March 2011

Dolls, Dames and Scholarship

THE CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION features an article on an instructional project by a Hamilton College sophomore. She put some minimal geometry to work to create a life-sized Barbie scaled to the original. The result is a sculpted tutorial intended to let us know that female eating disorders have little to do with food. Just in case we did not already know. // // Still, two things are worth noting. First, the over-sized, over-endowed Barbie is better suited to a Whitney Biennial than an institution of higher play learning. Continue Reading
Ash Wednesday

ASH WEDNESDAY WAS YESTERDAY, March 9th. I mention it today because, by last night, I had seen only two other people in town wearing ashes. It saddened me. Even in childhood, Ash Wednesday captivated me in some unspoken way. I loved walking about displaying the mark of my mortality rubbed onto my forehead. All around were others, adults and kids like me, carrying the same mark. Not everyone, of course, but enough that my burnt-palm ashes did not isolate me. // // “Dust thou art; and unto dust thou shalt return.” Such is God’s rebuke to Adam in the Genesis story. Continue Reading
Still More on Olympia's Heirs

PREVIOUS MENTION OF SHERI’S RANCH BROTHEL in Pahrump, Nevada got me wondering. Could this be where Nevada’s annual Cowboy Poetry Festival takes place? Harry Reid was on his feet bemoaning H.R. I, which seeks to defund National Public Broadcasting:
It eliminates the National Endowment of the Humanities, National Endowment of the Arts. These programs create jobs. The National Endowment of the Humanities is the reason we have in northern Nevada every January a cowboy poetry festival. Had that program not been around, the tens of thousands of people who come there every year would not exist. 
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Olympia's Heirs

IF WE CONFUSE CULTURE WITH THE CULT OF THE ARTS, then, yes, Manet, together with all his art historical brethren, is of primary importance. But if we take culture to mean the entire web of aspirations, goals, achievements, and values of a people—their conscience; their taste in ethics—penicillin counts for more than any artist. I was reminded of this by Tracy Quan’s recent article in The Daily. Ms. Quan, author of Diary of a Jetsetting Call Girl [“available on your Kindle in under a minute”] is the doyenne of the half-hooker economy. Continue Reading
Roger Scruton's Olympia

ROGER SCRUTON’S HANDBOOK OF ESSAYS, Beauty (2009), is more appealing in its parts than in the overarching thrust of his argument. His insistence that beauty—the quest for and recognition of it—is a function of the rational mind rings off key. Few of us are unfamiliar with the experience of being overwhelmed by beauty of some kind. At the same time, what moves one of us, however deeply, does not necessarily move another, equally rational, fellow. But setting argument aside for the moment, Beauty, like everything else Scruton writes, is worth reading, worth owning. Continue Reading