November 2014

Illustration for Theatre World (September 1927) by Bovey.

Transparency is more appealing in concept than in practice—at least as it applies to backstage doings at the Sheen Center. Judging from email responses, the Sheen is a great yawn to readers of First Things. No grand Truth is at risk in the matter. No heady policy positions. The only truths in play are those gnarled and spotted ones of human designs. Besides, mention of co-founder and erstwhile director Michael Hull points to disagreeable details better left in the dark. Do we need another scandal? Continue Reading
high steel cross

Here in my email this morning is an unhappy note from a Carmelite priest serving in a suburb of Dublin. He is terse. “Hatred of the Church in Ireland” is his only comment. No more words are needed given the accompanying article by Tim O’Brien that appeared yesterday in The Irish Times. It reports on the recent cutting down of a high steel cross erected some four decades ago on Carrountoolhil, County Kerry’s highest mountain. It had taken some one hundred people to put it in place in 1976 and had been televised as a major event at the time. Continue Reading
Albert Kahle macrame

It has been ten years since The Onion published its spoof of controversies over NEA-funded antics. By the time it appeared in 2004, audiences were pretty well accustomed to what Hilton Kramer once termed “a jolly rape of public sensibilities.” Writing in 1996, Kramer declared it almost went without saying that the “America-as-merde” tenor of so much recognized art arrives supported by NEA grants. That was also the year a professor at Bates College, William Pope, received a $20.000 grant for two performance pieces: In one, he would chain himself to an ATM machine in his underwear. Continue Reading
Charles II (Charles the Bad) Preaching to Clerics (14th C.). Biblioteque Nationale, Paris.

Now is it official. There is no need for more speculation about the whereabouts of Michael Hull, the disappearing pastor of Manhattan’s Guardian Angel parish and director of the Sheen Center. Charles II (Charles the Bad) Preaching to Clerics (14th C.). Biblioteque Nationale, Paris. The Scottish Episcopal Church has announced the appointment of Dr. Hull as its Director of Studies. He is currently living out his baptismal call by Skype at the Mercer School of Theology on Long Island. The former monsignor conducts classes through the ether from his conjugal home in northern Italy. Continue Reading
Detail of mourning dress (1902-04). ©The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Since social propriety demands that wives wear mourning for their husbands, it is fair that they be reimbursed for their mourning clothes . . . . Since she is legally required to wear mourning but not pay for its cost, it the responsibility of the husband’s heir to provide her with mourning. —From a lawsuit, 1757. Quoted by Philippe Aries, The Hour of Our Death.
My mourning has been quite an inconvenience to me this summer. I had just spent all the money I could afford for my summer clothes, and was forced to spend $30 more for black dresses.
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