Welcome to the Ink Desk

Enjoy the ponderings of the Star's contributors and add your own thoughts. As this section develops, we hope it may become a medium for an exchange of ideas among those who are working towards the cultural revival.

  • December 19th, 2012The Archbishop and the Martyrby Joseph Pearce

    Travis Curtright, my friend and former colleague on the literature department at Ave Maria University, has just published a book on St. Thomas More (Catholic University of America Press). I am delighted that Archbishop Chaput has reviewed the book and delighted also that he begins it be quoting from this very website.

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  • December 19th, 2012I Should Have Been Dead a Long Time Agoby Abigail C. Reimel

    If I could, I would subtitle this “Reflections on Providence: Robinson Crusoe Style”.

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  • December 19th, 2012The Armless Womanby Pavel Chichikov

    A few days ago we went to a restaurant here in DC, and at a nearby table there was a woman who, apparently, had no arms. And yet, with her foot bared, she ate her salad with the fork held between her big toe and second toe, and she manipulated that fork as adeptly as might you and I.

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  • December 18th, 2012A Trio of Trioletsby Kevin O'Brien

    For if you follow your vocation
    As priest or husband (it's a toss up),
    Up will fly your jubilation -
    For if you follow your vocation
    You will bend and take your cross up,
    Every day, and that's your calling:
    For if you follow your vocation
    You just may find it dull, appalling.

    ...

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  • December 18th, 2012The Lord of the Rings and Peter Jacksonby Colin Jory

    On Tuesday (17th) my wife Paula and I had an evening with friends here in Canberra we've known for a long time. We were discussing The Lord of the Rings, and they mentioned that they had heard a radio  interview with (Sir) Peter Jackson's wife, (Lady) Frances Walsh, who co-wrote the screenplay with him and Philippa Boyens; and when mention was made of Peter's handling of one particular scene, she stated that they had handled it the way they did because in the novel Tolkien's Catholicism deeply informs the scene. Our friends didn't recall which scene it was; and I suspect that the interviewee was actually Philippa Boyens, since Frances is notoriously averse to attracting publicity to herself. Even so, the interview underlined the fact that throughout the two years of filming the scripting team was acutely sensitive to the profound influence of Tolkien's Catholicism on his novel -- a fact which has been noted by Fr Dwight Longenecker in an online article focusing on Boyens  (http://www.dwightlongenecker.com/content/pages/articles/cavewall7New.asp). As Fr Longenecker observes, it is a fact which goes a long way to explaining Jackson's astonishing sensitivity to every nuance of Tolkien's thinking and characterization. I've always considered The Lord of the Rings a miraculous novel -- like Coleridge's "The Ancient Mariner," it is a superlative work of literature which had no precedent, yet not only introduced a new genre but perfected the genre in introducing it -- and I regard Jackson's trilogy as a near-miraculous cinematization of it, reproducing the profound Catholic humanism and Catholic imagination which pervades it, and which explains the depth of its appeal, with a fidelity I would never in advance have imagined possible.

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  • December 17th, 2012Jackson’s Hobbitby Joseph Pearce

    Like countless others on Friday, I went to the movie theatre to see Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. I was accompanied by Conor Gallagher, of Saint Benedict Press, and his ten-year-old son, Aiden. My fears that the film would be truly awful had been allayed by my friend, Al Kresta, who had seen a preview showing of the film and had given it the thumbs-up. Trusting Al's judgment I was hopeful that the movie would be better than my angst-driven predictions had suggested. For the most part, Al's judgment was vindicated, though the film had some truly awful moments.

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  • December 17th, 2012Umentionable Humanismby Dena Hunt

    Most people, even those who are fairly well-educated, don’t know much about humanism, what it is, its history, its elements or expressions. Atheists, agnostics, secularists, religionists of all stripes, should be most familiar with it, so also those who study such humanistic “sciences” as sociology, education, political science, economics, public administration—and about a dozen more academic “fields of study” (loose term). Yet, most of these are blithely ignorant of the origins and meaning of that which they profess to work and live for. The only people who know anything about humanism are philosophers and theologians, and the seminarians to whom they impart a smattering of knowledge about the topic.

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  • December 17th, 2012Exposing the Obamanationby Joseph Pearce

    The routinely brilliant Anthony Esolen has written this damning indictment of modern America in today's Crisis. It makes sense of the massacre of the innocents in New England and makes for uncomfortable reading for the propagators and propagandists of the culture of death. Unfortunately few of them will read it or heed its warnings.

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  • December 17th, 2012Centurion’s Daughter: New Catholic Fictionby Joseph Pearce

    There is evidence of a mini-Catholic Literary Revival in the number of new works of Catholic fiction being published. We do our best to review as many of these as we are able in the pages of the St. Austin Review. One such novel is Centurion's Daughter. We hope to publish a review of this novel soon. In the meantime, visitors to this site might be interested in checking our this promotional video.

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  • December 17th, 2012More on the Hobbitby Joseph Pearce

    Here's an inother interview that I've given recently on my new book.

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  • December 17th, 2012Bilbo at the Departure Loungeby Joseph Pearce

    On Friday morning, as I waited for the Detroit flight in the departure lounge at Madison (WI) airport, I did a phone interview with Dan Burke and Tim Drake for the National Catholic Register. In spite of the heckling of robotic announcements over the airport's message system, I think the interview went surprisingly smoothly. Here's a link.

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  • December 17th, 2012The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journeyby Abigail C. Reimel

    Two nights ago, my Dad, brother, and I hopped into the car and drove half an hour to see a movie that I had been anticipating for about seven years. Hopes were high, though not irrationally so—having seen the Lord of the Rings films various times, I knew basically what to expect.

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  • December 16th, 2012Juggling Midgetsby Kevin O'Brien

    [The following first appeared in my murder mystery newsletter in October of 2000.  It is entirely true.]

    Here at Upstage Productions, we often get unusual calls for unusual entertainment.  Most of the time, we respond with as much professionalism as we can muster, in the hopes of closing the sale.  

    However, when a group of frat boys want a juggling midget, all bets are off. 

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  • December 13th, 2012Newman A to Z: Development of Doctrineby Joseph Pearce

    The hypothesis about the depositum fidei in which I gradually acquiesced was that of doctrinal development ...

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  • December 13th, 2012Upcoming Television Appearancesby Kevin O'Brien

    As Joseph Pearce mentions here, his television special Tolkien's Lord of the Rings: A Catholic Worldview will air within the next few days on EWTN.

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  • December 13th, 2012A Positive Review of Bilbo’s Journeyby Joseph Pearce

    I've just received this positive review of Bilbo's Journey:

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  • December 12th, 2012Preview of the Next Issueby Joseph Pearce

    The Jan/Feb issue of the St. Austin Review is winging its way to the printers.

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  • December 12th, 2012Interview with Jef Murrayby Jef Murray

    Seer: A Wizard's Journal ...

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  • December 12th, 2012Evil and Peter Jackson: A Response to Recent Convertby Joseph Pearce

    I owe an apology to "recent convert", a regular contributor to the discussions on the Ink Desk. I am often somewhat slow in responding to his excellent comments, and sometimes fail to respond at all. I do my best to be as interactive as possible but sometimes the time available seems to slip through my fingers. Mea culpa!

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  • December 12th, 2012Of Labels and Suchby Dena Hunt

    I love Elizabeth Scalia. I don’t know for sure that she speaks her mind, but I know she often speaks mine, as she does here:

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