First Things RSS Feed - John P. Sisk
en-usCopyright 2016 First Things. All Rights Reserved.firstname.lastname@example.org (The Editors)email@example.com (The Editors)Mon, 24 Oct 2016 19:40:48 -0400https://d25wp47b6tla3u.cloudfront.net/img/favicon-196.pngFirst Things RSS Feed Image
Wed, 01 Jan 1997 00:00:00 -0500 Sin and Censorship: The Catholic Church and the Motion Picture Industry
By Frank Walsh
Yale University Press, 394 pages, $35
Tue, 01 Oct 1996 00:00:00 -0400 The late avant-garde composer John Cage once urged as a basic principle that we “choose abundance rather than scarcity. Be wasteful, rather than pinchpenny. Get as much as you can out of all there is to be had. Have it even if you don’t use it, or even if you use it badly as a gadget.” Strange words indeed, now that the closing of our millennium has concentrated our attention on the deterioration of the environment and overcrowding in conditions of an increasing scarcity of vital materials. Nagged at by WorldWatch, we are more likely to heed the words of Carl Sagan: given our sorry world, we may ultimately face the choice of going the way of the dinosaurs or moving elsewhere in the cosmos to start over.
]]>Civilization and Wildernesshttps://www.firstthings.com/article/1996/08/005-civilization-and-wilderness
Thu, 01 Aug 1996 00:00:00 -0400 Into the Wild
By Jon Krakauer
Villard, 207 pages, $22
]]> Living with Numbershttps://www.firstthings.com/article/1995/06/004-living-with-numbers
Thu, 01 Jun 1995 00:00:00 -0400After suffering through elementary arithmetic, geometry, algebra, and trigonometry it is easy to believe with the Pythagoreans that everything is number, or with St. Matthew that “the very hairs of your head are numbered.” Inclined as they were to be mystic about their numbers, the Pythagoreans would have found Matthew as easy to adapt to their ontology as the announcement of Psalm 147 that the Lord not only “telleth the number of the stars” but “calleth them by name.” We are as immersed in our intricately numbered cosmos as is a fish in its water. The fish, of course, does not have to suffer the awareness of the alienating disjunction between itself and its cosmos, which would be the case if it had the capacity to do grade school arithmetic.
]]> The Necessary Devilhttps://www.firstthings.com/article/1993/11/004-the-necessary-devil
Mon, 01 Nov 1993 00:00:00 -0500According to a recent Gallup poll, 52 percent of people say they believe in the Devil. One can imagine that this slim majority is not good news for the Devil, who after all is not running for public office. In the Christian tradition he is utterly insatiable and wants it all. But he may be more successful than Gallup’s statistics indicate if we take into account Baudelaire’s remark that “the Devil’s cleverest wile is to convince us that he does not exist.” Feed this possibility into the Gallup computer and one implication is that 48 percent of the people have been thoroughly conned and are thus wonderfully vulnerable to diabolic mischief-making.
]]> Democracy’s Discontentshttps://www.firstthings.com/article/1993/10/001-democracys-discontents
Fri, 01 Oct 1993 00:00:00 -0400 Culture of Complaint: The Fraying of America
by Robert Hughes
Oxford University Press, 210 pages, $19.95
]]> Saving the Worldhttps://www.firstthings.com/article/1993/05/001-saving-the-world
Sat, 01 May 1993 00:00:00 -0400In the Fall 1991 issue of
New Perspectives Quarterly
, which is very usefully devoted to the problems of unity and diversity in the contemporary world, Isaiah Berlin observes that the twentieth century is “the worst century that Europe has ever had.” Certainly there is widespread agreement that he is right, especially if the judgment is taken to include Western civilization generally. Inevitably, this agreement goes along with a widespread conviction that the world is badly in need of salvation. Unfortunately, there is a conspicuous lack of consensus whether the salvation should favor unity or diversity. The consequence is a rich smorgasbord of salvational programs, which guarantees that the world in the process of not being saved by any single program will continue not to be a boring place, however dangerous.
In these stressful times the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s widely publicized program of transcendental meditation has a lot to offer. If, says the Yogi, a sufficient number of people led by trained mediators could be induced to sit still and meditate for ninety minutes each morning and evening, the positive waves they emitted would ensure universal peace, improved economy, and a reduction of the crime rate, to say nothing of the physical and spiritual well-being of one and all. The cost to employ seven thousand meditators would be $20
]]> The Cultural Middle Groundhttps://www.firstthings.com/article/1992/11/005-the-cultural-middle-ground
Sun, 01 Nov 1992 00:00:00 -0500 The Making Of Middlebrow Culture
by Joan Shelley Rubin
University of North Carolina Press, 416 pages, $34.95
]]> Victims Unlimitedhttps://www.firstthings.com/article/1992/08/002-victims-unlimited
Sat, 01 Aug 1992 00:00:00 -0400In this highly individualistic age, it is probably safe to assume about every victim what Tolstoy at the beginning of
assumes about every unhappy family: that each is unhappy in his or her own way. This could mean that to think about victimization now is to be overwhelmed with an infinite variety, the prospect of which can be a good deal less attractive than Cleopatra’s infinite variety was to Marc Anthony. We have been made so conscious of the victims among us that it is possible to feel discriminated against and therefore victimized if we cannot see ourselves and induce others to see us as authentic victims. Even happy families, which for Tolstoy are all alike in their happiness, may be even more alike as breeding grounds for that victimizing assault on the self we know as codependency, especially as it is defined by Melody Beattie’s best-selling
Codependent No More.
]]> Suffering Humanityhttps://www.firstthings.com/article/1991/10/002-suffering-humanity
Tue, 01 Oct 1991 00:00:00 -0400 Victims and Values: A History and a Theory of Suffering
by Joseph A. Amato
Praeger, 223 pages, $14.95