Saturday, April 20, 2013

Medieval Martial Arts

The New Scot would love this too.

Fiore dei Liberi’s Armizare: The Chivalric Martial Arts System of Il Fior di Battaglia

Some Progress in the Movie Adaptation of Silence


Russell Arben Fox Reviews Mark Mitchell's Book

Mark Mitchell’s Politics of Gratitude (Theoretical and Otherwise)

The last liberal at FPR? His main critique of the book:

In terms of putting some fleshing out the implications of his preferences for a culture characterized by greater humbleness and gratitude, Mitchell addresses politics, economics, the environment, the family, and education. Here, while the strong and passionate insights continue, I think his attempt to knit them together into a new political alternative to contemporary American liberalism and conservatism falters somewhat. This is no fault of Mitchell’s arguments, which remain compelling even when I disagree with them (and as someone whose localism and communitarianism is more left-leaning than his, the number of my disagreements mounted as I read). It is, rather, a matter of the missing, common thread through his arguments, one which cannot possibly be supplied by mere political and philosophical argument.

Consider how his argument in the chapter on politics develops. Here his guiding light is Tocqueville, and his prescient observations about how self-government and democracy give rise to demands for equality, and how that demand will likely result in greater centralization, as people look for systems of government and economy capable of ensuring equal treatment across borders. Mitchell correctly observes that the real problem which Tocqueville’s observations lead us to confront is the fact that perfect equality is impossible, at least so long as technology fails to completely overcome nature (which is the heart, as he sees it, of the technological scientistic project), and hence that when the desire for equality runs up against such natural differences, “vast energy will be expended to alleviate the incongruity,” which obviously points towards the creation of a vast regulatory state (p. 85). I respect the author for reluctantly acknowledging that America’s federal arrangement was probably fated, “right from the beginning,” to move power away from the states and towards the national government (p. 94), and his subsequent recommendation that the 17th Amendment–which provided for the direct election of senators–be reconsidered has merit. But in the end, as part of his consideration of subsidiarity, he confess that “a metaphysical account of human nature and human society is necessary for sustaining the independence of various spheres of authority” and that “the revitalization of religious belief may be a necessary long-term solution to the problem of centralization” (pp. 97-98). And while Mitchell’s book never turns to outright proselytism, this becomes a recurring theme throughout the rest of the book: a politics of gratitude will likely be impossible until the American people return to taking as a baseline the fact that they are divinely created beings with a need to be grateful for their lives and livelihoods.

Now there is nothing wrong with this connection of religion and political reflection; Tocqueville, among others, does this expertly. But if it is to be done persuasively in our pluralistic, democratic, and individualistic society, it should not, I think, be so entwined with a specific worldview, as it is in this book, whether Mitchell intended to communicate that worldview or not. But communicate it he did: religious humility and gratitude, for Mitchell, is the obvious concomitant of an agrarian, land-center economy, and outside of that kind of economic environment, the rational appeal of religious faith and the persuasiveness of our need for such a revival is simply not much there. Though Mitchell insists that “many of the virtues” he praises can be “encouraged by owning a small business,” he gives no convincing examples of how that might be so (p. 120). His discussion of neighborliness makes reference to barn raising (p. 122); his discussion of the natural world becomes most impassioned when talking about growing a garden (pp. 147-148); his discussion of the family revolves around personal examples of families escaping technological tools and engaging themselves with the land (pp. 164-166). Again and again, the grateful sensibility he urges upon his readers is connected to turning towards a more rural, more agricultural, less specialized and complex, more earthy and religious way of life.

Fox believes that Mitchell's agrarian, localist vision that is laid out in the book is insufficient:
But what it does not do is sketch out an alternative “conservative” political language which could move our modernized, pluralistic society away from an over-reliance upon individualism and towards a different kind of politics. Rather, it is a call for an alternative way of living, a return to a context where politics occupied an entirely different space in our lives–a less important, more participatory, more republican one.

With his obvious sympathy for the ideas of Jefferson and Tocqueville, Mitchell is clearly moved by republicanism, especially in its classic form as a recipe for polities which were small, land-based, agrarian, and religiously (or at least morally) homogenous. But if that was his aim in this book of political theory, one which was obviously addressed to the America which presently exists, then the development of a better language of politics needs to wrestle with the applicability of republicanism and conservatism to our current moment, and there is not much evidence in this book that Mitchell is actually interested in addressing the arguments of Benjamin Barber, Richard Dagger, Philip Pettit, Michael Walzer, or really any other contemporary republican theorist (though he does briefly touch on the ideas of both Rousseau and Hannah Arendt). In short, this book, lacking an applicable comprehensive political theory, but containing instead a host of powerful and evocative arguments on behalf of a constellation of alternative “conservative” positions–mostly united through an emphasis on a return of farming and God–is really more about exploring and advocating on behalf an alternative attitude and lifestyle, rather than providing real, plausible answers to our contemporary ideological stalemates. The language of gratitude alone cannot create or sustain the agricultural or pious conditions by which its rightness will be understood; on the contrary, it is by being pulled by the power of Mitchell’s language into a greater involvement with God or gardening that the rightness of his points about gratitude become likely to be acknowledged.
So how much dialogue with liberalism or political theory is necessary? Is Mitchell preaching to the choir? Or is there a chance that those who are aware of having certain desires for a more agrarian, republican way of life, might be inspired by the book to take action to make this more of a concrete reality in their own lives? For those with enamored with liberalism or pluralism as a good in itself, can anything persuade them of the rightness of another view? Or is liberalism less a governing ideology than a convenient rationalization for how they live? How many inhabitants of the Uhmerican megacity are willing to question their desires and reflect critically upon their lives?

So far Mitchell has not responded to the review - maybe he won't.

Some Thoughts on Inculturation

This post at NLM provided an opportunity for me to comment: Usus Antiqiuor in Japan: A Latin-Japanese Missal

While before I might have subscribed to the view that Latin might be useful as the lingua franca of clerics and the intellectuals of the Roman-rite churches, I've never thought that the liturgy should be celebrated in Latin in missionary countries. I think as long as I've had an opinion on the question, I've thought that a hieratic version of the native vernacular should be employed in missionary countries, holding up the work of the Jesuits in China as an example. (I think the Roman rite was celebrated in Korean in Chosun Korea as well?)

Now, my opinion may have even shifted some more, in so far as I speculate about decisions that were made in the past - some version of a hieratic vernacular should have been used for nations who do not have Latin as a mother tongue (nations of Germanic ancestry) - and even some Romance language nations may not have been familiar enough with Latin to justify its continued use in the Roman-rite liturgy. (I would thus disagree with those traditionalists who maintain that Latin should be the universal liturgical language of the Roman rite churches.)

Still, the celebration of the Roman-rite liturgy in places like Hong Kong or Japan may seem quaint or peculiar to us now, but we should ask, why are some Asians (or non-Asians, for that matter) attracted to such liturgies when they do not understand the language? Are they looking for a sense of sacred that contemporary vernacular liturgies lack? Some may be older, familiar with the use of Latin in the Roman rite before Vatican 2. It may just be nostalgia at work, or the desire to pray in a familiar milieu, but their interest may be more than that. What lessons can we learn about the Pauline reform of the Roman rite and what corrections should we seek?

Today the New Evangelization may may require greater inculturation, but this inculturation should be tempered with a knowledge of the past and the artistic traditions of the Christians who lived before us. Inculturation should always be accompanied by the inspiration to give our best and an appreciation of the "true, good, and beautiful," as we seek those translations and native art forms which can be adapted. Not being gifted with language I will not say that much about it - while the revision of the English translation may have been warranted, I do question whether it could have been done better. (Without, perhaps, fully embracing a more archaic form of English - I would not be opposed to this in principle, even though it might strike some as being artificial - but it may not be pastorally effective.)

Do we need to rediscover forms of music and art that are simple but beautiful? (Simple does not necessarily mean modernist.) We should be more attentive to the moral dimension of music and its effects on the person, particularly the emotions, not mistaking affective appeal for authentic Christian spirituality. While it may be clear to many that "Christian" rock cannot be adapted for use in the liturgy, we should also reconsider the use of music that is derived from Romanticism. I am not a music scholar or musicologist so I cannot expound more on this; some music is compatible with the "stillness" that we need in order to attend to the presence of the Lord, and some music is not. (A comparative study of the different forms of singing that were adapted as Christianity spread over the world would be useful. Did they originate in pre-existing religious traditions? Or were they adapted from other uses? Was a distinction between sacred music and profane music always preserved?)

As for the shift in architecture - there are some posts at New Liturgical Movement on the "Other Modern." Perhaps some modernism is useful, provided that it is coupled with a proper sense of ornamentation that draws the Christian to the presence of God. (Modernism + austere, bare liturgical environment: far from the ideal.)

Perhaps some thoughts on vestments and sacred vessels later...

*What of Latin as the language of theology, scholarship, and documents of the Church of Rome? Should all priests be familiar with Latin (and Greek and Hebrew)? Or should there be different tracks for priests according to their talents and abilities?

Bill Maher interviews Fr. Reginald Foster:

Dom Cassian Folsom on Forms of Eucharistic Reservation

Christopher Dawson on Conservatism

The Imaginative Conservative: Conservatism: A Lecture by Christopher Dawson
Introduction and Notes by Joseph T. Stuart

Friday, April 19, 2013

Parody of the Latest Dove Campaign


Anarcho-Primitivists Would Disagree?

Or any anthropologist? Where does Ian Morris get this from?

Via Damian Thompson:

“The love between husband and wife or parent and child is natural, bred into us over millions of years,” writes Morris. But friends were late on the scene. Homo sapiens, humans like us, arrived 150,000 years ago. For the first 100,000 years, however, they stubbornly refused to talk to each other. Ted Heath would have been proud of them.

Networks of friends weren’t possible until about 9000 BC, when humans in the Middle East – actually the birthplace of the West, says Morris – started farming and the first villages appeared.

So members of hunter-gatherer groups were not friends with one another? Or is he claiming, rather, that friendships between those not related by blood (or significantly related by blood) did not come into existence until large population settlements came into being? Isn't that rather obvious, if you are familiar with the patterns of human civilization?

Or is the problem with Mr. Thompson's representation of the claim?

Ian Morris: Why the West Rules -- For Now from The Long Now Foundation on
Long Now Foundation


Ian Morris, Department of Classics
Ian Morris's new book, "Why the West Rules--For Now" (+video)
The Shape of History: Ian Morris, historian on a grand scale
NYT Review

Human Experience @ Stanford

More videos:
Rome Reports: Today marks eight year anniversary of Benedict XVI election
The two terror suspects in Boston are reportedly Chechen. No repeat of Beslan yet.

Paul Craig Roberts Interview

From last month - source

Copts Mobilizing

At desert monastery, Egypt's monks join new Christian assertiveness in face of Islamist power

More from Gar Alperovitz

(Divided into parts)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Sara Watkins, "You and Me"

Michelle Obama Should Read This

The science of obesity: what do we really know about what makes us fat? An essay by Gary Taubes

Comprehensive Immigration Reform, Courtesy of the Gang of Eight

The Gang of Eight Unveils Their ‘Comprehensive Immigration Reform’

The American bishops have a response.

The press conference was today - ‘Gang of Eight’ senators urge other lawmakers to join them in supporting immigration bill

The Long-Term Unemployed are Doomed

Long-Term Unemployment Is a Long-Term National Problem
Are the Good Jobs Gone?
Shadow Economy Shows Joblessness Less Than Meets U.S. Eye

Defining America Down—Jose Antonio Vargas (Yech!) And What's At Stake In The Latest Amnesty/ Immigration Surge War

Article on Russell Shaw

and his book...

Author calls for US 'Catholic subculture' to regain identity by Carl Bunderson

Roger Dubin's Conversion Story

ope Benedict XVI’s “First Convert”
April 16, 2013
The story of how a New York Jew wrestled with Christ and became Catholic
Roger Dubin


Publicity as Attention Whoring by Another Name

An institution can't be taken seriously when they don't address problems on their own or implement reforms. The same problems that were present in the first part of the new millenium still afflict Boston College. More empty talk that will lead to nothing.

This is not leadership (or even collaboration), this is advertising.

CNS: Boston College Launches Initiative to Examine Catholic Mission

"The Lord giveth and the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord."

PC Marketing

What should one expect from a company based in San Francisco? Something from Triple Aught Design:

Why PC? How many African-Americans participate in such outdoor sports, as compared with Caucasians? (Steve Sailer and others have written posts on the actual numbers.)

Team Woman

From the FB page for the new drama All About My Romance (내 연애의 모든 것):

Leader of Unified Progressive Party and ex presidential contender Sim Sang Jung showed recently her love and support for the current political drama “All About My Romance” and its female lead Lee Min Jung
The reputable politician expressed via twitter thankful words towards Lee Min Jung who incarnates a newbie representative and leader of New Progressive Party … seems like the reputable politician is also enjoying the story – and the background – of these two lovebirds …. how cute xD :
드라마 <내 연애의 모든 것> 재밌게 보고 계신가요? 국회에도 저런 선남선녀들이 있다면…^^
전 오늘 이민정씨 대사 한 대목이 가슴에 확 와닿았답니다. 메추리알로 바위 치기… 비교섭단체의 설움, 저도 늘 느낍니다.


I still have a post on the current S. Korean president to be finished. I would be interested in the drama because of Lee Min Jung, but I can't take her seriously as a politician or a leader. Modern "liberal democratic" politics, with a pretense to egalitarianism, is a joke.

Bruce Molsky on Concert Window

More info and ordering - $5. I decided not to go all the way to Berkeley again, but I may watch the performance online.

His website.

Gar Alperovitz in Berkeley

Gar Alperovitz will be speaking in Berkeley next week. The event is sponsored by KPFA. His latest book was just released this week: What Then Must We Do - Chelsea Green.

What Then Must We Do? Gar Alperovitz

A previous book:
America Beyond Capitalism


Parts 2 and 3.

And a trailer for a lecture recorded on video:

Gar Alperovitz: The Next American Revolution (TRAILER) from Democracy Collaborative on Vimeo.

How It Should Have Ended - Stan's Rants

Stan Lee

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

April Verch Band tonight... tempted to go hear Bruce Molsky tomorrow @ F&S.


「マクロス30~銀河を繋ぐ歌声~」 本予告PVアニメ篇


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Nicole Foss Interview

Nicole Foss In Australia: It's No Use Trying To Build A Better Dinosaur - which includes her interview on Earthsharing Australia - transcript (mp3)

Another Unnecessary Item Marketed as Being Necessary by Industry?

Bras Make Breasts "Saggier", 15-year French Study Reveals

What's the primal alternative? Not to wear one? "No support necessary"? Let the body supply the natural supports that atrophy when a bra is used?

According to The Connexion, the findings suggest that breasts would gain more tone and support themselves if no bra was used. Researchers explain that bras limit the growth of supporting breast tissues, leaving the breast to wither and degrade more quickly.

The new Dove Real Beauty campaign.
Dove's 'Real Beauty Sketches' Ad Campaign Tells Women 'You're More Beautiful Than You Think' (VIDEO)

A response at one of the feminist sites.

Campbell v. Westman

Jimmy Moore: UAB Debate: China Study’s Dr. T. Colin Campbell vs. New Atkins’ Dr. Eric Westman

CMT: Sara Watkins - "You and Me"


Some live performances:

Working the Demographic

So now we have Indian JWs (?) walking around the neighborhood trying to proselytize? (A few years ago there were Chinese JWs - has the neighborhood shifted in composition since then? Or is it just targeted outreach?) I didn't have the time or patience today to find out their religious affiliation and to confound them if they were not representative of apostolic Christianity.

R. J. Snell Reviews The Politics of Gratitude

A Prophet of Goodness: Review of Mark T. Mitchell’s The Politics of Gratitude: Scale, Place and Community in a Global Age

Potomac Books

I have my copy, but have not been able to start the book yet. As someone I know pointed out to an essay talking about the importance of place (over at FPR?) - it's more than place, it's the people. This is contrasted with the Uhmerican extreme (exemplified in some respects by the attitudes of Vox) - Vox) - living the life of a wealthy transient, moving from place to place and possessing no strong ties to other people, no sense of bonds, duties and obligations. I will look at Mr. Mitchell's book to see if he covers identity and the notion of a people, which must be present before an attempt at exhorting to greater solidarity can be made. It is a key point that is not addressed by most, with the exception of the paleos and ethnonationalists.

On the recent wedding between Brent Burke and the daughter of Rhonda Vincent: A royal bluegrass wedding in Tennessee.

Arvo Pärt - The Beatitudes

Choir of King's College, Cambridge

Monday, April 15, 2013

Blade Brothers

Discovery Channel Sets 'Blade Brothers' Premiere (Exclusive)

CMT Edge: Nora Jane Struthers Pitches Tiny Tents for Carnival

CMT Edge

Ordinations, Western Dominican Province, 2012

Ordination 2012 - photos

The vestments for the bishop and his assistants were better than those used for 2011? Are they part of the collection at St. Dominic's? Or were they brought from elsewhere?

After another glance, maybe they are the same as those used in 2011, the color appearing slightly different because of the photos or the lighting?

Slideshow for the 2010 ordinations:

Maybe I will attend this year's ordinations (May 31).
CBS News: Two Bombs Strike Boston Marathon

Boston Marathon Terror Attack Videos
Boston Bombings

AMC: Saturday is for Westerns

Cowboys & Indians: 'Hell on Wheels' Returns Aug. 3 by Joe Leydon

Includes details on a revamped Saturday line-up.

The Return of Kim Yuna

Long Live Queen Yuna

Sacred Music and the Reform of the Roman Rite

Theories of Why Liturgical Music Died by Jeffrey Tucker (Chant Cafe)

How widespread was the use chant in normal parish life in other countries? The comments at both locations do provide some answers to that question.

The ordinary in Latin might be intelligible to the faithful, but what about the propers? Latin not intelligible to must people, and Bouyer stipulates that true liturgical spirituality was inaccessible to people once they no longer understood Latin. How many were invested in maintaining a cultural identity with Rome or Latin culture? (As opposed to this is simply having the attitude that this is the way things are? How many really wanted to learn Latin but were unable to do so?)

Conflict between two inclinations which are good in themselves, but which lead to polarization? The conservative instinct of holding on to one's patrimony or what was familiar. And the desire to seek greater spiritual enrichment and fulfillment through the liturgy?

Some might claim that it was enough for the laity to read from missals in order to understand what is going on in the liturgy - this was certainly the preliminary step advocated by members of the 20th century liturgical movement. Would they have stopped there? Would Fr. Beauduin and his contemporaries have been opposed to the introduction of a hieratic version of the vernacular?

Liturgical worship mediated by a missal is less than ideal, and not all have the intellectual gifts for it. And the music? For specialists only?

Can we get them away from music that dominates the emotions to some simpler, more "austere" form of singing (or chanting) in English? Can some sort of English plainsong be created from Gregorian chant? (Or should we go farther east?)

So That's Why Gregorian Chant Sounds Different - Gregorian Chant: The Minor Modes
Gregorian Chant: The Major Modes

Second Album from The Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles

The Grascals, "Sally Goodin"

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Pope Francis and the Reform of the Laity

NCReg: Pope Francis and the Reform of the Laity
COMMENTARY: The Holy Father has identified ‘ecclesiastical narcissism’ as the fundamental illness the Church needs to address.

This was based on remarks made to the cardinals before the conclave - has he changed his mind since then?

Cardinal Bergoglio was the principal author and presenter of the Aparecida Document, which not only echoes many of his fundamental themes but is a reliable indicator of his thought.
The reform of the laity, the document says, must involve re-forming them to become “missionary disciples in communion.”
Those four words define the lay vocation: converted followers of Jesus, who together with others who share Jesus’ life, faithfully seek to spread their joy, life and love to those who have not yet come into that two-fold communion.
It’s a community of believers trained and inspired to go out to transform politics, society, education, neighborhoods, family and marriages.
It’s a brotherhood of Good Samaritans drawing near to neighbors with love and mercy.
It’s the faithful who are salt of the earth and not just salty critics of the Church.
It’s a body of torchbearers radiating Christ’s light rather than hiding it within the bushel basket of self-referential, spiritually worldly and ultimately “sick” parochial or diocesan structures.
Pope Francis has begun the exodus leading to this reform, taking us by example to the outskirts of human existence and sketching for us the journey ahead.
The real work, however, still needs to take place in hearts, homes, parishes, movements and schools across the Catholic world.

First things first - the laity need to be taught about the order of charity and the meaning of friendship before parish life can then be reinvigorated - only then can any large-scale (i.e. at the level of the parish and the local Church) credible evangelization effort be launched and maintained. Otherwise, Christians are open to the following criticism:

"You Christians talk about love, but you live like the rest of us, in your homes, without any real friendships, even with your fellow Christians. How can you talk about the love of neighbor when you do not live it?")

APARECIDA - Concluding Document
The Unprecedented "Presumption" of Changing the World
Vatican Diary / The reform of the curia has already begun
Francis: A Step Towards Collegiality - Pope Francis' reasons for deciding to appoint eight cardinal advisers
Mercy. The first encyclical of Pope Francis

The Rise and Decline of Italian city-states The Rise and Decline of Italian city-states

The Problem of Scale

Who’s to blame? The American Republic by George W. Carey

Do we really have a representative government at the national or state levels?
What conclusions or observations seem to be called for. Here are a few. First, recall the key role representatives or “fit characters” were to play in our system? Well, forget about that. They should be our first line of defense. Instead, they are a problem. Second, we would do well to devise some safeguards that would control our presidents, not only with regard to their war-making powers but also in those areas where they claim unilateral powers. And don’t be deceived by Professor Yoo about the Founders’ conception of presidential powers. Third, with Professor Birzer (“Westward, the Loss of the Republic”), I am concerned whether we can rightfully be called a republic. As far as I can see, the increasing incapacity of our national government to govern is probably due to the republic being far too extensive with too many divergent interests. In modern times we have never really faced up to one of the questions uppermost in the minds of the Anti-Federalists: How extensive can a republic be and still be a republic? This leads to my final observation by way of addressing Professor Frohnen’s question. We should cut the people some slack. It is highly questionable for reasons I have set forth whether they can exercise sovereign power. This is an additional and weighty reason for questioning whether we are still a republic. It may well be that, upon reflection, what I regarded previously to be our last and best hope is really a lost hope.

Keeping It in the Family

Another member of The Rage turns out to have a personal connection with Rhonda Vincent - dobro player Brent Burke is marrying one of her daughters. So it turns out she is the young woman in the story of Brent Burke's proposal.

For Tax Day

Kevin Carson, How Much “Civilization” Does Your Tax Money Buy?
But infrastructure projects like big dams and the Interstate Highway System were created to make the mid-20th century model of centralized, bureaucratic, mass-production capitalism profitable. You can thank the Interstate’s artificially cheap long-distance shipping costs, in large part, for driving local canneries and breweries out of business, making large-scale agribusiness competitive against local food production, and for the Walmart “warehouses on wheels” distribution model that’s destroyed Main Street retail. You can thank heavily subsidized irrigation water from the big dams for making giant plantations in California artificially profitable. The goods at Walmart or the lettuce in a bag at the supermarket may look cheap, but you pay the hidden cost on April 15.

More on the collusion between Big Government and Big Business.

Benchmade 586 Mini Barrage

Worth the price?



Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown

Starts tonight:

NPR: Nora Jane Struthers & The Party Line: Hootenanny, Anyone?

Folk Alley

"Heaven Meets Earth"

A documentary about a Catholic parish's revival - St. Peter's Catholic Church.

Video: Robert Louis Wilken on The First Thousand Years

Robert Louis Wilken Discusses 'The First Thousand Years' at 2013 VaBook

Impertinent Questions with Robert Louis Wilken by Meredith Hindley