A Feminist View of Guns

Somehow, I don’t think this talk will be pro-gun.

Senior Lecturer Caroline Light, who is Director of Harvard’s Undergraduate Program in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, will give a historical view on visual depictions of armed femininity and discuss her writings on “America’s love affair with lethal self-defense.” Light refreshments will be served.... [Read More]

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TOTD 2019-1-3: Suffering and Security

The evil to which even you should have referred was not suffering but the unreasoning fear of suffering. Take it together with its positive equivalent, the craving for worldly security, for Eden, and you might have your root of evil. To minimize suffering and to maximize security were natural and proper ends of society and Caesar. But then they became the only ends somehow and the only basis of law: a perversion. Inevitably then, in seeking only them, we found only their opposites: maximum suffering and minimum security.

Walter M. Miller, A Canticle for Leibowitz

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Nubia

There’s an exhibition at Boston’s art museum on Nubia. This is a region that includes parts of Egypt and Sudan along the Nile. The exhibition “…examines power, representation, and cultural bias—in the ancient world, in the early 20th century, and today.” The principal focus of the explanatory materials is race. Visitors are lectured about how Nubians weren’t really Egyptians but were actually black, that one should not fall prey to stereotypes and that race is a social construct. Or as Derb would say, “blackety black blackety blackety black.”

The point of the exhibition seemed to be to connect Egyptian cultural achievements with sub-Saharan Africa. Quote from the exhibition blurb:... [Read More]

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Industrial Architecture

A century ago, it was common for all kinds of buildings to be designed for beauty as well as for function. The enterprises that built these structures cared about beauty as well as function. The ornamentation on this power plant, built about 120 years ago and decommissioned in 2007, is entirely unrelated to the generation of electric power. It could have done without the lunettes, the molding, and the other elements that make the building less drab. This page has some better pictures, including some of the interior. There’s some nice tile work and wrought iron ornamentation.

... [Read More]

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NASA Fake News

At the Newport News airport, NASA is trying to convince travelers that astronauts have landed on Mars. Langley is celebrating its hundredth anniversary and thought this would be a good idea. The Christmas tree is not part of the mural so they’re not trying to convince us there’s a Christmas tree on Mars. Is it any wonder some people think the moon landing was faked?

... [Read More]

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Christmas Music

Christmas is nearly upon us, heralded by the first round of parties this weekend. It seems friends are scheduling gatherings ever earlier in the month to avoid conflicts with holiday travel and others’ parties. That’s put me in a holiday mood so I though I’d share my YouTube Christmas playlist, along with some comments about each song. The playlist spans about five centuries and several musical genres, roughly in chronological order.

Gaudete is a medieval carol from the 16th century expressing joy at the birth of Christ. It’s a simple tune that evokes a very different world.... [Read More]

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A New Use for Laser Pointers

The print edition of this article in the WSJ about the riots in Iraq included this photo, captioned Antigovernment protesters aimed laser pointers at Iraqi riot police during a confrontation in central Baghdad on Monday. Maybe the folks in Hong Kong could use a shipment of laser pointers.

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Revolving Door

I was reading an article in today’s WSJ about Facebook’s struggles with the Eurocrats and who did I see there, big as life? Why, Nick Clegg, formerly leader of the UK Lib Dems and Deputy PM under the execrable David Cameron. Turns out he’s now Faceberg’s vice president of global affairs and communications, i.e., spin doctor and flak.

That is all.

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Oikophobia

No, it’s not an irrational fear of pigs; that would probably be oinkophobia. Oikophobia is the opposite of xenophobia: cultural self-hatred, an aversion to one’s own nation and culture. This meaning was coined by Roger Scruton in his 2004 book England and the Need for Nations. The term has been getting some press lately*, most recently in this Quillette article by philosopher Benedict Beckeld.

Oikophobia describes “…a civilization that has stopped believing in itself, that hates itself, and that is therefore unwilling to defend the values of individual freedom, democracy, and scientific and scholarly skepticism that have been handed down to us since antiquity.” Beckeld takes a historical perspective, giving examples of other civilizations that have fallen into oikophobia. He explains that... [Read More]

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Peak Absurd

Ross Douthat has a column in the NYT today entitled The Case for Bernie, which actually includes the phrase “the conservative’s case for Bernie.” He may as well have written “the conservative case for socialism.” But don’t worry too much; Douthat “technically” prefers “a moderate like Biden or Amy Klobuchar.” Whew! That’s a relief.

This is the latest in a seemingly endless series of “the conservative case for …” pieces by alleged conservatives. We’ve finally reached the point where Conservative Inc is advocating socialism because, I guess, OrangeManBad. This is even worse than Bill Kristol. What’s next, the conservative case for communism?

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