Writing Off The Cuff

It is getting harder to do more than write off the cuff. Play it by ear. Reading the news has become painful enough. Responding to it coherently, and in a timely way, seems increasingly futile. Insanity rains down on us at such speed I can’t keep up. I am in awe of others who can. I honor anyone able to grasp a starting point within chaos, capable of imposing order on discussion of it. And has the stomach to discern its destination.

An essay takes time. Yet there seems none left for anything more than ad hoc observation. Worse, the ground of argument keeps crumbling underfoot. How to frame a credible argument against the inconceivable, against what was thought beyond belief until recently? We read the news only to learn that the unbelievable is now orthodoxy. Madness is the new sanity.

Nonsense wins. W.B. Yeats knew the cunning of absurdity: “You can refute Hegel but not . . . the Song of Sixpence.”


Arthur Rackham illustration
Arthur Rackham. “An unusually large saucepan flew close by . . .” Illustration for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1907 edition)


If A Lesbian Cheats On Her Wife, Is That Still Adultery?

Speaking of writing: On April 19th, International Business Times published an exquisite opening sentence:

There are rumors circulating on social media that Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot will be tendering her resignation after being caught cheating on her wife, First Lady Amy Eshleman.

Her wife. Her own First Lady. Written with no hint of irony, it expresses the Zeitgeist with a kind of perverse beauty. A second utterance of equal quality is the mayoral daughter’s greeting to the police: “My moms are fighting!”

Who was it who called the cops over this domestic dispute? The IBT does not say. But it does tell us that details of the incident stemmed from a tweet—since deleted—by Chicago civil rights advocate Ja’Mal Green:

The post claimed the woman Lightfoot was having an affair with had a boyfriend who was caught for possession of a weapon and asked Lightfoot to “take care” of it. The extortion calls allegedly led to Eshleman finding out and “beating” Lightfoot.

So, as IRT tells it, the corespondent in this paid-by-taxpayers hotel tryst is an AC/DC woman. Lightfoot called the rumors “trash.” Technically, that is not the same as denying it. But she does not have to. Grievance-mongering constituents will accept her dismissal of it as one of those “homophobic, racist and misogynistic rumors.” Marion Barry lives.


Chaotic dinner party
Samuel de Wilde. The Reformers’ Dinner (1809).


Myth: Women Never Batter

From the Wentworth Report, an Australian online journal dedicated to distinguishing reality from the fantasy world of political correctness:

Rate of Domestic Violence Highest in Lesbian Relationships. It’s a PC myth that domestic violence is all about men hurting women in heterosexual relationships. It’s not. Women dish out a lot of violence too, including against kids. Despite convincing studies for decades now, this still seems to surprise people — once again demonstrating the willingness and power of the media to propagate a PC agenda. Keep an eye out for how the domestic violence meme is used — such as to put down straight men.

From Cullen & Murphy, a California law firm run by three women:

When most people picture domestic violence, lesbian partnerships don’t often come to mind.

Yet, studies indicate that 17 percent to 45 percent of lesbians report having been the victim of physical violence by a partner. Incidents of sexual abuse can run as high as 50 percent, and reports of psychological abuse range from 24 percent to 90 percent.  .  .  . In addition to sexual violence, domestic abuse can include slapping, hitting, punching, kicking, economic control, verbal abuse and threats and intimidation. These violent acts are just like the domestic abuse between heterosexual couples or gay men.


two women dueling
Jusepe de Ribera. Duel of Isabella de Carazzi and Diambra de Potinella (17th C.)


Thomas Reese, S.J., Thinks like China

On April 16, Crisis Magazine published Jane Stannus’ essay “Fr. Reese and the Dangerous Latin Mass.” You might think the title is tongue-in-cheek. But no. It reflects the tenor of Fr. Reese’s antagonism to the sacred choreography of the old Mass and the beauty of its prayers.

“The church needs to be clear that it wants the unreformed liturgy to disappear and will only allow it out of pastoral kindness to older people who do not understand the need for change,” he writes. “Children and young people should not be allowed to attend such Masses.”

Unreformed is the wrong word. The liturgy was not reformed by Vatican II. It was abruptly, even recklessly, changed. Some say deformed. But what interests me here is not a contest between the venerable Tridentine Mass and the Novus Ordo. What leaps off the page is Reese’s insistence that the young should be barred from the old liturgy.

Reese’s desired ban is identical to a major restriction placed on Christian churches in Xi Jinping’s China. Bitter Winter has reported that, among new restrictions imposed on Christians, no young person under the age of 18 is permitted to enter a church. It is an effective tactic for suffocating the life out of Christianity. Religious sensibility is formed early; so is indifference. What, precisely, does this back-number devotee of Vatican II fear about the Tridentine Mass? What corruption will infect young attendees? Should they save their genuflections for politics? For Pope Francis’ worship of global governance and his new redeemer: The Vaccine?


photo of dead trees
Walker Evans. Inland Landscape (1941).


By Their Fruits You Shall Know Them

The decay of the Society of Jesus reminds us that institutions can outlive their founding purposes. Like any other entity, religious organizations risk a shelf life. No matter if the sell-by date is measured in centuries.

You’ve read that the Jesuits want to raise $1 billion to atone in retrospect for the sale of slaves by Georgetown in 1838. The College Fix writes that the plan is to funnel monies into “communities” to repair the harms of the 1838 decision. In short, the Jesuits are participating in a racial shakedown. It will let them feel like fine fellows while they aggravate racial tension by bowing to the reparations hustle.

Today’s Jesuits had nothing to do with slavery. Neither did their forbears, most of them European poor. An email from an alumnus of Fordham College notes that the order is “playing on manufactured guilt by soliciting money from people who also had nothing to do with slavery, and then giving this money away to people who are several generation removed from it, having done nothing themselves to deserve it.”

Moral preening is a cheap, self-admiring capitulation to the very forces pulling us apart. Less and less do we envision ourselves—or aspire to be—one people. The racism of the anti-racists is in ascendance. The Jesuits want to ride a rising tide. But this one is apt to sink vocations even further.