How Free is Speech?

Expression has never been truly free, so long as two or more people were involved. The moment Thag threatened to punch Og’s nose for insisting that mammoth tasted better than sloth, a limit existed. Og could continue to declaim the virtues of mammoth, but he also understood that there would be a reaction to his words and it might involve physical rebuttal, so to speak. However, the State did not attempt to prevent him from opining. That would come later, with the advent of the State and, I suspect, of state religions. Continue reading

Book Review: Forbidden Thoughts

Rennie, Jason, ed. Forbidden Thoughts (Superversive Press, 2017) Kindle e-book.

This is not an anthology for the easily depressed or for those looking for stories of hope and happiness. There are such tales in the collection, but all of these are dystopic looks at what could happen should the cultural trends seen on college campi, the US and other national governments, and other parts of society are pressed to their extreme conclusion. Are they extreme? Yes. Could I see some of them happening? I hate to say it, but yes, given events over the past year in Europe and other places. Are they well written? Very much so. Continue reading

A Haunting Movie

I’m trying to prep a few weeks worth of lessons in advance, because things are about to get very crazy at school, due to a conjunction of Spring Break, then music, academic, Latin, and sports activities that will have me filling in for almost everyone else for a week, while 4/5 of the students will be out on some field trip at any given point during the week. So I sat down to re-watch Triumph des Willens, or in English Triumph of the Will. It creeps me out every time, and also makes me sigh for lost history. Continue reading

Yes, I know. And I still don’t like!

“If only you really knew them, you’d understand them better!”

“By exposing our [students/customers/employees/children] to a diversity of cultures, we ensure better understanding and a greater appreciation for members of diverse communities.”

Often, with this sort of pronouncement, there is an unspoken but understood “and you [they] will like them and get along with them and stop being judgmental about them (and give them what they ask for).”

Except, historically, that’s not always what happens. In fact, historically, the reverse is often true. When exposed to a strongly different culture, the response frequently is to enforce strict separation of cultures/religions/ethnicities on all sides, get one’s back up, and be even more [culture/religion/ethnicity] than before! Oops. Continue reading

The Flowers That Bloom in the Spring (trala) have nothing to do with T.U.L.I.P.

There is theology ahead, and history, and a bit of personal philosophy. I am not Reformed and certainly not a theologian. Read at your own risk. The links take you to the documents mentioned, and to Calvinist discussions of the topic.

On Tuesday I mentioned the acronym T.U.L.I.P. It is shorthand for the foundational doctrines of the Synod of Dort and the Westminster Catechism.

And yes, it is a wink and nod to the Reformed churches of the Netherlands.

Not quite Calvinist Tulips.

Not necessarily Calvinist Tulips.

Continue reading

Curiosity: Good, Bad, or Plot Point?

Athena T. Cat has no curiosity, or at least far less than any other cat I’ve encountered thus far. If you present her with something new, meaning you put it within a few inches of her, she may sniff it and possibly lick it. Otherwise she ignores new things, new people, and other intrusions into her world. I know people like that, and I always wonder how they can go through life content not to ask, poke, visit, read more about it, or see more than is presented. They are not bad people, just mysterious, at least to me. Continue reading

You Can’t Write That!

Originally, it was: You can’t write That! the topic was taboo, horrible, subversive, or all of the above. Today it seems to have shifted into: You can’t write that! You are too male, or too female, too straight, too pale, too European, not a member, too biased as a former member . . . What a mess. Fiction writers have learned what historians and anthropologists collided with twenty years ago and more: the Powers That Be* have no sense of imagination or moderation. Why can’t I write that? If I can’t, who can? Continue reading