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Maclin Horton
Fairhope, Alabama [email: my first name followed by a period followed by my last name at gmail.com]
Victor Hugo said "50 is the youth of old age." Now it's 60, I think.
Interests: music, literature, film, politics., catholic spirituality and doctrine
Recent Activity
Between trying to get settled in a new house, the Thanksgiving gathering and feast, and a bad cold, I haven't had any time and not much inclination for writing over the past four or five days. The cold is a bigger factor than perhaps it should be, as it's been accompanied by a fairly bad headache which makes me want to avoid exercise of both mind and eyes. But it's better today, enough for a brief post, at least. The term "cozy mystery," or simply "cozy," refers to a species of detective fiction in the Agatha Christie mold: low in... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Light On Dark Water
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Lat week when I wanted to check certain details about The Summerhouse Trilogy but didn't have access to the book, I looked around on the web a bit for reviews or summaries which might help. I didn't find any, but I ended up looking through all the reader comments at Goodreads. Most were positive, and at least one reader says that she reads the book every year. But the negatives...well, they say much more about the reviewer than the reviewed. Some seem not to have paid very close attention, as the full story is not "retold" in the three sections,... Continue reading
Posted Nov 21, 2022 at Light On Dark Water
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I'm going to be more brief than this book deserves, because it's been several months since I read it and I want to refresh my memory about certain things, but I've just moved to a new house and almost all my books are still in boxes awaiting the resolution of questions about bookshelves. And I have no idea which box this book is in. I think it was Charlotte Bronte who said of her sister Emily's creation, Heathcliff, that she was not sure that the creation of such a being was morally justified. I had a somewhat similar thought about... Continue reading
Posted Nov 14, 2022 at Light On Dark Water
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Continuing the discussion of the success or failure of Vatican II, from this post: Ross Douthat (as quoted by Rod Dreher, because I can't view Douthat's entire New York Times column) asserts that the council was and is a failure on its own terms. The measures intended to invite and draw "modern man" to the Church have been accompanied not by growth but by decline, as measured by membership and activity, at least in Euro-American civilization. That's a plain fact. Whether the decline would have been greater or lesser without the council can only be speculative. I'm sure that question... Continue reading
Posted Nov 7, 2022 at Light On Dark Water
Or so it seems. I can't post comments though I see two people have managed to do so. There were lots of apologies from Typepad for the much longer than expected outage, and it looks to me like there are still some "issues" (that's another language complaint--why do we now say "issues" instead of "problems"?). On the other hand I'm still in the process of moving and internet access at my new address is still iffy, so maybe the "issues" are on my end now. UPDATE Saturday Nov 4, from Typepad's blog: Over the past few weeks, Typepad has experienced... Continue reading
Posted Oct 31, 2022 at Light On Dark Water
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Subtitle: "A Story of Family, Fine Bourbon, and the Things That Last" If you have any contact at all with whiskey and the many types and brands of it, you've probably heard of a bourbon called Pappy Van Winkle. When someone gave me this book for Christmas of 2020, "heard of it" was all I could say--I recognized the name, and was aware that it is absurdly expensive, running into the thousands of dollars per bottle. I assume that bottle is at most a liter, maybe only 750 milliliters. (I would prefer that it still be quarts and pints. That's... Continue reading
Posted Oct 30, 2022 at Light On Dark Water
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The recent problems and quirks were associated with their move to a new data center. They're still working things out: Typepad will be conducting further maintenance this coming weekend to address lingering issues as part of the continued migration to the new data center. During a window from 9:30 pm U.S. Eastern Time on Saturday, October 29 (01:30 UTC on Sunday, October 30) to 9:30 am U.S. Eastern Time on Sunday, October 30 (13:30 UTC on Sunday, October 30), there may be periods where Typepad blogs are down. I am seeing, and you probably are, too, an annoying intermediate delay... Continue reading
Posted Oct 29, 2022 at Light On Dark Water
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Subtitle: "Cultural Amnesia, Expressive Individualism, and the Road to Sexual Revolution" It's always true of human societies that serious and seemingly, perhaps actually, insoluble problems exist, but there are degrees, and it's more the case now than ordinarily. It's not always the case that an entire civilization plunges, as ours has done, into ideas and behavior that are obviously self-destructive and can only result in decline, possibly collapse. In some ways these are even manifestly crazy, in the sense of being fundamentally at odds with reality. Those who recognize and are properly alarmed by this are frequently engaged in a... Continue reading
Posted Oct 24, 2022 at Light On Dark Water
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...have seen the end of war." A quick search finds that sunny observation attributed to Plato and to Santayana, which is an awfully wide chronological range. I did not learn it from any such noble source, but rather as the name of an album by an Iraqi heavy metal group, Acrassicauda ("a black desert scorpion"). A metal band trying to get started in Iraq in 2001 probably had better reason than most of us to judge the truth of that saying. It came to mind the other day as I was reading a couple of articles about the 60th anniversary... Continue reading
Posted Oct 17, 2022 at Light On Dark Water
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One of the blog-related matters I've been wrestling with is that I've gotten way behind on discussing recently-read books. Part of the reason for that is plain old procrastination, with my own personal twist: anything, especially a writing task, that seems likely to take more than, say, fifteen or twenty minutes keeps getting put off: I don't have time to do that right now, I'll do it later. I'll have more time after I get [random thing] out of the way. And pretty soon half a dozen or so such tasks have piled up, while I attend to a series... Continue reading
Posted Oct 8, 2022 at Light On Dark Water
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I have been brooding about this for months. Mostly the interior argument went like this: On the one hand: maybe it's time to quit, for various reasons (see below). On the other hand: I'd like to keep it going through 2023 at least, to make it a full twenty years. And I do enjoy it. I have a couple of major writing projects in progress, and the blog is a big distraction from them. Always, at least in the back of my mind, I'm concerned about the next post, whether or not this or that is worth writing a post... Continue reading
Posted Oct 7, 2022 at Light On Dark Water
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...the Enlightenment effectively tore out the foundations from under the polite bourgeois morality that it wished to maintain. You cannot do this, says Nietzsche. You have unchained the earth from the sun, a move of incalculable significance. By doing so, you have taken away any basis for a metaphysics that might ground either knowledge or ethics.... The cheerful and chipper atheism of a Richard Dawkins or a Daniel Dennett is not for Nietzsche because it fails to see the radical consequences of its rejection of God. To hope that, say evolution will make us moral would be to assume a... Continue reading
Posted Oct 4, 2022 at Light On Dark Water
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Having had such a great experience with #6 a couple of weeks ago, I was eager to hear these. As with the Pathetique, I had not, as far as I can recall, heard them since I was in my early 20s. So I did, and it was a mistake. It was too soon. It was almost impossible that these two works would come up to the level that had just been set by their younger sibling. There is nothing at all wrong with them. They are both good, maybe great, works, and maybe at the right time I would have... Continue reading
Posted Sep 28, 2022 at Light On Dark Water
Not that there's anything wrong with Halloween. But the way some people plunge into it now strikes me as a little crazy. A couple of blocks away from my house there's a yard which features a werewolf sort of thing that must be eight feet tall. And a life-sized witch, and a few other things which I haven't gotten close enough to identify. At night there's a lot of spooky purple lighting. This is not so very unusual. But what is unusual is that this display has been up for at least two weeks: i.e., it went up in mid-September.... Continue reading
Posted Sep 26, 2022 at Light On Dark Water
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Here's another recent discovery from the embarrassingly large number of recordings I acquired some time ago and never really listened to. Once again I put a CD full of MP3 files (over a hundred tracks) in my car player and listened to them one or two at a time as I ran little errands around town. Since I don't commute anymore it takes a while to get through one of these discs, and they usually have some surprises, if only due to the odd juxtapositions: they were originally made as backups, and I just threw whatever I hadn't yet backed... Continue reading
Posted Sep 24, 2022 at Light On Dark Water
There was some discussion of this HBO series in comments on this post, in which all agreed that the show is very good and that Kate Winslet's performance is extremely good. When I last commented there I hadn't seen all seven episodes, but I have now, and so can make my concurrence final. It's a crime drama, and the production as a whole is worthy of comparison to the best contemporary work in that line: Broadchurch, for instance. "Mare" in the title is the name of the principal character. As far as I noticed, the odd name is not explained... Continue reading
Posted Sep 22, 2022 at Light On Dark Water
A brief but telling few paragraphs on the situation of Christianity in the new culture: What, then, should churchmen do? The answer returns clearly: become, avowedly, therapists, administrating a therapeutic institution--under the justificatory mandate that Jesus himself was the first therapeutic. For the next culture needs therapeutic institutions. After quoting a writer of the time, John Wren-Lewis, who dismisses all the actually religious aspects of religion, Rieff continues: [Wren-Lewis] understands that churchmen will be able to become professional therapeutics "only if they break away radically from almost all, if not all, of their traditional religious pursuits." Here speaks the therapeutic,... Continue reading
Posted Sep 18, 2022 at Light On Dark Water
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I liked this symphony a lot when I was young, late teens and early twenties. But as far as I can remember I never heard it after that. There was no particular reason for that, though for various reasons with which I won't bore you I'm not sure I had a recording of it after that period of my life. At any rate--again, as far as I can remember--I had not heard it for well over forty years when, a week or so ago, I had a sudden desire to hear it again. Oh my goodness. It immediately shot up... Continue reading
Posted Sep 11, 2022 at Light On Dark Water
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I don't have to say which queen. I'm tempted to say, very unoriginally, that her death is the the end of an era. But it really isn't. The era had already ended, and she was one of the last remnants of it. Removing most of the power from the monarchy had the effect of emphasizing its value as the symbol of an ideal, and she was a worthy representative. As someone said elsewhere, she knew what it meant to do one's duty, no matter what. That's not much understood now, though I think, or hope, that when it is understood... Continue reading
Posted Sep 8, 2022 at Light On Dark Water
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To end the spiritual impoverishment of Western culture, Jung recommends the following: that the rationalist suppression of myth and of other manifestations of the unconscious need mitigation, but not by a new theology or new dogmas; rather, by a therapeutic release of the myth components from the collective unconscious. The neurosis of modernity is defined by Jung as the suppression of precisely those irrational components. Therefore, Jung is recommending an essentially private religiosity without institutional reference or communal membership for the individual in need of an integrated symbolism.... In other words, "spiritual but not religious." In essence, this is a... Continue reading
Posted Sep 6, 2022 at Light On Dark Water
This is my latest find from the music I acquired years ago and never really listened to. The name led me to expect, well, club music. I'm not sure what I mean by that--something in the general direction of electronic dance music, I guess, with heavy beats and probably no great endowment of melody and lyrical depth; maybe something in the trip-hop line, but less interesting. And at first I thought that's what I was going to hear: the first thirty seconds are so like Portishead as to seem a copy or even a quotation. The whole song, "Love In... Continue reading
Posted Sep 3, 2022 at Light On Dark Water
"They might, he said, come out to Vienna." That's from the Auden biography I'm reading. It's 1937 (I think) and "they" is Auden and Christopher Isherwood. It always amuses me that the English seem generally to refer to any travel abroad as going "out." The direction doesn't matter: out to Canada, out to Australia. And as in this case maybe only over to the continent. (Americans are more likely to say "over" to some other country. Or perhaps "down" for south and "up" for north.) It's as if England is, naturally, the center, and to go anywhere else one must... Continue reading
Posted Aug 31, 2022 at Light On Dark Water
...the kind of man I see emerging, as our culture fades into the next, resembles the kind once called "spiritual"--because such a man desires to preserve the inherited morality freed from its hard external crust of institutional discipline. Yet a culture survives principally, I think, by the power of its institutions to bind and loose men in the conduct of their affairs with reasons which sink so deep into the self that they become commonly and implicitly understood--with that understanding of which explicit belief and precise knowledge of externals would show outwardly like the tip of an iceberg.... Having broken... Continue reading
Posted Aug 29, 2022 at Light On Dark Water
Much of the time, anyway. She is a Scottish comedian whom I stumbled across on YouTube while looking for something else. I've watched a dozen or so of her videos and many of them made me laugh. So that makes her a successful comedian in my book. She can do English and American accents very convincingly. Here's an American: And here's an English: But I do love the Scottish accent, presumably her native one, especially in women. So for me the best skits are the tours of various establishments guided by the listless, bored, and frankly somewhat hostile Craig. Here... Continue reading
Posted Aug 26, 2022 at Light On Dark Water
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Some months ago I picked up Humphrey Carpenter's biography of W.H. Auden from the discard shelf at the local library. That it was there is a sad state of affairs, and I almost made it sadder when, after a few months of seeing it on the shelf and leaving it alone, and under a self-imposed mandate to get rid of books that I'm pretty sure I will never read, I decided that I probably didn't really want to read five hundred or so pages about Auden's life. I'm generally unenthusiastic about biographies of artists, and Auden is not my at... Continue reading
Posted Aug 24, 2022 at Light On Dark Water
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