The Power of Story – The Downside

Edited to add March 27: Welcome, Instapundit readers! Thanks for stopping by!

Somewhere, Nietzsche is probably grumbling about “I was partly right.” One of his arguments involved invoking Apollo – the god of light and reason and (for Nietzsche) rational individualism – versus Dionysus – the god of wine and holy madness and the ecstasy of releasing self into community.  To grossly over-simplify part of his argument*, the modern apparent reign of Apollo would not lead to good things, and Dionysus would not disappear so easily.

Before you run away and wonder if I’ve lost it, there is a point. Continue reading

The Great God Pan

Somewhere, the ancient Greek god of waste places and the wild, Pan, is smiling. The wild, irrational fear that he caused in those who angered him has swept North America.

Pan was one of the oldest of the Greek gods, in the sense that, like Zeus, his name traces back to an Indo-European root and has cognates in Sanskrit, Persian, and in the Latin and English word “pasture.” It is a different root than “pan” meaning all or entire, unless a link is found in the sense that for the Indo-European speaking horse nomads, all the world was a pasture, and so all came under the gaze of a pastoral god. Continue reading

More Celtic than an Irishman?

I’m referring to The Highwaymen, the country—quartet? quadrelateral? collision?—of Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and Chris Kristofferson. Fund raising season is upon the regional PBS station, and so since this is March, they had the Obligatory Irish Tenor on TV before running The Highwaymen – Live in Concert. Dad didn’t mute the Irish crooner fast enough. The guy had a six note range, and focused on what I’d call Irish lounge music. I could easily imagine Frank Sinatra or Perry Como singing this stuff in a nightclub, and based on the age of the audience, the folks at the concert probably had heard Sinatra live, when Sinatra was young!

Continue reading

They are not Synonyms

Arrrgh. A textbook author hit my pedant button, hard enough that I snarled out loud. Fortunately, it was during my work period, so there were no witnesses.

Evangelical and fundamentalist are not synonyms. No, no, they are not, no, stop that, N. O. Evangelical Christians can follow the ideas put forth in The Fundamentals, but they don’t have to. And those who agree with the aforementioned ideas do not have to belong to the Protestant denominations frequently lumped as “Evangelical.” Continue reading

Trapped in Stories?

Last weekend, the psych blogger at Had Enough Therapy? blogged about a very sad woman who, to sum up a lot of mess, had her life dictated by the stories she found around her. Her existence post-college was determined by the stories she latched onto. This was not healthy, and I don’t think she will do well as time passes. Her story would have been fine – as the plot of a modernist literary novel. For a real person? Not good.

So, why was she trapped in such terrible stories? I use trapped, because that’s what the blogger, Stuart Schneiderman, uses. “She is trapped in fictional roles, and thinks that that is all there is.” Continue reading

An Interesting Valentine’s Option

“The gift of a knife shows that you trust her and love her,” was the basic sense of the commercial on the radio. I blinked, then had to agree. No one in their right mind* gives someone edged (or other) weapons as a gift unless they believe that said tools won’t be used against the giver.

Brigit, over at Mausers and Muffins, has done “things not to get your beloved for Valentines Day” in the past. Let’s just say that there are women who like stuffed animals and un-requested appliances. And then there are the women who prefer Hoppes 9 to Royal Secret when it comes to perfumes. A wise man knows which one is his light-of-love and plans accordingly. Continue reading

Books That Shape You

No, not that one about weight-lifting that made everything click, or the aerobics instruction guide. 😛

I’m thinking of titles that were just what you needed at a certain point in your life, or that served as a touchstone (perhaps still do), or inspired you to hold on more tightly and try one more time (“Mary Ellen Carter” books). They might be associated with a religion, or perhaps not. Continue reading