Monday, January 31, 2022

Paris Green

 From Esquire:

It was said that at the Paris Opera one evening in 1864, Empress Eugenie wore a gown so breathtaking it made newspaper headlines the very next morning. The dress was a spectacular deep-set green, its colors vivid enough to remain unchanged by gaslight.

Soon after, “Paris green” became the color of the social elite, not only on their garments but adorning their walls as well. The trend would eventually reach Victorian England, and people would die as a result.

Paris green, also known as emerald green, was one of many hues—including Scheele’s green, the first of its kind—that would end the lives of people in the Victorian Era. The resplendent pigment was the creation of chemists who found that mixing copper with arsenic resulted in a dye that was brighter and longer-lasting than other greens in the market.

As we now know, arsenic is a highly toxic substance that causes skin lesions, vomiting, diarrhea, and in some cases, cancer. In the 19th century, however, it was as ubiquitous as plastic, finding its way into candy, paper, toys, and medicine; for it to be used as a dye for clothing and accessories was all too normal. (Read more.)


(Read more.)


Reaching the “Post-Christian” Generation

 From Crisis:

There are two critical steps needed. We need to define God and we need to define truth. God is not simply another being “out there” that we can run into. He is the ground of being itself. God is not the strongest of beings—God is being itself. So, He can reveal Himself to His creatures, but we will never run into God like we will run into a lamp post. God is the being in which all other beings derive their source because all material things have a cause. 

Once we come to grips with this fact, we must define truth. Truth is the correct correlation between one’s mind and reality. The principle of noncontradiction (two opposing claims cannot both be true at the same time) is the bedrock understanding for all truth. God cannot be real and not real at the same time. You cannot be Christian and not believe that Jesus is God and you cannot be Jewish and not believe in the Ten Commandments. These beliefs would violate the principle of noncontradiction.

Generation Z and many young people are lost when it comes to religion, culture, politics, and life because they have stripped these realities of their true meanings. If we want to help bring them out of their anxious and depressed slumber, we need to start with faith and show them the truth. (Read more.)


The Forgotten Irish ‘Emancipator of Slaves’

 From Ancient Origins:

On his marriage in 1816 to Catherine de Burgh, daughter of the Earl of Clanricarde by whom he had fourteen children, Sligo eventually settled down to the responsibilities of his estate in the west of Ireland. A passionate advocate of Catholic Emancipation, multi-denominational education (and resisted by both Catholic and Protestant authorities) as well as reform of the nefarious legal system then pertaining, he tried his best to alleviate the desperate circumstances of his numerous tenants, aggravated by a rapidly rising population, the ‘curse’ of subdivision and the absence of any outlets of alternative employment. 

With his grandfather’s traditional linen industry by then devastated by British imposed tariffs, he established a cotton and corduroy factory in Westport in order, as he wrote, “to benefit this country by introducing such manufactures into it as will give employment to the people…unless I do it to show the way nobody will follow.” His cotton sample book is on view today in Westport House. He encouraged the development of kelp harvesting and fishing and revitalized mining development in the area. He promoted trade and manufacturing in the town and port of Westport and in 1825 influenced the establishment of the first bank there.

As famine engulfed the west of Ireland in 1831, at his own expense, he imported cargos of grain and potatoes, built a hospital and dispensary to care for the sick and raised money in London for relief and additional public works. His efforts elicited the praise of Daniel O’Connell in the House of Commons: “I do not think, Sir, the landlords of Ireland ever did their duty towards their tenants. If they did what Lord Sligo is doing now, the country would not be reduced into a vast lazar house.” (Read more.)


Sunday, January 30, 2022

Can Platonism Save Us?

 From The European Conservative:

What, then, is Platonism? The most straightforward answer one might give is that Platonism is the philosophy espoused by Plato, the ancient Greek writer. Gerson would certainly agree that this is a legitimate use of the term, but he goes much farther, arguing that Platonism is ultimately synonymous with philosophy itself.

How could this be? We are used to speaking of many competing ‘philosophies.’ You have your philosophy of life and I have mine, to say nothing of Hegel’s, Heidegger’s, or Aristotle’s. However, as Gerson argues, when looked at in contrast to naturalism, philosophy is naturalism’s opposite, and Platonism is the only form of it that makes no concessions to naturalism. Thus, any position taken in the history of philosophy can be seen as existing somewhere on the spectrum between Platonism and naturalism.

‘Platonism’ is not simply a series of propositions that must be accepted in order to be let into the club of philosophers. Instead, Gerson argues that there are many forms of Platonism, but each one is fundamentally opposed to five ideas. He calls this the five ‘antis’ of Platonism. The five ideas Platonism opposes are materialism, relativism, skepticism, mechanism, and nominalism. Some of these terms are commonplace, but some are unusual outside of the philosophy classroom, so it is worth having at least a basic grasp of each to understand Gerson’s argument better.

Materialism is the belief that matter is the only thing that exists. Mechanism follows materialism, and is also known as ‘materialist (total-) determinism.’ It holds that all things can be explained in terms of natural causes. The mechanist rejects belief in a God who intervenes in the world, as well as any account of life that is not purely the result of the interaction between material things. Crucially, then, mechanism denies any meaningful kind of free agency. Relativism amounts to the claim that there is no such thing as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ other than the purely subjective preferences of any given person, while skepticism is the belief that objective knowledge is impossible.

The final idea which Platonism opposes, nominalism, is less easily summarized. In its most basic form, it is the claim that any two things we call by the same name do not share a common nature. For instance, just because we use the phrase “human being” to refer to 8 billion items, it does not actually mean that we are all the same kind of thing. Indeed, the nominalist believes that the idea of a ‘kind’ or ‘sort’ or ‘genus’ of thing is something in the mind only and corresponds to nothing out there in the world. (While this may seem quite abstract, think for a moment of some ethical possible implications of the idea that human beings do not share a common nature for debates about issues like abortion and transgenderism.)

With a basic idea of each of the five philosophical claims that all forms of Platonism reject, we can now return to Platonism itself. In opposing these five ideas, each Platonist philosopher constructs his own positive system. These systems tend—generally speaking—to have many things in common (the immortality of the soul, for instance, is present in many formulations of Platonism), but they are distinguished from naturalism by their “five antis,” as Gerson calls them. Because (to take some well-known examples) Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus, and St. Thomas Aquinas all base their respective systems on the rejection of these five errors, they may each be called ‘Platonists.’

Crucially, Platonism is distinguished from naturalism in holding that philosophy has a distinct subject matter. For the naturalist, ‘philosophy’ is at most a way of explaining of what scientists do. The practices of natural science are what yield understanding of reality, and the reality we know is the physical world. Platonists, on the other hand, believe that man is not limited to the physical world, for we are ultimately made to know that which is most real: the immaterial world. For the committed Platonist, the only way to ensure philosophy’s rightful place and avoid the errors of naturalism is by fully rejecting materialism, relativism, skepticism, mechanism, and nominalism. Rigorously following through this rejection ultimately leads the philosopher to posit the existence of something that is immaterial. Something that serves as the point where the buck stops. Something that makes all knowledge possible. Something all things naturally desire, albeit differently. Something that makes universality possible.

This something is found in Plato’s Idea of the Good. (Read more.)

On the Most Adapted Ghost Story of All Time

 From LitHub:

The Turn of the Screw has the sort of ambiguous ghostly heritage expected of such a celebrated tale. James was acquainted with another noted exponent of the English ghost story, E.F. Benson. Benson’s father Edward White Benson was the Archbishop of Canterbury and, on a visit to his house in 1895, the archbishop purportedly told James a story. The story was one vaguely similar to the narrative he was soon to produce, in which two children were left in the care of ill-suited servants, both of whom died and haunted the children, corrupting them even from the grave.

Roger Clarke, the author of The Natural History of Ghosts, has researched the story’s history thoroughly and highlighted the murky contradictions within its possible inspirations. “The general scholarly view is that The Turn of the Screw is not based on any known story but,” he writes, “in fact, the story recounted one January evening at the archbishop’s house in Addington…” Clarke sees some connection to the famous haunting of Hinton Ampner and its occupant Mary Ricketts, perhaps passed down through the upper echelons of society to the archbishop. He does stress, however, that E.F. Benson, along with the archbishop’s wife, could never recall the man recounting such a ghost story.

The novella was originally published by Collier’s Weekly in a 12-part serial form in 1898 between January and April. Tellingly, the visual potential of the narrative was already understood by the publishers who commissioned several pieces of artwork for each instalment, with title illustrations by John La Farge and episode illustrations by Eric Pape. Looking back on the visual culture surrounding James’s story, it’s easy to see the influence these drawings had on future adaptations. One illustration by Pape, entitled “I must have thrown myself, on my face, on the ground” looks like a possible piece of storyboard for Clayton’s later film.

James’s story quickly garnered critical interpretation. In particular, the deeply disturbing undertones of sexuality, as well as possible psychological implications of the ghosts’ presence, came to the fore in a number of well known analyses.

Virginia Woolf was particularly intrigued, and aptly turned to James’s investigation of perception to explore the undertones of his story and its fine line between inner demons and the physical body. In an essay for The Times Literary Supplement she wrote that James’s characters “…with their extreme fineness of perception are already half-way out of the body.”

The horror of James’s story is that seeing ghosts doesn’t necessarily mean a visitation of them to our world, but of the perceiver into theirs. We are midway towards death in seeing a ghost, within a momentary halfway house which we can either step back from or descend into.

Similarly to Woolf, in one of the most famous analyses of James’s story, the critic Edmund Wilson went further in determining the ghosts to be of the governess’ own psyche. Wilson was far less positive in his mildly infamous critique of James in a 1934 issue of Hound and Horn. “Observe that there is never any evidence that anybody but the governess sees the ghosts,” he wrote. The irony within his turn of phrase is that it exemplifies James’s skill. Look, the critic suggests, at the lack of evidence. He is playing James’s game without realizing. Woolf suggested something similar, albeit more positively, in that James’s ghosts “…have their origin within us.” (Read more.)

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Ecclesiastical Newspeak and the Hatred of Catholic Tradition

 From The European Conservative:

The crisis in catechesis, which most practicing Catholics acknowledge (though there is little agreement on the solution), has swollen partly due to the Church’s adoption of a new idiom which fits the purpose of conveying the current widespread official theology—a theology that has certainly departed from the magisterial theology of the Church. Due to the obvious Orwellian character of this new idiom, I call it ecclesiastical newspeak. This newspeak reveals something very troubling. These terms, in their Church usage, mean the opposite of what they purport to mean. It is worth looking at a few examples.

First, ‘accompaniment.’ To accompany someone implies motion, a move from A to B—from one place to the desired location. One accompanies another on a journey. To accompany someone is to go with a person who wants to get somewhere where he is not at present, but requires, or would benefit from, another’s assistance. Accompaniment is, outside ecclesiastical newspeak, not to leave a person where he is. Catholics are told, however, that rather than calling people to life in Christ, and moving with them over that threshold, they should instead “accompany” people, “meet them where they are.” Basically, they must do the opposite of accompany them, namely keep them where they are. What is termed ‘paralysis’ in the vernacular is in ecclesiastical newspeak called ‘accompaniment.’ 

Another term is ‘New Evangelisation.’ I spent some time trying to pin down the meaning of this term. At first I believed it simply meant the re-evangelisation of once evangelised, now post-Christian, nations. The more I heard the term, however, in diocesan conferences and parish workshops, the more I sought a definition. At such events, inevitably someone would say—and this would always be followed by affirming noises from around the room—“Well, we need to remember that the New Evangelisation is first and foremost about evangelising ourselves.” This claim, or some variant of it, would always sooner or later be said. I realised that, at least in its received and most common usage, ‘New Evangelisation’ means no evangelisation. It means something like slightly better catechesis, perhaps increased ‘lay ministry,’ or in the best case a renewed focus on daily conversion to Christ, but what it does not mean is the proclamation of the Gospel to those to whom it is unknown. (Read more.)


The Battle of Kadesh

 From Historical Eve:

The Battle of Qadesh faced the armies of Ramses II of Egypt and Muwatalli II, king of the Hittite Empire, in 1274 BC, Kadesh, in what is now Syria. For a long time the tension between the two empires was palpable on their borders, but there were no episodes that reached the level of a warlike conflict, in addition to the fact that between both civilizations there were several agreements that avoided all kinds of confrontation. These tense but conflict-free relations were ended 50 years before the Battle of Kadesh, as the Hittites attacked several cities belonging to Egypt in the areas near Syria, which would cause the Battle of Kadesh to unfold in 1,274 BC. Egyptian sources are the ones that most refer to the facts of the battle and from which some important facts are known. The struggle between the Hittites and the great pharaoh Ramses II is considered -usually- as the war episode that had a greater number of battle chariots and that ended with the incontestable victory of the Egyptian king. (Read more.)

Friday, January 28, 2022

The Daughters of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine

 From History...the Interesting Bits:

With a mother like Eleanor of Aquitaine, you would not expect her daughters to be shrinking violets. And, indeed, they were not. And neither were the girls sent off into the world, never to see their parents again. In what may be a unique occurrence for royal princesses, each of the three daughters of Eleanor and Henry II would get to spend time with their mother later in their lives.

Matilda of England, the eldest daughter and third child of Henry and Eleanor, was born in London in June 1156. As her parents ruled an empire that stretched from the Scottish borders to the Pyrenees, travel was a constant part of Matilda’s childhood. She took her first sea-voyage across the English Channel at just 2 months old, accompanied her big brother, Henry, later to be known as The Young King. Throughout her childhood, Matilda is often seen accompanying her mother and siblings traveling through the vast Angevin domains. By the time she was 8-years-old, negotiations had begun for her marriage to Henry the Lion; her father planning an alliance with the German Emperor, Frederick Barbarossa. The marriage was part of her father’s policy to build up opposition to Louis VII of France and the Pope, Alexander III. And in July 1166 her mother accompanied 10-year-old Matilda to Dover, where she embarked on a German ship that would take her to her new life and future husband. Her wedding to Henry V ‘the Lion’, Duke of Saxony and Bavaria, finally took place in the cathedral at Minden, Germany, on 1 February 1168.

Matilda’s dowry and send-off from England cost around £4,500 (about a quarter of England’s annual revenue). The young princess was given a trousseau worth £63, including saddles with gilt fittings, ‘two large silken cloths, and two tapestries and one cloth of samite and twelve sable skins’. Despite the fact Henry the Lion was 27 years Matilda’s senior, the marriage appears to have been a success and produced 10 children, including their eldest daughter, Richenza (her name was later changed to Matilda), born around 1172, and sons Henry, Otto and William. Otto was briefly considered as heir to the English throne by his uncle Richard I, before King John claimed the crown. He would briefly become Holy Roman Emperor as Otto IV in 1209 until his death in 1218. (Read more.)


The Form of the Altar

 From The Liturgical Arts Journal:

The Liturgical Movement of the twentieth century was, as we well know, a bit of a mixed bag. Like any movement, its adherents were not always on the same page with some factions being more conservative and others more "progressive"; some more traditional, some more extreme  In relation to the altar, there was an appropriate focus in this movement upon it given its central role in both a church and within the sacred liturgy. Very frequently this was manifest by the very good desire to ensure that the altar was made of noble materials (such as marble or stone) and another subset sought to restore the use of the ciborium magnum -- another noble inclusion. But another form this focus took was less ideal; namely, some polemical and archeologistic notions started to creep in where the form and shape of the altar are concerned. I refer here not only to the question of a table form of altar or not, but also the altar in relation to its other associated parts and pieces. In particular there began to be some circles who casted aspersions on altars as they had come to frequently develop, with the idea that the altar had become "a mere shelf" before gradines or a grand reredos. It was felt these parts and pieces had come to overshadow the altar itself and this notion became tied to the supposed ideal of the free-standing altar. (Read more.)


An Ancient Babylonian Device

 From Express:

Babylon was the city where some of the most influential empires of the ancient world ruled. For a long time, it was the capital of the Babylonian Empire, and was considered to be the global centre of commerce, art and learning, and is even estimated to have been the largest early city in the world — perhaps the first to reach a population of more than 200,000 people. Today, it resembles more of an archaeological excavation site in progress, and has only several thousand residents and a few villages within its boundaries. It holds some of the greatest secrets of the ancient world, including the Tower of Babel, which is first mentioned in Genesis in the Bible. In 1894, Edgar Banks, an American archaeologist, discovered a stone device and sold it to antique collector George Plimpton. He eventually passed it on to Columbia University in the 1930s, and the tablet is today known as Plimpton 322. At the time, researchers did not realise how important the tablet was, and it was not until 1945 that experts realised it contained Pythagorean triples. (Read more.)


Thursday, January 27, 2022

Lyndale House


From Country Life:

Effortlessly stylish, spacious and with the ever-elusive outdoor space that London property craves, Lyndale House is a wonderful private home, set back from the road via a Roman ‘Doric’ archway.

The house manages to capture the essence of a Queen Anne-style home (it was built in the 1730s), being the sort of place which you could easily imagine appearing in an adaptation of a Jane Austen novel. Yet it also reflects the fact that this is a home that has been the recipient of much care and attention — the current owners carried out a thorough ‘sympathetic restoration and improvement programme’ in recent years.

The Grade II-listed property in London’s Highgate Hill originally dates back to 1630, but most of the property was rebuilt in 1730 and now forms part of a terrace known as The Bank. It retains many of its early 18th century additions — large window shutters, original fireplaces and ornate ceiling mouldings — all of which create the backdrop of a superbly decorated home. (Read more.)


Who is Causing the Division in the Church?

 From Phil Lawler at Leila Miller, Catholic Author:

For several decades after Vatican II, Catholics who might, for want of a better term, be classified as “conservative”—and I include myself among them—looked askance at traditionalists. Even The Wanderer, a newspaper never associated with liberalism, viewed the Trads as too negative. We defended the Novus Ordo liturgy, trusting that all would be well once the excesses of the 1970s, which were certainly not authorized by the Vatican Council—were eliminated. We balked at the notion that the Council itself had introduced problems; it was, we firmly believed, the deliberate misinterpretation of the Council that had plunged the Church into chaos.

Above all, we “conservative” Catholics longed and worked and prayed for the “reform of the reform” in the liturgy. We firmly believed that, once the fads and novelties and outright abuses were corrected, we could restore reverence and dignity to the Mass. We imagined—and if we were fortunate, occasionally encountered—a Mass actually celebrated according to the guidelines laid out by Sacrosanctum Concllium, and we found it beautiful.

Still, through all those years, the liturgy that we experienced in ordinary parishes did not improve. The abuses were not corrected; the novelties continued to proliferate. We could usually find a parish where the liturgy was celebrated more or less properly, but that situation could change overnight with the arrival of a new pastor or a directive from the diocesan liturgy czar. When we traveled, we entered an unfamiliar church with great trepidation, never knowing what sort of Mass we would find.

Alongside the deterioration of the liturgy, we saw the collapse of orthodox Catholic teaching, the flight from Church moral standards, and the exodus (especially of young people) from the pews. All these disasters occurred after Vatican II. But they were not, we repeated, caused by the Council. The misinterpretation of the Council was to blame.

Thank God we could look to Rome for leadership, for orthodox teaching, for inspiration. Pope John Paul II and then Pope Benedict XVI gave us abundant indications that the Church had not changed in any essentials. Unfortunately, at the parish level, things did not notably improve. The liturgy was sloppy, the catechesis sloppier; the young people continued to drift away. We waited, and hoped, and prayed for the time when all that clear papal teaching would filter down to the local churches. As indeed it must, we felt sure, because wasn’t the Pope the final authority on what the Council taught, and what the Church teaches? (Read more.)


Glorfindel Explained

I always thought that there were two Glorfindels but it seems there was only one. From Gamerant:

Glorfindel was born in Valinor during the Years of the Trees, which is the name for the period of time between the founding of Valinor and its Darkening, when it was lit by the light of the Two Trees while the rest of Middle-Earth was still in the Great Darkness. During the First Age, he was appointed the Lord of the House of the Golden Flower, which was one of the noble houses of the Elven realm of Gondolin. Glorfindel was a captain of the king and greatly beloved by the Gondolindrim.

In the year F.A. 510, Morgoth (the being that represented the ultimate evil in Middle-Earth) attacked Gondolin. Glorfindel was able to make it out with another group of survivors of the Fall of Gondolin, until they were attacked by a group of Orcs led by a Balrog at the pass of Cirith Thoronath. Glorfindel fought the Balrog and managed to slay it, but the creature grabbed him by the hair at the last second and sent them both tumbling into the abyss together. Thoronath, the Lord of Eagles, retrieved Glorfindel's body and returned it to his people, who buried him on the mountains that surrounded Gondolin. (Read more.)

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Painted Furniture

 From Homes and Gardens:

If you love the idea of a freestanding painted kitchen – perhaps you've been browsing Shaker kitchen ideas – but want to make the most of every inch of space in a really practical way, there is a great compromise that can be achieved, in part with paint. Fitted kitchens that have freestanding-look fronts like this one can be given even more of a freestanding look by differing the choice of paint colors on the different pieces of furniture – as in the kitchen above. Just as we advised above about base cabinetry being painted a darker tone than wall cabinetry, so the rule applies that a kitchen island looks better in a slightly more stand-out tone than the boundary cabinetry. It's not a hard-and-fast rule, but it does work brilliantly. Knowing how to paint kitchen cabinets like a professional is key to a smart finish, with an expert always giving you the best results. (Read more.)

Motivate Your Child to Help With Work

 From Mary Reed Newland at Finer Femininity:

It would be nice if the “work is play” stage lasted longer than it does. Children soon discover, however, that the wary in this world shy away from work, and now begins the real struggle.

Little girls who loved trying to make their beds, to run the vacuum or wash the dishes, discover that these are the last things they want to do. Then we can help them by emphasizing that work is prayer. This is the highest motive for work, and the best way to use it; and while it’s quite likely that we’ll have to remind them daily, it will help considerably, especially if we also remind them to pray for the grace to do their work well.

Even so, we must not neglect to fuel this not-so-roaring fire for work with common courtesy and much gratitude. It’s easy for harassed parents (I should know) to take refuge in complaints during these times. “I can’t do it all myself. You helped get it messy; now you help clean it up.” And if we’re convincing enough, or maybe just big enough and loud enough, we can get them to do what we want. But it will be reluctant help, probably accompanied by the private observation that Mother is, indeed, a stinker, and it will hardly make reverent prayer.

Such simple things make a difference! If the emphasis is moved from “You do it,” to “I will be so grateful if you will,” it’s much easier; and noone can resist the glow that comes with being thanked.

Sometimes we get the idea that thanks are not necessary when children have done something they were supposed to do. If we always thank them, and add to our thanks a reminder that God is praised by work well done, little by little (but it adds up) they learn to associate work with praise and prayer. Then one day it isn’t so necessary to them to be thanked.

So many times people contribute their services or their work and ask nothing in return except human appreciation, only to find that even that is not forthcoming. But if we have a right purpose in our work, knowing it can praise, be prayer, be the will of God for us at a particular moment, we can learn not to fret for lack of appreciation.

Show your child how his work can help Christ carry the Cross. (Read more.)



 From Gamerant:

In the books, Gandalf describes a feeling of sadness at the ruin of Isengard, and the ailment that has befallen the once beautiful land because of the treachery of the wizard who was supposed to protect it. He tells them that ‘Once it had been green and filled with avenues and groves of fruitful trees, watered by streams that flowed from the mountains to the lake. But no green thing grew there in the latter days of Saruman.’

In his long reign as the head of the order of the wizards, it was Saruman who ordered the construction of the large wall. It was built by slaves to keep out prying eyes when he first began to concoct his plan to seize power from the dark lord. From that point onwards, he began twisting the birds and creatures who lived there, chopping down the trees until nothing was left but the ‘burned and axe-hewn stumps of the ancient groves.’ He was also crafty and built forges underneath his tower in secret so that neither friend or foe would learn of his weaponry and orcs armies until it was too late to stop him. (Read more.)

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

The Red Cap of Hermetics

 From Daily Sabah:

In the aftermath of the French Revolution, Louis XVI, the last king of France, was depicted in many paintings with a "Bonnet Rouge" (Red Cap) on his head. However, what is the story of this red cap with its long apex bent over to the front, and why was it placed the head of the French constitutional monarch before he was executed?


In ancient Rome, freed slaves were dressed in a white cap called a pileus. Brutus, who betrayed Caesar, chose this cap, which symbolizes freedom, as an expression of Rome's return to the republic, and engraved it on the coin he minted. But this fez, which looks like the white cap worn by Albanians today, actually had nothing to do with the red Phrygian cap.

With the American Revolution, the pileus became an omen of revolutionaries, anarchists, and republicans. It resurfaced with the protests against the Stamp Act of 1765 when Britain imposed a direct stamped paper tax on the British colonies in America.

In particular, a figure of British parliamentarian John Wilkes – nicknamed the "Devil," and known for his support of the American rebels – with this cap became very popular among the rebels known as the "Sons of Liberty."

French anarchists, who inherited this symbol from the American Revolution, preferred the Phrygian cap instead of the pileus. Thus, this red hermetic cap became the symbol of the French revolutionaries and freedom from 1789 onwards. For example, in a sculpture made by French artist Joseph Chinard in 1794, representing the revolution and the republic, a Phrygian cap was placed on the head of a woman in Roman attire. (Read more.)


College Enrollment Continues To Decline

 From The Daily Wire:

The National Student Clearinghouse data showed that “[c]ontinued enrollment losses in the pandemic represent a total two-year decline of 5.1 percent or 938,000 students since fall 2019.”

It added, “[u]ndergraduate enrollment alone fell by 3.1 percent or 465,300 students over last year while graduate enrollment is down less than half a percent.” There was also a difference in the topics students are signing up to study. The report noted, “Enrollment in each of the five largest undergraduate majors at four-year colleges fell steeply this year (Business, Health, Liberal Arts, Biology, and Engineering). Liberal Arts declined the most (-7.6%), while Computer Sciences and Psychology (the 6th and 7th largest majors) grew by 1.3 percent and 2.5 percent, respectively.”

“Among largest two-year college majors, Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Firefighting, and Related Protective Services declined the most (-7.4%), while Computer Sciences and Engineering increased,” it added. 

When contrasted with numbers of the fall of 2019 before the pandemic hit, undergraduate enrollment numbers have gone down 6.6% in total, per NPR. Shapiro noted that rate is the biggest two-year decline in over 50 years. (Read more.)


Behind The Eyes Of Elves

 From Gamerant:

Elves don’t sleep in the traditional manner of men or hobbits. When he, Gimli and Aragorn, are tracking Merry and Pippin, who have been taken by the Uruk-hai, Legolas is described as sleeping with his ‘eyes unclosed, blending living night and deep dream, as is the way of the elves.’ It is worth noting that in all of the 3 films, we never see Legolas sleeping. He, like many others of his kind, is able to send his mind into another realm, a sort of hypnotic state, whilst his body is still awake and active. The quote "he could sleep, if sleep it could be called by men, resting his mind in the strange paths of Elvish dreams, even as he walked, open-eyed in the light of this world."

This rare and uncanny gift allows him to be a phenomenal lookout whilst the others sleep around the fire, as he is able to both keep watch and recharge his batteries in the restful domain behind his open eyes. He is shown pacing, singing softly to himself and watching the stars turn into morning whilst the other two earn some much-needed recuperation after the day's orc pursuit.

Lots of questions arise about whether this is something inherent to elven DNA or lineage, or whether this is a skill that has been learned across their many immortal years. It is a valuable skill in the light of the many great battles that have been fought across Middle Earth, for it would allow soldiers to keep fighting and protecting their kingdoms whilst still catching the rest they need to survive. It is possible that one other among the fellowship has been blessed with learning how to enter this secret sleep realm of the elves. (Read more.)

Monday, January 24, 2022

Claire Foy’s Sumptuous 'A Very British Scandal' Wardrobe

I doubt that I shall watch the series; reading the Duchess' biography The Grit in the Pearl was enough. But Margaret, Duchess of Argyll's clothes were elegant and lovely, at least until she went bankrupt. They appear to be beautifully reproduced for the BBC/Amazon Prime melodrama. She was a fascinating woman and could be extremely generous to those in need; at one point she became Catholic. I think that her early upbringing, which was a combination of indulgence and neglect, starved her soul and led to some disastrous choices. As a teenager she had become pregnant and was forced to have an abortion. Margaret later suffered serious physical trauma after a fall in addition to several miscarriages. She ended up with a very complex relationship with both veracity and restraint. From Vogue:

Every year one series cuts through the post-Christmas haze to make a lasting impression on viewers. This December that series is A Very British Scandal, starring The Crown’s Claire Foy as the scandalous Duchess of Argyll, a textile heiress whose ’60s divorce became a sensation after her third husband leaked nude images of her in flagrante with other paramours to the newspapers.

Just as notable as the three-part drama’s long-overdue questioning of the so-called “dirty” duchess’s treatment by the press? The sumptuous costumes, with designer Ian Fulcher creating no less than 85 looks for Foy to wear across the three episodes. Here, he takes Vogue through the sartorial highlights to watch out for in the BBC hit. (Read more.)


From The Tatler:

 It would appear that Paul Bettany’s and Claire Foy’s portrayal of the Duke and Duchess of Argyll in A Very British Scandal did a brilliant job at seducing the British public. The production became the most-watched show on BBC iPlayer during the Christmas period with a staggering 2.1 million streamers for the first episode. Created by the same team behind A Very English Scandal that depicted Hugh Grant as Liberal MP Jeremy Thorpe in his relationship with model Norman Josiffe (Ben Whishaw), the other ‘based on true events’ drama, which focused on the aristocratic divorce between Margaret and Ian Campbell, 11th Duke of Argyll, in 1963, was equally scandalous. (Read more.)

From The Critic:

“Never trust a Campbell” is a saying amongst Scots. It refers to the Glencoe Massacre of 1692, whereby Captain Robert Campbell ordered his men to murder their hosts, the MacDonalds. It was murder under trust, a murder of those who had shown them kindness.

Since her birth in 1912, Margaret Campbell was conditioned to the cruelties of the world: an emotionally abusive mother who mocked her stammer, an abortion in her teens, a stillborn baby, eight miscarriages and two failed marriages. Like most women, she buried her trauma and moved on.

Some viewers mistook Margaret as a gold-digger who was lured by Ian’s promise of treasure from a shipwreck, to which he had salvage rights. An heiress to the Celanese Corporation, she didn’t need the money and was attracted to the status of being a duchess. She and Ian used the alleged treasure (to this day, none has been found) to encourage her father George Whigham to write cheques for Inveraray Castle, the Argyll family seat.

The first cheque of £100,000 was to repair the roof and further cheques followed to the figure of £250,000. A self-made man whose in-laws looked down on him, George’s patronage of Clan Campbell was validation of his place in noble society.

Likewise, in aristocratic circles, Margaret was a foreign species amongst the English roses. She was a Glaswegian raised in New York. Perhaps as a nod to Margaret’s non-U origins, Phelps had Margaret say “dessert” and not “pudding”. The noblesse oblige of Twitter erupted: no aristocrat would say dessert. That’s the point: Margaret was an outcast.

Before Margaret committed to Ian, she was seeing Roberto Caracciolo, 11th Duke of San Vito. She sent both men a telegram: “Bored and missing you. Wish you would come to London.” Roberto declined; Ian came and proposed a week later. It was a whirlwind romance, but Ian needed her money. (Read more.)




The Coming Age of Artificial Intelligence

 From TFP:

The second revealing point is the book’s evolutionary model of history with its attacks on the Church. The authors show little originality by adopting a modern classical narrative of a history without God. Thus, they describe history as periods when people perceived reality through different filters. The polytheistic societies in the ancient world, for example, explained reality through its pantheon of mythological gods. The Middle Ages is reduced to a world where everything “was only to be known through God; theology filtered and ordered individuals’ experiences and the natural phenomenon before them.”

Subsequent periods like the Renaissance, the Protestant Revolution and especially the Enlightenment filtered reality through individualism and reason. The new filter will be AI. The Age of AI fits neatly into this evolutionary, secular and fatalistic vision of history without God. The authors do not “celebrate or bemoan” AI but only announce its inevitable march to change “human thought, knowledge, perception and reality.”

Of course, this vision contrasts with the Church’s non-fatalistic notion of history by which all work out their salvation. The Church is not just another filter among many. Likewise, historical periods are influenced by events, people’s virtue and God’s grace, not determined by evolutionary filters. (Read more.)


Nathan Hale

 From Bright:

It’s the fall of 1776 and New York City is under attack. The Declaration of Independence had birthed the United States of America barely two months earlier, and there was no turning back for the colonists. General George Washington had freed Boston in March and was slowly turning his army into a genuine fighting force.

All eyes are now on New York City. The British first invaded Staten Island, then defeated the Americans on Long Island, forcing Washington’s retreat to Manhattan. The colonial General is now planning a counterattack to keep from losing all of New York City. As both sides dig in, Washington knows he will lose New York unless he can obtain good intelligence on the troop movements and fortifications of the British.

There is only one way to get that information—General Washington needs a spy! But this is before the days of spies and agents holding a special lore in American culture. In 1776, there is no CIA, no MI6, no Mossad, certainly no loyal American intelligence network at all. In 1776, spies are the lowest of the low, not military heroes. They are hired guns, unsavory and untrustworthy.

Spies are killed upon capture and are respected by none. Washington knows the information he needs cannot be trusted to that type of man. He needs one of his trusted officers for this particular task. But he could not, would not, demand such a dangerous and demeaning mission of just anyone—he wants someone to volunteer.

Late at night, Colonel Tom Knowlton quietly gathers his officers in a tent at a secret location away from prying eyes and ears. But the men in this meeting are no ordinary group of officers. These men are an elite special force group that Washington has recently formed—they are literally the very first American Rangers.

In hushed tones, the Colonel asks for a volunteer to answer the General’s call. His request is met with dead silence. Finally, an older, gruff officer breaks the silence and says, “I am willing to be shot in battle, but I am not willing to be hanged like a dog.” In other words, there is no honor in this mission.

Knowlton tries further to persuade, but eventually gives up. As he is turning to leave and tell General Washington he has failed, a young man, standing in the doorway of the tent, steps forward, and simply says with a steady voice, “I will undertake the mission.” He has arrived at the meeting late, ill with a fever, but eager to serve.

The courageous volunteer at the door is none other than Captain Hale is only 21 years of age, well-educated, and by all accounts of the ladies, a handsome fellow to boot. At the top of his Yale graduating class at the age of 18, Hale is a seriously devoted Christian, planning to become a minister of the gospel. (Read more.)

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Six Unpublished Letters of Queen Henrietta Maria

 From R. A. Beddard:

With the Scots preparing to invade England, and his English supporters on the point of launching an insurrection in Kent, the King held it necessary for the Prince, his son, to leave France. To that end he wrote to the Queen in May 1648, commanding her to summon certain of his councillors to attend and advise the Prince. They included Secretary Nicholas, Lord Treasurer Cottington, and the elderly Earl of Bristol, all of whom had escaped to France, and Sir Edward Hyde, Chancellor of the Exchequer, who, almost alone of the King's advisers, had stayed behind in Jersey, preferring to remain on British soil. The Queen's letter of 9 June, directed to Nicholas, and published here, was therefore written in obedience to the King's command. In her letter Henrietta Maria referred explicitly to *the present revolutions' taking place back home, as making it 'no longer fitt' for the Prince of Wales 'to sitt idle' in France at a time when his engaging in military action might 'contribute much to His Majesty's re-establishment': the object of all their endeavours. Earlier news of dissension in South Wales, of Lord Inchiquin's declaring for the King in Ireland, of the raising of a Scots army, and of the seizure of Berwick and Carlisle by Sir Marmaduke Langdale and Sir Philip Musgrave in the North of England was overtaken by even more encouraging news of disturbances in London, a popular uprising in Kent, and - an unexpected bonus - a revolt in the Parliamentarian navy. The latter event, which involved a detachment of six ships, seemed particularly auspicious, Hyde hailing it as a 'very extraordinary' accident, which 'looked like a call from Heaven' summoning the exiled Prince to action. No wonder it was now thought opportune for him to remove from Paris to the Channel coast, so as to be in readiness 'to transport his person' to whichever part of his father's dominions should be judged most advantageous for the King's service. (Read more.)
Now available:

"Like the works by Sharon Kay Penman and other exceptional historical fiction authors, My Queen, My Love takes the reader on an intense journey back in time, allowing the reader to feel immersed in the era, the events, the people, the loves and the tragedies (and so much more). Beautifully told." —Readers' Favorite

"Offering insight into the passions behind the protocols, My Queen, My Love infuses these historical figures with humanity." —BookLife

"Vidal clearly has her finger on the pulse of history...The emotional connection from husband to wife, from servant to royalty, and even mother to daughter really sparkles in this book and I enjoyed it immensely. I would recommend this book to anybody who is interested in history or romance. It was a lovely depiction and I enjoyed it from the beginning to the end." —The San Francisco Book Review (starred review)

"Vidal’s expansive tale...offers palace intrigue, international conflict, and personal turmoil. But at its heart, it’s a poignant and often charming love story....A royal tale enlivened by imaginative drama...." — Kirkus Reviews


Screen-addicted Millennials

 From Life Site:

“What we are seeing now when we look at 30-year-olds in America today is really the fruits of that lack of a good, solid intellectual formation,” Bauerlein said. “They’re not that happy. The rates of depression and anxiety [and] narcissism are up. Suicide is up. They’re not getting married and having kids, which is a sign of pessimism about the future.”

Millennials, the English professor continued, also exhibit high rates of vindictiveness and distrust of others — quite at odds with their designation as “the most tolerant generation.” Bauerlein said many of them just “don’t have the tools” to handle the struggles and setbacks of the real world.

The biggest culprit is modern technology: iPhones, iPads, and so on. It’s telling, Bauerlein noted, that program and device designers in Silicon Valley don’t let their young children use this technology. He said they even send their children to low-tech, screen-free schools like the Waldorf School in Los Altos, California.

Bauerlein said the “signs of deterioration” are so strong they can no longer be swept aside. To close out the episode, he gave practical advice to parents looking to reduce the harmful effects of too much screen time on their children. (Read more.)


Largest Hoard of Anglo-Saxon Gold Coins in England

 From Bright:

A hoard of 131 gold coins and a number of other gold objects dating back 1,400 years ago stand to be the largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold coins ever found in England. In A.D. 600, England, still ununited, was divided into several smaller Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. One of the most important of these was East Angles (modern-day Norfolk and Suffolk), which in later centuries would prove to yield a great number of treasures from antiquity.

These treasures include the famed Sutton Hoo Anglo-Saxon ship burial grounds discovered in Suffolk in 1938—and now, the more recent said stash of gold coins, which was found in a field in West Norfolk between the years 1990 and 2020—starting with just a single gold coin found before the introduction of the Treasures Act (in 1996), meaning it was not considered part of a group.

The majority of the objects in the hoard, though, were found between 2014 and 2020 by a single metal detectorist who wished to remain anonymous. The landowner also requested anonymity. The finder reported the stash to authorities in accord with the Treasures Act, which dictates that any two or more coins containing at least 10% precious metal must be turned in. Should the Crown wish to acquire the items, the finder is to be compensated per market value. (Read more.)

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Dreamy West Village Townhouse


From Architectural Digest:

On a leafy stretch of New York’s West Village, there’s a 1901 Georgian-style townhouse owned by a celebrated music executive and his auction house director wife. It’s permeated by themes of blossoming and growth, which makes sense, given his expertise in nurturing and cultivating creatives, and the fact that the couple acquired the home for their expanding family.

Both wanted to preserve elements of the previous owner’s renovation—done by AD100 architect Steven Harris—but felt the townhouse needed some practical renovations (think additional storage). They also wanted to put their own stamp on the home as a tailored yet unexpected space for socializing with family and industry friends.

To bring their ideas to life, the couple enlisted architect Amie Sachs, who had recently started her own practice after years with Annabelle Selldorf’s firm. Designer Penelope August (another Selldorf Architects alumna) collaborated on the furnishings and finishes. “The client had a very clear idea of how he wanted his family and guests to experience the home,” Sachs explains. “He was interested in creating spaces that foster gathering and conversation.”

After falling in love with his work at Paul Kasmin Gallery, the owners commissioned artist David Wiseman to create the ultimate conversation piece for the dining room, visible as soon as one steps through the front door. The installation—a treelike bronze and porcelain light fixture that climbs up the wall and across the ceiling, bursting with a profusion of porcelain flowers—is a statement of whimsy and romance. It hovers above the dining table, which is bordered by a curving banquette upholstered in Jiun Ho green velvet and surrounded by Gio Ponti and Pierre Jeanneret chairs. It’s a spot that works equally well for intimate family dinners and late-night celebrations with guests. That is, if they haven’t retired to the cozy front library, which features chrome and velvet-upholstered Cy Mann chairs and a jewel of a bar lined in celadon limousine cloth from Gretchen Bellinger.

Throughout the townhouse, Sachs and August used an intentional and unified palette. The homeowners had returned from a trip to Kyoto with ideas about blooming flowers and a piece of plummy-red silk cord that ended up as the inspiration behind multiple elements, including the shade of moiré silk wallpaper that lines the entry hall closet. That same color winds up the stairway in a wool runner, and can be found in the main bedroom’s luxurious felt curtains. More subtly, it can also be spotted in a mohair panel inset atop the dressing room’s custom table. “The clients gave guidance well, but also left plenty of room for ideas and development,” August says.

The lower floors are grounded in the greens of the back garden (updated by Michael Franco of the firm Blue Plant), which features an inky koi pond with a floating marble walkway and a wall of towering bamboo. On the garden level, there’s an inviting sitting room with midcentury sofas oriented around a streamlined white granite fireplace and a custom desk designed by Sachs. Flanking the desk is a pair of massive white Wilson Audio Watt speakers. The adjacent eat-in kitchen is outfitted with cerused oak cabinets and a mossy green tile backsplash.

The primary bedroom suite, which overlooks the garden, was inspired by the idea of a pale rose. Burgundy felt curtains and walls clad in a blush Savel Inc. cotton velvet provide a rose-hued backdrop for a white wool bouclé bed and a vintage Paul Mathieu bench from Ralph Pucci. The primary bath, meanwhile, is an expanse of luminous Rosa Portogallo and Rosa Aurora marble from ABC Stone. The shared dressing room, which joins the bedroom and bath, has open shelves in warm cerused oak and a central dressing table with a burgundy mohair top and Ted Muehling knobs. It’s all overlooked by a vintage Paavo Tynell “Starry Sky” ceiling fixture.

The townhouse’s other three existing bedrooms were reconfigured into two more spacious rooms with en suite bathrooms and a laundry room between. Completing the floral theme, a Clarence House crewelwork floral covers the headboard in one room, while a blush velvet clads the headboard in the other—all choices thoughtfully considered by the husband. “He was truly interested in getting it right for his family,” August says. “It was really lovely to see how much he cared. He went with me to do the upholstery and sat on all the cushions.” (Read more.)

The Summa Domestica

 A fabulous new guide for wives, mothers, daughters and all domestic divas. From Like Mother, Like Daughter:

But let’s talk about the book, shall we — and the giveaway! The Summa Domestica: Order and Wonder in Family Life is now quite available at Sophia, even if it’s still not in stock at Amazon; but maybe this is providential. I mean, I know the people at Sophia personally! They have all worked really hard to bring this set of books to life. There’s no question that ordering directly from them (or buying at a bookstore) helps their company thrive.

Anyway, I wanted to show you some of the features. For one thing, it is so beautifully designed! The stock photos actually don’t do it justice, not at all! The colors are richer. I had an excruciatingly specific vision in mind for the colors (as the designer will attest, poor thing), and they nailed it — but I don’t think it comes through in the photos on the site, whereas in person it does. Deirdre did a whole passel of charming and inspiring drawings to complement the text. And the quality of the printing is so high.

 I have poured out just about all everything I know into these books. And today Sophia is allowing me to give away a copy to two lucky readers! Just leave a comment here below and you will be entered to win one! (Read more.)


The Leopoldine Society

 From Echoes:

The Leopoldine Society was founded in Vienna, Austria, in 1828 by Father Frederick Rese. A native of Germany, Father Rese was a missionary priest who joined the Diocese of Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1824, and four years later returned to Europe to solicit funds for the diocese. He gained an audience with Emperor Francis I of the Holy Roman Empire who permitted him to create a missionary society, a decision officially sanctioned by Pope Leo XII the following year.

The Leopoldine Society, or "Leopoldinen Stiftung," was named in honor of St. Leopold, the patron saint of Austria, and memorialized Maria Leopoldina, Empress consort of Brazil, Queen consort of Portugal, and late daughter of Emperor Francis II, who had died in 1826 at 29 years of age.

The society modelled itself upon the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, founded in Lyon, France, in 1822. Members were required to pray for the missions and contribute alms which were collected in Vienna and then distributed exclusively to missions in the United States. By 1861, 33 years after its creation, the society reported that it had contributed $436,000 to missions in the United States, but then saw a sharp decline. In its remaining 60 years, it could only raise about two-thirds of that amount, and officially disbanded in 1921.

Perhaps more important than these financial contributions were the activities of its missionaries in the United States. Some notable figures included St. John Neumann, Bishop of Philadelphia; Father Caspar Rehrl, founder of the Sisters of Saint Agnes; Father Joseph Salzmann, one of the first rectors of St. Francis de Sales Seminary in Milwaukee; and Father Rese who, in addition to founding the society, would become the first Bishop of Detroit. Many of these missionaries came at a time when the population of the United States was expanding into the Ohio and Mississippi River Valleys and they helped ensure Catholicism had a firm footing in those regions.

Among the missionaries was also Father Stephen Raffeiner. Better known for his work in New York, he was invited to Boston by Bishop Benedict Fenwick in 1835, and returned several times a year to minister to the city's 200-plus German Catholics in their native language. He also began collecting funds to construct a church for this community, and a contribution of $2,389 from the Leopoldine Society in 1841 helped pay for a plot of land on Shawmut Avenue. Three years later on this site, Holy Trinity Church, of which is he considered the founder, was dedicated. (Read  more.)

Friday, January 21, 2022

The Long Defeat: Italy

 From Charles Coulombe at Catholicism:

When the French Revolution broke out, the Italian Peninsula was divided among several rulers. Piedmont and Sardinia were the domain of the ancient House of Savoy, as a Kingdom named after the large island. But Sardinia was not the Savoys’ only title; they claimed to be Kings of Jerusalem as well, and after the death of Cardinal York (Henry IX) in 1807, Charles Emmanuel IV would become heir to the claims of the House of Stuart. Moreover, the head of the House of Savoy was also “Perpetual Vicar of the [Holy Roman] Empire in Italy.” This was ironic, because the Habsburg Emperor himself was Duke of Milan, and in that capacity ruled all Lombardy, and had charge of the ancient Iron Crown of Lombardy — symbol of the old and long-gone Kingdom of Italy of Charlemagne’s time. Two other branches of the Habsburgs ruled the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and the Duchy of Modena, while Bourbons were Dukes of Parma and Kings of the Two Sicilies. The Papal States encompassed central Italy, while the two ancient oligarchic republics of Venice and Genoa still functioned according to their ancient constitutions. Between 1789 and 1815, all of these would collapse under French assault and — with the exceptions of Genoa and Venice — be reborn at the Congress of Vienna. Nevertheless, French rule brought forth all sorts of Catholic Counter-Revolutionary movements: the Massa Cristiana in Piedmont, the Veronese Easter, the “Viva Maria” rising in Tuscany, the Sanfedisti in Naples, and various other examples of Insorgense as required.

As in the rest of Europe, the Restoration era in Italy brought a number of important Counter Revolutionary writers to public notice: in Sardinia (in addition to Joseph de Maistre, who despite writing in French was a subject of the Savoys) was the eminent political theorist, Clemente Solaro, Count Della Margherita (1792-1869), whose political career was prematurely cut short for reasons we shall examine shortly; Monaldo Count Leopardi (1776-1849), who despite being layman was from the Papal States; and Antonio Capece Minutolo, Prince di Canosa, from the Two Sicilies. All three argued for the traditional religious and political arrangements their respective countries had developed over the centuries. But in 1831, Charles Felix, King of Sardinia, died. Having only daughters, the throne of Sardinia went to his distant cousin, Charles Albert, Prince of Carignano. His oldest brother, Victor Emmanuel I, had abdicated the Sardinian throne in 1821 in Charles Felix’s favour, but retained the inherited the Stuart claims to the thrones of England, Scotland, and Ireland that had passed to the House of Savoy when Henry IX died in 1807. These were passed on to Victor Emmanuel’s eldest daughter, Maria Beatrizia, who married Francis IV, Duke of Modena. (Read more.)


Loneliness as a Crucible of Creativity

From The Marginalian:

Because grief is so often our portal to beauty and aliveness, Miller set out to honor his friend by bringing his story to life in an uncommonly original and tender way — traveling back in time on the wings of memory and imagination, to the lush and lonesome childhood in which the artist’s gift was forged, projecting himself into the boy’s heart and mind through the grown man’s surviving paintings, blurring fact and fancy.

Before I Grew Up (public library) was born — part elegy and part exultation, reverencing the vibrancy of life: the life of feeling and of the imagination, the life of landscape and of light, the life of nature and of the impulse for beauty that irradiates what is truest and most beautiful about human nature.

In spare, lyrical first-person narrative spoken by the half-real, half-imagined boy becoming an artist, Miller invokes the spirit of Giuliano’s childhood. Emanating from it is the universal spirit of childhood — that infinity-pool of the imagination, which prompted Baudelaire to declare that “genius is nothing more nor less than childhood recovered at will.” (Read more.)


Thursday, January 20, 2022

Musketeers in the English Civil Wars

From World History Encyclopedia:

Infantry regiments formed at least half of a total fighting force during the Civil War. The Royalist army was made up of disparate groups led by particular noblemen, and their strength and composition varied widely. On the other side, the New Model Army of the Parliamentarians became more standardised as the war went on. A full-strength infantry regiment was composed of around 1,200 men organized into ten companies of various sizes depending on the seniority of the officer commanding them. However, regiments were rarely at full strength, and a force of 500-700 men was more typical. Companies could be joined to create divisions, a rather loose classification that depended on the tactical necessities of the engagement. (Read more.)


Old Schoolhouses in Ohio

From The Daily Record:

Glenn Wengerd of the Winesburg Historical Society said at one time there were seven one-room schoolhouses in Paint Township at the northeast corner of Holmes County.

"This one, Peter's School, dated to 1845. It burned down and they rebuilt it in 1876," he said. "It was about a mile-and-a-half northwest of Winesburg here, out in the country."

Wengerd explained that the Winesburg Historical Society bought the schoolhouse in the early 1990s for $200 and volunteers spent five years disassembling it, marking each piece and putting it back on the original foundation stone. The building sits in Winesburg Heritage Park off U.S. Route 62, next to a restored 1837 log cabin. (Read more.)

At War with God

 From First Things:

Outside consciously religious communities, which now amount to a counter-culture, generational reality for most people can be summarized in one word: fewer. Fewer brothers, sisters, cousins, children, grandchildren. Fewer people to play ball with, or talk to, or learn from. Fewer people to celebrate a birth; fewer people to visit one’s deathbed. In a way that is not generally acknowledged, the sexual revolution has produced a relationship deficit. And since we are social creatures and define ourselves relationally, this shortage means that we face an identity deficit. Who am I? This is a universal, inescapable question. Because of the revolution, many of us have lost the material with which to construct an answer.

As our individual lives become more disordered and bereft, so do our politics. The first use of the phrase “identity politics” appears in a manifesto published by radical African-American feminists in 1977—just as the first generation born into the revolution was coming of age. For those who haven’t read it, the Combahee River Collective manifesto is a poignant window onto modern times. It declares, in essence, that its signatories—all women—are giving up on the men in their lives. They are banding together for a future that does not include unreliable boyfriends and husbands. There is a straight line from that declaration of failure to the one uploaded by Black Lives Matter last year (and subsequently removed), which likewise denied healthy relations between the sexes and within the natural family, and failed even to mention fathers or brothers. Both proclamations signify that political identity has become a substitute for familial and communal bonds. Both are rooted in a fury at creation itself—an anger at the disruption of the natural order, which the creature now claims the right to re-order.

These are the facts of life in our times, the essential features of the world our children are inheriting. Facing them without blinkers or sugarcoating, what’s a believer to do?

The first imperative is compassion. If we are to rebuild from the rubble we’re surveying, we must grasp what underlies it: massive, often misunderstood and unseen suffering. This includes the suffering of people in factions that commonly oppose the Church. It’s easy, especially among traditionalists, to dismiss the public enactments of identity politics with derogatory terms like “snowflake,” “coddled Millennial,” and “spoiled brats.” Easy—and wrong.

There is a common denominator beneath the bizarre rituals occurring on campuses and elsewhere, beneath an increasingly punitive social media, beneath the performative rage of BLM—indeed, beneath cancel culture itself. It is anguish. These days, many people who claim to be victims are indeed victims. But they are not victims of the oppressions and exclusions they’ve been taught to make central to their self-conceptions—the “gender ­binary,” “heteronormativity,” “structural racism.” (Read more.)