The Tomb is Empty

He is risen!

It’s a time to rejoice. It’s important to remember that all the horrible things that are happening now — and I don’t have to tell you that there are plenty of them — are mere ephemera. We have to endure them, and they may well put us through suffering, but we don’t have to concern ourselves with them.

The Lord is holding us in the palm of His hand.

Happy Easter, everybody!

Striking Their Necks

I read a heart-warming story this week in The Farmville Herald about a live nativity scene put on by a Baptist church in Powhatan County, Virginia. Powhatan is a rural county southwest of Richmond, about two hours’ drive from here.

When I saw the photo reproduced at the top of this post, it made me think of the report from earlier this week about the town of Rüsselsheim am Main in Germany, where life-size nativity figures were beheaded by persons unknown, as shown in the photo below:

What happens when the beheaders of Rüsselsheim encounter a live nativity scene?

I assume the perpetrators in Rüsselsheim were Muslims. I also assume that a culture-enricher with a machete would find it far more satisfying to feel his blade cut through muscle, bone, and sinew than through those boring styrofoam figures.

It’s not like Islam has any moral qualms about “striking the necks” of unbelievers. They are, after all, idolaters — mushrikun, polytheists — who deserve to be killed. Decapitation is considered to be a quick, merciful means of dispatching them.

Intuition tells me that there must be numerous cities in Western Europe where the few remaining Christians would even now be reluctant to stage a live nativity production. They can’t talk about such matters, obviously, for fear of being brought up on “hate speech” charges, but they are well aware of what happens to Christians when a significant proportion of the local population is of the Islamic persuasion. People tend to lose their heads.

So public processions and performances related to Christmas, Easter, etc. will gradually be phased out. Christianity will retire within walled spaces, and have no public symbols or signage. Which is the way it’s supposed to be in Islamic countries, where Christians are dhimmis who pay the jizyah meekly and show themselves to be subdued.

Not in Powhatan, not yet. But definitely in Nickelsdorf, Aarhus, Lund, Aberystwyth, and Erquy. If not now, soon.

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A side-note — this is the nativity scene I just set up in the living room here at Schloss Bodissey:

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What’s That? A Teapot.

Prompted by Jocelynn Cordes’ recent essay, Michael Copeland sends this paean to tea, which makes for a fitting companion.

What’s That? A Teapot.

by Michael Copeland

“What’s that?”

“A teapot.”

“What’s it for?”


“Well, don’t you just put a bag in a mug?”

That was the exchange recently between a student and the uncle and aunt with whom she had come to stay. It expresses one of those inexorable changes in usage from one generation to the next, with each remaining loyal to what it knows. Tea is such an everyday item that we barely give it a thought, but its story is a fascinating and rich one of enterprise, inventiveness, fashion and change.

It is a little hard to imagine now, but at one time, around the 1690s, tea was very, very expensive. Shipped under canvas all the way from China, it had its Chinese name, Tchai, or Tcha, that gave rise to the English “cup o’ char”. The expression “not for all the tea in China” denoted an unimaginably huge sum of money. Its customers, in the richer stratum of society, liked it, and were prepared to pay. It was, in two senses, a matter of good taste. Desirable, partly because of being delicious and refreshing, and partly because it was costly and associated with persons of elevated rank, it gave rise to a considerable industry, beginning in the tea houses and coffee houses, such as Lloyd’s, where merchants and magnates met in a club-like setting.

A delicious drink that is expensive provides a motivating occasion for a ladies’ social gathering at home. Polite company could be invited to join in this refreshment, over which much important talking, chatting, and plotting could take place. Of course, the best houses had proper Chinese teapots, and approved China ware cups — little bowls with no handles — all fashionably brought over from China. In case the staff might allow any of the costly leaves to ‘go missing’, m’Lady remained in charge of them herself: they were kept locked up. Enterprising suppliers of fashionable accessories designed elegant lockable tea caddies for drawing room use, befitting m’Lady’s degree, to enhance the occasion. The keeping of the precious leaves ever under the hostess’s watchful eye resulted in a need for the boiling water to be provided in the drawing room itself. Silversmiths obliged Georgian society by producing fine ornamental kettles on stands with spirit-flame heater below. The kettle, the tea and the teapot were the hostess’s domain. Watching the performance and anticipating its agreeable result were part of the shared enjoyment of this event.

The ritual of tea-making inevitably became a vehicle for show, impressing the company with its fine trappings. British potters joined the act. Earthenware being insufficiently fine, they earnestly strove to copy the fine Chinese porcelain, and made their own teapots, jugs and bowls modelled on the Chinese. They competed with each other to make beautifully decorated tea sets, now much valued as antiques. Josiah Spode in the 1790s successfully produced his bone china, the word ‘china’, by this time, being used to refer to porcelain. Tea certainly tastes well from a bone china cup. Customers, they found, came to prefer cups with handles, so they provided them, and larger than the tiny China bowls, so they provided those, too.

The tea itself contained certain extra plant matter amongst its leaves, which floated on the surface in the cup. This was strained off with a special shallow-bowled pierced ‘mote skimmer’. Enterprising silversmiths offered handsome silver skimmers with pretty patterns of piercing. At first the traditional Chinese porcelain spoon, on its own tray, would be handed round to be used for stirring. This was found to be rather cumbersome, so the teaspoon was created, around the 1790s, so that each drinker could have an individual stirrer. Once more the silversmith’s art came into its own with a choice of pretty designs. The teaspoon has ever since held its own as a useful innovation, and is now a standard item. Strainers, also produced in variety, enabled the hostess to prevent leaves from entering the cup; with their special bowls to rest on they joined the essentials on the tray, gradually displacing the mote skimmers.

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Harvest Home

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Today and part of tomorrow will be family time, so posting will be lighter than usual. Nevertheless, I should have no problem putting up a news feed tonight. Which unfortunately means looking at the news, eventually. I’ve had a break from it so far today, which is nice, but it can’t last indefinitely.

Enjoy your feast, if you’re here in the USA. If not, feast anyway while you can, and then dream when there’s nothing to feast on.

And the Glory of the Lord Shall Be Revealed

Merry Christmas, everyone!

The photo above was taken here at Schloss Bodissey, but not today. That was Christmas of 2009, possibly our most recent white Christmas. Today it’s very mild, almost like spring.

For your listening enjoyment, here is an excerpt from The Messiah by George Frideric Handel. Sir Colin Davis is conducting the London Symphony Orchestra, and Mark Padmore is the soloist, if I’m not mistaken.

The libretto is based on Isaiah 40:

4   Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:
5   And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

The future Baron is here. He is the designated cook, now that his mother is gone, and will be preparing a nice London broil for our Christmas dinner.

Posting for the rest of the day will be light, possibly just the news feed.

I’m thankful that I live here in the Outer Boondocks, far from the full Coronamadness that people in most large cities have to endure this Yuletide.

For example, the governor of New York has just signed a new law that will make the forgery of a “vaccination” card punishable by up to a year in prison. Which I suppose will eventually lead to scenarios like this one:

But let’s not think about that right now — we’ll just enjoy the celebration of the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ.

And it’s OK if your Christmas is white.

Nun danket alle Gott

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

I’m about to depart to visit some of my relatives, who very kindly invited me to eat dinner with them, even though I’m not vaxed.

I’ll be home sometime this evening, so there will be a news feed, but possibly not much else.

I hope y’all have a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner. Don’t forget to social distance at the table, and keep your masks on between bites.

July 22, Ten Years On

Ten years ago today Anders Behring Breivik murdered 77 people in Oslo and on the island of Utøya. Of all the Counterjihad activists who were impacted by the political blowback from the attacks, none was more affected than Fjordman. Below are his remarks on the occasion of the anniversary.

July 22, Ten Years On

by Fjordman

Sometimes life can be very strange. When I was eating lunch in my small basement flat in Oslo on July 22, 2011, I did not anticipate that in a few hours my country would be rocked by a brutal mass murder. And I certainly did not expect that these events would also turn every aspect of my own life upside down.

Suddenly and without warning, I was thrown into the epicenter of an international media storm. Less than two weeks later, I had evacuated my home and fled from Norway out of serious concerns for my safety. At this point, I was publicly accused of being a possible accomplice to mass murder, and the suggested brains behind an international terrorist network. If my life in the summer of 2011 had been the script for a film, it would have been rejected as being too improbable to happen in real life. Yet all of this did happen to me, plus a lot more. All because of the actions of a man I have never once met in my entire life, not even for a cup of coffee.

Ten years later, things have calmed down somewhat. I have managed to reestablish a reasonably stable personal life. However, this is a new life in a new country.

I quietly moved back to Norway in 2017, to see whether it was possible for me to have a normal life there again. The answer was no. Three and a half years of applying for jobs turned out to be futile. I got no job whatsoever, not even as an unskilled laborer in factories, butcheries or the fishing industry. I applied for such jobs, too, not just for work in offices or shops.

In early 2021, I therefore decided to leave Norway again, for the second time in less than ten years. It is unlikely that I will return in the foreseeable future for anything other than short visits.

A decade of smears following the July 22 attacks by Anders Behring Breivik has left its mark. Norwegian media still publish new articles suggesting that I inspired mass murder. New comments are still being published on social media claiming that I have the blood of children on my hands. Not every month, fortunately, but from time to time.

Being quoted in Breivik’s confused compendium/manifesto is by far the greatest curse of my life. Nothing else even comes close. But perhaps it is possible to be cursed and blessed at the same time. I was also blessed with being surrounded by kind people. Both old friends and new friends alike.

I was homeless for some time. Friends in Denmark referred to me, only half-jokingly, as a political refugee from Norway. My first temporary home was with my friend Steen Raaschou in Copenhagen. He was exceptionally patient, and allowed me to occupy his sofa for months at a time. I also stayed for a while with professor emeritus Bent Jensen and his lovely Russian wife Tatjana. In the spring of 2012 I spent several months in the USA, and never lacked a bed to sleep in. My friend Ned May from Gates of Vienna helped me with this arrangement*. Not all of those who helped me probably want to be named. But they know who they are, and they have my gratitude.

In 2011, I had a part-time job in Oslo, working with young people suffering from autism. After the massive and extremely negative media focus on me in July and August of 2011, it was impossible for me to keep doing this job. Frankly, it was probably dangerous for me to even stay in my old flat. So I suddenly no longer had a job or steady income at the same time as I had to spend money on lawyers.

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The Great Unmasking



A week ago Governor Ralph “Coonman” Northam, in his infinite wisdom, decreed an end to his face mask mandate. After raising a moistened index finger, mind you, and determining which way the political winds were blowing.

Last Tuesday I took a trip to town to see how the good burghers of Charlottesville were handling their newfound freedom. My first stop was the ABC store, which is one of the few places I always wore a mask, because it’s a state-run enterprise where the mask rule was enforced (as was also the case with courthouses, county office buildings, and other government-run real estate). The two checkout clerks were still wearing their mouth zorros, but not the customers. Yippee!

Next was Wegmans. I love Wegmans, but I would expect its customer base to be COVID-compliant. And so it was: I counted only nine customers besides myself who weren’t wearing masks. But still, that was better than zero, which is the way it had been there for more than a year.

The place was crowded. I looked around at the masked customers and thought, “Hmm… These are Wegmans customers, which means that well over 50% of these folks have been vaccinated.” So either they don’t believe the vaccine works, or they’re trying to prove they’re not Trump voters, or they’re just doing what they consider to be the polite thing. Or some combination of all three.

On Thursday I set off on my trip to visit family. I left all my masks behind, and was absolutely determined not to wear one. If some business or other asked me to mask up, I planned to just turn around and walk out. Shake the dust from my feet and go spend my money elsewhere.

As it turned out, I needn’t have worried. Everywhere I went, most people were going maskless, and giving every sign that they were enjoying it. A lot of the staff in business establishments were still wearing masks, but most of their customers weren’t.

My destination was a small town that’s in an even more remote area than the one I live in. When I went to restaurants on Thursday night and Friday morning, the waitresses were all masked, but most of the customers weren’t. Yesterday afternoon I wandered around the downtown, buying organic cornstarch and wine at some of the hip businesses. The hipper the business, the more masks. But nobody seemed to care about the numerous unmasked people.

Late in the afternoon I hung out in the town square listening to an impromptu group of geezers and near-geezers sitting around playing bluegrass and old-time music. There were three guitars, three fiddles, two banjos, and a stand-up base. It was great stuff. One I particularly remember was a rendition of “Short’nin’ Bread”. One of the banjo players remarked to the fiddler who had led the tune that she (the fiddler) had played the old-time version, while he was more familiar with the bluegrass version, which he proceeded to pick out at lightning speed. I didn’t notice any major differences, but then I’m not an expert on the genres like those folks were.

None of the musicians was under the age of fifty, and most of them were older than I am. They were packed in there on the shaded porch like sardines, and not a mask among them. If they were worried about catching the COVID from each other, they gave no sign.

Meanwhile, behind me on the sidewalk the shoppers and tourists went by in the bright sun, about a third of them masked. I noticed that the younger they were, and the more out-of-town they looked, the more likely they were to be masked.

When happy hour came along I stepped over to the nearby watering hole to meet my relatives and avail myself of a cool refreshing adult beverage. When I walked through the door I received a pleasant surprise: there was not a mask in sight. And this was a place that had been really strict about masks during the “pandemic”. If you wanted to go maskless, you had to sit on the deck, no matter the weather, with no exceptions. But all that has been forgotten now that Honest Ralph has emancipated the Coronaslaves.

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Eye Time Again

This afternoon I went to the retinal specialist’s office for a periodic injection in my left eye to treat an ongoing affliction known as wet macular degeneration (choroidal neovascularization or CNV). As a result, I’m running on only three cylinders this evening.

It’s a good thing I put up several posts before I left, because I may not be able to do anything else tonight except post the news feed.

Whenever I start feeling sorry for myself under these circumstances, I remember that just fifteen years ago there was no treatment for my condition, which means that by now I basically would have been blind in one eye.

So I’m grateful. Thank you, Lord, for Avastin — and for retinologists like mine.

The Tomb is Empty

The Lord is risen!

Happy Easter, everyone.

I attended a small Episcopal church for more than thirty years until COVID closed it down last year. Or, to be more precise, the bishop of the Diocese of Southern Virginia closed it down. After Governor Ralph “Coonman” Northam allowed places of worship to reopen (with capacity restrictions), the bishop, in her infinite wisdom, decided that Episcopal congregations would not be safe if people attended services in churches, so she issued a ukase insisting that they remain closed.

St. Paul tells us that “Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow — not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.” (Romans 8:38) But he didn’t know about COVID, which is more powerful than all those things he mentioned. It not only separates Episcopalians from God’s love, it obviously deprives them of their ability to reason.

Our little church resumed services last spring after the governor gave religious gatherings his imprimatur. However, two factions developed within the congregation: those who were sorely afraid of the Wuhan Coronavirus, and those who weren’t. The former group was not content to simply stay home from church; they were adamant that the rest of the congregation also follow the COVID drill — masks, social distancing, no touching each other, no eating together, sanitizing everything after services, etc. Rather than try and talk the second group (which constituted a majority) into compliance, they contacted the bishop, who came down on our church like a ton of bricks. We were shut down, and the church remained closed until Palm Sunday last week. In the two services they’ve had since then, there have been no prayer books in the pews, no singing, no passing the peace, no communion, and no coffee hour. I didn’t attend either service, but I think there were, in addition to the new priest, three or four people in attendance, socially distanced, with their masks on.

Can you imagine celebrating an Easter Eucharist without singing? I can’t, either. That’s why I wasn’t there today.

Beginning last summer, the dissidents of our congregation — who, as I said, constituted a majority — have been meeting clandestinely in the living room of a private home. Our priest, who served the church for a number of years before it closed, is one of them, so we can celebrate a full Eucharist, unmasked, with no social distancing. Our organist is also there; she plays a baby grand piano while we all sing, joyfully and with gusto.

After today’s Easter service we gathered for lunch in the adjacent dining room. It was traditional Easter fare: ham, asparagus, boiled potatoes, and little chocolate bunny candies for dessert.

We all agreed that the Lord has blessed us in our new place of worship.

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Last year I discussed the fact that when the congregation fractured along the fearful/fearless fault line, it also divided itself along a political fault line. I’m pretty sure that those who demanded “safety”, the ones who attended COVID-compliant services last week and today, also voted for Biden. But none of the dissidents who chose to risk communal worship did — all of us were Trump voters, and we can now speak freely about politics over lunch if we want to, without having to worry about triggering any of those present.

It’s an interesting correlation: people who are fearful about the “pandemic” tend to be liberals. Opinion polls confirm the trend; it’s one of the stronger correlations revealed by national surveys. I don’t know why it should be that way, but there it is.

The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Don’t be a Superspreader This Thanksgiving!

I urge you to maintain proper social distancing at your Thanksgiving dinner.

Greet each other from a distance using hand signals or semaphore, with no personal contact.

Sit at least six feet apart from each other.

No passing food back and forth — the meal should be served in previously prepared portions sealed in individual plastic containers or pouches that have been sanitized before distribution.

Wear your masks between bites.

There should be no conversation during the meal. Instead, people may send text messages to each other via hand-held devices.

Singing, humming, whistling, and non-silent prayers should be completely avoided.

Enjoy yourself, and have a SAFE Thanksgiving!

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When I sent the future Baron these guidelines for a COVID-compliant Thanksgiving, he replied: “The sad thing is, this doesn’t sound like satire.”

I wrote back:

No, it’s not really. I just took the requirements from the diocesan “guidelines” for safe worship, and adapted them. And threw in a little sarcasm.

The latest innovation from the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia is the fortuitous invention of the “singing mask”. Choral singing is allowed if the singers wear the singing mask. The congregation can’t sing, but a limited subset of the choir can (I forget how many, maybe ten or fewer). The singers must be spaced at least six feet from each other, and at least twenty feet from their audience.

And no, I’m not making this up.

Moving On

This was the new “sticky” post for the extended summer fundraiser. It was first posted on September 1; scroll down for lots of newer articles and videos.

Final Update September 10, 9:00pm EDT

The end of the summer fundraiser is already more than two weeks overdue, and fall will officially begin in just a few more days, so it’s time to put an end to this bleg. Even though I haven’t made a final decision about which alternative to PayPal to use, I’ve taken this post off sticky and will let it recede in the rearview mirror while I consider my options.

The snail-mail response to my appeal was nothing short of astonishing. The total raised by that and other methods was well over 50% of the average, enough to see me through at least one more quarter without any difficulty. I thank you all for your amazing generosity, and thank-you emails are still being sent out.

I had to rule out several possible alternative payment services for various reasons — they wouldn’t accept me, or they didn’t allow for “donate” buttons, or they required a cell phone, etc. There are several more that I haven’t looked at yet, and two that I am actively considering, TipSmack and GiveSendGo. The former takes a 10% cut, which is the main reason I haven’t yet signed up. The latter is a free Christian fundraising service, and looks promising. I’ll be examining it more closely in the next day or two.

I may end up trying both of them, so as to have a more robust fundraising capability. I’ll continue to offer the possibility of using snail mail, for those who don’t want to see 10% of their gift siphoned off.

Which reminds me: if you want to send a snail-mail donation, please email me at gatesofvienna {at} chromatism {dot} net, and I’ll send the address to you.

Of the other methods used to send donations, Western Union looked promising. However, today I received this note from one of my British donors, who had sent money to me that way:

I think I have been cancelled by Western Union!

When I sent that payment to you, that was the first time I had anything to do with them. At the time I didn’t include your email address because it said it was optional. I was just thinking of sending you another payment, and on this occasion I included your email address, thinking you would be advised at the same time as I made the payment.

Guess what happened?

I went to send the money, and before the payment was authorised I got some message that came up on the screen saying something like, ‘Payment cannot be made — your status is being reviewed’, whatever that means.

They have since said, ‘Sorry we can’t make the payment for you,” without giving any further explanation.

They gave me a UK number to ring, so I thought I would ask for an explanation. I just got this message ‘calls to this number are barred.’

I told him it was starting to sound like a Thomas Pynchon novel.

So it looks like Western Union may be out, but we’ll see.

When I’ve settled on one or more online payments services, I’ll let you know. And I’ll be holding another fundraiser, but given all the complications, I don’t know whether it will be autumn or winter.

The astonishingly generous donations flowed in from:

Stateside: Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming

Far Abroad: Brazil, Germany, Indonesia, the Netherlands, Sweden, Thailand, and the UK

Canada: British Columbia, New Brunswick, Ontario, and Saskatchewan

Australia: Victoria

I’ll see you when the weather gets cold!

Update September 5 8:45pm EDT

I’ll take a break from the relentless fundraising saga and tell a little story.

Yesterday afternoon I went to the cardiologist’s to take my first-ever stress test. For those of you who haven’t had one, that’s when they make you walk on a treadmill and increase the speed until you almost have a heart attack.

OK, that’s not fair; it isn’t really that awful. It wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I had expected. They just worked me harder than I ever work myself, with EKG leads and a blood pressure collar attached. I was breathing hard and sick of it by the time they let me quit, but it was generally OK. The good news is that my heart performed normally, and my blood pressure did exactly what was expected of it. Despite my advanced age, my heart is apparently in good shape.

I celebrated the occasion late this afternoon by going out in the early-onset fall weather and doing some heavy-duty lawnmowing. I have a big new 8.5 horsepower Briggs & Stratton push mower (not self-propelled), and I wrestled with it non-stop for an hour and a half in the difficult areas alongside the driveway, at the edge of the woods. Without being nervous or anxious, because I’d been worked harder than that with an EKG attached, and passed with flying colors. No need to worry!

When I mow the lawn, I limit myself to a single tank of gas, so as not to overdo it, and that usually means an hour to an hour and a half. When I was done and sat down to rest on the front porch, I felt great.

It made me think of something Isak Dinesen wrote. I’m paraphrasing, because I never actually read it myself — Dymphna read it to me decades ago, and it was so striking that I have retained the gist of it ever since. Ms. Dinesen listed the three conditions necessary for true happiness: To live in the absence of pain, to feel in oneself a sufficiency of strength, and to know that one is doing the will of God.

Life is good.

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Fundraising in the Time of Corona

This was the “sticky” post for the spring fundraiser. It was first published on May 25, and was on top throughout fundraising week. Scroll down for items posted on and after that date.

Spring Fundraiser 2020, Day Seven

Sunday’s Update: A Diversity Flashback

We’re moving into the final day of what has been a very unusual fundraising week.

Tip jarThere was no way to tell in advance how this quarter’s fundraiser might turn out, given the economic devastation that is enshrouding most of the Western world. Would anybody have spare cash to donate to a minor website?

Would anyone even be paying attention?

Well… Up until now there have been a greater than average number of donations — which is astonishing. Yet the total amount that has come in is somewhat less than average, which isn’t surprising at all, since most people have been hit hard financially for the past two months or so. It’s gratifying that so many have been willing to chip in, under the circumstances.

If you haven’t got around to it yet, the tip jar is on the sidebar, or you can use this link.

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Instead of another COVID-related update, I’ll close this fundraiser with a blast from the past. The excerpt below was written by Dymphna almost exactly eight years ago, on June 4, 2012, for the final fundraising post of that year’s spring fundraiser.

The theme for that week’s bleg was “Diversity”, and she wrapped everything up with the following remarks:

The subject of Diversity is fraught. So for this Fundraiser, I’ve deliberately kept the lid on certain subjects. They can accumulate like barnacles or smart bombs on the wall of diversity, or rather on the battlements of modern, top-down “Diversity”. As is true of any other project, some stuff has to be routinely scraped off so you can see what’s underneath, yet other junk — whilst appearing to be identical — will blow up in your face. Frankly, the explosions aren’t interesting anymore.

It is the former which draws my curiosity. .The latter, full of traps like the origins or even the existence of “global” “warming” — oops, climate change…oops, methane in the atmosphere. Whatever. Any point in “discussing” those issues is long past. Those in Charge will tell you ahead of time: “It’s settled…” “Consensus Has Been Reached”… “Everyone Knows”… “Only an Idiot Would Think Such a Thing”….and so on, ad infinitum, ad nauseam.

Have you noticed that the more fervently views on such issues are clung to (bitterly), the less room there is for Reason or even the possibility of entertaining alternate ideas? Entertaining ideas? Enter that realm at your own risk.

Here’s a partial list of Don’t-Go-There-Unless-You-Want-a-Fight hot buttons. No particular order here, simply a reflection of what I’ve been reading and thinking about. These are only contentions; I have no solutions. The mysteries of life usually don’t come with quick remedies:

  • Abortion. Or not. When does life begin to have value? No, it’s not “settled”. Look up the numbers of those who believe religiously in #1 vs. those who think the prize is behind Door #2. Just don’t put these folks in the same room.
  • Gender. What could be simpler: This is a girl; see that little cleft where her penis should be? This is a boy, see his penis hanging there? Gender-bending is occurring at younger and younger ages, much to the horrified sorrow of parents caught in a five year-old’s intense identity crisis. It may well be that the crisis is real enough, but it could turn out to be just one manifestation of a larger, more complex reality than the one we can see. Human beings are quite malleable, but they are also fragile. The times in which we live, where sexual identity is up for grabs — literally — are reflected in many issues, and one of them is seen in these canary children. In different times most of them would’ve been spared this assault from the zeitgeist, an assault which begins during the dark floaty existence in utero. Were there no assaults from the residues of psychotropic drugs left in the drinking water (just to name one possible influence), or the constant low-level cultural exposure to increasingly depraved pornography, these children could have lived within the boundaries of their respective anatomy without a blip. When times simplify again — and they surely will — outlier cases will recede again. That’s not much comfort now to these kids or their parents as they stumble through the nightmare.
  • Religion is a crutch vs. Spirituality is a part of human experience. The former has become the more intellectually acceptable attitude of late, though one wonders what insecurity keeps the more aggressively devout unbelievers at their megaphones, proselytizing like hard-shell Mississippi Baptists. You begin to ask if there is some fervent need on their part to save the unwashed from arrant foolishness. Perhaps a good dose of American history about the cycles of the Great Awakenings in the 18th and 19th centuries would at least help the ardent atheists this side of the Atlantic to gain some perspective.

    My guess regarding the foundation of this popular orthodoxy among the media gatekeepers? It’s high school redux: they want to be with the cool kids and they don’t want to have to actually study anything. Aping your betters is so much easier, especially if your “educated” betters are being all edgy and you know it will irritate those boring duds in Flyover Country… As is the case for other media belief blankets, if you want to hear another side (and there is more than one) you’ll have to hunt for it on your own. What surprises me is the number of people who do — want to hear another point of view, I mean.

  • Sex among adults. Interestingly, as the results from the Boomer generation become apparent, and the laws of unintended consequences begin to take their toll, their children are turning away from their parents’ youthful decisions to let it all hang out. They see the results and politely decline. Or at least the ones who catch on early enough do so. They know the health risks for both sexes of too many sexual partners. They understand the complexities of bonding better than their naïve parents did. Except for the one percent — those befuddled “Occupy” useful tools — for the most part middle-class kids have turned back the clock. Of course many of them face rigors their parents did not: huge education debt, a poor job market, and increasing balkanization by class. Their lives will be tougher in many ways, but then so will they. At least the ones who aren’t forced to move back home, much the same way their great grandparents had to do to get by.
  • Sex with children as the new norm. Nope, that’s not worth our time. The downward deviancy of our culture was seen two generations ago and I’m sure it’s not hit bottom yet. But it will. In the meantime, let’s not contribute to the pollution.
  • Death. Like the beginnings of life, its endings are becoming more fungible. The Right to Die vs. the Responsibility to Die. Our old are becoming the Ice Floe Generation. And who gets to decide whose life has meaning or value? Recently, a couple sued for Wrongful Birth when their child was born with congenital anomalies the parents believed they should have been told about ahead of time. Among the nettles were questions like financial responsibility for this life no one wants. This question lies floundering side-by-side with the reality of aborted, breathing fetuses who are killed on the operating table without a qualm. Are we confused or what?
  • Trash. There are lots more thorns and contention here, but let’s end with garbage, with refuse, with detritus. Like global warming, there are folks on both sides of the Religion of Recycling, which is a smaller denomination of the colossal Environmental Cathedral — and that place makes Vatican City look like a high-rise tenement. Again, this subject has sectarian overtones in the higher reaches (or screeches) of the True Believers. For the dissidents there is often no choice: just because you can ‘prove’ your locality saves nothing by recycling doesn’t mean you can opt out. There are handy garbage technologies in your wheelie bin that will see you fined or put in jail if you don’t conform.

    One of the dystopian uncharms of living in an urban landscape is unending trash. But city-slicker trash has become another source of revenue for cash-poor rural areas. While the downside is that the nearby urban poor often find it cheaper to skulk out here to the country and leave their bags of unidentifiable refuse because they can’t afford the trash stickers the city makes them buy, there’s an upside to this. Big cities up North will pay good money to poor rural areas if they’ll take the garbage out. Thus many county boards of supervisors do just that, and this venture keeps the real estate tax rate down for the bumpkins.

    Don’t you wonder where this will lead as consumers are unable to continue consuming? Will trash reduce itself to an endangered species? In order to continue the justification of its existence, will the EPA have to step in with emergency rulings?

Diverse contentions. They’re endless and they get more polarized all the time. As resources get thin on the ground, look for the rigidities to worsen. I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of living in interesting times. I’m ready for a good long spell of boredom — kind of like those endless amber waves of grain we don’t have anymore because they hybridized all the wheat. Modern varieties are now too short to wave at anyone.

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The photo below was taken in the late 1990s. It shows Dymphna on her 58th birthday:

It’s probably the last image of her that I’ll scan and post, unless I happen upon another trove of lost photos. She gave her permission for me to post just one, the photo of her holding a puppy that I included with my eulogy for her last June.

However, I figure that her attitude about such things is probably more relaxed now that she is incorporeal. The photos of her that I’ve posted here over the past twelve months are excellent ones, in my opinion. She is exactly herself in them, and I cherish them more than words can say. I think she’s OK with my including them here.

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Saturday’s gifts came in from:

Stateside: California, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, and Texas

Far Abroad: Australia and the UK

Canada: Ontario

I’ll be back in a few days to post a wrap-up with the final tally of locations.

The next fundraiser will begin sometime in the hot, hot summer. Who knows what the coronacrisis will have morphed into by then?

Many thanks to everyone for their generosity.

Saturday’s Update: Who is That Masked Man?

We’re moving into the penultimate day of Gates of Vienna’s quarterly fundraiser.

Readers who are sheltering in place at home and have nothing better to do are invited to send a modest donation by way of the tip cup on the sidebar (or by using this link).

Those small individual gifts are the way I keep this blog going. If a significant number of readers give a little bit each, it adds up to enough to pay for the site and keep me in cheese and crackers for another quarter.

Full disclosure: This website is not corona-compliant. Its proprietor is a coronadissident who refuses to wear a mask.

Since yesterday morning’s update I became aware of an article published by the The New England Journal of Medicinethat bolsters my dissident stance. It concerns the ineffectiveness of wearing a mask as a means of preventing the spread of COVID-19. One of our commenters mentioned it, but I also ran across it on Twitter.

This was actually published in April, but for some reason is only now drawing attention:

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