Month: January 2005

Issue VIII

We’re more excited about Issue VIII than we are about Superbowl XXXIX. Not that this rather-lengthy issue is great, but we’re about as thrilled with Superbowl XXXIX as we were with President XXXIX. Philadelphia is arguably the rudest sports town in America, and New England has had more than its share of success lately. There’s no one to root for. We’re also not thrilled about the half-time show, for the simple reason that we detest all half-time shows. Paul McCartney is an improvement on Jackson and Timberlake, but heck, even a Weekend-at-Bernie’s style John Lennon and George Harrison would be better.

Beer
As long as we’re on the topic of sports, we might as well address its sister industry: beer. We’re for it. In fact, we’re for more of it. You can find our unorthodox views in an article that will run on the front page of Catholic Exchange on Thursday that calls for the normalization of drinking. Here’s an excerpt:

“As a business attorney, I’ve ran across a variety of restrictions under Michigan law. People, for instance, may not bring their own alcohol to establishments where food is sold. People may not have open containers of alcohol on public streets (no walking to your neighbor’s with an open beer). There is also, of course, the general restriction on the number of available licenses in a geo-political area, making bar licenses as costly as small homes.

“The message? Drinking is fine, if confined. Acceptable, but kinda scorned. In their book, Drinking in America, Mark Lender and James Martin properly referred to modern America and its attitude toward drinking as ‘The Age of Ambivalence.’

“I believe this attitude toward drinking is Puritan-like. I say that with no exaggeration or polemical intent.

Puritanism is fundamentally … Read the rest

Issue VII

Lucky VII. We hope, anyway, thinking we could break that 1,000,000 reader barrier with this issue. It’d be a coup, seeing as readership is less than 500 at this point. Anyway, it’s not our place to disprove numerology, only to laugh at it. If we hit the million reader goal with this issue, we’ll merely pause to celebrate and wonder what sort of strange Norse god has smiled on us.

Not Even Splitting Logs
We like to keep readers informed of brewing scholarly disputes, especially when a fraudulent position just might win in the pop cultural milieu. You know how it goes: the fraudulent side proposes a theory, gets it published, and next thing you know, your illiberally liberal and rut-riven cutting edge Aunt Irene is spouting it off at the next family gathering. The current stew of mischief is a book by C. A. Tripp (deceased) that repeats the favorite liberal shock claim that Abraham Lincoln was “predominately homosexual.” Here’s an excerpt from an impressive refutation in The Weekly Standard:

The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln, already an object of derision among specialists, contains a poison pill in an afterword by Michael Burlingame entitled ‘A Respectful Dissent.’ Recently retired from Connecticut College, Burlingame has a monumental three-volume Lincoln biography in progress with Johns Hopkins University Press. He and Tripp got along well and shared information, if not a thesis.

“‘I liked Tripp, but he was careless and sloppy,’ Burlingame told me. ‘I’m surprised that Free Press accepted my afterword since it says the book is full of baloney.’ In particular, Burlingame devastates Tripp’s intellectual honesty by noting that he had suppressed many stories of Lincoln’s heterosexual interest.

“‘Since it is virtually impossible to prove a negative, Dr. Tripp’s thesis cannot be rejected … Read the rest

Issue VI

We plod forward. In the grips of the Great Lakes’ winter buffets, we have nothing better to do: the lawn needs no cutting, the golf courses are three feet under, the lakes are frozen, our Speedos are even more out of place than usual. And we don’t own snow skis or a snowmobile. It’s TWE or ennui. Enjoy.

Sola Fides Not Cutting It?
“Gallup and Barna,” evangelical theologian Michael Horton recently lamented, “hand us survey after survey demonstrating that evangelical Christians are as likely to embrace lifestyles every bit as hedonistic, materialistic, self-centered, and sexually immoral as the world in general.” Lest American Catholics and mainline Protestants get cocky, their poll numbers aren’t any better and may be worse.

But is it surprising? Horton’s list includes “self-centered.” That seems superfluous. All sinful dispositions are self-centered, especially the ones he lists. This is America, the land of liberty and capitalism, terms that have increasingly become covers for “individualism” and “acquisitiveness,” which in turn are merely nicer ways of saying “selfishness” and “greediness.” Sin proliferates, precisely because it is all rooted in self-regard. It should surprise no one that the greedy person is also more likely to be a sexually promiscuous person. The pollsters merely provide proof of things that have been known for over two thousand years. Why we need such proof, that’s another topic entirely, but it is related to the title of this piece.

Gooey but True
“The happiness of life is made up of minute fractions — the little, soon-forgotten charities of a kiss or smile, a kind look or heartfelt compliment.” Samuel Taylor Coleridge. That’s something that should be on a Hallmark Card, but it’s true nonetheless.

Stoic’s Porch
“Our individual natures are part of universal nature. Hence the chief good is life … Read the rest

Issue V

Welcome to the first issue of 2005 (and our fifth overall). Nothing much has changed since last year, with the exception of an exhilarating attack on our editor’s mental faculties on December 31st. Our quality weekly tradition now spans two years.

A Stab of Light
Since the stabbing death of Theo van Gogh in November, presumably everyone has heard about the Netherlands’ spiked dilemma: dealing with a menace when their country officially doesn’t believe in menaces. Conservative commentators have noticed the problem for years. Now, even liberals seem to understand it, as evidenced by a feature article this month in The New Yorker. Here’s the lengthy article’s penultimate paragraph:

“After the war, and especially since the nineteen-sixties, the Dutch prided themselves on having built an oasis of tolerance, a kind of Berkeley writ large, where people were free to do their own thing. Liberated, at last, from the strictures of religion and social conformity, the Dutch, especially in Amsterdam, frolicked in the expectation that the wider world would not disturb their perfect democracy in the polders. Now the turbulent world has come to Holland at last, crashing into an idyll that astonished the citizens of less favored nations. It’s a shame that this had to happen, but naïveté is the wrong state of mind for defending one of the oldest and most liberal democracies against those who wish to destroy it.”

A Wise Atheist?
In a recent article on Spike!, professed atheist Brendan O’Neill fired smart buckshot at ten myths about assisted suicide. We don’t provide a lot of links, but this piece merits one. It is worth distributing to all people who think only religious nuts oppose euthanasia. Here is the Link.

Also, here’s an excerpt:
“To break the taboo against suicide would … Read the rest