What’s So Important About 1588?

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O’Reilly, Ailes, and the Toxic Conservative-Celebrity Culture by David French

Knifework, not character or integrity, is what we demand from our ideological gladiators. We’re paying the price. There are those who say that the Left is “taking scalps,” and they have a list of Republican victims to prove their thesis. Roger Ailes is out at Fox News. Bill O’Reilly is out at Fox News. Michael Flynn is out at the White House.


Those three names — the head of the most powerful cable news network, the highest-rated cable news personality, and the national-security adviser — represent a stunning wave of resignations and terminations.


But this isn’t scalp-taking, it’s scalp-giving. Time and again prominent conservative personalities have failed to uphold basic standards of morality or even decency. Time and again the conservative public has rallied around them, seeking to protect their own against the wrath of a vengeful Left. Time and again the defense has proved unsustainable as the sheer weight of the facts buries the accused.


Moreover, the pattern is repeating itself with the younger generation of conservative celebrities. The sharp rise and meteoric fall of both Tomi Lauren and Milo Yiannopoulos were driven by much the same dynamic that sustained O’Reilly for years, even in the face of previous sexual-harassment complaints — Lahren and Yiannopoulos were “fighters” who “tell it like it is.” O’Reilly was the master of the “no-spin zone” and seemed fearless in taking on his enemies.


What followed was a toxic culture of conservative celebrity, where the public elevated personalities more because of their pugnaciousness than anything else. Indeed, the fastest way to become the next conservative star is to “destroy” the Left, feeding the same kind of instinct that causes leftists to lap up content from John Oliver, Samantha Bee, and Stephen Colbert. Liberals use condescending mockery. Conservatives use righteous indignation. That’s not much of a difference.


The cost has been a loss of integrity and, crucially, a loss of emphasis on ideas and, more important, ideals. There exists in some quarters an assumption that if you’re truly going to “fight,” then you have to be ready to get your hands dirty. You can’t be squeamish about details like truth or civility or decency. When searching for ideological gladiators, we emphasize their knifework, not their character or integrity.


Of course, this notion reached its apex in the person and personality of Donald Trump, but Trump had an advantage that O’Reilly, Ailes, and others simply didn’t enjoy. When he was under fire, especially in the general election, he could argue that the choice wasn’t between truth and lies but between him and Hillary, between lies and lies. Which liar do you want? The one allegedly on your side, right?


The message sent when conservatives try to defend the indefensible is the same one that Democrats sent as they continued to prop up the Clinton machine through scandal after scandal. Make no mistake, there are conservative “fighters” who are men and women of integrity. Fox News still has a number of journalists and pundits whom I trust and admire. But when we ask for fighters first, and we elevate aggression over truth and competence, we ask for exactly the kind of scandals we’ve endured.


Moreover, the degradation to our culture far outweighs any short-term, tribal political benefit. The message sent when conservatives rally around the flag to defend the indefensible is exactly the message the Democrats sent so loudly as they continued to prop up the Clinton machine through scandal after scandal. Only winning matters. Ambition is everything. Political movements are about personalities, not ideas — so you’re left with the political equivalent of warring mafia families in which the highest value is loyalty, and the ends always justify the means.


But ambition isn’t everything, and the single-minded quest for winning ultimately creates a class of losers. O’Reilly and Ailes together built a cable news empire. Yet their legacies will forever be marred by the tawdriest of scandals: two men (pathetically) proving unable to control their petty lusts and desires. Michael Flynn was a hero. Now he’s an object lesson. And people like Lahren and Yiannopoulos? They didn’t even achieve “real” fame before their corruption emerged. Do a few viral Facebook videos justify diva behavior?


Does telling off feminists on YouTube insulate you from the consequences of advancing the worst of ideas? But, as the saying goes, in crisis there is also opportunity. As Fox News and other conservative organizations consider the path forward, there’s a chance to not just elevate the next best mouthpiece for righteous indignation but to consider a broader range of virtues. There do exist conservatives who fight hard but fight fair, and there also exist conservatives who won’t ask you to overlook or even defend them from credible accusations of serious wrongdoing.


The conservative movement includes some of the best and most admirable people I’ve ever met. It also includes its share of grasping, ambitious fame-hounds, people who live for the next Fox hit and angle to write this year’s version of the “liberals are sending this country to hell” bestselling book. But bad character sends a country to hell just as surely as bad policy does, and any movement that asks its members to defend vice in the name of advancing allegedly greater virtue is ultimately shooting itself in the foot.


O’Reilly’s fall can be an important act of public hygiene, but only if it represents the beginning of the end of a conservative culture that makes us behave like the cultural enemies we purport to despise. Otherwise conservatives will hand the Left more scalps, forfeit more public trust, and ultimately lose because of their single-minded quest to win.


— David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and an attorney. Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/446913/bill-oreilly-roger-ailes-fox-news-mike-flynn-tomi-lahren-conservative-celebrity-culture-character

Posted:April 20,2017



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The A to Zen of a Writer’s Life By Chris Breechen

A while back I saw a poster called the “A to Zen of Life.”  It had “Dali Lama” written across it in cursive so I know it was totally legitimate Dali Lama quotes.  I thought that an “A to Zen of the Writer’s Life” would be cool.

Avoid negative people and habits, but don’t confuse those who make you feel bad about negative habits for negative people, for those who call shenanigans on your shenanigans are more valuable than gold.

Believe in yourself.  But don’t fall to pretentiousness or hubris.  But believe in yourself.  But don’t fall to pretentiousness or hubris.  But believe in yourself….

Consider things from every angle.  Your characters can’t all be you.

Don’t give up.  Don’t give in.  Don’t stop.

Empathy goes beyond intellectual understanding.  You must have both.

Fail.  Fail again.  Fail better!  Life is not defined by your successes.  It is defined by how you cope with your failures.

Give everything you have to everything you write.  Don’t hold back.  The well of creativity isn’t a finite resource to be rationed.  The more you use it, the fuller it becomes.

Hang on to your dreams.

If opportunity doesn’t knock, create a door.  Create that door like Giles did in Buffy the Vampire Slayer if you must  ….with a chainsaw.

Just keep writing.  Just keep writing.  Just keep writing writing writing.  What do we do? We write write.

Keep going no matter how long and hard the road seems.  Something wonderful might be just around the next bend.

Learn your craft.  You’re never too good to be better.

Make it happen.

Never cheat.  Steal, of course, for that’s what artists do.  Lie, certainly, as long as your lies tell the truth.  But never cheat.

Open your arms to opportunities, but don’t become so enamored with writing for a living that you forget the kind of writing you want to be doing.

Practice makes perfect.  Though in the words of Hemingway: We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.

Quality over quantity in everything you put out in the world.

Read! Revise! Read! Revise! These two parts of a writer’s life can’t be underscored enough.

Stop procrastinating.

Take criticism well….and all that that implies.

Understand as much as you possibly can of the world, but do not satisfy yourself with a simple intellectual grasp.

Visualize exactly what success looks like to you with as much concrete detail as possible.  It is impossible to hit a target that you cannot see.

When you meet with triumph or disaster, treat those two impostors just the same.

X words are hard to weave into motivational messages.  Make a bad pun if you ever do a list like this, like: “Xcellence in all you write to be read.”

Your ideas are not completely unique, but you are.  You will bring that which is uniquely you to your projects.  Don’t be deliberately derivative, but don’t worry so much about originality that you paralyze yourself.  It’s all been done before. But not by YOU.

Zero in on what you really want and what really makes you happy.  You may find that a rewarding and fulfilling hobby along with a real paycheck will make you happier person than struggling as an artist.  That’s okay.  Do what makes you smile.  Chase your bliss.



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Easter Reflections

There is a Redeemer,
Jesus, God’s own Son,
Precious Lamb of God, Messiah,
Holy One,

Thank you oh my father,
For giving us Your Son,
And sending Your Spirit,
‘Til the work on Earth is done.

There is a Redeemer,
Jesus, God’s own Son,
Precious Lamb of God, Messiah,
Holy One,

When I stand in Glory,
I will see His face,
And there I’ll serve my King forever,
In that Holy Place.

Thank you oh my Father,
For giving us Your Son,
And sending Your Spirit,
‘Til the work on Earth is done.

Thank you oh my Father,
For giving us Your Son,
And sending Your Spirit,
‘Til the work on Earth is done.

And sending Your Spirit,
‘Till the work on Earth is done.
Songwriters: GREEN, MELODY

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Good Friday….

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Do This In Remembrance of Me

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9 Things You Should Know About Holy Week By Joe Carter

Holy Week is the week before Easter, a period which includes the religious holidays of Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. Here’s what you should know about the days that commemorate the Passion of Christ:

1. Holy Week observances likely began in Jerusalem in the earliest days of the church, though the term first appears in the writings of fourth century bishops, Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria, and Epiphanius, bishop of Constantia. Holy week does not include Easter Sunday.

2. The first recording of a Holy Week observance was made by Egeria, a Gallic woman who made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land about 381-384. In an account of her travels she wrote for a group of women back in Spain, Egeria describes the Palm Sunday she observed in Jerusalem:

. . . all the children who are [gathered at the top of the Mount of Olives], including those who are not yet able to walk because they are too young and therefore are carried on their parents’ shoulders, all of them bear branches, some carrying palms, others, olive branches. And the bishop is led in the same manner as the Lord once was led.

3. Because of the difficulty in some parts of the world of procuring palms for Palm Sunday, leaves from yew, willow, olive, or other native trees are frequently used. The Sunday was often designated by the names of these trees, as Yew Sunday, or by the general term Branch Sunday.

4. An archaic and infrequently used name for the Wednesday before Easter is “Spy Wednesday”, named for Judas’ becoming a spy for the Sanhedrin.

5. Maundy Thursday is the day before Good Friday. The term “Maundy” is derived from the Latin word mandatum (commandment). The term refers to the commandment given by Jesus at the Last Supper: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” (John 13:34)

6. The historical origins of the “Good” in Good Friday remain unclear, though some etymologists believe the term “good” is an archaic form of “holy.”

7. In Catholic and Eastern Orthodox traditions, Holy Saturday commemorates the “harrowing of hell,” the time between his Crucifixion and his Resurrection when Christ is believed to have descended into hell. Some Protestants, however, don’t believe that Scripture warrants believing the claim, found in the Apostle’s creed, that “[Christ] descended into hell.” As John Piper says, “there is no textual basis for believing that Christ descended into hell.”

8. In Medieval Europe, Christians would abstain from eating eggs and meat during Lent. Eggs laid during that time were often boiled to preserve them and were given as Easter gifts to children and servants. Some traditions claim the Easter egg is symbolic of the resurrection of Jesus, with the shell of the egg representing the sealed Tomb and cracking the shell representing the Resurrection. Christians in the Middle East and in Greece painted eggs bright red to symbolize the blood of Christ.

9. The Christian scholar Bede (673-735 AD, aka, the Venerable Bede) claimed in his book De Ratione Temporum that Easter was named after Eostre, a pagan goddess of the Saxon people in Northern Europe. Later scholars, however, claim that the term derives from the Anglo-Saxon word “oster”, meaning “to rise” or for their term for the Spring equinox, “Eostre.”



Posted: March 15, 2013


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