Writing

The New Secular Puritan Covenant

Thanksgiving brings back memories for Americans of the Pilgrims and Puritans, carrying out their “errand into the wilderness” to build a “city on a hill,” surviving that first bleak Massachusetts winter of 1620-21. As a kid, I remember that cutting out Puritan hats from black construction paper and taping them to the school windows was [...]

Common Core’s Substandard Writing Standards

I’ve donned my boots and leggings, and done what I had no desire to do.  I am examining, with tedious scrutiny, the so-called Common Core Curriculum for literature and English, a new’n’improved set of standards for reading and writing in our schools from kindergarten to twelfth grade.  I have read the essays, written by students, [...]

Be Stone No More

Professor Mark Bauerlein has recently argued in Public Discourse that liberalism, or the moral and epistemological relativism it engenders, starves literature of the narratives that alone can provide a work with meaning.  Indeed it suggests that meaning itself is an illusion; and, once that is said, art disappears, and only the wraith of escapism, or [...]

The Witness of Whittaker Chambers

Whittaker Chambers: A Biography, Sam Tanenhaus, Modern Library, 1998, 638 pages, $20   It was early December 1948, and Congressman Richard Nixon was in the midst of the first of his "six crises." For the moment this particular crisis was in recess, and a supremely satisfied Nixon was posing for pictures. In his hands was [...]

On the Two Kinds of Writers

Marcel Proust wrote in a cork-lined room to shut out all but the sound of his own memories. Whenever recent writers write of writing they tend to refer to Proust and his soundproof room, but to write of writing is already perhaps to take the path of Proustian self-absorption and to reveal which one of [...]

Why We Write

  It seems somebody one day had the bright idea of asking Samuel Johnson whether he wrote for money. It's easy to imagine that great man of letters and lexicographer of the late 18th century puffing up like an angry blowfish as he replied, "Sir, anyone who writes for anything except money is a fool." [...]

Catholic Politicians Supporting Same-Sex Marriage Legislation

Writing for the Catholic Advocate, Matt Smith reports that 39 of the 106 cosponsors of a House bill that would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act are "self-identified" Catholics. Smith, a former associate director of the White House Office of Public Liaison, warns that same-sex marriage activists are trying to bring H.R. 3567 -- ironically, [...]

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