Lazy Sunday CXXVIII: Civilization

Civilization seems to be taking it on the chin lately, with anti-civilizational forces in various forms scoring victories against the civilized world.  The Taliban’s rapid reconquista of Afghanistan following America’s hasty, disorganized withdrawal suggests that a group of motivated cavemen can topple a well-trained, well-equipped, but artificial regime in a brisk weekend.

Within the gates of the civilized world, we’re going in a decidedly Babylonian route, indulging in wildly hedonistic displays of decadence, while ignoring the fundamentals that keep civilization going.  Even the gates are largely symbolic, as we’re allowing in every paleontological throwback, handing them government bennies and free housing in the process.

All that said, I think civilization is worth preserving.  I’ll write about that in a future post.  For now, here are some of my past scribblings on the topic for this mildly gloomy edition of Lazy Sunday:

  • Civilization is Worth It” – Here is my initial case for civilization.  I think this line sums it up best:  “Ultimately, I’d much rather live in a world that produced J.S. Bach than a Stone Age pit full of atonal grunting.  It says something about the state of our civilization that the atonal grunts are back in vogue.”
  • What is Civilization” – This post was based on a discussion between Milo Yiannopoulos and “groypers” Steven Franssen and Vincent James.  The groypers argued that folks should abandon the cities and head to the country.  Milo argued that cities are the heart of civilization, and should be defended.  Both sides make compelling points, though I tend to side with Franssen and James on this one.
  • Rebuilding Civilization: The Hunter-Gatherer” – This post was inspired by an essay by Stuart Wavell entitled “The next civilisation.”  Wavell suggests that in the event of a cataclysmic, apocalyptic-level event, the isolated hunter-gatherers would be the ones to carry on the torch of humanity.

Well, there’s your dose of civilizational analysis for this weekend.  Let’s all do our part to maintain the things that make civilization worth the effort.

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

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Major Loot

In 2014, Hobby Lobby purchased a tablet containing an excerpt from the Epic of Gilgamesh, perhaps the oldest epic work of literature in Western Civilization.  The tablet is 3500-years old, and Hobby Lobby won the tablet in a Christie’s auction, paying $1.6 million for it.  Hobby Lobby displayed the tablet in its Museum of the Bible, which houses a number of rare and ancient artifacts.

Now, Hobby Lobby has forfeited the tablet to the US Department of Justice due to it shady provenance.  It seems that the original seller falsified a letter of provenance to show that the tablet had entered the United States before laws against importing rare artifacts were enacted.

To make matters worse, Christie’s apparently knew that the letter was questionable, but withheld that information.

Unfortunately, that means Hobby Lobby took one on the chin financially.  I’m not sure what the fate of the original smuggler is, but I imagine he’s long gone and living the sweet life.

The bigger question, though, is what should be done with such artifacts?  Current US policy seems to be to return them to their country of origin.  While that might seem to the be simplest policy, is it really best for the preservation of the artifacts—and our cultural heritage?

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Modern Art and Influence

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.

So it is that two close relatives to the current Pretender’s regime—scandal-ridden, sister-in-law-loving drug addict Hunter Biden, and not-pretty-enough-to-be-a-model model Ella Emhoff (Vice President Kamala Harris‘s stepdaughter) have made good money peddling “art.”

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Let’s Get Biblical: The Wisdom of Exodus 22

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.

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Belated SubscribeStar Saturday: Back into the Arena Again

Today’s post is a SubscribeStar Saturday exclusive.  To read the full post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.  For a full rundown of everything your subscription gets, click here.

This post was meant to be published on Saturday, 17 July 2021, but I was out of town without Internet.  Apologies to subscribers for the delay.

It’s been awhile since I’ve written a detailed update on Lamar Town Council.  Lamar is really a wonderful town, and a great place to live; we’re just experiencing a number of strains that are typical for a small town with an aging population.  Even so, Lamar is uniquely poised for a renaissance, given its proximity to I-20 and the major population centers in the region.

That said, there are some systemic problems that are making that renewal more difficult.  Progress is being made to address each of these problems in turn, but it’s slow and often piecemeal.  That’s no criticism of the fine people who work for the Town—they’re doing quite well—but it’s indicative of the kinds of pressures on time and resources the town is experiencing.

To read the rest of this post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.

TBT: Disorder

It’s easy to forget now, but last summer was terrifying.  Race riots erupted in cities all over the country as a result of the death of George Floyd, a fentanyl-addicted career criminal who has now been sainted by our elites.  The summer of rioting and looting did more to undermine racial harmony and social peace in our nation than any event of the last decade.

Now that The Usurper Biden sits upon the throne, the rioting seems to have subsided, as least for now, although there was a shooting at George Floyd Square amid the one-year anniversary observance of his death.  Even so, I remember how scary last summer was, with radical, violent BLM and Antifa protests breaking out even here in South Carolina.

Part of the growing homesteading movement seems inspired, in part, by the wild lawlessness of the cities.  Why live cheek-by-jowl with people who hate you because of your supposed privilege—and pay a hefty premium in rent to do so—when you can live affordably and safely in the country?  I have at least one neighbor who seems to be doing that, and I’ve made some half-hearted efforts of my own at the same.

Regardless, I pray for peace—and prepare for the worst.  I’d encourage you to do the same.

Here is 5 June 2020’s “Disorder“:

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Reclaim the Rainbow

Orthodox Christian, America Firster, former US Senate candidate for Delaware, and current babe Lauren Witzke posted a meme to her Telegram page a few days ago featuring a rainbow with the Cross emblazoned in front of it, with the captions “June is Christianity Month” and “Reclaim the Rainbow.”

It’s a clever meme, of course, because June has become Pride Month, a month dedicated to forced corporate celebrations of abiological and immoral lifestyles.

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Sheet Music Burning

The latest target of the woke elites and their braying mobs is—that great symbol of imperialism and Western dominance—sheet music.

Apparently, some Oxford dons are considering removing sheet music and the ability to read traditional notation from its curriculum.  One quotation from The Telegraph article notes that “The Oxford academics went on to pronounce that teaching the piano or conducting orchestras could cause ‘students of colour great distress’ as the skills involved are closely tied to ‘white European music’.”

This latest crusade is the musical equivalent of the effort in English departments across the country to downplay the teaching of grammar.  Sure, one can make plenty of excellent music without knowing how to read notation, but why limit one’s self to tabs or lead sheets?  I can certainly communicate certain ideas without adverbs, adjectives, or even pesky commas, but doing so severely limits the range of expression.

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TBT: The Creation of Culture

The theme of this Spring Break Week is short stories, but more deeply it’s that of culture generally.  Indeed, The Portly Politico has dedicated itself increasingly towards cultural, filmic, musical, and literary matters far more over the past few months than ever before, for a reason:  creating culture is far more powerful and interesting than largely meaningless squabbles over minute points of policy.  That’s not to say that politics aren’t important—at the local level it’s very important—but there’s not much we can do in a practical sense to sway the indifferent national government at this point.

Culture, on the other hand, is something we can proactively create and promulgate.  A major push on the traditional Right as of late has been to do just that:  create a compelling (counter?)culture to the prevailing popular culture of nihilism and materialism.  Rachel Fulton Brown’s Centrism Games: A Modern Dunciad, the product of her excellent Telegram chatroom Dragon Common Room, is one exquisite effort at creating (and reviving) a rich literary culture on the Right.  The collaborative nature of the work—RFB is the editor, with sections of the epic poem composed by different members of the chat—further highlights the proactive act of creation among like-minded individuals, each mixing their unique voices into a scathingly satirical blend.

My own book, The One-Minute Mysteries of Inspector Gerard: The Ultimate Flatfoot, is my own meager contribution to this new culture—a work so honestly reflective of my teenaged self, I didn’t even fix some of my collegiate typos!  It’s a bit postmodern and absurdist, but it at least gives a glimpse into the gradual transformation of one young creator (in this case, me!).

My music, too, is a humble contribution to cultural creation.  I’ve always thought of The Four Unicorns of the Apocalypse, in particular, as an eschatological statement of sorts.  At the very least, it attempts, musically, to reflect a civilization‘s fall into decadence and nihilism, before the cycle repeats.

But I digress.  For this week’s edition of TBT, I thought I’d do something I’ve never done before:  bring a post from my SubscribeStar page out from behind the paywall.

The occasion for writing this post—“The Creation of Culture“—was the release of my friend Jeremy Miles‘s collection of poetry, A Year of Thursday Nights.  Jeremy is no Right-wing traditionalist, but his collection is the result of a year of attending open mic nights and performing his (very entertaining) poems.  In essence, he created culture out of a vibrant community of artists and musicians, both chronicling and enhancing the performances that took place at a local coffee shop’s open mic night over the course of 2019.

But I’ve gone long enough in this rambling preamble (a “preramble?”).  Here is 25 January 2020’s “The Creation of Culture” (on SubscribeStar):

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