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October 31, 2023

Is Corporate Woke Entering Its Death Throes?

No thanks to those who still patronize Disney and the other leftist corporate elites out there, but hats off to those who used to patronize but stopped. Me? I never purposefully patronized Disney, except for one trip to Disneyland in 2019, so I never had the opportunity to boycott the Satanists.

“The Bellwether Has Sounded”: Musk Says “Great Wakening From Woke Has Happened” After Southpark Nails Coffin
“This is good for civilization...”

The Scariest Thing I Could Find for the Holiday

Inside the Transgender Empire
Christopher Rufo at Imprimis

October 30, 2023


A new feature, of sorts. It's a laid-back podcast. It's for "Members Only" because I need a lot of indulgence. Everything here, from the approach to the humor to the technology, is experimental. I'll need patience. I don't want a "stranger" to stumble across it, start to listen, and quickly conclude "This guy is a moron," and move on. I'm assuming (hoping, praying) TDE members will be more understanding as I stumble forward with this.

Podcast: October 3, 2023
Patience and Forbearance Requested: Everything Here is Experimental

Monday Column

Well, more like a "feature." I worked on this off and on for three months. I hope everyone enjoys it.

These 50 Literary Anecdotes from the Greatest Living Essayist Will Have You Smirking in Your Overstuffed Chair While Enjoying a Good Pipe
💡“Epstein’s work is in the Addisonian line of succession that Cyril Connolly saw petering out in Punch and the professional humorists . . . Epstein is a great deal more sophisticated than they were, and a great deal more readable. His subjects are tossed up, turned round, stuck with quotations, aba…

October 29, 2023

The Return Eudemon

I just returned from Spartanburg, South Carolina. My son, Michael, got married there on Friday. Regular blogging, including a fun weekly feature, resumes tomorrow.

October 26, 2023

Martin Amis

Another bio of the great writer. I was disappointed to read that Amis was just another boring and conventional leftist, but this blurb about his smoking cracked me up:

His smoking was mythic. The biography of his father by Zachary Leader notes that Martin was given cigarettes for Christmas when he was nine. In The Information, whose title refers to the certainty of dying, he wrote,
Richard had imagined giving up smoking; and he naturally assumed that man knew no hotter hell. Nowadays he had long quit thinking about quitting . . . he felt the desire to smoke a cigarette even when he was smoking a cigarette.
Famous Amos
Kyle Smith at The New Criterion

October 24, 2023

Lou Reed

There's a massive new biography about Lou Reed, which brings in a lot of New York during the last third of the 20th century.

New York pre-Guiliani fascinates me, and Reed interests me. I started listening more to Reed lately after stumbling across "Dirty Blvd." and its ridiculous lyrics (I think Reed was trying to make a meaningful social justice statement, which is probably why the lyrics cracked me up):

Give me your hungry, your tired, your poor I'll p*** on 'em
That's what the Statue of Bigotry says
Your poor huddled masses
Let's club 'em to death

I also got a heavy dose of Velvet Underground in one of the most enjoyable "splurge/spontaneous" purchases/reads of my adult life, John Leyland, Hip, the History.

Added enticement: The publisher is Farrar, Staus and Giroux, which has been publishing great stuff since it took on Merton and O'Connor.

For one Audible credit, I get 20 hours of listening. Unfortunately, the author narrates the book. That's sometimes alright, and (somehow) the author's voice and pen tend to make such narrations enjoyable, but it's not better than a really good Audible narrator.

We'll see.

The Canonization of Lou Reed
Jeremy Lybarger at The New Republic
Note: Slow blogging winds blowing. Posting will be sporadic for the next few days.

October 23, 2023

Monday Column

This week's column flushes out an insight that has slowly been getting clearer in my head over the past year. It's one of those insights that seems obvious now, so much so that I half expect more erudite folks to read it and say, "Of course. Everyone knows that."

Maybe we'll see. The Medium link further below is a free link that I'm providing, in hopes of getting the essay "out there." Among all my essays this year, I believe this one might be the most significant (low bar, that).

I Believe Eric Voegelin Would’ve Described Gnosticism as an Experience of the Left Hemisphere
The unruly left hemisphere is the experience of consciousness that Voegelin emphasized in his later writings about gnosticism
Eric Voegelin Would’ve Described Gnosticism as an Experience of the Left Hemisphere
The unruly left hemisphere is the experience of consciousness that Voegelin emphasized in his later writings about gnosticism

October 21, 2023

One Professor's Massive Essay on TDE's Main Themes

There's even an Eric Voegelin sighting.

Beyond Progressivism
John Milbank at The Hedgehog Review: Toward a Personalist Metaphysics of History

October 20, 2023

Brews You Can Use

People are Drinking More of Those Frilly Canned Drinks And they’re reducing household budgets and trying to live healthier Not mentioned: More people are smoking marijuana. It’s easier to take the pledge when you’re taking a bong hit. People Are Drinking Less Craft Beer. Here’s Why, Says Brewers…

October 19, 2023

Reclaiming St. Louis

I visited St. Louis a few years ago. It's a decent tourist destination and, I'm assured by people who live there, a good place to live.

But man, all the evidence you read says otherwise. I read on a blog this morning that its population is now under 290,000, as the urban center continues to implode.

So I don't know what to believe, but this woman seems to think St. Louis is both imploding and can be saved.

Saving St. Louis One Block at a Time
Rachel Ferguson at the Acton Institute
[T]he state destroyed decades of social capital, devastating communities in every major city in America. It’s not so much that the market solves everything as that the state causes lots of problems that it then cannot solve. So in the end, it’s civil society for the win. And since I’ve shared several of Lucas’ rebukes from his neighbors, I’ll share his rebuke of me. When I announced excitedly to him that I was getting a chance to speak about the neighborhood stabilization model all over the country, he looked me dead in the eye and said, “Remember, Rachel—this is Jesus work.” Neighborhood stabilization isn’t a “microwave” solution, fast and easy. That’s why we so often choose toxic charity instead. Those who enter in must not only have a radical love for their neighbors but also a deep store of grace upon which to draw. I know a few of these wonderful Jesus people. But we need many, many more to answer the call.

October 18, 2023

Jon Fosse

Mr. Fosse received the Nobel Prize in Literature on October 5th. This development is relevant to TDE for three reasons: (1) It's literature, which is a form of counter-conduct and a means of flourishing; (2) He converted to Catholicism in 2012; and (3) In the words of the New York Times, he writes about characters who struggle with the reality of existing in the metaxy.

Okay, that's now exactly how the NYT phrased it. It said:

The Nobel Prize winner writes about characters trying to transcend their worldly lives.

In the modern world, most of us are mired in the worldly (the "immanent," to use Voegelin's preferred term). Any artist who portrays people striving for more is worth reading. Fosse is now on my list.

Jon Fosse’s Fiction
Jonathan Geltner at Close Reading
Jon Fosse’s Search for Peace
The Norwegian author has spent decades producing a strange, revered body of work. But he still doesn’t know where the writing comes from.

October 17, 2023

New Epstein Essay

I continue to marvel at the big names that The Lamp keeps publishing. The newest issue includes this nice piece by Joseph Epstein and an extended essay by Stanley Fish (who, I thought, was a fiercely amoral deconstructionist, but (i) I'm reaching way back in my memory banks so I might be wrong, and (ii) people change and I certainly haven't kept abreast of Stanley Fish developments over the past few decades).

How to Re-Read
Joseph Epstein at The Lamp

Epstein's piece explores the importance of "intuitive knowledge" (something valued by the right hemisphere), as opposed to "explicit knowledge" (the only knowledge valued by the left hemisphere). It's a very important concept and I'm slightly embarrassed that I haven't developed a "Knowledge" area at TDE (a desideratum I have started to address).

James Schall Wrote about “Another Sort of Learning.” Joseph Epstein about Another Sort of Knowing
″[T]he Italian novelist Italo Calvino has described a classic as ‘a book that never finishes saying what it has to say.’”

October 16, 2023

Monday Column

Long-time TDE readers will recognize it. I'm incorporating it into a larger piece about reading, which will hopefully run next week, but I needed to get this back "out there" in the meantime.

James Schall’s Another Sort of Learning
Summer 1988. I’d just graduated from the University of Michigan and was preparing to enter the University of Notre Dame School of Law. I was working second shift at a local factory as a material handler (gopher). I was working six nights a week, Monday through Saturday,4:30

October 15, 2023

Sunday Satire

“Freedom of Speech Does Not Mean Freedom From Consequences” Says Executioner
Toronto, Canada, 2034 Toronto citizens were in for a treat last night as they got to witness the public beheading of Terrence Horn. Horn had been convicted of blasphemy of the highest degree when he accused the government of running concentration camps. “Pay no attention to him,” said Judge Lawre…

October 14, 2023

Nassim Taleb’s Assault on the Left Hemisphere’s Pretensions: Samples
A work-in-process

Unintended Irony

I pass this church on my way to Mass on Fridays. I know many of the members. They're good people. They've just lost the thread of civilization.

We don't have hundreds of thousands of military-age single men crossing into our country right now?

October 13, 2023

Brews You Can Use

Finally, Political News We Can Drink To Austrian ‘Beer Party’ polling well in Vienna state electionThey have proposed a beer fountain in Vienna, the abolition of mandatory closing times and a 50 per cent tax on Radlers.The London EconomicJack Peat Ah, The Monkey is Back at $80 for the

October 11, 2023

Members Only

I rolled out a new tag this morning: Members Only. The tag will normally feature short essays from the "Outside the Modern Limits" newsletter archives (subscribe here). I'll gradually move more stuff behind the tag, but for now, it'll be a limited element at TDE.

Note: It costs nothing to subscribe. You just have to provide your email. You can even opt out of the (oh so fun) "Outside the Modern Limits" newsletter.


Interesting piece at The Nation about the rise and fall of "literary fiction," which I found interesting merely for the pithy definition of literary fiction:

d. fiction that privileges art over entertainment
What Was Literary Fiction?
Dan Sinykin at The Nation

October 10, 2023

The Southern Accent

The South is important because it's the most distinctive region of the United States. The "region" is the conceptual buffer between the "central" and the "local." We don't want to lose the region any more than a nation would want to lose a friendly country that sits between it and an enemy. Unfortunately, the regions are collapsing under the weight of our left-hemispheric need for relocation.

Why the Fading of the Southern Accent Is Bad News
Jack Butler at National Review

October 9, 2023

Monday Essay

The Metaxy: A Primer
Christianity says life is hard because of Original Sin. Eric Voegelin would say it’s hard because we live in the metaxy. METAXY: The permanent in-between structure of existence. Sometimes referred to as the between or in-between, meaning that humans live in a structure of reality that is between t…

October 8, 2023

Whew. It has been a ride this past week. Grandchild Number Six was born: Thomas Eric Scheske. Great name, that. Until he gets discharged, we have his older sister, featured here in my ramshackle miniature microgreen farm.

October 5, 2023

St. Bruno's Feast Day is Tomorrow

In preparation, here's a piece I published many years ago, back when the "Existence Strikes Back" project was still very young and The Hemisphere Hypothesis didn't exist. I'm stunned at the parallels to both, but I'll let you read it to figure them out for yourselves . . . or you can just read it for enjoyment.

The Nothing Desire
“The poor monk is lord of world.” St. John Climacus Bruno was a rising star of eleventh-century European culture. A master of the cathedral school (the precursor to the university) of Rheims, he taught grammar, poetry, philosophy and theology. He became head of Rheims by age thirty. The most prom…

October 4, 2023

Reading about Reading

I've long sneered at young people who watch people watch video gaming, but for an even longer time, I've enjoyed reading about other people reading. They're not the same thing, but there's enough overlap to give me discomfort.

In Defense of Voracious Reading
Philip Bunn at Law & Liberty

October 3, 2023

Leisure and Liberality
Elizabeth C. Corey at First Things

My brief commentary on it

Aristotle to Aquinas to Pieper: Leisure Solves Nothing. That’s What Makes it Counter-Conduct
In the tradition that runs from Aristotle through Aquinas to Josef Pieper, leisure is not a solution to anything, but an alternative way of being in the world. In Pieper’s formulation, leisure “runs at right angles” to the practical pursuits of work and achievement. Leisure and Liberality | Elizabe…

October 2, 2023

Monday Column

Battles on the Right
A new battlefront has opened on the political right: localists v. monoliths. It’s the latest version of the libertarian-conservative debate that George Nash described marvelously in his major work. The localists in the current debate are the libertarians and the monoliths are the conservatives. I…

October 1, 2023

I started to write a commentary on this good essay, but it blossomed into a full essay that needs a bit more work, so I'm going to run it as the Monday Column tomorrow. Check back then.

Old Mistakes From the New Right
Tyler Syck at Law & Liberty

Welcome to . . .

. . . the Month of the Saints: Lisieux, Francis, Avila, Bruno, Ignatius of Antioch, Luke, Anthony Claret, Simon and Jude. And now JPII and J23. Reminder: Don't neglect your best friend tomorrow.

View previous Scrolling Blogs