Popular Culture

Tweety Bird

Caitlyn Jenner’s first campaign ad has received a surprisingly warm reception from conservative commentators. Are they afraid to be impolite? Cowed by the word transphobic? There is nothing conservative about transgenderism or Jenner’s aggressive assertion of trans identity. The ad itself, while it scans images of California’s decay, specifies no policy solutions. It relies on name recognition and Jenner’s itch to “shatter glass ceilings.” Ceilings serve a purpose. Are we so acclimated to the grotesque that we no longer recognize it for what it is? Continue Reading
Goya etching

The fifth horseman of our apocalypse is a functionary on a mission. Religious imagination expects apocalypse to arrive in a fury. We do not recognize it when it comes, as evil does, in the banal guise of bureaucratic authority and expertise. Our seemingly rational bureaucracies are conduits for camouflaged derangements. Transgender ideology exceeds them all.     In The Flying Trapeze: Three Crises for Physicists, Robert Oppenheimer wrote of man’s technical capacity to achieve self-annihilation by weapons of his own making:
No world has ever faced a possibility of destruction—in a relevant sense annihilation—comparable to that which we face, nor a process of decision-making even remotely like that which is involved in this. 
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Rachel Levine

A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him, saying, “You are mad; you are not like us.” St. Anthony the Great
A civilization in a death spiral can no longer maintain the moral demands that kept it alive. Neither can it tolerate an ability to see things as they are. Coherent authority shrinks. In The Triumph of the Therapeutic, Philip Rieff put it well: The dying order “demands less, permits more.” Continue Reading
Courting Pop Culture: The Cardinal & The Rocker

Vatican surrender to compartmentalized culture—divided by age and social brackets—did not begin with Pope Francis. John Paul II initiated that trajectory.  (Try to imagine Pope Pius XII being made an honorary Harlem Globetrotter as was John Paul. Or the Vatican releasing a cartoon version of Pius’ life on DVD.) Under Jorge Bergoglio’s pontificate, the Vatican goes an extra mile in blurring the distinction between evangelizing popular culture and flattering it. Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, has a knack for promoting the Church’s secular replacement. Continue Reading
John Leo: A Journalist's Call to Accountability

When I learned that John Leo had retired as editor-in-chief of Minding the Campus, my thoughts leaped to T.S. Eliot’s final prayer at the end of Ash Wednesday: “Suffer me not to be separated.” The news came as a wrench, a decisive twist to the bolt on a repository of shaping memories, His writing was at the center of much that had stamped my wits and my interests over decades. The man entered my life through a Xeroxed copy of his December 1, 1965 column in the National Catholic Reporter. Continue Reading