"So, too, our Collegiate Gothic, which may be seen in its most resolutely picturesque (and expensive) phase at Yale, is more relentlessly Gothic than Chartres, whose builders didn't even know they were Gothic and missed so many chances for quaint effect." Dwight Macdonald.

"More Catholic than the Pope" is (was?) a standard easy definition of kitsch. And that's where we are. It's not exactly new. Fascism is a modern and individualist fantasy of monarchism: the self against the self; self-abnegation becomes self-destruction. Again, now, nothing new.

"The Decadents knew that Catholicism pairs well with transgression. The Metropolitan Museum of Art knows it, too: It held an exhibition titled “Heavenly Bodies” in 2018, a show that juxtaposed liturgical iconography with high fashion and BDSM paraphernalia. Catholicism embraces the give-and-take between sin and repentance, formalizing it in the sacrament of confession."


Catholic libertarianism was amusing, but this is something else. Liberalism really has won.

Everything about this is stupid. Suburban teenagers and third hand ideas. I can't even call it decadence. You all know so little.

Santayana was an atheist, and he wouldn't have much interest in the American reconstruction of Catholicism. You should read him.

Expand full comment

“Never believe that anti-Semites are completely unaware of the absurdity of their replies. They know that their remarks are frivolous, open to challenge. But they are amusing themselves, for it is their adversary who is obliged to use words responsibly, since he believes in words. The anti-Semites have the right to play. They even like to play with discourse for, by giving ridiculous reasons, they discredit the seriousness of their interlocutors. They delight in acting in bad faith, since they seek not to persuade by sound argument but to intimidate and disconcert. If you press them too closely, they will abruptly fall silent, loftily indicating by some phrase that the time for argument is past.”

― Jean-Paul Sartre

Expand full comment