Friday, July 31, 2020

Tissot’s Great Reversion

 Inner Voices: Christ Consoling the Wanderers
From The Catholic Thing:
In Paris he began again to paint society women for willing patrons, and one such commission took the still-grieving painter to the Latin Quarter’s Church of Saint-Sulpice. At one of his working visits there – during priest’s elevation of the Host – Tissot had a vision of Christ. The Lord’s body was bloodied but luminous, and He was comforting two homeless people in the midst of a ruined building, probably a crumbling church – a very Franciscan moment, and one that changed Tissot’s life. He did a painting almost immediately after this epiphany called Inner Voices: Christ Consoling the Wanderers (now at the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia)...But this was only the beginning. As a now devout Catholic wishing to devote his art to celebrating the life of our Savior, Tissot traveled to the Middle East several times to look at the land where Jesus had walked and look into the faces of the ancestors of those who had proclaimed Him the Christ. You may recall last year’s Good Friday column here, “The Scriptural Stations of the Cross,” which presented the fourteen Stations, from Gethsemane to the Entombment, illustrated with watercolors from Tissot’s monumental series, The Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ. He did hundreds of paintings based on what he saw in the Holy Land, most of which are now in the collection of the Brooklyn Museum, acquired through “subscription” and by popular demand in 1900. Sad to say, although the museum mounted a limited exhibition of the series in 2009, most of Tissot’s magnum opus is now in storage(Read more.)

Global Crash in Birth Rate

From The BBC:
Falling fertility rates mean nearly every country could have shrinking populations by the end of the century. And 23 nations - including Spain and Japan - are expected to see their populations halve by 2100. Countries will also age dramatically, with as many people turning 80 as there are being born. The fertility rate - the average number of children a woman gives birth to - is falling. If the number falls below approximately 2.1, then the size of the population starts to fall. In 1950, women were having an average of 4.7 children in their lifetime. Researchers at the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation showed the global fertility rate nearly halved to 2.4 in 2017 - and their study, published in the Lancet, projects it will fall below 1.7 by 2100. (Read more.)

From Big League Politics:
They cite data from the Institute for Family Studies surmising that “declines in first births have been very large and extend all the way up to women in their mid-thirties. Meanwhile, there have not been appreciable increases in first birth rates among women in their late thirties and into their forties. Lost first births at younger years are not being made up in later years. The argument that childless women are going to “catch up” and that the share of women who are childless will not rise in the future is almost certainly wrong.”
Stone and Cox made the point that this news is terrible not just for the economy but also for the fabric of Western society. The West is on the road to mass civilizational suicide because of the birthrate collapse.
“Most of the decline in birthrates has been among younger and unmarried women, while married birthrates have been stable. Meanwhile, marriage rates have fallen sharply, especially for less-educated Americans and minorities. As a result, “family life,” conceived as two committed parents residing with their children, is increasingly an upper-middle-class luxury good,” they explained.
“It is common among Americans in the top half of the economic distribution. But among the poor and working class, we are pairing off less and less, and welcoming new life into our homes less and less,” Stone and Cox added. (Read more.)
From Ave Maria Radio:
A generation has passed since the publication of the boldly pastoral and prophetic encyclical Humanae Vitae which upheld the ancient ban on the use of artificial contraception. Perhaps no teaching of the Church causes the worldly to scoff more than our teaching against artificial contraception. The eyes of so many, Catholics among them, roll and the scoffing begins: Unrealistic! Out of touch! Uncompassionate!  Silly! You’ve got to be kidding!
The Lord Jesus had an answer to those who ridiculed him in a similar way:
“To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others: ” ‘We played the flute for you,  and you did not dance;  we sang a dirge and you did not mourn.’ For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and “sinners.” ‘ But time will prove where wisdom lies.”  (Matt 11:16-18)
Indeed, times DOES prove where wisdom lies. Some forty or more years after widespread acceptance of contraception set in how have we done? Perhaps it is best to review some of the “promises” that contraceptive advocates made, then review the prophecies of Paul VI. Then lets review the record, looking at the “fruits” of contraception. (Read more.)
Let's take back our children. From American Thinker:
Black disciples of socialism disguised as civil rights activists have also been allowed to sow their seeds of anti-American hate in public education for decades. In the 1970s, I was a student at the prestigious Maryland Institute College of Art via scholarships. The Black Panthers showed up, angrily demanding a platform on campus to protest. College management humbly complied. As a black student, I never understood what I was supposed to be angry at the college about or how the college was abusing me.

Dad was a civil rights pioneer. He pressured me and my four younger siblings to always vote and join the NAACP. Upon attending my first NAACP meeting, I was stunned. They actually joined in a circle; held hands; and sang, "We Shall Overcome". Their rhetoric sounded as though I had stepped through a time warp back to 1950. Leftist institutions of indoctrination are still selling students, black and white, the absurd lie that America has not progressed racially beyond the 1950s.

I wrote about public elementary schools teaching white kids to hate themselves and feel guilty for being born white — about pre-K students being taught to embrace homosexuality and to consider attempting to change their sex. The children's book I Am Jazz about a boy whose parents insanely began preparing him to pretend to be female at age 3 is read to kindergartners without parental consent and even mandatory in schools' curricula. (Read more.)

Hundreds of Elephants Found Dead

From the BBC:
Dr Niall McCann said colleagues in the southern African country had spotted more than 350 elephant carcasses in the Okavango Delta since the start of May. No one knows why the animals are dying, with lab results on samples still weeks away, according to the government. 
Botswana is home to a third of Africa's declining elephant population. Dr McCann, of the UK-based charity National Park Rescue, told the BBC local conservationists first alerted the government in early May, after they undertook a flight over the delta. 
"They spotted 169 in a three-hour flight," he said. "To be able to see and count that many in a three-hour flight was extraordinary. 
"A month later, further investigations identified many more carcasses, bringing the total to over 350." 
"This is totally unprecedented in terms of numbers of elephants dying in a single event unrelated to drought," he added. (Read more.)

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Almost There: Marlene Dietrich in "Witness for the Prosecution"

From The Film Experience:
In other words, the role of Christine Vole is performance inside another performance, inside a performance, a Matryoshka of lies and deceit. Only at the end does Dietrich get to show genuine emotion for, until then, she must play a Machiavellian genius pulling the strings, both towards the characters in the story and the audience watching the film. We mustn't trust Christine during any of the early scenes, and, in that regard, Dietrich excels as no other actress could. Leaning on her glamourous, but aloof, screen persona, she conjures a vision of untrustworthiness made flesh, an archetypal femme fatale that's as beautiful as she is poisonous.

It's easy to underappreciate Dietrich's craft since she so often played similar roles and hardly ever challenged the public and the studio's idea of herself. Watching her give life to Christine feels a lot like seeing a consummate professional going through the motions, a well-oiled machine whose precision doesn't surprise. Still, there's intelligence in the actress's choices, like the way she holds her body in rigid poses when on trial. Dietrich calls attention to the performative nature of Christine by contrasting such rigidity, as well as the staccato intensity of her anger, with the body language she exhibits during the amorous flashback and the finale's plot twist. (Read more.)

Death Rattle of the Revolution?

Let's hope. From PJ Media:

Look, I understand, okay? Not as many people have had the experience I had of living under unbridled, unmasked Marxist power, so you don’t understand their myths and how they actually connect with reality. Oh, you’re starting to see it, as the left drops its masks, but it’s not the same as seeing them running around, showing their behinds and expounding the craziest theories during your formative years, when your eye is unsparing. There is a reason it was a little boy who cried “the king goes naked.”

Let’s start with what the left thinks they are doing: 

They think they’re bringing about their utopia, their heaven on Earth. 

They have been programmed – indoctrinated, really – from birth via the media, education, entertainment, and – heaven have mercy – even churches and synagogues into believing what amounts to a heretical Christian sect.

There are many variations of the Communist mythos, mostly Marx, but with its roots firmly in Rosseau. They range from racial ones (one to each race) to feminist ones. There are probably others I haven’t even heard about.

The myth goes like this: in the beginning, there was no capitalism (the cult’s quaint name for any free buying and selling or trade. (This is why they call monarchies capitalism or private property.) This was the dawn of man, the perfect state of humanity. Because there was no property there was no envy and no crime. Man (and particularly woman) lived in a time of innocence. In this perfect utopia – feminist version – women ruled, sex was free, babies were brought up communally, and every woman could do as she pleased. In the racial version, the poor now-oppressed race were the rulers, and therefore there was no property, etc., etc. No crime. (Read more.)


A Mask for Arbitrary Power

From The Federalist:
Another pervasive recent example is, of course, the use of “science” as a shield for politicians to make largely arbitrary, ill-informed, and oftentimes abusive decisions about how to handle COVID-19. In recent months, we’ve been told that “science says” so many contradictory and even flat-out false things, it’s hard to even keep track of them all. Science says don’t wear a mask. Except that you absolutely should wear a mask. Even though it isn’t recommended by medical scientists using data from other respiratory disease outbreaks. But it’s still helpful. Or actually it’s not really, according to the Centers for Disease Control in 2017. Yet you should still wear a mask, or else. Who knows?
Science says gathering in groups will spread coronavirus. Except if those groups are thousands of anti-America protesters crowding together on hot streets. Oh, wait, yes, that actually does spread the disease. And so does attending church. But not going to the grocery store. While going to the beach is dangerous. Except being outside is actually about the safest place you can be.
Except that there are second waves of transmission in hot, summery places where lots of people outside. The science said summer would slow the virus. Except now it’s not, and you need to stay inside. Except when you’re going outside. But don’t you dare plant your garden when you’re out there, or go to your cabin. But other people from other states can go to their cabins in your state. Because science! (Read more.)

 From American Greatness:
Power-grabbing, attention-addicted governors hog local news cameras each day under the guise of “Coronavirus Update!” to riff about their keen abilities to fight a virus or spew invective at Donald Trump or issue another decree to inflict further misery upon their willing subjects. As school children and their parents anxiously check email boxes for any update about the fall semester and working parents with small children are scrambling to develop backup plans for online learning, Democrats are pushing hard to keep kids and teachers at home—at least until Election Day.
One person, however, seems to be basking in the chaos and confusion: Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. After toiling in relative obscurity at that position for more than 35 years, Fauci is earning the sort of rock star treatment that legitimate rock stars dream about—or at least pay big bucks to an A-list publicist to produce. But Fauci, thanks to U.S. taxpayers, is getting a free ride on the media’s nonstop publicity train. This week, Fauci graces the cover of InStyle, a fashion magazine that has yet to feature one of the most stylish First Ladies of all time, Melania Trump. (Read more.)

From AIER:
Looking at the lockdowns and the consequent leveling of tens and perhaps hundreds of thousands of small businesses – and the myriad other costs that such a policy brings – one wonders: is there no probity? It’s clear that the architects of schemes will never apologize; well, not really. But will they be held accountable?

Perennially, proposals are made that economists, data scientists, and other individuals with influential knowledge sets should, like medical doctors, have to take a Hippocratic Oath: an oath upholding fundamental ethics. While the original Hippocratic Oath did not, as it does now, require physicians to “First, do no harm,” the modern reach of technically-skilled elites via the media and policy should unquestionably bring that dictum. (Read more.)

As people suffer, so do the arts: Also from AIER:
Imagine England without Handel’s Messiah, William Byrd or Thomas Tallis, or even the hymns of Ralph Vaughan Williams! Why would people have done this to our precious arts communities, and why are so few objecting or even talking about it?

For that matter, what is America without live jazz, Broadway, and the movies in theaters? What the hell is going on here? The excuse is disease control, as if choirs and jazz clubs are nothing but germ spreading machines. There is no particular reason to believe it, given the wild exaggerations of the threat out there for a virus that reached its national fatality peak three months ago.

I will provide an empirical case from three weeks ago when I was among 400 plus people gathered from all over the country in a New Hampshire campground for Porcfest. There was no distancing and almost no mask wearing. You might think it would become a COVID petri dish based on the frenzy alive in the media. Actually a survey following the 3-day event turned up not one single case of sickness. Not one!

Based on this and piles of evidence mounting daily that the fatalities of this disease are predictably focused on the very old and sick, it seems hopelessly ignorant to have done this to the arts community. A civilization without art is not a high civilization. Maybe it doesn’t even deserve the name. (Read more.)

The Disgusting Story of the Japanese ‘Comfort’ Women

From Medium:
Though military brothels existed in the Japanese military since 1932, they expanded further after the infamous episode of the Rape of Nanking, in which Japanese troops began a six-week-long massacre that essentially destroyed the Chinese city of Nanking (modern Nanjing). Along the way, Japanese troops raped between 20,000 and 80,000 Chinese women. 
This mass rape horrified the world and dented the image of Japan. Due to the immense international pressure, Emperor Hirohito ordered the military to create the so-called “comfort stations,” or military brothels, in an effort to prevent further atrocities and ensure a steady and isolated group of prostitutes are available to satisfy Japanese soldiers’ sexual appetites. 
And according to reports, the Japanese military began these comfort stations with volunteer prostitutes in occupied parts of China around 1931. But as the military expanded its territory, they turned to enslave women of the occupied areas. 
Women were rounded up on the streets in an organized manner and convinced to travel to what they were told to nursing units or medical jobs, or purchased from their parents as indentured servants. Some survivors have reported that they were originally promised jobs like cooking, laundry, and babysitting for the Japanese Imperial Army. 
Once they were at the brothels, the women were forced to have sex with their captors under brutal, inhumane conditions. As per Japanese records, there was one comfort woman assigned for every 70 soldiers and saying that their treatment was inhuman would be an understatement. The testimonies of the survivors are horrifying even to hear; repeated rapes, agonizing physical pain, pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, and bleak conditions. (Read more.)

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Henry Essex Edgeworth de Firmont

From Raidió Teilifís Éireann:
This is the surviving eye-witness testimony of Henry Essex Edgeworth who was on the scaffold in the Place de la Concorde with Louis XVI, as the French king faced the guillotine. On that day, January 21st 1793, the king was 38 years old and Henry, was ten years his senior. A relative of the celebrated novelist Maria Edgeworth, he was born in Edgeworthstown Co. Longford in 1745. As a young man, he was educated by the Jesuits and trained for the priesthood in Toulouse in southern France. There, he met a fellow seminarian, the Cork-born Francis Moylan. After his ordination, Edgeworth became the Vicar-General of the Diocese of Paris and the confessor to the King's sister, Elizabeth in 1791. 
We know all of this because Edgeworth’s correspondence to Moylan survives and was published as a collection by a Franciscan priest, Fr Thomas R. England. The letters are an intimate portrait on the mounting tension and crisis in revolutionary France. The Catholic Church was an integral part of the French state and was criticised and denounced in the political writings and public speeches of revolutionary leaders. 
Edgeworth describes pivotal moments in the Catholic clergy's fatalistic relationship with the National Assembly. This involved the compulsory selling of Church property, the abolition of monastic vows and finally saw the introduction of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy, requiring an oath of loyalty to the newly instated Civil Constitution and the Revolutionary Government. 
The collection also reveals the anguished story of how an Irish priest was requested by the Executive Council to attend the last moments of the king. The letter, dated London September 1st 1796, explains how Edgeworth stayed with the king overnight in Temple prison, administered the last rites to him and said mass. The priest rode with the king as he was paraded through the Parisian streets. He witnessed the King's hair being cut and the final blow of the blade as it sliced through the back of the King’s skull, cutting through his jaw and severing his head. Splattered with the king’s blood, Edgeworth stared down at the mob and, fearing he was next, slipped off the scaffold and escaped into the crowd. 
As Edgeworth moved tentatively, through the colossal crowd, two fellow Irishmen were watching the proceedings. The most enduring account of the guillotine on that fateful day concerns a set of Cork-born brothers, Henry and John Sheares. Synonymous with the United Irishmen movement in Cork, the Sheares brothers' drew inspiration from the ideals of the French Revolution and the social change it promised. 
Though they were later convicted of treason and executed for their part in 1798 Rebellion, it is a widely held belief that the Sheares brothers were present at the execution of the Louis XVI and that they convinced a member of the crowd closest the scaffold to dip a handkerchief in the blood of the king. Onboard a ship back to England, the brothers produced their souvenir to thrill travelling companions. Revulsed at the sight, fellow passenger, a teenaged Daniel O'Connell, is said to have turned away from both the sight of the blood-stained hankie and the use of violence as an agent of change.

Edgeworth stayed on the run for a number of years, careful not to leave France in case he was discovered. His friend Moylan tried to convince the priest, referred to only as the Abbé De Firmont, to return home to Ireland, but Edgeworth protested that he was too old at the age of nearly 50. He had spent the majority of his life in France and was now unfamiliar with Irish customs and had very poor English(Read more.)

From Canada Free Press:
Basically, the mob violence in France in the late 1700s and in the streets of U.S. cities in in 2020 is similar. Merciless, and often senseless, mob violence usually shows similar characteristics. Mob violence and rioting can easily spin out of control and rioters can pursue destruction with great zeal to harm anything or anyone in the way, much like unleashed wild animals ravaging anything in their path. Mob justice allows no respect for law and order. In Paris, on July 14, 1789, an agitated mob acted in similar ways to anarchists and Antifa and BLM terrorist mobs in 2020. Leadership behind both of these two examples of mob terror played a key role in mobilizing and channeling the mob activity. (Read more.)

The New ‘Homophobia’

From The Stream:
Now, if you like President Trump’s Mt. Rushmore speech, it’s because you’re a white supremacist. Forget the fact that he said, “We believe in equal opportunity, equal justice, and equal treatment for citizens of every race, background, religion, and creed. Every child, of every color — born and unborn — is made in the holy image of God.” 
Or that he said, “Our opponents would tear apart the very documents that Martin Luther King used to express his dream, and the ideas that were the foundation of the righteous movement for Civil Rights.” Or that he said, “We must demand that our children are taught once again to see America as did Reverend Martin Luther King, when he said that the Founders had signed ‘a promissory note’ to every future generation. Dr. King saw that the mission of justice required us to fully embrace our founding ideals. Those ideals are so important to us — the founding ideals. He called on his fellow citizens not to rip down their heritage, but to live up to their heritage.” 
It doesn’t matter. The speech was delivered at the foot of Mt. Rushmore, a monument to white supremacy, by a white supremacist president. That says it all. It doesn’t matter that Trump said that “we are the country” of black heroes like Frederick Douglass. And the Tuskegee Airmen. And Harriet Tubman. And Jesse Owens. And Ella Fitzgerald. 
Or that Trump announced that he will establish a National Garden of American Heroes, including “leaders of the abolitionist movement” and “the first all-volunteer African-American regiment of the Union Army in the Civil War.” Individual statues would be devoted to Douglass, King, and Tubman, as well as Jackie Robinson. It doesn’t matter. If you support this National Garden, you are a white supremacist. Obviously! (Read more.)

Life Before the Pyramids

From Ancient Origins:
One of the unique cultures in prehistoric Egypt that developed was the so-called Khormoussan culture, named for the site of Khor Musa, near the later famed Egyptian site of Wadi Halfa. This society appeared around 45,000 years BC around Maghreb and the southern regions of the Sahara. One thing that is notable for the peoples of this culture is the slow abandonment of the desert regions, and a migration nearer to the fertile valleys of the Nile. They were nomadic, following wild herds and making temporary camps in river valleys.

 Wadi Halfa is considered one of the oldest sites in prehistoric Egypt, where the oldest structures were discovered – some dated to 100,000 BC. It was around this site that the later Khormoussan culture was established. They were known for their technological advancements over time. They mastered the use of stone tools, but also developed use of bone and hematite. It began sometime between 42,000 and 32,000 before present, and ended around 16,000 BC, with the gradual emergence of new, more advanced cultures. One of these new cultures that came afterwards is known as the Qadan culture. It moved into the Neolithic stage of development between 15,000 and 10,000 BC and is characteristic of several areas and settlements. These are the well-known Elkab at Wadi Halfa, the Faiyum, Deir el-Badari, Deir Tasa, and El-Omari, near Halwan. (Read more.)

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

An Unlikely Royal Romance

From Royal Central:
On a summer’s day in 1818, a young German princess walked into one of the most famous hotels in London to meet a man twice her age. Just a year earlier, Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen and her suitor, William, Duke of Clarence, would never have considered chatting let alone taking the step that would inevitably follow this brief exchange. But after a short time together, with chaperones, of course, they both agreed to meet again in around a week’s time when the setting would be far more formal. For this brief interview, at Grillon’s Hotel, was the final step in their hasty plans to become husband and wife.
It was a marriage of necessity, at least for the Duke of Clarence. The British Royal Family had hit a succession crisis that needed to be resolved as soon as possible. Just nine months earlier, the crown had been destined for Princess Charlotte of Wales – William’s niece and only child of his eldest brother, the Prince Regent. But she had died in November 1817 giving birth to a stillborn son. Her death caused widespread mourning but also plunged the House of Hanover into panic mode. For while the aged and ill king, George III, had had fifteen children, there were now no legitimate grandchildren to inherit the throne in the future. (Read more.)

Ye Be Judged

From Breitbart:
Or as the famed writer Louis L’Amour–who put so much historical learning and human insight into his novels—explained, “A mistake constantly made by those who should know better is to judge people of the past by our standards rather than their own. The only way men or women can be judged is against the canvas of their own time.” 
In the meantime, the religiously-minded understand that men and women may be sinners, and yet most faith systems include some vision of betterment, even redemption. For instance, Christians believe Jesus Christ when He says, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” And so if they follow Him, they believe, they will be forgiven and redeemed.

These days, the current belief of Wokeness—the zealous thinking animating many of the protestors and statue-destroyers—seems a lot like a new religion. That is, Wokeness has its own version of sacred words, shrines, and saints; for instance, at the funeral of George Floyd, the deceased was depicted as an angel, complete with wings and halo, and murals of him in a saintly or heavenly pose have sprung up all around the world. (Read more.)

From The National Review:
The Little Sisters of the Poor are beautiful, selfless women. They live for God and serve His people. Their work is caring for the elderly poor. They love them. They invite them into their homes. Their residents aren’t not-so-useful-anymore people, these are people Christ has sent to them to love as the Sisters love Him. They’ve given their lives to Him. And they need to live those lives with integrity. 
The Collins op-ed was an insult to these remarkable women, and it was also an insulting dismissal of one of the most powerful images in Christianity. She begins with a hypothetical about a group of nuns whose devotion to the Sacred Heart was such that they created gods out of the human heart, essentially. What a cartoonish caricature. To see the Heart of Jesus as the prism through which you love is a transformative reality. 
And, as it happens, there is a group of women religious founded with a devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. And instead of making an idol out of the human heart, they, with their foundress, Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini, started some of the first Catholic schools, orphanages, hospitals in the United States. 
Some of our heroes of American history are missionaries who came here out of love of God and were trailblazers. This weekend, a California mission founded by Franciscan priest Junípero Serra was burned. And as the Little Sisters were given protection of basic religious freedom at the Court, hostility to these essentials of civil society certainly seems to be growing. (Read more.) 


From The Conservative Review:
To suggest that individuals be forced into something so personal as covering their own faces indefinitely under the guise of protecting other people is a huge, dramatic change in the relationship between the government and the citizen. We should at minimum get clarity on these questions before allowing any executive authority to unilaterally decree it. Doesn’t the near-universal opposition to widespread mask-wearing from these very same “experts” before the issue became political hold any weight? Doesn’t their reversal demand explanation? 
To this day, there has never been a clinical study with randomized controlled trials in non-health-care settings that vouch for the effectiveness of universal mask-wearing in public. All we have so far are anecdotes and laboratory filtration studies, not real human-to-human studies. When asked about conducting one, Dr. Fauci said there is no intention to do so. In fact, he went from resolutely dismissing the idea of wearing masks in March to now telling a group of Georgetown University students that he couldn’t even conduct a study because he was so scared of having even a study group go without masks! 
Thus, we are told we are not allowed to breathe free air without a mask – no studies allowed. Fauci’s view? No votes, no hearings, no debate, no studies, no time limits, no performance benchmarks. Shut up and cover your mouth indefinitely and don’t you dare express the view he used to espouse … or else. (Read more.)

From Heather MacDonald at Imprimis:
The media have been equally uninterested in the scientific evidence regarding outdoor transmission. Coronavirus infections require what Japan calls the three Cs: confined spaces, crowded places, and close contact. The fleeting encounters on sidewalks and public parks that characterize much of city life simply do not result in transmission. And yet if you briskly approach someone on one of Manhattan’s broad and now empty sidewalks, the oncoming pedestrian may lunge into the street or press up against the closest wall in abject fear if you are not wearing a mask. You may be cursed at. 
The public health establishment has been equally complicitous in creating this widespread ignorance. It has failed to stress at every opportunity that for the vast majority of the public, the coronavirus is at most an inconvenience. The public health experts did not disclose that outdoors was the safest place to be and that people should get out of their homes and into the fresh air. Not coincidentally, the experts’ newfound power over nearly every aspect of American life was dependent on the maintenance of fear. (Read more.) 

From AIER:
Adam Smith explained empathy as a feature of the human personality. “As we have no immediate experience of what other men feel,” he wrote, “we can form no idea of the manner in which they are affected, but by conceiving what we ourselves should feel like in the situation … By the imagination we place ourselves in his situation, we conceive ourselves enduring all the same torments … and become in some measure the same person with him.” 
That’s what real life is like. But political life today seems to seek to banish that very human feeling. It’s as if they are playing a video game featuring all of us but we are mere figures on a screen programmed to do what they want. They have no obligation to understand us, much less worry about the pain they inflict, because, like figures on a gaming screen, we surely don’t feel pain at all.

And that is also how the media has come to talk of this calamity. Its numbers, charts, and trends, all highly alarmist and always with the same conclusion: the political class needs to impose more restrictions on us to make this virus go away. We sit helpless watching all of this unfold day after day, astonished that our rules could be so impervious to what has taken place before our eyes. (Read more.) 

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The Problem with Historical Fiction

From The History Girls:
So, how does a writer make the characters of a novel set, for example, in the fourteenth century, seem to be of their time? I want the readers of my novels to feel they have been immersed in the mediaeval world, but without really noticing its “mediaevalness”. The latter might happen, for example, if they found themselves wondering if this or that thing or image or phrase or thought was “authentic”. To achieve an appropriate degree of authenticity, artefacts and environments must be, or at least seem to be, of their time, and noticeable anachronisms of fact or notion must be avoided, to save throwing the reader out of the illusion. Mindsets (the characters’ thought-world) must be convincing, and language, in narrative and dialogue, must reflect that thought-world, while not necessarily attempting to mimic the actual language of the period.
That all sounds fine in theory but how does it work in practice? James would presumably say it cannot ever work, that historical novelists and readers delude themselves in thinking the novels are in any way authentic. Yet writers surely do their very best to portray their characters and settings with authenticity. They undertake months or even years of research, in history books, in contemporary writings where they exist, and in art, and they use their intelligence and their imagination to transport, first, themselves, and then their readers into the inner lives of their historical characters.
Occasionally, an error of fact or understanding may slip through but, with the effort authors make, and with the eagerness of so many thousands of historical fiction devotees who happily allow themselves to suspend any disbelief in order to enjoy the story, the enterprise (of writing historical fiction) surely is not, as James implied, doomed to failure?
Though actually I think what is true of historical fiction may be true of any fiction... Historical fiction may not be able to fully convey the experiences of the past, but it is difficult for any type of fiction to wholly convey the experience of a character’s life, especially if that character, for example, commits murder, or blasts off into space to save the planet from a rogue asteroid, or perpetrates any number of actions beyond the experience of the average reader. (Read more.)

Monday, July 27, 2020

The Martyrdom of ‘the Most Beautiful Woman in Europe’

Elizabeth of Hesse, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, was known as "Ella" and later as Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna. She married one of the sons of Tsar Alexander II, the Grand Duke Sergei. Her sister was Empress Alexandra Feodorovna. It is nice to see such things in the Register. Now if they do a Catholic Queen like Marie-Antoinette I will be really impressed. From The National Catholic Register.
In 1888, the young couple represented the Russian Royal House at the dedication of the Russian Orthodox Church of St. Mary Magdalen on the Mount of Olives. There, whilst priests intoned prayers and incensed icons, Ella felt the first stirrings of her heart away from the Lutheranism of her birth. As it turned out, this visit to Jerusalem and the Holy Places impressed Ella greatly. Although always a devout Christian, her faith began to deepen from this time as she entered into an intense period of prayer and study, which eventually lead her to the Orthodox faith of her husband.
In the spring of 1891, Sergei was asked by his brother, Tsar Alexander III, to assume the position of Governor of Moscow. It was a significant post that was growing in importance on account of unrest from workers, intellectuals and anarchists. This city, that was to become Ella’s home, was then the seedbed of the revolutions that followed. And, as state repression followed unrest, soon that cycle became a deadly one for all concerned, not least its governor. Eventually, Sergei was to step down, but there were those who still sought revenge upon him.
On February 17, 1905, a grenade was tossed into the former Governor of Moscow’s carriage. It detonated immediately. As it did so, the windows of the nearby Kremlin rattled. Ella knew instantly that it was the sound of her husband’s assassination, and ran from the palace out onto the snow-covered streets. Stunned but still calm, she knelt in the blackened snow beside the mangled wreckage, as an equally stunned crowd gathered around her. As help came to collect the mortal remains of her husband onto a stretcher, in the snow Ella noticed the religious medals he was wearing. Bending down, she gathered these into her palm, before rising to pass silently through the crowds back into the Kremlin’s dark emptiness. (Read more.)

More HERE.
The Alapayevsk Martyrs


Of Fermented Vegetables

From New-Medical Life Sciences:
Earlier this year, Jean Bousquet (Charité, Universitätsmedizin Berlin) and colleagues investigated whether diet may contribute to the significant variation in COVID-19 death rates that have been observed between countries. The study found that in some countries with low mortality rates, the consumption of traditional fermented foods was high.
Now referring to the current study, “the negative ecological association between COVID-19 mortality and consumption of fermented vegetables supports the hypothesis previously reported,” writes the team.
The researchers say that if their hypothesis is confirmed in future studies, COVID-19 will be the first infectious disease epidemic to involve biological mechanisms that are associated with a loss of “nature.” Significant changes in the microbiome caused by modern life and less fermented food consumption may have increased the spread or severity of the disease, they say. A pre-print version of the paper is available on the server medRxiv*, while the article undergoes peer review. However, this paper is a preliminary report and should not be regarded as conclusive or established information. (Read more.)

Down with Christopher Columbus?

From The Catholic Thing:
Columbus is a symbol, and I’m convinced that by hating the symbol our leftist neo-barbarians (what else can I call them?) are hating what he symbolizes.  And what is it he symbolizes?  At least two things: the virtue of courage, and western civilization. Was there ever a more courageous man than Columbus?  Perhaps, but not many.  In recent decades, courage has not been greatly admired by our moral pacesetters.  For courage is an especially manly virtue (just as chastity used to be an especially womanly virtue – before young women were liberated from the awful burdens imposed on them by Christianity), and therefore courage carries with it an aroma of “toxic masculinity.”

Men who come out as gay, and women who come out as lesbian, and persons who come out as bisexual, and above all persons who come out as transgender – people like this may be called courageous.  But Columbus?  A model of toxic masculinity. And western civilization, a civilization based on the heritage of Greece and Rome and Israel – what is it?  It’s a “civilization” of racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, Sinophobia, Indophobia, Aztecophobia, Islamophobia, and a number of other awful things, including a narrow-minded prejudice in favor of rationality. (Read more.)

Also from The Catholic Thing:
 For most of human history these taken-for-granted beliefs have been the result of a slow and largely spontaneous growth.  But in the twentieth century the Communist Party (CP) in the Soviet Union demonstrated that it was possible to manufacture a social consensus suddenly and intentionally.  (Something very similar happened in Nazi Germany).  In the USSR, all organs of propaganda – newspapers, magazines, publishing houses, movies, radio, TV, schools, colleges, universities, and more – were controlled by either by the CP or by the state, which was in turn totally controlled by the CP.  Only messages approved by the CP got access to the general public; all political dissent was effectively silenced.

Of course the official propaganda didn’t persuade everybody.  But in the absence of counter-propaganda it persuaded vast numbers of people.  As for the unpersuaded, they were usually prudent enough to shut their mouths.  And if they were so imprudent as not to, they were either shot or sent to the Gulag. This exact thing cannot happen in the United States since we are not a one-party state and we value freedom of speech, thought, press, and religion.  Largely on account of our Protestant heritage, we value the right of private judgment; in other words, the right to dissent, to think for ourselves.

But if the Soviet (or Nazi) model cannot exist here, something very like it can – and does. Let me call it the Great Progressive Propaganda Machine (GPPM).  It is made up of a number of apparently independent elements: (1) the mainstream journalistic media, both print and electronic; (2) the entertainment industry: movies, TV, popular music; (3) our leading colleges, universities, and law schools; (4) most of our public schools; (5) liberal Protestant and Jewish denominations; (6) the Democratic Party.

The propaganda message put out by this GPPM is so well co-ordinated that some people believe there is a conspiratorial command-and-control apparatus lying behind the whole system.  I myself don’t believe this, but I’m not surprised that many do.  It certainly gives the appearance of being controlled from behind the scenes. (Read more.)

Meanwhile in Portland...From The Federalist:
Allow me a moment to add here to address the incredibly racist nature of the media’s coverage. If these were primarily black people committing arson, shooting fireworks at and attempting to blind federal officers with lasers there would be wall-to-wall coverage of the mayhem. But no, these are middle class white kids who have the corporate media and the Democratic Party in their back pocket. Talk about white privilege.
What is happening every night in Portland has nothing to do with peaceful protest. It is an organized militia seeking to destroy federal property and undermine the authority of law enforcement. But don’t worry; once the black clad, helmeted, Molotov cocktail-wielding insurgents abolish the police and tar and feather poor Mayor Ted Wheeler, they will be there to protect you.
There will be no more police brutality because there will be no more police. Antifa will decide what property belongs to whom and settle disputes with their equality loving iron fist. Make absolutely no mistake that is the goal of every single person who shows up to assist these criminals in their nightly riots. (Read more.)

Dorothy Thompson, the Journalist Who Warned the World About Adolf Hitler

From Mental Floss:
Thompson and De Porte both immediately sought freelance work at the International News Service, an American agency with bureaus all over Europe. The I.N.S. assignments suited Thompson, a workhorse who also had incredible luck. In one early success, she landed the last interview with Terence MacSwiney, a leader of the Sinn Fein movement who died in prison on a hunger strike, while visiting relatives in Ireland. She later snagged an exclusive with Karl I, the deposed former king of Hungary, by sneaking into a castle dressed as a Red Cross nurse. After this string of scoops, Thompson landed a job in Vienna as a foreign correspondent for the Philadelphia Public Ledger.
Through this post, she developed a deep understanding of central European politics—bolstered by her fluency in German and 1923 marriage to Hungarian writer Josef Bard—that catapulted her to bureau chief of both the Public Ledger and the New York Evening Post, which shared foreign services. She was, as her biographer Peter Kurth put it, “the first woman to head a foreign news bureau of any importance.”
But a period of change was ahead. Tired of her husband's many affairs, Thompson filed for divorce in 1927; that same year, she met Sinclair Lewis, the successful novelist of Elmer Gantry and Main Street. He was instantly smitten. In 1928, Thompson accepted one of Lewis's many proposals and resigned her post to marry him, leaving Germany to start a new life with him in Vermont.
Life in the country did not dull her interest in international affairs, however. Thompson continued to report on foreign politics as a freelancer, making several months-long trips back to Germany in the early 1930s to chronicle the crumbling Weimar Republic. She had been following Hitler's rise to power since at least 1923, when she attempted to interview the future dictator following the Beer Hall Putsch, a failed government takeover that put Hitler in prison. Her interview request was finally approved in 1931 under strict conditions: She could only ask him three questions, which were to be submitted a full day in advance.
Thompson came away from the interview less than impressed. "When I finally walked into Adolf Hitler's salon in the Kaiserhof Hotel, I was convinced that I was meeting the future dictator of Germany," she wrote. "In something less than fifty seconds I was quite sure that I was not. … He is formless, almost faceless: a man whose countenance is a caricature; a man whose framework seems cartilaginous, without bones. He is inconsequential and voluble, ill-poised, insecure—the very prototype of the Little Man."
While Thompson misjudged Hitler's appeal (he would be chancellor of Germany in just two years), her biting character assessment stayed with the Führer. He did not initially retaliate, even as the interview circulated among Cosmopolitan readers and the mass paperback market through Thompson's 1932 book I Saw Hitler!. But in the late summer of 1934, the Nazi government expelled Thompson from the country, informing her that they were "unable to extend to [her] a further right of hospitality." It served as one of the first significant warnings to foreign journalists in Germany: Criticism of Hitler would no longer be tolerated.
"My offense was to think that Hitler is just an ordinary man, after all," Thompson wrote shortly afterward in The New York Times. "That is a crime against the reigning cult in Germany, which says Mr. Hitler is a Messiah sent by God to save the German people—an old Jewish idea. To question this mystic mission is so heinous that, if you are a German, you can be sent to jail. I, fortunately, am an American, so I merely was sent to Paris." (Read more.)

More about Dorothy Thompson, HERE. Share

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Portrait of Lady Hamilton Found

Lady Hamilton as Ariadne by Richard Westall
From Advertiser and Times:
A LOST portrait of Admiral Lord Nelson’s mistress Lady Hamilton has been discovered at a Lymington antiques shop. The painting by Richard Westall shows Emma Hamilton gazing over her left shoulder, with her right breast exposed under a loose gown. It is thought to have been painted in 1802, three years before Nelson’s death at the Battle of Trafalgar. The oil on canvas painting was taken to antique dealer Charles Wallrock, of Wick Antiques in Lymington, by an elderly woman who had owned it for years. Mr Wallrock researched the item and confirmed it was one of four studies of Lady Hamilton produced by Westall. It is now for sale for £85,000. Nelson first met Emma Hamilton in Italy in 1793, and in 1798 he returned to Naples as a hero following the Battle of the Nile. There they fell in love and formed a relationship that Emma’s husband Sir William is said to have encouraged, given Nelson’s status. (Read more.)

More HERE. Share

Smart Society, Stupid People

From Jeffrey Tucker at AIER:
A virus is not a miasma, a cootie, or red goo like in the children’s book Cat in the Hat. There is no path toward waging much less winning a national war against a virus. It cares nothing about borders, executive orders, and titles. A virus is a thing to battle one immune system at a time, and our bodies have evolved to be suited to do just that. Vaccines can give advantage to the immune system through a clever hack. Even so, there will always be another virus and another battle, and so it’s been for hundreds of thousands of years. 
If you read the above carefully, you now know more than you would know from watching 50 TED talks on viruses by Bill Gates. Though having thrown hundreds of millions of dollars into cobbling together some global plan to combat microbes, his own understanding seems not to have risen above a cooties theory of run away and hide. 
There is another level of virus comprehension that came to be observed in the 1950s and then codified in the 70s. For many viruses, not everyone has to catch them to become immune and not everyone needs a vaccine if there is one. Immunity is achieved when a certain percentage of the population has contracted some form of virus, with symptoms or without, and then the virus effectively dies. 
This has important implications because it means that vulnerable demographics can isolate for the active days of the virus, and return to normal life once “herd immunity” has been realized with infection within some portion of the non-vulnerable population. This is why every bit of medical advice for ederly people has been to avoid large crowds during the flu season and why getting and recovering for non-vulnerable groups is a good thing. 
What you get from this virus advice is not fear but calm management. This wisdom – not ignorance but wisdom – was behind the do-no-harm approach to the polio epidemic of 1949-1952, the Asian flu of 1957-58, and the Hong Kong flu of 1968-69. Donald Henderson summed up this old wisdom beautifully: “Communities faced with epidemics or other adverse events respond best and with the least anxiety when the normal social functioning of the community is least disrupted.”
And that’s what we did for the one hundred years following the catastrophic Spanish flu of 1918. We never again attempted widespread closures or lockdown precisely because they had failed so miserably in the few places they were attempted. The cooties theory attempted a comeback with the Swine flu of 2009 (H1N1) but the world was too busy dealing with a financial crisis so the postwar strategy of virus control and mitigation prevailed once again, thankfully. But then the perfect storm hit in 2020 and a new generation of virus mitigators got their chance to conduct a grand social experiment based on computer modeling and forecasting
Next thing you know, we had this new vocabulary shoved down our throats and we all had to obey strangely arbitrary exhortations. “Go inside! No, wait don’t go inside!” “Stay healthy but shut the gyms!” “Get away from the virus but don’t travel!” “Don’t wear a mask, wait, do wear a mask!” (Now we can add: “Only gather in groups if you are protesting Trump”) 
People started believing crazy things, as if we are medieval peasants, such as that if there is a group of people or if you stand too close to someone, the bad virus will spontaneously appear and you will get infected. Or that you could be a secret superspreader even if you have no symptoms, and also you can get the virus by touching almost anything. 
Good grief, the sheer amount of unscientific phony baloney unleashed in these terrible three months boggles the mind. But that’s what happens in any panic. Apparently. Now, something has truly been bugging me these months as I’ve watched the incredible unravelling of most of the freedoms we’ve long taken for granted. People were locked out of the churches and schools, businesses were shuttered, markets were closed, governors shoved through shelter in place orders meant not for disease control but aerial bomb raids, and masks were mandatory, all while regular people who otherwise seem smart hopped around each other like grasshoppers. (Read more.)

From The American Mind:
Bad judgments and usurpations—the scam, not the germs—define this disaster’s dimensions. The COVID-19’s devastating effect on the U.S. body politic is analogous to what diseases do to persons whom age (senectus ipsa est morbus) and various debilities and corruptions had already placed on death’s slippery slope.
Outside of the few who have gained (and are still gaining) power and wealth from the panic, Americans are asking what it will take to end this outrage—not to modify it with any “new normal” decided by who knows whom, on who knows what authority. Since no one in authority is leading those who want to end it, Americans also wonder who may lead that cause. What follows suggests answers.
What history will record as the great COVID scam of 2020 is based on 1) a set of untruths and baseless assertions—often outright lies—about the novel coronavirus and its effects; 2) the production and maintenance of physical fear through a near-monopoly of communications to forestall challenges to the U.S.. ruling class, led by the Democratic Party, 3) defaulted opposition on the part of most Republicans, thus confirming their status as the ruling class’s junior partner. No default has been greater than that of America’s Christian churches—supposedly society’s guardians of truth. (Read more.)

Also from AIER:
Notably, severe COVID outbreaks appear to be overwhelmingly concentrated in nursing homes – a problem that is not meaningfully addressed by lockdowns, and which did not even figure into the considerations of the Imperial College model on which they were premised. We are also seeing the clear geographic dimensions of the pandemic’s spread. After ravaging the Northeast while it was under full lockdown, viral hotspots have now moved to previously unaffected areas – and irrespective of their remaining or reinstated lockdown policies, as California shows. 
The media’s latest narrative however shows the telltale signs of a policy response – lockdowns – in search of a political rationalization. For all the rhetoric and bluster about the U.S. “rush to reopen” and Europe’s allegedly more responsible and effective use of lockdowns, data such as the Oxford stringency index show the exact opposite pattern. The U.S. imposed lockdowns at the same time as Europe, did so with comparable levels of stringency, and actually reopened at a later date and slower pace than most European nations. (Read more.) 

Ancient Mycenaeans and DNA

From The Greek Reporter:
New emerging DNA evidence suggests that living Greeks are indeed descendants of the ancient Mycenaeans, who ruled mainland Greece and the Aegean Sea from 1,600 BC to 1,200 BC. The proof comes from a study in which scientists analyzed the genes from the teeth of 19 people across various archaeological sites within mainland Greece and Mycenae. A total of 1.2 million letters of genetic code were compared to those of 334 people across the world. Genetic information was also compiled from a group of thirty modern Greek individuals in order to compare it to the ancient genomes. This allowed researchers to effectively plot how individuals were related to one another. One aspect that was revealed in the study was how the Mycenaeans themselves were closely related to the Minoan civilization, which flourished on the island of Crete from 2,000 BC to 1,400 BC. (Read more.)

Saturday, July 25, 2020

The Star Road

St. James in battle
From L'Esprit du Chemin:
In the “Codex Calixtinus” the Camino is seen as the earthly replica of the Milky Way. According to the book, Charlemagne one night saw “a road of stars. It started at the Frisian Sea and led (...) to Galicia, where in that time the remains of the holy James rested without anyone knowing.” James himself then gives Charlemagne the task to liberate “my pilgrimage route (...), so that one (..) can visit my grave.” Whether this is true or not, Charlemagne never got further than Zaragoza, from where he made his famous retreat via Roncesvalles.

Faith in holy places is of all times. For example, the Camino de Santiago follows an old road to Cabo Fisterra (= the Cape at the End of the World) which had already been used by the Celts. There the sun sets and both the underworld and the world of rebirth begin. According to some, the Celts in their turn followed an old star road, which led back to the lost kingdom of Atlantis. In the Middle Ages many Christian pilgrims followed this old example, by walking on to Cabo Fisterra after Santiago de Compostela. This old tradition is followed by more and more pilgrims nowadays. (Read more.)

From Compostela: The Joining of Heaven and Earth:
Charlemagne and the Compostelan pilgrimage were inextricably linked in the medieval imagination. It was an essential component of the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela that pilgrims were journeying through a mythical landscape. This was a world through which the armies of Charlemagne had passed, where great battles had been fought and the tombs of the fallen heroes could be venerated as the shrines of martyrs.

This legendary aspect was part of an eschatological narrative which was continuing and ongoing and in which pilgrims themselves were taking part. History and legend were merged, without distinction. The transcendent distant past was mirrored in events in the recent past and then into the present day, thereby confirming the transcendence of each. This was reaffirmed by geography. To visit the place where a transcendent event had occurred was to corroborate the authenticity and validity of the shrine and martyr associated with that site. Thus the world itself was invested with a numinous quality whose meaning lay in a divine plan. (Read more.)

The Brainwashing of White Women

From Laura Ainsworth at Mike Huckabee:
In recent days, I’ve been dismayed to see young, white female protesters screaming in the faces of cops on duty, even black cops. Under different circumstances, those same cops would have jumped into action to save the lives of those very women –- or anyone else of any race or gender. That thought obviously hadn’t penetrated the tiny pea brains of these women. “You’re a traitor to your race!,” one white woman shrieked hysterically at a black officer.
Their conduct was so out-there, it seemed to me like some strange psychological phenomenon, and now I see that the same thought has occurred to Stella Morabito, a senior contributor at THE FEDERALIST. Something is seriously wrong. We’re talking cult behavior. This is the result of drinking the Kool-Aid as devotedly as the truest true believer at Jonestown. Perhaps you or someone you know has a daughter or granddaughter like this, and you feel defeated trying to even talk to her. What is going on with these middle- and upper-middle-class white women?
Actually, this weirdness has been a long time coming. I’ve written from time to time about the indoctrination being carried out by fashion magazines, within whose pages it is assumed that all readers hate Trump (and all Republicans), support abortion on demand as a woman’s “health” right, and think America would be a utopia if only it were run by an all-female committee headed by Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama.
Young white women are made to feel terribly “privileged,” simply for being born white.
Capitalism and profit are bad, bad, bad. Never mind that the prices of some of the clothes and accessories in these magazines rival those of a new car or the down payment on a house. Money to buy important fashion "must-haves" and “investment pieces” is a necessary evil; one must feel extremely guilty about possessing such wealth and find major ways to atone. (It helps if the designers you choose are “woke” and support the right causes.) If you’re buying a 1.04-ounce jar of face cream that costs more than what a sun-shriveled field laborer in some poor country makes in a year, you’ve GOT to atone, big-time. (Read more.)

Life During the Norman Conquest of England.

From Heritage Daily:
There is evidence the Norman invasion led to more controlled and standardised mass agricultural practices. Pork became a more popular choice and dairy products were used less. But on the whole, a diet dominated by vegetables, cereals beef and mutton remained largely unchanged.
Dr Elizabeth Craig-Atkins of the University of Sheffield’s Department of Archaeology said: “Examining archaeological evidence of the diet and health of ordinary people who lived during this time gives us a detailed picture of their everyday experiences and lifestyles. Despite the huge political and economic changes that were happening, our analysis suggests the Conquest may have only had a limited impact on most people’s diet and health.
“There is certainly evidence that people experienced periods where food was scarce. But following this, an intensification in farming meant people generally had a more steady food supply and consistent diet. Aside from pork becoming a more popular food choice, eating habits and cooking methods remained unchanged to a large extent.” (Read more.)

Friday, July 24, 2020

Castles in Wales

From National Geographic:
Powis Castle, on a prominent rock near the English border, is another medieval fortress that was reinvented as an artistic showcase when it became home to the aristocratic Clive family in the 19th century. Taking pride of place among the castle’s collection is the rich range of artifacts Robert Clive and his son Edward hauled back from India as their colonial spoils, including an entire, intact sultan’s ceremonial tent.
There is something for everyone crowded into the castle’s galleries: hand-woven tapestries, baroque furniture, a Joshua Reynolds portrait of Lady Henrietta Clive, and a prized Roman marble figure of a cat wrestling a snake. The show continues outside, in the 25-acre terraced Italo-French gardens that frame the castle. The lush landscape features clipped yews and formal flower plots all punctuated by a whimsical orangery. (Read more.)