Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Critics of literature gather, particularly in the highly-professionalised American academy, into one of three clubs: the aesthetic, the historical, and the political.
The politicians are by far the worst; they reigned from the sixties to the early nineties, but are still around because they unionised. The only enquiry they seem to pose and understand is the ethical one: Should we be reading this text? Consider: studying and/or reading a work is a tacit stamp of approval. Are social injustices are represented in or by this work? Should we bequeath it to our children? Does it represent the world as it is, and, if it does, does it represent the world as we think it should be? It goes without saying that “quality,” “standards,” and the “canon” refer here to a long-standing posthumous conspiracy by white male Europeans to oppress everyone else. Harold Bloom, who has shouted himself almost hoarse at this “School of Resentment”, lands a solid blow: “the idea that you benefit the insulted and injured by reading someone of their own origins rather than reading Shakespeare is one of the oddest illusions ever promoted by or in our schools.”
And finally: when in doubt, obfuscate. History shows that you will be given the benefit of the doubt as long as you do it in French.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
... St. Anthony could do more than help them find their lost car keys and wallet. “He can restore your faith in God, your trust in the system, in yourself,” he said to them.
“I think this is divine providence asking us, ‘Where is your faith?’ Is it on the relic or is on God alone?”
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Monday, June 13, 2011
... be glory as is ever meetTo Thee with the Paracelete.
Thursday, June 09, 2011
... has become the Paul Revere of the movement to save the light bulb, giving speeches to industry conferences and a Tea Party rally in front of the White House.
[t]wo Republicans, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Jim Risch of Idaho, used the occasion to denounce free-market infringement. Paul pressed Kathleen Hogan, a D.O.E. official, to say whether she was pro-choice before going off into a long disquisition on liberty.
“I find it really appalling and hypocritical . . . that you favor a woman’s right to an abortion but you don’t favor a woman or a man’s right to choose what kind of light bulb,” Paul said. “I really find it troubling, this busybody nature.”
Wednesday, June 08, 2011
Tuesday, June 07, 2011
“You must have a very good reason to kill people,” he said. “Being a political scientist, I know who to eliminate if I wanted to physically, and to make it effective. I’m a strategist.”
Mr. Kunonga added, “If I want to pick on people to kill, [the recognized bishop, Chad] Gandiya would not survive here.” As for allegations that he and his men were involved in Mrs. Mandeya’s killing, Mr. Kunonga retorted, “What would an illiterate 89-year-old woman do to me to deserve death or assassination?”
Mr. Kunonga often echoes Mr. Mugabe’s favorite themes, including the president’s loathing for homosexuality. This issue provided Mr. Kunonga’s rationale for withdrawing from the mainline Anglican church in 2007.
He claimed homosexual priests and congregants had gained influence in the church, though mainline church leaders here, as a matter of policy, do not conduct same-sex marriages or ordain gay priests. Bishops in the mainline church saw Mr. Kunonga’s move as a power grab.
I think it’s possible that many if not most readers would do the following math — “evangelical” seminary plus opposition to homosexuality means that this rebellious bishop, who may or may not have blood on his hands, is another one of those crazy African Anglicans on the right that the Times has told us so much about.
... is there another scenario? After all, this brilliant anti-colonialist political scientist with a doctorate from a high-quality liberal campus (who is fighting the conservative Anglican bishops on his conservative continent) may be something completely different. Might be be rather complex, some twisted combination of liberal beliefs and totalitarian tactics?
Do we know that for sure?
No, we don’t. Again let me say: No. We. Do. Not. Know.
You see, we don’t have enough information.
Monday, June 06, 2011
Though I am an academic Orientalist who loves the Christian east and has dedicated his entire scholarly life to the study of its traditions with the express aim of understanding them sympathetically and fostering and preserving them, I am not one of those romantics who considers the east--for heaven only knows what imagined reasons--to possess some sort of traditional superiority, a deeper spirituality, a more ancient and traditional monasticism, a more faithfully apostolic liturgy.
Eastern Christianity finds itself in a profound crisis from which it has not yet found the means to extricate itself, and even more preoccupying is the refusal of so many to recognize this situation, or their attempts to distract attention from it by lashing out, with a chauvinistic xenophobia altogether too traditional in Russian and Balkan history, against enemies, real or imagined, who
are presumed culpable for whatever is wrong. Eastern Christianity has not yet learned to face modernity, a lesson learned in the west only with great pain and many failures. [Which Taft goes on to list.]
Far from being a bastion of immovable tradition,
preserving intact the liturgy of apostolic times, the east was the main source of change, responsible for practically every single liturgical innovation from Jesus until the Islamic conquests, which stifled this remarkable creativity.
Mind you, the article isn't the least bit hostile toward Orthodox or Byzantine Christianity; quite the reverse. We have known scholars whose chosen speciality was a subject or author whom they detested, and whom they devoted their lives to undermining; taft isn't like that. He says he loves the East, and he clearly means it. But he loves it as it is, not as he imagines it might be. And isn't that how we all want to be loved?
I could name a number of bishops who are gay, including several appointed in the last 12 months. I’m sitting here this morning wondering whether I should, knowing that to do so is not in accord with my Christian ethos.
Saturday, June 04, 2011
Friday, June 03, 2011
Pickstock's book is not often found to be easy going. She has a donnish weakness for neologisms and an assumption that any potential reader will be happy to work hard to understand her sometimes contorted jargon means. But her book deserves to be rescued from its ... frankly, not entirely undeserved ... obscurity, for several reasons.
Of course vast swathes of Scripture provide enormous difficulties ... are in fact not so much unusable as potentially positively poisonous ... IF we do not trace out the richly complex patterns of intertextuality which formed the basis of their apprehension before the dark shadow of the 'Enlightenment' fell upon the study of Scripture; if, in other words, we do not use them in the Tradition. Reducing Scriptural semiotics to the naked Historicism of the 'Enlightenment' is to hand the Bible over to the Devil. I think I very probably mean that literally.