“They Damn-Well ARE the Droids I’m Looking For!”

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?

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Saturday (Morning) Special

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.

We’re Back!

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.

Relevant background links: Here and Here

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.

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Hitting the Links

A harsh yet truthful critique of contemporary ‘Liberal Arts’ programs at university by Thomas Sowell.

Mark Steyn takes on religious freedom legislation in Indiana. Wry hilarity ensues.

On the same theme as above, National Review contributor Deroy Murdock examines freedom of association in light of the kerfuffle in Indiana.

The Wise and the Witty

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:

IF-

If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!