Culture Archives

Christmas and Meaning.

One reflection here. For myself, I think a more succinct way to put it is, the meaning of Christmas is Easter and the Resurrection.

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    Random Ferguson Thoughts

    Mr Schraub has some silly things to say on the topic, some remarks on that include (below the fold ’cause it’s long): Read the rest of this entry

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      Fashion and the Comet Kerfuffle

      Ms Althouse has some interesting remarks regarding this kerfuffle (I’m going to assume those readers aren’t hiding under baskets and know the actual subject of this particular kerfuffle, which dealt with particular details on an engineer’s shirt during a press release after the successful landing of a satellite on a comet). Mr Reynolds (Instapundit) points that the landing on a comet by a satellite is more important than what a person wears and the “feminists” (or some feminists) were hijacking this event. Ms Althouse in an attempt to “be provocative” suggests:

      And I will be more provocative: In the broad span of human culture, fashion is more important than space travel.

      She is in some ways correct, in other ways not. I will return her provocative remark by noting that which is important about fashion, is exactly the same as what is important about “space travel” or landing on comets. What is important about fashion is man’s search for beauty. This is the central search in science, space travel, and much of engineering. The search for a beautiful solution is not far adrift from the cathedral (architectural beauty) or fashion (beatiful people/clothing). Beautiful clothes and in general the quest for beauty is precisely what was achieved in a different field (aerospace engineering) as what is sought (and I’d offer rarely found) on the fashion runway. Fashion is not “more important” than space travel. Landing spacecraft on comets is the height of fashion for those who don’t do color and form, but instead do maths.

      And I disagree that wearing that shirt is “an attack on feminism”. Feminism celebrates such displays, witness vagina displays, slut walks &c. I’ll also disagree with Ms Althouse that he intentionally “made a statement” by wearing that shirt. More likely, given the engineering culture, is that is was the top “button down” (read as ‘fancy’) shirt in his drawer or closet.

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        So you want to see some sermons?

        This coming Sunday, every Bible believing pastor, priest, and rabbi in the U.S. should preach on what the Bible has to say about homosexuality, and then send a copy of their sermon (anonymously) to the city of Houston.  #AnniseParker #Houston #PastorsSermons #BathroomBill

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          For those involved with college students, take a look at this promotional video about a campus outreach project run by a local Presbyterian church (and the students themselves!) near Cal Poly University, San Luis Obispo, California. It’s a coffeehouse which also serves as a study hall / gathering center where people can interact at all levels. My friend Keith Plummer has dubbed it “L’Abri-Like”. 

          #LAbri #outreach #evangelism #21stCentury

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            Deadbeat Dads

            Imagine if being a “Deadbeat Dad” received the same level of national publicity – and scorn – as, say, the publication of private conversations where one sport’s team owner made racist and homophobic statements? From Joe Carter’s article,

            Men who have the ability to provide financial support for their children but refuse to do so should be among the most shamed groups in America. Yet there isn’t much stigma attached to being a “deadbeat dad”—and in some communities there is no disgrace at all to being an absent father.

             

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              Free Speech Rights and Pro-Life Teenagers

              Last March, two pro-life female high school students, in a free-speech zone [sic] on the campus of UCSB, had their display board stolen right in front of them by an associate professor. They were then assaulted as they attempted to retrieve their property. In August, the professor was convicted and given a slap-on-the-wrist sentencing (imagine, if you will, the results if it had been a conservative professor assaulting two underage gay-rights protesters).

              You can see video of them following the professor at the following link. Note the sophomoric attempt at logic some of the university students hurl at the girls (e.g., “you don’t attend this college” or “you don’t pay to attend here”).

              Take off your cultural blinders… This is the thinking of the next gen.

              #prolife #freespeech #abortion

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                Shoving Us Down the Slope

                The liberal-leaning magazine, The New Republic, had an article recently in which it re-redefines marriage. Titled “It’s Time to Ditch Monogamy”, it tries to make the case that the idea of a single spouse is just so “outdated”, as they put it. Their arguments are:

                • We’re living longer, which can lead to boredom.
                • Young people are used to “varied and transient love affairs.”
                • Girls can be more independent now than they could 50 years ago.
                • And basically, after a while, we just can’t help ourselves over our urges to wander, so to speak.

                The only lip service Helen Croydon, the author, pays to the major responsibility of child rearing is to note that, hey, women can get artificially inseminated. Never mind that she’s encouraging the difficulty of single motherhood, reducing men to sperm donors, and ignoring the huge task of actually raising a child. No, it’s all just a technological hurdle to overcome.

                As I’ve said before, cross one line, and there’s always another line to cross, another cultural norm to overturn. Remember, it’s conservatives that look to tradition and experience to determine the best course of action, while liberals are, by their own definition, “progressive”; trying out new things and throwing off old ideas, because, in their mind, this new thing ought to work, based on whatever arguments they can come up with. Hey, we’re bored, we can’t help ourselves, so let’s chuck these ideas that have worked in the past and try some social experimenting that may or may not actually work better, but at least we’ll feel better about ourselves after we indulge ourselves.

                That is a recipe for a slippery slope, one that has been, rather easily, predicted by conservatives.

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                  The "Tolerance Police" Claim Their Next Victim

                  I mentioned the case of Brendan Eich a little while ago. He’s the genius that basically invented JavaScript, which web programmers are very familiar with and have been using since 1995. He co-founded Mozilla, the company that produces, among other things, the Firefox web browser. He was going to be the company’s CEO recently, until someone noticed he gave $1,000 to the Proposition 8 effort in California to keep marriage to mean one-man-one-woman. He was run out of the company for what I called a Thought Crime. He was eminently qualified to be the CEO of the company, but because he had the politically incorrect idea that marriage should mean what it’s meant for millennia, he was pressured to resign. There were no allegations that he had ever treated someone badly because of their sexual orientation, but he had, according to some, the wrong idea about marriage, and therefore he was unfit to be CEO of the technology company he helped create.

                  That’s what I want to stress here. In every other way, he was qualified for the job, but he had opinions that some disagreed with, and they created an atmosphere where Eich could not function in that job. That, ladies and gentlemen, is precisely what the word “intolerance” means. The irony is that those who created that atmosphere would very likely consider themselves the tolerant ones. The sad part is, they are unable to see intolerance in themselves because of the way they have redefined the word “intolerance” to mean “disagreeing with me”.

                  That was exhibit A. Exhibit B showed up a couple weeks ago when twin brothers Jason and David Benham were green-lit to host a new show on Home and Garden TV – HGTV – about fixing up dilapidated houses for families in need. Who in the world could be against that?

                  Well, in a radio interview, David Benham said this, and made some people mad.

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                    Thought Crimes

                    Charles C. W. Cooke calls it fascism. I think that may be a little overwrought, but there’s no escaping the reality that, if you think something politically incorrect these days, your job is in peril.

                    Another day, another witch hunt — this time in duplicate. “Twin brothers David and Jason Benham,” CNN reports, “have lost their opportunity to host their own HGTV show.” On Tuesday, the pair was gearing up for their new role; by sundown the next day, the network had announced tersely that it had “decided not to move forward with the Benham Brothers’ series.” And that, as they say, was that.

                    HGTV’s mind was allegedly changed by a post on the blog Right Wing Watch, where the duo was described as being “anti-gay” and “anti-choice.” That post, David Benham told Erin Burnett yesterday, “was too much for them to bear — they had to make a business decision.” How sad. Certainly, the Benhams hold some heterodox views. They are not merely opposed to abortion and gay marriage, but critical of divorce, adultery, Islam, pornography, “perversion,” the “demonic ideologies” that have crept into the nation’s “universities and . . . public school systems,” and the general culture of “activist” homosexuality, which, David contends, is inextricably tied up with a wider “agenda that is attacking the nation.” But so bloody what? They were tapped to host a home-improvement show, not rewrite the Constitution.

                    It matters not, however, to the "tolerant" Left, for whom that word now means "agrees with me". Redefining long-understood definitions seems to be their stock in trade, along with the word "marriage".

                    Future students of language will wonder at the period in our history in which it was said with a straight face that diversity required uniformity, tolerance necessitated intolerance, and liberalism called for dogma. Of late, we have been told that Brandeis University is simply too open-minded to hear from a critic of Islam, that Mozilla believes too vehemently in “freedom of speech” to refrain from punishing a man for his private views, and that a respect for the audience of a show about duck hunting demands that we suspend a man for expressing his religious views in an unrelated interview. “Never,” David Benham confirmed in an interview with CNN, “have I spoken against homosexuals, as individuals, and gone against them. I speak about an agenda.” Later, he added that “that’s really what the point of this is — that there is an agenda that is seeking to silence the voices of men and women of faith.” Say, now where might he have got hold of that idea?

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                      The (Cultural) Freedom of Speech

                      (This is part of the script of the latest episode of my podcast, “Consider This!”)

                      What is it that they say about conservatives? They’re haters, they’re whatever-phobes, they’re intolerant of people who are different than they are. Then what to make of this story.

                      Over 5 years ago, some guy – we’ll call him Bubba – gave $1000 to a political cause. He gave his personal money, not on behalf of anyone else. A bit of free political speech in action.

                      Fast forward to today, and Bubba was the target of a campaign to push him out of his job because someone found out about this contribution. Bubba gave in to the pressure, and resigned.

                      If Bubba had given money to the Sierra Club to save the whales, or to Planned Parenthood to provide free abortions, and this had happened to him, the Left in this country would be outraged. But because Bubba, whose real name is Brendan Eich, former CEO of Mozilla, gave to California’s Proposition 8, the effort to keep marriage between one man and one woman, the otherwise First-Amendment-loving Left are mum, as well as being the ones who did the pushing.

                      I have said it a number of times before, and I need to say it again. The Progressive element in this country is all about Constitutional rights, right up to the point when those rights are used against their pet political causes. Then the hate, intolerance, and phobias that they accuse others of come quickly to the surface. A clearer case of projection – accusing others of what you yourself harbor – is not easily found.

                      And consider this. At the time of his donation, Brendan felt the same way about the issue as President Obama, Vice President Biden, and, as it turned out, 60% of California voters. Five short years later, he’s being punished for it by the real Thought Police. There are no allegations that he mistreated, maligned, or otherwise caused harm to any homosexuals in his company. One’s views on this topic have no connection whatsoever with the business of Mozilla; most notably the Firefox web browser. This is completely, 100% a “thought crime”.

                      It’s the progressive Left that likes to proclaim that it is more tolerant, that is more free-thinking, right up to the point where you disagree with them. Beyond that point, they want to dictate what you can and can’t think, culturally if not legally, and sometimes even legally; just ask Hobby Lobby, or proprietors that don’t wish to participate in same-sex weddings. No, you must toe the line of the tolerant, free-thinkers. Is anyone noticing the irony here, where “mutual respect” only works one way?

                      “If you like your beliefs, you can keep your beliefs. To yourself. If you don’t, you can’t keep your job.”

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                        Wedding Cakes and Conscience

                        Is it un-Christian-like to refuse to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding? If so, isn’t it then hypocritical if the baker doesn’t look into every other wedding ceremony to see if any sin is being committed?

                        No, says Russel D. Moore. The two questions are completely different issues. The former defies the Biblical definition of marriage. He discusses the difference, complete with citations from the apostle Paul, in "On Weddings and Conscience: Are Christians Hypocrites?"

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                          Live By the CBO, Die By the CBO

                          Dana Milbank explains that the Congressional Budget Office issued glowing reports years ago about how ObamaCare was going to save money. The Obama administration trumpeted those findings far and wide. I noted at the time that the system was gamed because the administration knows the rules by which the CBO comes up with estimates, and wrote the bill to get the best looking numbers at the start. It wouldn’t matter that later estimates would be worse; it would have already been sold to the American people.

                          But now, things are looking much worse.

                          The congressional number-crunchers, perhaps the capital’s closest thing to a neutral referee, came out with a new report Tuesday, and it wasn’t pretty for Obamacare. The CBO predicted the law would have a “substantially larger” impact on the labor market than it had previously expected: The law would reduce the workforce in 2021 by the equivalent of 2.3 million full-time workers, well more than the 800,000 originally anticipated. This will inevitably be a drag on economic growth, as more people decide government handouts are more attractive than working more and paying higher taxes.

                          This is grim news for the White House and for Democrats on the ballot in November. This independent arbiter, long embraced by the White House, has validated a core complaint of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) critics: that it will discourage work and become an ungainly entitlement. Disputing Republicans’ charges is much easier than refuting the federal government’s official scorekeepers.

                          The President’s spokesman, Jay Carney, tried to spin it as people who would "spend more time with their family", or perhaps become entrepreneurs. The latter guess is just that; a guess trying to make it sound wonderful. The former is a euphemism for living off the dole because the benefits are better.

                          Carney noted that these were "personal choices", but he conveniently neglects to mention that they are personal choices spurred on by the government. People respond to incentives; that’s why things like tax deductions work the way they do. ObamaCare is pushing people to dependency.

                          The CBO numbers prove it.

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                            “Everyone Thought We Were A Bit Mad”

                            Meet Simon Fitzmaurice, an Irish filmmaker who chose life in the face of certain death:

                            Ruth Fitzmaurice watched as the consultant, a man they had never met before, entered the hospital room and made his way towards her husband’s bed.

                            Simon, a talented filmmaker and the father of three small boys, lay there with a tube going down his throat, pushing air into his lungs, allowing him to breathe but preventing him from being able to talk.

                            They listened as the medic spelled out in no uncertain terms what he expected them to do.

                            ‘He basically announced that this was the end of the road,’ explains Ruth. ‘That was it, they had done all they could – that he had phoned Simon’s own consultant in Beaumont Hospital who agreed that ventilation for Motor Neurone Disease (MND) is not advocated in Ireland.’

                            The consultant continued, telling Simon that it was now time for him to make ‘the hard choice’ – to agree to come off the ventilator.

                            But Simon was not going to give up that easily.

                            Despite the consultant’s stark and very clear recommendation, Simon refused to grant permission to take him off the machine that was keeping him alive.

                            ‘Simon’s family very much think for themselves, and Simon in particular is a very strong character,’ smiles Ruth. ‘He wouldn’t be fazed by being told what to do by a doctor, he would question things and say: “Hang on a second.”

                            ‘The consultant told us if he stayed on the ventilator that he wouldn’t get out of the hospital. With MND [a degenerative condition that destroys the cells that control voluntary muscles and can affect speaking, walking, breathing, swallowing and general movement] it’s like, “where do you think this is going? You’re only going to get worse. Why would you choose to ventilate?” So that’s when we decided to fight.’

                            Not only did they decide not to take Simon off the ventilator they went a step further by deciding to have more children (they already had three when they received his diagnosis). They ended up having twins.

                            ‘Everyone thought we were a bit mad,’ laughs Ruth. ‘But we felt in the face of death and with everything that had happened, well, kids are the ultimate opposite of all that, they’re life-affirming.’

                            But that’s not all. Simon also went on to finish a script that he had been working on for a movie he will direct starting next year.
                            Rather than accepting a death sentence, Simon has chosen to go on living life to the fullest possible. It’s a beautiful picture of what it truly means to choose life. Be sure to read his entire story.

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                              Are you on Twitter?

                              Are you a Twitter user? I am (you can follow me at @Daddypundit). Recently I wrote an essay on the pros and cons of the popular social media platform.

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