Spheres, Goats, Modernists
Decades ago, I looked in every issue of the Atlantic for the inevitable painting by Guy Billout -- so it’s nice to see that he has an Instagram.
You’ll find much to consider in this important reflection from Comment’s editor, Anne Snyder:
The principle of sphere sovereignty suggests that we live in a vast array of social structures, each one endowed with distinct responsibilities, privileges, and authority. It’s premised on an all-encompassing created order, one that includes a variety of societal communities that pursue different goods with distinction: education, worship, agriculture, civil justice, economy and labour, marriage and family, artistic expression, and more. These societal communities, or spheres, respect one another’s boundaries; a purpose owned by one won’t be trespassed by another. And they are to complement and support one another, cross-pollinate and interact.
Spheres that are distinct and yet connected mutually animating -- that’s what a healthy culture contains.
I was delighted to see this revisitation of A Sultry Month, by Alethea Hayter -- one of the books I most wish I had written. In fact, now I think I have to read it again.
This is great from Oliver Burkeman: the liberating effect of realizing that it’s worse than you thought.
“They can get into places where mowers can’t go, they eat all day without complaining and the fertilizer is free of charge.” All hail the fire-preventing goats.
Some things I’ve been writing about:
- Mencken, Machen, and Modernists
- Self-understanding and resistance
- Unfiltered recording, filtered transcription
Blogs are great, but the reverse-chronological system has some problems: it gives unnecessary prominence to the new, and it masks relationships between posts that aren’t contiguous in time. One partial remedy for these ills is to browse certain tags, for instance:
I do this myself occasionally and am often surprised by what I find. (Which is not itself surprising -- I’ve written thousands of posts.)
Currently (and finally) reading: the first volume of Robert Caro’s massive biography of LBJ -- and it’s just as great as everyone says. As deeply researched as any biography has ever been, I suppose, and told with grace and verve. A masterpiece, for sure. I’ll have more to say about it in due course.