What does a happy marriage look like? That’s easy: It looks like a man in charge.
Marriage is the man’s relationship from the outset, and it fails, when it does, when he stops wanting it enough to drive it.
Repeat that: The marriage is the man’s relationship. He makes contact. He forms the affiliation. He pushes the frontiers. He closes the deal.
Do you dispute this? He was in charge of the relationship from the beginning. He initiated it. He nurtured it. He pursued it. He escalated it. And he put the ring on it. Is any of that untrue?
He is the leader of that marriage, and he is the only leader of that marriage, because the relationship exists only because he quite literally made it happen.
There’s more: As a matter of ontology – as the practical expression of our biologically-engendred sex differences – in a male-female relationship, the male will be dominant. Not dictatorial, just the moral leader of that little polis, that family.
This will be the case even after he has ‘checked out’ – seemingly abdicated on his leadership role – because while he can lead her, she cannot lead him: He will not yield to her dominance.
There’s Continue reading
If a lion can stalk the earth as lord of all he surveys, why can’t you?
While our Christian friends are celebrating Easter, let’s talk about resurrecting the god you’ve been trying and failing to crucify since you were a child…
I don’t love the idea of self-sacrifice in Christianity, but I am all over the idea of redemption-writ-large, by which I mean secular redemption, redeeming your life while you’re still alive to reap the benefits.
And: Who do you know of – anyone, anywhere – who talks about redemption for the living as an attainable ecstasy? That’s why you should be listening to me.
Clearly I’ve hit a nerve in my discussions of a more-ideal kind of “conservative” art: People are dumbstruck, to all appearances, their minds captured whole, limbs transfixed mid-gesture in a riveting silence.
This must be so, because it cannot be the case that I am the only person who worries that not figuring out how to do what you’re setting out to do may be worse than an error. Poetry is leadership. By not thinking about where your poetry is leading your audience, you might be making things worse!
Even so, who am I to tell you what’s “good art”?
In this context, “good art” means polemically effective art, art that will lead people in the the direction of egoism, individualism, capitalism – lead them into the middle class.
De gustibus non disputandum est, yes, but results are measurable. Ars gratia artis? Anything goes. Ars gratia libertatis? (Art for the sake of freedom?) Some maps will be demonstrably better than others. That’s what I’ve been trying to talk about since August of last year. If you want to get up to Continue reading
Unless you have a boat of your own, there is no liberty on an island…
It’s late in the day. You’re hot, tired, cranky. Up ahead on the right there’s a Dairy Queen, and for every reason you should not go there, there is one simple objection: You really feel the need for a little indulgence.
So you pull into the drive-thru. And you wait. And wait. And wait. And the kid running the joint can’t take your order with any competence. Nor can he assemble it correctly. Nor can he make change. And, of course, no one under the age of 25 can even conceive of using a napkin while eating.
What should have been a treat has turned into a huge disappointment. A waste of time and a waste of money but still worse a waste of your serenity and a total loss on your investment in anticipated joy. This is the DQ experience, all but uniformly, a triumph of anti-marketing: Eager, avid patrons are turned into lifelong enemies one botched transaction at a time.
This is kinda like my experience with Liberty Island Magazine, a brand new literary magazine devoted to “conservative” art, with “conservative” rendered in scare Continue reading
A Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Willie story
I walk and I watch or I stand still and I watch, or, at the airport, I sit and I watch. My own flight was delayed by storms back East, and I’d had plenty of time to watch Timmy’s daddy pacing back and forth, his hands roaming everywhere, checking his beat-up old watch, checking the status board, sitting down, standing up, chewing stick after stick of gum. He looked like a man awaiting the delivery of a child. When Timmy approached him from the jetway, I realized he was.
“It’s Tim,” said the boy, almost a man. He was about fifteen, tall and skinny, all bones and sinew, not an ounce of meat on him. He wore a jeans jacket with the sleeves torn off at the shoulders and, beneath it, Continue reading
1. Liberty Island Magazine is having a writing contest, kinda like an amateur contortionist’s exhibition. That much interests me not at all. Casual writing is not that much different from casual sex, in my estimation, hugely likely to cost more than it’s worth and not to my liking in any case. But, while the idea Liberty Island is promoting is dumb and counter-productive and wasteful of whatever talents the entrants might have, I have an idea for a much more substantial, beneficial writing contest.
2. Speaking not of farce or satire but of the plot structure in which events move from worse to better because the hero learns, deploys and masters new ideas, comedy is the only art that will redeem Western Civilization. In that light, I see Liberty Island’s means as being opposed to its ends. Conservatives and libertarians will only get what they want when many more people live up to middle-class ideals and values, hence the only art that can Continue reading
This is egoism in action, remaking your world the way you want it.
The video illustrates pellucidly why the idea of agape as self-sacrifice is incorrect. The love expressed this way is entirely egoistic: I am rearranging the universe to more closely reflect my values. This is the way I want things to be.
I love the way it shows things changing over time, too. That’s good art. This is the comedic form at its finest, redemption as new ideas are cultivated through time.
Fine print: Stipulating that what you’re doing is actually good and that you’re not betraying your own interests in someone else’s behalf, this kind of thing can be a self-loving expression of benevolence. I think the video dances that line perfectly: I’m doing the right thing by particular people (and animals) I know and trust to do the right thing in their turn. Fully-conscious benevolence is potentially an everybody-wins transaction. Dial back either consciousness or benevolence, not so much. As with everything else, it’s the motive of the actor that matters. But I really love the idea of each one of us husbanding a better world for himself. Big things are made of little things over time.
I think it’s a Continue reading