Trinity Institute

I have generally used to share reading notes, engage in speculations in exploratory essays, record random thoughts and asides, occasionally to respond to critics. It’s not typically been a place for me to make personal announcements. This is an exception. For the past several . . . . Continue Reading »

Why Wrap?

Jacques Godbout ( The World of the Gift , 37 ) asks why we wrap presents only to discard the wrapping. It is a “potlatch” gesture, a gesture of excess, “an utterly gratuitous extra.” Further, “it hides what is in circulation, thus demonstrating that what counts is not . . . . Continue Reading »


When American mothers objected to the Barbie doll, Matelle got to work to convince them that it was OK: “A shrewd ad campaign overcame maternal resistance by suggesting that daughters who dressed and groomed Barbie, with her vast collection of accessories and outfits, would learn how to . . . . Continue Reading »

Interrogative Intonation

That hint of a slightly canceled question mark at the end of sentences ? You know what I mean ? Seems pretty innocuous ? Milbank doesn’t think so ( The Future of Love: Essays in Political Theology ): “People who fondly imagine themselves the subjects of their ‘own’ choices . . . . Continue Reading »


A recent issue of the New Yorker had an intriguing profile of Paypal founder Peter Thiel. Thiel’s current obsession is education” “Thiel believes that education is the next bubble in the U.S. economy. He has compared university administrators to subprime-mortgage brokers, and . . . . Continue Reading »

Tuning a week

We all know that the days of the week take their names from classical or Germanic gods. But why the order? The order of the week is not the order of the planets in the sky, which is, as we find in Dante: Moon, Mercury, Venus, Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn. The order of days starts in the middle, and . . . . Continue Reading »