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 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: 


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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:


    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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  • June 25th, 2014Alexander Pushkin on Shakespeareby Brendan D. King

    Excerpted from, "The Critical Prose of Alexander Pushkin," Indiana

    University Press, 1969. Pages 240-241.

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  • June 25th, 2014Tolkien Fandom’s Response to Peter Jacksonby Brendan D. King

    Special thanks to Pavel Parfentiev for bringing this to my attention.

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  • June 25th, 2014The Lion’s Heartby Dena Hunt

    My new novel, The Lion’s Heart, is available on Kindle. The print edition will be out any day now, probably by the time this is posted. It’s perhaps not suitable for all audiences, however. Erin McCole-Cupp explains why in her review:


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  • June 24th, 2014A Blank Sheet of Paperby Dena Hunt

    I have no attachments, no identifying tribal markers. By that I mean I am no one’s daughter, no one’s wife, no one’s sister, and no one’s mother. Ergo, I am no one, a blank sheet of paper on which many people have felt free to write their stuff.

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  • June 22nd, 2014The World War I Poetsby Kevin Kennelly

    More and more I believe WWI was the epochal event of the 20th century with horrible effects lingering with us still.......hyperinflation,  communism, fascism, WWII , modernism and today's "retail" decadence in the form of political and cultural liberalism. That may well be a lot of "historical license" but I do believe the dots connect.

    The carnage and misplaced patriotism ( albeit mixed with incredible bravery and devotion) was and is stunning. Maybe a million men died at the Battle of Verdun yet it is thought the battle line moved some 18 inches net.

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  • June 22nd, 2014Living in the Church vs. Living in a Cultby Kevin O'Brien

    There's a strange phenomenon that's been at work within the Church for the past sixty years or so.

    A number of groups have sprung up within the Catholic Church that have become more or less full-blown cults.  These groups present themselves as Catholic, but they share several of the following characteristics with cults ...

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  • June 22nd, 2014Be Nice to Those in Lineby Kevin O'Brien

    Yesterday I experienced a brutal and shocking encounter with evil that still has me reeling.  It's the kind of thing I really can't describe, but one of the effects of it was a distinct desire to go to confession today before Mass.  I felt dirty and needed a shower, so to speak.

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What are your thoughts on the subject?