Thursday, December 30, 2010

SI N'OS HUVIERA MIRADO - Cristóbal de Morales (1500 - 1553)
Leaving for Arizona in a few hours; I'll be back beginning of next week. I didn't have time to finish some posts. Oh well.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Fr. Z: Fr. John Harvey of Courage, R.I.P.
Dr. Gabor Maté on the stress-disease connection, addiction, attention deficit disorder and the destruction of American childhood
by Amy Goodman

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Maté, there’s a whole debate about education in the United States right now. How does this fit in?

DR. GABOR MATÉ: Well, you have to ask, how do children learn? How do children learn? And learning is an attachment dynamic, as well. You learn when you want to be like somebody. So you copy them, so you learn from them. You learn when you’re curious. And you learn when you’re willing to try something, and if it doesn’t work, you try something else.

Now, here’s what happens. Caring about something and being curious about something and recognizing that something doesn’t work, you have to have a certain degree of emotional security. You have to be able to be open and vulnerable. Children who become peer-oriented—because the peer world is so dangerous and so fraught with bullying and ostracization and dissing and exclusion and negative talk, how does a child protect himself or herself from all that negativity in the peer world? Because children are not committed to each others’ unconditional loving acceptance. Even adults have a hard time giving that. Children can’t do it. Those children become very insecure, and emotionally, to protect themselves, they shut down. They become hardened, so they become cool. Nothing matters. Cool is the ethic. You see that in the rock videos. It’s all about cool. It’s all about aggression and cool and no real emotion. Now, when that happens, curiosity goes, because curiosity is vulnerable, because you care about something and you’re admitting that you don’t know. You won’t try anything, because if you fail, again, your vulnerability is exposed. So, you’re not willing to have trial and error.

And in terms of who you’re learning from, as long as kids were attaching to adults, they were looking to the adults to be modeling themselves on, to learn from, and to get their cues from. Now, kids are still learning from the people they’re attached to, but now it’s other kids. So you have whole generations of kids that are looking to other kids now to be their main cue-givers. So teachers have an almost impossible problem on their hands. And unfortunately, in North America again, education is seen as a question of academic pedagogy, hence these terrible standardized tests. And the very teachers who work with the most difficult kids are the ones who are most penalized.

AMY GOODMAN: Because if they don’t have good test scores, standardized test scores, in their class—

DR. GABOR MATÉ: They’re seen as bad teachers.

AMY GOODMAN:—then they could be fired. They’re seen as bad teachers, which means they’re going to want to kick out any difficult kids.

DR. GABOR MATÉ: That’s exactly it. The difficult kids are kicked out, and teachers will be afraid to go into neighborhoods where, because of troubled family relationships, the kids are having difficulties, the kids are peer-oriented, the kids are not looking to the teachers. And this is seen as a reflection. So, actually, teachers are being slandered right now. Teachers are being slandered now because of the failure of the American society to produce the right environment for childhood development.

AMY GOODMAN: Because of the destruction of American childhood.

DR. GABOR MATÉ: That’s right. What the problem reflects is the loss of the community and the neighborhood. We have to recreate that. So, the schools have to become not just places of pedagogy, but places of emotional connection. The teachers should be in the emotional connection game before they attempt to be in the pedagogy game.

But do we want to give public schools, with their agenda, that much power over a child?
Acquiring knowledge by accident
Gene Logsdon,
We learn our lessons more by chance than by deliberation. Or maybe it is more to the point to say that we learn by living. For sure, what we learn from experience sticks with us longer than what we think we learn in classrooms. I can’t remember how to do algebra problems involving two unknowns but I will never forget what happened when I was dumb enough to touch a frosty piece of iron with my tongue.

The peak oil crisis: 2011 – a pivotal year?
Tom Whipple, Falls Church News-Press

It continues

Sandro Magister, Professor Rhonheimer Writes. And the Holy Office Agrees
Exclusive to www.chiesa, an open letter by the Swiss philosopher in defense of the "understanding and farsighted vision" of Benedict XVI on sexual morality. And to follow, the note released the same day by the congregation for the doctrine of the faith
Sandro Magister, Benedict XVI: Man of the Year. For His Homilies
They are the cornerstone of his ordinary magisterium. They narrate the adventure of God in the history of the world. They lift the veil on the "things that are above." A guide to reading the liturgical preaching of the current pope
More Marines: All-female U.S. Marine team in Afghanistan

Someone could make the case that the presence of some women is necessary because they are needed to search women in Muslim countries, etc., but we shouldn't have been occupying Iraq and Afghanistan in the first place. If we hadn't sent occupying forces over, would we need women in the USMC?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

John Tierney remains a true believer

A Cornucopian Optimist...

Economic Optimism? Yes, I’ll Take That Bet

(via Steve Sailer)

Stanley Fish on True Grit

Narrative and the Grace of God: The New ‘True Grit’ (via Mere Comments)

A MV for Sarge


Someone posted this on FB. I'll grant their uniforms look better.
Webpage for donating money for the documentary The Banjo Project.

Dr. Ralph Stanley Interview from The Banjo Project on Vimeo.

Rhiannon Laffan "Gonna Write Me a Letter" from The Banjo Project on Vimeo.

City Journal: The Vandals in Retreat by Theodore Dalrymple
Britain redisovers its architectural heritage.
USA Today: U.S. special ops forces vital in Afghan war

Robert Hirsch interview

Robert Hirsch on "The Impending World Energy Mess"

In his review of True Grit, Peter Lawler writes:

Sure, we're constantly reminded of the disrespect for human life of these ex-Confederates (the Bridges/Cogburn character rode with the notrious Captain Quantrill of Missouri--the state where all the rules of war vanished into bloodlust). But we're also constantly reminded of the strange sort of cultivation that made these manly men (and woman) more able to articulate who they are than we are. The language of the film echoes that of the novel, where basically unlettered men speak with a formal and precise pagan grace. There's something civilized and even lawful in the violently state-of-nature Indian territory. These men and especially the very young woman are in some ways more civilized than we are, although, of course, not in many ways.

The film shows us what's to be said for and against the virtue that animated the Confederacy and the postbellum southern frontier. It doesn't varnish the truth about honor, even as it displays the virtue it can become when ennobled by personal love.

Is this what the author of the original novel meant to depict? Or is this a generalization that can be applied to any genuine Western novel? I believe Professor Lawler is originally from the South, but what would other Southerners (e.g. Dr. Wilson) make of his description of the characters and his association of them with the Confederacy?
WT: Beyond the OODA Loop: Boyd’s Lost Principles

Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn on Patriotism and Nationalism

Jeff Culbreath posts the following from Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn:
Patriotism, not nationalism, should inspire the citizen. The ethnic nationalist who wants a linguistically and culturally uniform nation is akin to the racist who is intolerant toward those who look (and behave) differently. The patriot is a 'diversitarian'; he is pleased, indeed proud of the variety within the borders of his country; he looks for loyalty from all citizens. And he looks up and down, not left and right.
There is a problem with the word nation -- taken to refer to a people or ethnic group, then it seems absurd for one particular ethnic group to be linguistically and culturally divided. How is it really an united ethnic group with out a common culture? But I assume he is talking about the modern nation-state (or a multi-ethnic federation/empire), one that is prone to suppressing the legitimate cultural aspirations and exercises of its constitutent communities and peoples. If he were talking about a smaller political community, an ancient Greek polis, for example, I'd say that he was wrong. But I do not think he intended for his remark to cover all polities of all sizes.

The common good the good of a community; can a single polity (as opposed to a federation or empire) have more than one people? If two peoples intentionally keep themselves separate from one another in all affairs except trading, do they really constitute one community? It seems not.

A tribute by Fr. Rutler to the professor.
Midnight Mass at the Monastery of Saint Benedict in Norcia, Italy (via Rorate Caeli)


Sunday, December 26, 2010

I've been listening to the words of "The Highwayman", and I can't help but wonder if the poem doesn't present a bad-boy fantasy (suited for the Romantic period?). Tim is not quite a jealous beta, since he's not really a provider.

First Principles Journal: A discussion of liberty by Mark T. Mitchell and Joseph Stromberg.

One filmmaker confronts modernity

An AICN columnist gives brief reviews of seven of Ozu's movies. (The reviews are towards the end.)

A word or two on Dr. Laura

As Dr. Laura will soon be leaving the airwaves, I thought I should hurry and finish jotting some reactions down to the advice she has given to young women, and her thoughts on relationships in which there is a large age disparity between the man and woman.

Dr. Laura encourages women (and, to be fair, men as well) to postpone marrying until their late 20s -- she says they still growing and in the process of becoming an adult... she also uses divorce statistics to advising women to postpone marriage until they are older, encouraging them to get an education, to learn about themselves, and so on.

She has also advised that older men should be looking for women closer in age. She has criticized older men who look for a much younger woman as being immature, need woman who are also immature so they can manipulate/control. With a big age disparity (a man in his late 30s dating a woman in her 20s), she says that the man and the woman are in different points of their life journeys. But what does that mean, really? What is more important for a marriage to be successful? Their life experiences or the relative virtues of the man and the woman and what they will do to promote the well-being of the marriage? She understands that a woman may seek an older man because she feels more of a woman, and in an older man she can find a boyfriend and a father figure. But is it so wrong that a wife should look to her husband for counsel? It seems to me that while Dr. Laura acknowledges some sex differences, she seems to be missing others and may even be promoting a false notion of female autonomy and maturity.

Might it be the case that besides greater attraction, there are good reasons for men to look for a women who is still in her 20s? Fertility is one concern, and that is a factor behind physical attraction. As she is dealing primarily with an American audience, should she not address the question of why women in their 30s might still be single? How many of them divorced or have had previous relationships involving physical intimacy? How many women in their 30s are still a maid? Why should an older man, especially one who has been a beta and rejected by women while he was in his 20s, settle for a woman who has had a lot of sexual partners and is now desperate for a long-term committed relationship? (I accept this complaint by men on various websites to be true and not unjustified.)  Moreover, a younger woman is more likely to be adaptable and docile to a man than someone who is older, a feminist, or has had a lot of bad relationships. Marriages in which there was a significant age difference were very common in the past.

Dr. Laura seems to be subscribing to some notion of companionate marriage as the ideal. But is it possible that her recommendations are colored by her own life experiences, and the amount of time it took for her to mature? (The transition from being a feminist to being an "anti-feminist" may not have been the only significant psychological change.)

She often claims that a woman holds the power in the family, though she is not the nominal head of the household. How so? Because women have a great influence on family life -- their emotions can dictate the mood of the family, and she can make the family feel good or miserable. In that respect, I agree -- a wife and mother will have a great impact on the emotional state of everyone else. The role of nuturer is proper to the woman. While Dr. Laura has acknowledged that the husband should be the head, sometimes I get the impression that this is may not be complete as she has at least on one occasion advised a woman to not be petty by fighting to have her way. Maybe she was just being tactful that time.

One rarely sees women asserting their emotions in period pieces -- is the indulgence in personal drama a recent phenomenon?

Family rules

Are probably necessary for the flourishing of the family as a unit. I am speculating since I am personally not that familiar with family rules in practice. I think there would be amelioration of the situation in the long run if authority was properly exercised and there was respect and obedience. But another problem is the lack of proper order in charity. Wrong-headed notions of charity do much to undermine the good, and give non-Christians a false impression that Christianity preaches some version of egalitarianism with respect to love or benevolence. (Something akin to Mohism?)

How much of the extant family rules of East Asian families are derived from neo-Confucianism? What sort of family rules existed before neo-Confucianism (or Confucianism, for that matter)? While the dynamics of East Asian families may pose its own set of problems regarding the fostering of independence on the part of children, they do seem to foster an outward appearance of harmony. (This might be a hasty generalization, that East Asian families actually experience less conflict than Anglo-American families.)

I have read the claim that the nuclear family (as opposed to the extended family) is a development in Anglo(-American) culture. Is this true? (It is also claimed that the success of Anglo societies is linked to this family structure.)
Michael Shedlock: Militarization of the Economy; Retired Generals "Advise" the Pentagon as Paid Consultants of Defense Contractors

Mater Misericordia Mission

A possible visit next Sunday to the new church? Photos of the first Mass there, and a NLM post on the renovation that was done to the building.

Eric Whitacre, "Lux Aurumque"

From Christmas last year at Westminster Cathedral:

Eric Whitacre

Introduction to the Virtual Choir

How bizarre.

Apparently the priest who was scheduled to celebrate Mass today at St. Thomas Aquinas couldn't make it or cancelled. When I arrived late, I was puzzled, since I did not see a priest in the sanctuary. But it became apparent that there was none, so what we had instead was a communion service, with Latin, chant, and motets. The last time I attended a communion service was in Berkeley, at the Newman Center, and I stopped going to those because they had a female eucharistic minister. She seemed like a nice lady, but her presence alone seemed to be a ecclesiological statement in itself.

It's always a pleasure to hear Kerry McCarthy sing with the St. Ann Choir. (She seems to be there during vacation time.) Alas, I can't find any clips of her singing online.

Cantores in Ecclesia.
William Byrd Festival

In Mulieribus has a MySpace.

Peter Hitchens objects to one word of The King's Speech

Something mentioned by Steven Greydanus when he was last on Catholic Answers -- the use of the F-bomb in the movie by the king as speech therapy. Peter Hitchens: Why put filth in the mouth of our King?

As far as I can find out, there is absolutely no historical warrant for the idea that King George VI was urged to use the f-word by his speech therapist during his attempt to cure his stammer.
So why did the makers of the film The King’s Speech feel the need to insert a scene in which this happens?
Even if it did happen, there are other ways of letting us know that it did, apart from showing it.
If the British Board of Film Classification had any courage or resolve, they would have stuck by their decision to give the film a ‘15’ rating and so sharply reduced its market, solely because of this passage.
The producer, director and scriptwriters could not have been certain that the BBFC would cave in. They were prepared, therefore, to risk significant commercial damage for this cause.
I know that, to get their laughs, many modern ‘comedians’ rely almost completely on the f-word’s fading power to shock. But I think there is more to it than that. In much of the entertainment industry there is a militant desire to destroy taboos and upset the gentle, for its own sake. Revolutionaries love to debauch and corrupt.
How better to do this than to portray the trembling, retiring Bertie, who never wanted the throne and was happiest at home with his small family, spitting out dirty words?
I’d say shame on them if I thought they understood words of more than four letters.

The movie has been doing well with critics, garnering nominations for various awards. I was thinking about seeing it, but Mr. Hitchens's comment gives me pause.