Art & Culture

Learning

"The medium is the message."  ~ Marshall McLuhan I toss that McLuhan quotation up there as if I understood what it means, but I’m no better off than the poor schlemiel in Woody Allen’s Annie Hall that receives a severe public drubbing from McLuhan himself. “You know nothing of my work,” McLuhan tells the pedantic [...]

"The medium is the message."  ~ Marshall McLuhan I toss that McLuhan quotation up there as if I understood what it means, but I’m no better off than the poor schlemiel in Woody Allen’s Annie Hall that receives a severe public drubbing from McLuhan himself. “You know nothing of my work,” McLuhan tells the pedantic [...]

Man is a rational animal. From a moral standpoint, that means he aspires to act—and often does act—in accordance with principles that join together to form an ideal of life. He’s also social, so his ideals aren’t simply individual. In part that’s because they relate to social functions. What is it to be a proper [...]

The modern feminist movement has a long history and a sometimes checkered past and present. Some say it began in the Garden of Eden with Eve's suggestion being taken up by the whimpish Adam. The ancient Greek dramatist, Aristophanes, in his play Lysistrata, exposes the control women could exercise in a male-dominated society. It is [...]

It was sometime in the late 1970s—or was it the early 1980s? The priest in charge marched us to the school’s lecture theatre where we were soon plunged into darkness as a large screen lit up. This was no Hollywood fare, however, but a film about the Turin Shroud. To this day, I can remember [...]

As we journeyed through the darkness of Holy Week to the great solemnity of Easter, with the acclamations given to Christ before his humiliating and ignominious death, I was pondering the Holy Father's recent condemnation of “populism” as “evil.” Certainly, he could not have meant that popularity itself was evil. Christ was popular, for a [...]

Traveling by air these days can be stressful. It is increasingly difficult to go on a trip without some incident happening like the recent tussle on United Airlines Flight 3411. More often, however, flights are being canceled or delayed due to mechanical or weather problems. This can lead to hours of waiting at the gates [...]

My son and I saw the new Beauty and the Beast. It was lovely, magical, following the 1991 cartoon, almost scene for scene, song for song. This is the story everyone wants to hear: darkness and evil and selfishness transformed by love into light and good and self-surrender. Life and love conquer death and fear. [...]

The Day Christ Died is an unjustly neglected book about the Passion of Our Lord, written in 1957 by the American Catholic journalist Jim Bishop. Coming across a copy of this gem in a thrift store, where I've found many a forgotten treasure, I noted that it was first published sixty years ago this May. [...]

Civility means to act as one would in a settled city wherein law and manners, not force and passion, guide the interchanges of the public order as well as the normal affairs of men within their homes and voluntary associations. Civility presupposes reason, but includes courtesy, compassion, and good taste. It usually involves a written [...]

There is a current television show that close friends recently drew our attention to called The Carbonaro Effect. The main character of the show is a young illusionist named Michael Carbonaro who, with the aid of spy-cameras in everyday settings, is able to perform some rather incredible magic tricks. In one scene, he acts as [...]

A couple of months ago I commented on how modern ways of thinking make it hard to understand human life. I didn't say so specifically, but a big part of the problem has to do with the relation between law and freedom. The problem comes up in the scientific approach to knowledge. Scientists pursuing their investigations view [...]

The stone and marble arches that dot Yale’s landscape can sometimes transport you back in time. Athens. Rome. Or even Jerusalem. Etched on the arched gates of the many residential colleges read the words, “For God, For Country, and For Yale.” It is surprising that the inscriptions still stand today. Over the past six months [...]

Thoughts on Suicide

Hamlet. O that this too, too sullied flesh would melt, Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew, Or that the Everlasting had not fixed His canon ‘gainst self-slaughter. O God, God, How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable Seem to me all the uses of this world!  Hamlet, Act I, Scene II In his groundbreaking study of [...]

Culture is not merely whatever fungus happens to grow in the unclean soul of a transgressive artist. But to say so is counter-cultural, and to say so with wit and erudition is invigorating. Joseph Epstein writes with clarity and probity about culture, but more importantly he writes about the conditioning of the mind and soul necessary for [...]

The newly released film Logan, the final appearance of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, the metal-clawed and brooding member of the X-Men, is indeed a film heavy on violence and profanity. It does, however, offer a fascinating view of what is possible when man uses technological advancement divorced from any conception of nature and the good. [...]

Toward the end of his life, according to legend, the fourth century Church father Saint Augustine stated: “I spent some 30 years in writing fifteen books concerning the Trinity, which is God.” Yet this theological genius was confronted by the inability of the human mind to probe this mystery as this story relates: He was walking by [...]

As those from the Depression and World War II eras die, their children are left to resolve a tragic problem that past generations did not face. The problem involves stuff nobody wants. The possessions of parents are no longer prized by many children. The family silver means little to them. Even sentimental reasons are not [...]

St. Patrick’s Day in our home was a quiet, subdued affair—no appurtenances of green, no consumption of green beer. We wore no stovepipe hats, nor any buttons of boasting Irishry. However, it was a special day, my saint’s day, the day when St. Patrick passed from the discord of time to the mystery of eternity. My [...]

Oregon has long been ground zero for radical, end-of-life ideology and legislation. It was the first state to legalize physician-assisted suicide (PAS) two decades ago, and since that time the practice has grown both in social acceptance and legislative momentum. Currently, more than 20 states have PAS bills on the legislative docket, and three jurisdictions [...]

Like all good Catholics, I hope very much that President Donald Trump follows through on his promises to pro-life Americans. It looks as though he will follow through in appointing a pro-life Supreme Court justice; obviously this is a tremendous blessing. Despite that, regular Crisis readers may recall that I have never harbored enthusiasm for [...]

The people who brought you the extra-large vaginas marching on Washington in January are at it again. They have deemed today, March 8th, as “A Day Without Women.” You can show your support for abortion, Planned Parenthood, same-sex marriage, and of all things—transgenderism, by ... not showing up for work. (They wisely didn’t make female [...]

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