Essays in Idleness


Month: September, 2016

Gentle reminder

Aha, it is Michaelmas — the Feast of Saint Michael and All Angels, MMXVI — which means, four years have now passed since I began this antiblogue, in the spirit of, “What else can I do?” … For I had been run out of all mainstream media, for my poisonous literary and scientific views, and […]

Fight night

For some reason — and not a very good one — I found myself last night watching excerpts from the soi-disant “debate” between Trompe and Klingon. I knew they would annoy me, and they did. Why does one seek annoyance, when it is so plentifully available in the environment already, “for free” as it were? […]

Back to metaphysics

A gentle reader (it was Perfesser Smith!) has kindly pointed to a fatuity in yesterday’s Idlepost, sufficiently egregious to be worth taking back. It was the suggestion that printing has anything to do with modernity. This is the sort of thing only a modernist would say, trapped as he is in the realm of appearances; […]

On discipline

“Brilliant! … And completely wrong!” It is for this line that I am, apparently, remembered by a seminary class I taught two years ago. I encouraged my impressive young charges to speculate boldly on matters Shakespearean. I also encouraged them to rubbish each other’s speculations. “Creative destruction,” I suppose Schumpeter would call this, as he […]

The addict

Articles such as the one Andrew Sullivan has written (here) are true enough, and might have some passing effect upon the reader. “Yes, I am addicted to the Internet,” he may think to himself, for a moment before clicking the next links. (There are several within the article itself.) Or, he may be more spooked, […]

Unfinished conversations

John Bentley Mays (1941–2016) was last spoken with, around the corner here in Parkdale, a few weeks ago. He was on his way to a rather highbrow, Saturday-morning Bible-study group, that he could not persuade me to join. (I am a notorious non-joiner.) A distinctive large presence in dark clothing (see here), he was among […]

Addendum on wrong places

Just yesterday I mentioned wrong places in which one might repose one’s hope — places in which, I would say, the long sleep of the just will prove unobtainable. Several of my correspondents seem to have missed my point, and one asked for a complete list — which, thanks to free enterprise, will be impossible […]

Blessings in disguise

To the evil man, everything is evil. To the good man, everything is good. For bad men, good fortune is bad; for good men, bad fortune is good. Saint Paul may be consulted in Romans 8, or I Corinthians 2, but centuries before him, Plato was onto this. “Virtuous men possess beatitude despite pain and […]

Buenos Aires directive

Were it not that my eyes had strayed into the Internet at large, I could have guessed from my own email that Pope Francis has “done it again.” The convulsion this week is his letter to Argentine bishops (the authenticity of which took some time to confirm), declaring that their “Buenos Aires directive” correctly interprets […]

On the need to remain cheerful

Whom the gods would destroy, they first make humourless. Or drive mad, which is the same thing. (These are not nice gods, as should be apparent.) Verily, I have noticed in my walks around Parkdale, that a sure indication of mental disequilibrium is what Father Zed likes to call, “the spittle-flecked nutties.” With, or more […]

Creative misanthropy

Are you “deplorable” gentle reader? I know I am. The estimate that half of Republican voters are deplorable strikes me as low. I would think nearer 75 percent would be more reasonable. I would put the deplorables at around 80 percent for the Democratic Party. In both cases, about 20 percent are excused by the […]

Church bulletin

Today, for those of the Roman persuasion, is our memorial of the Holy Name of Mary, within the octave of the feast of her Nativity. Once it was celebrated on the Octave itself, in accord with the original Jewish custom of naming a child on the eighth day from birth. As most Catholic venerations, it begins in the […]

Fifteen years

A generation or more is necessary to see any large event in some historical perspective. That the fall of the Berlin Wall was a “large event” we could see immediately, but not what it portended. The political world would be transformed, but the New World Order that George Bush Senior foresaw was a mirage. Ditto […]