Real Memorials: Patriotism not Jingoism ~ The Imaginative Conservative

Though I consider myself rather patriotic—especially to the West of Socrates and Augustine and to the America of Washington and Jefferson—I have often found public liturgies, such as Memorial Day, distasteful. There’s too much contrivance in them, and they always feel too “new and improved” and yet sterile even in their flashiness.

At an aesthetic level, who wouldn’t choose to wear black and pour a bottle of tequila on a grave on All Soul’s Day under a grim November sky rather than be mesmerized by the gaudy reds and blues displayed around blossoming spring flowers and under a glittering May sun?

Mea culpa, but death in this world is not a pretty thing, though many die well. Death should be somber, contemplative, and prayerful, not jingoistically and superficially triumphant. Our victory in death comes from He who died on a Hill of Skulls, not from the soldier of a nation-state.
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Measuring the Influence of Russell Kirk and Other Conservative Authors ~ The Imaginative Conservative

As noted on the slide itself, this slide compares and considers, arguably, the seven most influential male conservatives of the 20th century: Irving Babbitt; Friedrich Hayek; Christopher Dawson; Eric Voegelin; Leo Strauss; Russell Kirk; and Harry Jaffa. [As a sidenote, had I included Paul Elmer More, his reputation would have paralleled, almost exactly, Irving Babbitt’s, so I left it off for sake of clarity.] This chart makes several things clear. First, and most significantly, the most important conservative thinker of the century came at its beginning, not its end: Irving Babbitt. At his height, Babbitt soared above all others, and he experienced three peaks. Second, the most important conservative as of 2008, without compare, is Leo Strauss. Yet, interestingly, his reputation declined rather shockingly during the Clinton years, and only rebounded with the election of George W. Bush. Third, Christopher Dawson and, to a lesser extent, Eric Voegelin each enjoyed considerable and sustained popularity over decades.
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America’s Urban Nightmare: Gotham City ~ The Imaginative Conservative

To create a unique atmosphere for his Gotham City, Timm’s team drew all of Gotham on black paper. Traditionally, animators use white, allowing for light to flourish somewhat naturally. That Mr. Timm and company tried, for the first time, black paper was revolutionary in terms of technology and art, but also quite successful. Even the cleanest corners of Gotham possess a brooding darkness, perfect for the entrance of a Dark Knight.“There was an architectural visionary named Hugh Ferris, who did these elaborate, futuristic cityscape architectural renderings,” Mr. Timm explains. “They were just gorgeous—these massive deco buildings rendered very moodily. That was one of our prime influences on the look of Batman: The Animated Series.“[9] One of the most innovative things the Batman: The Animated Series did, in its first feature animated movie, The Mask of the Phantasm, was an opening, computer generated at the very beginning of the use of CGI in any film, of a camera slowly making its way in reverse through the Gotham skyline as the magisterial music of the tragically unsung but brilliant composer Shirley Walker plays.[10] Walker’s soundtrack employs music from the late classical to early romantic period while incorporating faux medieval chant. As bizarre as this combination sounds, it works beautifully, especially as the camera crosses the Gotham City skyline.[11] Nothing in the comics or the movies made, before or after, has done so much to demonstrate the sheer and inhumane scope and scale of Gotham.
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The Dynamic Duo: The Controversy Over Batman’s Creators ~ The Imaginative Conservative

While there is no excuse for Kane having lied in his 1965 open letter or for having fudged the truth in his 1989 autobiography, there is some defense of his using his name exclusively when dealing with Batman in publications. Sadly, such a muddled state of recognizing who created who and what was a central feature of the earliest comic superheroes. In a world of pseudonyms, artistic entrepreneurship, and personal studios, one person might well serve as the public name for three or four others. And, one person might even write under a variety of names, thus keeping interest in his work intense rather than overwhelming. Writers trying to make a career in New York City were legion because of the intense competition in the pulps as well as in the slicks (magazines), while good artists were relatively rare. New York, of course, housed innumerable fine artists and an equally uncountable number of commercial artists, but comics demanded artists who not only understood the limits and physics of the human (and extra-human) form, but who could produce a huge quantity of art with relatively acceptable and consistent quality. The same was even more true of editors, who more often than not served as vital figures in the creation and maintenance of publications. During the 1930s, strong editors made, thwarted, and broke writing careers. When Superman appeared, pulp editors were in a strong position, writers in a weak one, and artists in a new and precarious one.[23] While in a relatively good position to capitalize on the new super-hero comics market, pulp publishers, editors, and writers still had to create and then navigate the new market, one that demanded consistency.
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Not a Democracy ~ The Imaginative Conservative

How often has one read or watched the news, only to be told that America, as the leading democratic power, must do this or that because it is in the interest of all free peoples to promote democracy? Democracy has become so overused as to become a synonym for all that is good in the world, especially identified as rainbow-headed unicorns with the wings of a Pegasus, flying unhesitatingly from imagined world to imagined world, the latest one progressing ever more and more toward all that is holy. Democracy, it seems, is freedom, goodness, truth, dignity, and beauty.

This is the absurdity that now surrounds us. Honestly, the unicorns would be preferable. One only has to watch the tumultuous and tenebrous storms of emotion that brew and blow on Twitter to see how well the democratic impulse tends toward goodness.
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Did Political Parties Exist During the American Founding Era? ~ The Imaginative Conservative

Contrary to the vast majority of my fellow scholars of American history, I have never found the account of the creation of political parties in the Founding Era and Early Republic to be credible. I see very little evidence of anything that we would recognize as political parties before 1837… (essay by Bradley J. Birzer)
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BEYOND TENEBRAE: Forthcoming Book

I’m very excited to announce that I have a forthcoming book (sometime this fall) from Angelico Press.




(initial) table of contents if you’re interested:
PrefaceIntroduction: Beyond Tenebrae; Section I: Conserving Christian Humanism• Humanism: A Primer• Humanism: The Corruption of a Word• The Conservative Mind• Burke and Tocqueville• What to Conserve?• Conserving Humanism
Section II: Personalities and Groups• T.E. Hulme: First Conservative of the Twentieth Century• Irving Babbitt’s Longings• Irving Babbitt and the Buddha• The Christian Humanism of Paul Elmer More• The Order Men• Willa Cather• Canon B.I. Bell• The Conversion of Christopher Dawson• Christopher Dawson and the Liberal Arts• The Gray Eminence of Christopher Dawson• Nicholas Berdyaev’s Unorthodoxy• Theodor Haecker: Man of the West• The Inklings• Two Tolkiens, Not One• Sister Madeleva Wolff• Peacenik Prophet: Russell Kirk• St Russell of Mecosta• Eric Voegelin• Eric Voegelin’s Gnosticism• Eric Voegelin’s Order• Flannery O’Connor• Clyde Kilby• Friedrich Hayek’s Intellectual Lineage• Ray Bradbury at His End• Shirley Jackson’s Haunting• Wendelin E Basgall• Julitta Kuhn Basgall• Ronald Reagan’s Ten Words• The Optimism of Ronald Reagan• Walter Miller’s Augustinian Wasteland• Alexander Solzhenitsyn as Prophet• The Ferocity of Marvin O’Connell• The Good Humor of Ralph McInerny• The Beautiful Mess that is Margaret Atwood; Conclusion: Confusions and Hope

John William Corrington delivered “The Academic Revolution,” which is part memoir, as a lecture at Centenary College in 1969. In this talk, Corrington seeks to develop what he calls his “ontologies,” which he adopted in part while he… Read More

John William Corrington on the Academic Revolution — The Literary Lawyer: A Forum for the Legal and Literary Communities

Science Fiction and Fantasy, once despised by the creators of popular entertainment as well as literary scholars, have not only risen in the eyes of serious students of literature but among the general public. What accounts for this… Read More

The Pioneers of Pulp — M.C. Tuggle, Writer

David Deavel’s Latest

Catholic Vision class in Stizmann Hall

Dr. DD, teaching at UST.

My awesome friend, David Deavel, has been writing like a mad man (look at that sartorial color scheme for proof!).  Here are the results of his scary brilliance.  Enjoy!


First, a couple of Q & A columns for the Catholic Servant: one on the “usefulness” of the elderly in the life of the Church and one on the 5 precepts of the Catholic Church (attached).

Second, the summer and fall prefaces to Logos:  the summer a biographical sketch of the late Don Briel, founder of Catholic Studies (   and the fall concerning Thomists and the environment, in which I look closely at my colleague Chris Thompson’s new book, The Joyful Mystery: Field Notes Toward a Green Thomism.

Third, a column in Gilbert magazine wherein I sketch the life and work of the now forgotten celebrity man of letters William Lyon Phelps (attached).

Fourth, my recently published lecture on Blessed Newman’s Feast Day wherein I talk about a Newmanian way to approach crisis in the Church.

Finally, if you prefer going to sleep to the sound of my voice rather than the sight of my prose, here’s the podcast of my latest guest appearance on Indianapolis Catholic Radio’s Catholic Cave show—“The Future of Christendom,” where I talk about my article and the situation of the Church today.

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