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12 June 2006  

3…2…1…Relaunch!

Goliard blogging finally has a new home! The new blog is being launched at blog.goliard.us, and as soon as all the furniture is moved in and the paint is dry, your humble blog goliard should be back in action. I'm excited; and I've been away long enough that I should have plenty to say.

posted by The Goliard |  Link  | 


12 February 2004  

ZZZZZZZZZ

Hello?…Hello?…Anyone out there?… Yup, this blog is still pretty dormant. Yup, I really should polish some of the stuff I have been writing in my free time and post it here; I'll get right on that once I've knocked out the 5,362 things above it on my to-do list. And, no, I do not intend to publish my innermost thoughts on this year's Presidential race, because it's getting me just too darned mad to talk about it rationally much of the time. (Is Democratic W-hating starting to breed anger in any of you, or am I the only one who's getting more enraged and frustrated with every week that goes by?)

posted by The Goliard |  Link  | 


10 December 2003  

ONLINE TIME-KILLER DEPT.

Testing…testing… As is the case from time to time, your humble oft-absent Goliard got sucked into taking an online quiz instead of buckling down to the overwhleming pile of work at hand. I blame the good folks at Southern Appeal for referring me to this "Brain Usage Profile". Those who know me will be unsurprised that its primary conclusion seemed to be that I am using my brain just a bit too much. Okay, maybe that's not exactly what it says…here's the actual output:

Your Brain Usage Profile

Auditory : 17%
Visual : 82%
Left : 47%
Right : 52%

You exhibit balanced hemispheric dominance and a strong visual preference. It is the intensity of your sensory preference which may more determine your learning style.

The balance of left- and right-hemisphere usage is very helpful to a highly visual learner. You absorb your environment, selecting out details and simultaneously embedding them in a context, an overall perspective which adds nuances of meaning. Given the prodigious rate that you input information, you naturally utilize the services of both hemispheres more or less equally.

You are active and searching, which produces energy. Because you can process multiple inputs comfortably, you do not experience the indecision of a person with mixed sensory preference. You are able to focus on more than one aspect of a situation and push for resolution.

You can tolerate ambiguity, which is good, since you will experience a lot of it due to your input style. While a part of you will always seek completion, the other part will accept the process as it is. You may occasionally get impatient with yourself. You will always be able to work through problems in a logical sequence or given order, but you will have other options available to you as well.

You may find that you have insufficient time to reflect on your experiences and thus lose a sense of meaning, not appreciating your "inner being" as much as you might otherwise.

Many people would envy your combination of characteristics. Constantly seeking stimulation, you are artistic without needing to be "odd," an active learner and yet reasonably logical and disciplined.

Not bad at all. I especially liked the "artistic without needing to be 'odd'" remark—flattering (at least to my way of thinking), unexpected, and pretty on-target. (Though you'd think, being such a strongly-visual "artistic" sort, I would be able to successfully draw something more sophisticated than stick-figures…)

posted by The Goliard |  Link  | 


19 October 2003  

SEXUALITY

"Shut up," he explained. I was able to guess from the title of A.N. Wilson's editorial in the Telegraph today, "I'd be sad to see my Church sundered by so small a thing", what it was about and its take on the Anglican situation…what I couldn't guess was that bacon sandwiches would be involved.

Before getting around to the sandwiches, the piece repeats some scurrilous gossip about Paul VI having a longtime (male) lover, and expresses a devout wish that the gossip is true. Apologize! Apologize! A.N. Wilson must apologize or be fired! Whoops, I got confused and thought I was a member of an Approved Oppressed Group there. Sorry.

Anyhow, back to the bacon-laced graf in question:

There are certain things you try not to do, if you are religious, because they are forbidden rather than because you believe them to be morally wrong. No Jew thinks it is sinful to eat a bacon sandwich, though many Jews believe it is forbidden by covenant. It is sinful to commit a murder or to grind the faces of the poor. Sexual conduct is surely on the same level of seriousness as eating a bacon sandwich, and we might have hoped that nowadays, given the diversity of human life, the Church would have chosen to shut up about sex. It looks as if their failure to do so is about to be their undoing. But it would be foolish to think that this is a uniquely Anglican phenomenon.

So sex means next to nothing, and the Church should just "shut up about" it. (I loved the way he threw in the word "surely", too, just to quash any doubts we might have had about the statement being self-evidently true.) Hmmph. I liked Eve Tushnet's rejoinder to this line of argument on her blog:

Treating sex casually trivializes it. It drains the meaning from one of the most meaningful areas of life. We want sex because it's important—it gets all tangled up with our emotions, hopes, and best desires. But in order to get all the sex we want, "free love" types must pretend sex is unimportant. It's just something you do; why should you save it for the one you love? In many ways, it was rejecting that view of sex-as-candy that led me to investigate the Catholic faith. And I rejected the "free love" view partly because of literature—can anybody really be an English major and still believe sex is just a human activity with no deeper meaning?—and partly because my whole life, my fears, alienation, desires, ideals, made no sense if sex was just play.

Just so. What this writer is curious to know is whether the calls for Christianity to "shut up" about sex—and worse, the viciousness directed at "dinosaurs" like the Pope who articulate a different view—is just an example of the Left's typical intolerance of those who dare to think differently, or whether something deeper lies behind it.

posted by The Goliard |  Link  | 


15 August 2003  

MEDIA

Okay, enough of maintaining radio silence. Time for this prodigal Goliard to start blogging again, now and then. I'll be shooting for weekly updates, taking a page from the Amy Welborn Manual for Recovering Bloggers.

News blackout. This comfortably air-conditioned Georgian has no problem with an abundance of coverage of the power outage. It is a big story. It is an interesting story. And the helicopter shots of a dark Manhattan were great television.

However (you knew one of those was coming, didn't you), there is still such a thing as too much. Too many hours of network and cable time turned over to the story, with too little new information to report. Just blather blather blather, on and on and on, about the same facts we knew an hour and two hours ago, while running the same footage we've seen twenty times already.

And it would also help a whole lot, on the cable nets, to take a time out every now and then, just a few minutes here and there to acknowledge that there is a world outside the New York metroplex, and that news continues to happen there, and so here are a few of the most important stories.

On the other other hand, don't the complainers realize what the blackout coverage, whatever its flaws, is saving us from? I haven't heard about either Laci Peterson or Kobe Bryant for almost two days now. I'll happily sit through somebody on MSNBC giving me a street-by-street rundown of who has power in Manhattan and who doesn't, for three straight hours every day, if only we can keep the no-junk streak going.

posted by The Goliard |  Link  | 


08 May 2003  

POLITICS

Ding ding ding ding ding ding ding. That is the sound of the Something Finally Makes Sense Bell, which was set off by Jonah Goldberg's remark in The Corner that:

Being wrong about gambling—if he is wrong—doesn't make Bennett a fraud, it makes him wrong. But for some reason this culture has a real problem saying people are wrong, but thinks it's easy to call people hypocrites. Worse, our culture thinks it's worse to be a hypocrite than to be wrong.

Yes…that is what is so loathsome about the whole Bennett affair. Goldberg's remark caused the following to fall into place for me:

1) The people taking such delight in bashing Bennett are folks who no longer believe in the "simplistic conception" of right and wrong.

2) As with any other cherished idea of the Left, they are determined to enforce this point of view on everyone else.

3) The new mortal sin of hypocrisy has been erected towards this end. It serves two purposes: to demonstrate the ultimate futility of trying to define and enforce any moral standards (as the "fact" that everyone is a hypocrite demonstrates that no one ever successfully lives up to such standards), and to silence anyone who tries to advocate outdated notions of right and wrong.

4) Since this weapon only exists for the purpose of destroying non-Leftists, the bien-pensant crowd has nothing to fear from it. Subscribe to their ideology, abandon the outdated notions of right and wrong (except, of course, for the core principle that the Left is right and good and its opponents are wrong and evil), and you will forever be immune from the charge of hypocrisy. (Which is why Bill Clinton was never a hypocrite.) Indeed, offer any criticism at all of the behavior of a right-thinking person and you will be denounced as one of those troglodytes who believes in right and wrong.

5) It is always open season on wrong-thinking persons, however. Not that the Left would dare moralize against behavior such as gambling directly; that would play into their enemies' hands. So they drag out the charge of hypocrisy instead, so they can bash the person and his behavior without having to argue that any of the behavior was actually wrong. Indeed, with this latest case, they have transcended the need even to connect the behavior to anything their target has publicly opposed. Bill Bennett believes in right and wrong and is willing to say so in public. He engaged in an activity which he personally has no quarrel with and has not publicly opposed…but one which his critics on the Left believe that anyone who is a "moralizer" should oppose—not that they're willing to say there's anything wrong with it either—and which therefore he is a moralizing opponent of by proxy. Therefore he is a hypocrite and the wrongness and futility of his belief in right and wrong is exposed.

Q.E.D.

posted by The Goliard |  Link  | 


29 April 2003  

POLITICS

Dont'cha miss Clinton-bashing? In the inimitable Corner today, Jonah Goldberg noted:

…I remember shortly after Bush came into office, a shocking number of liberal C-Span callers believed the economy slowed down because Bush didn't have a "plan" for the economy as Clinton did. "Clinton focused on the economy! Bush doesn't care about the economy!"...

What's so amusing about this is the confluence of ignorances…the idea that if the president keeps his hands on the wheel of the economy and doesn't get distracted it will go where he wants it to go…

Those C-SPAN callers were pretty typical not just of liberals but of swing voters who stayed with Clinton in 1996 and even thereafter.

I remember hearing from many of them that they approved of the job Clinton was doing "running the economy". They seemed to have this mental image of a control room somewhere in the White House with all sorts of dials and levers and buttons and flashing lights, and a sign on the door reading "Economy". When Clinton talked (as he so frequently did) about how hard he was working for the American people, they imagined him in that room, at the controls, burning the midnight oil, keeping the economy humming.

(As a corollary, this was just part of how Clinton successfully made "working hard" into an all-purpose excuse for his sins. He was working so very, very hard for us, he kept saying…and since this is something Americans worship—sometimes rightfully so, sometimes not—and since the country would presumably drift off course and slam into an iceberg if he weren't at the controls 18 hours a day, well it just made sense that Ken Starr ought to leave the big lug alone. It didn't seem to occur to folks to ask just what it was the President was accomplishing with all his hard work. Lots of people work hard with futile or counterproductive results. Not a few have been known to work hard for evil causes.)

posted by The Goliard |  Link  |