Wednesday, June 26, 2013

"Gay marriage advocates won the legal war because they first won the culture war."

That's about the size of it. As I said earlier this year:

Well, we're well on our way into unknown waters now. If mere shreds of legislation and judicial hair-splitting are all that's keeping legal same-sex marriage from becoming a reality, then society is surely ready for it.

But as I said, the waters are unknown. As the writer Donald Kingsbury said, Tradition is a set of solutions for which we have forgotten the problems. Throw away the solution and you get the problem back. Sometimes the problem has mutated or disappeared. Often it is still there as strong as it ever was. Society's insistence on monogamous, lifelong, opposite sex marriage was a solution to a problem which apparently we no longer remember. Will it now come back, in some guise or other?

We'll see. We've heard the wheels of history creak today, no doubt. Now we'll await the ramifications, which will probably play out long after we're gone.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Happy Birthday Antoni Gaudi

Google's doodle today is for the birthday of Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi. For the occasion, I offer an Amazon review I did years ago of Gaudi Of Barcelona:

Antoni Gaudi stayed out of pigeonholes in a big way. His work defies analogy, let alone description. Let's see: Ice cream castles? No. Victorian/Edwardian psychedelia? Maybe, kinda sorta. A Beaux-Arts H. R. Giger? His work does have that certain sinuosity to it, though it contains nothing of the macabre. It's like he was plunked down in 19th century Barcelona from some future era. One can only imagine what he could have done with modern building materials.

This book is a photodocumentary of his most notable work in Barcelona, although one building out in the countryside is included. The pictures are well composed and shot, and the text, an adaptation of a Spanish text, is interesting and clear.

Architectural surprises and oxymorons abound in these pictures. A classical caryatid is made out of small gray stones. The frame of a stained glass window turns out to be made out of knitting needles. The double doors of a courtyard open into a room, the entrance to which is obstructed by twin pink and yellow columns. Chimneys and ventilators are turned into colorful cones that wouldn't be out of place in the Hall of the Elves in Rock City, Tennessee. And the gateway to a park looks like nothing so much as a taffy-puller in action. And to think that all this expressiveness was built just one generation before the plague of Glass Boxes spread from northern Europe.

The appearance of Gaudi's buildings and decorative designs is striking enough for the casual viewer. But the details of how he came up with some of these designs is just as amazing. For one crypt, he dispensed with mathematical calculation altogether, instead working out the stress loads with a primitive, time-consuming system of ropes and sacks of buckshot. He was in fact so ferociously individualistic that it is amazing that he found enough patronage to keep him in work. Thanks to his open-minded patrons, most importantly Eusebi Guell, he was free to let his talents and imagination rip. Thanks also to his nationality--the English would have pegged him as an eccentric and consigned him to country houses. The French would have gone into ecstasies of theorizing, but would have been mindful of how little his work promoted "La Gloire". And as for Germany, who could imagine Bismarck and Kaiser Wilhelm living in ice cream palaces? But the Barcelona authorities were tractable enough to let him get away with flouting not only criticism but the very building codes. Perhaps they sensed that Gaudi was a manifestation of the revival the city was then enjoying.

This is an attractive book about a lone genius who put his stamp on his city; who followed his own drummer, sometimes right over the cliff, but always without hesitation.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Victims of Communism

Sixth Annual dedication of the Victims Of Communism memorial.  Go ahead and watch all forty minutes--it's not like you're going to learn this stuff in school.

Forget MOOCs--Let's Use MOOA

Forget MOOCs--Let's Use MOOA A smart fellow has figured out how to thin out university bureaucrats.  Maybe college will be affordable again, once mine become that age!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tuesday morning ADHD linklets

Nazi official's diary is found in Buffalo New York.

Up til now there have been undiscovered wildfires in the Amazon rainforest. Wonder how many of them are slash-and-burn farm clearances.

Searching for love and friendship in a hook-up culture.

Tiny galaxy found orbiting Milky Way.

Can lack of trees kill you faster?

Is a family nowadays merely any group of people who for the moment share sweet feelings and a refrigerator? It says here that yes it is.

Campus diversity, yes!--but not if you are Asian or Jewish. But university diversicrats get to think wonderful things about themselves, as they commute from their gated neighborhoods in affluent super-zips.

Monday, June 10, 2013

When my abuser is welcome at the table, I am not.

"Tolerance does anything, embrace anyone, champion any issue.  It wipes the notes off the score of life and replaces them with one long bar of rest.  It does not attack error, it does not champion truth, it does not hate evil, it does not love good." -- Walter Farrell, "The Looking Glass"

When my abuser is welcome at the table, I am not.  Here's an article over at Patheos religion blog, about the limits or at least the difficulties of forgiveness.  The progressive Christianity she describes is more "beyondist" than Christian, IYAM.  Beyondism is the tactic some leftists have of proclaiming themselves to be "beyond" the categories of Right and Left.  The people she describes seem not to be great-hearted so much as they simply don't care, can't be bothered to make any value judgments.

But forgiveness and justice are not the same thing.  Pope John Paul the Great forgave his would-be assassin, but he didn't ask for him to be let out of prison.  Of course the primary benefit of forgiveness, if one doesn't wish to maintain or resume a relationship with the offender, is to end the gnawing away of one's own wellbeing.  But that choice must come of one's own free will--not just because that's what all the cool kids are doing.