Monday, June 11, 2012

Links and Notes

* An interesting rabbinical sicha on the service of Aaron

* New Books in Philosophy podcast

* The Danes have passed a law on same-sex marriage; the Telegraph claims it is requiring all churches to perform same-sex marriages, but from what I've seen this is actually just applicable to the Church of Denmark. This is not as big a matter as some people are making. To put it in other words, the government agency that goes by the name 'Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark' or 'The Danish People's Church' is now being required to perform same-sex marriages; although individual officials in that government agency can refuse as a matter of conscience, their supervisors, called 'bishops', have to find a replacement. Quite sensible, in some ways; the Danes were obviously heading this way, anyway, and legalizing same-sex marriage doesn't make sense if you don't require the government's primary marriage agency to comply (Danes are only somewhat more religious than other Scandinavians, in terms of regular church-going -- I've seen the number at about 5% -- but even very un-religious Danes tend to marry and bury using church services -- I think that number is well over 70%). And they've even taken the trouble to guarantee conscience protections under the law, which is both more than anyone usually gets in Europe in these matters and rather generous given that they could almost certainly have rammed it through without the concession (although it would have been a high-attrition political battle, since the opposition, while undeniably outnumbered, was still sizeable). It's not really as surprising as Brits and Americans commenting on it have made it sound.

* How to Fake Your Way Through Hegel

* David Congdon has an excellent series on functional subordination and the Trinity at "The Fire and the Rose".

* D. G. Myers on satire. The linking of satire to reductio seems right, and explains why, for instance, Boethius chose the satire conventions of his day when writing the Consolation of Philosophy.

* Megan Garber on the historical connection between the drive-in theater and the megachurch.

* The newest Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress is the Natasha Trethewey. Like pretty much all 'U.S. Poet Laureates', Trethewey is in the Prose School of poetry; you can usually take her poems and just write them as paragraphs that meditate or reflect on something or other. But it is genuinely good work, and certainly much better work than much of the work of some of the U.S. Poet Laureates of recent years -- probably the best since Billie Collins. The test of quality in the Prose School, of course, is to put the poem in paragraph form and determine whether the paragraph is very well written or else sounds like something out of a very bad, very scribbled, bit of fan fiction or a disaster of a self-published romance novel. Threthewey's paragraphs in general read beautifully, in part because she avoids bombast and maintains a reflective attitude. And she usually avoids the insidious danger of the Prose School: with the Prose School, you are generally writing short paragraphs in some kind of pseudo-verse form, and trying to capture some kind of mood. The problem is that the kinds of moods that you can adequately capture in paragraphs with no context make up a very limited selection. Of these, nostalgia and regret are the easiest, and so whenever one reads poetry of this kind you always end up drowning in a mind-numbing succession of episodes of nostalgia and regret, with occasional weak jokes, until one is completely bored. Trethewey usually avoids this, by hinting at a story, and letting the story do the work; even merely hinted-at stories, or rather, merely hinted-at stories especially, allow for more varied moods than plain descriptions. (Trethewey and Collins aren't in other ways much alike at all, but that was also a strength of Collins, and why a wider variety of people found his poems interesting than usually makes up the audience for this kind of poetry.)


  1. Cat Hodge6:16 PM

    Poser, please. I prefer to get my Hegel information not from tertiary sources, but from blog posts referencing tertiary sources.

  2. branemrys7:35 PM

    True, one can fake Hegel that way, but pulling it off properly takes a boldness and verve most people lack.


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