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Friday, October 9, 2015

All the best people still say "It is meet that we reflect" on First Things and its flapdoodle

Richard John Neuhaus (1936-2009) was a strikingly original Lutheran thinker who got orthodoxy late in life and went off the rails entirely. His magazine, First Things, has become an airless simulacrum of thought, where Anglo-Catholic white men rule the world from a club in New York where the wood is burnished by a high sheen by priest-interns, the brandy is always the best, and the wing collars are perfectly set.

It's a world where this can be published with a straight face:

"The current brouhaha over smoking has made everyone painfully aware of tobacco’s effects on the body, but it has also obscured a more profound reason for smoking’s popularity: its relation to the soul. As the heyday of smoking passes into the ashheap of history, it is meet that we reflect on this connection.
"The soul, of course, is a complex thing. Long ago Plato suggested that we consider it as divided into three parts—the appetitive, spirited, and rational—that correspond to the three basic kinds of human desires: the desire to satisfy physical appetites, the desire for recognition, and the desire for truth. Once this tripartite division is recalled, tobacco’s relation to the soul becomes clear: the three prevalent types of smoking tobacco—cigarettes, cigars, and pipes—correspond to the three parts of the soul..."

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