Author: Andrew

I'm an officially minted writer and a new father, an amateur essayist, and a fairly dapper nerd.

Richard III was Attacked All At Once, Died Swiftly

No horse was going to save him.

Read the whole thing, as it’s very interesting, and jibes with what accounts of Bosworth I have read.

Of course, it bears pointing out that Richard fought like a mad boar at Bosworth, killing Henry Tudor’s standard bearer and very nearly getting to Henry himself before he was surrounded. Also, no contemporary source records the “My kingdom for a horse” line. Some traditions declare his last words to be “Treason!” but it’s entirely possible that he was given no chance to say anything at all.

 

P.J. O’Rourke Tells Hard Truths About Scots Independence

It’s like the old days, man.

I don’t say this as a prejudiced Irishman. Even though the thistle-arse sheep-shagger Scots swiped Ulster and sent a herd of Presbyterian proddy dogs and porridge wogs to squat on our land and won the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 by using unfair—indeed, unheard of —- organization, discipline, and tactics on an Irish battlefield. We Micks only hold a grudge about such things for 300 years or so.

My only interest in an independent Scotland is whether it would retain any aspects of the monarchy, and if so, which. Given the lefty bent of the Scots, I feel as though they would instead become a boring Europublic with an elected figurehead President and a rotating door of Prime Ministers.

Well, mayhap the lairds will have something to say about that.

 

I Was a Teenage Playwright

Really, a collegiate playwright, but that doesn’t make the same stale pop-cultural reference.

In any case, one of the ways I spent my days in university instead of exercising or learning how to talk to girls was writing one-act plays. Some of them were bedroom-type farces, some had theological and/or philosophical pretenses. All were silly. But when I come back to them, I have the same enjoyment as when I first typed them out. They still have a cheeky charm.

Two of them are out on Amazon.com, and the rest should be by the end of the month or so.

sendintheclowns         clinical insanity

 

Click the images for the Amazon link.

To Be Trapped in a “Loveless Marriage”

I know a woman who gave her husband four or five chances to renounce his adulterous ways. He could not, so she kicked him to the curb.

My great-grandfather had the same problem. He was fuzzy on the whole “marriage” thing so my great-grandmother sent him packing when my grandfather was six months old. Since this was 1930, she went to mass every day for the rest of her life to atone for her sin and never remarried.

So I understand that divorce is a thing that regrettably, happens, and that there can be good reasons for it happening.

But I don’t know what “being trapped in a loveless marriage” means, a phrase this dissenter of RS McCain’s deconstruction of Sudden Onset Lesbian Syndrome exemplifies the use of:

I know you’re confused with all these changes, but that’s what human freedom looks like. A lack of freedom would have been her staying in a loveless marriage, and bending her will to social norms.

Of course, the woman in question never actually said her marriage was loveless, merely that she discovered her new sexual identity, which grants and automatic get-out-of-marriage-free card. The rest of the commenters talk about the value of keeping one’s promises, and what is a marriage if not a promise?

Still, the notion of denying oneself the romantic and erotic fruit to which one has just “discovered” affinity seems like a hard pill to swallow. I get that. Because I’m married.

All marriages involve the binding of the will and the limitation of desire. That is the point of them. To marry is to say “You and no other, until one of us is dead.” That’s a promise, and a promise is binding by definition. It has no meaning otherwise.

Unfortunately people have a habit of marrying in the heights of an emotional connection and assume that such connection is an effortless norm. When the truth proves otherwise, they name their marriage “loveless”, because they think “love” means that powerful emotional connection. That’s not even close to what love is.

Love is taking a feeding from your exhausted wife because she’s bleary and tired and she’s had the kids all day, even though you’re also tired.

Love is supporting your husband spending his time in thus-far non-profitable writing projects because you know that he needs it.

Love is giving the other a break, taking care of the other’s needs, in lieu of looking out for number one.

Love is patience, kindness, and the host of other fine and essential things that St. Paul delineated in that oft-quote passage from 1 Corinthians that no one absorbs when they hear it at weddings. Love is doing for another, when you’d rather not, when you have a thousand other things to do, because the other needs it, and you have claimed the other’s needs as your own. A marriage that utterly lacks these thousand acts of goodness may fairly be termed “loveless”

Whereas discovering that things that sexually excite you more than your spouse? That’s just boredom. It happens. The comfort and security of marriage diminish the excitement. The manifold labors of building a life together exhaust the body. It doesn’t mean anything other than you need to take a moment to refresh the erotic charge. It doesn’t happen all on it’s own.

If a woman spends her wedding night trying to imagine that her husband is not male, then yes, she’s a lesbian living a lie, and the truth needs to come out, ASAP. But if a woman spends ten years or so contentedly sharing a man’s bed and then let’s a crew of Sisters (who clearly have no stake in the outcome whatsoever) convince her that she’s really part of Team Sappho, despite her years spent otherwise, then she’s just bored and looking for a new bed to jump into without bearing any responsibility for breaking her promise.

Nice work if you can get it, I suppose. But it’s no different from a forty-year-old man discovering that twenty-year-olds have perkier breasts and easier smiles than the woman who’s shared her best years with him. It just has the stamp of societal approval.

Friday Linkfest: This, That, and T’other

It’s not the post that Friday needs, but the post the Friday deserves:

Peace out, cub scouts. Have a great weekend.

The Secretary of State Ain’t What it Used to Be…

There was a time when being picked as Secretary of State was tantamount to being flagged as the frontrunner for the next Presidential election. Six Secretaries of State have gone on to become President. However, the last such was James Buchanan in 1856. Since then, we see far more failed Presidential Candidates (William Jennings Bryan, Charles Evan Hughes, Edmund Muskie, John Kerry) than Presidents in that slot.

I suspect that Hillary Clinton viewed the position as one of sufficient prestige to make her the Designated Successor after a successful eight-year Obama Presidency. If she can pull it off, being the first Secretary of State to be elected President since the collapse of the Whig Party will be almost as impressive as being our first female President.

However, that might not work out so well:

Only 43 percent of U.S. voters hold a favorable opinion of the former secretary of state, while 41 percent of voters have a negative view, according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released Tuesday. That’s a significant shift from the same poll taken in Jan. 2013, just before she left her post with the Obama administration. Back then, 56 percent had favorable views compared with just 25 percent who had negative views. A Feb. 2009 poll showed Clinton’s approval rating topping out at 59 percent.

Maybe Buchanan just left a curse on the job, but I suspect that foreign affairs are a lot more fraught with controversy today than in our splendid isolation before the First World War. When American foreign policy could be summed up as Monroe Doctrine + Manifest Destiny, the job was easy. Today, it’s very much something you can screw up, and I feel as though Clinton’s numbers would be better if Obama’s foreign policy was less in tatters.

homer-doh

Did World War 1 Cause the Collapse of European Values? Or was it the Other Way Around?

A provacative reversal of conventional wisdom, discussed by John O’Sullivan in a long-but-worthwhile article at National Review.

Kimball raises the question of whether cultural, psychological, artistic, and social movements were, not the consequences of the Great War, but instead among its causes. Without going overboard on this — since the upsetting of Europe’s balance of power by Bismarck’s creation of the German Empire in 1871 and then by Kaiser Wilhelm’s bid for world power outside Europe were plainly important non-cultural causes of 1914 — Kimball makes a persuasive case that 1914 emerged in part from the explosion of radical cultural modernism that was symbolized especially by the riots of enthusiasm and rejection that greeted Diaghilev’s 1913 production of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring ballet.

The earliest signs of this cultural revolution appeared in the late 1880s, but they gathered force and speed in the decade leading to the Great War with the Futurist movement in Italy, vitalism in French philosophy, Vorticism in Britain, Freud and Freudianism in Vienna, the emergence of Picasso and James Joyce, the huge enthusiasm that greeted Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes throughout Western Europe, and much else. Though these are very different phenomena — some self-consciously primitivist, others self-consciously complex and obscure — they all share a common sensibility: a rejection of the traditions, restraints, values, and standards that characterized the Victorian age in favor of spontaneity, instinct, and the breaking of barriers. “We want no part of the past,” said Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, whose “Futurist Manifesto” was inspired in 1909 by a night of reckless driving that ended with the car in a ditch and the poet calling ecstatically for the triumph of speed and machinery and the closing of museums.

This rebelliousness did not long confine itself to aesthetics. It soon manifested itself in a more general rejection of restraints and standards in morality, law, politics, business, and other aspects of life that had previously been regarded as distinct from the cultural realm. And though this sensibility and its accompanying movement spread throughout Europe, it found its most receptive audience in the cultural, bureaucratic, and even military classes of the new German Empire, which, since its foundation in 1871, had shown extraordinary progress both in industrial power and in technical innovation.

I like this thesis because War is something that is willed by people. This is true even of World War I, which often gets treated as some kind of odd political weather event. The ecstatic joy that could be found among people when the war broke out speaks to a yearning to destroy and to seek dominion. Certainly the German military that eagerly destroyed Belgian cathedrals had very little conservatism in it. The trouble with treating nothing as sacred, is that nothing becomes sacred.

It also gibes with the thrust of a book I have long admired, The First Total War by David Bell, which argues that the spirit of the French Revolution brought a totalizing spirit to the Napoleonic Wars and subsequent global conflict. The pre-revolutionary abandonment of values led not to justice but tyranny, not brotherhood but blood.


To be fair, it’s entirely possible that the Kaiser simply wasn’t able to fight the war like he wanted…

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