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.

  • July 10th, 2014What Britain Ain’tby Joseph Pearce

    My latest piece for the Imaginative Conservative is entitled "What Makes Britain 'Great' and England Greater". The reason for the slang in the title that I've chosen for this post will become clear upon reading the article. Here's the link:

    http://www.theimaginativeconservative.org/2014/07/makes-britain-great-england-greater.html

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  • July 10th, 2014Trivia Masquerading as Cultureby Joseph Pearce

    I've just received what must be one of the most bizarre requests that I've ever received. I've been contacted by a journalist working on what he described as "a cultural quiz show for Spanish Television".

    I quote from his e-mail:

    My work consists in writing the questions and checking if they are correct and well formulated, in order to be as precise as possible and make sure we don’t spread wrong information to our contestants and our audience. Sometimes, to do this work, I need to contact to some experts, such as you, in this case.

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  • July 6th, 2014Book Burning: Is E-Brother Bigger than Big Brother?by Joseph Pearce

    My wife has drawn my attention to this well-written and thought-provoking article about the danger of book burning, book banning and book censorship in the internet age. If you thought that Orwell's Big Brother was frightening, you ain't seen nothing yet ...

    http://awordplease.org/2014/07/03/are-your-books-on-fire/

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  • July 5th, 2014How “Frozen” Should Have Endedby Brendan D. King

    Whether or not the Disney film "Frozen" is acceptable for Christian families has caused a great deal of controversy, some of which has even spilled over onto The Ink Desk. For this reason, I have decided to give both sides the opportunity to laugh at "Frozen." The following video is therefore highly recommended.

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  • July 4th, 2014Ich hatt’ einen Kameradenby Brendan D. King

    In keeping with the recent upsurge of interest in the Great War, I have decided to post the following video, which memorializes the German soldiers who fell under the Kaiser's banner. It consists of the song, "Ich hatt' einen Kameraden,"

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  • July 3rd, 2014An Englishman Ponders the Fourth of Julyby Joseph Pearce

    So what does an Englishman who has become an American citizen really think about the Fourth of July? I ponder the question at some length in my latest piece for the Imaginative Conservative: 

    http://www.theimaginativeconservative.org/2014/07/become-an-american-ponders.html

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  • July 3rd, 2014A True Treasureby Joseph Pearce

    My good friend, William Fahey, President of Thomas More College in New Hampshire, has written a simply superb article about the timeless value of Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island: 

    http://www.crisismagazine.com/2014/robert-louis-stevenson-treasure-island

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  • July 3rd, 2014“Heia Safari!”by Brendan D. King

    It is now often forgotten that, before 1918, the Kaiser's Germany held colonies in Africa, China, New Guinea, and the Samoa. One of these Colonies, German East Africa, is clearly meant to be the setting of this interesting tribute to the Kaiser's global empire. The song which accompanies it, "Heia Safari," was written before the Great War and remains very popular in German-speaking countries. It is accompanied by both German and English subtitles.

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  • July 2nd, 2014Paul Horgan Seeing Things As They Areby Daniel J. Heisey

    Fame being fleeting, Paul Horgan (1903-1995) seems now to be known only to a handful of fans, and most of his nearly forty books, once bestsellers and prize-winners, are out of print.  One way to dust off Horgan’s name is to look at one of the few of his books still in print, a novel called Things As They Are, first published in 1964.  It purports to be the recollections of an aging man named Richard.  Like Horgan, Richard (no surname given) grew up in upstate New York in an Irish-German Catholic family.  Because of these similarities, Horgan prefaced his novel with a disclaimer that it was not his autobiography.

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  • July 2nd, 2014Belloc in Parliamentby Joseph Pearce

    I continue my recent appraisal and tribute to the life and legacy of Hilaire Belloc in my latest article for the Imaginative Conservative: http://www.theimaginativeconservative.org/2014/06/belloc-parliament.html

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  • July 2nd, 2014Join Me and Fr. Longenecker on a Pilgrimage to Englandby Joseph Pearce

    In early June next year, I will be leading a pilgrimage to England with StAR columnist, Fr. Dwight Longenecker, We will be visiting castles, abbey ruins and priest holes in the footsteps of the English saints and martyrs and will also be visiting places associated with great writers, such as Shakespeare, Tolkien, Lewis, Belloc and Hopkins. I hope you will be able to join us and that you will spread the word to everyone who might be interested. See the link for more details: 

    http://www.catholicheritagetours.com/acfc

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  • July 1st, 2014Magic in Middle-earthby Joseph Pearce

    I've received an e-mail from a young lady expressing her parents' concerns about "magic" in The Lord of the Rings. Here's the text of the e-mail; my response follows.

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  • July 1st, 2014To Breathe as Oneby Joseph Pearce

    I am occasionally pleasantly surprised when I view something truly edifying in a palantir stone (television). We removed the palantir from our own home years ago so I tend to see one only when I'm travelling. A couple of months ago I was very pleasantly surprised to catch an episode of the new BBC series of Father Brown. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised on two levels; first, I was simply surprised to be fortunate enough to catch an episode; second, I was even more surprised, indeed astonished, to see how good it was and how mercifully free it was of politically and religiously "correct" nonsense. Then, last Friday, I caught an hour-long documentary about the cultural resistance, through the power of folk song, of the Estonian nation to the tyranny of Soviet communism. The whole episode does not seem to be available online but this two minute trailer will warm the cockles of any freedom-loving heart: http://www.tobreatheasone.com/trailer.

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  • June 30th, 2014St. Thomas More meets Rudyard Kiplingby Brendan D. King

    Tragically, "The Ink Desk," carried no reminder that June 22nd was the Feast Day of Saint Thomas More. For this I share the blame. Although my tribute to him is now somewhat tardy, I shall post a Kipling poem which, despite its not having been written with More in mind, contains a perfect description of his character. May his sacrifice never be forgotten!

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  • June 29th, 2014Groucho Marx and T. S. Eliotby Kevin O'Brien

    There's an excellent article in the current New Yorker by Lee Siegel about the strange friendship of Groucho Marx and T. S. Eloit - or perhaps the "strained" friendship. 

    And from Siegel's article we can conclude one thing: Eliot may have been a better poet than Groucho, but Groucho was a lot funnier than Eliot. 

    Of course, this will come as no surprise to anybody.  But what may surprise most of you (who aren't huge Marx Brothers fans as I am) is that Groucho was a very gifted writer, especially when it came to his correspondence.  Siegel quotes from Groucho's letters and highlights the antagonism buried beneath the superficial cordiality of the Marx-Eliot friendship ...

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  • June 29th, 2014In Memoriamby Brendan D. King

    In memory of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary and his wife, Sophie Chotek, the Duchess of Hohenberg, on this the one hundredth anniversary of their assassination near the Latin Bridge in Sarajevo.

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  • June 29th, 2014Sin is Sexy - Isn’t It?by Kevin O'Brien

    Since talking about hell has become embarrassing for most Christians, you won't often find discussions about the eternal consequences of sin.

    But look at the temporal consequences of sin: addiction, misery, spiritual blindness, compromising our relationship with the truth in order to rationalize our behavior, etc.  Sin causes so many obvious problems this side of the grave that one wonders why we all habitually engage in it.

    I think one of the reasons we love sin is that sin is sexy.  I don't mean that all sin is about sex, or even that sexual sins are the most serious sorts of sins.  What I mean is that the allure of sin is a kind of excitement that takes us out of ourselves.  The thrill is a kind of mini-transcendence, or appears to be.  The thrill is exciting, it's over-the-top, it's "sexy".

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  • June 28th, 2014A Hungarian Schoolgirl’s Memoir of of August 1914by Brendan D. King

    Today marks the 100th anniversary of the assassinations of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, the Duchess of Hohenburg. In their memory and of those many families which endured the horrors that ensued, I am posting the following link:

    http://magyarnews.org/news.php?viewStory=1416

    My deepest thanks go to Erika Papp Faber, both for translating her aunt's memoirs and for bringing them to my attention.

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  • June 27th, 2014Profiling Othelloby Brendan D. King

    Many people who have praised William Shakespeare's deep knowledge of the criminal mind. But the most interesting assessment which I have seen is  by a man who definitely knows what he is talking about.

    As one of the pioneers of psychological profiling at the FBI, Special Agent John Douglas is something of a legend in law enforvement. To the general public, Douglas is best known as the model for Agent Jack Crawford in the book and movie "The Silence of the Lambs." One of Douglas' most fascinating investigations, however, took place after his retirement and is described in his book, "The Anatomy of Motive."

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  • June 27th, 2014Poetry and Exileby Kevin O'Brien

    In the photo above, you see me (left) at a restaurant with Fr. Dwight Longenecker.  Fr. Dwight was in St. Louis presenting a three day mission at Immaculate Conception Church in Dardenne Prairie.  I offered to take Fr. Dwight out to breakfast one morning.  My plan was to take him to the lobby of his hotel and eat donuts and cereal for free.  But he insisted that we go to someplace swanky, so we ended up at Bob Evans. 

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