Saturday, January 26, 2019

BREAKING: At least 19 Dead, 48 Injured in Twin Blasts at Philippines Cathedral (WARNING: GRAPHIC)

The bombings occurred at approximately 8:40 AM (6:40 PM CST) during Sunday morning Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on Jolo Island, southwest of the major Philippine island of Mindanao. It is part of the newly created Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

From RT News:
At least 19 people have been killed and dozens more injured after two bombs exploded during a Sunday Mass near a Roman Catholic cathedral in the Philippine island of Mindanao. 
According to authorities the first bomb exploded inside the Jolo cathedral, while the second blast targeted first responders near the entrance, Rappler reports. 
Earlier police said at least 10 civilians and five troops are among those killed. Some 48 others were reportedly injured, including at least 33 civilians. 
No one has immediately claimed responsibility, but the island has in the past been targeted by bombings, kidnappings and beheadings perpetrated by Abu Sayyaf Islamists terrorists.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Covington Bishop Foys Had Barred Kentucky Right to Life Group from Churches

Bishop Roger Foys of Covington

In 2006, Covington Bishop Roger Foys banned the pro-life group Northern Kentucky Right to Life (NKRTL) from all churches and diocesan facilities and prohibited them from handing out literature on diocesan property.

Bishop Foys was installed as Bishop of Covington in 2002 and continues to serve in that position, He recently came under fire for condemning the actions of the Covington Catholic High School students in their encounter with other protest groups after participating in the March for Life in Washington D.C.

It should be noted that Northern Kentucky Right to Life has been called a "maverick" group by some and has in at least one case found itself at odds with other pro-life groups operating in Kentucky regarding political endorsements.

The following 2006 article from a local news source quotes Foys as implying that his actions had something to do with the "tactics" of NKRTL, but his precise reasoning or justification were not explicitly given.

I do not know whether his "ban" was ever lifted. 

Northern Kentucky Right to Life continues to operate and apparently thrive. Its "45th Annual Celebration For Life" occurred on September 30, 2018 and featured the governor of Kentucky Matt Bevin as the guest speaker along with 750 attendees.

From Wave3News (Kentucky):
Diocese Bars Area Right To Life Group From Churches 
October 25, 2006 at 3:58 PM EST - Updated July 26 at 1:21 PM 
(NEWPORT, Ky.) -- A northern Kentucky Catholic diocese has barred an anti-abortion group from its churches and forbidden its priests from handing out the literature from the organization. 
Bishop Roger Foys of the Diocese of Covington, Ky., issued a note to priests last week saying priests should have "no involvement" with Northern Kentucky Right to Life and to remove all of the group's materials from diocese facilities and churches. 
"There are many good people involved in NKRTL who are being misled," Foys wrote, without giving specifics. "We cannot give any semblance that the Diocese approves of the tactics of some of the leadership of NKRTL." 
The move has angered and confused the leadership of Northern Kentucky Right to Life. Fred Summe, a Newport attorney who is the group's vice president, said Foys has not spoken to the group about what tactics the church finds objectionable nor about how he feels people are being misled. 
"If we're doing something wrong, why doesn't he approach us," Summe said. "That's just Christian charity." 
The unusual split among longtime associates in the Cincinnati suburbs comes just days after the diocese hosted its annual "Pro-Life Mass," which included representatives from Northern Kentucky Right to Life. Northern Kentucky Right to Life distributed its literature at the Cathedral Basilica of The Assumption and at a reception following the services, along with other anti-abortion groups. 
Chester Gillis, chairman of the Department of Theology at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., who has studied the Catholic Church, said the Catholic Church wouldn't normally ban a group like Northern Kentucky Right to Life, mainly because they have the same goals. In the past, the church has stopped groups from meeting in its facilities or posting fliers on cars during Mass, Gillis said. 
"Usually, with people with contrarian views, the church will bar them," Gillis said. "There must be something offensive about this group." 
The diocese and the politically active anti-abortion group have had run-ins before. The group has been known for its harsh criticisms of candidates who do not meet the organization's standards in opposing abortion, stem-cell research and emergency contraception. Northern Kentucky Right to Life puts out annually a questionnaire to Kentucky candidates and makes endorsements partially based on the answers. 
In 1990, then-Bishop William A. Hughes created the diocesan "Pro-Life Commission," which is still in existence, and issued a statement saying Northern Kentucky Right to Life isn't sponsored by the diocese and "...does not speak for the Catholic Church." Foys' note to the priests used similar language and noted "confusion" about the relationship between the two. 
"His message was meant to clarify," said Tim Fitzgerald, a spokesman for the Diocese of Covington, which covers 14 counties and 89,000 people in northern Kentucky. 
No one is saying exactly what caused the split. Fitzgerald declined to make Foys available for an interview. Fitzgerald said the note to priests was not meant to be public. 
Fitzgerald said there were some concerns about Northern Kentucky Right to Life's "tactics" and methods, including "inaccuracies" in the groups' newsletters and talks with the group couldn't resolve the differences. When asked for specifics about the tactics or inaccurate statements, Fitzgerald declined comment. 
"Northern Kentucky Right to Life has been more adamant, more reluctant to engage in dialogues," Fitzgerald said. "Northern Kentucky Right to Life has not taken advantage of this opportunity to collaborate." 
Summe said the move -- just weeks before the Nov. 7 elections -- is hurting both the organization and the cause they both believe in. 
"We're out doing what the Holy Father tells us to do, educate the public on the ultimate issue," Summe said. "You'd think the diocese would encourage us. They need to be specific in what they think we're doing wrong." 
Gillis said it's likely the reason for the dispute will eventually be made public. 
"You probably haven't heard the last of this," Gillis said.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Stephen Lewis Defends Himself (But What About Those Witches?)

Rebecca Bratten Weiss

Stephen Lewis, recently removed as chair of the English Department at Steubenville for assigning a "pornographic" and "blasphemous" book in an upper-level seminar, has just published a defense of his actions on the First Things site.

Notably, the book in question - The Kingdom by the atheist French author Emmanuel Carrère - had recently been given a fairly positive review by First Things, a fact that Lewis made sure to point out.

Lewis's defense is well-written if somewhat predictable. 

He affirms that he is a faithful Catholic, makes the uncontroversial point that we don't have to agree with everything we read, argues that The Kingdom was a relevant inclusion on the syllabus - the course was about how modern French writers have looked at the bible - and claims that those in the class viewed their experience with the book positively, with one even saying it made her a better Christian: 
The testimonies of the students bear out my assessment. Each has claimed to have grown in faith by reading the work, despite its ugly aspects. None has wished that it had not been assigned. One has even stated that she feels her current work as a missionary has been made more effective because she frequently encounters people who display features of Carrère’s mindset.
Implicitly conceding that some passages in the novel were in fact blasphemous, Lewis also hit back at his critics:
Certain websites have taken a handful of obscene passages from the book and presented them to the public in a manner intended to shock and scandalize. While affecting piety, they spread blasphemies against Our Lady far and wide. In the name of modesty, they printed lewd words stripped of context. It is the same kind of tabloid hypocrisy one finds in scandal-sheet editors who print revealing shots of women—then dare to condemn their lack of modesty.  
I encourage those interested in the controversy to read Lewis's entire piece. There's also a lively back and forth in the Comments section.

Interestingly, in another article published today, this time at Crisis, Austin Ruse argues that it's unlikely that Lewis was demoted merely for assigning The Kingdom. Rather, according to Ruse, it may have been a last straw or even merely a sort of pretext covering other lapses in judgment including his championing of instructor Rebecca Bratten Weiss, who Steubenville let go a year ago.

Weiss is currently an "organic farmer" and freelance writer. Among other writing and editing gigs, she manages Patheos Catholic. She also seems to be at the center of a witches' coven.

Yes, you read those last two sentences correctly. And, yes, they are both true. But if you're familiar with Patheos Catholic, it's probably no surprise.

Do I really believe Rebecca Bratten Weiss is at the center of a witches' coven?

Well, let's put it this way: she wants you to believe it, or at least sort of believe it, or wants you to contemplate the many possible meanings of it, ironically or unironically or whatever.

In a recent essay, an essay which has already attained a sort of minor infamy, Weiss tells us that she is "contemplating witchcraft" while musing about making sacrifices of "Nazi testicles" to pagan goddesses and sympathizing with the Serpent in the Garden, all the while throwing around swear words.

If Weiss is a witch, she appears to be a witch who thinks too much, or at least thinks too much about herself. Here is how she begins:
Driving home with a load of hay, listening to Johnny Cash, wondering what I could burn as a sacrifice to Hecate, I start thinking that probably not many women on this road, driving truckloads of hay, and listening to Cash, are also contemplating witchcraft. Does this make me necessarily more interesting?
And here is how she ends:
Hecate deserves better than Nazi testicles, anyway. It’s November and most of the fruit has been picked already, but maybe I could find her one apple, one perfect apple, like the kind princesses ask for in story-books. Like the kind you eat when you think “fuck it, that snake had a point, I’d like to have knowledge like a God, for a change.” 
Johnny Cash is singing about walking a line, but I think I stepped over mine long ago.
Stephen Lewis had lobbied to make Weiss a full professor in the Steubenville English department. 

Perhaps her presence there would have created better missionaries.

While Weiss may have merely "contemplated" witchcraft, Marie Kopp, a recent Steubenville graduate and friend and colleague of Weiss, literally just came out as a witch in a piece titled, appropriately enough, "We are Witches":
Now we call ourselves witches. Not sorceresses, not enchantresses. Not syrens. But witches. And despite our culture’s attempts to sexualize witches, it has failed. Yes, even I dressed as the ¨sexy witch¨ last year. But this year I realized how ridiculous such a concept is. The title Witch maintains the idea of ugliness. Of the warts on our noses. Not of sexiness, not of youth. But of womanhood, in all it’s bloody pain and power. As it is. 
As we are.
And, yes, this was posted in Patheos Catholic.

Kopp even took a selfie of herself made-up as a witch to I guess prove the point.

Marie Kopp
I was aware of Weiss, Kopp and their recent writings. But Ruse also mentions a recent blog post (yet again in Patheos Catholic!) by Kopp, Jessica Mesman Griffith and Joanna Penn Cooper. It was called "Women Watch the Witch While Kavenaugh is Confirmed." And, no, I'm not making that up. (The Witch is a recent horror film.)

If while doing so, the trio tried to put a hex on Kavenaugh, they obviously failed. I'm told that beer is a protection.

Ruse humorously mentions a recent conference organized by Stephen Lewis's wife Suzanne that prominently featured all of the above mentioned writers and even included a panel on crones.

But Suzanne Lewis's links with the coven are actually much greater. Lewis co-founded and co-manages the Convivium and Revolution of Tenderness sites, along with Rebecca Bratten Weiss, both of which, among other things, bring together writers, artists and others for a yearly festival and conference in Pittsburgh. Marie Kopp is also closely involved.

As we've previously noted, the Revolution of Tenderness site, which Lewis and Weiss had for many years gone out of their way to advertise and promote, has just been made "private". But here are three cached shots making up the entirety of the "Highlights" from 2017:

If you can't read the print in the above screenshot, the text is clearer in the link.

All the witches are here - Rebecca Bratten Weiss, Marie Kopp, Jessica Mesman Griffith, Joanna Penn Cooper.

John Farrell who penned the summary - "Delightful" - is a science writer for Forbes, of all things.

Maybe he's a warlock.

The man in the center of the first photograph and on the left in the second photograph is Stephen Lewis.

Of course I like Charles Williams and Flannery O'Conner.

So, apparently, do the witches.

A few days ago I met Kopp on Twitter. We had a brief exchange: 

To which Farrell added:


But let's stop here.

Look, isn't this all just "guilt by association", and silly guilt by association at that?

Witches aren't real, even if they think they are. And warlocks are sexist. Or even if witches and warlocks are real, shouldn't Stephen Lewis and Suzanne Lewis be allowed to, so to speak, hobnob with them in a spirit of charity or dialogue or whatever? Right?

And neither Stephen nor Suzanne Lewis is responsible for the increasingly bizarre actions or words of Rebecca Bratten Weiss. Right? Right?
Fuck it, that snake had a point, I’d like to have knowledge like a God, for a change.
I mean it's not like he lobbied to give her tenure or anything.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Wife of Demoted Steubenville Professor Compares Husband to Elijah and Critics to Prophets of Baal

Suzanne M. Lewis, the wife of Steubenville English Professor Stephen Lewis, took to web portal Patheos a few days ago to lash out at her husband's critics.

The piece was posted on January 9th, shortly after Stephen Lewis had come under fire for assigning a novel to his students that included graphic musings about sexual activity involving the Virgin Mary. One day later Lewis was removed from his position as chair of the English Department. He remains a full professor.

Suzanne Lewis is co-founder with ex-Steubenville instructor Rebecca Bratten Weiss of Revolution of Tenderness, which organizes a yearly arts and culture festival in Pittsburgh, and co-editor with Weiss of its journal Convivium. Weiss is now the manager of Patheos Catholic.

Even though Revolution of Tenderness, Convivium and related sites were used by Lewis and Weiss to advertise, fundraise and recruit readers and attendees, they have now been made private. [Edit: Revolution of Tenderness is still private. I believe Convivium was also made private but now seems to be back up.]

Suzanne Lewis begins her post, "Which hill will you die on?", with Calvary:
A joy can develop, even during the most humiliating affliction, when the gaze of love is exchanged between two people who have shared a history and lived one life between the two of them. Think of how Mary and Jesus must have looked at one another on Calvary: how their faces must have become radiant when their eyes met during those last hours! There is nothing more beautiful than the face of a loved one whose gaze of tenderness tells us: It is good that you exist…
She then relates how she has seen Catholic spouses grow in their faith by taking care of each other during times of suffering and even death. Apparently her husband Stephen, a busy teacher and administrator, recently nursed her through recovery after fairly serious surgery.
He performed all these tasks with quiet kindness while also preparing the family meals, driving our daughter to school and back, and continuing to fulfill all his teaching and scholarly duties at work.
I saw the same gentleness and patience in my husband that I had also witnessed in those two men I described at the beginning of this essay. What a tremendous sense of certainty this newness generated in both of us!
That's quite lovely. And, yes, I'm serious about that.

But apparently, Stephen or she and Stephen ("we") are currently experiencing another Cavalry due to people criticizing her husband's teaching assignments. Or, rather, as Suzanne Lewis puts it, they're on a "new mountain . . . this time we have arrived on Mount Carmel, where Elijah once challenged the prophets of Baal to a contest (1 Kings 18: 21-39)."

Yet in this time of tribulation, they stand by God and He stands by them:
Instead of the prophets of Baal, we confront the prophets of Greed, Calumny, Power, and False Witness. Weirdly, these prophets also do a lot of hopping. In our corner, we stand by our God, whose name is Love. His respect for human freedom makes him appear, sometimes, as though he sides with those who are wrong . . . Still . . . he never remains aloof from those who call on his name. His response is to set fire to our sacrifices: each time we fit our person according to the dimensions of his mercy, he ignites our lives with an energy we could have never supplied.
Meanwhile, the prophets of petty gods continue to hop about and slash themselves in their aridity and shame. They will discover, one day, when they call out in their need, “no sound, no one answering, no one listening.”
It's important to note that as far as I have seen, the principle critics (this blogger included) of Lewis or the Lewises have not so far claimed that he or they are bad people or bad Catholics.

Indeed, it's been exactly the opposite. Here's one small example: On a long Facebook thread featuring many members of the Steubenville community, the wife of a professor there went out of her way to praise the Lewises as good and kind friends and colleagues. Among other things, the commenter said that Suzanne Lewis had helped to catechize her children. But she also refused to back down from agreeing that Stephen Lewis was probably wrong to assign the novel.

Was that charitable woman also a prophet of petty gods, hopping and slashing in her shame?

I do think Suzanne Lewis is kooky. And in a minor Facebook thread I believe I called her a "loopy liberal academic." I said that in part based on her work with Revolution of Tenderness. But I think it now also comes out in her Patheos post.

Let's state the obvious:

Stephen Lewis isn't Christ. Suzanne Lewis isn't Mary. (Or vice versa.)

Neither of them is Elijah.

And Michael Voris isn't Baal. But I digress.

Stephen Lewis got into hot water by assigning a dirty French novel to his graduate students, a novel which also gravely insulted Our Lady. That this was part of a pattern and that Lewis was defiant about it was also relevant.

The president of the university, Father Sean Sheridan, apologized to the Steubenville community and also apologized to "Our Blessed Mother and Her Son." In addition, a Holy Hour of Reparation to Mary, Mother of God was held.

It's odd that while Mary comes up quite often in Suzanne Lewis' blog posts and other writings, on this issue - that Mary was gravely insulted - she is mute.

Mary is a real person, not a rhetorical device.

And Suzanne Lewis' unseemly attempt to play the victim will in the end only confirm for some that the Steubenville administration acted appropriately in, at a minimum, removing her husband as chair.

But I want to look finally at the last line of the piece:
They will discover, one day, when they call out in their need, “no sound, no one answering, no one listening.”
Church Militant has a large and devoted readership, viewership and subscriber base. I think people are listening. And of course the thing has now gone well beyond Church Militant.

By contrast, the web traffic at Patheos Catholic is in free-fall, due in large part to its accelerating leftward lurch under Rebecca Bratten Weiss. Fewer and fewer Catholics take it seriously, let alone read it, though admittedly it does probably have influence in certain circles - the circles Suzanne Lewis travels in.

Five days after posting, her essay had no comments, though yesterday it finally received one.

No one listening?

In truth, Catholics are starting to pay attention to the left-liberal subculture at Steubenville, which includes current faculty as well as vocal ex-faculty and graduates. It's perhaps not even a subculture as it still has a large amount of influence, arguably going all the way to the top.

Catholics are listening because the subculture keeps talking. And they do not like what they hear.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

What is Stephen Lewis doing in the Steubenville English Department?

Stephen Lewis, who I believe is now in his early 50's, was Chair of the English Department at the Franciscan University of Steubenville for many years. He was recently removed from that position by the University (though he remains as a tenured faculty member) after a controversy erupted over his assignment of an arguably pornographic and certainly blasphemous French novel to five students in an upper-level seminar. Sources have indicated that this was not the first such case with Lewis. In addition, while many have vouched for Lewis as being a faithful Catholic, Church Militant reported that Lewis indicated he would refuse to take the Oath of Fidelity to Catholic teachings that Steubenville may now require for all faculty.

My purpose in this short post is not to question Stephen Lewis' standing as a Catholic, nor even to question his suitability for teaching at Steubenville. Rather I wish to ask why he was ever given tenure, let alone made Chair, of the Steubenville English Department.

According to his Steubenville biography page, Lewis has only one quasi-obscure publication to his name in the field or on the topic of English literature (literature written by Americans, British or others in the language of English). It was published almost twenty years ago:

“Love and Politics in Wyndham Lewis’s Snooty Baronet.” Modern Language Quarterly 64:1 (December 2000).

That's it - literally only one publication.

Lewis does have an arguably solid list of other publications, but all save the above are either analyses or translations of writings in French.

And few of them involve French literature.

Rather, most are on French philosophy.

If phenomenology even counts as philosophy.

Okay, ignore the poke against phenomenology, though I am quite serious about the poke. But what is Lewis doing in the English Department?


  • “A Fitting Receptacle: Paul Claudel on Sensations of God,” Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture 17:4 (Fall 2014), 65-86.
  • “Contestation and Epektasis in the ‘Discussion on Sin’.” Analecta Hermeneutica 4 (2012).
  • “Introduction: The Phenomenological Concept of Givenness and the ‘Myth of the Given’” in Jean-Luc Marion, The Reason of the Gift. Translated by Stephen E. Lewis. Charlottesville: The University of Virginia Press, 2011. 1-17.
  • “A Law Without Flesh: Reading Erotic Phenomena in Maurice Blanchot’s Le Très-Haut” in Kevin J. Hart, ed. Clandestine Encounters: Philosophy and Literature in the Narratives of Maurice Blanchot. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2010. 119-155.
  • “The Lover’s Capacity in Jean-Luc Marion’s The Erotic Phenomenon.” Quaestiones Disputatae, 1:1 (Fall 2010), 223-241.
  • “Love and Politics in Wyndham Lewis’s Snooty Baronet.” Modern Language Quarterly 64:1 (December 2000).


  • Jean-Luc Marion, Negative Certainties. Translated by Stephen E. Lewis. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2015.
  • Claude Romano, Event and Time. Translated by Stephen E. Lewis. New York: Fordham University Press, 2013.
  • Jean-Luc Marion, The Reason of the Gift. Introduction and translation by Stephen E. Lewis. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2011.
  • Jean-Luc Marion, The Erotic Phenomenon. Translated by Stephen E. Lewis. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2007.
  • Jean-Louis Chrétien, Hand to Hand: Listening to the Work of Art. Introduction and translation by Stephen E. Lewis. New York: Fordham University Press, 2003.
  • Jean-Luc Marion, Prolegomena to Charity. Translated by Stephen E. Lewis. New York: Fordham University Press, 2002.

Blanchot, a fallen-away Christian, has been described as a philosopher and literary theorist, "a strong influence (according to Wikipedia) on post-structuralist philosophers such as Gilles Deleuze, Michel Foucault, and Jacques Derrida."

How Catholic.

And Claudel was a playwright, among other things.

In fairness, he was very Catholic.

But Romano, Chrétien and Marion are generally thought of as philosophers. Lewis' professional reputation seems to be largely based on his Marion work. And Marion was at the University of Chicago for a number of years where Lewis obtained his PhD.

Where else could Steubenville have put Stephen Lewis? 

They could have put him in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures (there is one professor there with a superficially similar list of publications) or the Philosophy Department (obviously) or, arguably, even the Theology Department, given that Jean-Luc Marion has sometimes also been called a theologian.

But somehow he ended up in the English Department where he would eventually attain a minor infamy in Catholic circles for assigning a dirty novel (a French novel, of course) to seminar students.

Whatever anyone else might say, an academic at a good university has only a limited amount of time to do work in his field, especially if he has other duties as, say, a department head. But speaking now of Lewis, if he was doing the great bulk of his professional work in French phenomenology, where, to speak bluntly, was his time for, well, English?

What is Stephen Lewis doing in the Steubenville English Department?

Friday, January 11, 2019

BREAKING: Stephen Lewis Removed as Chair of Steubenville English Department

Stephen Lewis, the Franciscan University of Steubenville professor at the center of the recent controversy over his assignment of a "pornographic" and "blasphemous" French novel that included sexually graphic musings, some involving the Virgin Mary, has just been removed as the chair of the English Department.

The department description, above, listing Dr. Lewis as Chair, was I believe still up yesterday (the cache itself is from January 8th). But a new description, without the Chair designation, has now replaced it.

UPDATE: The new chair is Dr. Mary Ann Sunyoger.

This follows an initial defense of Lewis's actions by Steubenville's Public Relations Manager, Tom Sofio. However, after pressure from other faculty members, donors and alumni, the President of Steubenville, Father Sean Sheridan, quickly backtracked and issued an apology. 

According to Christina Niles at Church Militant, which initially broke the story, Stephen Lewis himself remained "defiant".

Lewis has been a controversial figure for some time. Among other things he had backed Rebecca Bratten Weiss, the self-proclaimed "leftist feminist" that Steubenville had decided not to re-hire in 2017. His wife, Suzanne M. Lewis still edits the journal Convivium with Weiss and the two worked together on the Revolution of Tenderness festival in Pittsburgh.

Suzanne M. Lewis and Rebecca Bratten Weiss
As I reported on my Twitter feed, just last night most web links to the journal and the festival were suddenly made "private", even though the until then very public pages had previously been used by Lewis, Weiss and others to raise money for and publicize their writings and events.

Obviously, you can still view most of the pages by choosing the "cache" option in your Google search.

The incident has been an embarrassment to Steubenville and perhaps a minor tragedy for its students. But I hope I will be forgiven for thinking it also has its comic elements. The Lewis-Weiss axis seems to have an obsession with juvenile vulgarity, whether it is assigning French "erotic" novels to upper-level students or making political comments on Twitter.

Bratten Weiss spent much of yesterday defending Stephen Lewis in the twittersphere. "We're basically open-minded and unprudish Catholics. Why is Steubenville being so fascist?" was the general if predictable gist. But her last tweet was on an unrelated subject:

What a lovely young lady. Definitely Steubenville English Department material.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Sharif Don't Like It: Facebook Kindly Informs Me that I've Been Censored in Pakistan

I'm actually surprised this hasn't happened more often. Out of all the posts about Islam that I've made on Facebook (usually they are links to a Mahound's Paradise blog post, though not in this case) Facebook chose this one to censor, more than three years after the fact.

I had completely forgotten about it, of course.

The irony is that the post itself was written to draw attention to one of those ubiquitous temporary Facebook bans of prominent islamophobes. In that case the ban was against Bosch Fawstin, who had just won the Draw Muhammed Contest (itself the target of a partly preemptively foiled terror attack in Garland, Texas).  

Bosch Fawstin's page is still up. Miraculously he has survived on Facebook for the last three years. Please consider purchasing one of his drawings.

UPDATE: It appears that Fawstin was permanently banned by Twitter.

In and of itself, banning a three-year-old picture is of course silly. I doubt anyone, foe or friend, combs my Facebook posts that far back, though it's possible, of course, that this is part of some larger crackdown. I have no idea.

But the general issue of Facebook bowing to censorship requests from oppressive governments (to say nothing of Facebook's own censorship, quasi-censorship and news manipulation efforts) is very serious.

Would Facebook, had it existed at the time, have censored what the Nazis might have called "Jewish propaganda" in Nazi Germany? Of course they would have. They admit that they would have:
If, after careful legal review, we determine that the content is illegal under local law, then we make it unavailable in the relevant country or territory.
Facebook justifies this policy partly on the basis that having a partly censored Facebook in, say, country XYZ is better than having no Facebook in country XYZ.

Well, it's better for Facebook, of course.

But it's worse than that, Facebook isn't just in it for the money. Those in control at Facebook and at most of the other social media megacompanies see a positive good in suppressing "Islamophobia" - or "hate speech" as it is more generally called. They've said as much many times. Obviously for them, if posting a picture of a glowering Muhammed (complete with bloody sword) isn't hate speech, nothing is.

Western Civilization is destroying itself.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Not a Parody: British Army Seeks "Snow Flakes", "Binge Gamers" and "Selfie Addicts" in New Recruitment Posters

What could be more symbolic of the emasculated and decadent state of much of Western Europe than this silly new recruitment campaign by the British Army?

The "snowflake" even has a sort of Morrissey This Charming Man expression.

Then again, the pro-Brexit, anti-Islam Morrissey is looking pretty good these days.

From Bianca Britton at CNN:
If you're a millennial who's addicted to taking selfies, video gaming or consider yourself a class clown, you could be exactly what the British Army is looking for. 
For its 2019 recruitment campaign, "Your Army Needs You," the army is seeking recruits from the "snowflake generation." 
The army drew inspiration from the World War I-era "Your Country Needs You" poster featuring Field Marshal Lord Kitchener, and recreated a series of videos and posters to attract people between the ages of 16 and 25. 
The posters feature six soldiers labeled with stereotypes of younger people, before listing a positive value for each that would be welcomed by the army. 
"Selfie addicts" have confidence, "snowflakes" have compassion, "phone zombies" have focus, "binge gamers" have drive, "class clowns" have spirit, and "me me me millennials" have self-belief, according to the posters. 
The army says the campaign shows young people who are ambitious and feel undervalued have the potential to work for a job with "real purpose" and "do meaningful work."

It also released several ads featuring young people being labeled a stereotype before portraying them in army roles working abroad in war zones and providing humanitarian relief. 
Portrayed is a late-night video gamer who the army claims has "stamina," and a slow supermarket worker who is bullied by her colleagues but who is described by the campaign as a "perfectionist" who's "resilient." Another video portrays a worker fooling around in the office, followed by the line: "there's always room for people with a bit of spirit."
The campaign comes after it was revealed last year that the British Army failed to meet recruitment targets, with only 77,000 fully trained troops compared to its 82,500 target. 

Read the full story here.

I was initially shocked when I saw the 77,000 figure. That seems to be barely enough soldiers to suppress a flashmob attack on an Apple store. But in fairness it appears to be roughly equivalent per capita to the approximately 500,000 uniformed regulars in the US Army.

For comparison, the size of the British Army was around 3 million in 1945. I'm not suggesting they go back to wartime levels but still.

Speaking as someone who was once 16 to 25, I can't imagine this effort will be successful. Who would want to devote multiple years in the prime of one's life (with a small chance one might lose it) to an outfit so creepily patronizing? Whatever else modern young people might be, they're not stupid, or at least one assumes they would have a nose for this sort of bull.

It's a bit like the pitch for the Novus Ordo - come hang out with us on Sunday morning, we promise your experience will be just as banal as the rest of your life.

No thank you, Fr. Longenecker, I'll be attempting to better my sorry lot by attending the TLM.