Month: December 2004

Issue IV

Welcome to an abbreviated version of TWE. We plan to return to our full plate with the new year.

Drinking with Toddlers
I love playing with my six children and I look forward to drinking beer with them in some not-too-distant future. But we’re not buddies. A recent article in the Star Tribune points this out well.

“‘No 14-year-old thinks their parents are cool,'” said Michael Thompson, a clinical child psychologist in Arlington, Mass., and an author of Raising Cain. ‘Cool is an attribute that is awarded by the peer group.’ Thompson said he is all for parents spending more time with their children, but he cautioned that those who strive to be cool in teenagers’ eyes are not fulfilling their duty. ‘You are the parent; you are the floor under them, the framework around them,’ he said. ‘You are the bank, the police. But not best friend.'”

Killer Irony
The Boston Globe recently described Representative Louise Slaughter as “a New York Democrat who strongly supports abortion rights.” Anyone else get a chill?

Essayist Honor Role
We like lists, especially when, to the best of our knowledge, they’re relatively unknown. Here is a list of the greatest essayists of all time, according to today’s greatest essayist, Joseph Epstein: Montaigne, Bacon (Francis), Browne, Defoe, Addison, Swift, Goldsmith, Johnson, Sydney Smith, Lamb, Hazlitt, Cobbett, Carlyle, Arnold, Emerson, Berrbohm, Chesterton, Woolf, Mencken, Orwell, Edmund Wilson.

Four by George Santayana
In recognition of Issue IV and the abbreviated nature of this TWE, we present four quotes from one of the most poetic philosophers of all time.

“The necessity of rejecting and destroying … Read the rest

Issue III

Cleverness is scarce, but compliments are up. So we plow forward, a glass of merlot in one hand, a flagon of ale in the other, a keyboard in the third. Welcome to Issue III of TWE.

I’m Glad My Dad Didn’t Play Darth Vader
“When Dario D’Ambrosio, the 45-year-old Italian actor who had the part [of mercilessly flogging Jesus], took his family to see The Passion in Rome, everyone in the theater turned to glare at him; his two daughters cried. The girls told his mother not to see it, and she took their advice. People on the street shoved and cursed at him, and students confronted his daughters, 12 and 14, at school. Mr. D’Ambrosio, a Roman Catholic, says he still has dreams in which Jesus – with the face of Mel Gibson – assures him that it was all worth it.” The New York Times.

Screw the Poor, American Style
The Rockefellers have always been keen on limiting the number of births, especially among the poor, as evidenced by their heavy funding of American eugenics during the first third of the twentieth century. They continued the same spirit into the latter part of the century. John D. Rockefeller contributed mightily to contraceptive efforts, especially in the third world, and even offered to write Humane Vitae for Pope Paul VI. In the mid-1960s, Trey’s Population Council funded a series of secret conferences at the University of Notre Dame that were designed to give the impression that the Catholic Church’s teaching on contraception was no longer intellectually plausible. The Rockefeller Foundation today continues to fund third world population control.

Around … Read the rest

Welcome Back

Glad you came back for Week II. We received compliments on the first issue. Here’s a tall glass of Christmas spirits to hopes of another successful run at this humble enterprise.

Kinsey and the Beast
In light of the renewed interest in Alfred “Batman’s Butler” Kinsey, this short quote seems most timely: “Man without God is a beast, and never more beastly than when he is most intelligent about his beastliness.” Whittaker Chambers

Now, whether Kinsey was intelligent about beastliness, we don’t know. We know he was beastly fraudulent in an intelligent way, but that’s not the same thing.

Kinsey and the Pope
In All the Pope’s Men, John Allen breaks some myths about the Vatican, including the myth that it’s wealthy. Allen points out that the Vatican operates at a regular deficit. It owns priceless art and other valuables, but is not allowed to sell the items or pledge them as collateral. Indeed, the Vatican incurs great expense in preserving the stuff.

Such stewardship extends, no doubt, to the Vatican’s large collection of pornography. If you didn’t know it, Alfred Kinsey regularly claimed that the Vatican has the largest collection of porn in the world. Like most of his famous studies, this assertion was hokum. Probably just wishful thinking on his part, like his assertion that 10% of the male population is gay.

The Coddlers
To all those parents who strap helmets on their children, follow them around to make sure they don’t fall, fluster every time something bad happens to them: You’re creating an emotional-mess-of-a-person. This according to a cogent article by Hara Estroff Marano in Psychology Read the rest

Welcome to the inaugural issue of The Wednesday Eudemon. If you read it and (i) smirk once, (ii) nod once, and (iii) learn something new, I’m gratified. If you do just two of the three, I’m content like Meatloaf: two out of three ain’t bad. If you do just one, you probably shouldn’t come back. If you do none, for your sake I hope you have fiber optic hook-up for scuttling away quickly.

Care to make a suggestion or comment? Contact me at my website (see right column for link). Appropriate letters might be republished, unless I am instructed otherwise. EJS

Malcolm in the Right
“To believe today in a miraculous happening like the Virgin Birth is to appear a kind of imbecile, whereas to disbelieve in an unproven and unprovable scientific proposition like the Theory of Evolution is to stand condemned as an obscurantist, an enemy of progress and enlightenment.” Malcolm Muggeridge

Things have changed a bit since Muggeridge wrote these words in the mid-1970s, at least in the United States. The Theory of Evolution is under siege and a majority of people supposedly believe in the Virgin Birth. We present the quote here because (i) it’s Advent, and (ii) we’re fresh from seeing the difference between “blue states” and “red states” at work, and this quote reflects that difference nicely.

The New Onanism
“An ad [for Nintendo’s DS handheld video game] in the current issue of Maxim shows a voluptuous blonde purring, ‘I love a man with a soft, sensitive touch.’ Next month, you’ll start seeing television ads in which a sultry female voice … Read the rest

“Massachusetts has the lowest divorce rate in the country at 2.4 divorces per 1,000 inhabitants. Texas has a divorce rate of 4.1.”

That observation was made by Andrew Sullivan, the rabidly gay-is-great ex-Catholic, but otherwise splendid writer. He goes on to observe that, like Texas, all the red states have higher “divorce rates” than blue states.

His statistic strikes me as a rather odd way to measure divorce rates. Number of divorces per 1,000 people? What if the 1,000 people in red states aren’t of marriageable age? What if a high percentage of people among those 1,000 in blue states prefer “shacking up” to marriage? In other words: What if the total number of people marrying in the red states greatly exceeds the total percentage of people marrying in the blue states? Such a situation would, obviously, make Mr. Sullivan’s statistic worthless.

I don’t know if this is the case, incidentally. Sullivan’s article is silent on the possibility. Though he offers possible explanations (those rednecks marry a lot younger, and hence the marriages are often poor to begin with), he ignores this obvious one. My research hasn’t revealed the answer yet, and Mr. Sullivan hasn’t yet responded to my e-mail, asking about the source of his stat and whether a different statistic–percentage of divorces among first time marriages–would have been better.

If Mr. Sullivan’s statistic is, indeed, worthless, it wouldn’t be the first time I caught him in a disingenuous argument. See my article, The Gay Battleground, at Catholic Exchange.

The Wednesday Eudemon starts this coming Wednesday. Read the rest

This blog is changing. Starting December 8th, it’ll become a “weekly reader’s source” (the term “on-line magazine” would be too bold). Each issue will present something fun and something fine, something stolen and something mine. Some items will be old. Some will be new. All will be short.

I will publish a new one every Wednesday.

If you want an e-mail to remind you on Wednesday, contact me at my website (see right side of page for link).… Read the rest