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Tag Archives: G.K. Chesterton


Links of Possible Relevance, Part 21

I get super irritated below.

Periscope
F*ck you, Periscope. I’m not creating a Twitter account just to access you.

A shameless scalzification
No one who Tweets out the phrase entirely unsubtly should be anywhere near G.K. Chesterton.

Goodreads Blog Post: If Belle Were on Goodreads, She’d Probably Act a Lot Like Emma Watson
No. Please, no, she wouldn’t. What is it about activists and their need to retrofit unrelated narratives into their fold?

A statue of a defiant girl now faces the Wall Street bull
Eventually, some people are just going to have to admit they worship females qua females.

The Action Girl Mandate, or Why All the Princesses Know Kung Fu
This is everywhere. Everywhere. I had to consciously, deliberately cut back on Elisabeth’s character when I wrote PBS. Also, LOL.

British University Bans All “Politically Incorrect” Words: Here’s The List…
Via Jill. Good thing “Go f*ck yourselves” isn’t on there, because I can imagine the more sane students at Cardiff Metro using that as a response.

Revocation is Going to Be in the New Power Rangers Movie
It still weirds me out when metal bands make it into mainstream news/media.

Android challenges Windows as world’s most popular operating system in terms of internet usage

Coffee with Scott Adams #2
Not bad, but he just describing what people do during life. Life is a “thing,” and things just are, with no meaning. What’s the “meaning” of a ham sandwich? There’s no objective “meaning” of life, since “meaning” depends on perspective. It’s more likely that life has a “purpose,” but even that differs from person to person.

Why I Despise ‘Science Says’ Articles
Also here.

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The Christian Case for Santa Claus

Yes, it’s fine, in this modern day, if you want to emphasize the St. Nicholas version of Santa Claus. It’s also a fine thing if you want to play up the Sunblom version of Santa Claus as well. I don’t find rejecting either one as particularly bad, but what I object to is rejection of Santa Claus’ materialism of excess for the sake of the materialism of scientism: that he doesn’t exist because of certain universal physical laws that we know to be true.

Fairy-tales aren’t valued because of their truthfulness but in their value as a vehicle for truth-illustration. Denounce Santa as a symptom of Keynesian easy credit and the Industrial Revolution all you’d like, but don’t denounce him because he’s not real. Of course he isn’t real, yet it does children no good to reject him just because he’s impossible. It just so happens in this universe that Santa Claus is not particular to us—Santa Claus is, truthfully, not impossible because God is not impossible.

Below is a quote from G.K. Chesterton’s “The Other Stocking,” stolen from here.

What has happened to me has been the very reverse of what appears to be the experience of most of my friends. Instead of dwindling to a point, Santa Claus has grown larger and larger in my life until he fills almost the whole of it. It happened in this way.

As a child I was faced with a phenomenon requiring explanation. I hung up at the end of my bed an empty stocking, which in the morning became a full stocking. I had done nothing to produce the things that filled it. I had not worked for them, or made them or helped to make them. I had not even been good–far from it.

And the explanation was that a certain being whom people called Santa Claus was benevolently disposed toward me. What we believed was that a certain benevolent agency did give us those toys for nothing. And, as I say, I believe it still.

I have merely extended the idea.

Then I only wondered who put the toys in the stocking; now I wonder who put the stocking by the bed, and the bed in the room, and the room in the house, and the house on the planet, and the great planet in the void.

Once I only thanked Santa Claus for a few dolls and crackers, now, I thank him for stars and street faces and wine and the great sea.

Once I thought it delightful and astonishing to find a present so big that it only went halfway into the stocking. Now I am delighted and astonished every morning to find a present so big that it takes two stockings to hold it, and then leaves a great deal outside; it is the large and preposterous present of myself, as to the origin of which I can offer no suggestion except that Santa Claus gave it to me in a fit of peculiarly fantastic goodwill.

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The Paradox of Obedience

Jill’s post about the simpy interpretation of this survey of the hierarchy of values among religious people gave me agita—not anything Jill said but the fact that a self-styled smartypants can’t process the inapplication of the simplicity of surveys*. This is a roundabout way of saying people and their belief systems are too complex for a set of numbers and single words. People are shifting latticeworks, not straight lines going up or down.

I made comments on her post but the agita still festered. I think I may know why. It has something to do with the idea that everyone, everywhere exhibits obedience to something. Saying that people are obedient is as helpful as saying people eat. The questions remains: what do people eat? Or in the survey’s case: to what are people obedient to, and to what degree, and within what context?

Then came this, and I don’t trust a damned survey to provide a proper context. Obedience, obviously towards God, should in reality probably be the highest ideal for Christians, if we are going to bother talking of ideals in this way. This is especially true if we’re being honest about the type of being God is illustrated in scripture: a being characterized as an eastern-styled monarch, something of a warrior-king. We in the west think of a king as a president with fancy clothes and an accent, when in actuality the tribal king was someone unto whom complete, unwavering, unquestioning devotion was rendered. Thy word is law. It was recognized as such a relationship—equally, symmetrically—on both sides, an important element missing in liberal ruled vs. ruler dichotomies. Both parties willfully entered into the covenant, none of this Rawlsian social contract garbage that people use to justify tyranny.

So with this in mind, if we’re viewing God properly, a paradox worthy of a Chestertonian phrasal turnabout emerges. Obedience necessarily involves disobedience, disobedience to other agents, powers, authorities, inclinations, paradigms, frameworks—even religious ones. The more absolute the obedience the greater the potential disobedience to everything else that could warrant such a similar devotion. The most singularly obedient person could be the most disobedient person one could know.

EDIT
Timeliness: the sermon at my church this past Sunday dealt with obedience. See the video here.

EDIT 2
More timeliness: Ed has additional relevant thoughts here. He even used the same Galatians 2 passage from the sermon video. Dig it, dig it.

*”Obedience, in many ways, goes against curiosity and creativity,” the article says. How in the world this is logically necessary is not explained, except by implication that “curiosity” and “creativity” are synonymous with disobedience, which is categorically false. I’m not surprised since modern atheism suffers from a crippling case of logical positivism than it can’t even get to any particular fallacies.

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G.K. Chesterton on Hanging Politicians

gk_chesterton_politiciansI made this image and posted it recently on FaceTwitter. The family and I went out to eat at Burgatory and the Inauguration Orgy was on all six of the TVs that I was facing. It annoyed me (and the wife) but we were at least able to eat.

I tried looking for the entire article that contained this quote to give it some context, but it seems that it’s lost to antiquity. It’s a rather profane quote, yet Chesterton didn’t officially become a Catholic (and a Christian, I presume) until a year after this was published. He could wield hyperbole like a rapier, so something tells me he would still hold the sentiment after getting himself right with the Big Guy.

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G.K. Chesterton on Fairy Tales

A panda, possibly post-coitus.

A panda, possibly post-coitus.

From Tremendous Trifles (Kindle version is free).

I thought I would have a dingdong of a time finding this excerpt, because all of those quote sites (or sites with quote collections on them…looking at you, Goodreads) only have two or three sentences at the most. That’s fine if you’re one of those people who put inspirational quotes on photos of pandas having sex time or whatever. But to experience more complex thoughts you have to dig, and thankfully I didn’t need to slap Google too hard to get this.

I lost the link to where I found this, but I didn’t steal this from another blog so no one will care (but go here and here and here for that).

I find that there really are human beings who think fairy tales bad for children. I do not speak of the man in the green tie, for him I can never count truly human. But a lady has written me an earnest letter saying that fairy tales ought not to be taught to children even if they are true. She says that it is cruel to tell children fairy tales, because it frightens them. You might just as well say that it is cruel to give girls sentimental novels because it makes them cry. All this kind of talk is based on that complete forgetting of what a child is like which has been the firm foundation of so many educational schemes. If you keep bogies and goblins away from children they would make them up for themselves. One small child in the dark can invent more hells than Swedenborg. One small child can imagine monsters too big and black to get into any picture, and give them names too unearthly and cacophonous to have occurred in the cries of any lunatic. The child, to begin with, commonly likes horrors, and he continues to indulge in them even when he does not like them. There is just as much difficulty in saying exactly where pure pain begins in his case, as there is in ours when we walk of our own free will into the torture-chamber of a great tragedy. The fear does not come from fairy tales; the fear comes from the universe of the soul.

The timidity of the child or the savage is entirely reasonable; they are alarmed at this world, because this world is a very alarming place. They dislike being alone because it is verily and indeed an awful idea to be alone. Barbarians fear the unknown for the same reason that Agnostics worship it– because it is a fact. Fairy tales, then, are not responsible for producing in children fear, or any of the shapes of fear; fairy tales do not give the child the idea of the evil or the ugly; that is in the child already, because it is in the world already. Fairy tales do not give the child his first idea of bogey. What fairy tales give the child is his first clear idea of the possible defeat of bogey. The baby has known the dragon intimately ever since he had an imagination. What the fairy tale provides for him is a St. George to kill the dragon.

Panda photo by vpickering.

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A Compendium of Smoking Writers, Part Four or Five or Around There

I’m due for another one of these, and I kind of miss blatantly stealing images of beauty without attribution, from bloggers and websites that did the same (I did steal some of them from The Gentleman). Of note are the reprisals of Chesterton, looking as crabby as ever, and Alan Moore with his life-long imitation of a backwoods serial killer.

There are also two of Faulkner as he and his mustache enjoy a sound piping.

Not pictured below is the knock-down internal debate I had over Hugh Heffner’s status as an actual writer or merely a potboiling smut peddler that got a lucky break.

W. Somerset Maughm:
W. Somerset Maughm Smoking

Uwe Johnson. I feel like buying an analog watch just so I can set time to his haircut:
Uwe Johnson Smoking

Mark Twain:
Mark Twain Smoking

J.R.R. Tolkein:
J.R.R. Tolkein Smoking

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry:
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Smoking

Steve Martin (he counts):
Steve Martin Smoking

P.J. O’Rourke:
P.J. O'Rourke Smoking

Ian Fleming:
Ian Fleming Smoking

Goran Simić:
Goran Simić Smoking

William Faulkner:
William Faulkner Smoking

William Faulkner Smoking

Dylan Thomas:
Dylan Thomas Smoking

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle:
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Smoking

G.K. Chesterton:
G.K. Chesterton Smoking

Bob Monkhouse:
Bob Monkhouse Smoking

Bertrand Russell:
Bertrand Russell Smoking

Alan Moore:
Alan Moore Smoking

Hunter S. Thompson:
Hunter S. Thompson Smoking

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Annual “Click All My Amazon Affiliate Links” Post, 2011 Version

2011 was a mostly-arbitrary division of time just like any other, but things happened within that duration in my life that are worth noting. My son got borned in August and I got canned from Noisecreep in the Great AOL/HuffPurge. On the literary side I released Bored in the Breakroom as a free e-book (rave reviews on amazon!) and the short story A Native’s Story real-book.

And in the interest of being an amazon.com affiliate, here are some links to favorite books I read during the year and albums that were released. I won’t deceive you like other bloggers and their multi-post hoo-haa year end link projectile vomiting: this is purely for amazon click-throughs, and because I need a quick break from Retardo Montalbán.

Behold…then pour cheap midnight wine into your bloodstream in celebration of a mechanical ball succumbing to gravity.

Books:
The Complete Collection – H.P. Lovecraft
Halo: First Strike – Eric Nylund
All Quiet on the Western Front – Erich Maria Remarque
Bradbury Stories: 100 of His Most Celebrated Tales – Ray Bradbury
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns – Frank Miller, Klaus Janson, Lynn Varley
Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451: The Authorized Adaptation – Ray Bradbury, Tim Hamilton
2001: A Space Odyssey – Arthur C. Clarke
2010: Odyssey Two – Arthur C. Clarke
The Man Who Was Thursday – G.K. Chesterton
Franz Kafka: The Complete Stories – Franz Kafka

Music:
10. Animals as Leaders – Weightless
09. Death – The Sound of Perseverance reissue
08. Deadlock – Bizarro World
07. Demon Hunter – Death: A Destination
06. Death – Individual Thought Patterns reissue
05. iwrestledabearonce – Ruining It For Everybody
04. Death – Human reissue
03. Born of Osiris – The Discovery
02. Life On Repeat – Struggle & Sleep
01. Life In Your Way – Kingdoms (download for free)

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Book Review: The Man Who Was Thursday

book-review-the-man-who-was-thursdayChesterton’s The Man Who Was Thursday is a mystery novel about a poet and secret agent, Gabriel Syme, and his mission to infiltrate an inner circle of anarchists in early 20th century London. He first meets Lucian Gregory, a fellow poet and one of the anarchists, and through some verbal sparring he goads Gregory into willingly taking him to one of hideouts where the anarchists meet. After further investigations Syme learns that the anarchists aren’t what he previously thought.

G.K. Chesterton’s more well-known works are quasi-theological in nature (The Everlasting Man, Orthodoxy), but like the Father Brown Mysteries he deftly weaves morality and spirituality into the story so that the ultimate meaning of the book is more fable than fictional. He is primary a commentator on Christianity and modern (in his time) moral sensibilities, then during his later years, his experience with Catholicism within the environment of a very Anglican Britain. It helps to think of Thursday in this context, and not as just a mystery novel with philosophy bolted on as an ideological MacGuffin or a literary afterthought.

Thursday was written very early in the 20th century but the plot plays out with fascinating action film-like pace. Chesterton’s England is rife with peril yet exudes surreality, not quite the horrific — villains’ features are exaggerated but not deformed, the shifting environments serve as an off-tinted backdrop for the hints of steampunk mechanics and fashion, and the dangers Syme constantly stumbles into slant into the comedic. Despite Thursday’s highly didactic nature, Chesterton’s renowned topsy-turvy wordplay and descriptive chase scenes make this book a perfect candidate for motion picture treatment.

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A Compendium of Black & White Photos of Some of My Favorite Writers While Smoking

Umberto Eco:
umberto-eco-photo

Sinclair Lewis:
sinclair-lewis-photo

Malcolm Muggeridge:
malcolm-muggeridge-photo

Kurt Vonnegut:
kurt-vonnegut-photo

J.R.R. Tolkein:
jrr-tolkein-photo

John Steinbeck:
john-steinbeck-photo

J.D. Salinger:
jd-salinger-photo

G.K. Chesterton:
gk-chesterton-photo

George Orwell:
george-orwell-photo

F. Scott Fitzgerald:
f-scott-fitzgerald-photo

David Eddings:
david-eddings-photo

C.S. Lewis:
cs-lewis-photo

Alan Moore:
alan-moore-photo

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It’s Thanksgiving Time and You’re Kicking Me

With a nod to its rural heritage, America recently resurrected a lost hour, so now the days are brighter earlier and much colder. The bike ride to the bus stop is actually less terrible in the these months because the only motivation heat doesn’t kill is the desire to smash your nose into ice cream. With cold there is life in droves.

I’ve been involved deep deep deep in some super secret web-based project which may or may not turn out to be anything more than ashes flying across your nose, but I’m hoping it will be more substantial (two mentions of the nose in one post?…ugh). If it turns out to be the former, you will hear nothing of it; the latter, you may still hear nothing of it. The tea leaves are silent at this point.

On to something more topically appropriate, I was reading The Man Who Was Thursday, a partially steampunked detective and morality story by Chesterton, but it was interrupted by the arrival of The Moviegoer, by a writer (Percy) who is kind of like Plath without the simmering angst. I want to throw the two books into a closed bread box together to see which one wins (they are evenly matched in girth and readability), but Schrödinger’s spirit was unavailable for consultation.

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