Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Books For The New Year

Darwin’s God: Evolution and the Problem of Evil by Cornelius Hunter. A slender volume of brilliant analysis contending that Darwinism is predicated upon theological rather than scientific grounds, reversing the order it currently occupies in the public mind. Heavily footnoted, it grounds readers in the often-overlooked aspect of theodicy in Darwin’s approach to his work, within the purlieus of Victorian England.
The Revenge of Conscience: Politics and the Fall of Man by J. Budziszewski. As a former nihilist the author doesn’t engage in empty theorizing, rather he walks the reader resolutely through the pathologies that flow from the repression of moral knowledge, personally and corporately. Tackling the twin subjects of politics and Original Sin he writes with remarkable clarity on conscience vis-à-vis Natural Law, reminding us of “the things we can’t not know”.
A Refutation of Moral Relativism: Conversations With An Absolutist by Peter Kreeft. Using Aristotelian logic and the Socratic method of dialogue Dr. Kreeft creates an imminently readable defense of “the good, the right and the ought” through fictional interviews with a Muslim scholar by a black feminist interlocutor. His books create some of the best portable classrooms around and this is a volume to read and reread.
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. Ellison crafted, for seven years, one of the superb novels America has ever seen. His stylish prose and Dostoevsky-like insight into the human psyche give his characters a rare depth. The nameless protagonist gives us his life in words and the adventure is as varying as the landscapes Ellison paints; from a stint at a black college for the promising young man to the Communist ladder-climber being used by the American Reds as a tool for propaganda. The straight storytelling sans the ideological bent of this tome is refreshing after reading socialist or narcissistic rants of contemporary black authors. As Stanley Crouch would say this man is "immoderately soulful", and possibly the great American novelist, with this, his finest work.
Othello by William Shakespeare. Of all the tragedies Shakespeare penned, Othello stands out in its bold message for modern audiences. A black man of high repute marries a white woman against her father's wishes and goes off to battle with his best friend constantly speaking in his ear about his wife's infidelities with his second-in-command. Eventually driven mad by jealousy he kills her and, after learning that his motives were false and she was pure, himself. Everything that makes Shakespeare endure in the English pantheon is here: love, betrayal, murder, jealousy, loyalty, and honor. (I recommend the Complete Study Edition that includes the original text, expert commentary, and a dictionary for those dankish earth-vexing words.)
A Confederacy Of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. This is a stunningly good, funny novel with richly drawn characters and a cornucopia of pop culture and medieval philosophy; a vortex of language with dishonorable, misanthropic, paranoid, lying scalawag, Ignatuis Reilly, at the center of it all. Buy it for a friend and you may just arrive home to incoherent answering machine messages as they try to compose themselves amidst effusive laughter.
Hollywood Worldviews: Watching Films with Wisdom & Discernment by Brian Godawa. With the keen eye of an insider, and the heart of a passionate didact, the author peels away the layers of movies to reveal that all are established on a particular view of the world. By recognizing that, and that the story is a dramatic argument for a worldview, he shows how he can start to intelligently engage it’s message; to reflect, evaluate and critique it. Along with Reel Spirituality, this is the best work I’ve found dealing with the nexus of faith and the cinema.

Sunday, December 29, 2002

New York Times

Using the thin gruel of scientific reductionism, Dr. David Sloan Wilson attempts to define religion via Darwinism, vexing lexicographers worldwide:

Religion has a superficial definition, which is a belief in supernatural agents, but some people regard this definition as shallow and incomplete. The Buddha, for example, refused to be associated with any gods. Or you could say that religion is something that handles concepts of an afterlife, but that definition, too, is limited, and it excludes a number of faiths. I've found that when you go beyond the superficial definitions of religion, it's very difficult to distinguish anything fundamental about religion that is not also fundamental to other social organizations. For example, the concept of sacredness, and the existence of a symbolic system that distinguishes the sacred from the profane, extends to many other social organizations.

[December 24, 2002]

Thursday, December 26, 2002

Boldly culled from the Media Research Center's Annual Notable Quotes, the year's best:


Barbara Walters finds herself in verbal harlotry for Cuban popinjay, Señor Castro:

“For Castro, freedom starts with education. And if literacy alone were the yardstick, Cuba would rank as one of the freest nations on Earth. The literacy rate is 96 percent.”

[October 11, 2002]
The Washington Post

Rick Weiss waxes philosophical on science under the rubric of religious relativism:

“The [President’s Council on Bioethics] will be navigating a scientific and ethical landscape significantly more complex than the one that existed...last summer. In November, researchers announced that they had made the first human embryo clones, giving immediacy to warnings by religious conservatives and others that science is no longer serving the nation’s moral will. At the same time, the United States was fighting a war to free a faraway nation from the grip of religious conservatives who were denounced for imposing their moral code on others.”

[January 17, 2002]
Inside Edition

Esteemed eminento, and whistle-brained thespian, Jessica Lange deposits this nugget into the national spittoon:

“I despise him [President George W. Bush]. I despise his administration and everything they stand for....To my mind the election was stolen by George Bush and we have been suffering ever since under this man’s leadership....And I think this latest thing with Iraq is absolute madness and I’m stunned that there is not opposition on a much more global scale to what he’s talking about....There has to be a movement now to really oppose what he is proposing because it’s unconstitutional, it’s immoral and basically illegal....It is an embarrassing time to be an American. It really is. It’s humiliating.”

[October 4, 2002]

Tuesday, December 24, 2002

"From the American Library Association’s insistence that every branch library must allow unfettered access to Internet pornography, to the propagandistic “Read a Banned Book” T-shirts sold by activists, to the ponderous newspaper editorials which butcher Martin Niemoeller’s “first they came for the Jews” warning every time a museum is criticized for another dung-and-urine desecration of the Virgin Mary, America has convinced itself that we are a hair’s breadth away from Fahrenheit 451."

Free Speech Rots from the Inside Out

Monday, December 23, 2002

Michael Medved - WorldNetDaily

Rev. Mark Bigelow, member of the apostate Christian Left, files a missive full of exegetical razzmatazz:

Reverend Bigelow of the Congregational Church of Huntington in Centerport, N.Y., sent a letter to Bill O'Reilly of Fox News defending the offensive Planned Parenthood holiday card that proclaims "Choice on Earth." To Rev. Bigelow, this slogan made perfect sense because he felt certain that Jesus endorsed abortion.

"Even as a minister I am careful what I presume Jesus would do if he were alive today," he wrote, "but one thing I know from the Bible is that Jesus was not against women having a choice in continuing pregnancy. Jesus was for peace on earth, justice on earth, compassion on earth, mercy on earth, and choice on earth."

[December 23, 2002]

Friday, December 20, 2002

A concerned environmentalist foregoes his personal safety in order to provide two pygmy monkeys an all-day pants party, and several birds the joys of support hose:

U.S. Man Jailed For Smuggling Monkeys In Pants

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

2002 Movie Picks

Theater Best:
Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
The Royal Tenenbaums
Black Hawk Down
One Hour Photo

Theater Worst:
Punch-Drunk Love
The Bourne Identity
Triple X
Spy Kids 2

DVD Best:
Sunset Blvd.
The Celebration (Festen)
Amadeus: Director's Cut
Les Misérables (1998)
The Mothman Prophecies

Honorable Mention: Band of Brothers miniseries

DVD Worst:
36 Fillette
Two-Lane Blacktop
Y Tu Mamá También (And Your Mother Too)
Blood For Dracula
Don’t Look Now

Monday, December 16, 2002


Political greenhorn Harry Belafonte speaks further of the sundry ways The Man is holding us all down and continues rounding up the usual suspects for the Hammer & Sickle team:

...the Bush administration is maintaining a policy "that doesn’t identify with the interests of the U.S. people." He added that the Sept. 11 events, "that sowed fear in their hearts," served the administration "to extend its imperialist, economic and political domination all over the planet. Many of my friends are journalists," added Belafonte, "and they tell me that there has never been as much censorship as now, and if they rebel then they will just lose their jobs. There are many reporters in Afghanistan, the Middle East and Colombia but censorship comes from the Pentagon, the National Security Agency, the Bush administration. The U.S. people don't know the truth."

[December 16, 2002]
Quote of the day:

"If we present man with a concept of man which is not true, we may well corrupt him. When we present him as an automaton of reflexes, as a mind machine, as a bundle of instincts, as a pawn of drives and reactions, as a mere product of heredity and environment. If we do that we will feed the nihilism which modern man is in any case prone. I became acquainted with the last stage of corruption at my second concentration camp, Auschwitz. The gas chambers of Auschwitz were the ultimate consequence of the theory that man is nothing but the product of heredity and environment, or as the Nazis liked to say 'of blood and soil.' I am absolutely convinced that the gas chambers of Auschwitz, Treblinka and Maidanek were ultimately prepared not in some ministry of defense or other in Berlin but rather at the desks and in the lecture halls of nihilistic scientists and philosophers." - Viktor Frankl, Holocaust survivor

Sunday, December 15, 2002

"More consequences for thought and action follow from the affirmation or denial of God than from answering any other question" - Mortimer Adler

On the side of denial I present an omnium gatherum of theophobics.

Friday, December 13, 2002

Quote of the Day:

"If God is dead, somebody is going to have to take his place. It will be megalomania or erotomania, the drive for power or the drive for pleasure, the clenched fist or the phallus, Hitler or Hugh Hefner." - Malcolm Muggeridge

Bloated gasbag Rev. Al Sharpton proclaims that he doesn't need the Dems support to capture the 2004 nomination, exhibiting an élan that excites all eighteen of his supporters, and the makers of Aquanet.

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

One of the Methuselah's of the '60s generation rockers, John Entwistle, is found to have kicked the oxygen habit, but none of his others, to wit; family says despite slatterns, booze and blow he was a good man:

Entwistle Dead After Heart Attack Triggered By Cocaine
C.S. Lewis on the unique nature of Jesus Christ:

'There is no halfway house and there is no parallel in other religions. If you had gone to Buddha and said 'Are you the son of Bramah?' he would have said 'My son, you are still in the veil of illusion'. If you had gone to Socrates and asked, 'Are you Zeus' he would have laughed at you. If you had gone to Mohammed and asked 'Are you Allah?' he would first have rent his clothes and then cut your head off. If you had asked Confucius 'Are you heaven?' I think he would probably have replied, 'Remarks which are not in accordance with nature are in bad taste.' The idea of a great moral teacher saying what Christ said is out of the question. In my opinion, the only person who can say that sort of thing is either God or a complete lunatic suffering from that form of delusion which undermines the whole mind of man. If you think you are a poached egg, when you are not looking for a piece of toast to suit you, you may be sane, but if you think you are God, there is no chance for you. We may note in passing that He was never regarded as a mere moral teacher. He did not produce that effect on any of the people who actually met Him. He produced mainly three effects - Hatred - Terror - Adoration. There was no trace of people expressing mild approval.'

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

More evanescent pronunciamentos from the secular Left about how questioners of Darwin's theory of Christian heresy (evolution) are full of dark motives, including deceit and opposition to indoor plumbing:

Survival of the Slickest

A weeping canker on the mouth of American public life, Joe Conason chimes in on Trent Lott's past and unwittingly swerves into the truth:

...the incoming Senate majority leader's public expression of nostalgia for the era of Jim Crow and lynching passes virtually without comment. If only Drudge had given the Lott story bigger play, maybe Judy Woodruff and the Times editorial board would consider it important.

[December 9, 2002]

Sunday, December 08, 2002

Quote of the Day:

“Christianity does not profess to convince the perverse and headstrong, to bring irresistible evidence to the daring and profane, to vanquish the proud scorner, and afford evidences from which the careless and perverse cannot possibly escape. This might go to destroy man's responsibility. All that Christianity professes is to propose such evidences as may satisfy the meek, the tractable, the candid, the serious inquirer.” – Bishop Wilson

Friday, December 06, 2002


In a curtsy to the lords of cultural relativism, Dan Rahimi, who is ever mindful of sensitivity and pluralism, explains the reasoning behind the change from B.C. and A.D. dating at the Royal Ontario Museum:

...to use the words 'before Christ' is really quite ethnocentric of European Christians...And to use 'the year of our Lord' is also quite insensitive to huge populations in Toronto who have other lords.

What If Jesus Had Never Been Born?

[December 5, 2002]

Tuesday, December 03, 2002

The Truth About Tax Rates, Class Warfare and Who Really Pays Their "Fair Share"
The totalitarian Chinese are blocking tens of thousands of web sites beyond the standard sexually explicit material, silencing voices that seek to rise above their own Asian Bolshevism.

The Inquirer - Tuesday, December 3, 2002

Sunday, December 01, 2002

To cover for the Dems impecunious set of ideals The Honorable Tom Daschle clears his throat and rasps that talk radio's conservative voices are inciting the body politic to increasing forms of violence, up to and including unspeakable acts in voting booths (namely voting Republican):

What If John Ashcroft Had Tried to Quiet the New York Times
the Way Daschle Targeted Limbaugh?