Today is Earth Day. This annual feast of eco-spirituality has been with us for a half century. It gains more converts every year. Its official patron saint is Gaylord Nelson, then-senator from Wisconsin. He stirred crowds on the first Earth Day with calls for new national policies that will “interfere with what many have considered their right to use and abuse the air, the water, the land.”
Campaign nationwide to elect an “Ecology Congress” as the 92nd Congress – a Congress that will build bridges between our citizens and between man and nature’s systems, instead of building more highways and dams and new weapons systems . Continue Reading
Last month’s UNCuyo exhibition prompted the Social Ministry of the Archdiocese of Mendoza to whine that the art “seriously offends” religious convictions. That merely acknowledged the obvious. To offend was precisely what it had been designed to do. The display was created as a finger in the eye of Christians, Catholics in particular. Clearly, it required a response. But what kind?
What counts is the character of the response. It is worth remembering that tone itself is a tactic. Enough, please, with politesse in the face of an implacable foe. Continue Reading
What we call culture war is a holy war. Sadly, clerical bureaucracy would rather lose it than make a fuss. Or so it appears from too many instances of clerical capture by the zeitgeist. Recent commotion over anti-Christian sentiment posing as feminist art on show in Mendoza, Argentina, illustrates the state of things. Justice Potter Stewart knew pornography when he saw it. Ordained shepherds of the archdiocese of Mendoza prefer not to notice. Art is all.
Back to that later. But first, some useful history. Continue Reading
“Entertainment became the most obvious direct manifestation of freedom that liberalism offered humanity and, at the same time, the most tangible confirmation of the dominant status of the democratic man and his tastes.” So wrote Ryszard Legutko, an eminent Polish philosopher, statesman, and editor of Solidarity’s underground philosophy journal in the 1980s. His more recent The Demon in Democracy: Totalitarian Temptations in Free Societies continues:
The omnipresence of entertainment was something by which the democratic man became easily recognized: it was his trademark, his coat of arms, his—so to speak—identity card. Continue Reading
Armond White is the movie critic for National Review. In 2010, as then-chairman of the New York Film Critics Circle, he addressed the group’s annual award banquet. Moviedom VIPs attended: Meryl Streep, George Clooney, Jeff Bridges, others. None liked what they heard.
An essay based on that talk appeared afterward in First Things under the title “Do Movie Critics Matter?”
Most editors and publishers today cut out or limit criticism’s traditional media function. Journalistic standards have changed so drastically that, when I took the podium at the film circle’s dinner and quoted Pauline Kael’s 1974 alarm, “Criticism is all that stands between the public and advertising,” the gala’s audience responded with an audible hush—not applause. Continue Reading