Millennial Nuns, Philip Roth’s Stuff, and American Loyalists
First up: How a huge marble complex is changing our understanding of ancient Greece: “Nothing like this monumental complex has ever been found from this period in or around Greece before. Although the current archaeological investigations on Dhaskalio have been going on for the past four years, it’s only more detailed examination of the resultant data over the past 12 months that has revealed the true scale of the complex, and the transport logistics and construction work associated with it.”
John Wilson recommends H. S. Cross’s Grievous: “If you are a lifelong reader of fiction who has written about the stuff off and on for decades, nothing is more satisfying than the opportunity to recommend a not-yet-well-known writer who really is exceptionally good.”
Bid on Philip Roth’s stuff. I’ll take the Richard and Pat Nixon collector plate for $100.
Chef demands to be removed from Michelin Guide: “‘I have been depressed for six months. How dare you take the health of your chefs hostage?’ wrote Veyrat, who is known for his signature black hat. When Gordon Ramsay was stripped of a Michelin star at his New York restaurant, he compared the experience to losing a girlfriend and losing the Champions League. Veyrat denounced the ‘profound incompetence’ of the guide’s inspectors. ‘They dared to say that we put cheddar in our souffle of reblochon, beaufort and tomme! They have insulted our region; my employees were furious,’ he said, according to Le Monde.”
David Mamet remembers Ricky Jay: “I was looking around at Ricky and Chrisann’s house and there’s a bunch of tchotckes, a lot of these collections of tchotckes, right—trinkets—that I’d given him over the years. There was a pair of really great brass knuckles that I’d found in a shop in Vermont and a Chicago-brand palm pistol, a squeeze palm pistol, a hide-out gun for nineteenth-century gamblers; and a hollow die, a magician’s papier-mâché prop that I found him at a flea market in Paris. One of the few joys for me in traveling was wherever I was I’d go around to the thrift stores and the flea markets and I’d always be looking for something to send back or bring back to Ricky.”
Reconsidering American loyalists: “While many who embraced independence framed the struggle as an appeal to heaven with God on their side, Loyalists—who considered themselves no less American than their opponents—strongly disagreed. The strongest case for their position, as Frasier points out, came from clergymen. Many of those arguments inverted or mirrored those of Patriots by appealing to rights and the rule of law. God Against the Revolution: The Loyalist Clergy’s Case Against the American Revolution traces them while taking into account divergent viewpoints on both sides.”
Essay of the Day:
In Huffington Post, Eve Fairbanks writes about the sudden increase in young American women interested in becoming nuns. I have some quibbles, and quite a bit is left out in terms of explanation, but it’s an interesting piece. Here’s a snippet:
“After 50 years of decline, the number of young women ‘discerning the religious life’—or going through the long process of becoming a Catholic sister—is substantially increasing. In 2017, 13 percent of women from age 18 to 35 who answered a Georgetown University-affiliated survey of American Catholics reported that they had considered becoming a Catholic sister. That’s more than 900,000 young women, enough to repopulate the corps of ‘women religious’ in a couple of decades, even if only a fraction of them actually go through with it.
“And the aspiring sisters aren’t like the old ones. They’re more diverse: Ninety percent of American nuns in 2009 identified as white; last year, fewer than 60 percent of new entrants to convents did. They’re also younger: The average age for taking the final step into the religious life a decade ago was 40. Today, it’s 24. They’re disproportionately middle children, often high-flying and high-achieving. Typical discernment stories on blogs or in the Catholic press start with lines like ‘she played lacrosse and went to Rutgers’ or she was ‘a Harvard graduate with a wonderful boyfriend’ . . . These young women have one last surprise: They tend to be far more doctrinally conservative than their predecessors. If you go deeper into their social media feeds, past the wacky photos of habited nuns making the hang-loose sign, you’ll find a firm devotion to the most traditional of Catholic beliefs. They fervently protest abortion. They celebrate virginity not as a necessity to free up time to serve God—how some ‘liberal’ sisters see it—but as something in itself holy. It’s a severity that overlaps neatly, actually, with the OMG maximalism that dominates social media.
“Patrice Tuohy, the publisher of guides for people considering the religious life, including VocationMatch.com, told me that not long ago she used to get only about 350 queries a year by phone and online. Last year, she got 2,600. And 60 percent of those women, Tuohy said, explicitly asked if they could join an order that would force them to wear a habit.”
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