Saturday, June 30, 2007

Weekend Geography Quiz

What volcanic and earthquake prone island is this?
The island is a treasure trove of ancient architecture, including this spectacular Buddhist monument built between 750-850 A.D. It is considered to be one of the seven wonders of the world:
In the vicinity of the famous Buddhist monument in the center of this island is the following stunning Hindu monument built in 850. The whole area is dotted with notable Buddhist and Hindu temples:

The island has volcanoes, beaches, the spectacular monuments pictured above, and the following huge capital city:
What exotic island is this?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

A Life Richer With Poetry

Good poetry used to be a staple of education, but today much great poetry has fallen by the wayside. Beautiful and memorable poetry has been replaced by mediocre multiculturalism and shallow avant-garde pop. Anthologies used in public schools carefully count how many minorities from every conceivable ethnic group are represented in the name of diversity--instead of the quality--of the poetry. Many great poets are sadly ignored.

Thus, students are much more likely to recognize
Nikki Giovanni than Rupert Brooke, and this is a shame for Western Civilization. In addition, because of the emphasis on those who "question the assumptions" of Western Civilization (they really should be studying our heritage and questioning what has made our society so successful--while questioning the motives of those who "question the assumptions" of our heritage), they include avant-garde, minority power, and beat poets that are simply mediocre and who are memorable for their image rather than their talent. So even with an emphasis on diversity, minorities that celebrate Western Civilization, such as the excellent Countee Cullee, whose model was John Keats, are ignored. They may have extraordinary talent but not the "socially correct" attitudes in the pop consumer mold that embodies "progressive" education.

This can have a disastrous effect on certain students, both ignorant of our grand heritage and more captivated by
pop, avant-garde image than substance and talent. They are convinced that free verse and exchanging "you" for "u" is hip and copping an image is everything. The results are predictably shallow and juvenile. But, look, I'm acting like a beat poet! Only problem: Take away the image and there is no substance or talent apparent.

An exceptional alternative to the the politically correct textbooks that will give anyone interested, including students, a sampling of great and inspiring poetry: Poetry of Youth, edited by Edwin Markham. It is described in the Atkinson-Ravitch Sampler of Classic Literature:

"In its seriousness of purpose and the quality of its selections, perhaps no better anthology ever existed for middle and high school students. Regrettably, the book is no longer in print, but copies are obtainable through libraries and secondhand bookshops. The contemporary selections stop with the mid-1930s, but this range of poetry reflects over three centuries of literary heritage. Poems are categorized in terms that youths can understand, and each selection is introduced with just enough explanation so that students can connect with the work as they begin to read. This anthology deserves to be reprinted--and sought out by teachers and parents."

Regrettably, it has become hard to find because The Language Police, in which The Atkinson-Ravitch Sampler of Classic Literature was found, was a bestseller and many people have already tried to find the book. It definitely should be reprinted.

Poetry should also be memorized.
Marva Collins, the pro-academic education theorist and traditionalist who is refreshing in a era of theorists who distrust academic matter and our heritage, made memorizing poems part of her curriculum. Her autobiography and educational theory is in the inspiring Marva Collins' Way: Returning to Excellence in Education. She states:

"When I started at Delano I was impressed by the principal, an older German man, a classical scholar who read the Iliad to students during lunchtime. He had faculty workshops where he recited Donne, Yeats, and Byron, stopping in the middle of a poem to ask his teachers to supply the next line. When they couldn't, he waved his hand with disgust and said, 'Some of you aren't worth a Sam Hill.' I learned a lot from him, and I began teaching poetry and classical literature to my students. Above all the principal taught me that a good teacher is one who continues to learn along with the students."

Liberals, who wilt like daisies at the mention of "classical literature," reciting poetry, and memorizing anything, would no doubt call both of them "reactionary."

Marva Collins instructs her students, "Now you've got it. Every scholar, every writer, every thinker learned from those who came before." That is exactly what liberals do not want students to know, hence why they attempt to replace academic matter, traditional subjects, and learning techniques with "progressive" methods that deemphasize our heritage. Tradition is the enemy, and they replace it with a new utopian multicultural and dumbed down curriculum with a modernist focus. Students attempt to learn to discover for themselves--the "progressive" jargon is "discovery learning"--but this type of learning, while fine in some ways, is almost impossible to be successful at without having a core basis of knowledge of the past.

The best way to know poetry is to find a good anthology like Poetry for Youth. Another one that includes selections of literature is Diane and Michael Ravitch's new The English Reader: What Every Literate Person Needs to Know. Memorize and closely analyze selections of poetry. Elizabeth Kantor in
The Politically Incorrect Guide to English and American Literature counsels:

"You should be learning poems by heart (even if you have the time for intensive structural analysis, but especially if you don't). Poetry is meant to be memorized--meant not so much by the people who write it as by its very nature. All the formal features that distinguish poetry from prose--rhyme, meter, and so forth--are also devices that assist the memory. Originally (before writing was invented), poetry was simply language arranged so that it could be remembered and recited again."

Poetry is an integral part of our English and American heritage. We should attempt to memorize and analyze great poems, not only to admire each great poem's merit but also to enrich our lives.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Weekend Geography Quiz

This subtropical, clean, and attractive city has the stunning backdrop of this always active volcano:

Though the population is only about 500,000, the importance of this city is demonstrated in its key role in history: The heroic St. Francis Xavier landed in this city, the British bombarded it in 1863, and a revolutionary industrialization for an important country was started here.
It also has a famous garden:

What is the name of this fascinating city?

Classic Literature

There are many reasons to study classic literature.

Dr. Elizabeth Kantor lays out of few of them in this excellent article.

Unfortunately, the obscurants who run the education establishment (William Bennett calls this liberal influential admixture of powerful unions, schools of education, and organizations "
the Blob") are social utilitarians and denigrate classics instead of promoting them.

They don't come right out and admit this fact, of course; rather, they subtlely attempt to destroy the heritage by absurdly claiming it is irrelevant, the "dead white males" comment one hears so often, or racistly claiming it has no relevance for minorities and must be replaced by modern "multicultural" writings. What these liberals really are saying is that if Johnny has brown skin he cannot possibly relate to Shakespeare. This is the classic definition of a racist, and these racists run the "Blob."

In any case, liberals are stating that literature has no place in their future social utopia they are so striving to bring about.

Conservatives, on the other hand, want to preserve our great heritage. For example, at
CPAC this year, there was a prominent place for literature. There were several panels devoted to education and academic subject matter. In Latin "conservo" means "to keep, to preserve," and conservatives want to preserve our great democratic values and our magnificent Western classical and Christian heritage.

This is in contrast to liberals, who are out to destroy our heritage. Again, these liberals are the ones running the public schools, which is reason #957,123 to snatch your kids out of public schools and make sure they are going to conservative private Catholic (or other denomination that respects our American heritage) schools.

If you either would like to study literature for yourself or need some homeschooling materials, here are three great resources, well worth purchasing as references:
  • The Politically Incorrect Guide to English and American Literature by Elizabeth Kantor. Like the all the books in the Politically Incorrect series, this is an excellent and fun introduction to a subject liberals have either dumbed down, denigrated, or obscured. Throughout the book, Kantor refers you to other references that will be invaluable in your enriching journey studying our great heritage in literature.
  • A Student's Guide to Literature by R.V. Young. Like all the books in the wonderful ISI Guides to the Major Disciplines series, this one is only few dozen pages but jam packed with concise and valuable information. This whole series would make a great addition to your library, and they are not expensive. On a side note, ISI had a booth at CPAC this year. It was Sunday, the last day of the conference, and I asked how much some of the other books in the series were. The girl said she would give me the whole series (about 15 books) all for just $20. That made my day!
  • The bestseller The Language Police: How Pressure Groups Restrict What Students Learn by Diane Ravitch. This is an absolutely terrific and stunning expose on the politically correct textbooks schools use, but it is also a rally call for bringing back our heritage in literature and history. Best of all, there is the invaluable reference in an appendix "The Atkinson-Ravitch Sampler of Classic Literature for Home and School." It is not just a list but also a explanation of the value of each work (some of them have been unfortunately collectively forgotten by the population as a whole) and the books listed are guaranteed to enrich one's life. For instance, in the list for "10th grade" (the grades are arbitrary and interchangeable according to choice), you have Jane Austin's Pride and Prejudice, Catherine Drinker Bowen's Miracle at Philadelphia, Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre and Vilette, Rupert Brooke's "The Soldier," Willa Cather's My Antonia, Stephen Crane's The Red Badge of Courage, Richard Henry Dana, Jr.'s Two Years Before the Mast, Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations, Frederick Douglass' Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas, W.E.B. Du Bois' The Soul of Black Folks, Alexander Dumas' The Three Muskateers, The Count of Monte Cristo, and The Man in the Iron Mask, George Eliot's Romola and Silas Marner, etc. (I'm only up to "E.")
Embarking upon the voyage of great literature is a life-enriching experience that should not be denied to anybody, yet liberals have attempted in the name of a future socialist utopia to deny all American children this part of our Western heritage. Unfortunately, many of us who graduated from public schools are heirs to obscurantism. However, there is an easy remedy, which can be begun with throwing off the shackle of liberalism and embracing our heritage.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Hard Times for These Postmodern Times

I just finished yet another terrific Charles Dickens novel--Hard Times. It is every bit as wonderful as his other more well known books David Copperfield, Great Expectations, Oliver Twist, and A Tale of Two Cities. Of all the novelists in our spectacular heritage of English literature, Dickens has to be the best: some of the most memorable characters in literature from the main characters to the often offbeat supporting characters; a grand mix of drama, comedy, and mystery; and a brilliant way with words like few other authors. When a Dickens novel ends, it is always with disappointment and regret that the story is over. Dickens truly is a joy to discover and his stories enrich one's life, as does all great literature.

Sadly, very few American students these days ever have the opportunity to discover Dickens in today's postmodern schools. Why? Because of goofy liberals, of course, who run the school establishment and control the curricula. "Dead white males" are out and "multicultural" teen literature is in. During the immigration debate, proponents of the amnesty bill have accused conservatives of being against "brown people," which is truly ironic because liberals, as demonstrated by their paternalistic attitude, are actually the biggest enemies of "brown people."

These racist, patronizing, arrogant liberals actually believe with sincerity that "brown people" (and anyone not white) somehow do not possess the ability to relate to and appreciate classic British and American literature. They just wouldn't be interested and could never appreciate it. For this racist, bigoted attitude, liberals actually feel they deserve plaudits for what they perceive is their elite sensitivity to minorities' needs.

So instead of the magnificent novels of Dickens, Eliot, and Scott (just to name a few excellent writers of our common cultural heritage who are no longer taught in English classes), foolish liberals actually believe that teens can only appreciate "teen literature" and that "persons of color" can only relate to novels written by "persons of color." According to liberals, "persons of color" and teenagers have no ability to transcend their immediate surroundings and background.

To put this blatantly racist attitude into perspective, imagine if your father were in the State Department and you as a high school student were living in, say, Japan. In a Japanese literature class in which you would be eagerly awaiting the treasures of Japanese literature, your Japanese teacher decided because you are white or black, you could not possibly relate to Japanese literature. Therefore, the Japanese teacher must only give you
Lafcadio Hearn. This is the exact same attitude liberals have for minorities. Liberals, own up to your racist attitudes and get rid of them!

Amazingly, these racist low expectations make up the attitude of our professors of education who seek to hoist these racist and degrading ideas upon thousands of schoolteachers across the country. This concerted effort seems to be paying off, which is not too surprising considering that teachers have the very lowest GRE scores of all groups taking the test. Bimbo teachers of both sexes now actually feel that it is important only to teach "multiculturalism," and they brainlessly parrot the line that about students not being able to relate to "dead white males" (and evidently "white females" as well since Eliot is rarely taught).

Consider the following anecdote: In the worst class I took at UVA's Social Foundations program for my master's--Anthropology of Education by up and coming Marxist professor
Dan Butin whose career is skyrocketing, thanks to his socially correct attitudes--we actually had an excellent required text: Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez. It is a very moving and touching autobiography which celebrates assimilation and is vehemently against bilingual education and affirmative action, just like Linda Chavez's excellent organization CEOUSA.

Unfortunately, Butin in the class discussion cleverly led it in such a way that liberals in the class had sheer indignation that Rodriguez was a Hispanic that had the audacity to 1) be against affirmative action and bilingual education; 2) not appreciate their noble efforts at helping him in a cruel capitalistic society; and 3) get a doctorate in Renaissance literature instead of Chicano Studies. One red-headed woman who was big into the theatre arts scene of the Washington area dramatically declared Rodriguez to be a "pompous ass." His crime: Not appreciating his Mexican heritage by getting a doctorate in Renaissance literature and being against all the programs liberals have deigned to grant poor benighted minorities to help them. What ingratitude! Note: Rodriguez was born in America and did not even speak Spanish. Yet to racist liberals in the Anthropology of Education class, including the professor, Rodriguez was still a Mexican and his heritage was only that of Mexico, not that of Britain and America. Hence, liberals' animosity to classic literature.

Back to Hard Times, which like all classic British literature is the heritage for all American students, despite color, race, or background:

Hard Times is a wonderful novel and shorter than most Dickens' novels. It is filled with memorable, unique characters: self-made, boastfully humble factory owner Mr. Boundersby; the aristocratic lady Mrs. Sparsit whom Mr. Boundersby supports, school owner Mr. Grandgrind who only teaches facts, young Louise and Tom Grandgrind who have grown up under his regimen; factory workers Stephen Blackpool and his girlfriend Rachael; a mysterious old lady who has a fascination with Mr. Boundersby; young, abandoned, charming Sissy Jupe; the wonderful characters at the circus where Sissy's father has worked, the roguish, diabolically rakish young aristocratic Jake Harthouse. Their lives, from all backgrounds intertwine in the backdrop of the successful factory city of Coketown with an entertaining and moving mixture of drama, comedy, and mystery, like all of Dickens' novels.

Hard Times is notable for its theme that to lead a truly enriching and noble life of dignity, one must be educated in the humanities, not just in impersonal, scientific "Facts." Liberal utilitarianism ironically leads to a degrading fascination with consumer pop culture that, in fact, leads many to dissipated, meaningless, cold lives, which is completely unanticipated by those advocates of utilitarianism. To have imagination, empathy, and love for fellow man, one must be educated in the humanities.

Sadly, liberals have not only deigned that teenagers and minorities are not capable of relating to Western Civilization, they also have decided to destroy the humanities in the name of socialist utilitarianism. Every work of Western Civilization must be deconstructed in order to support socialism. In other words, they are completely against teaching the humanities for its own inherent worth. Liberals are the modern day heirs to Mr. Grandgrind's social utilitarianism, except for these advocates of "social justice," facts must only support socialism.

Take Hard Times for instance. This is generally liberals' favorite of of Charles Dickens' novels because they mistakenly feel that it can best be twisted most effectively into supporting their misguided anti-capitalistic, socialistic agenda. Witness Signet's description of the novel on the back cover, which unfortunately shows that Signet has bought into postmodern desecration of classic literature:

"Red brick, machinery, and smoke-darkened chimneys. Reason facts, and statistics. This is the world of Coketown, the depressed mill town that is the setting of Charles Dickens' most powerful and unforgettable novels. . . .

"Hard Times is Dickens' scathing portrait of Victorian industrial society and its misapplied utilitarian philosophy."

What? Hard Times is nothing of the sort, as any honest person who has actually read the novel will tell you. My description of the novel above--its memorable characters whose lives intertwine in a fascinating mixture of mystery, drama, and comedy--is what the novel is about. Liberals' seething hatred of the capitalism in its most brilliantly successful--culturally and economically--Victorian society comes through in this blantantly biased Signet description of the novel.

So, to sum up, obscurant liberals do not want you to be exposed to our Western heritage of classic literature, but if somehow you are, you must be programmed in a form of doublethink to deconstruct it and dislike it--thus having no knowledge of our heritage in order to be a better "useful idiot" for their failed ideas and nihilistic values. What is the outcome of their modern day socialist utilitarianism, which is very similar in its eschewing of the humanities to the utilitarianism in the novel? The outcome is students bored with "multiculturalism" and "teen lit" and turn to consumer culture and unfulfilling pop attitudes, much the same as does the "whelp" Tom Grandgrind.

Rebel against these utilitarian liberals. Educate yourself and expose yourself to our magnificent heritage and pass it on to others to enjoy and relish.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Weekend Geography Quiz

What royal capital city is this?

You'll definitely want to spend more than "one night" in this fascinating tropical city of 8,000,000. The city is famous for its "golden temples" and enchanting cultural sites such as the Grand Palace:

There are many canals in this city and a main river that is used for transportation, including the many water taxis:

The Skytrain is a comfortable, convenient, and scenic way to get around the metropolis:

This is one of my favorite cities in the world, and it really grows on you the longer you stay here. What is the name of this intriguing city?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

September 11, 1683

Do you know what key battle happened on September 11, 1683 and its significance for Western Civilization? Why might Osama Bin Laden have chosen that date to attack the country that exemplifies Western Civilization--America? If you don't know the answers to these questions, you're not alone.

There are a number of subjects that used to be staples of a good education for grade school and college that are no longer taught, and, thus, key aspects of one's education are neglected. Some of these subjects are classical history, logic, Latin, and the history of science and mathematics. The Trivium is gone and, in fact, most students have no idea what it is except those lucky enough to go to traditional Catholic schools. These days it is almost impossible to get a good education in the Humanities from colleges, as most departments have been completely taken over by postmodernists. Thus, while most students who go to both public and private schools might feel like they have a substantial education, they truly do not.

One such subject that has been neglected but one which everyone in the West should know is Catholic history. As the brilliant Catholic historian Hilaire Belloc states, "Europe is the Faith, and the Faith is Europe." Without a knowledge and appreciation of Catholic history, one cannot have a knowledge and appreciation of Europe or Western Civilization.

What Belloc means by the statement "The Church is Europe, and Europe is the Church," a statement he makes in Europe and the Faith, written just after World War I and very much a reflection on the War, is simply that out of all Europeans and Westerners Catholics really are the ones who can most understand and defend the West.

The statement does not mean that the Catholic Church is only Europe. It is quite the opposite. The true Europeans these days are faithful Catholics from all over the world. A devout Filipino has more of a European sense than does a postmodern European. Belloc calls this the "Catholic conscience of Europe." Hence, the Heritage has shifted. Those who have broken themselves from the Faith--postmodernists, liberals, communists--are no longer Europeans. They are no longer the heirs of the great Western Civilization.

Once separated from Europe--the cradle of our civilization--they wreck incomparable harm. Their culture has arisen from outside the civilization of the West, which is the values of the Catholic Church. Belloc calls these who have broken away "the outer, the unstable, the untraditional--which is barbarism--pressing blindly upon the inner, the traditional, the strong--which is Ourselves: which is Christendom: which is Europe." This applies to the German kulturcampf leading to a new alien, non-European Teutonic culture that menaced Europe, Nazism, Communism, and now postmodernism and multiculturalism. These barbaric philosophies have no roots in European, Catholic civilization. They are alien philosophies.

Once we understand this fact, history becomes much more lucid. For example, we often learn that World War I was a great example of a war with no reason, complete folly of bickering selfish, capitalistic states. Without a knowledge of Catholic history, we are in complete ignorance of the truth.

In fact, Prussia was an alien, almost neo-pagan state with values utterly separated from the "Catholic conscience of Europe." Thus, Prussia had to be stopped and was by those who did have a sense of freedom and Europe civilization. The heretical Teutonic ideas (partial heirs to Martin Luther's revolution) did not go away and were morphed into Nazism, itself of origin far beyond the Western, Catholic civilization. World War I was barbarism versus the Catholic heart of Europe.

Catholics and those with this "Catholic conscience of history" can intuitively grasp the dangers facing Western Civilization. Belloc states, "For the Catholic, the whole perspective falls into its proper order. The picture is normal. Nothing is distorted to him. The procession of our great story is easy, natural, and full. It is also final."

Belloc states, "The Catholic alone is in possession of the tradition of Europe; he alone can see in judge in this matter." Does he mean that conservative Jews, Protestants, and others cannot grasp this history? Of course not. What he is simply stating is that those sympathetic and with a great knowledge of the Catholic Church--first and foremost Catholics of course--are the ones who are best able to grasp history and apply it to the future. Whether they know it or not, they share in what Belloc terms the "Catholic conscience of Europe."

However, these days most people, including Catholics, know almost nothing about Catholic history, and if they do, it is often told by hostile historians who have broken themselves away from the tradition. Belloc discusses this problem:

"But the modern Catholic, especially if he is confined to the use of the English tongue, suffers from a deplorable (and it is to be hoped), a passing accident. No modern tongue gives him a conspectus of the past; he is compelled to study violently hostile authorites, North German (or English-copying North German), whose knowledge is never that of the true and balanced European."

Because of Belloc's extensive and intimate knowledge of Catholic history, he is amazing prescient. Take this quote for example from The Great Heresies, written in 1938:

"Whatever the cause be, Mohammedanism has survived, and vigorously survived. Missionary effort has had no appreciable effect upon it. It still converts pagan savages wholesale. It even attracts from time to time some European eccentric, who joins its body. But the Mohammedan never becomes a Catholic. No fragment of Islam ever abandons its sacred book, its code of morals, its organized system of prayer, its simple doctrine.

"In view of this, anyone with a knowledge of hisotry is bound to ask himself whether we shall not see in the future a revival of Mohammedan political power, and the renewal of the old pressure of Islam upon Christendom."

While almost everyone else at the time thought the idea of Islam reappearing was ridiculous because of the backwardness of the Muslim countries, Belloc was warning of its resurrection:

"These things being so, the recrudescence of Islam, the possibility of that terror under which we lived for centuries reappearing, and of our civilization again fighting for its life against what was its chief enemy for a thousand years, seems fantastic. Who in the Mohammedan world can manufacture and maintain the complicated instruments of modern war? Where is the political machinery whereby the religion of Islam can play an equal part in the modern world?

"I say the suggestion that Islam may re-arise sounds fantastic--but this is only because men are always powerfully affected by the immediate past:--one might say that they are blinded by it.

"Cultures spring from religions; ultimately the vital force which maintains any culture is its philosophy, its attitude towards the universe; the decay of a religion involves the decay of the culture corresponding to it--we see that most clearly in the breakdown of Christendom today. The bad work begun at the Reformation is bearing its final fruit in the dissolution of our ancestral doctrines--the very structure of our society is dissolving."

Belloc explains and warns that Islam is not losing its vital force:

"In Islam there has been no such dissolution of ancestral doctrine--or, at any rate, nothing corresponding to the universal break-up of religion in Europe. The whole spiritual strength of Islam is still present in the masses of Syria and Anatolia, of the East Asian mountains, of Arabia, Egypt and North Africa.

"The final fruit of this tenacity, the second period of Islamic power, may be delayed:--but I doubt whether it can be permanently postponed."

Unfortunately, Europe is not listening. Western Europe for the most part has lost its "Catholic conscience of history." In its place is multiculturalism, postmodernism, neopaganism with no roots in European, Catholic civilization.

We need to regain our Catholic, classical, and Jewish heritage anew. One last thought. Guess what date Belloc in The Great Heresies (written in 1938) states should be one everyone in the West should know: September 11!:

"But not so very long ago, less than a hundred years before the Declaration of Independence, the Mohammedan Government centered at Constantinople had better artillery and better army equipment of every kind than had we Christians in the West. The last effort they made to destroy Christendom was contemporary with the end of the reign of Charles II in England and of his brother James and of the usurper William III. It failed during the last years of the seventeenth century, only just over two hundred years ago. Vienna, as we saw, was almost taken and only saved by the Christian army under the command of the King of Poland on a date that ought to be among the most famous in history-September 11, 1683. But the peril remained, Ilsam was still immensely powerful within a few marches of Austria and it was not until the great victory of Prince Eugene at Zenta in 1697 and the capture of Belgrade that the tide really turned--and by that time we were at the end of the seventeenth century."

Gee, Osama Bin Laden knows our European history better than we do. My professor of Church History I and II, classes I have taken at Christendom College for a Master of Arts in Systematic Theology, stated that astute Catholic analysts (he works for the Department of Defense) knew why Osama Bin Laden had chosen September 11 to attack. It was a key battle in the defense of the West, one that rankled with ambitious terrorists like himself.Hilaire Belloc is so remarkably prescient because of his great knowledge of history but most of all because of his "Catholic conscience of history." Let's all regain this knowledge of Catholic history in order to better defend the West.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Weekend Geography Quiz

This week's geography is pretty easy, thanks to the distinctive, world famous twin towers. What spread out capital city is this? Here is the colonial heart of the city with the distinctive Moorish architecture of the railway station:
Here is the famous Central Market next to the large Chinatown district:

Another picture of Chinatown:

So what is the name of this attractive capital city?

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Newletter States Virginia Tech English Department "Wounded," Celebrates Giovanni's Poem

Like clockwork, whenever an atrocity--be it September 11, 2001 or the Virginia Tech massacre occurs--liberals react with utter confusion. They are deeply troubled, befuddled, and have no resources to cope other than themselves.

Virginia Tech English department is no exception. Normally, as an alumni I receive after every semester the platitudinous newsletter "A Feast of Words," updating alumni on the comings and goings of the department. This semester we got a letter from Dr. Carolyn Rude describing the reaction of the department to the shootings at the English Department:

This experience continues to be intense and troubling for us. The fact that the shooter and two students who were English majors has brought the tragedy home to us in a very powerful way. As a faculty we have struggled with a profound sense of loss and waste--so many young lives suddenly gone in a senseless act of violence. The loss is personal as well as monumental.

The tone that comes across is that the liberals in the department are utterly baffled. How could this possibly happen to us? The reason they are perplexed is because liberals live their whole lives ignoring evil, God, tradition, and absolute values. They live in an unreal world where truths do not exist. They ignore danger, terrorism, and thus are caught completely unaware when an act as heinous as September 11 occurs. Likewise, they ignore signs of evil and are taken aback that an evil individual in their department could have committed such a massacre, though all the signs were there.

Though we may ignore evil, evil certainly does not ignore us. Life is truly a battle between good and evil, much of it fought in the spiritual realm. This is a central tenet of the Catholic faith. On this subject, all I can say is thank God for our military confronting it in Iraq and conservatives running foreign policy to attack it head on instead of ignoring those who wish our destruction. Thank God for Pope Benedict and orthodox Catholic bishops, priests, and religious battling it in the spiritual sphere. Liberals, on the other hand, ignore evil like a bunch of ostriches reacting to danger.

Two observations about the reaction by professors at Virginia Tech to the shootings and especially the special newsletter to alumni of Tech's English Department:

First, notice the complete absence of the mention of God, prayer, or religion. They completely eliminate God and yet are deeply disturbed that evil fills the vacuum. They thus have nothing to fall back on, no truth to turn to other than themselves. This was apparent to many people. That was one of the first things my good friend from Tech who went on to get a doctorate at Johns Hopkins in microbiology noticed.

So where do liberals turn? Of course to themselves: "Our faculty and students have called on their deepest strengths and resources to help as they can." Yes, but what are these resources? All they can turn to is the cold comfort of moral relativism. This direction does not satisfy or nourish, hence the confusion.

Second, surprisingly there has been no mention of classic literature or poetry to express universal truths and give consolation and solace, and this is supposed to be an English department. For example, one excellent classic that attempts to make sense of why certain persons would be targeted and died without any outward sign plan and seemingly randomly is The Bridge of the San Luis Rey by Thorton Wilder. There are many classic poems to turn to, timeless truths passed down in a cultural tradition.

But forget it. Not only is there no mention of God or religion, there is no mention of classic literature. After all, postmodern, "social justice" professors eschew this tradition and denigrate the great literature of "dead white males." All "text" is equal. Therefore, these clueless professors have absolutely nowhere to turn, except narcissitically to themselves, which is not all that comforting.

No wonder they are still "deeply troubled." God is out because He didn't suit their lifestyles, and classic literature doesn't suit their utopian, socialist vision of the future.

Instead they turn to Nikki Giovanni (speaking of ignoring evil, let's ignore these poems of hers) and use the atrocity to celebrate Nikki Giovanni's narcissitic "poem" "
We Are Virginia Tech." In fact, all English alumni were mailed a copy of her "poem." In the letter to alumni, Dr. Rude states, "On Monday, when classes resumed, we hosted an open house in the department for our majors and graduate students and faculty to reaffirm our connections. Nikki Giovanni signed copies of her poem, 'We are Virginia Tech.'"

Yippee! She signed poems. Cold, nihilistic comfort indeed.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Weekend Geography Quiz

What capital city is this?

Clue: This bridge leads into the city: