Saturday, April 29, 2006


This report on the grotesque economic boom in Dubai shows that the globalizing, capitalistic answer to the problem of modernization in the Arab world is more or less as inhuman as the fundamentalist solution. In a way, the two are complementary and represent two sides of the same cultural breakdown.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Filling a vacuum

This article on Sen. John Allen of Virginia is more interesting from an anthropological than from a political point of view. Many of us have met that unique American phenomenon: the fake hillbilly. That means someone who grew up in the suburbs around Los Angeles and, in order to find some kind of meaningful identity, in his teenage years embraced the romantic mith of rural America, and especially of the Old South, to the point of sincerely thinking of himself as a Good Old Boy from Virginia. That includes dreaming about the glories of the Confederacy, chewing tobacco, wearing cowboy boots, developing a Southern drawl, embracing a certain brand of red-state republicanism etc. It is obviously a genuine expression of the Religious Sense.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Redesigning the Intelligent Design

What's going on with the Intelligent Design movement? After a federal judge in December stopped Intelligent Design from being taught in a Pennsylvania school district, the Seattle think tank that promotes the challenge to Darwinism is struggling.

The Judas Code?

A lot of people out there have a dream: To become the next Dan Brown. Maybe all the buzz around the Gospel of Judas can help them...

Saturday, April 22, 2006


An obituary for Muriel Sparks.


This summary of the European situation is unfortunately accurate.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Ideological folly

According to these analyses in the Daily Telegraph and the New Republic, the odds of Iran starting a world war are extremely serious.

Saturday, April 15, 2006


This article on the contemporary dance scene in New York is somewhat interesting because it points to a simple fact: contrary to all romantic notions, art is not a spontaneous, self-supporting enterprise that springs eternal from the genius of the artist. Instead, art reflects the depth of a civilization and the education of a people. If people are not educated, art will wither away, regardless of all the hype in the New York Times.

Getting worse

More attacks on Christians in Egypt.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


If this ends up in the New Republic it may be a sign of something.

Elections in Italy

The Times gives a fairly correct assessment of the Italian political situation.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Promising young man

Ross Douthat is one of the more intelligent young observers of the US political scene.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Big yawn

Philip Jenkins discusses why the Gospel of Judas does not tell us anything new about early Cristianity. It does say something about the agenda of its promoters...

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Old heresies...

A new gnostic apocriphal gospel that was condemned by St. Ireneus has been found. The NYTimes is all excited for the usual silly reasons...

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Good sign

This lead article in American Educator is excellent. It talks about teaching to read, but what it is really about is the Deweyan ideology that has devastated American education since the 1920's. It forcefully makes the astonishing point that education is about transmitting knowledge. And that you cannot learn any method ("skills") separate for facing some object ("content"). The whole issue of the magazine is about teachers who discovered that kids like to be introduced to reality ("gain knowledge") as opposed to be taught tricks like circus dogs ("developing strategies"). If this points to a larger shift in the educational establishment, it would be one of the best things that happened to this country in a long time.