Earlier this week I was having a conversation with someone on Milo’s rollicking Telegram chat, in which we were trying to figure out the name of a short story involving people living in underground cells, communicating only via the Internet. I had a feeling I had written about it before, but could not remember the name of the story.
Turns out it was E.M. Forster’s novella “The Machine Stops,” originally published in 1909, and I wrote about it in this catch-all post from the early days of The Age of The Virus (so early, in fact, I was not capitalizing the first “the” in that moniker, which I have texted so much, my last phone auto-predicted “The Age of The Virus”). I compared the story to Kipling’s “The Mother Hive”–a story that apparently is assigned regularly in India, because pageviews for it always seem to coincide with large numbers of site visitors from the subcontinent.
But I digress. The story sounded eerily like what our elites asked us to do during The Age of The Virus: stay home, get fat, consume mindless entertainment, and don’t socialize. Granted, some of us could go outside and plant gardens (I still got fat, though), but the messaging was not “become more self-sufficient so we can mitigate disaster” but “buy more stuff and don’t do anything fun.” It was depressing to me how many people embraced this line of reasoning, turning government-mandated sloth into some kind of perverted virtue.
I appreciated the break that The Age of The Virus afforded us, but it came with the severe curtailment of liberty—and Americans ate it up! Instead of people boldly throwing ravers and partying down, laughing at our elites, we instead retreated into our hovels, shuddering in the dark. When I did through a big Halloween bash, it was a massive success—because, I suppose, people had finally had it.
Most readers of this blog will likely agree with the following sentiment: “modern art is terrible.” In my more intellectually generous moments, I’d add “most” as a qualifier to start that phrase, but with age comes orneriness, and orneriness does not lend itself to intellectual generosity.
Perhaps the best treatment of this sentiment in a scholarly—dare I say “intellectually generous”—way is Roger Kimball‘s The Rape of the Masters: How Political Correctness Sabotages Art. The book is a quick read, but even in 200 pages, it’s depressing seeing the increasingly bizarre, flat-out wrong interpretations politically-motivated Leftists bring to classic works of art. The unfortunate trend of comparing everything that ever happened to Harry Potter is no-doubt the watered-down, pop cultural version of this academic shoehorning of the ideology du jour into artistic interpretation.
Of course, there is a corollary to the maxim that “modern art is terrible.” It’s that “modern art is only successful because wealthy dupes want to look cool.” That’s a bit of a mouthful, we all know it’s true.
This past Sunday we had a guest speaker at church, a pastor with a children’s home ministry. The ministry began with a home in southwestern Virginia, and has expanded to an orphanage in Tuxtepec, Oaxaca, Mexico. Both children’s homes are in poor, mountainous communities—the former the region where my late great-grandmother lived. Both orphanages do amazing work with the kids, combining work (like gardening, feeding donkeys, and the like) with play—even a band!
In giving his talk about the ministry, the guest pastor referenced a few passages of Scripture. Aside from the famous passage from Matthew 19:14 in which Jesus told the disciples to “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven,” the pastor also referenced Exodus 22:22-24, which deals with how widows and orphans are to be treated:
22You must not mistreat any widow or orphan. 23If you do mistreat them, and they cry out to Me in distress, I will surely hear their cry. 24My anger will be kindled, and I will kill you with the sword; then your wives will become widows and your children will be fatherless.
It’s a pretty powerful passage, and a reminder that God doesn’t mess around with sin, especially against the weakest and most defenseless. We like to think that God has “mellowed out” since sending Jesus to die for our sins, but that’s dangerously wishful thinking. God doesn’t change, and His Wrath is still mighty.
As I noted in the title to Wednesday’s post, this blog is going to the dogs. Don’t worry—not forever, and not always. But with the experience of fostering sweet Murphy still fresh, I wanted to take some time today to reflect on the past two days of dog ownership.
Naturally, it’s a bit early yet—the term of the foster is thirty days, and after which I am allowed to adopt the old girl if I so choose—but it’s already been a positive experience, both for myself and, more importantly, the dog.
Murphy is an old girl—she is eight-years-old as of June—and was caught up in, as far as I can gather, some family drama, leading to her placement in a shelter in Havelock, North Carolina. The Bull Terrier Rescue Mission swooped in and got in touch with me, just a week after I’d put in an application to become a foster for the organization (you can read that story here). As such, she’s been through a great deal in the past week, and is already inclined to be a bit more relaxed, given her advanced age (the life expectancy for bull terriers, per the American Kennel Club, is between twelve and thirteen years, though I frequently hear of bull terriers passing around the age of ten).
That means we’ve enjoyed a lot of short walks and long naps. She’s definitely my kind of girl.
When I first pulled up the flick on Shudder, I was hoping for 1978’s Dawn of the Dead, the supposedly “fun” Romero Dead movie. That’s the one with survivors of a zombie apocalypse live it up in a mall, enjoying all the materialism the late 1970s could afford.
Despite my efforts, though, I can’t seem to locate that flick on any streaming service I use, so Day of the Dead it was. By now the trope of “humans are the real monsters” is familiar to viewers—and readers of virtually any Stephen King novel—but Day of the Dead delivers that trite message in a taut, unsettling way.
Well, better late than never. Here’s all the goodness from MAGAWeek2020, which went pretty heavy on the first couple of decades of the twentieth century. Even my post on a contemporary figure, Tucker Carlson, had some Progressive Era ties: The Tuck is a big fan of Theodore Roosevelt, who enjoyed two separate posts last year.
“#MAGAWeek2020: Theodore Roosevelt, Part I” (post on SubscribeStar) – This first post on Theodore Roosevelt details his early life: his childhood illness and his strenuous efforts to overcome it; the death of his mother and wife one the same day; his move to the Dakotas; and his command of the Rough Riders during the Spanish-American War.
“#MAGAWeek2020: Theodore Roosevelt, Part II” (post on SubscribeStar) – This second post on TR examines his presidency in greater detail. TR was a trailblazing president of the Progressive Era, and while some of his notions would rankle conservatives today (as they did at the time), he was, perhaps, the greatest populist president since Andrew Jackson.
“#MAGAWeek2020: The Tuck” (post on SubscribeStar) – Speaking of populists, this profile celebrates the elitist who wants leaders to care about the people they govern. Tucker Carlson is the only major voice in the mainstream media who advocates for an American First, pro-nationalist, pro-populist message. He’s not the only such voice, but he’s the only one currently with the legitimacy of the mainstream press behind him—even as the National Security Agency is spying on him! But, as I always say, you can’t cuck The Tuck!
“#MAGAWeek2020: Calvin Coolidge” (post on SubscribeStar) – Calvin Coolidge has enjoyed a bit of a revival in recent years as a stand-in for the tax reform debate. In many ways, he was the antithesis to Theodore Roosevelt’s gutsy, activist style of leadership. Coolidge took the role of president seriously, chiefly the idea that he was merely presiding over the country, not lurching into towards reform. His steady, quiet, hands-off leadership allowed the country to flourish, and he holds the distinction of being the only president to shrink the size of the federal budget by the time he left office.
Well, now you’re all caught up. Lots of good stuff to read—and just for $1 a month! You can’t beat that, eh?
A bit of background is in order: Dr. Rachel Fulton Brown is a medievalist at the University of Chicago, and is known in our circles as a traditional Christian professor fighting against social justice indoctrination and infiltration of the humanities.
One wouldn’t think the more esoteric realm of medieval history would be a major battleground for the ultra-woke, but it makes sense: the modern West is profoundly a product of the Middle Ages. With that in mind, it becomes clear why the progressive revisionists wish to dominate the field: in rewriting medieval history to fit their woke narrative, it makes the rest of their revisionist project—of casting all white, male, Christian endeavors as inherently wicked—that much easier.
Milo Yiannopoulos’s short book Medieval Rages: Why The Battle for Medieval Studies Matters to America, details that struggle in more detail. I highly recommend picking it up, as it highlights the length to which the wokesters have gone to silence Dr. Brown. Correspondingly, it demonstrates Dr. Brown’s incredible courage and fortitude—as well as her cleverly elfish responses to her critics.
Dr. Brown founded a Telegram chatroom, Dragon Common Room, to be a “a place for training in the arts of virtue and poetry. And mischief making for God. We fight the demons with laughter and wit.” I participate infrequently in chat, but it has become one of my favorites on the platform. In addition to fighting “demons with laughter and wit,” Dr. Brown and her merry band of righteous mischief-makers wrote, workshopped, edited, and compiled Centrism Games, releasing it as a handsome little volume consisting of seven poems of thirty stanzas each.
The seven poems constitute a mock-epic narrative, modeled after Alexander Pope’s satirical epic The Dunciad. Whereas Pope’s Dunciad mocked the goddess “Dulness” and her agents, Centrism Games lampoons the goddess Fama—Fame—and her o’er eager knights
I’ve been enjoying my Shudder membership immensely, and it’s pretty much become the main streaming service I watch when I’m viewing solo. Needless to say, I’ve consumed a lot of movies on the service already, so brace yourselves for many horror movie reviews (as if I didn’t mostly write those already).
This week, I’m looking at the horror anthology Creepshow (1982). Horror anthologies can vary in quality, with usually one very strong entry, and then some forgettable duds. Creepshow, for the most part, beats the odds.
I don’t remember when I first saw Creepshow, but I was probably far too young. What I do know is that some of its most iconic, comic-book-inspired images have stuck with me down to the present. I didn’t even know they were from Creepshow until re-watching it all these years later, but they’ve been seared into my brain.
For example, the whole plot of “The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill“—which stars Stephen King in his first film role—has always stuck with me (indeed, I have an idea for a short story with a similar premise tentatively entitled “Yeast Man”): the idiot farmer slowly succumbing to the weird alien plant. Ted Danson’s submerged head in “Something to Tide You Over” is another memorable image, as is the flood of roaches entering the impossibly sanitized apartment in “They’re Creeping Up on You!”