Shirley Sherrod, British Cathedrals, and More

I don’t plan to post these sorts of links every day, but I’m home sick with a little more time on my hands than usual. So here’s another batch!

I have always loved the music of John Dowland (1563-1626), and I’m glad to see that appreciation of him is growing; even Sting is playing his music!

Lots of digital ink has been spilled about the Shirley Sherrod story. This New York Times piece says Andrew Breitbart’s coverage was misleading because, in the end, it turns out that Sherrod doesn’t hate white people after all. This may be a fair accusation; I haven’t been keeping up with all the coverage. But what are we to make of this statement by Sherrod, after relating that she took the white farmer on the verge of bankruptcy to a white lawyer? “That’s when it was revealed to me that it’s about poor versus those who have, and not so much about white–it IS about white and black, but it’s not, you know, it opened my eyes because I took him to one of his own.” Are we supposed to feel better to learn that Sherrod is just an old-fashioned class warrior instead of a racist, and that therefore she was welcomed back with open arms? Maybe so, since envy is one of the Seven Deadly Sins, and thus we can’t talk about it or warn people against it in the public square anymore.

Cathedrals are very expensive to maintain and keep open to the public. I remember the outrage expressed by some students on my 2008 study abroad when they learned admission fees were required to many Italian churches. I answered them by pointing out a) if they were actually going in to worship (at any time), they would not be charged, and b) TANSTAAFL. However, some English churches are still trying to keep public access free. More power to them; the Church of England is almost hopelessly modernist these days, but its churches are still powerful monuments to Christian civilization.

If you have never read anything by Henry James, you are really missing out. He doesn’t present a Christian view of the world, but his prose is lovely. I’ll never forget picking up a novel of his just after finishing The Da Vinci Code and sighing in satisfaction upon reading the first paragraph.

I missed the story on pigs flying, but here’s one about congressional Democrats wanting to extend Bush-era tax cuts.

I would be more excited about historical epics if most studios didn’t go out of their way to put 21st-century thought and dialogues into the minds and mouths of characters from earlier eras. Master and Commander is a noteworthy exception; there’s actually a debate between the two principal characters in which early-19th-century conservative and liberal views are aired without prejudice.

If you have never read Pliny the Younger’s description of the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that buried Pompeii and Herculaneum in A.D. 79, why not?

Concerned that your kids aren’t spending enough time on their iPhones? Never fear!

About Dr. J

I am Professor of Humanities at Faulkner University, where I chair the Department of Humanities and direct online M.A. and Ph.D. programs based on the Great Books of Western Civilization. I am also Associate Editor of the Journal of Faith and the Academy and a member of the faculty at Liberty Classroom.
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