that theme. “I believe Goldwater has the same pathological make-up as Hitler, Castro, Stalin and other known schizophrenic leaders,” wrote Chester M. Johnson, Jr., of Long Beach, while Philadelphia’s Paul Fink observed that, like the Führer, the Republican nominee “appeals to the unconscious sadism and hostility in the average human being.” G. Templeton, of Glen Cove, New York, warned that “if Goldwater wins the Presidency, both you and I will be among the first into the concentration camps.”

That the entire exercise was ethically dubious was apparent at the time. As longtime Goldwater advisor Stephen Shadegg noted in disgust, “Those who presumed to reach a medical and psychiatric conclusion about Goldwater without ever having seen him or followed any other of the normal procedures required in a patient-physician relationship betrayed themselves as men unfit to practice any profession.” But the feature drew widespread attention via the media coverage that it generated and full-page ads in the nation’s leading dailies—Goldwater’s people rightly wondered how a modest publication afforded their $100,000 cost—and it undeniably did real damage. (Read more.)

Sacrality in the Temporal Order

From Nobility:
Since man is constituted by two distinct principles, body and soul, it is clear that in everything that concerns him the soul will be much more important than the body; for what is spiritual and imperishable is worth more than what is material and mortal.

Any sociology that proceeds from this truth must give the best of its solicitude and attention to what concerns the human soul, its balance, well-being, and development. However interesting and respectable material problems may be, however much talent, diligence and vigor must be employed in solving them, this fundamental truth must never be forgotten.

 Obviously, it is not a question of devoting to material life less than it deserves, since man is man and not a pure angelic spirit. But one must not break the hierarchy of values even when one largely gives matter its due. We cannot conceive material problems by dissociating them from the full and total human reality, that is, that we also have a soul, and that it is worth incomparably more than our body.

The modern world has ignored these principles, elevated the body to the status of an idol, and denied the primacy of the soul, if not its very existence. It organized everything as if man had only a body.
The result is right before us: neuroses, psychoses, monstrous sexual perversions, existentialism, and the great cacophonic confusion of our day. The book by Alexis Carrel [L’homme, cet inconnu-Man, this Unknown] — about which there would be many reservations to make — is already becoming old but can be an advantageous read to those wishing to know the cost man is paying for this underestimation or negation of the soul in our century’s technological and material progress.

It is thus a question — and many are recognizing it – of restoring the primacy of the spiritual. (Read more.)

Saturday, January 20, 2018

The Unseen Versailles

From Bloomberg:
In 1793, as Marie Antoinette sat imprisoned in a cell in Paris’s Conciergerie, France’s revolutionary government was facing a war against Spain, Portugal, Prussia, Britain, and the Netherlands. Desperate for cash, the government organized a series of auctions as part of a massive, year-long liquidation of the royal collection. “A number of things were sold, but certain pieces were set aside that they wanted to save,” says Daniëlle Kisluk-Grosheide, a curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Other works were simply given to army suppliers in lieu of payment. “They had no money, so they’d pay them with artwork,” she says. In the span of just a few years, the contents of Versailles, a palace that consisted of more than 2,000 rooms, were spread around the world.

Almost as soon as the revolution ended, though, the French government began an elaborate, 200-year-long effort to get it all back. In a new edition of Versailles: A Private Invitation (Flammarion Press, Feb. 2018) that contains text by Guillaume Picon and photographs by Francis Hammond, readers are afforded in-depth insight into France’s (very) mixed success at restoring this lavish cultural heritage.

For the Chateau’s more than 7 million annual visitors, the text will be a welcome and oftentimes surprising insight into the splendor—real or otherwise—of the Bourbon kings that was deliberately intended to showcase French artisanship and sophistication. As the book's lavish photography and text demonstrates, though, its present display is that of a museum, not, as many think, an historic recreation. (Read more.)

The Ansari Affair

 And I thought things were bad when I was young.

I had never heard of Mr. Ansari before stumbling upon this article in The Atlantic. The story of "Grace" and her encounter with the celebrity in his home is emblematic of the breakdown of rituals of dating and courtship in our society. This is due to the permissiveness of the sexual revolution and the current hook-up culture. In the Ansari case, each participant had a completely different set of expectations about what the first date would entail. Grace expected the evening to be one of romance with a young man who seemed from his writings to understand what women wanted. Like millions of women since the beginning of time she mistakenly thought that physical involvement with a man would place a seal of love upon the interaction.

 Ansari, on the other hand, thought that buying dinner and pouring a few glasses of wine for a young woman meant he had a right to her body, at least for the night. He saw no reason to be romantic or tender as even the most jaded seducers of the old regime once were in a making a conquest. Male and female relations have come to such a pathetic state that it makes the tawdry and sordid liaisons of the past look positively romantic. Where a roué would once have used moonlight, roses, gypsy music, and poetry to win his mistress, Ansari appeared to think it was an expression of ardor to jam his fingers down the poor girl's throat. 

As for Grace herself, she saw the degrading experience as being synonymous with rape. It cannot be categorized as such, because of her willing participation. However, it was unwise of her to place herself in the power of a man whom she really did not know at all. A lady must be prepared to leave if she is not being treated properly, if she made the mistake of being there in the first place. Too many young women appear to lack self-respect by allowing themselves to be treated with less courtesy than would be given to a sex worker.While Ansari did not violently force himself upon her, neither did he behave like a gentleman.  Sadly, the #MeToo movement reinforces the on-going narrative of women as victims. Instead of placing themselves in situations which enable victimization, women should be setting the standards of dignified conduct. According to The Atlantic:

Sexual mores in the West have changed so rapidly over the past 100 years that by the time you reach 50, intimate accounts of commonplace sexual events of the young seem like science fiction: You understand the vocabulary and the sentence structure, but all of the events take place in outer space. You’re just too old.

This was my experience reading the account of one young woman’s alleged sexual encounter with Aziz Ansari, published by the website Babe this weekend. The world in which it constituted an episode of sexual assault was so far from my own two experiences of near date rape (which took place, respectively, during the Carter and Reagan administrations, roughly between the kidnapping of the Iran hostages and the start of the Falklands War) that I just couldn’t pick up the tune. But, like the recent New Yorker story “Cat Person”—about a soulless and disappointing hookup between two people who mostly knew each other through texts—the account has proved deeply resonant and meaningful to a great number of young women, who have responded in large numbers on social media, saying that it is frighteningly and infuriatingly similar to crushing experiences of their own. It is therefore worth reading and, in its way, is an important contribution to the present conversation. (Read more.)
From Matt Walsh:
There is something to be learned from the story of "Grace," the anonymous woman who claims that she was assaulted by Aziz Ansari. She was not assaulted, as I've already argued. She willingly came back to his apartment on a first date, willingly took her clothes off, willingly performed sex acts on him, and did not attempt to leave until she’d spent many minutes making out with him, naked, in his kitchen and his living room. No rape occurred. What did occur was a cheap, awkward, degrading sexual encounter.

A year ago, a story like this would not have been news. It probably would not have been published at all. But the atmosphere today allows for a man’s career and life to be destroyed so long as any woman steps forward to accuse him of any sexual wrongdoing, real or imagined or embellished. The truth does not matter, nor do the individual details of each case. There is one pre-ordained narrative — "men are awful, predatory pigs" — and any accused man is pushed into that pit, where actual sex predators reside alongside men whose only crime was a lack of chivalry. It’s a dangerous situation, and we have yet to see the worst of it.

That said, the #MeToo crusaders do seem to have picked up on one important truth. They have gone in entirely the wrong direction with it, and learned all the wrong lessons from it, but they are right, at least, about this: there is something wrong with the way we approach sex in modern society, and it’s leaving a lot of people feeling hurt and abused.

But, beholden always to their narrative, they read a story like Grace’s and automatically interpret it as a struggle between an innocent woman and a depraved rapist of a man. When they hear that Grace felt violated after the fact, they declare that it must have been her “consent” that was violated. After all, the only thing either participant is required to respect is consent. It’s the only rule. The One Commandment. The only thing that can be violated. There are, in the modern mind, only two types of sex: consensual and rape. Whatever falls under the first umbrella must be good. So if a woman feels not-good the next morning, it must have been the not-good type, which means it must have been rape.
(Read more.)