Nothing to fear?

Rod Dreher goes on a snark about the youth rallies

 

Considering the varying meanings of fearless (often as a synonym for “bold”), this sort of objection is rather crabbed. But consider the cowardliness of politicians, the craven response to the gun lobby that renders them incapable of doing anything. Why? For fear of funders, of being pilloried, of being kicked out of the tribe. Fear is baked into conservative politics. The march of the students, if nothing else, reminds us what can be done when one puts aside the political fear.

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On Justice

Dan Winiarski entertains some ideas about the current appeals for “justice”

Over the last few years, the term “Justice” has become far to ill-defined and confused with other virtues and ideas. Words mean things, and if we play fast and loose with their meanings, we inhibit our ability to communicate, diagnose problems, and identify the best solutions.

For example, I’ve heard justice defined subjectively and nebulously as “making things right.” What things? Right according to whom? Making them how?

He goes on to offer his own definition: “Justice is people getting what they deserve, whether good or bad, and whether we personally like the outcome or not.”

But that begs a question: Is “justice” something that can be defined? The same nit-picking used here can be applied to the preferred definition: “deserve”? what standard is that? what order? who sets the terms, etc. Or for that matter, how do we determine “good or bad”? The moment I push the concept it goes all squishy.

Rather than speak abstractly of “justice” why not biblically? Justice takes place in the presence of a wrong, thus the psalmist cries out for justice for the poor. Justice is about the ordering of our relationships so the reflect and participate in God’s interaction with us. The very care God has for the poor and weak leaves us exposed:we are sinners. This brings to the other sense of justice, that God acts to restore a relationship with us, unilaterally. That decision is profoundly displayed in the crucifixion, and vindicated on Easter morn.

 

Blind-sided

There’s a day, and then there’s another not at all like the future you thought. For Frank Bruni it was blindness, for KW it was Hodgkins. Bruni describes that day

I went to bed believing that I was more or less in control — that the unfinished business, unrealized dreams and other disappointments in my life were essentially failures of industry and imagination, and could probably be redeemed with a fierce enough effort. I woke up to the realization of how ludicrous that was.

Another catechism notes that we are not our own. Indeed.

Am I Going Blind?

Remember the Future?

Screen Shot 2018-02-23 at 9.15.56 AM
Fritz Wotruba, Holy Trinity Church, Wien-Mauer, Austria (1971–76) (photograph by Wolfgang Leeb, 2011)

This is a case of love/hate.

In its time — my time 50 years ago — Brutalism was the architecture of the new, the future. Even now, when I go through the new stairwell at City/Creston, rub the wall, I feel that little twinge of possibility, of something happening. The surface texture, the walls of concrete broke with the vocabulary of the modernist glass, or the ornamented brick. Here was something else; this was the style of great institutions, and that certainly was its downfall. Because while the concrete stood out, it aged worse. More bunker than beatific, a style that is anchored by too seldom seems to soar.

A Colossal Compendium of Brutalist Architecture Argues for Saving ‘Concrete Monsters’

 

Take that, future!

Screen Shot 2018-02-20 at 10.42.41 PM.pngThe door to our future opens in many ways. For Caitlin Flanagan, it was through pulp fiction.

Modesty Blaise was merely a cartoon character turned into a bit of pulp fiction, but in the midst of my unhappy adolescence, she changed the way I thought about myself and my future. … for the first time, I imagined what it would be like to be physically unafraid in the world, to walk down any city street I wanted, at any time of night, and not give a second’s thought to the special care a girl has to take. I thought about what it would be like to be deeply loved by a man, deeply known, but still be the main character in my life story, the only one with her name in the title. Time passed, and I learned in a hundred hard ways how careful you have to be if you’re born female, how many places hold dangers—even just an ordinary office with a respected male boss.

The Comic-Strip Heroine I’ll Never Forget

 

*Illustration by WG600; Modesty Blaise: The Killing Game (Titan Books), © Associated Newspapers LTD / Solo Syndication

Besieged

Screen Shot 2018-02-20 at 7.04.50 PMThe one truth about the Russian indictments is that the President has nowhere to go. Before, the  claims of “Fake News” could be used as a way of keeping a backdoor open, a certain (im)plausible denial. David Remnick quotes Jake Sullivan to spell this out

“This is a direct rebuke of the President’s ‘witch hunt’ narrative, that it was all invented from the start,” Jake Sullivan, one of Clinton’s closest policy and campaign advisers, told me. “These are meticulous criminal indictments showing that there was a campaign of interference to support Trump and to hurt Hillary. This also establishes a predicate crime, a criminal conspiracy—and that means that, if there were U.S. persons, or U.S. persons connected to Trump, involved, then they will be criminally exposed. What Mueller has done is to establish a criminal conspiracy.”

The only question now is who else is within the ramparts of the besieged White House? And will the king by some connivance, escape?

Mueller’s Indictment Ends Trump’s Myth of the Russia “Hoax”

All Woke Up?

Charles Blow highlights one of the saddest truths about the Russian interference with the 2016 electoral cycle: the dampening of the minority, and especially the millennial black vote. They may have been woke to their cause, but they went to sleep as to their interests.

According to a May Pew Research Center report, “The black voter turnout rate declined for the first time in 20 years in a presidential election.” The report said that the number of naturalized citizen voters was up from 2012 and the turnout rate for women was mostly unchanged from 2012. And while the percentage of eligible millennials who said they voted in the last election rose among every other demographic group, it fell among black millennials.

This is a version of “What’s the Matter with Kansas” only on the left. In the name of ideals, one votes against one’s own interests. The result, not surprisingly, is a sort of sideways movement of despair, a righteousness of the put-upon and the defeated.

The righteous, solitary vote can convey virtue when it is the subject of reflection and affirmation of ideal, but what happens when what looks like our opinion is the result of manipulation? As Blow has it, “what we do now know with absolute certainty is that in making their electoral choices, black folks had unwanted hands on their backs, unethical and illegal ones, nudging them toward an apathy built on anger.”

Sometimes Woke is not woke.