Happy Halloween, everyone. Let’s get things started right. Check out this Halloween costume this dad made for his daughter. Best costume ever, though good luck walking around the neighborhood carrying your healthy pre-teen for more than five minutes.
Mal fait. “Just a day after Turkish officials announced that the journalist Jamal Khashoggi had been murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 7 October, France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, issued a decree officially confirming the grandiose cultural and tourism development of Al-Ula Province in Saudi Arabia.”
Simon and Schuster starts a new imprint called Avid Reader.
It’s the 50th anniversary of the MPAA rating. It’s no surprise, really, that the majority of films have been rated R.
In praise of literary hoaxes.
Do partisans hate each other more than ever? Morris Fiorina reviews Uncivil Agreement: How Politics Became Our Identity.
Rod Dreher recommends Amor Towles’s A Gentleman In Moscow. “It’s been out for two years, but I’m just now finding it, and boy, is it ever a delight. It’s the story of Count Alexander Rostov, a young Russian aristocrat condemned by the Bolsheviks but sentenced for life to house arrest in the luxury Hotel Metropol. The story plays out over the decades, within the universe of the Metropol, and we see the count grow as a man through the people he lives with there, and meets in their coming and going. The novel also tells the story of what communism meant to Russia, through the lives and fates of the men and women who pass through the Metropol. Novelist Amor Towles (an American) has a very light touch, one that allows him to make sophisticated observations about the nature of life, and even of politics, without coming across as heavy-handed or didactic.”
Essay of the Day:
In First Things, John Cuddeback argues that a flourishing society starts with flourishing households:
“One can be part of a family without being part of its household. This distinction is important if we are to understand and renew family life...Not long ago, the household was a context of daily life. The arts that provided for the material needs of human life were largely home arts, practiced, developed, and passed on within the four walls, or at least in the immediate ambit of the home. Food, clothing, shelter, as well as nonessential items that gave some embellishment to life, were commonly the fruit of the work of household members, often produced with an eye for beauty as well as utility. This carried into the industrial era. For decades, Singer sold sewing machines to housewives, who bought patterns and made their own clothes. Men built backyard toolsheds. Grandparents put up raspberry jams in Mason jars.
“The household involves more than just work. Porch times, lawn times, and by-the-fire times punctuated the more serious endeavors, and were often occasions of leisurely work, too, such as carving, fine needlework, and other hobbies. Meals called for setting aside work, as of course did prayer. These habits were times of mutual presence. To a great extent, family life meant being with at least some other members of the household for most of the day.
“Recounting these things, once taken for granted, highlights how remote a household is from the home life of today. Even those who intentionally seek to have a “traditional” family life, in fact, often lack the ability to comprehend the reality of a household that is not simply ‘traditional,’ but ancient and profoundly human. They set out to start a family in a virtual vacuum. The husband and father usually sallies forth to a remote job, and the wife and mother attempts to manage the day-to-day work of child-rearing—a project the real nature of which is elusive—while wondering what place she too might have ‘out there.’ Intangible pressures on parents and children seem inexorably to draw their attention and their time to activities outside of the home. Junior gets taken to soccer practice. Mom goes to a spin class.
“A renewal of family life will require a renewal of the household, especially as a place of shared work and a center of shared experience and belonging. We are missing out on truly human living because we fail to live together.”
Photos: High water in Venice
Poem: A. E. Stallings, “Two Poems”
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