The Aesthetics of Knocking it Back

The pleasure of knocking back Bourbon lies in the plain of the aesthetic but at an opposite pole from connoisseurship. My preference for the former is or is not deplorable depending on one’s value system–that is to say, how one balances out the Epicurean virtues of cultivating one’s sensory end organs with the greatest discrimination and at least cost to one’s health, against the virtue of evocation of time and memory and of the recovery of self and the past from the fogged-in disoriented Western world. In Kierkegaardian terms, the use of Bourbon to such an end is a kind of aestheticized religious mode of existence, whereas connoisseurship, the discriminating but single-minded stimulation of sensory end organs, is the aesthetic of damnation.

– Walker Percy

Read the entire article here.

Hat Tip: remshot


Mutually Assured Destruction

I think it well…for the man in the street to realise that there is no power on earth that can protect him from being bombed. Whatever people may tell him, the bomber will always get through…The only defence is offence, which means that you will have to kill women and children more quickly than the enemy if you want to save yourselves.”

– Stanley Baldwin, Prime Minister of England, 1935n

Christ Resurrected

Christ, rising again from the dead
dies now no more:
death shall no more have dominion over him;
for in that he died, he died once:
but in that he lives, he lives unto God,
alleluia, alleluia.

Let the Jews now tell us
how the soldiers,
who guarded the sepulchre,
lost the King,
though they had placed a rock over him.
Why kept they not the Rock of Justice?
Either let them restore the buried One,
or adore with us the risen One, saying:

In that he lives,
he lives unto God,
alleluia, alleluia.

Easter Even Prayer

Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the belly of the fish, saying,

“I called out to the LORD, out of my distress,
and he answered me;
out of the belly of Sheol I cried,
and you heard my voice.
For you cast me into the deep,
into the heart of the seas,
and the flood surrounded me;
all your waves and your billows
passed over me.
Then I said, ‘I am driven away
from your sight;
yet I shall again look
upon your holy temple.’
The waters closed in over me to take my life;
the deep surrounded me;
weeds were wrapped about my head
at the roots of the mountains.
I went down to the land
whose bars closed upon me forever;
yet you brought up my life from the pit,
O LORD my God.
When my life was fainting away,
I remembered the LORD,
and my prayer came to you,
into your holy temple.
Those who pay regard to vain idols
forsake their hope of steadfast love.
But I with the voice of thanksgiving
will sacrifice to you;
what I have vowed I will pay.
Salvation belongs to the LORD!”

And the LORD spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land.

Isolation Equals Death

Friends are not a luxury but a necessity…God, in His mercy does not save us in isolation from other people but rather in community with other people…

“If one falls he has someone to lift him up, but woe to the man who is alone when he falls” (Eccl. 4:10)…

“A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire, and rages against all wise judement” (Prov. 18:1)…

Thus the ultimate fruition of sin – which is that ultimate expression of our selfishness, going our own way, and isolating ourselves – is the isolation of hell.

– Steve Wilkins, Face to Face p. 11-18

The Political Dr. Seuss

Because of the fame of his children’s books (and because we often misunderstand these books) and because his political cartoons have remained largely unknown, we do not think of Dr. Seuss as a political cartoonist. But for two years, 1941-1943, he was the chief editorial cartoonist for the New York newspaper PM (1940-1948), and for that journal he drew over 400 editorial cartoons.

– Richard H. Minear







All Holds Barred

This from the “Here’s How” Handbook for American Troops in China:

Philosophy of Entertainment

The Chinese don’t necessarily demand excitement in their entertainment (although they eat it up when it does occur). They can be perfectly happy playing for hours on end with their children. It’s a pretty deep point in philosophy: which is the more sophisticated and satisfying pleasure – playing with the baby or watching the Cotton Bowl epic.

Street Brawls

The contrast between American and Chinese street brawls is instructive. A dispute at home that leads to blows usually proceeds with little interference from the sidelines and with the less bloody gentleman having proved he was in the right, or both of the combatants in the clink.

A Chinese brawl ordinarily begins, as do ours, with abusive language. One of the disputants having called the other a turtle egg, the second responds in kind for reasons of “face” if for no other. At this stage the role of the middleman begins. He may be almost anyone who has witnessed the beginning of the quarrel. He represents the public conscience which in China quite sensibly abhors violence. The middleman quickly sizes up the situation and steps in to restrain with calming hands and admonitions the more aggressive disputant.

A crowd soon gathers and rings in the drama. The two disputants then interrupt their abuse with impassioned statements of their respective cases. For the crowd is the public conscience itself. Unless he is so enraged as to be blind to all reason and caution, neither disputant will seriously attempt to hit the other. To do so would be to put himself in the eyes of the crowd completely in the wrong.

The brawl usually proceeds with abuse, accusation, counter-accusation, intermittent lunges and round house swings (which the soothing middleman is expected to check), remonstrances from the middleman and occasional coaching from the sidelines. The fight usually cools off when both parties feel that they have maintained or regained “face” as the case may be and a compromise is reached.

Sometimes a policeman is brought in. He usually takes the place of the middleman, listens to the arguments and then delivers his opinion – more to the crowd than to the disputants. The crowd nods its head and murmurs approval of a reasonable compromise, everyone goes home feeling that a sensible solution has been reached and the policeman returns to his post.

An average brawl like this (some of course get out of hand) reveals certain important Chinese attitudes. One is that there is no such thing as a private fight where two guys slug it out. Every man is a member of a community and the community has an interest in seeing that there is a minimum of disturbance in its midst. Another is that if you use abusive language toward someone, you make him lose “face” and he must somehow regain “face” or get back at you. Still another is that if you hit someone you are placed in the wrong and public feeling turns against you. A fourth attitude is that the best solution to a difference is usually a compromise which satisfies both parties. A genius for compromise id one of the outstanding Chinese characteristics. This is a natural development of the Chinese belief in reasonableness in human relations. Differences can usually be bridged if both parties are willing to argue it out.

Remember these attitudes when you’re in China and want to put your dukes up.

Political Correctness

Don’t say “Chinaman.” The proper word is “Chinese.” Although we say “Englishman” and “Frenchman,” somehow the word “Chinaman” has come to have a derogatory flavor.