Saturday, August 31, 2019

Saturday Good Reads

The humanities are in deep trouble at American colleges and universities. Some colleges are eliminating them altogether. At other schools, what is called humanities looks less like humanities and more like what pundits call grievance studies. John Gray, a political philosopher and author, argues that the humanities can’t be saved, and it’s better for people to discover great works of world literature, history, and philosophy on their own. (His article is published at UnHerd, which is an interesting site to investigate – it’s neither left nor right, liberal nor conservative, and one of its staff is Giles Fraser, an Anglican priest who used to write for The Guardian.)

Apostasy has been in the news; two recent announcements from well-known Christians have been reported, dissected, disparaged, or celebrated (their announcements were staged on Instagram with thoughtful illustrations; even apostasy is 21stcentury culture is performance art). Erik Raymond at The Gospel Coalition considers apostasy, and then describes what apostates don’t say.

An inconvenient truth: While The New York Times is busily reframing American history and developing a school curriculum about the “real” story, Susan Parker at the St. Augustine Record points out that slavery existed in America (Florida, to be specific) half a century before 1619. That complicates matters, for all kinds of reasons.

Speaking of American history, Wilfred McClay of the University of Oklahoma went totally countercultural and published a history textbook called Land of Hope: An Invitation to the Great American Story(think about a title about American history today that includes the words “hope” and “great;” the mind boggles). McClay believes there is wisdom to be discovered in American history. My mind is still boggling. 

And then there's NBC, giving The New York Times a good run in the race to see who can dump journalistic standards the fastest. NBC discovered Falun Gong, and convinced Facebook to remove ads from the Falun Gong-linked Epoch Times. I remember the days when NBC had anchors like Chet Huntley and David Brinkley, John Chancellor, and Tom Brokaw, and actually reported the news.

More Good Reads


Waiting – Zak Schmoll at Entering the Public Square.

Life and Culture

How to Delegitimatize a Nation – Rod Dreher at The American Conservative.

The Beehive Plan – Brad Kik at Front Porch Republic.

Campus conservatives aren't under siege — but there's more to the story – Matthew Woessner & Robert Maranto at NBC News Think.

The Nones: Education without Divinity or Selfhood – R.J. Snell at Public Discourse.

American Stuff

Did Frederick Douglass Influence “The Blind Memorandum”? – Sarah Kay Bierle at Emerging Civil War.

Five Great Books on Thomas Jefferson – Thomas Kidd at The Gospel Coalition.

British Stuff

Decline & fall in a Welsh town – Anthony Daniels at The New Criterion.

Forerunners of the Crystal Palace – Judith Taylor at English Historical Fiction Authors.


Three Poems – David Barber at The John Hopkins Review.

Listening to “Burnt Norton” – Dwight Longenecker at The Imaginative Conservative.

Silence and Song – A.F. Moritz at Literary Matters.

Writing and Literature

Going on Pilgrimage with Mark Twain: “The Innocents Abroad” – Michael De Sapio at The Imaginative Conservative.

Apr├Ęs Visuals and Timelapse Reel 

Painting: Portrait of a Woman Reading a Book on a Sofa, oil on canvas by Louise Williams Jackson (1872-1939)

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