Friday, May 20, 2022

The Northman (2022)

 I have no idea how anyone could see The Northman as a white supremacist film, but it seems some people do. If anything, it makes white people, especially Vikings, look really bad. Yet it is probably one of the most accurate depictions of pagan Norsemen ever filmed. The violence and superstition of life at that time and place are set in the magnificence of Iceland. It is well-acted but painful to watch, at least for me. From Vox:

In the 12th century or thereabouts, a fellow we know today as Saxo Grammaticus sat down to write a history of Denmark, a chronicle of its mythology, history, and conquests. I doubt he knew that his work would inspire generations of adaptations. But, as fate would have it, two of his 16 books told a rollicking tale of Amleth, grandson of a king. Amleth’s father was murdered by his brother, Amleth’s uncle, who then married Amleth’s mother. Amleth feigned madness to escape his uncle’s sword, but eventually, he took his revenge.

Historians believe Saxo Grammaticus’s account of Amleth was itself an adaptation, based on older Icelandic poems. But it would be far from the final retelling of the tale. Most famously, a few centuries later, an English playwright used Amleth’s tale as the inspiration for the story of a Danish prince who avenged his own father’s death at the hand of his uncle-cum-stepfather. He titled it The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark

And now — in a time when medieval legends seem to be increasingly sparking filmmakers’ imaginations — The Northman, a bone-crunching Viking epic from detail-obsessed director Robert Eggers, is based on Amleth’s legend as well. (To put it another way: if you feel while watching The Northman like you’re watching a Shakespeare adaptation, you are wrong, but only kind of.)  (Read more.)


From Den of Geek:

When we spoke to Eggers about the film, he noted the story of Amleth was a larger inspiration for him to chase his own Berserker ghosts. The filmmaker wanted to use that basic framework of familiarity to keep the audience keyed in to what is happening, even when weird things like Bjork as a supernatural Seer appears, compelling Amleth to stop his raiding ways and seek a righteous revenge instead.

Even so, there are more than a few elements of The Northman lifted directly from Shakespeare’s Hamlet (and not Amleth), only now with a modern subtext.

For instance, in Hamlet, the Danish prince discovers a gravedigger excavating a burial site, only to find the skull of his father’s court jester. The Danish prince becomes melancholic recalling poor Yorick and the merry memories of kissing his lips and laughing at his japes. Well, that court jester is a major character in The Northman, played here by Willem Dafoe. As Heimir the Fool, Dafoe portrays perhaps the one person Hawke’s King Aurvandil shows genuine affection toward. He is allowed to tease what he sees to be the wandering eye of Queen Gudrún (Nicole Kidman), and he is shown indoctrinating young Amleth into the Viking customs and superstitions of his father.

When Amleth infiltrates Iceland some decades later, feigning to be a Slavic slave, a He-Witch (Ingvar Sigurdsson) manifests to reveal the decapitated remains of Dafoe’s fool. Apparently after Claes Bang’s Uncle Fjölnir assumed the throne he stole, one of his first acts was to torture and behead Heimir. “Alas,” says the He-Witch to Amleth. Yet after the new king’s torturers removed the fool’s tongue and eyes, and later his head, a pagan witch retrieved the remains, restoring the skull to ghastly shape. And now it’s been brought to Iceland in order for Amleth to commune with the dead… much as Hamlet wished to do with poor, poor Yorick. (Read more.)


From The Wrap:

 Kidman rarely gets the credit she deserves for going out on a limb and seeking opportunities to work with envelope-pushing directors. Like Catherine Deneuve, Kidman embraces eccentric characterizations guided by filmmakers working outside the mainstream, and she often reaps the benefits with indelible supporting roles like this one that enhance her reputation as an unpredictable and engrossing performer, a movie star who’s always a character actress at heart.

“The Northman” is the best kind of multi-quadrant movie. Without abandoning his arthouse credentials, Eggers has made a rousingly rough, extreme action saga that has the potential of attracting the kind of viewers who might have found his previous work impenetrable. It’s a vision of futility and fury, of a clash between nature and humanity where violence is both the means and the consequence, and an ancient revenge fantasy that speaks with terrible truth to this moment and to the historical lessons we never seem to learn. (Read more.)


Why European Children Are Less Noisy Than American Children

 From Intellectual Takeout:

European parents’ discipline about not shouting at their kids was all the more impressive since they also almost never followed their children from apparatus to apparatus, as is the habit of most of us hovering American parents. These parents sat at the edges of the sprawling playground, reading books, drinking coffee, and letting their tots explore on their own. When they had to talk to their kids, they got up and walked close enough that they could use a normal voice.

I was baffled at first, and I’d snicker with my fellow expats about the harsh disciplinary measures and lack of spirit that must explain the bizarre quiet. Yet now, nearly eight years later, I’ve come to see a logic behind our different cultures, and understand why Americans’ reputation for being loud and boorish and the continental Europeans’ reputation for being cold and standoffish exist, but are ultimately incomplete.

A root cause, it seems to me, is the very different roles that public spaces play in our lives and communities. Americans are less likely to live in apartments and generally have bigger homes and yards than Europeans do. That means American children typically play in backyards and parents enjoy quiet and a bit of nature on their own properties. So when Americans seek out a playground, we are looking for company. Our children go to find other kids, and we parents are often also looking for conversation, rather than just an opportunity to sit peacefully under a tree. For city dwelling Europeans, the parks and playgrounds are their backyards. They go there to let their kids run around, but also to enjoy a natural setting themselves.

The differences in the use of public spaces explain behaviors outside of the playground too. Americans find it jarring when they are sitting at a European café or restaurant and someone takes the empty seat at their table. If someone is sharing our space, we assume we have to interact. Europeans presume that they and others will enjoy privacy even in close quarters. Just as American parents teach their children to look people in the eye and politely greet them, European children are taught how to interact quietly to avoid bothering people around them.

We learn these skills from a young age. My daughter’s 5th grade class (at a public school in Berlin, Germany) practices what they call their “one meter” voices: students are expected to sit with a partner and engage in quiet conversation. They are supposed to be able to hear each other, but not be heard more than one meter away. This allows other conversations to take place around them, creating an expectation of privacy and personal space in a crowded room.

Americans often hear about how much more sophisticated Europe is: women nurse their babies openly, and people change their clothes in public parks or by swimming pools because they don’t have our hang-ups about nudity. It may be that Europeans are just more comfortable with nudity, but this different relationship with public spaces also comes into play. In Europe, I may be in a public setting but the space around me is mine. I know that my neighbors at the playground, café, beach, or bus stop are going to do their best to ignore me entirely and give me whatever privacy I may want or need.

At first, I mistook these customs—the failure to make eye contact or smile while passing on the street, the utter lack of chit-chat that’s the background buzz of American waiting rooms and checkout lines—as evidence of a core coldness. Yet I’ve come to see it not as a lack of friendliness or compassion, but an outgrowth of the Europeans’ respect for privacy in the public sphere. (Read more.)


Finding a Lost Chinese-Norse Civilization in Canada

 From Ancient Origins:

The considerable skepticism about the Chinese voyages seemed to be primarily because the idea of massive Chinese ships, as suggested by Menzies and Hudson was thoroughly doubted. Unfortunately, one could not appeal to China because that country has retained no information as to the design of such massive ships - no models, no sketches, no descriptions. Curious genetic and ancestral stories of the Beothuck People led to an informal survey that revealed mtDNA of Celtic, Norse, and other Scandinavian/Baltic origin, leading to speculation that all of the people were descendants of the Norse from the time of the Viking Sagas. However, that speculation was disabused by research reports to the effect that (a) Newfoundland Island had had several waves of occupation, and (b) there is a genetic discontinuity between the maternal lineages of the various occupation groups. Moreover, historical reports indicate that whoever was on the island were substantially, or completely, killed off by some blight or combination thereof (plague, typhus, smallpox) between 1402 and 1404, which meant that as of that later date the island was effectively empty. If that were true, then it meant that the Norse ancestors of the contemporary Beothuck must have colonized at least part of the island sometime after 1404 AD. That led to a consideration of the story of the disappearance of the people of Greenland in the early 15th Century. There is no record of the people of Greenland going east, as some experts have speculated. According to Catholic Church records, there had been as many as 5000 people in Greenland circa 1409. That's a lot of people to account for. (Read more.)


Thursday, May 19, 2022

Three Ways Cleopatra Contributed to Science and Medicine

 From Discover:

If the Romans had their way, we would remember Queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt as a depraved and power-hungry woman. Her lavish tastes and promiscuous lures corrupted the highest rungs of Roman leadership. Cleopatra first paired off with Roman Dictator Gaius Julius Caesar, who helped her return from exile and ascend to the throne. After Caesar’s assassination in 44 B.C., Marcus Antonius (a.k.a. Marc Antony) became one of three Roman Republic rulers, and Cleopatra’s next ally and love interest.

The Romans weren’t ready for a powerful woman, and biographers and historians smeared her legacy. They failed to note that Cleopatra was a serious scholar. She spoke at least seven languages and was interested in science and medicine. She researched, conducted experiments (albeit cruel and unethical ones) and wrote about her findings. In her time, she was an expert in gynecology, pharmacology and aesthetics.

Cleopatra supported advancements in science and medicine. She also contributed to The Great Library of Alexandria, which was eventually destroyed after Cleopatra’s death during the Roman occupation. Arabic-language texts note her legacy as a scientist and a scholar. Here are three documented examples of Cleopatra’s scientific prowess. (Read more.)


There's Always More Research to Be Done

 From Crime Reads:

Every writer I know has a finely honed system for avoiding writing. Some develop a sudden need to deep-clean their houses when they’re on deadline. Others (fantasy writers, in particular) convince themselves that they can’t write the story until they’ve fully developed the monetary system and international trade patterns of the world they’ve imagined.

For most writers of historical fiction? It’s research.

I’m guilty. Oh, am I guilty. For anyone working in the Gilded Age, research is a marvelously effective means of procrastination. There’s just so much fascinating historical minutia available from the period. Photographs, letters, dinner menus, personal diaries, and even telephone directories are all there for the perusing. I sit down to write, then convince myself that I desperately need to locate and study an antique transit map or check the newspaper headlines for a particular week. Before I know it, hours have gone by and I haven’t written a word.

But even though it lowers my wordcount, I can’t say I regret the time I’ve spent immersed in the history of Gilded Age New York City. After all, I wouldn’t write in the period if I didn’t love it. And it may make me a slower writer, but I also believe it’s made me a better one. I’m proud of the level of historically accurate detail I include in my novels (hopefully without detracting from the story). And the research I do frequently gives me new plot ideas. (Read more.)


The Vision of Power Between Tolkien’s LOTR and Plato

 From Medium:

The Lord of the Rings is one of Tolkien’s popular works that analyze power, choice, and morality through imagination. It seems to have drawn the theme of self-chosen invisibility from Plato’s Ring of Gyges. However, the analysis presented by the two thinkers seems to be a point of fine distinction between their visions of power. Tolkien seems to have a better vision of power because the story of the One Ring complements and enriches Plato’s analysis. The following article attempts to briefly summarize the similarities and differences between the two writers in order to determine who has a better vision of power.

Before looking for what the Lord of the Ring confirms or undermines in Plato’s analysis, it’s necessary to understand what is Plato’s idea in The Ring of Gyges and what is Tolkien’s idea in The Lord of the Rings.

First and foremost, it is relevant to explore Plato’s discussion of the Ring of Gyges; The Ring of Gyges is a myth used by Glaucon in Plato’s Republic. Plato’s argument raises the question of whether people are innately good or bad in instances involving the urge to do something wrong without being caught. And, if enormous power demolishes the need to be a moral individual. Glaucon makes a reference to the Ring of Gyges to demonstrate that there is no true morality and that justice is a man-made construct. In it, a shepherd stumbles upon a ring that grants him the ability to become invisible. He seduces a queen, kills her king, and uses his invisibility to take over the realm. As a result, he ends up abusing his newfound capacity to act without consequence in order to pursue his own self-interests and eventually acquire control of the kingdom.

With this in mind, it’s fascinating to consider Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings as a variation on this ancient Platonic myth. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings centers on the Ring of Power made by the Dark Lord Sauron. It’s a centuries-old Ring that’s been assumed to be lost. Then it was found, and by a strange twist of fate, it was entrusted to Frodo Baggins, a Hobbit, whose mission is to carry the One Ring to the fires of Mount Doom, where it was formed, and destroy it for the end of the Dark Lord’s reign and the future of civilization.
Yet, he does not go alone. A Fellowship is formed to accompany the Ring and Frodo, the Ringbearer. Gandalf, Legolas the elf, Gimli the Dwarf, Aragorn, Boromir, Merry, Pippin, and Samwise, his three Hobbit friends, accompany him. “The Fellowship of the Ring must travel across mountains, snow, darkness, forests, rivers, and plains, fighting evil and danger at every turn.”

The ring has the power to control the entire world and he who wears it becomes invisible and in most cases corrupt. However, the hobbits are more resistant to the Ring because they have no ambition for power or dominance over others. Hobbits like Frodo and Samwise are not as easily corrupted as Sméagol for some other reasons. And, many of the other characters in The Lord of the Rings have their own hidden intentions and motivations, which the Ring might exploit.

In various ways, The Lord of the Rings verifies Plato’s analysis. Actually, through the Ring of Gyges, Plato’s question is whether or not one should be a moral person even if one has the power to be immoral with impunity. Socrates defends the moral life in Plato’s Republic by pointing out that the immoral life is worse than a morally virtuous life since the immoral life ultimately corrupts the immoralist’s soul. Mental pain, the loss of friends and loved ones are all consequences of living an immoral life. Besides, the psychic emptiness of an immoral life cannot be compensated by all the power in the world. Gollum, from Lord of the Rings, who is continually characterized as an unhappy creature, terrified of everything, friendless, homeless, and continuously seeking his “precious” Ring, is the character who most clearly exhibits Plato’s point that the unjust life leads to nothing but unhappiness. Gollum appears to be nearly utterly ruined by his desire for the Ring, in fact, every action he does is aimed towards regaining the Ring, including guiding Frodo and Sam on their voyage into Mordor. Because his soul is split in two, Gollum continuously talks to himself: one half is Sméagol, the hobbit he was before the Ring came into his hands, and the other half is Gollum, the creature whose one desire is to reclaim the Ring. As a result of his insatiable desire for the Ring of Power, Gollum is a striking example of the corruption of the soul and the loss of a meaningful life.

Furthermore, the maxim “power corrupts man” and its universal acceptance is the point on which Plato’s Glaucon and Tolkien seem to differ. Plato implies that all who possess the ring tend to be immoral. He argues that the invisibility and anonymity conferred by wearing Gyges’ ring is the only barrier between a just person and an unjust person. In other words, for him, anyone will be unjust if they have a cloak of anonymity. For injustice is much more profitable and as soon as one can do evil without being judged or accountable for their activities, then one will be inclined to evil and act in the most selfish and self-serving manner possible. While Tolkien asserts that personal choice has much to do with a personal tendency to be evil. Each man may reject the use of the ring based on his own power of choice.

Through exploring the characters, two alternative ways of dealing with Plato’s dilemma about the relationship between power, personal choice, and morality are presented by Boromir, the character who best fits the model of Glaucon’s moral argument about the shepherd Gyges, and Galadriel, the Lady of Lothlórien. Boromir desires to put the One Ring to good use. Later on, though, he succumbs to the lure of using the Ring in the struggle against Mordor. Boromir responds, “It is not yours save by an unhappy chance,” Boromir says. “It might have been mine. It should be mine. Give it to me!” (FR, p. 449) Boromir corrects himself by defending Merry and Pippin from the orcs, and he confesses to Aragorn that he tried to steal the Ring from Frodo as he dies. As a result, the Ring’s corruption is not permanent. Galadriel, on the other hand, is one response to Plato’s challenge to immoralists. She is determined not to allow the temptation of power to poison her spirit. She declines the One Ring and stays true to her values. She declared, “I passed the test.” “I pass the test,” she said. “I will diminish, and go into the West, and remain Galadriel.” (FR, pp. 410–11) Tolkien demonstrates via her that even at enormous personal cost, a strong and moral person may resist the lure of immense power. Additionally, To have a deeper understanding of Tolkien’s concept of power. Tolkien depicts the various activities of Tom Bombadil, Frodo, and Sam, all of whom chose to utilize the Ring. In fact, Bombadil was not corrupted by the Ring since it had no effect on him. Thus, he was referred to as “his own master.” But he can’t change the Ring, and he can’t take away its influence over others” (FR, p. 298). Frodo, the ringbearer, on the other hand, appears to be experiencing mixed feelings. He gradually succumbs to the Ring’s power, and by the time he reaches the Cracks of Mount Doom, he is unable to complete his mission. “I have come . . . But I do not choose now to do what I came to do. I will not do this deed. The Ring is mine!” He then regains his identity and finds the strength to reject the Ring’s power. Nonetheless, Frodo’s companion, Sam, defeats the Ring’s power in a short time thanks to his love for Frodo and his own sense of self. (Read more.)


Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Discovering Chambord

From Oh La La!:

To celebrate his victory at Marignan, François 1er, new king of France, decided in 1516 to build a palace in Sologne to his glory. The construction project is nourished by the humanism of Alberti who defined the principles of Renaissance architecture, and work began in 1519. Initially, the castle of Chambord was to serve as a hunting castle, annexed to the Blois Castle. The first project drawn up by François 1er only provided for the construction of a castle-dungeon, confined on all floors to four round towers. The story goes that at that time, Leonardo da Vinci, who was staying in Amboise, would have participated in the development of the plans for the castle of Chambord alongside the architect Domenico Bernabei da Cortona. Following the imprisonment of François 1er in Madrid in 1525, work on the castle of Chambord was interrupted until 1526 and the king decided, on his return, to enlarge Chambord by adding two side wings to the keep. For several years, some 1,800 workers were busy building the castle and in 1539, François 1er received Emperor Charles V there. The royal wing, located in the north tower, was completed in 1544 and an exterior gallery and a spiral staircase were added in 1545. François 1st died in 1547, after 32 years of reign and ultimately only lived 42 days at the Chambord estate. Unfortunately, the castle did not arouse the interest of the kings who succeeded François 1er: Henri III and Henri IV did not stay there and Louis XIII only visited it twice during his reign. It will be necessary to await the advent of Louis XIV to see completed the project of François 1er. Louis XIV entrusted the work to the architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart, as for the Palace of Versailles, and the work was finally completed in 1686. In 1844, the new owner of the castle of Chambord, Henri Dartois, Duke of Bordeaux, undertook work to develop the park and restore the castle, following the multiple lootings that had taken place for decades on the estate of Chambord abandoned. (Read more.)


2000 Mules

 From American Thinker:

Dinesh D’Souza is an effective filmmaker and he didn’t disappoint with 2000 Mules, a riveting documentary examining the way leftist organizations used activists to stuff ballots in the 2020 election (and the 2020 Georgia run-off election that handed the Senate to the Democrats). However, after watching it, I felt there were some unanswered questions that also deserve scrutiny so I hope D’Souza follows up on these issues.

2000 Mules begins with the premise that Trump voters have found it impossible to believe that Trump lost the election. When they contrast his campaign appearances (60,000 screaming fans) with Biden’s campaign appearances (6 vaguely animated lumps sitting in little circles); the bellwether counties states showing Trump winning by a large margin; the significant gains Trump made with Hispanics and Blacks; the millions of votes Trump gained over the four years of his presidency; and the mysterious overnight counting shut-down in the states that ultimately gave Biden his “victory,” they know that something is wrong.

The folks at True the Vote also suspected that something was wrong, very wrong. The founder, Catherine Engelbrecht, working with Gregg Philips and a team of computer analysts, came up with a very clever way to determine whether there was fraud. They suspected as much, thanks to the way in which Democrats in key states used COVID as an excuse to increase absentee voting. That included states which allowed only absentee voting with drop boxes across cities and towns, where there had been massive ballot harvesting. That is, people, both real and fake, didn’t fill out their own ballots. Instead, they were collected, completed, and put into drop boxes by partisan and paid activists.

To prove this theory, True the Vote obtained geo-tracking information for major urban areas in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia, and Arizona, allowing them to follow cell phone signals. They marked all the drop boxes and all the facilities for left-wing non-profits. They then looked for cell phones that traveled between the non-profits and drop boxes at least ten times (to be sure to winnow out statistical noise). Through FOIA requests, they also obtained as many videos as they could showing people stuffing multiple ballots into the drop boxes, a completely illegal act. (Read more.)

The Future of Agriculture in Britain

 From Country Life:

Then there is the issue of food security. When Covid struck, the lucky ones among us were able to go without the supermarket altogether, by relying on farm shops and local food, driving a rise in meat boxes and suchlike. Small family farms producing food that gets processed — slaughtered, picked or packed — locally are doing their bit for the climate and society. We live in an unstable, uncertain world and farming resilience has to be extended. If that means challenging the supermarkets and their supply chains, so be it. The alternatives are already there. A recent report says that Britain’s farm shops employ 25,000 people, with sales totalling £1.4 billion — and most of them expect business to grow, not shrink.

The trend so far is away from the small producer, but policy can change. The stopper is straightforward: high land prices, sustained by subsidy, tax and investment rules and planning. What we need is not only more small farms to join the thousands already on the land, or more families to join the 150,000 or so people already working out there, but hundreds of thousands of farmers.

Organisations such as the Ecological Land Cooperative try to bring cheap or free marginal land into cultivation by ‘stewards’, whose commitment to agriculture is overseen by the group and who enable small farmers to build and live on their plots. We need thousands more smallholdings, their owners supplementing their income with outside jobs, by specialising, by needing less in the first place. Bring on the micro-dairy, the mushroom grower, the bee-keeper’s orchard, the salad producer.

William Cobbett, the farmer, politician and polemicist who believed in local distinctiveness, saw beauty where he saw rural prosperity: well-fed children, hard-working adults and a pig in the sty. He would have railed against a green sward divided by blown-out hedgerows, visited twice a month by a contractor with a heavy machine. Just as there’s no finer sight than an allotment garden, so nothing could gladden the eye like a countryside of small farms and smallholdings, in a patchwork of tiny fields, with a shack or a caravan or a Hobbit-house every few acres, with polytunnels, sheep shelters and pig arks. (Read more.)


Tuesday, May 17, 2022

A Distinguished Georgian House


From House and Garden:

Certain characteristic details (especially the St Andrew’s Cross between quatrefoil heads that appears on panels of the elliptical arch in the hall) have led to the attribution to joiner turned architect John Hird of Cartmel, a regional figure typical of those who designed the plain but elegant gentleman’s houses of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and who drew on the pattern books produced by Gibbs, Batty Langley and others as sources for detail, elevation, proportion and plan. Hird worked on Sizergh Castle in Cumbria in around 1770, and provided a design for Leighton Hall in Lancashire influenced by James Paine’s Plans ... of Noblemen and Gentlemen’s Houses (1767), of which he was listed as a subscriber.

The new wings at Beckside, finished in 1998 and 2000 respectively, were designed by a local architect, Michael Bottomley, following initial sketch drawings and a model by the artist Glynn Boyd Harte. One wing is entirely filled with the library, a room in which Dr Robinson has written so many of his famous books; the other wing provides the essential back room of country-house life, a generous boot room – and why should it not present an elegant front to the world? This wing connects to the old wash house, which is thought to be part of the old manor house on the site.

These symmetrical single-storey wings are also a nod to their appearance in other designs by Hird, for instance, for Leighton Hall. The fenestration of the sides of the house actually appears to be arranged for such wings and so ‘there is a certain inevitability about them’. Each new wing has a Venetian window facing south in a blank arch underneath a pediment (echoing Hird’s other designs). The central arched window is given additional interest by Gothic rococo fenestration, another characteristic of designs by Hird in the 1760s. The walls of the wings are rendered and limewashed to match the original, with stone dressings in a Stanton Moor sandstone from Derbyshire, which is a close match to that used in the eighteenth century.

Beckside House was built for George Turner, a local landowner, and sold to the Gibsons – a well-established gentry family – in 1859, for whom it appears to have been a secondary house to their estate at Whelprigg in Cumbria, and quite often let. This probably accounts for the lack of alterations and the perfect survival of the chimneypieces and graceful staircase of the 1760s era. Dr Robinson acquired the house from the Gibson family in 1986, and informed by his own extraordinary knowledge of English architectural history and design, every room has been decorated and furnished in a manner that epitomises traditional country-house taste, elegance and comfort combined. (Read more.)

The Roman Primacy

 From One Peter Five:

During my time as an Eastern Orthodox Christian, I came to realize how much my view of Rome was obscured by my own pride. The central claim of many Orthodox — that Vatican I is a heresy of self-aggrandizement — does not hold up to scrutiny. Not only do the Orthodox Latin saints preach this doctrine over a span of centuries, but at one point, the entire Eastern hierarchy promised to be in agreement with the Holy See and confessed the Roman primacy. What Orthodox fail to see is that over the course of the 464 years from Constantine to the Seventh Ecumenical Council, the eastern bishops were heretical and out of communion with Rome for at least 203 years [1]. Meanwhile, their Eastern saints who were orthodox confessed the Roman primacy: St. Athanasius the Great, St. John Chrysostom, St. Cyril, St. Flavian, the Blessed Theodoret, St. Maximus the Confessor, St. Theodore of the Studium, et cetera.

Thus in order to assert, as Orthodox do, that the Roman primacy is a heresy, they need to admit that their own saints are heretics, or else claim — as they are forced to — that their saints were sycophant men given over to hyperbole and flattery.

Another reason these attacks fail is that the Orthodox do not give their own doctrines the same scrutiny they give Catholics’. It is true that although the saints have taught the Roman primacy, it is by no means clearly expressed across the Fathers. Yet the Orthodox are willing to confess many other doctrines like Iconodulism or the homoousios while explaining away (rightly) any lack of patristic clarity on these points. When it comes to the Roman primacy, any lack of clarity on this doctrine among the Fathers is exploited to deny Roman primacy altogether, instead of using the same clarity of mind with every other orthodox doctrine. Indeed, as Fr. Fortescue observes, one can find many instances of Trinitarian difficulties among the ante-Nicene Fathers [2].

What is crystal-clear from the Fathers is this: St. Peter is the Prince of the Apostles. Thus, it follows:

  1. Peter was instituted prince of the apostles.
  2. Every apostle was instituted as bishop.
  3. Therefore, Christ instituted a prince among bishops.

In the same way that Nicea’s homoousios was a conclusion from the Fathers, and Iconodulism was a result of St. John of Damascus’s impeccable proofs, the Roman primacy also follows from the divine deposit of revelation — and this was understood by the saints aforementioned. Thus, setting aside further nuances and questions that we will not treat here, let it be clear to every Catholic: the Roman primacy is instituted by God. (Read more.)


Shackleton and the Endurance

 From Aleteia:

While much has been written about their improbable survival and dramatic rescue, it has not been widely reported that the Shackleton later wrote that he experienced the presence of God while on their perilous journey. 

It is all the more remarkable that Shackleton may not have even been a Christian. He “had a reputation as a drinker and a womanizer,” according to Michael A. Obel in an article in New Horizons.

In his memoir South: The Endurance Expedition, Shackleton wrote that he and his two companions had the same uncanny sensation that they were not alone.

He wrote:

“When I look back at those days, I have no doubt that Providence guided us, not only across those snowfields, but across the storm-strewn sea that separated Elephant Island from our landing place on South Georgia. I know that during that long and racking march of 36 hours over the unnamed mountains and glaciers of South Georgia, it seemed to me often that we were four, not three,” he wrote.

“I said nothing to my companions on the point, but afterwards Worsley said to me, ‘Boss, I had a curious feeling on the march that there was another person with us.’ Crean confessed to the same idea. One feels the dearth of human words, the roughness of mortal speech, in trying to describe things intangible, but a record of our journeys would be incomplete without a reference to a subject very near to our hearts,” he wrote.

Shackleton and his crew didn’t manage to make the first land crossing of the Antarctic continent as they had intended. But in his words, “it seemed to me often that we were four not three,” it is clear that he and Worsley and Crean found much more than they were looking for. (Read more.)


Monday, May 16, 2022

A Perfect English Country House in the West Country


From House and Garden:

What Willie Gething doesn't know about country houses is probably not worth knowing. As the founder of Property Vision, the first of a now famil­iar breed of upmarket property search companies, he has viewed and evaluated some of Britain's most desirable homes. He sold the company six years ago and now runs a fund, developing properties in London. 'I spend most of my time on a building site,' he says, so there is not much he doesn't know about construction either. Nickie, who worked as a producer for an American news channel before settling here, works with him and shares his discerning eye and passion for domestic architecture. Building a house from scratch was a long-term dream for them both, and when even­tually they found the ideal site, they enlisted an array of professionals to help them. And instead of spoiling the broth, teamwork triumphed.

The land they bought was a farm, complete with a sizeable acreage, a modest farmhouse and a separate farmyard. Nickie's 'before' photo­graphs show a typical agricultural mishmash of cowsheds, a piggery, a dilapidated Dutch barn, discarded machinery, old tractors and concrete.

'We loved the land so much, we bought a yurt so that we could stay here before we started building,' says Nickie. 'We weren't sure how we wanted to use the site, so we chose five architects whose work we admired and asked them all to come up with schemes.' The results of their deliberations can now be compared by visiting the downstairs cloakroom of the finished house, the walls of which are papered with architects' drawings. 'We ended up using three different architects,' says Nickie. 'Nicky Johnston really lis­tened and understood how we live as a family, and how we may want to live in 10 years' time. But he was on the point of retirement, so Jonathan Ross of Relph Ross Partnership translated his ideas into working plans. And Tim Reeve of TFH Reeve, who previously worked on the restoration of Uppark, came up with some of the more whimsical details, for instance the dovecote and the porches, as well as chimneypieces and the staircase.' (Read more.)


Denis Diderot and the Men of the French Revolution

From Firenze University Press Journal:

The aim of this article is to analyze the debate on the most recent historiographical readings that have rekindled the hermeneutic dialectic on the relationship between the political thought and works of Denis Diderot and the spokesmen of the French Revolution. Over time, the literature on Diderot has become stratified and distorted his political vocabulary. Diverse images of Diderot have emerged: inspirer of Danton, idealist philosopher, lawyer of the bourgeoisie, friend/enemy of the people, and even conspirator and master of the terrorists of the year II.

Most recently, the figure of the proto-Jacobin Diderot has enriched the mosaic of representations of the philosopher, but at the same time, it has posed new questions regarding the binomial of Diderot and the French Revolution.From a general point of view, research on the circulation and legacy of Diderot’s political ideas in Europe have mostly been interpreted in terms of analogy or in contrast to the event, ideas, and men of the French Revolution. The image of the father of the nation, as well as that of moderate friend, was associated with Diderot for more than two hundred years. Some believed he was the theorist of the moderatism of Barnave and Brissot, while others took a completely opposite view and saw in Diderot the man who inspired the tyrannicide of the French King.By examining these and similar interpretations, we may state that in Diderot’s writings we can see the story of the ideas of a direct and representative democracy, a general will and universal peace, and a rich corpus of knowledge matured during the Enlightenment, which was subsequently elaborated by the proponents of the Revolution in their speeches.

Therefore, these are the observations that we propose as a synthesis of the first phase of a research on Diderot’s legacy in Italy, which enabled us to confirm the idea of the philosopher as the father of democratic Europe and to whom we may attribute the political culture that created contemporary Western democracies.Even today, the binomial Diderot-French Revolution is still ambivalent, as has been demonstrated by interpretations such as those by Raymond Trousson and Jacques Proust, who highlight the influence of Diderot’s legacy on the protagonists of the late eighteenth century, especially the members of the Constituent and Legislative Assemblies. In 1967, Jacques Proust argued that the investigation into the success of Diderot and his works could move forward by carrying out research following a genealogical method. By examining the biographical information of Diderot’s students, it would be possible to determine Diderot’s influence on the men of the French Revolution. (Read more.)


Detecting Jane: A Possible Cause of Jane Austen’s Early Death

 From Stephanie Barron at Crime Reads:

In May of 1816, Jane Austen is coming off a rough winter. Her brother Henry’s bank has failed, and her brothers Frank and Edward are on the financial hook to cover a serious amount of Henry’s losses. Edward, the most financially stable of Jane’s five brothers, is being sued for wrongful inheritance by a family in Jane’s Chawton neighborhood. And her beloved younger brother Charles, like Frank a captain in the Royal Navy, has lost his ship in a hurricane—and is being called before an Admiralty Review Board for dereliction of duty. Everyone is stressed. Jane and her brother Cassandra have been entertaining everyone at their small cottage, including Charles’s motherless children, and it’s no wonder Jane’s health is impaired.

She’s feeling, as she might have put it, seedy: her back aching, her stomach and bowels unsettled, her sleep wretched and disturbed. She dips into her savings from the profits of Emma, published the previous January, and carries her sister Cassandra off to Cheltenham Spa for two weeks of rest and relaxation.

Naturally, while there, she stumbles over a mystery and a number of bodies. Cheltenham was a newer, rasher, and less genteel watering-hole in 1816 than neighboring Bath, although the Master of Ceremonies for all the amusements (pump room, balls, and concerts) served both towns. Jane can only afford rooms in a boarding house, where she and Cassandra are at the mercy of their landlady’s food and their fellow-guests. But Cheltenham was also known as the residence of Dr. Edward Jenner—a notable man of Georgian medicine, and an acquaintance of the Austen family.

Edward Jenner discovered and popularized vaccination—and yes, friends, Jane received the smallpox vaccine.

One of the distinctive areas of Georgian medicine, I learned while researching Jane and the Year Without a Summer, was the oddly psychological characterization of “women’s ailments,” as they were called. Every sort of symptom a woman might experience, from headaches (a frequent complaint in Austen’s novels) to fatigue, to fragile nerves, to anorexia nervosa and infertility, was attributed to the debilitating influence of the uterus. The uterus, Georgian medical men—and they were all men—firmly believed, rendered women’s minds incapable of study; and indeed, if a woman exerted her mind in any capacity, she was liable to be unfit for childbearing—which was the sole purpose of women on earth. (Read more.)


Sunday, May 15, 2022

Heirlooms from the Heart

 From Victoria:

Styling posts as missives to her children, Fatema began writing a blog, Crème au Beurre, where she shares her appreciation for traditions, flowers, and pâtisseries so synonymous with France. “I have often thought about what sort of family heirloom I would leave them with,” says Fatema, “so I decided to write stories and memoirs for them, hoping they can cherish it one day.” An accomplished photographer, she employs her unerring eye for beauty to capture scenes illustrating her interests, whether it’s a vignette featuring sprigs of lavender embroidered on a linen or her son and daughter practicing their manners at teatime, where a tiny cake and a tray of tidbits sit atop a perfectly set table in the garden. (Read more.)


The English Teachers Who Don’t Like Books

 From First Things:

NCTE is the largest body of primary and secondary English teachers in the country. This organization certifies state-of-the-art teaching and research, hosts conferences, and advocates for the field in public affairs. Earlier this month, NCTE issued a position statement that calls for a fundamental change in the discipline. The heading reads “Media Education in English Language Arts,” which tells you where the shift is headed.

Here are the sentences summarizing the goal:

The time has come to decenter book reading and essay writing as the pinnacles of English language arts education. Speaking and listening are increasingly valued as forms of expression that are vital to personal and professional success . . .  It behooves our profession, as stewards of the communication arts, to confront and challenge the tacit and implicit ways in which print media is valorized above the full range of literacy competencies students should master.

You got all that? It’s quite a mouthful, imparted with all the confidence of experts who know the ways of the world and do not fear breaking old habits and keeping up-to-date. Other points in the statement reiterate the world-is-changing motif. In the 21st century, communication is ever more oral and pictorial, the authors say. Kids, especially, express themselves in non-print ways. Let’s keep pace with the trend in our teaching and testing, NCTE urges, and pull print down from its privileged position in the classroom.

That’s the rationale. “Book reading”—not so big a deal in a time of screens. “Essay writing”—pull it back, think again, ask yourself if it’s really pertinent to the multimedia lives of young (and old) Americans. It may shock many people to hear English teachers downplaying the value of books. They remember a high school teacher who loved Hemingway or Jane Eyre. They may even think it is precisely because of the omnipresence of screens that English teachers should insist ever more firmly on the necessity of books. They hear talk of bad writing in the workplace, too, and want their kids to practice discursive writing in long form (not text-message length) ever more often. Why in the world, they wonder, would English teachers go with the anti-print flow?

Because, the teachers would respond, outsiders don’t understand the nature of English instruction. They don’t know the intricacies of advanced literacy. They don’t realize how the very nature of literacy is undergoing a radical transformation. In other words, a “book-centered” outlook belongs to the pre-digital past. English teachers work in the multimedia present—and rightly so. To hold kids to the old standards, to make them do print exercises first and foremost, is to fail to arm them for life, to inculcate the skills needed for Digital Age success. Worse, it is to alienate them from the other parts of their lives, from the identities they have formed in and through media.

What to say about all this? The assumption about skills needed in college and professional spaces doesn’t hold up, but NCTE holds it too tightly and pleasingly for evidence to shake it loose, no matter how solid that evidence is. NCTE people utter this claim as if it were a nugget of the discipline’s wisdom, and also proof of the utterer’s membership in the ranks. Such revolutionary talk comes up all the time in education circles, in fact, and has for at least two decades, since the Web 2.0 phase of the internet began. (Read more.)


Why the Mystery Novel Is a Perfect Literary Form

 From Crime Reads:

The Golden Age of mysteries was also the primeval age of amateurs, with a whole range of strange birds emerging. Queen of the era, of course, is Agatha Christie, who not only gave us one of the classic private eyes in Poirot, but also inspired a cozy crime wave with Miss Marple. The kindly old spinster with a mind sharp as a razor and nerves of steel helped spawn a thousand eccentrics in quaint villages whose residents have an alarming propensity to knock each other off. It was also a fertile time for aristocratic gentlemen sleuths who tracked murderers for amusement, like Dorothy L Sayers’s Lord Peter Whimsey, or Ngaio Marsh’s Inspector Allyn, who set the prototype for the posh Inspector Lynley books by Elizabeth George or PD James’s poet-detective Adam Dalgliesh. And then there’s Morse, the grumpiest, snobbiest intellectual detective of all, in the most highbrow of settings, Oxford. But maybe the oddest duck in the pond is G.K. Chesterton’s Father Brown, a Catholic country priest who not only catches criminals, he saves their souls and convinces them to confess. This became its own mini-sub-genre, with Harry Kemelman’s Rabbi series, and now Sister Boniface on the BBC. (Read more.)


Saturday, May 14, 2022

Recapturing Character

 From Victoria:

The homeowner’s passion for anything with a story to tell is shared by her elder daughter, Kate, who runs an antiques business. Ann rarely goes shopping with specific items in mind. She would rather spend hours browsing until she finds something that really appeals to her, whether it’s a miniature poetry book with a tiny inscription inside the cover, a piece of tapestry, or a plump eiderdown cushion. Ann says she is happy to mix old with new and is not a purist—she just buys what she likes. “I get a lot of pleasure out of discovering things that have provenance and history—objects that have been handled and treasured by someone who perhaps lived more than a hundred years ago,” she says. “In a way, it brings life full circle.” (Read more.)


Remembering The Horrors Of Communism And Socialism

 From iPatriot:

Per the detailed analysis in “The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression” (which should be required reading by every student in America), the number of deaths caused by Communism and Socialism was estimated at 94,360,000, broken down as follows:

  • USSR — 20 million
  • China — 65 million
  • Vietnam — 1 million
  • North Korea — 2 million
  • Cambodia — 2 million
  • Eastern Europe — 1 million
  • Latin America — 150,000
  • Africa — 1.7 million
  • Afghanistan — 1.5 million
  • Communist and Socialist movements, parties not in power — 10,000

These estimates were made twenty-five years ago, in 1997. Imagine how some of the socialist and communist regimes have added to their total since (and some believe the estimates are too conservative). And let’s not forget the full name of Hitler’s Nazi party was; Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (National-Socialist German Workers’ Party).

Despite Nazism’s big-government policies and control of businesses and the economy, most liberal writers vehemently oppose the idea that Nazism is socialist. B\ut in his tome, “In the Lost Literature of Socialism, “historian George Watson presents a compelling case that Hitler spoke like an anti-Socialist in public but admitted he was a socialist in private. Sounds like a modern politician. (Read more.)


Newfound Auroras on Mars

From Space:

 Scientists with the United Arab Emirates' Mars mission have spotted a 'worm-like' aurora stretching halfway across the Red Planet.

The discovery of "sinuous discrete" auroras, or shining lights high in the atmosphere arising from solar activity interacting with magnetic fields, came from observations from the Hope orbiter, which has been at work since February 2021. Mars has only a patchy magnetic field, making auroras tough to track down. Hope has already assisted with better observations of local, nighttime aurora varieties (diffuse aurora and discrete aurora) that eluded other missions.

But these other types of lights are nowhere near the scale of the new sinuous discrete auroras, which wrapped around half the planet. Observations at that scale required Hope's unique ability to take whole disk "snapshots" of the thin Martian atmosphere in action, officials said. (Read more.)


Friday, May 13, 2022

A Chic City Paradise

 From Architectural Digest:

“I’m a collector,” asserts Jenna Chused, the interior designer behind Chused & Co. and a forager of vintage treasures. “I’ve been antiquing and going to yard sales since I was eleven.” Unsurprisingly, that skillset came in handy when decorating her own home—a charming Italianate town house nestled in Brooklyn’s leafy Fort Greene neighborhood. Chused, whose roster of clients includes actor Michelle Gomez, had selected the abode for its “expansive layout, 12-foot ceilings, clean lines, and gracious style.” Serendipitously, she finished the renovation six months before the start of the pandemic.

During the remodeling period, Chused relished making her own selections without having to wait on client approvals. Opening rooms up, moving fireplace mantels, and imbuing the space with an overall atmosphere of congenial elegance therefore proved to be relatively quick decisions. (Other renovations, such as adding windows in order to provide the structure with more natural light, weren’t so easy.)

One notable change is in the entryway, where Chused removed the original archway and replaced it with an older one. With its inset doors, the diameter of the area was thereby widened 18 inches. Transparent drapes and reflective oak floors only served to further lighten and brighten the ground floor interiors.

As for the furnishings, vintage chairs, custom sofas, and exquisite chandeliers help create a decidedly European feel. In the kitchen, Chused added open shelves in order to better present the house’s collectable items. But without a doubt, the high gloss burgundy lacquer and Lacanche range are the room’s two most show-stopping features. In the dining room, originally part of the kitchen, a Belgian tapestry is complemented by Angelo Mangiarotti dining chairs.

Despite these star attractions, Chused’s favorite room might just be the primary closet–turned–sitting room. Beautiful mural wallpaper by Anabo envelopes the interior, while a Flos Viscontea pendant light fixture, Cassina green velvet armchair, and sofa of Chused’s own design add to the cozy ambiance. In the primary bedroom, Chused had a chance to show off her flare for combining seemingly disparate elements. (Interestingly, the marble mantlepiece was taken from the now clean-lined and minimalist fireplace in the kitchen.) Elsewhere, a kids room is a cohesive rendition of streamlined colors and textures, alluding in part to Chused’s time spent working in fashion at Donna Karan. As the children play piano and Chused’s husband is a composer, a music room was practically a requirement.

Renovation long complete, decorating done, it’s clear that Chused has masterfully forged latitude and a lively sense of family life into a seemingly narrow town house. The definition of luxury in a city, it would seem. (Read more.)


A Farewell Assessment

 From last year at Independent Institute:

First, higher education has gone from being a wildly popular and rapidly growing sector of the economy to being one perceived as stagnant or declining, with sharply diminished public support. Around 1960, politicians won votes by promising to expand state universities and increase their funding; that is rarely the case today. In the 1960s, the proportion of Americans in college doubled; in the last decade, it declined.

Second, the non-teaching dimensions of higher education have become relatively more important. Look at research. Teaching loads fell sharply and publication expectations grew sharply after 1960. In recent years, this trend peaked, and there is growing realization that diminishing returns are quite present in research endeavors. Teaching loads are creeping up again at some schools.

Third, we expect less of our college kids, but try to reward them more. Research suggests college kids on average spend one-third less time on studies than in 1960, but earn much higher grades. It is a case of learning less, albeit at a much higher cost than in the 1960s.

Fourth, as Johns Hopkins’ Ben Ginsberg chronicled beautifully a decade or so ago, faculty power and control at universities has waned dramatically. The notion that diversity and inclusion bureaucrats would influence considerably the composition of faculty search committees, common today, was completely unheard of a few decades ago. Administrators run universities today and, generally speaking, faculty are treated as hired hands, not the very heart of the university enterprise. To be sure, there are many variations on this, and the faculty at, say, Harvard no doubt still have a lot of clout relative to, say, the faculty at Slippery Rock State U. Contributing to the demise in faculty control: a sharp decline in the proportion of teaching done by tenured faculty.

Fifth, two non-instructional dimensions of higher education have grown exceptionally: medical schools and the hospital/research operations associated with them are as much as one-half the budget at dozens of important American universities. Also, intercollegiate athletics has grown in financial importance, often becoming an increasing burden on university budgets.

Sixth, there is a growing sense of institutional inequality in higher education. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer. That has manifested itself in a massive flight to quality, with prestigious selective private elite universities growing in wealth and enrollment while mid to lower quality schools are struggling to attract students and pay their bills. (Read more.)


Secret Monuments of Paris

 From Bona Fide News:

Paris is a surprising capital with its monuments known throughout the whole world. But you, you want to discover its hidden and secret monuments! You are knocking on the right door! You are thirsty for mystery, the unusual or you simply want to discover the secrets of Paris. You are right because in the four corners of the capital are hidden unknown or unusual monuments. Whether it’s historical treasures or surprising works, we always discover more. It must be said that, no matter how much we think we know the capital, Paris always manages to surprise us. Discoveries await you around every corner and this also applies to lovers of cultural nuggets. So, if you want to conquer the unknown monuments of the capital, here is where to start. (Read more.)

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Pancakes with Jesus

I opened our church bulletin and was greeted by a flyer with a cartoon based on Da Vinci's masterpiece The Last Supper. Our Lord and His Apostles were shown eating pancakes, eggs and bacon at the seder supper which was also the first Mass. There is Judas grabbing his money bag. Jesus is shown, without a beard for some reason, ready to consecrate a platter of pancakes. It seemed to be a crude mockery of a mystery of our faith, which appalled me. I was more appalled when I realized it was an invitation to the Women's Guild Annual Brunch at our parish at which a fellow Catholic author was invited to speak. Here is an excerpt of the letter I wrote to my pastor and his associate:

...I have to say I was surprised by the cartoon version of Da Vinci's Last Supper announcing [author's name] talk at the women's breakfast. If I did not personally know how devout [author's name] is and assume, based on my experience of our parish, that the ladies of the club are also fervent and faith-filled, I would think it was a cartoon mocking a sacred mystery of our faith. Especially since it looks like it was drawn by the same artist who draws Dennis the Menace. Da Vinci's Last Supper not only portrays the sacred seder of the Jews, Our Lord's last before His horrendous suffering, but it also commemorates the institution of the priesthood. Most of all, the painting captures the moment when Jesus informs the Twelve that one of them is about to betray Him. And they exclaim, "Is it I, Lord?" It is a powerful moment of art and of faith, and is diminished somewhat by the addition of pancakes, eggs, bacon and sausage in the mode of Dennis the Menace...I know we often have people visiting our parishes and they might get the wrong idea of how seriously we take our faith, and whether or not we believe in the Eucharist. I realize that such a drawing helps many people feel closer to God, by seeing the Mass as just another meal with friends. But we cannot forget that the Last Supper was/is a cosmic event, the marriage of Heaven and Earth, the wedding feast of the Lamb. At the very least, such a drawing may be perceived as being tasteless, if not irreverent.

The original at Our Lady of Grace monastery in Milan

A reproduction

NOTE: I received a gracious response from both priests.

What is Moral Inversion?

 From Frank Wright:

What we call ‘progress’ - which is usually taken to mean the moral and intellectual progress of mankind inspired by the Enlightenment – therefore inexorably results in the emptying out of the human soul. Liberalism and technology assist in the process, just as they also help to undermine the Divine. This is the Archimedean point of existence from which all sense, moral and otherwise, flows.

How does Liberalism do this? We are living in the end stage of Liberalism, which I have described elsewhere as the third religion of Man. The others – Fascism and Communism – have already expired in barbarism, as all utopian cults are wont to do.

The end stage of Liberalism explains the relation of Liberalism to moral inversion in several ways. Liberalism is the religion of Liberated Man, of the Liberty of action, of belief, of ownership and expression. To mention these basic precepts is also to indicate how poorly Liberalism is faring today.

Why is Liberalism so ill? Why is there so little liberty left? To recap, the last two years have seen people lose their liberty en masse due to a health emergency feverishly supported by the frail, the elderly and those with an interest in justifying their political legitimacy. The unfreedom of the last two years has given the political class a shot in the arm – a temporary sense of power and of immunity to consequences – which is proving to exact a cost that may be fatal.

The populations of the liberal democracies have seen that their so-called liberties can be taken away. Ditto their property, and also their sense of bodily autonomy. This panic has seen dramatic limitations on free speech applied to mentions of alternative medications, vaccine dangers and injury, statistics on mortality and comorbidity and on various measures such as the indemnity from prosecution of the novel mRNA treatment manufacturers. All this is deeply illiberal, and downright immoral. Perversely, it is the very people who ten years’ previously would have despised Big Pharma and its skulduggery who are most enthusiastic about supporting them now without question. This in itself is a noteworthy moral inversion.

The legal paradox of Liberalism is also evident elsewhere. In the aggressive promotion of individual rights, Liberalism finds itself in a quandary. It becomes necessary to preserve the claims of extreme individuals from the oppression of the majority by enacting laws which restrict majority preference from being expressed and which sanction majority opinion. Minority groups with favourable legal leverage have benefited enormously from Liberalism’s endorsement of deeply illiberal laws to ring fence their chosen beliefs and behaviours with the threat of punishment. Public expressions of fact, as in the case of women, or dislike - as with the hate speech laws of the UK – can and do attract the attention of the police. (Read more.)


Largest Underground City

 From Western Journal:

In Turkey, archaeologists think they may have found the largest underground city in the world — and it was potentially used to hide persecuted Christians. The discovery, made in the Mardin province in southeastern Turkey, was first reported earlier this month. The news was initially reported by the Turkish government’s state-run Anadolu Agency, in an article published in Turkey’s Daily Sabah newspaper. According to the Anadolu Agency, artifacts dating from the second and third centuries A.D. were found “in an underground city featuring places of worship, silos, water wells and passages with corridors.” The Jerusalem Post noted the researchers excavating it believe it could be the largest underground city in the world. The city was in the Midyat district, already known for its rich, historical significance. (Read more.)

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Men's Clothing of the Seventeenth Century


From ECW Living History Resources:

The Wenceslaus Hollar engravings featured here were fetched from the Hollar section of Wikimedia Commons. All the images displayed are British (as far as I know). Dutch genre paintings are not included as it is uncertain that the same style of clothing was worn there at this time (1620-1650).

See Also The 1640s Picturebook, Costume & Stuff from the English Civil War. (Read more.)