Track 1: “The Trenches.” Underscored by ambient whistling, rifle shots, and single notes struck on a piano, Brad Birzer’s voice fades in softly at first, repeating, and echoing over itself. He speaks C.S. Lewis’s description of his experience in World War I: “The frights, the cold, the smell of human excrement, the horribly crushed men still moving like crushed beetles…”
Then, cue an electric guitar intro, a chorus of “This is war!” and, finally, drop in some heavy metal drumming.
These are the opening lines and sounds of the progressive rock epic chronicling the meeting, developing relationship, and, ultimately, failed friendship between J.R.R Tolkien and Lewis. Birzer, professor of history, wrote this seven-track album, “The Bardic Depths,” in collaboration with progressive rock musician Dave Bandana.
— Read on hillsdalecollegian.com/2020/02/brad-birzer-writes-lyrics-for-progressive-rock-album/
To transcend or to break through this delusion of progress, a true scholar, Hulme continued, must attempt to see the gaps in both senses, recognizing them and allowing them to exist. In other words, much like Friedrich Hayek will proclaim with the “knowledge problem” several decades later, true scholars must be humble and be content with knowing what we do not know. The modernist, of course, hates ignorance more than anything else, and in his blind zeal to know all things, he will create “knowledge” where no knowledge is possible, thus truly derailing centuries upon centuries of fine work and of understanding of the human person. Ironically, in his hatred of religion, the modernist merely creates a new, shallow, and false religion. The modern, Hulme understood, is nothing short of a full-fledge Gnostic, ultimately seeing the universe as pre-determined, mechanistic, and absent of free will.
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2020/02/te-hulme-religious-attitude-bradley-birzer.html
The world must raise their voices and stand up for persecuted Christians, Hungarian State Secretary for the Aid of Persecuted Christians Tristan Azbej said on Thursday.
Azbej was one of eight speakers at a side-event of the National Prayer Breakfast that was sponsored by the organization Save the Persecuted Christians.
“All of humanity should stand up and come to the aid of persecuted Christians,” said Azbej.
— Read on catholicherald.co.uk/news/2020/02/07/hungarian-government-urges-defence-of-persecuted-christians/
Now, three decades after the fall of the Soviet Union, we have Red Storm Rising’s more than worthy successor, Red Metal, by Mark Greaney and Lt. Col. Hunter “Rip” Rawlings IV. While Lt. Rawlings is new to me, I have been reading Mr. Greaney’s novels for over a decade. He roared onto the literary scene during the revival of Tom Clancy co-authored books around 2010 and with his own extraordinary novel and hero (or anti-hero), The Grey Man, a year earlier. I have had the chance to praise Mr. Greaney several times, but never enough. Mr. Greaney is, in every way, our current and better Tom Clancy, taking thrillers into the twenty-first century. By this, I mean that Mr. Greaney fully understands that we live in a post-Communist world, a world of fundamentalisms as well as of nation-states and tenuous alliances. His own analysis of world affairs—though couched in fiction—is every bit as interesting as that coming out from any current periodical or think tank.
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2020/02/making-sense-chaotic-world-red-metal-bradley-birzer.html
We built only for the moment, not even for the future, as we eradicated the past.
The loss of manners, he especially decried, had coincided, necessarily, with the loss of beauty in society. Nowhere, it seemed, did anyone take decorum seriously—whether in one’s soul or one’s society. If order in one’s soul leads to order in the commonwealth, disorder in one’s soul leads to the disorder in the commonwealth. The totalitarians of the present age, Kirk feared, wanted to control not only the present, but also the past and the future as well. “The totalists say that the old order is a corpse, and that man and society must be fashioned afresh, in grim fashion, upon a grim plan,” he wrote.
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2020/01/russell-kirk-beauty-civilization-bradley-birzer.html
Enjoy the videos and music you love, upload original content, and share it all with friends, family, and the world on YouTube.
— Read on www.youtube.com/watch
So, what is it about that death that is so jarring? Clearly and critically, death comes to us all. Yet, the death of the great reminds us of, at least, two things. First, it reminds us all of our own immortality. Second, it prompts us to do our very best in all things, knowing that our time, too, is short and precious. Life, it seems, is neither for the timid nor for the casual.
Christopher Tolkien, Sir Roger Scruton, and Neil Peart, RIP.
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2020/01/oh-death-where-is-thy-bradley-birzer.html
We may have our successor to Fr. Schall in Brad Birzer, himself a near-legendary writer and professor at Hillsdale College. In Beyond Tenebrae, Birzer ranges widely across subjects and authors in defense of a truly human education. His style is similar to that of Schall as well: Birzer’s friendly, conversational writing brings you in, and his deep learning keeps you reading. It is as if you are hearing a friend talk about the great things he’s been reading and thinking about and wants you to share in the adventure. These essays are autobiographical as well as analytical, so we see both the power of the ideas and how they affected Birzer as reader, scholar, and person. These essays cover writers from Ray Bradbury to Shirley Jackson, Russell Kirk to Friedrich Hayek, Willa Cather to Walter Miller, and are filled with suggestions for further reading.
— Read on www.catholicworldreport.com/2020/01/21/beyond-tenebrae-is-a-robust-winsome-defense-of-christian-humanism/
On Wednesday, January 15, 2020, the holy host of the Valar (all 14 members of that august body) welcomed and praised Christopher Tolkien as he gently passed from this Middle-earth toward the Blessed Realm, with a quick stop in Tol Eressëa. It was yet one more grievous loss to us in early 2020, and one more celebrated in the Halls of Manwë. Christopher Tolkien had led an exemplary life, one of immense piety. He’d dedicated himself to his father in mythology, to his country in wartime, and to his civilization in crisis.
— Read on www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/now-residing-in-the-blessed-realm-christopher-tolkien-1924-2020/
Sixty minutes long, The Underfall Yard praises the gentle ingenuity and social order of the late Victorian and Edwardian periods in England. Almost utterly English in its tone and expression, the album captures the mythic soul of an era. With a fragile but virtuous invocation of an autumnal twilight of a culture, the album begins with the appearance of the evening star, always a sign of hope. But, through the hour of immersion, the listener visits fallen aristocrats, bygone brickworks, and decaying railways.
The song that is most profound in its lyrics is “Winchester Diver,” the true story of a man, William Walker, who spent years fixing the flooded area that was ruining the foundations of Winchester Cathedral. Spending hours at a time in darkness, sustained by an oxygen tank, the diver could hear the Mass celebrated above him while encountering what he assumed were visions of demons and hell below him. In this purgatorial moment, progressive rock reaches its height — a connection of the earth and the sky, the water and the land, heaven and hell. The human person, filled with integrity and determination, finds himself surrounded on all sides by adversity. In the end, though, he perseveres. The cathedral remains in form as well as in spirit.
The final song, the 23-minute “The Underfall Yard,” expresses the same longings as the rest of the album — the longings of progressive rock and, ultimately, of the human condition.
— Read on www.nationalreview.com/2012/05/different-kind-progressive-bradley-j-birzer/
When I got home that day, I took the cellophane off of the album, pulled it gently out of its sleeve, and then properly dusted each side of the album to avoid the unavoidable pops. Before playing the music, though, I studied the lyrics, the liner notes, and the sleeve photos. For some reason, the three members of the band—Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart—looked really old to me, but I heartily approved. If old people could make rock music, they must be ok! Little did I know, then, that Peart was only fifteen years old than me.
The needle on my turntable descended and that first massive chord opening “Tom Sawyer” thundered throughout the house. I was a devout follower of the band from that moment through today.
— Read on www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/a-homeric-life-neil-peart-1952-2020/
The flagship title of Artists, Writers & Artisans.
— Read on www.newsarama.com/48456-straczynski-deodato-launch-a-new-superhero-universe-in-the-resistance-1-first-look.html