Formerly Ad Orientem

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Unitarian Jihad

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Under the patronage of St. Tammany



Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children.

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He is a very shallow critic who cannot see an eternal rebel in the heart of a conservative.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

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Irish Elk
Friday, January 09, 2004  

"Winnie," Vanity Fair, 1911

A major exhibition on Winston Churchill and his lifelong ties to the United States, "Churchill and the Great Republic," opens at the Library of Congress on February 5.

If you can't get to Washington, you can visit the Churchill Centre there online.

Or see the London-based Churchill Society web site, which leads with this quote:

"We must recognise that we have a great inheritance in our possession,
which represents the prolonged achievement of the centuries;
that there is not one of our simple uncounted rights today
for which better men than we are have not died on the scaffold or the battlefield.
We have not only a great treasure;
we have a great cause.
Are we taking every measure within our power to defend that cause?

Winston Churchill
September 1936

The New Republic endorses Joe Lieberman:

Fundamentally, the Dean campaign equates Democratic support for the Iraq war with appeasement of President Bush. But the fight against Saddam Hussein falls within a hawkish liberal tradition that stretches through the Balkan wars, the Gulf war, and, indeed, the cold war itself… Lieberman is its most steadfast advocate, not only in the current field but in the entire Democratic Party…

By deriding Democratic support for overthrowing Saddam as "Bush Lite," Dean threatens to define that tradition out of the Democratic Party…

Dean is rightly passionate about the harm done to America's relations with its allies. Bush, he says, continues to "rub their nose in humiliation." But he can muster no similar passion about Iraq's freedom from one of the great monsters of the twentieth century. Saddam's overthrow leaves him cold; he "suppose[d]" it was a good thing. Dean and his supporters identify viscerally with the foreign governments that resent being bullied by Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. Yet they identify barely at all with the largely voiceless people--in countries like Syria and Iran--who might consider a democracy's projection of power into the heart of a region defined by tyranny to be progressive, even inspiring…

Former New Republic editor Andrew Sullivan comments:

The editorial is a strong one, and if I thought Lieberman was even faintly electable, I'd say much the same. But the editorial's main theme - about the decline of sensible moderation in Democratic ranks in the last three years - has a lacuna. The one man more responsible for destroying the Democratic centrist revival, for throwing away the Clinton legacy, and for suicidally pitching his party to the populist left was Al Gore, the man TNR endorsed last time around.


The New Criterion visits the MLA convention. The arts-and-letters journal also now maintains a weblog, Armavirumque.

At the Shrine of the Holy Whapping, Matthew posts a remarkable essay on St. Anthony's tongue and the Catholic veneration of relics:

Non-believers of a certain stripe are used to seeing religion as drab, dull, a little bit reticent. The province of silly old biddies of both sexes. At the very least, seeing that some of us still take the old traditions seriously, that someone would encase a sacred chunk of some saint in silver and gold—well, that might be enough to shock them out of their complacency.

There’s plenty of that in Italy, trust me—even an ordinary pilgrimage statue can be plenty weird, like the “Smiling St. Zeno” in Verona who has a fish dangling from his crook, and the strangeness factor is easily upped when you get to second-class relics—like St. Lawrence’s gridiron in Rome—and then, trumping it all are the body parts, sometimes very interesting particular body parts indeed.

Coming from Irish-Catholic America, evangelized by priests from a war-zone country where non-Protestant churches, much less an apostle’s finger, were rare, Europe and particularly Italy are powerful antidotes to the Cartesian temptation to see the Faith as exclusively spiritual, disembodied or even Gnostic. The teenager who throws Christ over for Buddha in search of “something more exotic” can’t possibly try that line of argument when he’s standing in front of a half-preserved jawbone of a medieval Franciscan preacher.

For that matter, it might remind him that the central pillar of the Faith, the Eucharist, is pretty wild stuff. And I mean that in all seriousness; a God that allows Himself to be touched, much less eaten—it screws with our cozy, comfy, half-inbred Deist notions.

I think that’s why I get so excited over bits of saints. To some extent the novelty of seeing two dozen waxy-looking local virgin martyrs at every turn is wearing off. I’m now holding out for the big guys, the Apostles and Doctors. Or at least some recognizable body parts as opposed to those tiny third-class bits that crowd every sacristy from Turin to Salerno.

This stuff is so brilliant I stand in awe.

Brandy sales should be up tomorrow in Foxboro: The wind-chill at game time is expected to reach 20 below. A wind-chill of 90 below reportedly was recorded yesterday at Mount Washington: It's said that at that temperature, your breath instantly crystallizes and falls to the ground, and that if you need a warm drink, it better be ice-water, lest your teeth crack.

To get in the spirit, listen to clips "Up She Rises" and "Life on the Wild Side" from a compilation of music from the old NFL Films highlights reels. Question: If the Autumn Wind is a pirate, what's a 20-below blast on Jan. 10?

"It ain't a fit night out for man or beast." WC Fields

Ever So Humble writes from NH:

MINUS FIVE DEGREES at wake up. Windchill makes it feel like -23. I don't know (or care) if this is a record (I doubt it), all I know is that COLD doesn't begin to describe it. I got the newspapers and peed the dog and I'm not going back out there to think of some good descriptive adjectives. It hurts.

Emerson wrote: "Earth laughs in flowers." So who's crying now?

Our nameless unfamous rink-sized pond is solid now and will support teams of hockey players careering around coltishly under the bright open sky and aimless skaters who etch looping spirals in the glassy ice. If Thoreau thought a couple of draft horses and a cart were heavy, he should see my husband's Kubota tractor clearing the snow away, a makeshift zamboni. I worry.

In Politics: Fr. James V. Schall, SJ on political philosophy * The American Museum of the Moving Image presents an online exhibition, The Living Room Candidate, a history of presidential campaign commercials from 1952-2000. "I Like Ike" is kind of catchy * On the whole, Otto-da-Fe would rather William Claude Dukenfield * "I like to keep a bottle of stimulant handy in case I see a snake, which I also keep handy." WC Fields

A British commentator's column sharply critical of the Arab world has landed him in hot water with the BBC and government sensitivity-trainers, who actually have referred the matter to police as a potential hate crime. From the excerpts I've read I'd say his column was spot-on. It says something when the defense offered of Arab contributions to civilization emphasizes cuneiforms and the Mesopotamian culture of 5,000 years ago.

According to Madonna, the greatest risks facing the United States today include not terrorism or the Axis of Evil but "a total lack of consciousness."

Wake me when it's over.


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