Wyndham Lewis on Joyce’s “Ulysses,” 1927

Bracing counter-mainstream stuff from a premier critic of the last century, in his Time and Western Man:

Ulysses is “the sardonic catafalque of the Victorian world . . . like a record diarrhea,” without “romanticizing,” unlike Proust in his Recherche.

In it Joyce was a trickster: “The mere name suggests a romantic predilection for guile.” (92)

It features a “merging of analects,” selections from various sources (or here styles?). In his early years as a writer, Joyce had been “rather unenterprising and stationary” in this respect. Dubliners, his story collection, was written in one style, Ulysses “in a hundred or so.”

In fact, Joyce’s “ability to be influenced by all sorts of people and things” remained undiminished as he kept growing “more susceptible to new influences, of a technical order.” Thus the merging of analects as above.

The style made the man, says Lewis. He was “a craftsman pure and simple,” nothing more, “has practiced sabotage where his intellect was concerned.” Indeed, Joyce’s mind was of “extreme conventionality,” his characters “walking cliches . . . ready-made and well-worn dummies,” to which his “intelligence was so alive.”

He’s the equivalent “in music [of] the supreme instrumentalist.” (This is the summit of Lewis’ praise for Joyce.) His characters are “the material of broad comedy, not that of a subtle or average reality at all.” (Which makes for hard reading. I know I found it so.)

Throughout Ulysses he betrays a “radical conventionality of outlook,” in all of which he is “a craftsman not a creator.” A virtuoso at the typewriter, he is no great thinker, hanging “a mass of dead stuff” on “lay-figures” (mannequins, nonentities) “without a life of their own.”

More to come of this all-in-all thrashing of a literary favorite . . .


Democrats Propose “Comeback Agenda” to Oppose Rauner | Peoria Public Radio

Sen. Don Harmon of Oak Park brings out several Democrat oldies [and] baddies:

“We wanted to be for something. We wanted to outline a vision of where Illinois could go.”

The agenda includes a higher minimum wage . . . and a graduated income tax — where people with higher incomes pay a higher tax rate.

“A fair tax would allow us to cut taxes on most Illinois families.” [Besides, it’s what we Dems do

He sang the fair-tax song almost four years ago in a series of town halls leading up to the 2014 primary and general elections. You can read about it in my Illinois Blues: How the Ruling Party Talks to Voters (Lulu, 2016).

NBC 5 Chicago (not) on the news

Happened last night, 10 pm news, reporting on MSNBC’s Maddow breaking story of Trump’s 2005 tax returns — of which she had two pages.

Fine, but nothing about White House pushing back, which is usually the stuff of a story, namely how does the subject respond? No comment, not available at deadline, etc., at least that much.

But this time the subject had responded, calling Maddow’s behavior  “totally illegal ” and an example of “dishonest media.”

Why couldn’t NBC 5 include that snippet in its show last night?

What some are nay-saying about Pope Francis

1. Antipope Francis’ Recent Heresies – Catholic Church 

A laundry list, leaving no stone unthrown. Site rejects 2nd Vatican council, also lists heresies of the four previous “popes,” whom it also says are antipopes. Site belongs to a monastery in upstate New York in a very small town named after President Millard Fillmore.

2. Top philosopher: Pope must revoke ‘objectively heretical’ statements to avoid schism | News | LifeSite

Seifert stressed that he was not calling the pope a heretic, simply pointing out that he made heretical statements [in Amoris Laetitia, The Joy of Love, about marriage] that should be corrected.

Small consolation that.

3. Cardinal Burke: “No, I am not saying that Pope Francis is in heresy.” | Catholic World Report – Global Church news and views

During the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops, held in Rome in October 2014, Cardinal Burke strongly criticized the mid-term report . . . stating . . . that it “gives the impression of inventing a totally new … revolutionary, teaching on marriage and the family.” He added that he thought a statement of clarification from Pope Francis “is long overdue.” . . . .

. . . . More recently, in September of this year, Cardinal Burke and three other cardinals . . .  sent a request for clarification to Pope Francis regarding sections of . . .  Amoris Laetitia  . . . [asking him] to resolve the uncertainties and bring clarity…”  . . .

. . . In a November 15, 2016 interview . . . Cardinal Burke explained that the “five critical points” in the dubia submitted to Pope Francis “have to do with irreformable moral principles” and that if there was “no response to these questions, then I would say that it would be a question of taking a formal act of correction of a serious error.”

From there the Catholic World Report interviewer digs and digs, Burke responds and responds. It’s grimly interesting, gripping, seductive in its laying out of an argument that resembles an oncoming train crash. God bless all concerned, I don’t want to watch.

4. Is Pope Francis a Heretic? Part I | Catholic Answers — Much-debated allowing of communion to the divorced and remarried is a matter of practice not doctrine, writer says, getting into some very tall weeds in the process, and facile, to boot.  Approval of practice that overturns doctrine, anyone?

Pope Francis is not talking about changing, or even making “exceptions” to, the sixth commandment or the Sermon on the Mount; he is talking about whether or not individuals can break a commandment while not being fully culpable for it. And the answer is: yes they can.   . . . .

. . . . The operative word here is “practice.” There is not even a question as to divine law here, as we said above. Pope Francis is not denying divine law. It is the “practice” of the Church that Pope Francis is changing. [!] This is a matter of [whose?prudential judgment in a juridical matter, not doctrine. . . . .

. . . . [T]o be frank with you, I do not think Pope Francis’s decision is the most prudent. . . . .  At the same time, I fear that in making that statement I may be standing in opposition to the heart of the Good Shepherd. Could it be [that] differing times require differing prudential judgments? Is it providential that this decision comes in the midst of this extraordinary year of divine mercy (see AL309)? . . . .

Is or isn’t it? He’s afraid he might be standing opposed to “the heart of the Good Shepherd.” Oh boy. Among his other fears is that he may be insufficiently dismissive of all this legal Eagle talk, and insufficiently reliant on lead-from-the-heart talk.

I submit that this fellow’s response does little to bridge the impasse. For one thing, he argues that Francis is not doing such and such because he says he isn’t. Where and how does that work?