Hannah and Papa J

Hannah and Papa J

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

On wudu

Dear Hannah,

The concept of breaking wudu is a singular development of the Muslim religion.  It may be defined as follows.
Wudu, or ablution, is both a traditional ritual and a practical means by which Muslims seek to maintain good physical and spiritual hygiene. Traditionally, Wudu refers to the mental preparation and physical cleanliness of Muslims for the Salat (prayer), one of the Five Pillars of Islam

Friday, April 28, 2017

An objection to the hatred of socialists

Dear Hannah,

An old college friend of mine (and it must be confessed a Russian) has objected to a statement in my last essay that every good man ought to hate a socialist.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

First they came for the Nazis

Dear son,

It's remarkable that the poem First They Came begins "first they came for the socialists" because the socialists came first, and they came for everyone else.  They didn't even come for the Jews first.  In fact, an unGodly number of the socialists in Russia at the time of the Revolution were Jews, and the socialists in Russia came for whoever they wanted.

Friday, April 14, 2017

The question of saving Syrian children

Dear Hannah,

I think any American at this point who has seen the videos of Syrian children getting gassed by Assad -- any of us who have any tendency towards reflection -- has been led to ask what exactly his feelings are for.  We know that every feeling has a purpose; and that, like faith, they were given to us for action.  As such, we look inside ourselves and thank God we are morally alive and feel something for the children; but this leads us to another more uncomfortable question.  It leads us to wonder whether it is colder to feel something and do nothing than to simply feel nothing.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Tomi Lahren vs Moses: a contest in barbarity

Dear Hannah,

Wisdom is a judicious balancing of pros and cons, and the controversy over abortion isn't an exception to the rule. My reasoning against abortions is that I've seen too many pictures of aborted babies. My reasoning in favor of abortion is that I've been acquainted with too many unaborted adults.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Pop music versus the hipsters

Dear Hannah,

Our honest prayer was that we would return to the days when our artists were ugly, and God and the record labels saw fit to give us Lil' Yachty.  This was not at all what we meant.

Monday, April 3, 2017

How to be a terrible Mexican

Dear Hannah,

Now that the Archdiocese of Mexico City has told us that any Mexican helping build the wall is a traitor, we are left wondering exactly what they mean.  It has yet to be shown how many filthy Godless wasted Americans waltz through the doors of the current one every year to terrorize Tijuana; and it seems that if anyone could benefit from better border controls it would be the Mexicans.  We get many of their workers.  They get many of our frat boys.  You can easily conceive who's getting the worse end of this deal.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Absalom

Dear Hannah,

The Ethiopians are a very peculiar people.  Hidden away on the eastern half of Africa, they do not have a history of slavery in the Americas, and of all the different kinds of black Africans appear the least foreign to us.  Their features are in many cases sharp as the European's, and provide a stark contrast to the Africans of The Ivory Coast and the Congo.  Here you will see no flattened noses or giant lips; and their skin appears almost bright compared with the midnight blackness of the people of Sudan.  My opinion is that their women are the prettiest of black Africans; and what they surpass in all their neighbors with the beauty of the face, they double in terms of form with a thickness in the rear*.  Their only rivals on the continent are the Arabs of North Africa.  The same compliment of looks cannot be paid to their men.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Dreaming of right-wing women

Dear Hannah,

I don't believe (whatever Paul and Schopenhauer said) that women in general are stupid, but I don't believe the rumor's existence is entirely the fault of our men. The women seem to have brought it on themselves.  If all our men were to start calling our women ugly nobody would believe it, mostly because there is nothing more true than that women are one of the only things we stare at so desperately that some of us end up in jail.  But even if men tried spreading the lie, the truth of an assertion lies not in its totality but in its probability.   Too many women are beautiful for us to call them ugly.  We might even say the concept of beauty revolves around women*.  But are too many women intelligent for us to say they aren't stupid?

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

So are we going to keep Milo?

Dear Son,

I have never had sex with a man, and I mean this in the least Bill-Clintony way possible.  But I have gotten lots of attention from men, and the most of it came when I was around the age of 17.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

The case for racist English classes

Dear Hannah,

There's a very easy way to make sure your going to judge me, and I have already done it.  It all lies in the "your."  The difference between "your" and "you're" is simple, but the fact that I've mistaken it isn't.  It hints at all kinds of things; at whether I'm sloppy or hurried or stupid or ignorant; it makes you wonder if I have ever passed the fourth grade and whether I've learned anything after it.  Who is the writer? you ask, and rightly.  If Jesus said not to judge (whatever that means) He also said that those who can be trusted with much must first be trusted with little; and I have intentionally shown you what happens when someone cannot be trusted.  Simply put, he gets judged without mercy.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

The perils of parenthood

Dear Hannah,

Nothing can really prepare you for the feeling that you have ruined your child.  You simply have to feel it.  No amount of warning or observation will do.  You will not understand years of watching your parents apologize over the tiniest and most trivial most forgotten mistakes they made when you were four until you have made mistakes with your four-year-old that you just can't forget.  They'll just hit you one day like a bucket of bricks, and there will be nothing you can do to get over them.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

On bums

Dear Hannah,

Protestants (and especially Calvinists) enjoy telling us that we're all bums to God.  They have no other way of making us understand how far below Him we are morally, so they have to find a way to make us think of someone who is morally far below us.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Superbowl 51

Dear Hannah,

The really remarkable thing about the Superbowl is that it is the most lucrative football game in the US and the one that Americans are the least interested in.  30 teams have already played and lost; and all the irrational localist jingoism that pervades the average football game has already been spent on the other teams.  The most that most of us can say about the Superbowl is that we pick a team that we "hate" the least, and the team we hate the least is hated least because they probably never had a rivalry with the team we love the most.  The whole thing is an exercise in wankery, the last dregs of a season Americans began in hope and excitement, eventually petering out in a whirlwind of disappointment, and carried on simply because there weren't any other games left to watch.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Daylight saving time and its detractors

Dear Hannah,

Because daylight saving time is around the corner we can expect to hear that tired old joke from that useless old Indian:
‘Only a white man would believe that you could cut a foot off the top of a blanket and sew it to the bottom of a blanket and have a longer blanket.’

Sunday, January 22, 2017

We're pregnant

Dear Hannah,

Yesterday I met a man who was celebrating a pregnancy, and when I asked him if the baby was his and he pointed at a man and said "we're pregnant," I laughed and then congratulated him.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

What was Aleppo?

Dear Hannah,

To my knowledge nobody I know knows of the meaning of Aleppo.  We know that it is in Syria.  Know that Assad has been bombing it.  We know that it is what the women are referring to as "a humanitarian crisis," and what the men are referring to as "a point of strategic importance."  Nobody has told me why the Syrians are more important than the thousands of women and children being butchered by drug lords in Mexico; or why Assad is more threatening to us than said drug lords in Mexico; or why the people are being bombed in Aleppo in the first place; or why Assad is a bad guy and the rebels are good.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Westworld: a review

Dear Hannah,

HBO's first season of Westworld has the honor of being so good that we are worried it will continue; and in doing so joins a series of series that would have been better if they'd left them unfinished.  The first series I remember starting this well was The Matrix, followed by two sequels that gave us more of the story but none of the magic; followed by things like The Hunger Games which eventually gave us a solution when what we actually wanted was more of the problem.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Carrie Fisher, world class beauty

Dear Hannah,

There is one thing shared in common by everyone who says that Carrie Fisher should be remembered for her brains, and that is that none of them will be remembered for their brains.  That she was beautiful is beyond dispute; and she will be remembered as long as Star Wars is still selling and Slave Leia is warping our sexuality.  What she will not be remembered for is her activism or her attitude.  We could have hired any woman to scold Harrison Ford across a decade; that is the thing known as marriage.  But the glory of doing it and still having us want her belongs to her face.  And secondly it belongs to her wearing a metal bikini.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Baby, it's cold outside

Dear Hannah,

One thing that seems to have escaped feminists' notice in the controversy over Baby, it's cold outside is that the song is a duet.  Perhaps never in the history of rape or music or music about raping people has anyone ever toured with their rapist for the express purpose of singing about being raped.  And this is for two reasons.  The first is that singing about it would be painful for the woman; and the second is that it would be dangerous for the man.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

This week in hate

Dear Hannah,

The New York Times has decided to run a new feature titled This week in hate.  Cataloguing a series of hate crimes dating back to November 16, it strangely fails to mention November 28th, when a young Somalian man in Ohio ran his car into a lot of pedestrians, got out of said car, and then began stabbing Americans at random.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Social media: an apology

Dear Hannah,

In retrospect I may have "suffered" what is commonly known as a "lapse in judgment."  Any references on this Facebook account relating to the someone known as Richard Gere and any acts he probably did not commit have been removed on account of a) their slanderous nature and b) the impropriety of sharing the allegations themselves; and prove 1) that I can in fact be fouler in the pursuit of hilarity than I prefer and b) that I occasionally require some forgiveness for said acts of impropriety.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

In defense of socialists

Dear Hannah,

Let's say for a moment -- hypothetically -- that someone out there had a son and the son hit his head and hitting his head sent him into convulsions; and the going into convulsions sent the man's wife into a panic, and the panic sent her to the hospital, and the hospital sent her to a room.  And let's suppose that the room was empty, and she wondered where the doctor was, and the doctor appeared for five minutes and then disappeared again; and she was given no medicine, and she waited for three hours, and at the end of it all she was sent home without anything more than a recommendation to see another doctor -- and that almost a month later, after receiving absolutely nothing more than a recommendation, she received a bill.  The original charge: $1200.  The cost after insurance: $350.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

In defense of fake news sites

Dear Hannah,

The great value of a page like Shares from your Aunt is that it proves what we already knew about the elderly: that they are too old.  Perhaps nobody since the turning of the millennium has ever so accurately caricatured the embarrassing aunt on Facebook, and done it so convincingly that our aunts are likely to take the posts seriously.  An unwavering credulity, accepting even the wildest assertions and conspiracy theories; a mangling of minor facts in embarrassing ways that accidentally make them important; a tendency to crusade over the stupidest and most irrelevant things comprises the gist of the web-page, which is unintentionally the gist of many of our aunts.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Concerning improper use of the word Moron

Dear Hannah,

I will begin this letter by expressing my disappointment with H.L. Mencken; and being disappointed (perhaps unfairly) because H.L. Mencken was not G.K. Chesterton.  The beauty of G.K. Chesterton wasn't only that he was right (whenever he was, that is); it was that he didn't have to tell you when he was.  His genius eked from every line; even when he was being ridiculous.  Mencken was distasteful not only enough to be right (when he was right), but to insist that he was right when he thought he was right.  And the way he insisted he was right was by insisting others were morons.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Why everyone hates Ayn Rand

Dear Hannah,

Perhaps in the history of mankind there has never been so enjoyable a teaching as Objectivism from so unlikeable a teacher as Ayn Rand.  Jesus Christ was so magnetic that He spent His days ruining dinner parties and insulting His followers -- and despite this He was so fun that even the children loved Him.  Joseph Smith was so popular with women that he felt forced to reintroduce polygamy to the Americas.  Mohammed was so interesting that he was illiterate and still ended up with one of the most propagated books in all of human history.  Ayn Rand's insults stung more than her teachings soothed.  The men who should have naturally been her allies ended up becoming her enemies.    

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The perils of naming yourself

Dear Hannah,

One thing that I realized after reading a very thoughtful (and extremely Catholic) essay by Anthony Esolen, was that, in the war over gender pronouns and in nearly everything else, it's generally a terrible thing to name yourself.

Monday, October 24, 2016

In praise of Milo Yiannopoulos

Dear Hannah,

I'll admit that I hated Milo at first.  Something about the way he was making fun of fat women.  He seemed undignified, cold, and low; taking the issue far beyond the heresy of leftists and turning it into something personal -- something regrettable by anyone who has ever had an overweight mother or a sister.  The people who are against "fat shaming" (even if what they're against is only stating a preference for fitness) are really against health and beauty and taste, and thus perfectly worthy of a thrashing.  The overweight, on the other hand, are only overweight; and so long as they aren't demanding admiration for their fatness or forcing us to say that everyone is beautiful, may displease us sexually, but often make up for their unattractiveness with what we call a personality*.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The American Dream and its critics

Dear Hannah,

Because I was in college I've done several things I wouldn't do now, at the top of the list being a beer bong with more than seven types of hard alcohol (which resulted in me blacking out and doing horrible things), voting as a Democrat, and reading Michael Moore.  The latter of these took place in small apartment after I decided to stop snorting cocaine and picked up some Chomsky, and involved a book much longer than it needed to be about something like Oprah Winfrey becoming president.  It was brilliantly titled Dude, Where's My Country?  One of the chapters has stuck with me more than the one about Oprah being an ideal presidential candidate, however, and it had to do with the fraudulence of the American Dream.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Concerning Didion's sense of humor

Dear Son,

Reading Joan Didion's Slouching Towards Bethlehem leaves me with the impression that she was one of those skinny, sickly girls who's always complaining about problems and never giving any solutions -- someone more commonly referred to as a whiner.  I've met several of them in my life and they all make me want to leave the second I meet them, because if you don't; if you find yourself giving in for even a second to your pity and trying to console them and (what's worse) trying to be a friend, you find yourself consoling them all the time instead of enjoying your life.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Welfare queens and their defenders



Dear Hannah,

If the editors of The Atlantic had ever seen Lost, they might remember a scene when Sawyer the lovable con-man explains his father's philosophy of stealing.  It runs, in entirety, that no matter who you are or what you do for a living, you're either taking or giving too much, but you're never getting what you deserve.  The whole world is alternating between stealing or being stolen from.  The professional thief (and maybe even the saintliest of saints) might argue that he's separated from the rest of humanity only in name.  A saner man might argue back that the thief is separated from humanity more particularly by degree.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

On wankery

Dear Son*,

I'm convinced that a major reason Americans are dumber than our ancestors is because so many of us are wankers.  Almost nobody talks about this, but a man's ability to be excellent is directly connected to whether he's spent himself sexually.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Are women as good as men?

Dear Hannah,

At this point it can very safely be said that feminism from its inception was practically a bait-and-switch.   We know this because from the beginning feminists were telling us they were as good as men, and now the arguments from feminists center around the fact that they aren't.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Mothers and other villains

Dear Hannah,

It seems we have a conflict of interest.  Somewhere within the last couple of years you've decided life is intolerable without music; which is unfortunate because I think life is intolerable with it.  In this regard you came about a decade too late.  Sometime around 2008 someone stole all my cd's and I came to the realization that silence and I were better off than I thought; and my theory, to the best of my ability, has to do with the fact that the things coming out of my brain were more interesting than any music I could put into it.

Friday, September 2, 2016

A Room of One's Own: a review

Dear Hannah,

Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own has the honor of being the first time I've heard the patriarchy mentioned as a pejorative and haven't been interested in throwing anything at anyone.  Most other times it's said with imbalance; not as though there were moderate and radical ways of saying patriarchy as an insult, but as though the woman who was saying it was imbalanced in general.  None of that is visible here.  None of the blaming of "rape culture" for a man making a pass or a woman making a mistake; none of the irrational and ignorant calls for an equal wage that isn't equal; none of the blaming society when a woman is fat and she knows it; and none of the crusades against slut-shaming when a woman is dirty and flaunts it*.  Virginia Woolf is sensible; but not in a manly way.  She's a hundred years old and a breath of fresh air.  If feminists knew where they came from, they would know how terrible the place was where they had arrived.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

In partial defense of Cat Stevens

Dear Hannah,

My original response to hearing that Cat Stevens had become a Muslim and changed his name to Yusuf Islam was that he was a traitor.  My opinion, as with anyone else who trades an English heritage for Sharia Law, is that he's still a traitor; but as there are many different brands of traitors out there, what kind of a traitor is the question we ought to be asking ourselves today.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Goodbye to the 68'ers



Dear Hannah,

Anyone who was a child in America during the 90's will tell you how he was repeatedly molested by stories about the 60's.  It was everywhere, back then; the 68'ers having all grown up and many of them gone into cinema to tell about how things were in the good old days of radicalism and free-spirits and new ideas and easy lays with pretty women.  The recollections were more sad than anything else, and every picture you saw had the miserable tint of nostalgia; not as though you were experiencing the 60's themselves, but as though you had missed it and it had been lost forever, along with somebody's youth.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Between the World and Me: a review

Dear Hannah,

Fear is the basis of this book.  Fear of the streets, fear of the schools, fear of the police -- of losing control of one's body, of one's life, of one's family.  Many men have lived and died under such a fear, but few of them so inquisitive and eloquent as Ta-Nehisi Coates.  Many men living in the Baltimore ghetto have oftentimes asked the question why their lives are full of fear; and seeing the white world going on safely beyond them have asked themselves why others' lives aren't.  Between the World and Me is a painful search through race and history and humanity to understand the suffering of the black American.  Like most of us Americans, Coates quickly finds the reason for the suffering.  Like most of our Democrats, his cure is worse than the cancer.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Fire Next Time: a review

Dear Hannah,

Distrusting both the literacy and the judgment of modern activists, I had originally intended to read Frederick Douglass or W.E.B. Dubois as my introduction to black literature.  But skimming through an informal list of the Greatest Essayists of All Time and seeing James Baldwin rather high on the chart, and also seeing him frequently and reverently quoted by Black Lives Matter activists, I decided to pick up The Fire Next Time and give him a go. 

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Some sympathy for the historical American jingo

Dear Hannah,

It's become very fashionable to ask us to walk a mile in a man's moccasins without wondering what it's like to be chased by someone with a tomahawk.  Nearly everyone feels comfortable condemning Andrew Jackson for how he treated the Indians -- and condemning him at least partially rightly.  What they have not felt comfortable doing is asking themselves how it would feel to be born in a country you didn't found, and have a strange-looking group of illiterate, jobless, pagan wild-men show up at your neighbor's house and scalp all your best friends.  Whether or not this is Jackson's experience is irrelevant if this was the experience of many American settlers.  To have a savage at your doorstep, ready to strike at night and oftentimes beyond the reach of the law, would eventually affect your psychology in ways a modern man would consider unfavorable.  The only good Indian is a dead Indian is a cruel thing to say.  But we wonder how many cruelties a man had to witness or hear about (I'm speaking of the unmentionable tortures practiced by many of the Indian tribes on their enemies) before he was capable of saying it*.