James Matthew Wilson, Pop Culture, and Buffalo Hat Man

The America First Weekly: Volume IX

Every edition of The America First Weekly includes Five Questions (a Q&A with an interesting figure, pseud or otherwise), Links & Screeds (all editors get to weigh in on anything they choose), and a friends-link to an original Featured Article by one of the AFW editors.

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Five Questions

This week we speak with James Matthew Wilson, a poet and scholar who wants to make us think more about COVID. That or strippers… read on to find out. Check out his site and follow him on Twitter. He is the future of poetry, people, so if you want us to have nice things again, support JMW. A list of his books discussed in this Q&A is at the bottom of the interview.

Bedivere Bedrydant: You have a new book out: The Strangeness of the Good (Including Quarantine Notebook). It's a wonderful collection. My two favorite poems are "All Your Life," which reads, at least to me, just like Auden—truly, I could be tricked into thinking it was him—and "Imitation," which is especially a propos because of the little resurgence René Girard has been having (not without cause). Talk a bit about the book and then tell a non-critic like me why I like those two poems in particular.

James Matthew Wilson: The Strangeness of the Good is my third full-length collection of poems. Of the several incidental thoughts and strains that brought it together, I’ll mention two that gave the book its shape, both of which have something to do with time. The first kind of time is that of maturity or, if you like, middle-age: that moment when many of the riveting passions of youth have either been transcended, lost, or rejected, so that, on the one hand, one can see with a steady gaze into the heart of things, unswayed by the mere drama of feeling. But such a vision, rich though it may be, also comes with a kind of disillusion, the recognition that even what one is called to do may not have unequivocal fruits. Is that too abstract? I hope not.

One poem that shaped the book was “Through the Water,” which gives the book its name. It recounts the way in which both in our inner-most being and in our external lives of events we are called to pass “through the water,” which is the traditional expression of the passage between two worlds or two lives, as in the Sacrament of Baptism, where one dies to the natural man and becomes a new creation. This is a liturgical act, of course, but it’s also something that happens in other ways naturally. So the poem recounts several instances, including that familiar but wonderful experience of walking through an empty field and then slipping between the boughs to enter a grove of pine trees.

 And so, in childhood, we will duck beneath
    The waterfall into a hidden cove;
In summer, pass within a stand of pines
    Cut off from those bright fields in which we rove,
Whose needles lay a softening bed of silence
    And great boughs tightly weave a sacred grove.

What an experience of entering into a new world that is. It is a sensation of seeing into the mystery of things, including the deep mystery buried in memory’s darkness, at the source of our being, where, as St. Augustine shows us, God is found.

 Standing against this poem, however, are several others that scrutinize and critique it. “Inhabitants,” for instance, is a poem that calls into question all the sentimental fluff of “nature poetry,” pointing out along the way how Charles Darwin, who came to have his grim materialist vision of nature as “red in tooth and claw,” probably arrived at the easy form of disillusion only because he began with such a superficial and sentimental “optimism.” That poem concludes, referring to Darwin,

But man’s hands spoil everything they touch;
    And someone following after you will spoil
The scene with shifty eyes and thieving clutch
    And make you weep we’re sprung from common soil.

Then, you will preach a different sort of text,
   Just like the naturalist who turned explorer:
Each painted face he saw left him perplexed,
    And made him feel our brotherhood with horror.

 I suppose it is only knowledge of the doctrine of Original Sin that can prevent us from despairing of human beings altogether.

Several poems perform this sort of critique. “The Children of Hamelin,” which tells of what happened to the children after the Pied Piper led them away into the mountain considers indirectly the disenchantments of our own age: demographic winter, the way in which contemporary “gender ideology” is trying to lead our children away and destroy them. The general death-wish of contemporary society.

Among the two poems that I see as most distilling this vision and its critique, this mystery and its scrutiny, are those two you mention. “All Your Life” was written as a homage. Not just to Auden, although he’s right in the thick of it, but to E.A. Robinson and to Auden’s disciple, one generation younger, Philip Larkin. The poem catalogues the middle-aged man’s failures, the way in which every dream has failed him, every project miscarried. Eventually the sad, sloping plot arc of his life reaches its nadir:

Pythagoras had a golden thigh,
    The legends tell,
But yours of bone snapped with a sigh
    That night you fell.

And though the doctor says it’ll mend
    With weeks in bed,
You’ve seen your whole life’s downward trend
    Ends with you dead.

As I said, this poem was deliberately an homage. I wanted to catalog in a direct way the various disappointments that each man risks in attempting to strive after some greatness. In the present poem, each and every one of those disappointments has been heaped on the individual man. I hope that’s a bit funny, even as it is of course cause for dismay. The poem is in a modified ballad stanza, having thereby the snappy memorability of song. One of Auden’s great poems is “As I Walked Out One Evening,” which also catalogues disappointments (though by metaphorical images rather than literal list); it is in half meter, a shorter line than the traditional ballad. Robinson’s “Miniver Cheevy” is in a rhymed Sapphic quatrain that runs three tetrameter lines followed by a truncated dimeter line. The dimeter line clunks to an abrupt halt. My poem has two dimeter lines per quatrain which enabled me to make a similarly deflating, brought-up-short conclusion to each thought, as here:

And, friends forget your failings soon,
    But not your wife,
Who carries them like an old tune—
    Or sharpened knife.

“Imitation” is one of several poems I’ve written in Tennyson’s marvelous In Memoriam stanza. Most readers won’t recognize that name, but rest assured they know it. Everyone who has ever said, “Tis better to have loved and lost / Than never to have loved at all,” is quoting Tennyson’s great elegiac sequence of poems. You are right to mention Girard, as the mimetic development of child from mother is at the heart of this poem. As it happens, I was writing about Girard during the same time I wrote the poem. Front and center in my mind however was Samuel Beckett’s Murphy, and the poem refers directly to the opening scene of that novel, where Beckett sums up his vision of what human life is: a solitary man in an empty room, naked, tied to a wooden chair.

So much existential anguish! Life is not like that. Not fundamentally. The very act of cognition, of seeing and recognizing other beings, other things, besides ourselves, is an act of communion. It brings those things virtually into the mind and sends the mind “stretching out” toward being. That’s what Aristotle tells us regarding the mind, which he says is “in a sense all things,” and at the beginning of the Metaphysics where he tells us that philosophy begins in wonder, but we can begin wondering only because the mind is first activated, first summoned into being, by beings out in the world, which are in themselves intrinsically wonderful (otherwise we could not wonder about them). So, “Imitation” counters Beckett by demonstrating that in fact every blasted thing, even the trees which lack our spiritual capacity for communion, are nonetheless always and already in communion.

The poem kind of fails in a way, out of my concession to where the lines themselves were taking me. The originally published final stanza clearly states that it is the intellect, our spiritual capacity to know, that founds our capacity for communion. But I didn’t like the rhymes, and then much, much better rhymes pulled the poem way from the mind and toward love (which is rooted in the intellect, in fact, but which our doomed, sentimental age thinks is just a passion, just part of the “heart”). Speaking of aspens and a stone cairn, the poem concludes,

Their roots are tangled in the deep,
Their weight is pressing all to one;
And that is less than we have done
Who, at another’s pain, will weep.

Jesus showed his humanity in that shortest verse in the Bible: “Jesus wept.” It is a great expression of our union with others. But I would not have us forget it is rooted first in the very act of knowing. For, knowing is a deeper thing in us than feeling.

2) We're coming up on the anniversary of the first poem in the Quarantine Notebook (March 15, 2020). Everyone has something to say about COVID-19 and the lockdowns, and yet nothing is so universal to everyone's experience of this pandemic as boredom. Why do we need more writing about COVID ennui, when we're all tired of it already?

That’s a question I asked myself when I began writing the poem. It is a two-month chronicle of the events when the virus first was known to be on our shores and everything shut down and went into quarantine. The poem ends when some of those restrictions began to lift, for us here in Pennsylvania at least, if not everywhere else.

Why would I try to give permanent form to something that people really may want to forget as soon as possible? After all, civilization at this point is one disaster after another, and we have to keep up! No lingering on the despised experiences of the recent past. The answer is kind of an easy one for me. I was already working on the shorter poems of The Strangeness of the Good, whose themes I mentioned above. The quarantine was, for me, in part at least just a camera lens. It enabled me to frame aspects of domestic life and the conspicuous features of our day in such a way that I could see them and see into them. The poem is certainly about the quarantine and what the virus has done to our already frayed society. But it is not just about that. That is, to my mind, the occasion that allowed me to explore a great, great number of dimensions of life and the world, the nature of things. You know, renaissance sonnets are always nominally about love, but they’re never really about love. Romantic love is the coat rack that enables the poet to hang something more on (and which in turn ends up indirectly illuminating the nature of love). There’s something of that—not quite, but almost—going on in the poem. I think it gives us a good history of those early months, but that is certainly not all that it is doing.

3) The quarantine poem "Epilogue: May 17, 2020," was composed just over a week before George Floyd died. Far from providing catharsis to anyone, the rioting that followed only made everyone hate each other more. Ditto to the riotous little Capitol incursion in January. I'd like to excerpt a long selection from that poem and ask you to comment on the simmering pot of violent hatred in America, and on what the poem is saying about it all:

Our public life has been so far debased
That all we've left are mobs of partisans
Who shout suspicions of conspiracies
Across the lashing waters that divide them.
For, only secret plotting could explain
The sickness, tyranny, or idiocy
That runs through everything and topples all.
In this, at least, the public's like the private,
Indeed, is one with it. The neighbors grousing
At kids who ride too close upon their bikes,
With face masks dangling; every moment, now,
Lies tense with shadows like the leaves of grass
Through which the robins dart their yellow beaks.
That is why Thales of Miletus cried,
All things are full of gods. We cannot help
But feel their meddling whims just out of sight,
That all appearances are by design,
As when a stagehand, couched behind the backcloth,
In momentary carelessness, will fumble
And drop a saber waiting for Act Two.
It shatters our absorption in the scene;
Or, rather, make us conscious of its form--
The accidental item, turn of phrase,
Or motion pitched above us in the sky,
All suddenly revealed as well-made pieces
Within a world that's cracked, yet full and deep,
And trying to tell us what to think of it.

It may seem a little eccentric on my part, but it is my conviction that the tendency to conspiracy-thinking in our day, and in any day, has a two-fold foundation. First, there are underhanded and vile persons who wield a lot of power in our society and so, well, sometimes conspiracies are real. But leave that aside. Second, it is just the way of the world that all things are deeply meaningful. They bear symbolic relations to all kinds of levels of meaning, including what God is trying to communicate to individual souls and to the world at large through his providence. With so much signification going all the way down into the heart of things, it was quite reasonable for the ancient philosopher Thales to proclaim that “all things are full of gods.” It is no less reasonable, in our time, for everything to seem suspicious, as if some puppet master is pulling the strings. If everything aims at some end, then we quite reasonably may ask whether it is God—or the Deep State. It’s definitely somebody! It just occurs to me that Chesterton says somewhere that, if he should see one long nosed, giant animal, he would find it remarkable; but when he discovers that there’s actually a whole species of elephants, well, then one begins to suspect a “plot”!

4) Leaving aside the new, and on to some older poetry of yours. As a companion to a new Mass setting, the Mass of the Americas, you wrote a booklet of poetry, "The River of the Immaculate Conception." It makes much of the Roman Catholic history of the exploration and settling of the frontier. Is this history anything more than a poetic and liturgical curiosity? What political meaning does it have, today? Are all those political cartoons of alligators wearing miters and swarming America true? Do papists want to make everyone kiss the pope's ring, by force if necessary?

As my last comment just suggested, everything is steeped not in meaning but meanings, signs. So, we should expect a poem to have several origins or levels or kinds of signification going on within it. One of those may be dismissed by others as a mere “curiosity”: I wanted to capture the vision of America that I acquired as a Michigander in Catholic school, and which in terms of my perceptions remains the proper and true vision of America. I think one can reject that vision and still appreciate the poems’ effort to record it. But Pope John Paul II, in Ecclesia in America, called for efforts to help Catholics in all the countries of the Americas to see their unity and their shared history. He specifically called for new lives of the American saints to be written. And so, I was aiding that effort in the three saints lives that compose parts of the poem. The poem as a whole, however, may be seen as a response to Whitman, Hart Crane, and Robert Frost, all of whom envisioned America as characterized by democracy, a pseudo-religious, ginned up enthusiasm for technocracy, and, finally, a kind of Lockean taking-possession. That’s not a great account of America because it’s not a great account of what we should live for and how we should live. Those poets are hitting on genuine sinews of the American character, for sure, but our tradition has other and richer resources and, as it happens, the history Catholic America can provide them.

I do love that Nash cartoon. The thing I appreciate, as a Catholic, about the anti-Catholic Know Nothings is that they understood a nation is an extended family, a culture or ethos, and a communion. They understood that the coming of Catholics to America would challenge and perhaps undermine the national character of Anglo-America as it had emerged in the previous two centuries. They were not wrong about their chief insight: Catholic immigration did change America. But they did not appreciate fully that Catholics were already here and had been for a long time. The idea of “America as a Catholic Country” that comes through in the poem is chiefly reflecting that older, broader history.

5) Of all your poetry, the two compositions that have imprinted themselves on me most are the narrative cycles in The Hanging God: one, a first-person account of a doomed and deluded romance with a stripper ("Wiped Out"), the other, "The Stations of the Cross." Despite the abyss separating their subject matter, these two sets of poems are powerful for the same reason--they both cut to the marrow of human foolishness and wickedness, whether it's the narrator of "Wiped Out" proudly (and naively) reporting that he's the first to make her moan, or the index of sin that's listed out in "XI. Jesus Is Nailed to the Cross" ("For we who meet in dark motels / To clasp a stranger to ourselves, / His palm split as they drove the nail... While I got drunk this afternoon, / A child's skull was torn from the womb, / Its cries rung in the hammered nail."). So which set of poems gets more raised eyebrows: "Wiped Out" from conservative Catholics, or "The Stations of the Cross" from jaded academics and critics?

That’s a question I’d like to know the answer to. The Hanging God was launched at First Things magazine’s annual poetry reading. In the audience was a distinguished historian of religion, who had read the book before the reading. I did not read from “Wiped Out” at that reading because, among other things, the launch was taking place inside a Church. Afterward, the historian asked what “Wiped Out” had to do with the rest of the book. Well, “Stations” and “Wiped Out” were written concurrently: started at about the same time, and then finished in subsequent summers. “Wiped Out” was such an engrossing plot to write that I could have gone on much longer, but the two poems were the pillars to support the whole book, and so they needed to have fourteen parts each, as that’s how many Stations there are (not including the Resurrection). I see “Wiped Out” as dramatizing the horror of our age, which is that we have sacrificed the mind for the will, and the will for our feelings, and our more ennobling feelings for the sake of our most petty, debased proclivities. We’ve shown ourselves willing to destroy everything for the sake of pursuing our desires. “Stations” takes up those observations but channels them into the sufferings of Christ and what the Passion means and does.

Now, what have the critics made of all this? The Hanging God was reviewed very widely for a second book of poems by a largely unknown poet. The reviews generally appeared in general interest magazines, rather than in the myriad minor literary journals where poets seem largely to be reading and speaking to each other to the exclusion of the general public. I’m grateful for that. I have tried to be the one poet people otherwise not terribly taken with poetry might know and read. I have tried to be that by writing poems that actually consider the great themes of human life and doing so with the verse forms of our tradition that are, in any case, the lifeblood of poetry. Most of the reviews were attentive to the connection between the two poems. They did not have difficulty discerning the connection between sin and redemption. In writing the “Stations,” I was trying to write a compelling but genuinely devotional poetry. I have received notes from people who actually read my poems as part of their prayers in Church, at Adoration, etc. So, I’ll say that was a success, even though I think later poems I wrote, such as “The Christmas Preface,” built upon the “Stations” and succeeded better as poems of devotion. I have also received sad notes from readers of “Wiped Out” who see something of themselves in that poor bastard chasing after a pathologically lying stripper until there’s nothing left to either of them but the raw grind of sex. That makes me a little embarrassed, of course, as it is just a story; I don’t know how to respond to the outpourings that have sometimes come from readers, which are so pained. I don’t know where to go from there. Most critics have accepted both poetic sequences. I will mention that Dana Gioia once said that “Wiped Out” was perhaps my best single poem. If so, I’m delighted. It was a searching, fascinating experience to write.

The Strangeness of the Good (Including Quarantine Notebook)

The River of the Immaculate Conception

The Hanging God

Links & Screeds

Untameable Native King

In this week’s essay I defend our allies against our enemy’s attacks. And you should too. Those who are for us, are not against us.

This brings into question the position that many progressive Christians and LeftCaths take. From their perspectives, increased liberalism is consistent with Christianity. 

And while they have some things in their favor, namely Jesus comes to free us of our bonds, our chains, to “set the captive free.” What they miss is that the freedom they advocate society embrace is not the same as the freedom found in Christ. Instead, these “liberations” shackle people (specifically the weak of will and poor) to endless addictions and choices that enslave them. 

They create monsters and call them free.

It’s the opposite of what they profess.

Reality militates against this mindset as do the Church Fathers. They embraced the baptizing of civilization by the church and its submission to the cross. The Desert Fathers saw the decadence of corrupt culture and removed themselves to the wilderness because the cities made the Christian life not just difficult, but impossible.

One wonders at what point the “liberal” Christian abandons Christianity for the sake of liberalism. There are even now churches committed to empowering “voices of the marginalized” by not allowing “privileged” members of their congregation to hold positions of authority. A Unitarian Church on a recent HBO psyop “Transhood,” celebrates the gender transitioning of a 5 year old (girl?). We already know that major mainline denominations have embraced gay marriage and even have openly gay pastoral leadership in spite of what appears to be direct supernatural disapproval.

At what point will these brothers and sisters in the faith acknowledge either that they are a true son or daughter of the Kingdom of Heaven, subject to the rule of Christ? And failing that, they acknowledge that they are a true son or daughter of the kingdom of liberalism and none shall be saved until all are fake/ghey.

Ulysses S. Musculus

Texas, and other states, are starting to open up and loosen the “mask mandates” and in response our Dear Leader has called the people of Texas neanderthals. The claim is that we should “trust the science” and allow for time until the vaccine (which we have enough of) gets into everyone’s arms. Biden in this image has juxtaposed his more human reign with that of the subhuman reign of Texas. Biden, in listing the number of COVID deaths which he hopes to end, is for life and Texas is for death.

Joe Biden is right. 

He is likely not aware of how right he is or why. The desire to be ruled by science, to have a science which governs mankind, by which man is fully known and interpreted, is in fact Biden’s image of politics. While many conservatives would at this point begin an argument about the science or “the data” I propose a different take. Let’s assume Biden has the right science and data. Can science govern politics?  Science is knowledge. Politics is deliberation about the form of our common life. Because the form of our common life can not be known in advance we can never have a science of politics. At least not in our current form. Thus Biden’s comparison of himself to Texas as that between human and inhuman is spot on. Only it is not that Biden is human and Texas subhuman, rather the reverse. Texas is attempting an answer at the difficult but ever pressing question of how to live together. Biden, in his appeal to science, claims that the questions are closed off because they are answered. He is claiming to be transhuman but it isn’t clear whether he assumes his subjects are Gods or beasts or bots. Biden’s attempt to bring an end to death does make him for life, but mere life. Someone ought to ask him his thoughts on assisted suicide. Texas in confronting the risk of death is not for death, nor for mere life, but attempting to determine the nature of the good life. 

The essential political question always before us is whether we will choose to be human. And, if so, how; what is true humanity? This is politics at its finest and every attempt to rhetorically wriggle out of it, or appeal to be at one with the higher authority over it, should be called out for the inhumanity it exposes in the soul.

Cassian Stylus

Another of America’s gravest ills has been cured. Apparently, Dr. Seuss was the culprit for the recent spate of violence against Asians. You see, he once drew a picture of a Chinese man “portrayed wearing a conical hat, holding chopsticks, and eating from a bowl.” Very racist!

Everyone’s favorite late-night midwit praised the decision to cease publication of the book in question: “It’s a responsible move... Imagine the impact these images have on readers, especially kids.” I don’t have to imagine because I’ve seen it with my own two eyes. After reading “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” to my children, they went out and disemboweled three Chinamen and ate their entrails as if they were chow mein.

I’m not one to lament cancel culture. I’m all for it, in fact, if only we could start cancelling the right things. The problem with this week’s cancellation is that Seuss’s Mulberry Street is harmless. The real target should be the demonic Green Eggs and Ham

The perversity of the tale should be clear to any clear-minded observer: an average Joe is pestered ceaselessly by the demented Sam-I-Am, who insists he eats what clearly no one should eat, green eggs and ham. Our natural reason and primordial instinct rebel against the insistence. Eggs ought not to be green. Everyone knows it. Ham ought not to be green. Everyone knows it. But through his relentless campaign, Sam-I-Am, that diabolical fucker, convinces the hero to “try” the vile filth. To do so, the hero must overcome his natural revulsion. In the end, evil triumphs over good as the hero thanks Sam-I-Am for his ceaseless efforts, for now he does so like green eggs and  ham. The unnatural is celebrated, the pervert receives praise. Contra Natura top to bottom!

It will surprise no one that in the sequel, the last remaining hold outs against the normalization of perverted habits are slaughtered.

Bedivere Bedrydant

James Poulos is fond of quoting Marshall McLuhan to the effect that art is a culture’s early warning system: Artists depict what is about to be born in a culture.

Does the writers’ room at Disney in the ‘90s count as an artistic warning system? It’s not very bespoke. But watching The Lion King in 2021 is… pretty based.

I am not a historian of the New Online Right, even though I’m a marginal member of it, so I can’t tell you where the language of “eating bugs” came from in the mantra: “I will not eat the bugs, I will not live in the pod.” I assume BAP played a role here, but I’m not sure if he coined it, or if someone else did—but it’s a meme, and origin is thus beside the point.

In any case, The Lion King got there first. After failson Simba is rescued from buzzards, he is introduced to a life that seems anything but life in a pod—there is freedom, friendship, and the sublime waterfalls of the African jungle. The first clue, though, that something is wrong, is that Simba doesn’t get to eat antelope anymore.

No more antelope: Eat bugs, Simba. 

(Remember that the concept of the “circle of life” is introduced in a conversation between Mufasa and Simba, where they specifically discuss the eating of antelope. Bug-eating, for Simba, means leaving his nature behind, hitting the “eject” button from the circle of life.)

But eating bugs is “slimy but satisfying.” Indeed, bug and pod life is satisfying, at least temporarily, which is how it lures its victims. No one chooses the Matrix; they choose free delivery on weed orders of $50 or more, and then, the Matrix chooses them.

While there are doubtless certain “objective criteria” that establish what “eating the bugs and living in the pod” consists in, such a life is above all a spiritual condition. And that is nowhere in the film better exemplified than in the use put to the phrase Tim Rice found in a Swahili phrasebook and wrote a song about, which Timon and Pumba use to convince Simba to eat the bugs: “Hakuna matata.” 

The creed of “no worries” and “the past is behind you” is good enough, so it seems, for the three volcels of the African jungle, at least until a lady (Nala) arrives. She takes one look at Simba and asks herself: “Why won't he be the king I know he is? / The king I see inside?”

This is the single task of women relative to making a man into a man: Refuse to love the little boy, and wait to love the man, no matter how alluring the mop of hair and carefree attitude are. Dido failed at this, which is why she was abandoned in Carthage. Even Nala doesn’t succeed on her own (she may very well have failed).

The transcendent is always lurking, threatening to break in on and smash to pieces the carefully built Star Wars Lego models of hedonistic boys everywhere. In a heavenly vision, Mufasa chastises his basement-dwelling son, and dispenses the purple pill: Cross the Rubicon, go back to Pride Rock, and secure the national border against the hyenas who have invaded the pridelands and ruined it.


Why do we have so many failson Simbas among us now? Look at the fathers. 

I’m afraid even Mufasa comes in for criticism, saintly as he may seem. After all, the corruptor of the young, the one who will kill the king and sleep with the queen, was there all along, among the royal court. Mufasa knew that Scar was a cancer—this is established at the very beginning of the movie, when Scar skips the presentation of the royal son and Mufasa confronts him but Scar just slinks off scot-free. 

The incel uncle who has “little secrets” with Simba and encourages his nephew’s childish fantasies about the adult world—does this not resemble in multiple respects the seemingly carefree attitude of the Boomers who preached hippie detachment but then mercilessly crushed their neighbors and impoverished their own children in order to try and secure for themselves the fountain of youth as well as the riches of El Dorado?

Elder brother Mufasa did not take this threat seriously—and he paid for it not only with his own life, but with the corruption of his only son and the degradation of his kingdom. In this, does he not resemble the other half of the Boomers, those conservatives who wring their hands at the decline of the country but then sadly conclude that nothing can really be done?

Perhaps they are right—nothing can be done, by them. But something can be done. The Lion King is a comedy, at the end of the day. Boys, lured by self-respecting women who demand something better than extended adolescence, stirred by the noble but flawed examples of their fathers, called to account by the heavens, and hit over the heads by Rafiki-like prophets and priests, can become men. Elton John says so.

Featured Article

Don’t shoot your friends. Someone please tell Rod Dreher; he never listens to me on Twitter.

Buffalo Hat Man Did Nothing Wrong

Scared residents along a 30 mile corridor huddled in their homes as the sounds of breaking glass, screeching tires, police sirens, and gunfire echoed around them. There were reports of criminals running into people’s homes fleeing law enforcement. I slept in my living room that night with my tools within arms reach while my wife and children slept in the back. We contemplated leaving to stay with family for the week.

Do I have to say it again? Buffalo Hat Man Did Nothing Wrong.