Dads, Don’t Go

“Are fathers necessary?” asks Pamela Paul in the latest issue of The Atlantic. That she considers the question worth asking is a clue to how the article will conclude: “there’s nothing objectively essential about his contribution.” Published just before Father’s Day, it would be easy to dismiss such cheap contrarianism as an attention-getting stunt… . Continue Reading »

Petraeus Redux

Whether Gen. David Petraeus fainted upon receiving travel orders to Afghanistan”as he did in last week’s Senate hearings”is not clear from the news reports, but President Obama managed a double-whammy by replacing Gen. Stanley McChrystal with the “king of the conservative lecture circuit,” as the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg dubbed the ambitious general… . Continue Reading »

Reducing Risk, Increasing AIDS

The predominant Western approach to preventing the spread of AIDS in Africa has failed. Though in theory the risk reduction strategies favored by Western governments and aid agencies”handing out condoms, promoting counseling and testing, and treating othersexually transmitted infections (STIs) to block HIV transmission”can “work” in theory, they have not done so in practice… . Continue Reading »

Walt Whitman and the World at Our Disposal

An estimable poet in his own right, C.K. Williams has written an accessible, short study of Walt Whitman’s poetry. Part of a writers-on-writers series recently launched by Princeton University Press, On Whitman is a slight book, an appreciative meditation rather than a critical study… . . Continue Reading »

Riding Away

The cost of even a small state university’s embarrassment, of its hunger to be just like everywhere else, is paid by abortions and the knocked-up, messed-up young women who were thrown to the wolfish boys, unconstrained by either manners or morals… . Continue Reading »

They Did It

They did it, the blood-hungry fools. Last night, just after midnight out in Draper, Utah, they trussed up Ronnie Lee Gardner like a scarecrow, pinned a target on him, and pumped four .30-caliber bullets into his chest. This execution was so unnecessary, and because it was unnecessary, it was simply and completely wrong. They shouldn’t have done it”because they didn’t have to do it… . Continue Reading »

The Neglected Fireplace: Protestantism and the Arts

Protestants in the arts seem to be caught in a holding pattern of vision casting. In his recent book Senses of the Soul, the prominent evangelical theologian William Dyrness suggests that despite a surge of interest in the arts in Protestant intellectual life, there is still a “residual suspicion” regarding the arts in Protestant congregations… . Continue Reading »

Thomas Kinkade’s Cottage Fantasy

The painter of light has entered a dark period. Thomas Kinkade, the self-proclaimed (and trademarked) Painter of Light™, is beset with legal troubles. Several years ago, art gallery owners successfully sued his Kinkade’s Media Arts Group for millions after it was revealed that he and company officials used invoked God and their “higher calling” to hide the financial risks of the investments… . Continue Reading »

Metaphysics and the Common Good

You’ve always wanted to visit Rome, but your spouse dreams of hiking in the Alps. Your teenage son wants to go to London, while your daughter lobbies for Paris. But although everybody has substantive reasons for their preferred destination, nobody says so, and you end up in a more and more tedious argument about which place has the most convenient flights… . Continue Reading »