Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Leo Strauss, Born September 20, 1899

"The flight to immortality requires an extreme discretion in the selection of one's luggage." (Persecution and the Art of Writing)

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Way Who Sees It?

The Bourgeois Wife informed me of Starbucks' "The Way I See It" campaign. The campaign consists of putting quotations on the side of their coffee cups. Starbucks says the quotations are meant to start conversations. Many conservatives are up in arms about some of the examples, which include the following from Armistead Maupin, a gay author commenting on why he didn't come out sooner:

I surrendered my youth to the people I feared when I could have been out there loving someone. Don't make that mistake yourself. Life's too damn short.

(See A Certain Slant of Light for more details.)

I think before we give ourselves over to outrage or boycott, it would be necessary to look at the list of people quoted, which Starbucks lists on their website. (It would also be nice to see an explanation of why certain quotations were chosen.) Starbucks says it was "it was hoping to inspire old-fashioned coffee-house conversations" by the campaign; so one quotation does not an agenda make.

The list of contributors includes Jonah Goldberg and Michael Medved, which means that there is a conservative voice in the campaign. In fact, Goldberg is featured on the "The Way I See It" portion of Starbucks' website.

So we have the quotation from Maupin; we have a quotation from Goldberg. (There's also one from John Wooden, but it's not listed. Does anyone know what it is?) In this context, giving a quotation from Maupin about how he wished he'd been more confident being gay doesn't seem to be promoting an agenda. It actually seems to be a good conversation starter: "Do you think Maupin is doing something wrong by being gay? Is it simply a 'lifestyle decision' which everyone should agree is okay?" Etc. etc. etc. Now, of course, we probably won't see a quotation by a former homosexual saying "All that time I spent being gay when I wanted to be straight was a waste; don't let peer pressure keep you gay"; so if you think such a quotation is necessary to balance Maupin's, then you probably won't be satisfied with Starbucks' campaign.

But as long as the opinion expressed by a quotation is taken to start the conversation and not to settle the issue, then I don't see a problem.

I'm making this judgment based on the Starbucks website, but the campaign doesn't seem biased. Of course, someone will probably develop a conspiracy theory discovering that more coffee cups are produced with liberal quotations than with conservative. Until there's proof of that, I'll keep drinking coffee from Starbucks.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Michigan Hands It to the Irish

Stupid Michigan.

But this is how they started last year. Lost to N---- D---. Won a lot of games. Lost to O--- S----. (Certain names should not be uttered.)

UPDATE: This certainly removes a little of the sting.

Friday, September 09, 2005

You've Gotta Hand It to the Irish

Newt Emerson. Irish Times. On Katrina. Thanks to Slugger O'Toole the article is now posted for general consumption.


My favorite lines:

As the full horror of this sinks in, thousands of desperate columnist are asking how a civilised city can descend into anarchy.

The answer is that only a civilised city can descend into anarchy.

HT: Hugh / Instapundit

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Something that should be said ...

Already I feel strange writing about this, but I'm inspired by the openness of Jonathans Health Bar. Have you ever had a conversation with a male friend about birth control and pregnancy? Of course not, but maybe you should have. Maybe at least with Dad. Perhaps you will say that conversation should occur off the record and behind closed doors, but you're reading the blog of a married man, and I am no longer afraid.

I am going to try to present this in a non-polemical way. Of all the couples Rose and I know from growing up, college, etc., there are less than half a dozen who even think partly like we do. So, I'm not trying to win any arguments. I simply think people should know about these things and think about the implications of what they do. If after that you still disagree, that is fine and lets go have a beer.

A thought for consideration: until 1930 every Christian church condemned the use of artificial methods of birth control or "child spacing." That is not an argument, though it is often brought up by those in favor of natural methods (or no methods) as such. It should simply make you wonder why and how it came to be universally accepted so quickly. Forms of sterilization have existed since ancient times, so though we are unique in the ease of access, use and effectiveness, modern man is not the first to encounter this issue.

More thoughts for consideration:
Read the labels on the pill. Every chemical birth control method has major side effects for someone, and those side effects are nasty, and studies are beginning to wonder if they do not make you universally more prone to certain cancers. No one seems to really know yet. Are you sure you want to rick THAT in your system, or your spouse's system, even if it doesn't seem to be having any effect?

A woman's hormonal cycle is a huge part of her psyche. One of the most common problems with chemical controls is that it makes women depressed. How many women fight that and don't say anything ... or don't stop to realize what is going on?

According to studies, the only 99% effective methods are pill, IUD and Natural Family Planning style natural method. All of these are really more like 100% when used correctly (note that the NFP method is effective because it combines all of the methods of naturally identifying the fertility cycle, thereby leaving no room for question).

Natural Family Planning requires the participation of both people. It is a beautiful thing to really understand the natural cycle of your wife's body and to let your love life reflect that (I'm not only talking about sex). It also helps a husband who is not naturally sensitive to the fluxes in a woman's emotions have some data to work with.

In terms of life philosophy, Rose and I obviously hold to using invasive or chemical measures as an absolutely last recourse, when any natural method does not work. People react to this is as anywhere from silly to immoral, but mostly that it is not worth the time and effort. Natural methods have an effect on your life. Labor and childbirth are really, well, laborious. You don't get to have sex like a playboy. You don't get shots just because everyone else is. You don't eat just because you have a craving. But a life lived out intentionally, sacrificially, is a life well lived.

So, whether you are male or female, married or single, I encourage you to consider this issue, educate yourself (which can on a basic level be done with the help of nothing but Google), and do so before these choices are forced upon you, because you certainely won't know what to think when The Event (whatever that may be) is upon you.

That actually wasn't so bad.