Phone it in Friday XXVI: Unschooling with John Taylor Gatto

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything about John Taylor Gatto, the teacher who rejected compulsory schooling and argued forcefully in favor of a true education, one unbounded from mass school schemes.  I was on a kick back in the spring of listening to his talks, but hadn’t listened to him much lately.

That is, until the YouTube Algorithm—may it be praised—tossed this video into my feed:

I know, I know—it’s nearly an hour long.  I don’t expect you to listen to it all now (please finish reading this blog post first), but if you’re in the car or warshing (as my girl would say) the dishes, put it on in the background.  It’s a must-listen.

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SubscribeStar Saturday: The Queen and 9/11

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Queen Elizabeth II, the long-reigning, dignified, Stoic monarch of Great Britain, passed away this week at the age of 96.  The news was shocking, not because of the tragedy of her death itself, but because I’d always assumed she would live forever—even though I knew that wasn’t possible.  Queen Elizabeth was just always there, and it seemed like she would be.

To be honest, I’m surprised she was only 96; I thought she’d already hit 100.  As it was, she was pretty close.  Her seventy-plus-year reign is the longest in the history of the British monarchy, and the longest any woman has been a head of state in all of recorded history.

The Queen’s passing, as other commentators have noted, truly marks the end of an era, an era in which the West, while fumbling a bit, still reigned supreme, and took itself seriously as a civilization.  Her death marks the final page of a long chapter in the book of Western Civilization, as her reign was the last vestige of the Old England so many of us, even here in the States, loved so dearly.

It is, then, perhaps apropos that the Queen’s death came so close to 9/11, a day of infamy which, sadly, seems to have receded further and further into the collective imagination of our divided and bickering nation.  Both the Queen and 9/11 were once symbols of national unity and patriotism, but the latter marked the death of American liberty.  Queen Elizabeth’s death, on the other hand, is a coda, the last few measures of a piece that lost its orchestra some time ago, but which managed to maintain a few dedicated musicians to play her out.

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Lazy Sunday CLIII: MAGAWeek2022

Last week I celebrated MAGAWeek2022, my annual observance honoring the people, places, things, events, concepts, etc., that have, in their own ways, made America great (again).

For this extremely lazy edition of Lazy Sunday, here are the four entries from this year’s illustrious list of greats:

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

TBT^256: Happy Birthday, America!

On Monday, America celebrated its 246th birthday.  I don’t know what the word is for “250th” (bisesquicentennial?), but that will be fun when it arrives in 2026.  I’m still hoping to make it to the tricentennial in 2076, but I’m not holding my breath—I’ll be ninety-one-and-a-half (maybe I’ll blog about it—ha!)!  I also imagine the United States of that time will be as unrecognizable to us as the United States of today is unrecognizable to someone at the bicentennial, much less the centennial observance.

America is not in the best of times, but victories abound nonetheless.  Sure, prices are through the rough and shortages seem to be increasingly commonplace.  But babies have a chance at life now, and our most basic constitutional rights continue—for the time being—to be upheld, albeit imperfectly (we have what are essentially political prisoners wasting away in jail without a trial because they were invited to walk around the US Capitol Building).

Regardless, I’m proud to be an American, and I’m thankful to live in this country.  It’s not perfect, but it’s home.

With that, here is “TBT^16: Happy Birthday, America!“:

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MAGAWeek2022: John Paul Jones

This week is MAGAWeek2022, my celebration of the men, women, and ideas that MADE AMERICA GREAT!  Starting Monday, 4 July 2022, this year’s MAGAWeek2022 posts will be SubscribeStar exclusives.  If you want to read the full posts, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for as little as $1 a month.  You’ll also get access to exclusive content every Saturday.

As MAGAWeek2022 rolls on, it’s my pleasure to feature the indefatigable John Paul Jones as the third entry.

Yes, with his hypnotic bass lines, workmanlike studio skills, and steady reliability, John Paul Jones provided the backbone for Led Zeppelin’s bluesy, protometal sound.

Wait, wait—not that John Paul Jones!  Although he is an amazing bassist, I’m dedicating today’s edition of MAGAWeek2022 to an even greater John Paul Jones:  Captain John Paul Jones of the American Continental Navy (and Rear Admiral in the Russian Imperial Navy).

To read the rest of today’s MAGAWeek2022 post, head to my SubscribeStar page and subscribe for $1 a month or more!

MAGAWeek2022: Clarence Thomas

This week is MAGAWeek2022, my celebration of the men, women, and ideas that MADE AMERICA GREAT!  Starting Monday, 4 July 2022, this year’s MAGAWeek2022 posts will be SubscribeStar exclusives.  If you want to read the full posts, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for as little as $1 a month.  You’ll also get access to exclusive content every Saturday.

Happy Birthday, America!  It’s Independence Day, which means it’s time for MAGAWeek2022!  It’s the time of year when The Portly Politico celebrates the people, places, things, events, concepts, etc., that have made America great (again).

The first subject of this year’s MAGAWeek is an obvious choice:  a warrior for constitutional originalism and life, he’s suffered the slings and arrows of segregation and cancel culture in a long, distinguished legal career.

I’m talking, of course, about US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

To read the rest of today’s MAGAWeek2022 post, head to my SubscribeStar page and subscribe for $1 a month or more!

TBT: Fighting Back Against Critical Race Theory

We observed Juneteenth, the new Independence Day for black Americans, here in the United States this week.  The “national” holiday is an extremely regional celebration that dates back to 1866 in Texas.

To state the obvious but controversial:  the only reason we have Juneteenth is because of a summer of racial violence two years ago.  Apparently, our entire political system and culture has to bend over backwards to accommodate a handful of disgruntled race-baiters.

But all of that traces back to Critical Race Theory (CRT), which I described last year as an odious blend of “identity politics, Foucaultean power dynamics, Cultural Marxism, and Nineties-style corporate diversity training.”

Race-baiting isn’t anything new in America, but now it’s taken on a quasi-systematic, pseudo-intellectual, cult-like quality that has major corporations and government entities at all levels cowed.

But appeasement clearly doesn’t work.  Indeed, I’d argue it undermines CRT’s alleged goal of racial reconciliation.

I said as much in 16 June 2021’s “Fighting Back Against Critical Race Theory“:

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Memorable Monday: MLK Day 202[2]

In lieu of the usual movie review this week, I’m taking advantage of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to lighten my blogging load slightly.  I’ll have another Midweek Mad Scientist Movie Madness post for $3 and up subscribers on Wednesday, so if you want your weekly fix of filmic schlock, check back then.  An aunt of mine has requested a movie review, and as soon as I figure out how to watch the flick, I’ll be reviewing it one Monday (I’m looking out for you, Aunt Marilyn).

After a week of virtual learning and lots of time alone (well, with Murphy, at least), I’m eager to get out of the house, but I will likely spend today prepping for the abbreviated school week and getting the house in order.  I’m thankful for the day off, but I’d probably appreciate it more—as I did in January 2020—if I were utterly exhausted—as I was in January 2020.  I think slightly less appreciation is a worthwhile trade-off, though!

This post from 2020 delves into some of the complexity of the Reverend Dr. King’s legacy, and warns against excessive idolization of historical figures—even martyrs.  Much of the inspiration from the stories of Christian Saints, for example, derives from their human frailty.  Even the great Saint Augustine, when praying to God for control over his lustful nature, prayed, “Grant me chastity and self-control, but please not yet.”

From the evidence, it appears that King participated in some really debauched, even evil, sexual practices.  The FBI’s suspicions that he may have been are Marxist were probably justified to some extent, even if the FBI treated him shabbily and is a despicable tool of oppression.  If King were alive today, I’d wager he’d be knee-deep in the CRT foolishness that his famous “I Have a Dream” speech explicitly rejects.

Yet from this extremely imperfect vessel came ringing declarations of spiritual equality.  Regardless of our race, we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights.  That is the part of King’s legacy we should celebrate, while remembering he was a deeply flawed individual.

In other words, let us put our faith and trust in Christ, not in men.

With that, here is January 2020’s “MLK Day 2020“:

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Flashback Friday^2: Christmas and its Symbols

Okay, okay—it’s not Christmas.  But, hey, close enough, right?

There will be an actual Christmas post tomorrow morning, though it’s going to be very short.  But I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to turn “Flashback Friday” into “Flashback Friday^2,” angering mathematicians and calendar enthusiasts everywhere.

The original post in this “series,” “Christmas and its Symbols,” contains some excellent Christmas wisdom.  So often we hear Christmas denounced as a secretly “pagan” holiday because we hang wreaths, put up trees, and dangle mistletoe.  But as one meme I’ve seen recently put it (to paraphrase), “Yes, I love to display the trophies of my vanquished foes.”

Christianity sure did kick—and continues to kick—some butt.  We could probably do with some more warrior-monks running around with maces and clubs.

For this weekend and beyond, though, Jesus—as He always does—will do.

With that, here is “Flashback Friday: Christmas and its Symbols“:

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