Whence the odd interjection “of a” in phrases like “not that big of a deal”?

Suddenly, it seems to be everywhere.

I like this a lot.

Apropos of nothing particular in the news, those who said “If you don’t like the Religious Right, just wait till you see the Irreligious Right” are looking pretty prophetic.

Matt Taibbi asks:

Without Trump, Is A “Depression In Television” Coming?

Trump saved the cable news business once. Without him, things are looking bleak again. What will the networks do?

I ask: If you’ve got to have Donald Trump to survive, shouldn’t you just die?

The really big money comes in through the capital campaigns.

The really big money comes in through the capital campaigns. These are fundraising events dedicated to financing a major school project: paving the locker rooms with gold coins, annexing Slovakia, putting out a hit on a rival headmaster. The campaign gets some cockamamie name—“Imagine the Future” or “Quid Pro Quo”—and lasts several years. There has never in history been a private-school family that slid in and out of the institution without overlapping with one of these campaigns.

Caitlin Flanagan, Private Schools Are Indefensible.

I wish they hadn’t chosen that title. She’s writing about the super-exclusive Independent Schools like Phillips Exeter and Sidwell Friends.

I decided I needn’t offer my shekels to the Intlochen Academy for the Arts (no affiliation except sometimes attending concerts when on vacation up there) when I read their annual report and saw the number of $100,000 donors and $1,000 donors.

There is a tonic in the things men do not wish to hear, it’s been said. But not much money.

Stephen Sondheim, quoted here (paywall)

Forgiving when you just can’t forgive

I want to offer two thoughts on the forgiveness of enemies. Both have been of use to me. The first is a prayer that I use myself, and have offered to others, when there is difficulty forgiving someone. It runs thus:

O Lord, on the day of judgment, do not hold this sin against them on my account.

It is a prayer of “postponed” forgiveness – something that feels emotionally safe and which places vengeance where it belongs – with God. On the day of judgment, we ourselves will want forgiveness for all we have done. As we are taught in Christ’s parables, we should do the same. I have had any number of conversations with people who have found this approach to be of use when everything felt “stuck,” and immoveable.

The second thought is more immediate to the heart.

It is very difficult to do a “negative” thing. It is why when we struggle to quit an addiction, we find it difficult. It creates an absence that longs to be filled. The same is true of intrusive thoughts. Trying “not to think” something is nearly impossible. Again, it creates a negative which begs to be filled and the thought returns again and again. So, my second thought on forgiveness involves positive action. Positive action has life, beauty, truth, and being. It is strong and brings the might of reality to bear on the unreality of darkness.

In the struggle to forgive, if possible, find something (anything) from the offending person for which you can give thanks. It is to go, like their guardian angel, looking for an onion, even a miserable, rotten onion given as a small act of kindness. It is the cup of cold water in their life. It does not matter how small the matter was, how insignificant or trivial. It takes something from their life for which you can make the offering of thanksgiving to God. This doesn’t entail speaking to them, or renewing an unsafe relationship. It entails the difficulty of our own inner torment created by the pain of what remains unforgiven.

Finding such an action we pray: O God, I give you thanks for the kindness I received.

My experience with this approach is that it can make a profound change in the heart. Something softens that before was hard. While even this is not always possible, it is an effective balm of the soul when it is. We too often underestimate the power in very small things. That power, I believe, is the work of grace.

Fr. Stephen Freeman, Forgiveness - Give an Enemy a Cup of Cold Water - Glory to God for All Things

There is absolutely no need to appear more frequently [than weekly, fortnightly or monthly] in print, if one’s object is to make people think instead of stupefying them.

Simone Weil, The Need for Roots

For what it’s worth, I probably have bought my last book, ever, from Amazon, in any format.

Too much power, and they’re becoming abusive with it. Convenience is subordinate to freedom from corporate power-plays.


Best thing I read today. This is just a taste:

It was easy enough to remind myself and them who was really free and who is a scared doublethinker. All I had to do was tell some joke about the Soviet leader, Leonid Brezhnev. Thank God, there were plenty of yarns about his arrogance, his crudeness, his senility. One kidded about him forcing Soviet cosmonauts to outdo the American astronauts who landed on the moon by rocketing to the sun, then reassuring them they wouldn’t be incinerated because they’d be launched during the night. As I’d tell my interrogators a joke, I’d laugh. And, as normal Soviet doublethinkers themselves, they would want to laugh. But they couldn’t, especially if two of them were there together. Laughter would end their careers.

So they’d covered up that temporary glint in their eyes with a tantrum. They’d pound the table, shouting, “HOW DARE YOU?”

“Look,” I’d say to them calmly, “you can’t even smile when you want to smile. And you claim that I’m in prison and you’re free?”

In the West today, the pressure to conform doesn’t come from the totalitarian top—our political leaders are not Stalinist dictators. Instead, it comes from the fanatics around us, in our neighborhoods, at school, at work, often using the prospect of Twitter-shaming to bully people into silence—or a fake, politically-correct compliance. Recent polls suggest that nearly two-thirds of Americans report self-censoring about politics at least occasionally, essentially becoming a nation of doublethinkers despite the magnificent constitutional protections for free thought and expression enshrined in the Bill of Rights

To preserve our integrity and our souls, the quality of our political debate and the creativity so essential to our cultural life, we need a Twitter Test challenging bottom-up cultural totalitarianism that is spreading throughout free societies. That test asks: In the democratic society in which you live, can you express your individual views loudly, in public and in private, on social media and at rallies, without fear of being shamed, excommunicated, or cancelled? Ultimately, whether you will live as a democratic doublethinker doesn’t depend on the authorities or on the corporations that run social media platforms: it depends on you. Each of us individually decides whether we want to submit to the crippling indignity of doublethink, or break the chains that keep us from expressing our own thoughts, and becoming whole.

Nathan Sharansky, The Doublethinkers

Something is in the air when FAIR and the Academic Freedom Alliance go public within three days.

I like the smell very much.

UPDATE: Add Is There a Civil Rights Remedy for Toxic Wokeness? - The French Press, too.

Spicy Basil Fried Rice with Beef. Not what I expected for my last meat before Pascha/Easter, but man, was it ever good!

I’ve had some fun thinking hard and sytematically with Obsidian the last few days.

But this fine sunny afternoon, I’ve been thinking that it’s remarkable how Trevion Williams has faltered and 7’-4” freshman Zach Edy has soared the last two games.

Go Boilers!

This didn’t post for hours. It’s not an anachronism.

So many people here use Obsidian that I’ve looked at it repeatedly, bewildered each time.

Finally, circumstances having pushed me to rethink things, I’ve downloaded it and found a YouTube channel on what sorts of things you can do with it. Bewildered no more.

This could get interesting: Is There a Civil Rights Remedy for Toxic Wokeness? - The French Press

Martinet pronouns (and much more) – Tipsy Teetotaler ن

Really good: Are We Still Thinking? - The Map is Mostly Water. I don’t remember who put me onto it. It has been in my queue for a while.

“All right, wise guy. If our disorder can’t be cured by politics, what’s your big idea?” I haven’t one. But I can suggest a place to start.

Let each of us resolve, once and for all, I will not do evil so that good will result.

J. Budziszewski

CPAC (a big annual gathering of “conservatives”) isn’t what it used to be. Then again, maybe it never was.

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Poet Who Nurtured the Beats, Dies at 101 (Paywall - New York Times)

I have seen men, proud of their ability to lie, and exciting laughter by their clowning and joking, who have miserably destroyed in their hearers the habit of mourning.

Vassilios Papavassiliou, Thirty Steps to Heaven

Just added a Hey.com email account this afternoon. It’s now my preferred domain for its huge paradigm-shift in email handling.

In the process, discovered a fringe benefit of substack: one change, at substack, re-routes all my newsletters/blogs from its authors.

They say I’d enjoy SuperBowl better if I had “skin in the game” (i.e., used one of the betting apps). But with the Packers eliminated, I can’t even find it in me to arbitrarily choose one of the two teams to root for.

Whoa! Maybe I should root for Tampa! (or not).

Polanyi on Knowledge – Tipsy Teetotaler ن

Boy, did I ever enjoy reading Paul Kingsnorth, In the Black Chamber today. Written around 2014, it seems to chronicle the beginning of an atheist’s conscious efforts to figure out why he feels as he feels about nature.

He was baptized, Orthodox, January 6, Feast of Theophany.

My main blog is the Tipsy Teetotaler, http://intellectualoid.com.