"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
Mrs. Rocket pointed out a detail which had escaped my fashion-oblivious notice, namely, the yellow flower-power zipper pull. The whole look, of course, is appalling: the vest, the gloves, the botox. It is Mrs. Rocket's opinion that the American people will not elect as President a man who wears a vest with a flower power zipper pull.
Here's the opening to the NYT piece earlier this month on Alistair Cooke's retirement:
NEW YORK Two weeks ago last Friday, on Feb. 20 to be exact, Alistair Cooke slipped a sheet of yellow paper into his ancient Royal manual and typed, "Letter From America No. 2869." It was to be the last, the 2,869th, of his weekly BBC radio talks. A journalistic odyssey that had begun 58 years earlier was coming to an end. He made no mention of it in that final letter, which incidentally was about Saddam Hussein and the two George Bushes. Cooke, now 95, was winding up his long, eventful career.
"We were going to announce it after that weekend, when the show had been on the air," he said, "but of course it leaked out. My friends tell me the British papers went crazy." He added with a grin, "One of them said it was as if the queen had died."
Now, mere weeks later, Alistair Cooke has died, closing out a remarkable life in which he worked at his craft right to the end. A toast, in what he called the wine of Scotland, to his memory.
* * *
The urbane commentator America came to know as the voice of Masterpiece Theater worked the '48 conventions with H. L. Mencken and edited a volume of his essays, The Vintage Mencken, which is included in a survey of Menckenography done last year for the New York Review of Books by Cooke's Masterpiece Theater successor, Russell Baker.
Another young journalist who went on pub crawls with Mencken was Henry Cabot Lodge Jr, a reporter for the New York Herald Tribune and Boston Transcript before he entered politics.
As vice-presidential candidate in 1960, Lodge held forth on Boston Brahmins, newspapering, the strength of the UN as anti-Communist bulwark, and the merits of changing your shirt in the afternoon, in an interview with Walter Cronkite that, while contentious in spots, comes across as more good-natured and civil than much of the campaign discourse today. (Via JFK Link)
Matthew writes from Rome of hearing morning Masses in stereo offered simultaneously at side altars at San Gregorio:
Concelebration, the rite of several priests consecrating together the sacred Victim at mass, was virtually unheard-of in the days of Pius V, when the old mass was first fully codified as a weapon against the religious strife that then wracked Europe. Before the Council fathers had sat in snowy Trent, the custom had died out, but not before St. Thomas could defend it and Durandus deny it. By the sixteenth century, it had been reduced to a peculiarity of the Ordination mass, the one time that the words of Consecration were said in anything more than a whisper. By necessity—to keep the newly-chrismed priests, their chausibles still folded up on their backs, in time with their leader, the bishop.
But otherwise, for better or worse, for all its ubiquity today, it was unknown then. The endless ranks of splendidly-marbled side-altars in so many churches are a testament to this liturgical quirk, allowing every priest to have his private mass every day of the year. Churches rang with the staggered sound of sacring bells, one Consecration coming after the other with imprecise precision. Priests even complained, as the golden sky of the Middle Ages slowly rolled up into the apocalyptic scroll of the Reformation, of pious laymen rushing from chapel to chapel to adore the upraised host in mass after mass.
And here was I, living on a page of liturgical history and trying to pray and not to gawk.
North American College alumnus Fr. Tucker comments:
Being in the crypt of St Peter's Basilica early in the morning produces a similar sensation. If you go downstairs around 7:15 am, all the myriad chapels and altars are occupied by scores of priests offering the Sacrifice. As you wind your way through the tortuous passages, you catch the bits and pieces of all those Masses being said and sung at once, in the Mother Language and all the vernaculars the books allow. Anyone visiting Rome should go early to the Vatican at least once to experience this.
Describing the opening of St. Mary's Chapel on the Boston College campus in 1917, the late University Historian, Fr Charles Donovan, SJ, told how the school's Jesuit priests fanned out to say their morning Masses on the side altars. I've always liked that image, and it was brought to mind by Matthew's dispatch from Rome.
* * *
Amy offers an exquisite account of a recent visit by the Tooth Fairy:
The child slept deeply and the fairy rode a moonbeam through her window. (Fairies pass through glass by becoming part of the light.) She burrowed under her pillow like a field mouse in snow and pulled out one, two, three white teeth. The hoarding of two of the teeth amused her so much, her laughter chiming like bells, that she left a $10 bill and something else she quickly made before flying off to visit the next child.
In the morning, the girl was delighted with her $10 bill. "And look what else she left me!" She showed her mother a pink construction paper heart that had been tucked under her pillow. On it, in glitter-pen letters, were the words, "I will always love you."
As it was Shanghai Night tonight on Turner Classics, we watched Shanghai Express with Marlene Dietrich playing "Shanghai Lily, White Flower of the Chinese Coast," which was a treat, and explains the current mood.
Speaking of smoke, Fr Tucker also points to photos from Mass at S. Clement's Anglo-Catholic Parish in Philadelphia. Whatever is the liquid equivalent should be bottled and sent to the worship office at your local RC chancery.
Many thanks to The Revealer -- as worthy a candidate for a hall-of-fame nameplate as any – for including yours truly in its page of St. Blog's links.
The Revealer is a thoughtful and smartly-designed review of religion and the press edited by Jeff Sharlet out of the Center for Religion and Media at NYU. Press critic Jay Rosen spotlighted the site on its launch in January.
Yesterday's edition carried an interesting item on how little St. Blog's has registered on the mainstream newspaper radar:
Paulson and Steinfels are both brilliant reporters. When it comes to Catholicism, they're two of the most knowledgeable journalists in the secular press. So what does it mean that both consider St. Blog's Parish outside their beat?
Paulson was quick to note that the internet had transformed the grumblings of a few into the revolt of many, as the laity formed online communities to trade information about abusive priests, but he was speaking primarily of email; St. Blog's, he said, was not as influential.
Steinfels, meanwhile, said he had never been to "this St. Blog's site."
So The Revealer wonders: Just how big is St. Blog's? And how much does it matter to the future of the Church? This is not just a question for Catholics, but for all bloggers -- can blog communities genuinely challenge or transform real-world communities? Or are they simply steam valves for malcontents, exhibitionists, and know-it-alls? Discuss.
My quick take is that many newspaper reporters – busy each day cranking out their own stuff for their own papers – aren't yet surfing the blogosphere; and Paulson and Steinfels, looped into the orbit of the Rolodex and the established talking heads of the theology departments, might have made the occasional Belief.net foray, but don't appear to have caught on to the activity in the blogs.
Bill Cork has been researching the early history of St. Blog's and has noted the proliferation of sites, at a rate of one every couple days, in the spring of 2002. Yet the Catholic blogosphere apparently still remains terra incognita to many in the Commoweal-America circuit: Witness the recent piece by the quizzical librarian in the former.
St. Blog's may be a small sampling of Catholic opinion, and perhaps an unrepresentative one, but is it any smaller or more unrepresentative than, say, the Voice of the Faithful membership the Globe reporters tend to look to for man-in-the-street trends?
At the end of the gospel, the deacon (or priest) adds:
Laus tibi, Christe.
Then he kisses the book, saying quietly:
Per evangelica dicta deleantur nostra delicta.
A homily shall be given on all Sundays and holy days of obligation; it is recommended for other days.
* We interrupt this liturgy for a political announcement. Insert video here. *
Profession of Faith
After the homily, the profession of faith is said on Sundays and solemnities; it may also be said in solemn local celebrations.
Credo in unum Deum, Patrem omnipotentem, factorem caeli et terrae, visibilium omnium et invisibilium…
I am less bothered by the gay National Catholic Reporter correspondent speechifying in church (or by the apparent alerting of the media beforehand) than I am by the screening of an eight-minute campaign video in the middle of Mass.
The New England Cable News report (Real Audio) captures a sidewalk confrontation afterward between the gay activist who'd caused the disruption and an elderly parishioner. The latter argued the gay activist was welcome to his views, but that Mass was not the time to air them.
Exactly – and I'd say the same for the screening of videos in the middle of the liturgy. Can you imagine the Old Mass being interrupted by a TV monitor? Are there rubrics for AV altar servers conveying big screen and Bell & Howell to the sanctuary?
The Holy Sacrifice, in my admittedly fusty view, isn't a congregational prayer service with room for Announcements-Announcements-A-NOUNCE-ments.
I sympathize with the Church's position on the issue of the day unfolding on Beacon Hill. Sermons are rightly devoted to the topic, and Masses and prayers are rightly offered for the intention of the preservation of the traditional family.
But the preservation of the traditional Mass – a worthy cause in its own right – would argue for saving movie time for later in the community center. An improvisational Mass that is open to political multimedia also opens itself – perhaps rightly and fairly so – to debate from the pews.
New England's Congregational churches haven't made wonderful Town Meeting halls for nothing.
"It was the bravest thing I've ever seen in hockey." Boston College's Patrick Eaves on the OT goal scored by his brother Ben that put the Eagles into the Frozen Four and that already has become the stuff of legend.
It belongs in the pantheon of all-time greatest college hockey moments. For that matter, Eaves' game-winning goal, and the events leading up to it, would probably find a place in any sports pantheon, college or pro.
Between the athleticism of using his stick like a baseball bat, and clubbing the puck out of mid-air on the rebound of his own shot in order to score the goal, and the fact only minutes earlier, he was literally lying on his back behind the bench writhing in extreme pain from a cramp in his right quad, this was sports theater at its finest.
BC coach Jerry York referred to Eaves and the senior's overtime heroics as "a legend in the making," after his team downed the Wolverines 3-2 in OT at Verizon Wireless Arena.
Have you ever hit fungoes or ping-pong balls? You know, toss the ball in the air and knock it exactly where you want it to go? Ben Eaves did something like that yesterday to win a hockey game in overtime. And that's not even the best part of the story.
Nearly 70 minutes into one of the most entertaining games played this year -- college or pro -- Eaves moved down the bench toward Boston College coach Jerry York. The senior forward, the only two-time captain York has had in the 32 years of his career, said he wanted to return to the Eagles' Northeast Regional final against Michigan.
Eaves had been lying on his back earlier, hoping trainer Bert Lenz could take the pain away from his right quadriceps. "I was telling Bert not to touch [my leg]," Eaves said, "but I wanted him to make it better."
Lenz must have done something right.
One moment, Eaves said that it felt as if a rock were embedded in his right leg. A few seconds later, he was on the ice, and he quickly was in position to collect a rebound of his brother Patrick's shot. Ben took the loose puck and shot toward goalie Al Montoya. The rebound fluttered in the air. That's when Ben turned his stick into a paddle and swatted the hard rubber into the net.
The goal gave the Eagles a 3-2 win and allowed them to earn their fifth Frozen Four appearance in the last seven years. The goal also becomes a talking point for all hockey fans, whether they are from Michigan or Massachusetts. Most BC fans know that York carries a notebook with him on the bench so he can jot down trends and ideas. After watching the Eaves goal, his notebook may turn into a journal.
"I've coached a lot of games, and I've never quite seen anything like what happened in OT," the coach said.
With its striking architecture, steel-beamed facade and luminescent sanctuary able to hold more than 3,300 seated worshippers, the oratory is intended to draw pilgrims from near and far. Affixed outside will be a 60-foot, red-tinged crucifix, with a 40-foot body of Jesus.
"There is nothing like this in the world, nor could there be," said Mark Mendell, president of Cannon Design, the international architecture and engineering firm chosen to design the church and campus. "This place is destined to attract people from all over the world -- the essence of a world-class place."
Ah, yes, "world-class:" sports fans instantly will recognize the siren appeal of the illustrious Expansion Franchise Boosting Domed Stadium Yahoo.
Monaghan, founder of Domino's Pizza and former owner of the Detroit Tigers, said the church would be the center of the university and "the very thing that reminds us of what we're about." He said it would be a symbol of the campus "like the Golden Dome is the symbol of Notre Dame."
* * *
The Ave Maria Florida development bonanza reminds me of the Marx Bros' Cocoanuts:
[At the resort hotel, looking at a map.]
Now here is a little peninsula, and here is a viaduct leading over to the mainland.
Why a duck?
[more back-and-forth between the two ... ]
All right, why a duck? Why a duck, why-a no chicken?
Well, I don't know why-a no chicken. I'm a stranger here myself. ...
Visitors at Bettnet mull the wisdom of designing a church like a great glass greenhouse in a hot place known for hurricanes.
Here's the Naples Daily News account of the Ave Maria unveiling.
The Florida news account reports Ave Maria benefactor Monaghan is an admirer of the chapels of architect Fay Jones, who designed Thorncrown and Mildred B Cooper Memorial chapels in Arkansas.
But the gigantic church planned in Florida, which is to seat more than 3,000 and have the world's largest crucifix, wouldn't appear to match the Arkansas wedding chapels' intimacy (unless large enough trees could be grown to entwine it).
Wednesday, March 24, 2004 This may come across as churlish.
Lord knows I haven't given millions to the poor, as this man has. More power to him.
But does the fact he's a lefty Chomskyite add luster to this wealthy philanthropist in Boston Globe profile writer Bella English's eyes?
And might it not be seen as self-defeating in the long run to pour millions into poverty-relief in Haiti while simultaneously shilling for the tinpot Aristide?
Oh, wait. Misery in Haiti has nothing to do with that country's recently deposed president, and everything to do with the president of the USA.
"Bush hates Aristide because he won't be a toady," says White, who "goes looking" for Aristide whenever he's in Haiti. "I often find him at his orphanage in Port-au-Prince. He's going to do what he thinks is best for the poor people. . . . Aristide has had nothing to work with." Under Bush, the United States has helped block $500 million in aid to the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, ravaging its economy and basic services. "People are literally starving, especially children. It's unbelievable," White says.
Yep, it all comes back to W, taproot of all evil and misery in the world. One gets the impression the tubes in the Globe newsroom are wired so that even fluff profiles on the Living/Arts page return to this default setting.
The cause to which philanthropist White has devoted much of his fortune, Partners in Health (PIH), is in orbit with Noam Chomsky (more on him here), who shared the stage with Aristide at an anniversary tribute to Partners In Health ("10 Years of Commitment, A Lifetime of Solidarity") at a Thomas J. White Symposium at the Harvard Institute for Health and Social Justice in October, 1997. (For a sense of the political sentiments at work, see the Let Haiti Live page linked, as is PIH, from this Chomsky interview at a radical clearinghouse site. See also the MIT Social Justice Coalition, which lists Partners in Health in its links pantheon right between the New England Committee to Defend Palestine and the Rainforest Action Network. You get the picture.)
As for Aristide, the editorials PIH links at its site indicate it was sorry to see him go. That feeling was not universal among Haitians who lived under his corrupt rule.
Does it ultimately help the poor of the Third World to put millions toward their relief while at the same time shoring up the despotism that is a major cause of their suffering? In the time that it took to insert the obligatory W-is-evil graf, might this question have been asked?
Another thing: The Soros Foundation's Program on Reproductive Health & Rights has granted more than a quarter-million dollars to transform the Projè Santé Fanm (Women's Health Project), part of PIH's Haitian affiliate, Zanmi Lasante (ZL), into a model center for women's reproductive healthcare in Haiti (2000-2001).
The aim of Soros' Reproductive Health & Rights program is made clear:The program's mission is to promote the development of policies and practices to protect women's comprehensive sexual and reproductive healthcare, including abortion, both in the United States and in the countries and regions where the Open Society Institute operates.
The clinic's director clearly has done great work among HIV sufferers and the poor. But the question arises: Does she discourage or oppose abortion? (My guess is she doesn't, or she wouldn't have been honored as a Woman of the Year by Ms. Magazine.)
The question is raised because the Globe piece reports philanthropist White's giving is inspired by his Catholic faith:
Ask him why, and White, who attends Mass daily, replies: "I'm motivated a lot by what Jesus wants me to do, or what I think he wants me to do. And I think he wants me to help make the world a better place."
Again, I don't mean to diminish or discredit the good this philanthropist has done. My argument is more with the article.
The questions raised above should have been given a nod or somehow addressed in the Globe piece.
As run, the article is a puff job for the Social Justice=Leftism School, and in what it chooses to include and chooses to omit or ignore, exhibits a dishonesty that too often marks the "news" accounts in the Globe these days.
From a not-unsympathetic review by a Paulist priest of the 1989 film Romero:
"Every single statement in the film in favor of the free market - of the aspirations of the Salvadoran people to North American living standards, of the role of the entrepreneur as a producer who brings capital into the country for its overall benefit - is articulated by the most sinister, cynical, and bloodthirsty characters in the film. Thus, solidarity with the poor comes to mean solidarity with socialist revolutionaries while the free enterprise of the North is axiomatically identified with the feudal interests of the South.
"And here is where the film, and liberation theology itself, is for me the most frustrating. After all, what would the actual liberation of the poor from unjust social and economic structures mean if not a generally prosperous economy and a large middle class? And where do such societies exist if not in North America and those areas of the world that emulate its basically, though inconsistent, free-market arrangements? How is it that when Romero (correctly) opposes repression in Salvador he is cheered as a prophet by the popular culture but when a John Paul II opposes it in Sandinista Nicaragua he is characterized as a reactionary?
"The real liberation of Salvador is not advanced by a romanticized view of self-identified Marxist guerrillas, or, for that matter, priests who collaborate and sympathize with them.
"The film's gaping philosophical lacuna is seen when Romero reprimands one of gun-toting priests. The priest defends himself by saying, 'I'm a priest who sees Marxists and Christians struggling to liberate the same people.' The archbishop replies, 'You lose God just as they have.'
"My concern here is not the use of violence per se in response to longstanding oppression. Such force can be a moral imperative under certain circumstances and with specific preconditions. No, my problem is much less with the tactic than with where groups like the FMLN want to take Salvador. Marxists haven't lost God because they use violence to liberate people, but because they use violence to enslave people."
NABLUS, West Bank (AP) Israeli forces stopped a young Palestinian boy wearing a suicide bomb belt from crossing through a West Bank checkpoint Wednesday, authorities said.
The boy, about 12, was running toward the Hawara checkpoint south of Nablus when soldiers stopped him, the army said. They removed the belt with explosives from his body and sent in experts to detonate it, the army said.
It was unclear whether the boy was being sent as a suicide bomber or was a courier trying to smuggle the bomb belt through the checkpoint for another person to use.
Hobart "Hobey" Amory Hare Baker, Princeton athletic hero and Great War aviator, lost too young in the skies over France, and now the namesake of college hockey's Heisman, is the subject of a New Hampshire public TV documentary that is reviewed at US College Hockey Online. (Was he a suicide?)
It may be a niche sport, but it's a glorious niche sport, college stick-and-puck: Maine beat Massachusetts this past weekend in triple overtime for the Hockey East crown in the fourth-longest game (109:27) in NCAA history. The NCAAs get underway this weekend, covered ably by USCHO.Com. Making the tournament: Both BCandHoly Cross.
Nice to see UMass now has a contender in hockey, coached by Toot Cahoon, a BU star of my youth. Meantime, Maine's currently ranked No. 1, UNH won the national title last year, and Vermont's joining Hockey East next season.
The sad thing from as pacifist's perspective is that the Palestinians could get just about anything they wanted from non-violent non-cooperation. They are embedded into a nation. They have been an integral part of its economy. A figure like Gandhi could have led them to suffrage, statehood, or anything in between.
This is spot-on. Israel, besieged since day one, yet has a conscience, and would, I think, have responded to non-violent resistance by the land's Arabs, who do have legitimate grievances, and who could have appealed effectively to Israel's higher angels, as Gandhi and MLK did with the British Empire and the USA. (A strategy, it should be noted, that would not have worked for the Jews against the Nazis or the Arab death cultists.)
Instead, you have the executive editor of the Beirut Daily Star comparing slain Hamas founder Yassin to MLK.
Palestinian terrorists last week tried to use an 11-year-old child in a suicide bombing.
The Israelis sent the boy back to his parents.
In the words of Golda Meir: "There will be no peace in the Middle East until the Arabs love their children more than they hate the Jews."
Whether yesterday's assassination of Hamas founder Ahmed Yassin was a good thing depends on the answer to two questions: 1) Is the world better off without Sheik Yassin? and 2) Was it in Israel's strategic interest to kill him? In both cases, the answer is yes.
Ahmed Yassin was among the most brazen killers that the modern Middle East has produced, which is quite an achievement when you look at the competition. His hands were stained with the blood of hundreds, and we aren't referring only to Israeli civilians who died in the Palestinian terror attacks he supervised. We're also thinking of the Palestinian children whom he taught to believe that death is preferable to life and that a good Muslim is one who immolates himself in a pizzeria or a discotheque.
In interviews, you could see the old man take lascivious delight in the blood of his followers -- followers such as Reem Riyashi, a Palestinian who blew herself up in January, leaving her two children motherless. "I always wanted to be the first woman to carry out a martyrdom operation, where parts of my body can fly all over," she said in a videotaped message. Shortly after, Mr. Yassin ghoulishly confirmed that Hamas was now recruiting female bombers.
Despite the tenor of newspaper reports to the contrary, it's difficult to discern how the operation has spawned any change in the goals of Hamas and its followers. As a result of the operation Hamas now vows "to wage war, war, war on the sons of Zion." Before the attack did they only vow to wage "war, war" on the sons of Zion?
When the name "Hamas" is mentioned, this is the group in question. Think deranged Klansmen with suicide belts – and wonder what has become of Progressive opinion that hooded death-cultists should be its cause du jour.
Jonah Goldberg puts the Yassin hit in perspective:
[L]et's stipulate that he was a frail old man in a wheelchair. The issue is that he was behind the organized murder of hundreds of old men, old women, little kids, fathers, mothers et al. I have no doubt that we'll be hearing a lot of moral equivalence about this. But let's not confuse arsonists with fire fighters. An old woman on a bus is not the same thing as a hateful carbunkle of a human who plans, advocates and celebrates the murder of innocents.
A piece from two years ago by Detroit columnist Mitch Albom resonates today:
For radical groups such as Hamas and Hizballah, statehood is not a stop sign anyhow. They want Israel obliterated, state or no state, the same way bin Laden wants Westerners obliterated. Bin Laden had his own country. He had billions. Did land and money keep him from murder?
Desperate people want to make their lives better. Brainwashed people think "kaboom" sends you to heaven. Innocents are being killed on both sides. The difference is, for Palestinian terrorists, those are the targets.
We can tell the Israelis to stop, but we wouldn't stop. We can tell them to negotiate, but we wouldn't negotiate. We can see their dead and say it hurts as much as ours, but we don't mean it. Because if it were ours, we'd be doing what they're doing. And we'd damn anyone who spoke against us.
Nina Shea, director of Freedom House's Center for Religious Freedom, on the new Iraqi constitution:Its mere existence challenges the region, particularly the people of Iran who long for such a constitution.
The Australian, in an editorial:THERE is no such thing as a good war. Every death is a wicked waste, every ruined home a mark of misery. But there are just wars democracies must fight, and last year's campaign to disarm Saddam Hussein was one such struggle. A year on, we must consider it a success in the continuing campaign against global terror. The dictator's disgusting regime is gone forever. The prospect of a democratic Iraq serves as a potential model to replace the motley collection of dictatorships that pass for governments throughout the Middle East…
* * *
[T]his war is the most important liberal, revolutionary U.S. democracy-building project since the Marshall Plan. The primary focus of U.S. forces in Iraq today is erecting a decent, legitimate, tolerant, pluralistic representative government from the ground up. I don't know if we can pull this off. We got off to an unnecessarily bad start. But it is one of the noblest things this country has ever attempted abroad and it is a moral and strategic imperative that we give it our best shot. Thomas L Friedman, NYT, 11.30.03
"I think [Iraq is] going well. It breaks my heart whenever anybody dies, but we liberated 25 million people who were living under a dictator. It puts us on the side of democracy in the Arab world. Twenty years from now, we'll be hard-pressed to find anyone who says it wasn't worth the effort. This is not just another democracy. This is a democracy in an Arab world ..." Former Sen. Bob Kerrey, NY Sun, 12.29.03
An assistant professor at a California college finds her car vandalized with racist graffiti. The campus gives itself over to mass rallies against hate speech. Then the police announce the prime suspect in the vandalism: the professor herself.
The Power Line blog offers a comprehensive look at this latest manifestation of the campus hate-crime hoax phenomenon in a post appropriately titled the Reichstag Gambit. Also weighing in is E L Core.
Dorothy Rabinowitz, the sexy, five-foot-tall Wall Street Journal columnist and editorial board member, hosted a dinner party recently at a downtown restaurant and, for a good 20 minutes, she smiled as her guests denounced Attorney General John Ashcroft.
Finally, she let it rip.
"I revere John Ashcroft," she said.
There was a lengthy silence. Things went downhill after that…
So begins a great profile in the New York Observer on the Pulitzer Prize-winning WSJ columnist, which later on quotes a Greenwich Village neighbor:
"I’m fairly apolitical, but after 10 minutes with Dorothy on the street, you just wonder why everyone isn’t a raging archconservative, because she’s wildly charismatic—and that’s something that left-wing people haven’t figured out yet."
Recently, Mr. Doonan said, there was an antiwar march down their street; he watched from his balcony as students chanted things like "Bush is a scumbag!"
"And then, all of a sudden, I saw Dorothy cleaving her way through them, and she had an American flag tied around her dog’s neck," he said. "She was spewing well-deserved invective at these idiotic students.
"And the fact that she’s such a good-looking broad doesn’t hurt," he continued. "She’s extremely good-looking. I would say she’s an Ava Gardner–Liz Taylor 50’s brunette. She’s always hot-looking. If she went to Washington, I’m sure they would think she’s a hooker."
Dorothy Rabinowitz grew up "very poor" in a two-family house in Queens. Her father, a grocer whose family had been killed by the Nazis, was often agitated. "He would go to refugee agencies every day after the war," she said. "I would catch him crying."
Her mother, she said, had a "rapier, assaultive" wit; she would mutter "bastards" and "thugs" under her breath, to which her husband would reply, "Shhhhh!"
Ms. Rabinowitz said she remembered when Harry Truman won the 1948 election. "But the greatest joy that I can remember was when the Giants won the pennant," she said.
The latest Atlantic Monthly features an outstanding piece by Christopher Hitchens on Edmund Burke:
[O]ne has to peel away the layers of holy awe with which Burke protected the idea of an ordained social and moral hierarchy, and the complacency of the hereditary principle in general. But something essential in him, not all of it attributable to his political allegiances, rebelled at the notion of a society begun anew—a place where humanity should begin from scratch. This is of huge importance, because Paine and Jefferson very adamantly took the view that only the living had any rights…
If modern conservatism can be held to derive from Burke, it is not just because he appealed to property owners in behalf of stability but also because he appealed to an everyday interest in the preservation of the ancestral and the immemorial. And the abolition of memory, as we have come to know in our own time, is an aspect of the totalitarian that spares neither right nor left. In the cult of "now," just as in the making of Reason into an idol, the writhings of nihilism are to be detected.
Burke's name is little recognized today in the Wisconsin town named for him. But the English market town where he (and Chesterton) lived now plans to honor Burke with a statue.
Writes Mr. Hiss: Anyone can be a monarchist, but Jacobites and other legitimists (be they French or Spanish) are truly a special breed. Legitimism requires a combination of obscurantism, romanticism, revanchism, pessimism, and often not a small measure of alcoholism. My kind of people.
* * *
Burke on Marie Antoinette:
It is now sixteen or seventeen years since I saw the queen of France, then the dauphiness, at Versailles; and surely never lighted on this orb, which she hardly seemed to touch, a more delightful vision. I saw her just above the horizon, decorating and cheering the elevated sphere she just began to move in,—glittering like the morning-star, full of life, and splendour, and joy. Oh! what a revolution! and what a heart must I have to contemplate without emotion that elevation and that fall! Little did I dream when she added titles of veneration to those of enthusiastic, distant, respectful love, that she should ever be obliged to carry the sharp antidote against disgrace concealed in that bosom; little did I dream that I should have lived to see such disasters fallen upon her in a nation of gallant men, in a nation of men of honour, and of cavaliers. I thought ten thousand swords must have leaped from their scabbards to avenge even a look that threatened her with insult. But the age of chivalry is gone. That of sophisters, economists, and calculators, has succeeded; and the glory of Europe is extinguished for ever. Never, never more shall we behold that generous loyalty to rank and sex, that proud submission, that dignified obedience, that subordination of the heart, which kept alive, even in servitude itself, the spirit of an exalted freedom. The unbought grace of life, the cheap defence of nations, the nurse of manly sentiment and heroic enterprise, is gone! It is gone, that sensibility of principle, that chastity of honour, which felt a stain like a wound, which inspired courage whilst it mitigated ferocity, which ennobled whatever it touched, and under which vice itself lost half its evil, by losing all its grossness.
An Orange view of the day:"Saint Patrick was a prototype Protestant. He came to Ireland to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ," said lawmaker Ian Paisley junior, the son of Reverend Ian Paisley, hardline leader of Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party.
"The real message of Saint Patrick was Christian, not Catholic. He has more in common with Protestantism than he has with green beer and shamrocks that trivialise his message," Paisley told AFP.
He added that he was celebrating Saint Patrick's Day quietly at home.
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Listen to a Singing Severed Head at this BBC fun page on the Celts of Wales that displays an appreciation for blue body paint.
Given my taste for the allegorical, I admire the Dingbat, the vestigial drawing from the nameplate of the old New York Herald Tribune that still appears atop the IHT. If I ever have my own paper, it's going to have a dingbat. (In more ways than one. – Ed.)
St. Patrick's Day I consider an anniversary, as it was on that holiday my wife and I first met. So in the beverage of choice on that particular occasion, I raise a toast to the day: Slainte!
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Thos Fitzpatrick is in veritable WHRB Orgy * mode with St. Patrick's Day films and recipes.
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At the Treaty negotiations in London, Lord Birkenhead remarked to Michael Collins: "I may have just signed my political death-warrant", whereupon Collins replied, "I may have signed my actual death-warrant". Nine months later the 31-year-old Collins was killed by one of his former comrades and Ireland lost one of the most dedicated and talented leaders in its history… The introduction to a website devoted to Michael Collins, "The Lost Leader."
A series on extinct creatures is running on the National Geographic Channel, and last night was the Irish Elk's turn. The beast's antlers must indeed have been fearsome in a fight, and they also would have made splendid solar panels or satellite dishes.
Here's the episode blurb:
Extinct: Irish Elk
Early detractors used the Irish elk to challenge Charles Darwin’s famed theory of evolution. If only “the fittest” survive, they posed, then what possible advantage could unwieldy 12-foot antlers provide? Too large to serve simply as defensive weapons, the evidence suggests that this characteristic developed to such an immense scale as a means to compete for and attract mates. Like the saber tooth, the Irish elk suffered at the end of the Ice Age. Ironically, as it got warmer in most other parts of the world, it got colder in Ireland, which decimated the Irish elk. For the fragmented populations, such as those whose remains scientists discovered just recently in Scotland, the elks’ large size and antlers became a detriment, and the topography of the British Isles kept the diminishing populations isolated from each other until they finally succumbed to extinction.
The episode airs again Saturday, March 13, at 2 p.m., Eastern Time. Do check the repeat times on the other episodes, too. Turns out the Dodo tasted horrible and wasn't eaten by sailors. And that Thylacine certainly could yawn. (Fat lot of good it did him.)
FOGG-ELLIOT Mr Charles Thurston. 'Fogg'. In white flannels and blazer. Educated at Durham School and Trinity Hall. President of the Cambridge University Boat Club. Which lost the 1894 Boat race. By Spy.
David Brooks had a pretty fantastic column today, saying that the squishy, therapeutic religion exemplified by Mitch Albom's "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" is more of a danger to American society than the muscular Christianity on display in Mel Gibson's movie. Brooks, who is Jewish, does not defend Gibson's film, but he does say that the narcissism and spiritual sloth that characterizes popular religion in America today corrodes public virtue. I wanted to shout, "Hallelujah!" when I finished that column. I was raised Methodist, and have passed through the Southern Baptist church and the Episcopal Church before I finally ended up in the Roman Catholic church 11 years ago. With the possible exception of the Southern Baptist church, I don't recall ever having heard any kind of Christianity preached that wasn't essentially a spiritualized gloss on Dr. Phil-ism. The happy exceptions are so rare I'd sooner expect to find rashers of bacon in the Riyadh IHOP than hear something substantive and challenging.
WARNING: Most of the analysis and reporting you are now reading, watching and hearing about the presidential race is wrong — and it will continue to be wrong.
On the three major issues of year — the War on Terror, the economy and now gay marriage — the political press in the United States is opposed to President Bush's stances and opinions. Not just opposed, but passionately opposed in almost every particular and with lock-step unanimity. That opposition is leaching into the coverage of the race and making it almost impossible for readers and viewers to draw an accurate picture of the current state of political play.
Let's start with gay marriage. Reporters and editors and producers don't just favor gay marriage; they don't work with or socialize with anybody who opposes gay marriage. They might have a relative or two who does, but who listens to relatives? (Via ELC)
Will his arrival in Worcester bring hope for a wider application of the Indult in Central Massachusetts?
The Latin Mass tradition at Holy Name in Providence was spotlighted this past weekend in the Providence Journal (free registration required):
No matter what one's position is on the old Tridentine Mass, one thing is clear: the Mass that many Catholics thought had gone out of existence in the wake of Vatican II has been back, and back for a long time, at Holy Name of Jesus Church on Camp Street on the city's East Side.
"Introibo ad altare Dei. Ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meam . . . . I will go to the altar of God. The God of my gladness and joy."
While it's true that the Tridentine rite has begun to fade from Catholics' collective memory -- since most younger Catholics weren't even born yet when the rite was replaced -- a small but growing cadre of believers has come on the scene convinced that the Latin Mass is not only good for their own souls, but that it can help others as well.
They were among the more than 500 people who turned out last week for a special celebration of the Latin Mass at Holy Name. Though the traditional rite has been celebrated every Sunday at 11 a.m. for all of the last 10 years, parishioners pulled out all stops for this celebration since it marked the 10th anniversary of the official return of the Tridentine Mass to Rhode Island.
There were the bells and the incense, of course, and the worshipers kneeling at the altar rail to receive communion. But more than that, this was to a liturgy unlike any other celebrated in Rhode Island in at last 40 years: a Pontifical Solemn Mass at the Faldstool, celebrated by Bishop James C. Timlin, the recently retired bishop of Scranton, Pa., and a longtime supporter of the Latin Mass.
If only celebrities would, in Laura Ingraham's words, just shut up and sing. Religion, sex and politics muddle appreciation of an actor's craft. Espousing Scientology marks an actor as a Nitwit in my book. Ditto stridency in left-wing politics.
Perhaps if the show ever opens in Salem, Mass., they can pop around the corner afterward for a drink.
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Peggy Noonan on John Forbes Kerry: The good news about Mr. Kerry, and I mean this seriously, is he does not appear to be insane.
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Why do Democrats lose down South? Don't blame civil rights, says James Taranto.
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Fr Jim Tucker posts on John Kerry's regal bloodlines, which a correspondent traces to "counter-jumping German petty nobility," and on the NYC hookah crackdown, from which, one hopes, UN-posted pashas and satraps can claim diplomatic immunity.
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AMDG: Jesuit college basketball shines with undefeated St. Joe's ranked No. 1 and Gonzaga No. 3.
See also the Georgetown Basketball History Project. Send a Bob Cousy or Tom Heinsohn e-card at Holy Cross. Buy a Bill Russell-vintage University of San Francisco basketball jersey. And recall the '63 Loyola Chicago champs who overturned the "Gentlemen's Agreement" in college basketball. This Loyola Chicago sports history page links to a recording of the broadcaster's call as the Ramblers won the '63 NCAA title. And note the tribute to the Loyola El.
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Who knew? The Paulist Productions film company is headquartered in the old Thelma Todd café in which the Hollywood actress met her mysterious death in 1935.
Speaking of DOA: I caught the end of Judas, a production so over the top as to be funny, and which a commenter elsewhere, inspired by the depiction of the Savior as grunge pretty-boy, has nicknamed Hang 10 Christ. That was the bad warden from Shawshank Redemption playing Caiaphas, and best of all, Animal House's Tim Matheson as Pontius Pilate. If only the hysterical Mrs. Pilate had been played by Mrs. Dean Wormer.
The first stop would be the wardrobe department. The GOP is supposed to be the party of Brooks Brothers, but, frankly standards are slipping. Spiff up. Regular members should look decent. The paramilitary wing would be in crisp blue shirts and khaki trousers. The rest should be in blazers with button-downs and neck ties.
The second stop is the bar. Whatever happened to sipping martinis? You allowed too many of those evangelicals in the club. Ice tea is not fit for human consumption. At least when you were dominated by Anglitics, they had the basic decency to drink gin.
The third stop is the humidor. GOP politicians are supposed to smoke big cigars. Again, who let these evangelicals and Mormons in the club?
On this front, it should be noted that J. Press has a fine web page.
Go to the Gordon's Gin site, get past the sign-in by saying you're from the UK, and become mesmerized by the fizzing screensaver.
And if a pipe dispensation is allowed, the recommendations here are Black & Gold, Judge's Mixture and, of course, Cake Box.
The late Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a Democrat, was one of the nattiest dressers in public life, and on a hunt for an image of him in a bow-tie, I came across this fine tribute to him by an Alaska newspaper columnist.
The issue then wasn't gay marriage, but Mormon practices of polygamy and quickie 60-day divorces in Reno, Nev., says historian Kathleen Dalton, author of Theodore Roosevelt: A Strenuous Life.
"Roosevelt was a moralist who believed a lot of political questions had moral issues to them," Dalton said. She noted that Roosevelt was opposed to birth control and campaigned against divorce and in favor of public flogging of wife-beaters.
In his State of the Union address in 1906, Roosevelt urged Congress to tackle the marriage question, even though the federal government traditionally had left social matters to the states.
"I am well aware of how difficult it is to pass a constitutional amendment," Roosevelt told lawmakers.
"Nevertheless, in my judgment the whole question of marriage and divorce should be relegated to the authority of the national Congress ... and surely there is nothing so vitally essential to the welfare of the nation, nothing around which the nation should so bend itself to throw every safeguard, as the home life of the average citizen. The change would be good from every standpoint."
Dalton said Congress had little taste for the matter, and it soon died in committee.
More on the Roosevelt proposal to regulate marriage has been posted at the History News Network by TR biographer Dalton, herself a supporter of same-sex weddings.
Perhaps the best line on the whole same-sex marriage debate comes from Florence King:“I have a classically conservative take on gay marriage: I see no reason to mainstream a good old-fashioned perversion."
Two historic South Boston parishes targeted for closure: Is this a case of what's known in House of Cards as "putting a bit of stick about?" Is the chancery sending a message to the local parish councils that they better fish or cut bait on deciding which parishes to close – otherwise the two biggest, best-known and most politically-connected parishes will be the first to go?
Interesting to note that renovation costs are cited. Will traditional dollar-in-the-collection-basket parishioners have to start thinking of doing their own fundraising to keep some of these great but physically ailing churches going? How much of a factor has the Americans with Disabilities Act been in the prohibitive cost of renovating such landmarks?
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Have a problem to be solved? Violence in Ulster? Putting together a bid for the Red Sox? Disney stockholders rebelling? Need a respected world statesman to put a good face on things while lending needed gravitas?
Then Rent-a-George Mitchell is for you. One pictures the former Senate majority leader being wheeled from boardroom to boardroom by dolly.
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Famous politicos tend to keep a low profile in church, but an exception was the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who used to usher at Mass.
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Hilaire Belloc said: “If I had known there is no Latin word for tea, I would have left the vulgar stuff alone.
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Postaprint Ltd is not shipping at the moment, but their site has a wealth of Spy prints, woodcuts from the Illustrated London News, and antiquarian images in categories from otters to poets laureate. (Or is that poet laureates?)
[A]lthough “diversity” is the favorite mantra on campus today, strict political conformity is the reality.
Of course, political complexion is not measured only by party affiliation. Indeed, the fact that faculties on most American campuses are predominantly Democratic is perhaps less significant than their adherence to what one writer called “Left Eclecticism,” that intellectual goulash composed of varying bits of Marxism, feminism, racialism, deconstruction, post-colonialism, and other specimens of academic “theory.”
The triumph of Left Eclecticism means that campus “diversity” involves not only political but also intellectual conformity. For although Left Eclecticism comes in many modes and levels of toxicity, it revolves around a common core of attitudes. One unalterable tenet is that “everything is political”: that the traditional academic ideals of objectivity and disinterestedness are pernicious fictions and therefore that all academic pursuits can be, indeed must be, evaluated in political terms. This is why, for example, you so seldom see the word “truth” without scare quotes in academic writing these days. Truth is what the bourgeois hegemonists preach; any left-wing academic worth his salt rejects “truth” in favor of “‘truth,’” its epistemologically challenged but politically adaptable cousin.
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Hugh Hewitt's entertaining take on what he regards as the Silly Party in American politics put me in mind of Monty Python's Election Sketch:
Idle: (clears throat) Here is the result for Leicester. Arthur J. Smith...
Cleese: (Sensible Party)
Idle: ...30,612. (applause)
Jethro Q. Bunn Whackett Buzzard Stubble and Boot Walrustitty...
Cleese: (Silly Party)
Idle: ...33,108. (applause)
Cleese: Well there we have the first result of the election and the Silly
party has held Leicester. Norman.
Palin: Well pretty much as I predicted, except that the Silly party won. Er,
I think this is largely due to the number of votes cast. Gerald.
Chapman: Well there's a big swing here to the Silly Party, but how big a swing
I'm not going to tell you.
Palin: I think one should point out that in this constituency since the last
election a lot of very silly people have moved into new housing
estates with the result that a lot of sensible voters have moved
further down the road the other side of number er, 29.
Cleese: Well I can't add anything to that. Colin?
Idle: Can I just say that this is the first time I've been on television?
Cleese: No I'm sorry, there isn't time, we're just going straight over to
Chapman: Well here at Luton it's a three-cornered contest between, from left
to right, Alan Jones (Sensible Party), Tarquin Fintimlinbinwhinbimlim
Bus Stop Poontang Poontang Ole Biscuit-Barrel (Silly Party), and
Kevin Phillips Bong, who is running on the Slightly Silly ticket.
And here's the result.
Woman: Alan Jones...
Kevin Phillips Bong...
Cleese: (Slightly Silly)
Tarquin Fintimlinbinwhinbimlim Bus Stop Poontang Poontang Ole
Woman: 12,441. (applause)
Cleese: Well there you have it, the first result of the election as the Silly
Party take Luton. Norman.
Palin: Well this is a very significant result. Luton, normally a very
sensible constituency with a high proportion of people who aren't a
bit silly, has gone completely ga-ga.
Meantime, John Kerry of the Naushon Island and Louisburg Square Heinz Forbes Kerrys has discovered the black man inside him struggling to get out. (Via Sal Ravilla)