Blue is the Warmest Color (La vie d'Adèle)
(Reviewed November 25, 2013)
A visual delight which there are numerous but often mutually contradictory reasons for feeling guilty about enjoying
12 Years a Slave
(Reviewed November 23, 2013)
The racial grievance industry proves that there is life still in the biggest grievance of all, thought by the merely naive far to ante-date any living memory
(Reviewed October 25, 2013)
A beautiful and profound meditation on the claims of a very little, very fragile human life upon eternity
(Reviewed October 17, 2013)
Are Americans getting to be the good guys in the movies once again? Well, maybe not altogether so.
Teach English with a Degree in Elementary Education.
According to The Independent of London, a study by Professor Piercarlo Valdesolo of Claremont McKenna College in the journal Psychological Science has shown that religious belief begins with awe inspired not by the supernatural but by the natural world. "It’s not that the presence of the supernatural elicits awe, it’s that awe elicits the perception of the presence of the supernatural." I don’t know that this supposedly scientific view is any more flattering to religious belief than the opposite one, but I thought of it on reading a tribute in The Daily Telegraph by Gerry De Groot to the English county of Northumberland which is trying to cut down on light pollution in order to give its inhabitants — and others in search of increasingly hard-to-find darkness — a more awe-inspiring view of the night sky.
ENTRY from December 11, 2013
While the Northumberland initiative started out as another effort in green-hearted do-goodery, it quickly became something sublime. When the lights went out, locals made an extraordinary discovery. They found that, far from expanding our world, light actually shrinks it. The "clean, well-lighted place" is finite, its parameters defined by the strength of luminescence. Darkness, on the other hand, is infinite. Overcome its sinister connotations and we find our world grows larger. Instead of being one pathetic soul with a flashlight, we become a citizen of a vast universe.
Has anyone done a study of the growth of atheism correlated with that of light pollution? My guess is that the two things are likely closely to correspond, though of course causation does not necessarily follow in the one direction any more than in the other. Which is to say that common sense may doubt atheism causes light pollution and suspect that light pollution causes atheism, but there is no way of knowing for sure if either conjecture is true. Still, we should be aware of possible influences upon our proclivity both to believe and not to believe.
My new book Media Madness, is now published and available for order from Encounter Books. Less a polemic than an attempt to understand the origins of the mass media’s folie de grandeur, the book is a warning even to those who are deserting the big networks, newsweeklies and large-circulation dailies not to carry with them into the more attractive world of niche media the undisciplined habits of thought that the old media culture has given rise to. To order this book, click here.
Also available, now in paperback, is Honor, A History, which was first published in 2006. A study of Western cultural artifacts, from the epics of Homer to the movies and TV shows of today, it is focused on explaining why Western ideas of honor developed so differently from those elsewhere — and especially from the savage honor cultures of the Islamic world. The book then goes on to trace the collapse and ultimate rejection of the old Western honor culture from World War I until the present day and to suggest the conditions that would have to prevail for its revival.
The Dream Team.
October 31, 2013.
We console ourselves for our inability to remedy the evils in the world by insisting on our morally creditable feelings about them — From The New Criterion of October, 2013 ...
The Heartlessness of the Matter.
October 30, 2013.
Who needs the humanities? It’s a more interesting question than why they are needed, which no one seems to know — From The American Spectator of October, 2013 ...
Sanity: an obituary.
September 30, 2013.
Does American journalism have any purpose besides sniffing out racism or scandal, or the scandal of racism? — From The New Criterion of September, 2013 ...