A Modest Proposal

From Web Exclusives

To me, the Supreme Court’s decision in the case of the Westboro Baptist Church barbarians was merely an illustration of a number of obvious facts about modern culture, and further evidence that between a regime of abstract liberties and a culture of real freedoms there is not only a distinction, but often an inevitable antagonism… . Continue Reading »

Whooshing Through Life

From the March 2011 Print Edition

All Things Shining: Reading the Western Classics to Find Meaning in a Secular Age by Hubert Dreyfus and Sean Dorrance Kelly Free Press, 272 pages, $26 It may seem like a trivial question, but I cannot help wondering whether the title of this book has been lifted from the closing lines of Terrence . . . . Continue Reading »

Golf and the Metaphysics of Morals

From Web Exclusives

So now that the NFL season has passed, leaving its customary trail of carnage behind, civilized followers of sport can turn their attention to the opening of spring training camps and the approach of that most glorious of the great terrestrial cycles, the baseball season. It was a satisfying Super Bowl for me, inasmuch as the Steelers lost … Continue Reading »

The Church of the East

From Web Exclusives

As you may be aware, several Christian churches in Kirkuk, Mosul, Basra, and Baghdad, as well as throughout the rest of Iraq, cancelled their festivities this past Christmas. Ever since the massacre of worshippers in Baghdad’s Church of Our Lady of Salvation last November … Continue Reading »

An Infinite Passion

From Web Exclusives

Atargatis, the “Syrian Goddess,” was a demanding mistress. For one thing, her priests (the galli) could win their way into her affections only by emasculating themselves. According to the De Dea Syria, attributed to Lucian of Samosata, any young man disposed to dedicate himself to her service in Hierapolis had to make this first and most extravagant oblation on one of her high holy days, in a fit of divine ecstasy … Continue Reading »

New Year’s Titanic Gods

From Web Exclusives

Since other writers on this site have already declared their indifference to or hostility towards New Year’s celebrations, I suppose I should avoid doing the same, if only for variety’s sake. The truth is, though, that my family never observed the day when I was growing up, and always made a point of going to bed well before midnight on New Year’s Eve… . Continue Reading »

A Forgotten Poet

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Aimé Foinpré (1841-1880) died a hundred and thirty years ago today (17 December), killed as he leapt from a second story window in Paris’ seventh arrondissement to escape the wrath of a jealous husband; he was dead even before the raven-tressed cause of contention had hastily gathered up her clothes and fled from the room… . Continue Reading »

The Abbot and Aunt Susie

From Web Exclusives

In the August/September issue of First Things , Matthew Milliner gave a delightful account of his visit to the Eastern Orthodox Monastery of St Anthony in Arizona’s Sonora Desert. At least, I quite enjoyed it”though, truth be told, I would have enjoyed it considerably more had it not included a brief exchange Milliner had with the monastery’s abbot … Continue Reading »


From Web Exclusives

The only thing I know that J.R.R. Tolkien and Salvador Dalí had in common—or rather, I suppose I should say, the only significant or unexpected thing, since they obviously had all sorts of other things in common: they were male, bipedal, human, rough contemporaries, celebrities, and so on—was that each man on at least one occasion said he was drawn simultaneously towards anarchism and monarchism… . Continue Reading »