Sophies World - Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder My rating: 3 of 5 stars I first read this book 20 years ago, and just finished re-reading it. As I’m sure most people kno...
8 hours ago
If you watch and read the Australian media, whether it be the television news or discussion programs like Insiders and even Mediawatch, it's taken as read that chemical weapons were dropped by Bashar al Assad's Syrian government warplanes.
It's as if there's no memory of the weapons of mass destruction lies the American, British and Australian governments told us before the 2003 Iraq invasion.
Did you know that Easter was originally a pagan festival dedicated to Eostre, the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring, whose consort was a hare, the forerunner of our Easter bunny? Of course you did. Every year the fecund muck of the internet bursts forth afresh with cheery did-you-know explanations like this, setting modern practices in a context of ancient and tragically interrupted pagan belief.
The trouble is that they are wrong. The colourful myths of Eostre and her hare companion, who in some versions is a bird transformed into an egg-laying rabbit, aren't historically pagan. They are modern fabrications, cludged together in an unresearched assumption of pagan precedence.
Today, because Trump and his administration are now committed to convincing Americans that Assad really was responsible for Tuesday’s poison-gas tragedy, the prospects for a full and open investigation are effectively ended. We may never know if there is truth to those allegations or whether we are being manipulated by another “wag the dog” psyop.
Postmodernism presents a threat not only to liberal democracy but to modernity itself. That may sound like a bold or even hyperbolic claim, but the reality is that the cluster of ideas and values at the root of postmodernism have broken the bounds of academia and gained great cultural power in western society. The irrational and identitarian “symptoms” of postmodernism are easily recognizable and much criticized, but the ethos underlying them is not well understood. This is partly because postmodernists rarely explain themselves clearly and partly because of the inherent contradictions and inconsistencies of a way of thought which denies a stable reality or reliable knowledge to exist.
Among those detained and beaten by police forces was Gregory Hill, the underage son of an Orthodox priest and a British subject who was not part of the protesting crowd and whose only fault was failing to produce his papers immediately upon request. In the words of his mother, “Grisha [Gregory] is bruised because one policeman was holding his head to the ground, while the other kicked him in the groin and ribs. We are shocked by the comments from the city government that police reacted in a competent way and ensured security in heavily crowded areas. I very well see that ‘competence’ on Grisha’s face.” (Sergei Chapnin)
In fact, several passages from Schmemann came back to mind in reading Dreher, whose book fixates on same-sex marriage and gender issues to an unhealthy and unhelpful degree. None seems more acute or appropriate than this one: In March 1976 during Lent, Schmemann wrote: "Students' confessions. Always sex. I am beginning to think that this sin is useful; otherwise they would consider themselves saintly and plunge into guruism." Dreher's entire project reeks of guruism.