Ruining Masterpieces to Hurt Feelings

What if we intentionally rebuilt Notre Dame not to restore its beauty, nor even to improve its beauty, but to destroy its beauty because it will really upset conservatives because they love old things? We'll call them the 'alt-right' to make it OK.

Two on the Report

I'm going to minimize this because there's too much of it elsewhere, but here are two unexpected outlets to have filed such pro-Trump pieces.

The New York Times ran an op-ed by one of the editors of American Greatness.
The problem is that the Mueller investigation, as Mr. Barr explained, “did not find that the Trump campaign or other Americans colluded in those schemes.”

Mr. Schiff must know this. He must have known it for a long time. But he has persisted in slandering innocent people for personal political gain. His selfishness has led to a level of civil discord and political acrimony not seen since the late 1960s. That is what I call immoral, unethical, unpatriotic and yes, corrupt.


And then there is the Kool-Aid brigade. These are the people outside of politics, the people who couldn’t wait to hear what Rachel Maddow had to say, who believed every breathless prediction on cable news that “new revelations could spell the end for Trump,” and who shared these nuggets with a mixture of indignation and ecstasy on social media.
He calls for an apology, but exactly as we knew would happen the Times has simply skipped on to re-fighting whether or not the "obstruction" neither Mueller nor the AG felt fit to charge is an impeachable offense. It'll be as if Russian Collusion was never a topic of discussion; what really matters is the process crime that might have been created into the investigation of whatever-it-was-I-forget.

The second is Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept, an uneven publication but not generally a friendly one for the administration. He writes that 'Mueller did not merely reject the conspiracy theories, he obliterated them.'
Mueller, in addition to concluding that evidence was insufficient to charge any American with crimes relating to Russian election interference, also stated emphatically in numerous instances that there was no evidence – not merely that there was insufficient evidence to obtain a criminal conviction – that key prongs of this three-year-old conspiracy theory actually happened....

With regard to Facebook ads and Twitter posts from the Russia-based Internet Research Agency, for example, Mueller could not have been more blunt: “The investigation did not identify evidence that any U.S. persons knowingly or intentionally coordinated with the IRA’s interference operation” (emphasis added). Note that this exoneration includes not only Trump campaign officials but all Americans...

Regarding one of the most-cited pieces of evidence by Trump/Russia conspiracists – that Russia tried once Trump was nominated to shape his foreign policy posture toward Russia – Mueller concluded that there is simply no evidence to support it...

As for the overarching maximalist conspiracy – that Trump and/or members of his family and campaign were controlled by or working for the Russian government – Mueller concluded that this belief simply lacked the evidence necessary to prosecute anyone for it[.]
I should be rather embarrassed if I had been loudly asserting that someone was a traitor and a spy, only to discover that absolutely no evidence existed to support the theory. It's one thing to have gotten the wager wrong; intelligence work is often about judging that a thing is more likely to be true than not, or even just sufficiently likely to be true to justify taking some steps to guard against it. Here, though, what is being found is that there's literally nothing to support the idea at all -- yet they raced right off the cliff chasing it.

Apologies are indeed in order. None shall be forthcoming, I suppose.

Here's some good news

Middlebury College besmirched its own honor by canceling an appearance by Polish philosopher Ryszard Legutko, for the usual tiresome SJW snowflake reasons, and some alarming new ones, including concerns that faculty would retaliate against students who showed insufficient wokeness. Then a small miracle happened: a professor agreed to host the proscribed speaker for a small class if all of his students agreed by secret ballot. A number of other students got wind of it and attended as well. A free discussion followed in which skeptical students heard Mr. Legutko out and argued with him respectfully.
“During the days of communist totalitarianism, scholars from the West traveled to Eastern Bloc nations to give underground lectures and seminars,” said Keegan Callanan, who directs the Alexander Hamilton Forum and invited the Polish politician. “On Wednesday, Mr. Legutko returned the favor.”

Quit doing your charity wrong

More and more confirmations coming that I had my finger on the pulse on Monday:  the Yellow Jackets are rioting in rage over the generosity of bad rich people to the Notre Dame rebuilding effort instead of the Yellow Jacket priorities.  The argument took longer to surface than I predicted, but the devolution into street violence was faster.

Feeling confused, might confirm prior positions, idk

Trying to remember what collusion looks like.  Wait, are we still using that word?

East meets West

Good Friday

If you go into a church on Good Friday -- a Catholic one, anyway -- the altar is bare, and all is draped in darkness. God is dead.

The old royalist saying was, "The king is dead: Long live the king." But this isn't quite that, although that mimicks this as well as a mortal human royalty can mimic the true royalty of the divine.

God is dead. Long live... God. Not another God, or a different God, but the same God who decided to pass through death as a kind of experience of his creation. As a way of becoming closer to his creatures. We make much of the suffering, but it is still a kind of play. It is a play he chose, for reasons of his own, a play meant to cheer us. It might even make us merry, to think of the cheating of death and the stealing of the sting of sins.

It is the darkest day of the liturgical year. Revel in it.

We just want to dip our beak

Well, it's a small encouragement that it took four or five days instead of four of five hours, but the WaPo does deliver.  (The link, however, is to HotAir, no worries.)  "If you can afford to help the Cathedral, stop telling us you can't afford to solve the 'social emergency.'"  Never give to support the things that are important to you!  Always give to support the things that are important to me!  And above all, never ask ME to give.

March Through the Institutions

This finding is plausible in my experience.

It's from a fairly prestigious journal, too, and that is encouraging. It is good that they are not so far gone that they cannot admit the problem -- or perhaps they are beginning to come around to the recovery phase, and are now able to admit that they have a problem.

The Politics of Punching People

"...and that's why I punched that priest, Your Honor."

A Short Film on the Green New Deal

Narrated by Ms. Occasio-Cortez.

If you want to get to the positive argument, you can skip the first 3:27. Those are just idle fantasies about glorious diversity, plus a recap of how her opponents are all evil liars motivated solely by money.

After that, it turns out... well, see for yourself. Apparently there's just as much money to be made planting mangroves as in petro-engineering.

First Things: "Why I Became Muslim"

An interesting essay by Jacob Williams, an Englishman who turned from Anglicanism to Islam. Here, below the fold, is the introduction:

Understood, Congressman

So, if elected, your plan is not to seize guns from "law-abiding citizens," because your plan is first to turn us into felons. Got it.

There are insurmountable Constitutional as well as practical and legal problems with this approach, but at least I know for sure just where you stand.

Now go away. A man who would run on a pledge to convert tens of millions of law-abiding citizens into felons, for the express purpose of voiding a Constitutional right, is unfit for any office of public trust.

Changing Notre Dame

Rolling Stone fulfills Tex's prophecies.
Yet the damage wrought by the Notre Dame fire has also raised important questions about the cathedral’s symbolic significance in an increasingly divided France, and how to rebuild (or which version of the cathedral should be rebuilt) going forward — and in some ways, these questions are one and the same....

for some people in France, Notre Dame has also served as a deep-seated symbol of resentment, a monument to a deeply flawed institution and an idealized Christian European France that arguably never existed in the first place. “The building was so overburdened with meaning that its burning feels like an act of liberation,” says Patricio del Real, an architecture historian at Harvard University. If nothing else, the cathedral has been viewed by some as a stodgy reminder of “the old city — the embodiment of the Paris of stone and faith — just as the Eiffel Tower exemplifies the Paris of modernity, joie de vivre and change,” Michael Kimmelmann wrote for the New York Times....

some architectural historians like Brigniani believe that would be complicated, given the many stages of the cathedral’s evolution. “The question becomes, which Notre Dame are you actually rebuilding?,” he says. Harwood, too, believes that it would be a mistake to try to recreate the edifice as it once stood, as LeDuc did more than 150 years ago. Any rebuilding should be a reflection not of an old France, or the France that never was — a non-secular, white European France — but a reflection of the France of today, a France that is currently in the making. “The idea that you can recreate the building is naive. It is to repeat past errors, category errors of thought, and one has to imagine that if anything is done to the building it has to be an expression of what we want — the Catholics of France, the French people — want. What is an expression of who we are now? What does it represent, who is it for?,” he says.

Chesterton on Gothic Architecture

I'm not sure about this idea of cutting Chesterton to fit Twitter, but I suppose it's better than people not reading Chesterton at all. (And it's certainly one of the best things on Twitter.)

If you'd rather read it in fuller form, you may do so here.

Also this essay, on the same subject but more lyrical.

Mouth invasion

This brief post could have been about the first Atlantic article I picked up this morning, concerning lab-vat-grown meatlike substances--which, who knows, may turn out to be palatable some day)--but it's actually about weird dentists who overtreat us with expensive procedures.

When we first moved here, I had been receiving excellent care from a dentist in Houston whom I trusted.  On my first visit to a local dentist I was disconcerted to be advised to get two expensive crowns on teeth that weren't hurting.  My first instinct was to say go ahead, having always been a little skeptical of doctors but not of dentists.  Somehow, though, the rush and pressure from the new dentist encouraged me to call my old one, who told me flatly:  no prophylactic crowns on vague evidence.

The new dentist was uncontrollably hostile about my changed decision, so I quit seeing him.  He went out business not long afterwards.  I found another local dentist, who has given me the excellent service I was used to in Houston.  Maybe even better, as he has these wonderful new flexible titanium drills and sensing equipment that make a root canal a painless procedure completed in 45 minutes.  He doesn't do root canals unless a tooth is extremely painful, with the sharp sensitivity to heat and cold that unmistakably signals root nerve damage.

Never hesitate to get a second opinion when a dentist proposes something dramatic and expensive, especially if you have dental insurance, which is catnip to some charlatans.

Something's Missing

The United States Post Office has issued a new stamp honoring the Doughboys that went "over there" and helped to win "the Great War".  The artwork is nice, depicting a biplane, some barbed wire, some smoke, and a proud Doughboy, ready for action clutching in front of him a... flag.  Wait, what?  No rifle?

That pose also looks suspiciously as if you would normally expect a rifle in his hands in that position- not to mention that's not really how to treat a flag of the United States.  Anyway, this piece will tell you about how no one from USPS wants to talk about how this was made, and bonus- it's a well written piece that was a pleasure to read.  It's really getting ridiculous how these people really think it's their place to decide what we see and where, and on our dime no less.

The Pages Are White, Too

Why are our libraries so full of books? A critical essay from, I kid you not, Library Journal.
Marie Kondo has been in the zeitgeist for awhile, but especially now that she has a Netflix series. I saw the first episode awhile back and it reminded me of how having a space clean of clutter and mess really helps the mind feel clearer. Marie Kondo’s spiritual approach to objects also made me reflect upon our relationships with objects and why we feel so much attachment to inanimate things. Why can’t we just let those things go?...

Collections are representations of what librarians (or faculty) deem to be authoritative knowledge and as we know, this field and educational institutions, historically, and currently, have been sites of whiteness.

Library collections continue to promote and proliferate whiteness with their very existence and the fact that they are physically taking up space in our libraries.
It's so obvious that I wonder why no one thought of it before. The way to improve our libraries is to clear out the collection of books!


Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris was built out of stone and wood and glass without electricity or computers. It was not built by committee, or consultants or according to state regulations. It was built by a culture superior to our own. And we know it.
A bold essay on what it will take to rebuild.

While you are there, read about the Fire Brigade Chaplain who went into the fire and saved the Crown of Thorns.

La Mort De Notre Dame

The Cathedral in Paris, of course, for her namesake is immortal. All the same, a grave tragedy this Easter week.

UPDATE: "Some of Notre Dame's centuries-old relics are safe despite the devastating fire at the in Paris cathedral Monday. Just days before the fire, workers carefully removed more than a dozen medieval statues from the cathedral's spire as part of a a $6.8 million renovation project."

I was actually interested in the formal "relics," which include an alleged piece of the True Cross and the Crown of Thorns. But it is nice to hear that some of the medieval statuary will have survived.

UPDATE: Songs outside the shell.

Sometimes it is the loss of a thing that reminds you of its value. If the faith endures, the cathedral will return. If it does not, the cathedral would have been lost soon enough anyway. If this moment causes reflection and a return, then this fire like a wildfire may prove fertilizing. The Church knows the way out of the grave; and, after all, it is springtime.

Sweet Mental Revenge

I'm really enjoying being on Nancy Pelosi's side all the time. First it was 'no on impeachment,' and now it's a hard no on socialism.

Enjoy those freshmen, dear Madam Speaker.


This is one way to counteract the last decade's ballooning scandals about writers and leaders who were offered awards or speaking engagements, only to have them abruptly withdrawn when their heresies were uncovered:  hold your own awards and speaking engagements.  Create your own schools, while you're at it.