Category: Culture

Learn to Love Your Region

It might be the only effective answer to Leviathan . . . and it arguably saves lives

Socialist? Liberal? Conservative? Libertarian? Anarchist?

I’m none of those things. I’m a Subsidiarist. I believe in the Catholic bedrock of political philosophy, which holds the smallest units of government ought to handle whatever they can possibly handle with interference from larger units of government.

The household ought to handle what it can, and if a problem is too big for the household, the extended family should handle it. If the extended family can’t, go to local charities, friends, and neighbors. If it’s too big for that, city government. Then county government. Then state government. Then (gulp) national government.

It’s simple in concept, difficult to apply. Indeed, it’s Quixotic to apply it to today’s political scene, DC and the state capitals have grown so powerful and overwhelming that advocacy of the principle of subsidiarity is like advocating abstinence in a whorehouse.

But there is a movement of sorts that is akin to subsidiarity. It’s called “regionalism.” It’s not political, though. It’s cultural, but if politics follows culture, a regionalist cultural movement could be huge.


Regionalism, in the words of Bill Kauffman, is “’a revolt against cultural nationalism—that is, the tendency of artists to ignore or deny the fact that there are important differences, psychologically and otherwise, between the various regions of America’ . . . When the different regions develop characteristics of their own, they will come into competition with each other; and out of this competition a rich American culture will grow.”

I used to read a lot of Richard Weaver and the Southern Agrarians. They were big … Read the rest

Southern Literary Figure Hated Confederate Statues

Will Percy (Walker’s cousin and guardian) was no fan of the Confederate monuments, saying they’re so pathetic, they don’t even qualify to be ridiculous:

[Y]ou will find in any Southern town a statue in memory of the Confederate dead, erected by the Daughters of something or other, and made, the townsfolk will respectfully tell you, in Italy. It is always the same: a sort of shaft or truncated obelisk, after the manner of the Washington Monument, on top of which stands a little man with a big hat holding a gun. If you are a Southerner you will not feel inclined to laugh at these efforts, so lacking in either beauty or character, to preserve the memory of their gallant and ill-advised forebears. I think the dash, endurance, and devotion of the Confederate soldier have not been greatly exaggerated in song and story: they do not deserve these chromos in stone. Sentiment driveling into sentimentality, poverty, and, I fear, lack of taste are responsible for them, but they are the only monuments which are dreadful from the point of view of æsthetics, craftsmanship, and conception that escape being ridiculous. They’re too pathetic for that.

Lanterns on the Levee: Recollections of a Planter’s Son(1941). By William Alexander Percy. 348 pp. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. $3.

Will Percy was not a BLM advocate, much less an Antifa subversive. He was “the embodiment of Southern culture, ‘defender of traditions, poet, gracious host.’” Molly Finn, First Things, May 1993.

But aesthetics are aesthetics, and he wasn’t seein’ it.

And since he was apparently gay, we kind of have to defer to him on such matters. … Read the rest

What the Frick, Amazon?

I just watched The Fight of Our Lives. It’s a thoughtful yet unequivocal attack on the far left ideas that every Democrat and Republic ought to resist. It explains the problem with postmodernism, Marxist infiltration of the universities, safe spaces and cancel culture, declining population.

A must-see.

I simply can’t figure out where Amazon is coming from. First, it rips Parler off the Internet in one of the most brazen assaults on free speech since Stalin, then it airs this documentary, which is one of the strongest defenses of freedom of speech and other western values since William F. Buckley launched National Review.

And it’s packed with, I’m guessing, interview excerpts with at least two dozen different professors.

So, although I still hold Amazon in contempt, my contempt isn’t as withering as it was a few weeks ago.

Who knows, maybe this is all just a ploy by Amazon to salvage its mainline customer base. It could be. It’s that unexpected and out of nowhere.

(Caveat: I still have 20 minutes to go.)… Read the rest

Getting Naked with Old People and Consulting Young People

Our topsy-turvy world

photo of woman holding tennis racquet
Photo by Roy Reyna on Pexels.com

I ran across two items about age in the past 24 hours.

The first is the story about the (previously) gorgeous Paulina Porizkova posting naked pictures of herself at age 55, with a post puzzling about why men wanted to see her naked at age 30 but not now.

She concludes that it’s because men, biologically, want to procreate, so they gravitate toward the body type that evidences an ability to bear children, and the older woman’s body isn’t that type.

That’s actually a pretty good conclusion, though it’s not the entire story. There’s also the uncomfortable fact that the body starts to break down as it prepares to leave this vale of tears and no one wants to bang a corpse (well, almost no one), so the closer you get to resembling one, the less attractive you are.

Both explanations, though, don’t explain why she felt compelled to post naked pics of herself (though she actually looks good for her age). (I hasten to add that, though she is clearly naked, the, ahem, vitals are covered up.)


The second item comes from that Kaplan essay I linked to earlier today. In it, he writes:

“Having lived enough years in the past makes one humble, unsteady, aware of the imperfections of life and of fate, and therefore more immune to ideal solutions for society. To trust youth blindly, to see in youth the answer to our own sins and imperfections, may hold some appeal, but it is also dimwitted.” Solzhenitsyn & the Engine of History, Robert D. Kaplan.

Young people, in short, don’t have … Read the rest

Are You Trapped in the World of Total Work?

Josef Pieper (with a G.K. Chesterton kicker) teaches us the importance of leisure

It’s commonplace knowledge that many of our best ideas hit us in the middle of the night or in our first waking moments. While we are completely at rest, not obsessed with ourselves or our work, ideas come to us like a gift.

The twentieth-century Thomistic philosopher Josef Pieper explains this phenomenon in his work, Leisure, The Basis of Culture.

Like most of Pieper’s books, Leisure is short but thick (don’t be deceived and think you’ll finish it in two sittings). True to Pieper’s approach, Leisure tends to be filled with sweeping statements that compress ten pages of truth into one sentence. This makes his books short, but also makes it necessary to read them slowly and deliberately, with many pauses and breaks.

Two parts

Leisure consists of two essays: “Leisure, the Basis of Culture,” and “The Philosophical Act.”

The first essay pushes the main thrust of his argument: Leisure, properly understood, is stillness — absence of pre-occupation and an ability to let things go. Leisure is also the end of all effort: We should work to leave time for leisure, not engage in leisure to refresh us for work.

As we cultivate leisure, we increasingly hear the rustling of reality (“only the person who is still can hear, and whoever is not still, cannot hear”). This ability to hear produces a sense of wonder, and this then leads us to engage in the act of philosophy, which is the thrust of the second essay.

As he proceeds with his analysis, he makes startling observations about leisure, the type of observations that … Read the rest

The Clash and the Angry Left, Circa 1977

funky skull graffiti on locked roll down black door
Photo by William Matte on Pexels.com

I’ve been getting into The Clash lately.

Okay, okay: this probably isn’t the appropriate season for the music of an angry Socialist punk band (it ain’t Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” album), but I couldn’t help it. I got pulled in last week by this Spotify podcast, Stay Free: The Story of The Clash.

It’s really good. I think it’s “overproduced,” in the sense that it tries a little too hard to be jumpy and punchy, making it a bit too disjointed. Each episode so far has started in medias res, then it jumps back, then returns to the middle, then back, then to the middle. I find it a bit disorientating, wholly unnecessary, and mildly disrespectful of the listener’s time.

However, it is really good so far (I’m 3/8ths of the way through).

__________

The brief sidelight about drummer Terry Chimes (Episode 3; 15:00-20:00) is instructive.

Chimes was a butt of jokes because he wasn’t political. He was in the band to make money. That didn’t sit well with the rest of the band members, who let him know it. He finally quit shortly before the first album came out. (In retaliation, the band named him “Tory Crimes” on the credits.)

Years later, Chimes was interviewed and said, though he didn’t realize it at the time, everyone in the band was angry about life in general, which is why they were leftwing radicals:

Every one of those people, no exceptions, came from a broken home. I came from a happy home. When [the manager] would say, “The world’s horrible, it’s out to get you, you have to

Read the rest

How to Hate Jordan Peterson

My man Ayodeji Awosika came out with a great piece at Medium.com this week: 12 Rules for Hating Jordan Peterson.

It was great to see. Ayo lost me a few months ago with a series of pieces that seemed rushed and poorly thought out (by Ayo standards), such as one that counseled readers never to skimp on a restaurant dinner. I was like, “Come on, Ayo. You’re reaching.”

Well, he’s back in my good graces now.

This Jordan piece is a monster, consisting of nearly 4,000 words (Medium.com measures its stories by reading time: 265 WPM; this article is 14 minutes long . . . do the math.)

And the “Rules for Hating Peterson” are ironic jabs at his detractors, as evidenced by Rule Number One: “Mischaracterize Everything He Says.”

The other rules are pretty insightful as well. A few of the better ones:

Don’t Actually Study His Body of Work

Judge Him on the Lowest Common Denominator of his Followers

Have Disdain For Personal Responsibility

Be Emotionally Fragile

He also tackles an issue I’ve long seen with folks on the left: rage about their own person problems. “They,” to quote Tucker Max, “use a movement as a cover for their own unresolved emotional issues. I’ve never seen an exception.”

This, Ayo points out, “describes many of the people who hate Jordan Peterson.

“Most of this political outrage happens because people have unresolved problems they don’t want to confront. It’s that simple. Working on your problems and taking responsibility is hard. It takes courage and it’ll open be painful.

“People would rather create scapegoats than deal with their pain head-on. At the height of his … Read the rest

Give Gloria! The Neo-Garage Rock Movement

My son turned me onto a musical movement that I’m not sure even has its own name

A music revival took place from about 2000 to 2015 that didn’t even have a name.

Which is fitting, its eponymous grandfather wasn’t given a name either, until after it had concluded.

In the 1960s, a rock genre came out of thousands of garages across America. They played Them’s “Gloria” and simple chords with heavy beats.

From Dallas: Sam the Sham & the Pharoah’s “Wooly Bully.

Union City, Indiana: The McCoy’s “Hang on Sloopy.

Los Angeles: The Standell’s “Dirty Water” (I never figured out why a LA band wrote a tribute to the city of Boston.)

Saginaw, Michigan: Question Mark and the Mysterians’ “96 Tears” (poor lead singer Rudy Martinez changed his legal name to “Question Mark” in anticipation of more success, but none came).

Pittsburgh: Tommy James and the Shondell’s “Hanky Panky.”

All these groups and innumerable bands that sounded like them weren’t given an identity until the early 1970s, when they were remembered as “garage rock bands.” (If you want to see the definitive, if expansive, garage band playlist, see the 165-hour compilation “Underground Garage Nuggets” by The Vault on Spotify, which includes nine versions of “Gloria,” including one in French.)


A similar thing happened earlier this century. I call it “neo-garage rock,” but I don’t think anyone else is. It’s part of the “garage rock revival” in general, but that phrase includes a lot of other stuff, like a new punk movement.

Fortunately, my son turned me onto this genre a few years ago. I started playing it for one of my drinking friends (both … Read the rest