Month: November 2014


A Random Passage

“Society desperately needs enclaves like monasteries and universities wherein men and women have . . . leisure. But we should never forget that the primary place of leisure and of the knowledge of the higher order of things begins and ends almost always in our homes.” James Schall, Another Sort of Learning.… Read the rest

Kontent from the Kindle

Kontent from the Kindle

I knew Hollywood had a heavy Jewish influence, but I didn’t realize it was pretty much entirely Jewish, albeit of the type who assimilated. A few passages from Thaddeus Russell’s Renegade History:

Emanuel Goldenberg became Edward G. Robinson, Betty Perske became Lauren Bacall, David Kaminsky became Danny Kaye, Bernard Schwartz became Tony Curtis, and Issur Danielovitch Demsky became the square-jawed, all-American Kirk Douglas. . . .

Seven of the eight major Hollywood studios during the 1930s were owned wholly by immigrant Jews. A 1936 study found that 62 percent of studio employees engaged in production were Jewish. But these Jews had a different mission than their predecessors. They played golf and polo. They married Gentile women. Louis Mayer, the head of MGM, claimed that he had lost his birth records while immigrating from Russia and took July 4 as his birthday. Harry Cohn of Columbia Pictures delighted in telling “Jew jokes,” and when asked to contribute to a Jewish relief fund, yelled, “Relief for the Jews!

Read the rest

Book Review

Robert Nisbet: Communitarian Traditionalist
Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, 2000
(Hardcover, ISBN: 1 882926 33 1)
By Brad Lowell Stone

G.K. Chesterton’s economics parallels Robert Nisbet’s sociology.

I think that’s a fair statement, and it’s borne out in this debut volume of The Intercollegiate Studies Institute’s Library of Modern Thinkers, a series of books meant to distill the essential thought of twentieth-century thinkers in short and highly-readable books (a goal accomplished admirably by Mr. Stone in this book).

Robert Nisbet (1913-1996) was a conservative sociologist whose lifework resolved around one grand theme: the importance of communities, those “human groups that spring up to fill perennial human needs and solve problems,” such as families, voluntary associations, and churches.

People need community. Community, Nisbet once wrote, “springs from some of the powerful needs of human nature.” If communities are attacked or undermined, individuals will be harmed.

This firmly-held belief animated one of the main “sub-themes” of Nisbet’s work: To the extent the centralized state becomes more powerful, communities atrophy.

This, of course, makes sense, if we keep in mind Nisbet’s primary definition of “community” as groups that solve problems. To the extent the omnicompetent state attempts to solve our problems, the role of community diminishes, weakens and eventually disappears—to the detriment of individuals. This has been the readily-discernible path in America’s recent past, as the national government’s attempt to solve problems on a national scale has crippled families (e.g., by providing economic incentives for women not to marry) and charitable organizations (e.g., by national-scale welfare programs replacing the need for local organizations and churches to care for their poor).

The rise of the powerful state has resulted in … Read the rest

Happy Thanksgiving

“Thanksgiving Day originated in New England when the Puritans realized they had succeeded in exterminating their neighbors, the Indians, instead of getting exterminated by their neighbors, the Indians.” Mark Twain

“Gratitude is a fruit of great cultivation; you do not find it among gross people.” Samuel Johnson

“Beggar that I am, I am even poor in thanks.” Shakespeare, Hamlet

“Gratitude is characteristic only of the humble. The egotistic are so impressed by their own importance that they take everything given them as if it were their due. They have no room in their hearts for recollection of the undeserved favors they received.” Fulton Sheen

“Gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” G.K. Chesterton

“Giving thank is not weakness but strength, for it involves self-repression.” Fulton Sheen

“How wonderful it would be if we could help our children and grandchildren to learn thanksgiving at an early age. Thanksgiving opens the doors. It changes a child’s personality. A child is resentful, negative—or thankful. Thankful children want to give, they radiate happiness, they draw people.” Sir John Templeton

“Gratitude is a species of justice.” Samuel Johnson

“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, “thank you,” that would suffice.” Meister Eckhart

“When the stomach is full, it is easy to talk of fasting.” St. Jerome… Read the rest

Special BYCU Edition: Eight Years Running

Black Wednesday again. Far out.

I’ve been celebrating Black Wednesday since 1985, when I first came back home from college for Thanksgiving Break. It is one of my favorite days of the year.

But how long have I been writing about Black Wednesdays? For that, I had to go into the TDE archives. The answer: 2007. That year, I wrote,

They’re beginning to call it “Black Wednesday,” the biggest drinking night of the year, Thanksgiving Eve. The kids are home from college, the adults have four days off work.

I’ve been celebrating it with my father for at least fifteen years, since I moved back to town in 1992. Back then, we had to get to the honky tonk by 3:30 if we wanted a table. The place isn’t quite as crowded these days, but to be safe, we get there by 4:30. For the following five hours, an assortment of friends and family come through for drinks and food. It’s one of the most pleasant evenings of the year. And with a little luck and moderation, it won’t be followed by one of the nastiest mornings of the year.

I like that observation, “They’re beginning to call it ‘Black Wednesday.'” If you Google something like **black wednesday thanksgiving**, you’ll now get a ton of relevant hits:

“14 Places to Celebrate Black Wednesday”

“Local bars, police departments prepare for Black Wednesday crowds”

“Five Things to Do for Black Wednesday”

“Black Wednesday: Avoid a DWI on Thanksgiving Eve”

“Black Wednesday: Don’t be a Fag. Get Out and Drink”

“KKK to boycott honkey tonks in protest of ‘Black Wednesday’ Appellation”

Okay, I made up those last … Read the rest