“The Colorado River is in Crisis, And It’s Getting Worse Every Day.” In a beautifully produced, well-illustrated essay, Karin Brulliard journeys down the Colorado River and highlights the communities and ecosystems that depend on its dwindling flow.
“Is Reading Fiction a Waste of Time?” Kathleen A. Mulhern attests to the power of fiction to form our moral imaginations and to shape our loves. Reading fiction is one of those practices “that can jolt us out of our twenty-first-century spiritual banalities, practices that can counteract our flattened world.”
“Who is This New Man?” Ashley Hales turns to Letters from an American Farmer for metaphors to help make sense of America today: “Imaginative work like emigrant guides and early American fiction remind us that the stories America has told about itself are never as uncomplicated as we sometimes believe them to be.”
“Conference on the Front Porch.” This gathering in Mississippi has the right idea about architecture, and they have an intriguing line up of speakers and musicians.
“World Localization Day.” On June 21st, the third annual celebration of localization will occur. Here’s how their website describes the goal of this event: “As more people wake up to the need to localize supply-chains and recover their connections to Nature and community, World Localization Day aims to galvanize the worldwide localization movement into a force for systemic change.”
“Art in America: Pigeon Keepers of NYC.” Chris Arnade photographs and interviews pigeon keepers he’s met on his walks through New York: “Pigeon keeping may not have a stated goal, might not be the pathway to riches or fame, but standing on a roof, feeling the breeze on a humid day, watching a flock of pigeons turn tight circles, the wings catching the light of the setting sun, you get why people do it. They are elevated, both physically and emotionally. To me, that is exactly what art is about. Moving beyond the mundane, if only briefly. And that type of art is everywhere, all over the world, no matter the neighborhood, if you just open your eyes and look for it.”
“Ross Road on a Spring Day.” Brian Miller takes a drive through his neighborhood on a spring day and observes the good work and pleasure his neighbors are enjoying.
“The Quest for a Better Online ‘Community.’” Corbin K. Barthold is skeptical that a Twitter run by Elon Musk would be authentically conservative: “Surveying Twitter, with its invective and its baseness, its incels and edgelords and roving gangs of psychopaths, would Nisbet, Kirk, and Bork throw up their hands? Maybe. Then again, maybe not. An alternative possibility is that their comments point to a path not taken—a world in which conservatives are the ones pushing for more respect, more civility, and more community on the web.” He outlines some possibilities for more decentralized ways of organizing digital social networks while also concluding that most of us “might be better off devoting ourselves to something else, like the hard work of building a sense of community, online and off, in a coldly postmodern world.”
“We Must Refranchise the Young and Restore the Middle Class.” R.R. Reno, editor of First Things, and Tim Reichert, candidate for a Colorado congress seat, offer a set of policies aimed at making America an ownership society: “The real issue is not employment but ownership. Most policymakers refuse to confront the hard truth that millions of Americans are being transformed into serfs. Like the serfs of the Middle Ages, they own almost nothing. For a large and increasing percentage of Americans, it isn’t possible to buy assets like a house or a college education—both bearing 2022 price tags—with wages that haven’t changed since 1982.” (Recommended by Jeremy Beer.)
“Even McDonald’s Couldn’t Save Russia.” Ian Birrell reports on the symbolic implications of McDonald’s departure from Russia. Corporate globalism is on the decline, but whether it’s replaced by authoritarian regimes or more decentralized, local economies is another matter.
“Homestand: Baseball and the Fight for the Heart of America.” Will Bardenwerper has launched a newsletter where he’ll be chronicling his journey to learn more about the role that minor league and amateur baseball can play in fostering small town community.
“Flying Insect Numbers have Plunged by 60% Since 2004, GB Survey Finds.” The methodology of this study can be questioned, but it corroborates other troubling data on drastic reductions in the insect population. Damian Carrington concludes, however, with some ways to benefit these important creatures.
“A Gentler Christendom.” Ross Douthat draws on Jacques Maritain to make a case for Christian political influence that avoids some of the dangers of integralism. Edmund Waldstein’s reply and Douthat’s reply to Waldstein are also worth reading.
“When the Ad Replaced the Icon.” Tara Thieke makes sense of Ellen Wayland-Smith’s The Angel in the Marketplace, a biography of advertising pioneer Jean Wade Rindlaub, with some help from Ivan Illich and Christopher Lasch: “Woke Capitalism … has set left and right fighting one another over content as the significance of the phenomenon marches forward unencumbered.”
“When an Abortion Is Pro-Life.” Matthew Loftus writes about the gut-wrenching experience of performing an abortion to save a mother’s life, and he reflects further on the challenges of being a genuinely pro-life person and doctor.