"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
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. Email
I stayed away from the pro-hunting demonstration because I didn’t want to turn into an anti. I am such a reactionary that I always end up disagreeing with whatever crowd I’m in. Last year, for instance, I went to the big anti-war march. I was a determined dove at the start, but by the end the self-satisfied piety of my fellow demonstrators had converted me into a swivel-eyed, drooling neocon.
I do not say this to brag or gloat, although I could, but to suggest instead that in some dark corners of higher ed, some of us aim to dress as George Saintsbury not as the checkout boy as Sainsbury's. Remember, I went to undergrad in Vermont, so I know what what fashion-challenged professors look like. Burlington is their lair.
And, yes, I do advocate the recovery of academic robes as classroom wear, not to cover-up but to distinguish. (I sigh wistfully every time I see Anthony Hopkins as C.S. Lewis in Shadowlands) The last thing colleges need is to become more casual. Any more casual and campuses will become nudist colonies. To be casual on campus today is to be orthodox; to be rather more formal and "put-together" is quite radical. A bowtie can cause a riot.
Now, where's my pipe?
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Sandro Magister writes on the late Cardinal Casaroli, architect of Vatican Ostpolitik, and the example for today that may be drawn from the approach to dialogue that was taken toward the Communist Bloc. Interesting – though it strikes one that the Soviets, bad as they were, still observed traditional diplomatic rules of engagement. What do you do with adversaries who take diplomats hostage; who as a matter of practice target women and children, and murder innocents on the Internet; who are not open to negotiation, and are emboldened by attempts at conciliation; who seek not a modus vivendi, but simply your destruction? And does the Vatican currently help matters when -- beyond simply maintaining prayerful neutrality, or even offering itself as mediator of disputes -- it seeks an active role in a peace movement that doesn't placate, but rather encourages, the terrorists?