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Friday, May 30, 2014

The Martyrs Were Suckers

      Being a martyr is an extremely unwelcome thing today.  Estase remembers a discussion in a history seminar about resisting Hitler.  One student said something along the lines of "But they had to participate in the Holocaust.  They would have been killed if they didn't."  Estase responded that the worst the Nazis could have done to a resistor is kill them.  "But they couldn't do that!," was the response.  Several students seemed to believe that there was a broad category of things you could be "forced" to do.  Estase responded that the only things a person had to do were be born and die.  He also said that it would be far better morally to be killed for refusing to cooperate with genocide instead of going along with genocide and then being executed for it.  In one case you would die with a clean conscience, and the other you would die with a guilty conscience.  By this line of reasoning, the early Christian martyrs did the wrong thing by dying rather than worshipping Roman idols.
       Estase does not have a Twitter account, and the reason why is that it facilitates superficial snippets and these snippets all too often are sarcastic and abusive.  One person on Twitter, going under the name of KeKe Dat Bitch, unfavorably compared Martin Luther King to Nikki Minaj.  This girl said that MLK was a criminal (owing to his incarceration), and Nikki has her own clothing line! (Oooh!)  When a rap star who made millions for negligible work is regarded as better than someone who risked his life repeatedly seeking equitable treatment for black people, there is something very rotten in Denmark.  It is yet another sign that martyrdom is an unpopular vocation today.
       Others on Twitter include Catholic Bishop John Wester, who tweeted that it would be wonderful if people first thought of Catholics as "joyful."  Bishop Wester is on record for saying that the problem with Obamacare was that it didn't include illegal aliens.  It is people like John Wester in the Catholic Church that are most averse to martyrdom.  Why, Saint Stephen made a colossal mistake!  The reason he was stoned was no doubt that he failed to exude enough joy!  The Catholic Health Association in Scranton supported Obamacare even as they knew it would drive them out of business.  If this is martyrdom, and not a conscious decision that Catholics shouldn't run hospitals, this is for the reader to decide.  One may follow KeKe, and say that becoming rap stars with a clothing line is far preferable to being a nun in today's world.  Or, like Bishop Wester, they might conclude that the only job of a nun is to be "joyful."  At any rate, don't make a fuss.  Do like the University of Notre Dame, and have Obama come tell your graduates that Catholicism isn't a satisfactory system of belief for young people.  The martyrs, after all, were suckers.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Partisanship and Limiting Power

      The following is from Cato's Letters #57:
       The honour of a party is to adhere to one another, right or wrong;  and though their chief be a knave and a traitor, their honour is engaged to be honest to him in all his rogueries and treason.  And this is a war of honour against honesty.
       The honour and bona fide of some princes have been of that odd and unprincely contexture, that they were never once restrained by the same, from decieving, plaguing, invading, robbing, and usurping upon their neighbours, and doing things which would have entitled a plain subject to the gibbet.  Their honour seems to have been deeply concerned to have no honour:  And though their faith was engaged to protect their subjects;  yet their honour, on the other side, was engaged to pillage and enslave them.  And here grew the royal war of honour against faith and equity!

These excerpts are from Cato's Letters #60:

       The experience of every age convinces us, that we must not judge of men by what they ought to do, but by what they will do;  and all history affords but few instances of men trusted with great power without abusin it, when with security they could.  The servants of society, that is to say, its magistrates, did almost universally serve it by seizing it, selling it, or plundering it;  especially when they were left by the society unlimited as to their duty and wages.  In that case these faithful stewards generally took all;  and, being servants, made slaves of their masters. .  .  .The only secret therefore in forming a free government, is to make the interests of the governors and of the governed the same, as far as human policy can contrive.  Liberty cannot be preserved any other way.  Men have long found, from the weakness and depravity of themselves and one another, that most men will act for interest against duty, as often as they dare.  So that to engage them to their duty, interest must be linked to the observance of it, and danger to the breach of it.  Personal advantages and security, must be the rewards of duty and obedience;  and disgrace, torture, and death, the punishment of treachery and corruption.

Kasab Taburu (Butcher Brigade), Part Seventeen

       "Ravished Armenia was based on the survivor account of an Armenian girl, Arshalois (meaning 'morning light') Mardigian, who in the United States had changed her name to Aurora Mardiganian.  Aurora had arrived at Ellis Island in November 1917, a sixteen-year- old with one surviving brother, for whom she was searching in the United States.  In New York City she was taken in by an Armenian family who placed ads in the papers to help her search.  The advertisements caught the eye of several journalists at the New York Sun and the New York Tribune, who interviewed Aurora and published her story.
       When Harvey Gates, a twenty-four-year-old screenwriter who would become known for If I Had a Million(1932), The Werewolf of London(1935), and The Courageous Dr. Christian(1939)--read about Aurora, he was both deeply moved and saw a unique opportunity.  He and his wife, Eleanor, persuaded Nora Waln, Aurora's guardian, that the girl should abandon her plans to work in a dress factory and pursue a career in the movies.  They soon became Aurora's legal guardians and transcribed her story, which was published as Ravished Armenia in the United States in 1918 (and as Auction of Souls in England in 1919).  The book came with a preface and testimony by H.L. Gates, the president of Robert College in Constantinople, and Nora Waln, who verified the truth of Aurora's story.  While the book sold well, its more sensational venue would be the big screen.
       Ravished Armenia was an epic story and a first in film history, bringing genocide to the screen.  Aurora's story begins in April 1915 in the city of Tchmesh-Gedzak (Chemeshgadzak), a town just north of the twin cities of Harput and Mezre in what Leslie Davis had recently called 'the slaughterhouse province' of Harput.  From her comfortable, affluent home (her father was a banker), Aurora is arrested and then abducted by Turkish gendarmes and thrust into a ghoulish world of massacre and violence.  As she describes the death marches across Anatolia, Ravished Armenia depicts the story of what Ambassador Morgenthau had already called 'the murder of a nation.'
       Col. William N. Selig, a pioneering producer from the 1890's, bought the film rights to Aurora's story, and Oscar Apfel, who had recently directed The Squaw Man with Cecil B. DeMille, was signed on as director.  Irving Cummings and Anna Q. Nilsson, well-known movie actors of their day, were signed to leading roles.  Just as President Wilson was heading to Paris for the Peace Conference, Gates was bringing Aurora Mardignian to Los Angeles to act in her own story at $15 a week.  'They said $15 was a lot of money,' and 'I was naive,' Aurora said, looking back at her life.  At the Selig studios in Santa Monica, Ravished Armenia was made in less than a month, with death march scenes filmed on the beach near Santa Monica and Mt. Baldy standing in for Mt. Ararat.
       Aurora barely spoke English and knew nothing about the world of cinema.  On the set, when she saw actors in red fezzes, she fell into terror.  'I thought they were going to give me to the Turks to finish my life,' she said, breaking down in the middle of the scene.  It took Eleanor Gates's consoling and explanations to assure Aurora that the actors were not Turks but Americans playing their roles, and that they would not harm her.  Today we would call Aurora's response post-traumatic shock.
       Having experienced the deaths of her mother, father, brother, and sisters at the hands of the Turks, she was left alone to endure and witness torture, mass rapes, the crucifixion of women, the sale of women into slavery and harems, and the notorious 'game of swords' in which girls and women were thrown by the chetes and gendarmes from horses and impaled on swords that were set blade-up in the ground.  As film critic Anthony Slide put it, no matter how hard both the book and the film tried to portray the violence Aurora experienced and witnessed, they were both 'relatively sanitized versions of what [she] actually suffered and witnessed.'
       When Aurora saw Apfel's version of the Armenian women being crucified on large, well-constructed crosses with their long hair covering their nude bodies, she told the director, 'The Turks didn't make their crosses like that.  The Turks made little pointed crosses.  They took the clothes off the girls.  They made them bend down.  And after raping them, they made them sit on the pointed wood, through the vagina.  That's the way they killed--the Turks.  Americans have made it a more civilized way.  They can't show such terrible things.'  Aurora then told Apfel and the others how her pregnant aunt, who was trying to protect her two-year-old son, was killed.  'The Turks, they took a knife and cut open her abdomen.  They said, this is how we are going to end all you people.  They pulled out a fetus from her.  Put it on a stone.  They took the end of the gun that they had, which was heavy, and started to pound and pound and pound her baby.'"  The Burning Tigris by Peter Balakian, pgs. 313-315.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

The Fifth Column: Why Common Core Sucks

The Fifth Column: Why Common Core Sucks

Public Thievery

     The following is from Cato's Letters #22:

     That no man who is not a thief, will be an advocate for a thief;  that rogues are best protected by their fellows;  and that the strongest motive which any man can have for saving another from the gallows, is the fear of the same punishment for the same crimes:  And though these, and a thousand other such unwarrantable imputations, ought not, and have not made the least impression upon one conscious of his own virtue;  yet it is every man's duty, as well as interest, to remove the most distant causes of suspicion from himself, when he can do it consistent with his publick duty;  and therefore we are equally sure of this great man's endeavours too for bringing over Mr. {Robert} Knight.

       And the following is from #29 of the same:

     Let us hang up publick rogues, as well as punish private blasphemers.  The observance of religion, and the neglect of justice, are contradictions.  Let any man ask himself, whether a nation is more hurt by a few giddy, unthinking, young wretches, talking madly in their drink;  or by open, deliberate, and publick depredations committed by a junto of veteran knaves, who add to the injury, and their own guilt, by a shew of gravity, and a canting pretence to religion?  The late directors all pretended to be good Christians.  I would ask one question more;  namely, whether it had not been better for England, that the late directors, and their masters, had spent their nights and their days in the Hell Fire Club, than in contriving and executing execrable schemes to ruin England?  Pray, which of the two is your greater enemy, he who robs you of all that you have, but neither curses nor swears at you;  or he who only curses you or himself, and takes nothing from you?

Flake the Flake

       It is no surprise when Congressional Democrats praise a anarchist-feminist rock band who desecrated an Orthodox church.  But Arizona Republican Jeff Flake joined in praising the group Pussy Riot!
       One must ask if Congressman Flake supports the desecration of American churches?  Is it the highest flowering of Western culture to make lesbian rock music in a church?
Will Republicans move to victory in the 2016 election cycle by tapping into the angry feminist vote?  The Primrose League strikes again!

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Crap Is King

       Dude, it was two years ago!
        Like, it was so about "The Innocence of the Muslims!"
        I mean, people are so over Benghazi!
        Like, what are you totally partisan?
        Obama is an amazing leader!!

       Not only is our intelligence being completely insulted, but our language is being dragged into the gutter by half-literates.  No wonder Common Core is so important to the left.  Students need to have all taste for good writing destroyed, so that Bertholt Brecht is preferred over Shakespeare or Goethe. 

Update: The week of May 12th, Harvard University is scheduled to hold a Satanic Black Mass. This is what "the best and brightest" of the Ivy League are up to.  Anyone need any more evidence that colleges are becoming repositories of insanity?