LONDON, ONTARIO – When I came into the Roman Catholic Church in 1984, my decision to convert was at least partially influenced by the testimony and example of people I admired who happened to be Catholic. Naturally enough, friends and associates held some sway, as well as public figures and artists of every stripe. But, incorrigibly bookish soul that I am, I was most particularly influenced by a mixed flock of congenial writers as temperamentally and politically diverse as John Henry Newman, Hilaire Belloc, G.K. Chesterton, Evelyn Waugh, Ronald Knox, Flannery O’Connor and Dorothy Day.
LONDON, ONTARIO – In the end they couldn’t get a 50th anniversary edition of the Woodstock festival off the ground last weekend in upstate New York and perhaps that’s just as well. I was not relishing the prospect of watching that saucy young minx, Katy Perry, share a bill with however many surviving members of Country Joe and the Fish could still manage to cradle an instrument in their laps and croak out the never-more imminent proclamation, “Whoopee, we’re all gonna die”.
Distracted once again with the rigours of summer holidaying, here’s a five year-old piece from The London Yodeller about summer reading and outfitting the rising generation with an appreciation for the classics.
LONDON, ONTARIO – Can we all agree that at least until they achieve something resembling the age of reason, grandchildren can be a bit of a challenge to shop for? Early in my marriage I learned (frankly with great relief) that men – or at least this one – should never try to buy clothes for other human beings. I don’t seem to have an eye or a sense for the whole size and ‘will it fit?’ thing. And, even more fundamental than that not inconsiderable flaw, I am reliably informed (and reluctantly convinced) that I have perfectly appalling taste in matters sartorial anyway. Just because it’s the kind of garment I’d like to see people wear, doesn’t mean any sane person would willingly put it on except at gunpoint.
LONDON, ONTARIO – Though I read him a lot – and very avidly indeed – through the 1980s and ‘90s, it’s been a while since I’ve splashed about in that bracing fount of caustically humorous wisdom that goes by the name of Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956). Every thinking man’s favourite contrarian claimed that he always wrote for his own pleasure, to attain “that feeling of tension relieved and function achieved which a cow enjoys on giving milk.” And it shows. No matter how cantankerous or upsetting his dispatches from the front line of politics, religion or the arts might be – and whether you agree with him or not – the reader almost always feels an accompanying pleasure at seeing an insight or a contention so vividly and aptly expressed.
If you would like to contribute to the ongoing operations of Hermaneutics, there are now a few options available.
THE AQUINAS LECTURE
G.K. CHESTERTON AND THE GIFT OF GRATITUDE
ALL LIFE IS A GIFT :
THE IMPORTANCE OF TRADITION :