I thank Headmaster Crowe for that gracious introduction. And I thank Professor Owen Anderson of Arizona State University for introducing me to the headmaster, and to the wonderful venture of the Great Hearts Academies, which are doing such good in the world, one teacher, one student, one person at a time. One person at a time, I think, is really the only way to do any good in the world, for human beings are individual persons in communities, not statistics in a collective or parts in a machine. So on this happy day, as the students of the class of 2014 celebrate a milestone achievement with their families, their friends, and their teachers, I come to congratulate you, to wish you well, and to address each of you as a person who has received the good turn of a fine education, and who should feel a responsibility to repay the debt of that education by living well as a person, mindful of the personhood, the individuality, and the good of others around you, in the various communities through which your life will take you. Continue Reading »
Christopher Partridge’s new book, The Lyre of Orpheus, provides an amazing wealth of information about religion and popular music. It should be read while sitting at a computer, since you will want to search YouTube or Spotify for the songs that he so passionately discusses. Unfortunately, his larger theory is not nearly as interesting as his close reading of individual artists. Continue Reading »
The N.C.A.A. has taken an image-beating in recent years. Angry critics of its alleged exploitation of student athletes have been relentless in their attacks on both the institution and its leadership. Chief among those who bear the liberally dealt blows is Dr. Mark Emmert, president of the N.C.A.A. In a recent article devoted primarily to the psychological toll that the job and its pressures have taken on him, the Times sought to expose something of his complicated character and work. Dr. Emmert, a heavily-compensated, highly capable, would-be reformer, seems simply to be the most prominent face of a incredibly complicated, clumsily democratic, and highly bureaucratic business that exceeds the capacities of any one man. To cope with the stresses of this life, Dr. Emmert compensates in charming fashion: “To help keep calm, Dr. Emmert meditates and visits his home on Whidbey Island in Washington. He has been taking a butchery class.” Continue Reading »
In my dream, I had just entered the sitting room of my house. It was still several hours before dawn, but music was quietly playing: I heard the last lines and fading chords of Schubert’s “Der Leiermann,” in the recent recording by Jonas Kaufmann, before silence fell. I was . . . . Continue Reading »
ISI is currently taking nominations for its Henry and Anne Paolucci Book Award. This award honors the best book of conservative scholarship published in 2013. You can read more about the award at paolucci.isi.org.
The deadline is today: Friday, May 16. The more suggestions, the merrier!
Email suggestions Jed Donahue at firstname.lastname@example.org, and be sure to include the names of the books.
Season Seven, Episode Five (“The Runaways”): A very disjointed episode of Mad Men. Don Draper is marginal to most of its action; two watchable characters (Roger Sterling and Joan Harris) are absent from it entirely; and we endure two eruptions of gratuitous weirdness, one in the form of kinky sex, the other in the form of sexualized mutilation. Altogether, we find the story de-centered and distinctly schizoid. Continue Reading »
It has been several months since I saw HBO’s first season of True Detective, but something about the series has stuck with me. Detectives Rust Cohle and Marty Hart investigate a series of bizarre ritualistic killings, but to be honest, I didn’t care much about that. What stuck with me was Rust’s pain and, even more, Marty’s domestic failures. Each man tries to explain and explain away his actions, but neither man is able to live according to his professed philosophy. Both men talk about and talk around the burden of living as beings that matter in a world of other beings that matter. Continue Reading »
Some years ago, I read much of Perry Miller’s The American Puritans for a class. I came away from it with an appreciation both for the deep beauty of Puritan English and for the Puritans themselves, people who found morality and civic life serious enough matters that they dedicated great care to them. Continue Reading »