Do you remember Obi-Wan Kenobi in that first Star Wars flick where he’s trying to smuggle Luke Skywalker and his two robotic pals off of their home planet? The whole crew of them end up at a check-stop where Obi-Wan waves his magic hands and tells the Stormtrooper that “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for”. The shtick works and the poor guy mechanically repeats back: “These aren’t the droids we’re looking for”. In the film, it’s all very cool and the good guys get away. Big win all-round, right?
As I said yesterday, I’ve been out of the game for a bit. So here’s a few things that I’ve run across in the last little while.
1) Stares at the World (link) – I haven’t fully vetted this blog yet, but I’m pretty sure I like it (which isn’t the same thing as saying I agree with/endorse any of it). I have a feeling I will, though. Written by another Canadian vet, it’s well worth checking out.
2) To The Root (link) – This blog is very…different. Not at all what I’d usually read/follow. That said, this is one seriously smart and talented guy (we’ve had some long talks). Swing on over and check him out. Poetry, politics, philosophy, and more.
3) This talk by Victor Davis Hanson (link) – The video is a bit older (2010, I think) but all the more poignant for that, trust me. I’ve been aware of VDH for a while, as I run across his writing occasionally, but it’s only recently that I’ve paid him much attention. I highly recommend a YouTube search for him. VDH is a Classicist and an Historian. His take on contemporary issues in light of long-term historical trends is spectacular.
Well, that was a much longer hiatus than what I had initially planned. I’ve been immersed in research, exams, and romantic languages for several weeks. That said, I’ve got a ton of material to share, and plenty of thoughts to get out. Expect a fair bit of material over the next while.
Just to play a bit of catch-up, here’s a short commentary that I put together back in May (or thereabouts) when this was whole issue was a little fresher. While the controversy has died down a bit, the underlying issues haven’t, so here’s my take on it.
The Kipnis Controversy
Laura Kipnis is right, and her critics prove it.
Kipnis talks about sex between students and professors, which seems to set many people on edge. But she’s an academic critiquing academia, so naturally this is the example she uses. She could just as easily have talked about the kindergarten teacher marrying the principal, the hygienist dating the dentist, Dr. Smith sneaking a quick kiss with Nurse Brown, or the CEO having a romantic weekend getaway with his secretary.
Thursday is supposed to be a day of quotes that I’ve either run across during the week, or dredged up from from my collection. This week I’m going to change it up a bit and post what is probably my favorite poem (although I have several that might fit the bill). This poem formed no part of my childhood, as I ran across it when I was in my 20’s. However, I think it serves as a great manifesto for the boy who, in the fullness of time, will become a man.
The idea of manliness is much debated in our society and this debate is something that I’m just starting to become aware of. Dealing with young men at university, I see that they struggle hugely with the idea of manliness and masculinity. Like I said, I’m just starting to become aware of this problem, and I think my lack of awareness is due to a lack of exposure.
I joined the Army at 17, so I was able to develop my sense of manliness at the same time that I was handed a centuries-old tradition of manhood neatly wrapped up in a rite-of-passage. So for me, the ‘search’ for manhood led me to the Army and from there it just sort of… happened. But I can see the results in the lives of young men around me who struggle with the idea of manliness.
I think I might have to write about this topic further. But in the meantime, here’s Kipling’s directive for making the transition from boy to man:
This is one of the smartest things I’ve read all week. From Michael Den Tandt of the National Post:
Scruton details the evolution of the modern university, and the de-volution of the university’s contemporary form. His description of the underground universities of Soviet-occupied Europe is fascinating.