Formerly Ad Orientem

"Irish Elk is original, entertaining, eclectic, odd, truly one-of-a-kind. And more than mostly interesting."
Amy Kane

"Puts the 'ent' in 'eccentric.'"

"The Gatling Gun of Courteous Debate."
Unitarian Jihad

"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.

News & Ideas
Real Clear Politics
Daily Telegraph
Washington Post
Pajamas Media
American Digest
Little Green Footballs
National Review
The New Republic
The Corner
Opinion Journal
Best of the Web Today
Lileks: The Bleat
Mark Steyn
Midwest Conservative Journal
The Spectator
Atlantic Monthly
Front Page Magazine
Critical Mass
Weekly Standard
Power Line
Llama Butchers
The Onion
Conservative Home
Tory Diary
Henry Jackson Society
Naked Villainy
Fear & Loathing in Georgetown
Commentary: Contentions
The People's Cube

Culture & the Arts
Times Archive Blog
Spectator Book Club
Zajrzyj tu
Terry Teachout
Elliott Banfield
Today in History
Telegraph Obits
Maureen Mullarkey
City Journal
The Historical Society
The New Criterion
American Memory
Wodehouse Society
Hat Sharpening
Doubting Hall
Random Pensées
Hatemonger's Quarterly
Patum Peperium
Forgotten NY
NYPL Digital Gallery
Mid-Manhattan Library
BPL Online Prints
Cigar Store Figures
Scuffulans Hirsutus
Poetry Hut
Spinning Clio
Ye Olde Evening Telegraph
Atlantic Ave.
The Monarchist
Dr. Boli's Celebrated Magazine
The Port Stands At Your Elbow
Sven in Colorado
Dickens Blog
Feast of Nemesis

Red Hot Jazz Archive 'Perfessor' Bill's Ragtime
Arhoolie Records
Sinner's Crossroads
Riverwalk Jazz
Steamboat Calliopes
Cajun Music mp3
Old Hat Records
Virtual Victrola

Touching All the Bases
SABR Baseball Bios
Baseball Fever: Teams of Yesteryear
Boston Sports Temples
Philadelphia A's
Elysian Fields Quarterly
Mudville Magazine
US College Hockey Online
Baseball Reliquary
Sons of Sam Horn
Smoky Joe Wood & More
WaPo DC Baseball
Royal Rooters
Baseball Library
H-Y Football Gallery
Shoeless Joe

Cops in Kilts
Irish Eagle
Slugger O'Toole
Tallrite Blog
Irish Echo
Edmund Burke Society
Wild Geese Today

Theodore Roosevelt
Winston Churchill
Louis Armstrong
H.L. Mencken

St. Blog's Sampling
New Liturgical Movement
Damian Thompson
First Things
Mere Comments
Andrew Cusack
The Revealer
E. L. Core
Catholic Light
Thomas Fitzpatrick
Inn at the End of the World
Dale Price
Curt Jester
Domenico Bettinelli
Erik's Rants and Recipes
Shrine of the Holy Whapping
Todd Flowerday
Some Have Hats
Daniel Mitsui
Roman Miscellany
Against the Grain
Summa Minutiae
Digital Hairshirt


Truth Laid Bear Ecosystem

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.

Irish Elk - Blogged


05/01/2002 - 06/01/2002 06/01/2002 - 07/01/2002 07/01/2002 - 08/01/2002 08/01/2002 - 09/01/2002 09/01/2002 - 10/01/2002 10/01/2002 - 11/01/2002 11/01/2002 - 12/01/2002 12/01/2002 - 01/01/2003 01/01/2003 - 02/01/2003 02/01/2003 - 03/01/2003 03/01/2003 - 04/01/2003 04/01/2003 - 05/01/2003 05/01/2003 - 06/01/2003 06/01/2003 - 07/01/2003 07/01/2003 - 08/01/2003 08/01/2003 - 09/01/2003 09/01/2003 - 10/01/2003 10/01/2003 - 11/01/2003 11/01/2003 - 12/01/2003 12/01/2003 - 01/01/2004 01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004 02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004 03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004 04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004 05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004 06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004 07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004 08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004 09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004 10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004 11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004 12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005 01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005 02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005 03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005 04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005 05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005 06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005 07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005 08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005 09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005 10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005 11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005 12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006 01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006 02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006 03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006 04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006 05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006 06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006 07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006 08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006 09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006 10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006 11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006 12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007 01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007 02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007 03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007 04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007 05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007 06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007 07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007 08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007 09/01/2007 - 10/01/2007 10/01/2007 - 11/01/2007 11/01/2007 - 12/01/2007 12/01/2007 - 01/01/2008 01/01/2008 - 02/01/2008 02/01/2008 - 03/01/2008 03/01/2008 - 04/01/2008 04/01/2008 - 05/01/2008 05/01/2008 - 06/01/2008 06/01/2008 - 07/01/2008 07/01/2008 - 08/01/2008 08/01/2008 - 09/01/2008 09/01/2008 - 10/01/2008 10/01/2008 - 11/01/2008 11/01/2008 - 12/01/2008 12/01/2008 - 01/01/2009 01/01/2009 - 02/01/2009 02/01/2009 - 03/01/2009 03/01/2009 - 04/01/2009 04/01/2009 - 05/01/2009 05/01/2009 - 06/01/2009 06/01/2009 - 07/01/2009 07/01/2009 - 08/01/2009 08/01/2009 - 09/01/2009 09/01/2009 - 10/01/2009 10/01/2009 - 11/01/2009 11/01/2009 - 12/01/2009 12/01/2009 - 01/01/2010 01/01/2010 - 02/01/2010

Irish Elk
Thursday, July 31, 2003  

Hands up! Hands up!
Everybody, hands up!
Get out and do that hold-up rag!

(From "The Hold Up Rag" (1912), featured in the 1931 Betty Boop cartoon Bum Bandit.)

Thought of that song when I saw the photo above, from a Life Teen Mass at Blessed Sacrament Church in Harrisonburg, Va.

Some other shots from the teen rite: Let's all galumph about the altar during the Gathering of the Teens * Ahoy! The Eucharist Ahoy! * Working the room before the next number * There's a lot of love in the house

Visited the parish's web site after reading an article linked by Tom Fitzpatrick describing a Mass at which the celebrant delivered his sermon with the aid of a Winnie the Pooh hand-puppet. The church isn't identified in the article, but the author is said to be from Harrisonburg, Va., and Blessed Sacrament is the one Catholic parish in that town, according to the diocese. That would be the Richmond Diocese, home to the colorful Fr. Quinlan.


On the Turntable: "Tiger Man (King of the Jungle)" and "Bear Cat (The Answer to Hound Dog)," by Rufus Thomas Jr., on Sun Records: 25 Blues Classics. Sam Phillips, R.I.P.


Lovin' Spoonjob

If preeminent chronicler of the Anglican crackup Christopher Johnson hasn't yet canceled his subscription to the Washington Diocese he will have noted the baptism announcement with photo that ran on page 5 of the May issue (PDF) of the D.C. Episcopal house organ.

The picture shows a woman cleric in vestments holding a baby by a baptismal font. She is accompanied by another woman and, in the background, a male priest who appears to be straightening his French cuffs after the ceremony. The accompanying text:

Baby, rubber duck take a dip in the font

Richard James "Jamie" Hamlett Gilson, 7 months, enjoys a bottle after his March 2 baptism at Christ Church, Washington, D.C. Jamie is the son of the Rev. Judith Davis, rector of Christ Church, and Anne Bathurst Gilson, at left, Christ Church's associate for program and administration. Bishop John Bryson Chane, at right, and his wife, Karen, are Jamie's new godparents.

And yes, a rubber duckie floats in the font.

Meantime, page 3 of the paper features a picture of Bishop Chane from the 1960s when he was a drummer with a band called the Spoonjobs.

(Via the CWN blog)


Confessions of an anti-sanctions activist: A former member of Voices in the Wilderness describes how he and others in the Catholic war-resistance movement peddled the Saddam line on Iraq while deliberately keeping quiet on human-rights abuses there, all in the name of a utopian vision of peace animated by an unyielding opposition to US foreign policy. It's a timely read in the wake of the missile silo nuns (wonder how those spacesuits will look in prison orange?) and given the prominence the anti-sanctions position was accorded by Church leaders. (Via Damian Penny by way of Instapundit)


What's right with the Jesuits? The Shrine of the Holy Whapping starts an open blog on all the good the Society has done, in honor of the Feast of St. Ignatius (July 31). Contributions welcomed. And while there, see the outstanding post on sanctus bells (July 29).


Lights, camera, Marxism! Screenwriter Barbara Nicolosi's take on film-school leftism sparks a retort from a grad film student fully vested in the system (and to whom W equals Stalin and Hitler, natch). A lively commentary ensues. See also the rumination on Fargo.


Wednesday, July 30, 2003  


"Archbishop Sean": The Globe has an extensive package of coverage on the new archbishop, while AP has a video report. Yahoo has a photo roundup. New England Cable News has clips from today's installation ceremony, and Channel 7, video of the homily. Local commentary is provided by Tom Fitzpatrick, who applauds today's sermon and wishes the new prelate the best, but isn't too keen on the "Call Me Archbishop Sean" aspect.

Random observations: It was an impressive assemblage, and the new archbishop appears to have hit the right notes. Majestic it wasn't intended to be – and it wasn't. The thought did occur that having a universal language of worship like Latin would eliminate the perceived need to offer readings and intercessory prayers in languages ranging from Creek Indian to Urdu. One wonders what value sign-language interpretation at the front of the church has for any deaf worshipers seated at the back. The "Celtic Alleluia" can be retired now, thank you very much. And oh, for the sight of a fiddleback chasuble, or a classic sense, appropriate to the occasion, of ceremonial.

On the plus side, some of the kooks holding signs were welcoming. And the question of the day: Did they go to communion or not?

Went looking for historic procession pictures, and found the photo above, from Chicago in 1902, in the Catholic category of the Library of Congress' Chicago Daily News collection of early 20th-century photographs. See also Novena Cures and the Mass for the late King of Portugal.


Meantime, how about those Red Sox?


It's Mueller time as the Sox' third-baseman sets a slugging mark, while the Sox beef up the bullpen for the stretch run. Steinbrenner chafes, while 29-year-old GM Theo Epstein is the toast of the Sons of Sam Horn.

And in Lowell, they're giving away Jack Kerouac bobbleheads.


Monday, July 28, 2003  

It helps to have the obit in the can: The Smoking Gun's archive of CNN's pre-conceived obituaries for VIPs includes this one for Bob Hope.

And, voila! Here's today's Hope obit at CNN.

UPDATE: See the story from this past April on how the obit mock-ups inadvertently were made public.

(Hat tip to Hal M.)


Play clips from Dorothy Lamour: Thanks for the Memories: The Brunswick Recordings


Have you anything in a limp wrist corsage? See prom photos from the Harvey Milk School. Is this Ab Fab reveler a student or one of the chaperones?


The sad man behind Chief Wahoo's grin

The tragic Louis Sockalexis, a Penobscot of Jim Thorpe-like skills for whom the Cleveland Indians are said to have been named, is recalled in a column in the Portland Press-Herald that quotes a contemporary newspaper's hyperbolic account of the Indian's prowess.

Then up to the plate stepped Sockalexis, with the odor of the forest . . . with the curling smoke of wigwams, with the rushing of great rivers; strong of arm was Sockalexis, he could throw 10 baseballs upward, throw them with such strength and swiftness that the 10th ball left his right arm ere the first to earth had fallen.

The Baseball Reliquary has a Sockalexis bio as well as pictures of a shrine to his memory. Meantime, the Buffalo Head Society considers the Sockalexis legacy in "Wahooism in the USA" and "Wahooism Revisited."

Sockalexis is also claimed by Holy Cross and Notre Dame.

Brian McDonald has penned a book on the sad man behind the grinning Chief Wahoo.

So has David Fleitz, whose article on oldest living ballplayers extends happy birthday wishes to Negro League star Ted "Double Duty" Radcliffe, 101 on July 7.

As it happens, the late Bob Hope was once a minority owner of the Cleveland Indians, who pay a tribute to the late comedian at the team site.

Meantime, in other Maine news: The Portland Diocese in Maine marked its sesquicentennial with a Mass honoring the local Church's Indian roots.


Quote of the Day

''They told me, 'If it came to a choice between getting Saddam Hussein or beating the Yankees, we'd take beating the Yankees.' I think they were kidding.'' Yankee manager Joe Torre, recounting a conversation with a couple on the elevator at Boston's Ritz-Carlton this past weekend.

The Sox took two of three of three from the Yanks at Fenway. And there was much rejoicing. See a Sox slideshow.


Friday, July 25, 2003  
The year the Sox beat the Yanks

Opening Day, Boston, 1904, from American League: The Early Years

As the Yankees and Red Sox renew their rivalry this weekend at Fenway Park, a New England fan might look beyond years of Pinstriped heartbreak to the very first time Boston (AL) and New York (AL) fought for first – and Boston won.

On Oct. 10, 1904, last day of the season, the then-Boston Pilgrims entered a doubleheader against the then-New York Highlanders needing a split for the pennant, and got it when New York gave them the first game on a ninth-inning wild pitch.

(That was as far as the Bostons went that year: No World Series was held because the NL champion NY Giants refused to play.)

The Red Sox didn't fare so well 45 years later when they entered Yankee Stadium needing one win in the final two games of the season for the pennant, a tragic tale artfully told by David Halberstam in The Summer of '49.

Meantime, see web sites devoted to the spitballer with one of the best names in baseball history, and to perhaps the most unsavory Yankee of them all.


Listen: The Base Ball Glide, performed by Perfessor Bill.


Bay State governor seeks jail time for Boston Church leaders: Mitt Romney wants criminal indictments brought against Cardinal Law et al.


He ain't heavy, he's my candidate

If Dennis Kucinich is such a strict vegetarian, how come his congressional website links to the Sausage Shoppe? What would the swami-endorsed Kucinich's presumptive supporters at the Peace Abbey say?

It says something about the current Democratic presidential field that Kucinich doesn't win the title of Oddest Character. Not even Al Sharpton does. That distinction goes to the obsessive-compulsive Sen. Bob Graham, meticulous keeper of notes.


Shrine of the Holy Whapping: Inspired name, fine posts on art, architecture and the Saint (the secret agent version), and they don't take themselves too seriously: What more could you want?


A blog in Latin? Fr. Jim Tucker may start one.


In the News: Since 9.11: Charles Krauthammer gives a progress report * An inscription commemorating Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech is to be placed at the Lincoln Memorial * A flashmob is coming to Harvard Square * Victor Davis Hanson: Don't listen to the latest groupspeak on Iraq * Fleeing Cubans sail to US in '51 Chevy


Today's publishing industry is more characterized by conglomerates and corporate sharks than tweedy Yankees in bowties, according to this New York Times article. ''When I started in publishing, in 1946,'' Roger Straus of Farrar, Straus & Giroux recalled, ''it was a very different business. It was a profession for gentlemen, and they weren't running their businesses for large profits. They were interested in good literature. Now, the goal is to get larger. The easiest way to increase the look of your balance sheet is to buy another company.''


Thursday, July 24, 2003  

Rome, 7.23.03


"The greatest tragedy to befall children – ever" in Massachusetts

The Reilly Report: Scathing.

[Attorney General Thomas Reilly], in releasing the report on a 16-month investigation, said that, over six decades, at least 237 priests and 13 other church employees were accused of molesting at least 789 minors. Reilly said the actual number of victims may be much higher, and probably exceeds 1,000.

But Reilly said that, though he wished it were otherwise, he could find no criminal statute under which he could prosecute church leaders, including Cardinal Bernard F. Law. Nonetheless, he concluded that Law, his two predecessors as archbishop, and numerous subordinate bishops facilitated the years of abuse, protecting priests time and again while leaving children vulnerable.

''The mistreatment of children was so massive and so prolonged that it borders on the unbelievable,'' Reilly said. Church leaders, he said, ''in effect, sacrificed children for many, many years.''

Keep an eye on Tom Reilly: He was able to deliver a withering indictment of the Church without issuing a formal indictment against any Church leader, as a result looking tough and resolute without his actually having had to slap the cuffs on the Cardinal. Look for him to figure in the Democratic gubernatorial sweepstakes.


The Laodicean Communion: Christopher Johnson, in a powerful piece at Midwest Conservative Journal July 23, mulls leaving an Anglican Communion cracking-up over a lack of common agreement or integrity on core beliefs. At a time many might naturally look to Rome, it is a shame this so undercuts the appeal of swimming the Tiber.


Trophy fishing: With the news that Judge Bork has become the latest convert to be bagged by Opus Dei big-game hunter Fr. McCloskey (second item), see the two-part series (I and II) that ran in the Harvard Crimson magazine in April on Opus Dei as Ivy League fishers of men.

Fr. McCloskey's not-uncontroversial chaplaincy at Princeton is described in an extensive article on the group that ran – with Opus Dei response – in the Jesuit magazine America in 1995.

The Wall Street Journal in June ran a remarkable article on another McCloskey catch: a lawyer indicted in the Tyco corporate scandal who gave millions from an alleged illegal windfall to Opus Dei after having converted, under McCloskey's guidance, from Judaism to Catholicism without telling his wife or family. Frankly, the story reads like something out of the annals of Scientology.

Opus Dei material?


"We will have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us." Golda Meir

Northern Gaza Strip, 7.24.03

More images: Kissing the old terrorist * Scene from summer camp * A boy and his rocket-launcher * A boy and his machine gun * Religious formation * More boys and their machine guns

The indoctrination of Palestinian children to seek martyrdom has been chronicled by Palestinian Media Watch in a documentary video, "Ask for Death!" (Via LGF)


Kucinich in Dreamland: Blog postings like this show the Kucinich campaign is beyond parody. My Country 'Tis of We?

Kucinich's proposed "Department of Peace," Illinois columnist Chuck Sweeny writes, goes beyond loony:

His description of its mission sounds frighteningly Orwellian, or, if you like, Ashcroftian:

The department would “make war archaic through creating a paradigm shift in our culture for human development, for economic and political justice, and for violence control. Its work in violence control will be to support disarmament, treaties, peaceful coexistence and peaceful consensus building. Its focus on economic and political justice will examine and enhance resource distribution, human and economic rights, and strengthen democratic values.”

So much for defense contractors like Hamilton Sundstrand. Under Kucinich, the Air Force would be reduced to one turboprop: The Jefferson Airplane.

IT GETS EVEN scarier. Kucinich also will be coming into your neighborhood, and your home, to your lounge chair, to mend, then mind your behavior:

“Domestically, the Department of Peace would address violence in the home, spousal abuse, child abuse, gangs, police-community relations conflicts and work with individuals and groups to achieve changes in attitudes that examine the mythologies of cherished worldviews, such as ‘violence is inevitable’ or ‘war is inevitable.’”

This sounds like the “Dream Police” that Cheap Trick warned us about. And this is from the guy who says he’ll dismantle the Patriot Act “to regain for all Americans the sacred right to privacy ...” In Kucinichworld, privacy means the right to think thoughts approved by the Department of Peace.

In other news from Dreamland, Kucinich has denied sleeping through Tony Blair's recent speech to Congress.


A mention of 'cheese-eating surrender monkeys' in a post-Bastille Day column has resulted in Blogger's running cheese ads atop Tom Fitzpatrick's site. Quel fromage! Thus inspired: a link to Monty Python's Cheese Shop Sketch.


A worthy successor to Pat Patriot: UMass gets its new Minuteman logo right. (Via Bettnet.com)


Wednesday, July 23, 2003  

From Goldilocks and the Three Bears, by L. Leslie Brooke.

Of Hobyahs and a dumbed-down 'Johnny Crow's Garden': A lover of classic illustrated children's stories lodges a protest. Elsewhere, see a number of fairy-tale illustrations by L. Leslie Brooke, who did Johnny Crow's Garden.


Zulu Cannibal Giants, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you: Clowning in the Negro Leagues: Disgrace, or honorable tradition? Plus: A defense of Dusty Baker: Does anyone really think an Eskimo would perform as well in Wrigley Field in July as someone of African ancestry who has spent all but a speck of his evolutionary history along the equator?


Strange Fruit: Interesting documentary on PBS last night on the anti-lynching song made famous by Billie Holiday, and penned by a radical schoolteacher who with his wife adopted the Rosenbergs' sons. Compelling subject matter, but the presentation was an exercise in Old Leftist hagiography: the Seegerista spin certainly isn't the last word, even if it is presented as such in the college classes that will be watching this show for credit. (For example, if protesting the system got you called a Red, as the Old Lefties disingenuously whine, maybe it was because so many of them were indeed Reds.) "Independent film on PBS" shouldn't necessarily equal propaganda. Wouldn't the story be just as powerful played straight?

Hear a clip of "Strange Fruit" at the Billie Holiday page of the Ken Burns Jazz series website.

Speaking of PBS and history, I've been enjoying the History Detectives program, in which historical investigators track down whether a family heirloom sword was indeed once owned by Napoleon, or determine whether a wooden house in Salem actually dates to the Witch Trials by gauging the age of nearby trees. But the race-class-and-gender leanings of the modern historical profession are evident: I've seen two episodes on slave history in two weeks. And in a recent investigation into the provenance of a whimsical 1890s jigsaw puzzle depicting Gibson-like girls playing tackle football, the appraiser was bent on reading a suffragist statement in the piece upon learning the maker was an unmarried Boston woman. Couldn't the lady have just liked the picture?


The Boston Globe goes looking for political bloggers: And turns up liberal Democrats and Dean supporters. Fancy that.

Venerable Boston journalist-turned-blogger David Farrell calls the Globe on its politicized coverage.

Although the Boston Globe's on-going campaign to discredit President Bush on a daily basis may delude and satisfy the papers' owners in New York as well as the liberal establishment in Greater Boston academia, the anti-Bush vapors coming out of Morrissey Boulevard are befitting the old M. Doyle dump site on which the Globe sits.

The best illustration so far this week of the newspapers's apparent Get-Bush policy was Robert Kuttner's Op Ed piece yesterday: "The Press Gives Bush A Free Ride On His Lies" which was laughable per se. The column by Kuttner, a regular columnist on the Op Ed pages, consumed 40 per cent of the page.

Opposite it on the Editorial page, there was the usual Wasserman cartoon jabbing Bush as well as the lead editorial and a couple of long letters critical of the President. Wasserman's ridicule of the Bush was followed up today with another effort, accompanied by the lead editorial on Bush's alleged delusions about North Korea.

One could go on and on with example after example from the Globe's "news" pages of the campaign to destroy Bush and how obvious and real it is. In a period of increasing media competition for the public's attention, the last thing the Globe needs is an erosion of confidence in its daily offerings.


In Modern Times, Chaplin finally speaks – in pseudo-Germanic gibberish.

It's as if the prescient Little Tramp saw ahead to today's Postmodern Times, when the language of scholar has become incomprehensible babble, as the National Post's Robert Fulford observes:

The perpetrators are by no means obscure hacks beavering away in the remote suburbs of academe. Dutton quotes Paul H. Fry, professor of English at Yale. He finds this in Fry's A Defense of Poetry: "It is the moment of non-construction, disclosing the absentation of actuality from the concept in part through its invitation to emphasize, in reading, the helplessness -- rather than the will to power -- of its fall into conceptuality."

Readers may imagine (as Dutton says) that they are too ignorant to understand "the absentation of actuality." Academic theorists take advantage of the innocent reader's natural humility. In this case, Dutton suggests: "The writing is intended to look as though Mr. Fry is a physicist struggling to make clear the Copenhagen interpretation of Quantum Mechanics. Of course, he's just an English professor showing off."

Mass culture now attracts the most bizarre theorizing. When moviemakers changed James Bond's brand of vodka, Aaron Jaffe of the University of Louisville wrote that this "carries a metaphorical chain of deterritorialized signifiers, repackaged up and down a paradigmatic axis of associations."
(Via E. L. Core)

You, too, can write this stuff, with the help of the Postmodernism Generator. Hit refresh to create a new document of densely garbled and incoherent prose sure to impress your dissertation advisor.

At least when modern-day vaudevillian Alex the Jester talks tongue-twisting gibberish in his act, he's up-front about speaking nonsense.

Academics, by contrast, can be pretentious about it. Take this paper on the "Social-Pataphysiology of the Tongue" by a budding sociologist who goes so far as to render his name all in small-caps: Postmodern deconstruction brought to you by e. e. cummings. (Imagine what the writer will do with this headline. Keep an eye on the scholarly journals.)


Tuesday, July 22, 2003  
Gonna miss President Roosevelt

Mourning FDR, 1945, Ed Clark, Life.

The eclectic Erik Keilholtz, publicity director for Arhoolie Records, points us to this collection of traditional sacred African-American steel guitar music that includes a tribute to FDR, "Franklin D. Roosevelt, a Poor Man's Friend."

FDR was beloved by bluesmen: His place in the hearts of African-Americans is reflected in the dozens of blues and gospel songs that invoke his memory, a phenomenon described by a Dutch scholar in the book Roosevelt's Blues.

Listen to a clip and see the lyrics of Big Joe Williams' tribute to the late president, "His Spirit Lives On."

Well you know that President Roosevelt he was awful fine,
He helped the crippled boys and he almost healed the blind,
Oh yes, gonna miss President Roosevelt.
Well he’s gone, he’s gone, but his spirit always 'll on.
He traveled out East, he traveled to the West,
But of all the Presidents, President Roosevelt was the best,
Oh yes, gonna miss [etc.]
Well now he traveled by land and he traveled by sea,
He helped the United States boys, and he also helped Chinese,
Oh yes, gonna miss [etc.]
President Roosevelt went to Georgia boy, and he ride around and
round, (twice)
I guess he imagined he seen that Pale Horse when they was trailin' him
Oh yes, gonna miss [etc.]
Well now the rooster told the hen "I want to crow,
You know President Roosevelt has gone, can’t live in this shack no
Oh yes, we’re gonna miss President Roosevelt,
Well he’s gone, he’s gone, but his spirit always’ll live on.

I include the image below because you'd be surprised how relatively difficult it's become to find an image on the Web of FDR with his trademark cigarette holder. A Google search turns up plenty of copies of a photo of him in a wheelchair (one of only two known to exist), as well as images of a Washington statue of him in a wheelchair. Given the lengths to which Roosevelt went to conceal his handicap and prevent his depiction in a wheelchair, this seems not right, almost a posthumous invasion of privacy. Meantime, the cigarette's out at his DC memorial. Here's hoping the anti-pince-nez lobby, if there is one, never gets custody of the old boy's memory.

Blues inspiration: Hyde Park meets the Delta


FDR, Churchill, JFK, Tony Blair: The British PM's recent speech to a joint session of Congress was that good.

Members of Congress, if this seems a long way from the threat of terror and weapons of mass destruction, it is only to say again that the world's security cannot be protected without the world's heart being won. So America must listen as well as lead. But, members of Congress, don't ever apologize for your values. (Applause.) Tell the world why you're proud of America. Tell them when "The Star-Spangled Banner" starts, Americans get to their feet -- Hispanics, Irish, Italians, Central Europeans, East Europeans, Jews, Muslims, white, Asian, black, those who go back to the early settlers, and those whose English is the same as some New York cab drivers I've dealt with -- (laughter) -- but whose sons and daughters could run for this Congress. Tell them why Americans, one and all, stand upright and respectful. Not because some state official told them to, but because whatever race, color, class or creed they are, being American means being free. That's why they're proud. (Cheers, sustained applause.)

As Britain knows, all predominant power seems for a time invincible, but in fact, it is transient. The question is, what do you leave behind? And what you can bequeath to this anxious world is the light of liberty. That is what this struggle against terrorist groups or states is about. We're not fighting for domination. We're not fighting for an American world, though we want a world in which America is at ease. We're not fighting for Christianity, but against religious fanaticism of all kinds. And this is not a war of civilizations, because each civilization has a unique capacity to enrich the stock of human heritage. We are fighting for the inalienable right of humankind -- black or white; Christian or not; left, right or merely indifferent -- to be free -- free to raise a family in love and hope; free to earn a living and be rewarded by your own efforts; free not to bend your knee to any man in fear; free to be you, so long as being you does not impair the freedom of others.

That's what we're fighting for, and it's a battle worth fighting. And I know it's hard on America. And in some small corner of this vast country, out in Nevada or Idaho or these places I've never been to but always wanted to go -- (laughter) -- I know out there, there's a guy getting on with his life, perfectly happily, minding his own business, saying to you, the political leaders of this country, "Why me, and why us, and why America?" And the only answer is because destiny put you in this place in history in this moment in time, and the task is yours to do. (Sustained applause.)

And our job -- my nation, that watched you grow, that you fought alongside and now fights alongside you, that takes enormous pride in our alliance and great affection in our common bond -- our job is to be there with you. You're not going to be alone. We will be with you in this fight for liberty. (Sustained applause.)

We will be with you in this fight for liberty. And if our spirit is right and our courage firm, the world will be with us.

Blair makes with surpassing eloquence the Anglo-American case – the case liberals, old-fashioned true liberals, should embrace, but which the Left dismisses, with sneering contempt for Bush's supposed stupidity and inarticulate speaking style. Well, this is the case made articulately.

UPDATE: Uday and Qusay meet their maker * Jessica Lynch comes home


The crack of the bat, the roar of the crowd, the gush of the neon geyser

The White Fuel sign: Gone but not forgotten

The late lamented neon counterpart to the Citgo sign in Boston's Kenmore Square once lit up the night with a blinking gusher that was a familiar sight beyond Fenway Park's Green Monster.

A literate tribute to its landmark Citgo neighbor notes the 1970s oil crisis turned off the White Fuel derrick for good:

The [Citgo] sign's smaller fraternal twin in Kenmore Square, an illuminated billboard advertising the White Fuel Company, didn't survive the era. Atop the Westminister Hotel building at the southwestern end of the square, this green, circular affair featured an oil derrick shooting forth a luminescent gush. Its direct visual connection to fossil fuel (like Sinclair Oil's brontosaurus logo) probably didn't help its cause.

An image of the lost icon is posted in tribute to today's column by the Globe's Kevin Paul Dupont, the gifted hockey writer who has a native Bostonian's keen appreciation of Fenway tradition and writes like a dream, and according to whom I am eligible for AARP membership. Some excerpts:

* Whatever it costs, the former Fenway usher in me says John W. Henry and friends would do Sox fans a favor to open the ballyard at least 2 1/2 hours before first pitch. Batting practice is something special. Sitting in an empty Fenway, even just to meditate on a fading sunny afternoon, is also something special.

* Johnny Damon in cornrows one day, Kevin Millar the next. These are the moments we really miss the sharp eye, and sharper tongue, of Ted Williams.

* If you're old enough to remember the old Buck Printing sign beyond the center-field bleachers, may I be among the first to congratulate you on your recent AARP membership.

* Trot Nixon wears those Red Sox the way they should be worn.

* Little was right on the money the other day when he surmised that the gruff ways of Dick Williams probably wouldn't play well in 2003. The overall dishevelment of Ramirez's uniform alone would have had Williams assessing fines and ordering suspensions. But it sure would be nice to see the 2003 station-to-station Sox execute a double steal, wouldn't it? Not everything has grown old 36 years later.

* Serenity is the look of Luis Tiant puffing on one of his cigars. If Fidel Castro ever allowed a Cuban version of Monopoly, they'd have to have El Tiante pose, stogie in hand, as the caricature on the Chance and Community Chest cards.

* Once or twice a summer, before the gates open, I make a point of sitting in the Section 25 grandstand seats, where I watched my first Red Sox game with my father in 1962. Not quite the same as dropping a geranium on his tombstone every Memorial Day, but I know Mel would prefer the thought from third base. He liked to see the runner round third for home. Best seat in the house, he said. Like most things, he was right.

Another who hearkens to the mystic chords of baseball memory is Providence Journal editorial writer David A. Mittell Jr., who reminisces on years of Red Sox fandom:

I came to this bittersweet affliction through my grandfather Carl Mittell, who fervently followed the Red Sox their first 60 years. I recall listening to a game on the radio on his porch in Jamaica Plain, when a man and a boy walked by. Solemn nods were exchanged. After they had passed, Carl cupped his hand to his mouth and whispered, "They're Braves fans." A different religion.

By 1962, Carl was 82 and hadn't been well. These were his last words to my father: "Dave, I've decided I'm going to live five more years, and for three reasons. The first is that I haven't got my grandchildren quite where I want them, and in five years I think I can do something about it. The second is that Pope John XXIII is the greatest man in my lifetime, and I want to see what he can do in another five years. But the biggest reason is the Red Sox finally fired that G-- d--- Pinky Higgins, and in five years they may win a pennant!"

"That's great, Carl," my father said. "I'll see you tomorrow." He would not.

But Carl had passed this bittersweet affliction along with a noble thought, and a pennant in 1967.


Around the Horn: Meet the official keeper of the Citgo Sign * Fenway Park grades well for nostalgia in ESPN's ballpark ratings * Nice to see a story on the Green Monster in the International Herald Tribune, the paper I remember scanning daily for baseball box-scores on a childhood trip to Europe * A Worcester Telegram & Gazette photo essay captures an evening with the Lowell Spinners minor-league team.


This year's Bulwer-Lytton Prize has been awarded. The winner, for Worst First Sentence of an Imaginary Novel: "They had but one last remaining night together, so they embraced each other as tightly as that two-flavour entwined string cheese that is orange and yellowish-white, the orange probably being a bland Cheddar and the white ... Mozzarella, although it could possibly be Provolone or just plain American, as it really doesn't taste distinctly dissimilar from the orange, yet they would have you believe it does by colouring it differently."


On the Turntable: "Hawaiian Capers," by King Nawahi's Hawaiians, from the catalogue at Yazoo Records.


Friday, July 18, 2003  

Stoop Sitting in Georgetown,' Gladys Nelson Smith, 1925

A selection of striking images, including the one above, have been placed online from the Georgetown University Art Collection. See the exhibits on British printmakers, New Deal cartoons and First World War posters.


On the Turntable: "I'm Feeling Devilish," by Fess Williams and his Royal Flush Orchestra.


It's So Nice to Be Nice: Singing the praises of the vernacular

I've been rethinking the cover of the July 18 Commonweal. While the idea is clever, in billing an article on liturgical reform, to juxtapose Gregorian chant with the lyrics of a seemingly dippy hymn titled, "It's So Nice to be Nice," it makes a difference if the latter song is not actually a Catholic hymn of the St. Louis Jesuit school, but indeed, a sample of black Gospel music, for the same reason that "Whomp-bomp-a-loo-bomp-a-lomp-bam-boom" doesn't work from Pat Boone, but does from Little Richard.

Listen to some of the tracks from this recording of Rev. Louis Overstreet with his sons and the congregation of St. Luke's Powerhouse Church of God in Christ, and you'll agree that "Yeah, Lord! Jesus is Able" wouldn't fly if rendered in Marty Haugen style – and more to the point, would never be represented as an example of Marty Haugen style, as King Louis H. Narcisse's "It's So Nice to Be Nice" apparently is on the cover of Commonweal.

Not that this is a big thing. But I've enjoyed the excuse for an online immersion in black Gospel, a fine selection of which can be found in the catalogue of the Arhoolie Foundation, which seeks to preserve American roots or "vernacular," music.

See also the 1963 documentary On The Road Again: Down Home Blues, Jazz, Gospel and More, described by a reviewer at Amazon as "one of the best blues & roots music documentaries ever…prepare to be blown away by some of the rarest and best footage ever of real blues men, guitar-playing street preachers and other African-American traditional musicians."

And do listen to any of the online RealAudio recordings of the Sinner's Crossroads radio program, which is a revelation, as is the rest of WFMU.

The late King Louis H. Narcisse, meantime, was a real piece of work. The preacher who sang "It's So Nice to Be Nice" is described in a 2002 East Bay Express article on Oakland gospel churches:

Oakland had its own rather colorful contribution to the early years of prosperity preaching. From 1943 to his death in 1989, King Louis Narcisse fused Baptist, Pentecostal, and gris-gris traditions into a gumbo of ritual and hagiography at his West Oakland church. Narcisse set about inculcating an entrepreneurial spirit in his parishioners by demonstrating that spirit in the many ways he exploited them. Stories abound of his elaborate rituals to browbeat his flock out of donations as high as $500, or of his practice of buying stale loaves of Wonder Bread for ten cents a pop, blessing them, and reselling them for a dollar. Narcisse's feet never touched the pavement -- an assistant always rolled out a red carpet before he set foot outside his car -- and visitors had to approach him on their knees. Rings and furs adorned his body, his house near the Piedmont border was equipped with a spotlight to announce to his flock whenever he was home, and his service was a favorite of black drag queens throughout Oakland.

For more on King Narcisse's unique approach to religion, see two colorful articles that ran in the San Francisco Chronicle before and after his grandiose funeral in February 1989.


Yipe! What would Gelett Burgess say?


The Bride at Every Wedding, cont. The Pilot is reporting Cardinal Law will preside with other cardinals at Archbishop O'Malley's installation Mass on June 30.


At the same time Notre Dame football was winning national glory in the 1920s, the anti-Catholic KKK was taking control of Indiana politics: Read what happened when ND students battled the Klan in the streets of South Bend in 1924.


What Baseball Mascot Are You?

You have a large head, and probably an ego to go
with it. You are the symbol of a bad team.
People want to take a bat to your oversized

What Baseball Mascot are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Yep, that's about right, despite the shuddering Mookie Wilson connections: I actually was sympathetic to the Metropolitans as lovable anti-Yankees before they themselves became the Yankees in 1986. See a fine collection of early Mets yearbook covers featuring Mr. Met and several Willard Mullins. And sing along to the "Meet the Mets" theme song I remember from summers in New Jersey in the 1960s.


Thursday, July 17, 2003  
Places of beauty

The fountain in better days. Credit

Boston blogger Stephen Baldwin laments the current miserable state of Brewer's Fountain on the Common:

No water flows through the Brewer Fountain this summer. A great shame since the fountain has three beautifully decorated tiers. Around the base are excellently sculpted bronze figures of four Classical figures: Neptune and his wife Amphitrite, and the lovers Acis and Galatea. At the moment they look positively suicidal. And no wonder, they are forced to stare into a bone dry and empty basin that is full of litter and still stinks of last years vagrant's urine. This fountain has not been cleaned in how long?

Far too long, obviously.

I sincerely hope Mr. Brewer is not rolling in his grave, but I'm almost certain he must be. Why donate beautiful things to the city if the authorities will not take care of them?
(Via Boston Online)

Worth reading is the article by Catesby Leigh in the recent July 14 edition of National Review entitled, "It Takes a (Well-Planned Village)," on the New Urbanism approach to civic design seen in development projects in Vermillion, N. C. and Glenwood Park in Atlanta. The piece is not online, but here's an excerpt:

The beauty of America's historic landscape settings -- from the rustic informality of loosely built New England hamlets, where houses are intimately wedded to their settings, to the classical pomp of San Francisco's Civic Center and its stupendous City Hall -- conveys, at a very deep level, the idea that the world we inhabit is but the imperfect embodiment of a higher creative intention that man has divined in nature from time immemorial. And conveying that sense of life is the greatest benefit a beautiful community can bestow.

For more in this vein, see the Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America, whose appreciation of "Diana" I share.


On the Turntable: Sissy Blues, by Ma Rainey


The July 18 issue of Commonweal features a cover article by Peter Steinfels on 'Fixing the Liturgy.'

I stay with him through his fair-minded overview of changes in worship since Vatican II and the ongoing divisions that have been caused. But he loses me when he cites Saginaw Bishop Untener's "teaching Masses" as examples of Best Practice:

[One experiment] involved the whole congregation in bringing forward their Sunday offerings. Other experiments went further, for example, inviting the congregants, after the first two readings, to share their thoughts with the persons next to them.

The cover art is good stuff, depicting a hymnal with Gregorian chant, on the left-hand page, succeeded on the right by "It's So Nice to Be Nice": It's nice to be nice because Jesus was so nice/He hugged lots of people and ate lots of rice/He went to sleep with a smile on his face/He sacrificed for the whole human race!

There actually is a gospel song that gives its name to the album, "It's So Nice to Be Nice," the musical motto of a flamboyant blues-singing Oakland faith-healer named King Louis H. Narcisse. A song from the album, "He That Believeth," can be heard on a recent edition of the WMFU radio show Sinners Crossroads. (An outstanding program, by the way, archived here.)

If it is the same song, I'll definitely take "It's So Nice to Be Nice."

As it happens, a revival service at King Louis' Oakland church is featured in a 1963 documentary on American roots music, according to this blues reviewer:

The 47 minute video ends with several minutes in King Louis Narcisse' Mt. Zion Church in Oakland. A pope-like figure--he enters the building from his limo, after a carpet is rolled out to meet him. When he later leaves, people kneel to kiss his hand. He has a gospel-rousing voice, and does 4 numbers while the camera shows the congregation marching, dancing and generally in the throes of heavenly passion.


Christopher Lydon, Boston Brahmin of the NPR set, proposes Emerson as a God for Bloggers, and offers an illustrated tour, with commentary, of the MFA. Jay Fitzgerald writes of Lydon's blog: Sort of like George Will and Ken Burns getting gooey over baseball, Chris sometimes sounds like he’s intellectually slumming through the blog world. But you know it’s not an act when he fires off a line like this: “It feels, as I said to Jim in conversation, like the back of the classroom in junior high school: the place where the liberated, funny, cool, dangerous, expressive cats hang out rather noisily.” ... Near perfection. ...



Manet's 'Bar at the Folies-Bergere,' with Bass at right and left.

Just visiting makes you thirsty: And the Bass Ale site also features some interesting bits of history; for example, that Shackleton took Bass along on his ill-fated South Pole expedition, or that 500 cases of the stuff carried aboard the Titanic now rest at the bottom of the Atlantic. In 1881, the Oxford Union debated whether the printing press or Bass had contributed more to mankind: Bass won. And this about Buffalo Bill, who regularly escorted rich Easterners and European nobility on Western hunting trips: To retain the civility his guests were accustomed to, Buffalo Bill chose Bass to complement the delicacies of buffalo tail soup and salami of prairie dog served for their feast under the stars.

Meantime, Guinness Stout offers an archive of great ads over the years. Bloomsbury Book Auctions has some wonderful Gilroys here and here.

On the topic of art rather than beer, Dover Books offers free e-cards. I like the American Indian selection.


What do liturgical dancers do on holiday? Interpretive freestyle canoeing. No, there really is such a thing (third item). (Via Boston Online)


Wednesday, July 16, 2003  
When in Rome, they say: But paper pants?

With temperatures soaring, tempers are flaring as the Vatican's dress police turn back tourists in shorts and bare shoulders trying to get into St. Peter's Basilica.

Vendors are doing a brisk business selling paper pants and paper shirts -- turning St. Peter's Square into an open-air changing room.

“I am born naked and the church wants me to be wearing pants,” Danish tourist Kenneth Bergen, 53, proclaimed to a throng of would-be visitors who had been turned back. Bergen had just bought a pair of paper pants.

Here's a shot of a guy pulling on a pair of the paper trousers. Certainly goes beyond the old napkin-as-chapel-veil in the annals of Catholic Haberdashery on Dead Tree.


Listen: Tiger Rag, one of six versions online by the Original Dixieland Jass Band.



"Brownie Brand," Ben Sakoguchi, Baseball Reliquary

Midgets and hunchbacks as mascots were familiar features of baseball in the Deadball Era. Hunchbacks brought luck to Connie Mack's champion A's and Babe Ruth's Yankees, and a similar gnome kept by the Giants' John McGraw inspired Bill Veeck's celebrated midget stunt. (A fully-grown Giants mascot, Charles "Victory" Faust, a lunatic who presented himself to McGraw on the advice of a fortune-teller and was kept as a good-luck charm, inspired the team to a pennant in 1911.)

But the current phenomenon of players' children romping about in uniform has got out of hand, as when Dusty Baker's moppet almost got caught in a play at the plate in last year's Series. And what has become the annual scene of the Yanks' Jorge Posada trotting out little Jorge III for the All Star introductions has gone beyond cloying. Keep the kids off the field.


Memo to Dale Price and fellow suffering Detroit fans: Maybe the Kitties would do better if they caught the spirit of their Japanese counterparts, the first-place Hanshin Tigers.


Around the Horn: "Notes from the Shadow of Cooperstown," a column worthy of author Two Finger Carey's name, mulls Victory Faust (third item) and, most recently, the tragic Harvey Haddix and Buck Weaver. * Fans campaigning for the reinstatement of Buck Weaver demonstrated at the All Star Game in Chicago. * Other worthy pages on the ill-starred Chisox of 1919 include 1919 Black Sox.com, and sites devoted to Weaver and Shoeless Joe Jackson. * T. S. O'Rama offers a fine photo of the Reds' old Crosley Field * Nomar and Varitek upheld the Carmine Hose in the Midsummer Classic.


I am less than 3 percent Geek according to this entertaining test found via Dale Price and Fr. Sibley. But nonetheless I appreciate this new Google toolbar with popup-ad-blocker and Blogger posting button.

And if I have not been bitten by the Tolkien bug, I still enjoy the supremely schlocky goodness of this 1960s video of Leonard Nimoy singing the "Ballad of Bilbo Baggins," here and, alternately, here. (Found at 365 Days via Lileks)

The lyrics, should you care to sing along:

In the middle of the earth in the land of the Shire lives a brave little hobbit whom we all admire. With his long wooden pipe, fuzzy, wooly toes, he lives in a hobbit-hole and everybody knows him. Bilbo! Bilbo! Bilbo Baggins. He's only three feet tall. Bilbo! Bilbo! Bilbo Baggins. The bravest little hobbit of them all. Now hobbits are a peace-lovin' folks you know. They don't like to hurry and they take things slow. They don't like travel away from home. They just want to eat and left alone. But one day Bilbo was asked to go on a big adventure to the caves below, to help some dwarves get back their gold that was stolen by a dragon in the days of old. Bilbo! Bilbo! Bilbo Baggins. He's only three feet tall. Bilbo! Bilbo! Bilbo Baggins. The bravest little hobbit of them all. Well he fought with the goblins! He battled a troll!! He riddled with Gollum!!! A magic ring he stole!!!! He was chased by wolves!!!!! Lost in the forest!!!!!! Escaped in a barrel from the elf-king's hall!!!!!!! Bilbo! Bilbo! Bilbo Baggins. The bravest little hobbit of them all. Now he's back in his hole in the land of the Shire, that brave little hobbit whom we all admire, just a-sittin' on a treasure of silver and gold a puffin' on his pipe in his hobbit-hole. Bilbo! Bilbo! Bilbo Baggins. He's only three feet tall. Bilbo! Bilbo! Bilbo Baggins. The bravest little hobbit of them all.


The Newman-St. John example is relevant to the debate over the suitability of homosexual men for ordination, as David Kubiak and Mark Shea note, and indicates that men so oriented, leading chaste lives, have contributed significantly to the Church.

The contention has not been made that Cardinal Newman broke his vows of chastity, but the indications are that he was, in all likelihood, a sublimated homosexual. Flowery 19th-century writing styles and battlefield brotherhood aside, straight men do not as a rule refer to male companions in spousal terms or insist upon sharing the same burial plot.

Meantime, the significant place of gays in the history of ritual Anglo-Catholicism does not come as a revelation. The Rev. Peter Gomes, minister at Harvard's Memorial Church, and himself gay, writes in a review of Douglas Shand-Tucci's Boston Bohemia, a biography of Gothic architect Ralph Adams Cram:

What is implicit in the culture of the school shaped by Cram's buildings and run by his friends is made explicit in the connection Shand-Tucci makes between Anglo-Catholicism and homosexuality. Certain clergy of the Anglo-Catholic tradition have always been referred to as members of the "third sex," and the affinity of homosexuals for the rites and fashions of Anglo-Catholicism is well known. That affinity is regarded by Shand-Tucci as a form of cultural as well as aesthetic rebellion, while the aesthetic part, the so-called "smells and bells," is generally understood to be and often attributed to a love of beauty in all of its forms. The cultural rebellion of Anglo-Catholicism, however, is not so generally appreciated, and, Shand-Tucci argues, and I think persuasively, that it provides an outward expression of protest in the form of affirming what President Eliot might call the "unnatural" or "irregular," but the rebellion is religious and therefore tolerated, and without risk to overt matters of sexual identity. "Among the cognoscenti," says Shand-Tucci, "the Anglo-Catholic affinity for homosexuality has long been an open secret. To say so in print is, admittedly, to break a long-standing taboo and will doubtless shock many..."

It is in the ecclesiastical Gothic of Ralph Adams Cram, examples of which are often called "sensuous," that the Anglo-Catholic aesthetic sensibility and the homosexual devotee blend in something of a trinitarian evocation of beauty both furtive and at the same time flamboyant: beautiful buildings, beautiful music, beautiful men. The English Oxford Movement has long been associated with aesthetic homosexuality, and its principals, John Henry Newman, Edward B. Pusey, and John Keble, have been described as sublimated homosexuals. The American manifestations of this movement in Boston, in the Church of the Advent; St. John's, Bowdoin Street; All Saints', Ashmont; and the Society of St. John the Evangelist Monastery-the Cowley Fathers in Cambridge-share a sensibility and a constituency in which the aesthetic and sexual rebellion are given some degree of protective coloration by a minority but elite religion out of step with its surroundings. There is nothing new here. What is new, and is therefore news, is that Shand-Tucci acknowledges the phenomenon and gives it a thorough-going public discussion. It is reported that a heterosexual bishop, having read
Boston Bohemia after a lifetime of dealing with the ambiguities about Anglo-Catholics and homosexuals, exclaimed to the author that he thought he had finally understood what it was all about.

Given the tenor of Cardinal Newman's writings and burial wishes with regard to Fr. St. John, and the acknowledged gay strains in the Oxford Movement, it is not a leap to consider Cardinal Newman as having been homosexual in orientation. Indeed, to consider him not so seems more of a leap; either that, or an indication of not getting out enough.

Patrick Rothwell, a convert to Roman from Anglo-Catholicism and a keen observer of the Anglo-Catholic scene, comments re Halsall &c:

I think he is on to something with Newman. All of the evidence is circumstantial, but if you take it all together and combine it with contemporaneous observations by his enemies who noted his effeminency, (Charles Kingsley) as well as his statement that he *knew* that he was destined for the single life at age 16, one has a pretty convincing though not certain case that Newman was homosexually oriented. In any event, its completely non-verifiable. It would, however, be interesting to know what he wrote or thought about certain proto-gay currents in the late Victorian era, (if anything).

I doubt that all of this has anything to do with the fact that he has not been canonization. The Holy See already has declared that he lived a life of heroic virtue. The real reason is probably the lack of a verifiable miracle. He's not exactly the sort of person that common folk would pray to for miraculous cures or whatnot.

He has previously written on the impact a ban on homosexual priests would have on efforts to restore beauty to liturgy.


The bride at every wedding, the corpse at every funeral: Guess who reportedly plans to attend, in full reds, his successor Sean O'Malley's installation as Archbishop of Boston?


Tuesday, July 15, 2003  

Newman statue, Brompton Oratory

Whenever the Cardinal Newman Society launches one of its pious tirades, I can't help but note the society's namesake was himself an apparent homosexual who had what could be called a long-term committed relationship with another priest.

So devoted was Cardinal Newman to Fr. Ambrose St. John that the cardinal arranged for the two of them to share the same grave.

It doesn't exactly bolster the campaign against the gay-rights agenda to cite the dedication the Newman Society's patron inscribed in his Apologia:

And to you especially, dear AMBROSE ST. JOHN; whom God gave me, when He took every one else away; who are the link between my old life and my new; who have now for twenty-one years been so devoted to me, so patient, so zealous, so tender; who have let me lean so hard upon you; who have watched me so narrowly; who have never thought of yourself, if I was in question.

Gay Catholic historian Paul Halsall, who has noted the homosexual-aesthete connection in the Anglo-Catholic movement, writes in his calendar of homosexual saints of Newman:

It is certain that Newman was sexually abstinent throughout his life, nevertheless he spent most of his life with his closest friend, Fr. Ambrose St. John. Some reports [see Hillard ref. below for rebuttal] state that he lay all night on Ambrose St. John's bed after Ambrose's death, and, certainly, stipulated in his will that he wished to be buried in the same grave as Fr. St. John at Rednal in the English midlands [where I fact he is buried today.]

The late British gay historian Alan Bray cited the shared grave of Newman and St. John among other English churchyard memorials to same-sex couples over the centuries to argue a precedent for the blessing of gay unions. From The Guardian:

Evidence that churches in Britain sanctioned same sex relationships for as long as 500 years has been presented to the Roman Catholic Church.

The study, by a British historian, suggests that the churches look at memorials dating from the 14th to the 19th centuries, commemorating passionate friendships. Often the partners were buried together.

Even Cardinal John Henry Newman, one of English Catholicism's most revered figures from the 19th century, insisted that he be buried with his closest friend.

Newman wrote after the death of Ambrose St John in 1875: "I have ever thought no bereavement was equal to that of a husband's or a wife's, but I feel it difficult to believe that any can be greater, or any one's sorrow greater, than mine."

From The Telegraph:

He described the "spiritual" relationship between Cardinal John Henry Newman, the 19th century Catholic theologian, and his friend Ambrose St John who are buried together.

Their names are on a cross in the burial ground of the fathers of St Philip Neri on the Lickey Hills, south of Birmingham.

Cardinal Newman, who died in 1890, said of his relationship with Ambrose: "From the first he loved me with an intensity of love which was unaccountable."

After Ambrose died in 1875, the Cardinal described how the two men had embraced on his death bed.

As one who admires Cardinal Newman, I wonder if the gay question has been at all a factor in his being passed over for canonization in recent years as scores of candidates more obscure – and in at least one case, highly debatable – have been elevated to sainthood.

Yesterday, July 14, marked the 170th anniversary of the beginning of the Oxford Movement.


The Stakes: Why We Need Marriage: Losing this battle means losing the idea that children need mothers and fathers, writes Maggie Gallagher. It means losing American civilization. It means losing, period. Fr. Jim Tucker comments.


The first All-Star Game 70 years ago at old Comiskey Park in Chicago is described by baseball historians in this video clip at the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel. At Elysian Fields Quarterly, you can order a reproduction of the 1933 game program.


Monday, July 14, 2003  
Home of the Braves

As a former resident of the Braves Field grandstand – or rather, the dorm that stands where the grandstand once did – I applaud the Boston University alumni magazine's great cover story on Boston's old National League baseball park, BU's athletic field the past 50 years.

George Will notes the history of the site in a compelling Commencement address that uses the story of baseball's integration to make a point about affirmative action.

The baseball number of Bostonia concludes by describing how Harry Agganis homered to win a game for the Red Sox at Fenway, then raced up Comm. Ave. to collect his BU diploma at Braves Field. Good stuff.


Hail, Carmine Hose: Striking a blow for baseball sartorial tradition, more Red Sox are wearing their socks right, including five of the nine starters this past Friday at Detroit, in what may have been the most impressive show of sock in 30 years.

For too long, the red socks for which the team is named have been hidden, either as a result of the '70s vestigial stirrup look, or, as sportswriter Chaz Scoggins has noted, by today's Manny Ramirez-pajama-wear fashion. But things have improved notably on the hosiery front.

This space laments the loss of the Sox' classic stripes, but if the new-look Hose keep winning, there's no arguing with success.


Around the Horn

The Milwaukee sausage race story is too good. Bucs' brat-whacker Randall Simon should sign to do endorsements for Jimmy Dean saying, "I love sausages!"

The site VintageBall is dedicated to the history of baseball as depicted on postcards, in photographs and other ephemera.

If you'd like a working clock in the image of the old Ebbets Field scoreboard, visit Pastimes Scoreboards, "bringing back baseball's past, one scoreboard at a time."

Cincinnati's old Crosley Field is remembered at the site of this Redleg nostalgist, who writes:

"I remember the smells also. Ibold cigars mixed with peanuts and beer. They actually had cigar vendors going up and down the isles. Think about that for a minute. Men who never smoked in day to day life, would light up a big Ibold cigar and puff away. Why? Because they could and because they were at the ballgame! That is what the ballgame is all about; getting away from the routine, kicking back and relaxing, doing what you didn't or couldn't day to day and enjoying yourself. We aren't allowed to do that anymore, not even at the ballgame. We can still drink beer, but not after the seventh inning. Try lighting up a cigar at Cinergy Field while you relax in your seat.

I also remember the players arriving in the dugout by way of the stands. They walked right by you! There they were, right in the stands with you! For a kid, it was wonderful! Now, of course, they appear from the abyss below the stadium to which they return after the game. To a kid, it might appear that that is where they live, or at least they don't come from the same places we do.

Times have changed. The sights, sounds and smells of baseball have changed."


For Bastille Day: An MP3 of the Marseillaise scene from Casablanca, via a Dutch fansite. Plus: Photos here and here, and lyrics.


From "A Prayer for my Daughter," by W. B. Yeats

An intellectual hatred is the worst,
So let her think opinions are accursed.
Have I not seen the loveliest woman born
Out of the mouth of Plenty's horn,
Because of her opinionated mind
Barter that horn and every good
By quiet natures understood
For an old bellows full of angry wind?

(Via the late J. F. Powers' Morte D'Urban)


Listen: Struttin' With Some Barbecue, by Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five.

The ragtime and traditional jazz publication Mississippi Rag features an outstanding selection of links, to sites ranging from the Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Society to the Ragtime Ephemeralist.

Meantime, the NPR series Jazz Profiles last week had an interesting segment hosted by Stanley Crouch on the early big-band years of Louis Armstrong, the latest in a number of programs on the great Satchmo.


The New York Times names a new editor, the same day it runs another mammoth correction.


America's Most Literate City: Boston tied for 13th -- with Las Vegas? Better than L.A., tied for 54th with Toledo.


At the Inn at the End of the World: A traditionalist mulls Megaceros Hibernicus.



The Latin Mass Society of the UK has updated its photo section. Worth a visit.


Without belief, can we go on cursing our enemies — or blessing our friends? "A world without blessings or curses would seem a flatter, deader, greyer place," writes Matthew Parris.


More interesting reads: On the genealogy of anti-Americanism * On coffee economics, and why you should eschew Maxwell House * On Germaine Greer, feminist icon and pervert.


If you still have yesterday's Sunday funnies lying around, check out the 7-13 installment of Family Circus (not online) to see the modernist spaceship church Jeffy, PJ et al attend. The suburban Buck Rogers style has become conventional.


Wednesday, July 02, 2003  
Born on the Fourth of July

LSU Jazz Collection

Well, maybe not. Records have surfaced indicating Louis Armstrong's actual birthday was Aug. 4, 1901, rather than, as he believed throughout his life, July 4, 1900.

But what better day than the Fourth of July to celebrate the icon of America's music?

Meantime, Perfessor Bill remains the place to go for all your patriotic ragtime needs.

A Fourth of July recommendation to Bay Staters unwilling to brave the Esplanade: Marblehead Harbor, illuminated, with fireworks overhead, is a memorable sight, viewed by much of the town's population from a park on an adjoining hillside: The vista is definitely worth the tramp through the woods.

And for North Shore inspiration any day of the year, visit Commonwealth Editions, a Beverly publisher of books on coastal Massachusetts and New England.


Through Blood and Fire at Gettysburg: Read Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain's account of the pivotal battle of the Civil War, 140 years ago this week.

How men held on, each one knows, not I. But manhood commands admiration. There was one fine young fellow, who had been cut down early in the fight with a ghastly wound across his forehead, and who I had thought might possibly be saved with prompt attention. So I had sent him back to our little field hospital, at least to die in peace. Within a half-hour, in a desperate rally I saw that noble youth amidst the rolling smoke as an apparition from the dead, with bloody bandage for the only covering of his head, in the thick of the fight, high- borne and pressing on as they that shall see death no more. I shall know him when I see him again, on whatever shore!

(A tip o' the kepi to E. L. Core)


It all depends on how you define "condemnatory"

O'Malley, like Law, is ''very prolife,'' but unlike Law, ''not in a condemnatory way.'' R. Scott Appleby, Notre Dame theologian, quoted in the Boston Globe.

I have not said for whom I shall vote, but I will tell you for whom I will not vote. I will not vote for any politician who will promote abortion or the culture of death, no matter how appealing the rest of his or her program might be. They are wolves in sheep’s garments, the K.K.K. without the sheets, and sadly enough, they don’t even know it.

If I were ever tempted to vote for simply selfish reasons, tribal allegiances, or economic advantages rather than on the moral direction of the country, I should beat a hasty retreat from the curtain of the polling booth to the curtain of the confessional.
Bishop Sean O'Malley, "Election Reflection," originally published in the Fall River diocesan paper, The Anchor (Via Bill Cork)

If Bishop O'Malley continues to speak out this way in Boston, it may shake things up in a historically Catholic, Democratic state in which Catholic positions on important moral issues have effectively been shut out of the political debate, to a significant extent because Lake Street for years surrendered the pulpit, then lost to scandal any compelling moral heft that might have remained.

Speaking of Lake Street, note the opening paragraphs in today's Washington Post article:

Speaking to reporters after he was named yesterday as the Roman Catholic archbishop of Boston, Sean Patrick O'Malley said he did not yet know where he would live. But he suggested it probably would not be the baronial mansion inhabited by his predecessor, Cardinal Bernard M. Law.

"Obviously, as a Franciscan brother, I prefer to have the simplest quarters," he said.

That came as an understatement to residents of the Renaissance Apartments in Washington, who remembered the day in 1977 when he moved into two rooms on the first floor of their white brick building at 3060 16th St. NW.

It was then known as the Kenesaw Building, and more than half of its 83 units were vacant. It had no heat in winter, no air-conditioning in summer. What it did have was rats and roaches, drug dealers and fires.

"Padre Sean," as Hispanic residents still call O'Malley, turned one room into a chapel and slept on the floor in the other.

"It was a dangerous place to live, believe me," said Silverio Coy, a lawyer and Hispanic community activist who helped O'Malley organize the tenants to fight eviction, form a cooperative and renovate the building. "He wanted to make a statement that not only was he going to help these people, he was going to share their needs and anxieties every single day."

Bishop O'Malley mentioned at his press conference that he would like to reside in simple quarters by the cathedral, which is in the inner-city, in the heart of the immigrant Catholic population with whom the Spanish-speaking Franciscan monk has made common cause.

It will be worth noting what becomes of the expansive grounds in Brighton that cardinals since O'Connell have called home.


This page is powered by Blogger.