Ideas and Historical Consequences.” Mars Hill Audio released the full version of an old interview with John Lukacs. FPR readers can up for a free FPR affiliate membership at Mars Hill Audio.

Dreamers and Plagiarists.” Jacob Howland draws on Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz and Fyodor Dostoevsky to imagine a way out of cultural malaise: “[Witkiewicz] anticipates a world in which ideological tyranny, prepared by societal decay, crushes individual vitality. Together, he and Dostoevsky describe the eternal conflict in the human psyche between the labor of wakefulness and the consolation of sleep, the struggle to wring some redeeming meaning out of life and the desire to be done, once and for all, with the suffering this struggle entails.” (Recommended by Rob Grano.)

Peter Maurin Conference.” Several organizations are collaborating to host a conference on Maurin’s thought in early September: “​This conference will consider the life, sources, and vision of Peter Maurin (1877-1949), cofounder of the Catholic Worker Movement. His Easy Essays were a staple of the Catholic Worker newspaper, promoting philosophical personalism and economic distributism based on Catholic social teaching and tradition. His practical program included houses of hospitality, voluntary poverty, the works of mercy, agrarianism, and public roundtable discussions.”

Is the Partisan Divide Too Big to Be Bridged?” Jonathan Weisman, writing for the New York Times, notes that “bridge-building has become the hot new concept in a country looking for hope.” Among other organizations, he highlights one that we’ve discussed before at FPR and that will also be a topic of conversation at our fall conference: “The Lyceum Movement, hearkening back to early 19th-century efforts to forge communities in a new nation, is convening meetings and lectures in towns large and small in Iowa, Michigan and Minnesota, trying to stand in for local institutions like churches, newspapers and service societies that have atrophied, replaced by a national tribalism.”

Excuse Me, Is There AI in That?” Brian Merchant describes the popularity of opting out of AI and wonders about the possibilities and limits of this protest movement: “a steady tick of companies, brands, and creative workers have taken to explicitly advertising their products and services as human-made. It’s a bit like the organic-food labels that rose to prominence years ago, but for digital labor. Certified 100 percent AI-free.

Speaking into the Unknown.” Matt Miller wrestles with the limits of our knowledge and capabilities as he leaves a home where he planted trees and enriched the soil: “Today we inhabit a society dedicated to the elimination of vulnerability, in which people seek to render themselves technologically, legally, and psychologically impregnable; and so, this awesome futurity of language will tend to seem like a problem, a chink in the armor, a flaw. And yet to speak into the unknown is the very stuff of our humanity. We cannot hold back. We cannot keep ourselves safe.”

Yesterday’s Men.” Alan Jacobs considers the rise and fall of scholarly interest in myth: “Once a founder of discursivity ceases to inspire, it is natural to wonder why their work ever appealed in the first place. Why did people respond to it? What was it about myth criticism, as exemplified by Frye and certain others, that made it so compelling throughout the third quarter of the twentieth century? What needs did it meet? What questions did it answer? Why did it disappear? And—I wonder—might we consider bringing it back, at least in some form?”

This Summer: Low in Cost, High in Fun.” Dixie Dillon Lane gives 10 suggestions for fostering neighborly joy this summer: “Life goes on during the summer, with deadlines, rising grocery prices, cranky toddlers and teenagers, and all the rest. Don’t let it get you down. We may as well also go on with the fun!”

The Life You Save May Be Your Own.” Jon Schaff draws on Flannery O’Connor’s stories to remind us of the value of focusing on our own responsibilities rather than fretting about distant news: “O’Connor doesn’t let us off the hook. We are all, in our own way, Mr. Shiflet, or Hulga Hopewell, or Ruby Turpin, or Obadiah Parker, or even the racist Mr. Head. O’Connor gives us a great reminder. The great affairs of nations deserve at least some of our attention. More important, however, is attending to our own soul and the good of our neighbors.”

Medically Important Antibiotics Are Still Being Used to Fatten Up Pigs.” Lisa Held reports on indications that pork producers are violating FDA restrictions on antibiotic use: “new data released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) suggests some pork producers may be flouting FDA’s regulations by feeding important drugs to pigs primarily to speed their growth.”

The Good Old Ways: Nature’s Best Chance of Recovery.” Caspar Henderson reviews Sophie Yeo’s new book on how humans have lived well within and alongside flourishing natural ecosystems—and might still do so: “Nature’s Ghosts concludes with determination and hope. In Yeo’s telling, there are at least two good reasons for looking to history in times of rapid change. First, the landscapes of the past were richer and more abundant than today and, she believes, people in Britain now have a moral duty to recreate those qualities for the sake of nature itself: ‘Perhaps the greatest danger of ignoring the past is that we forget how magnificent the Earth can be, and accept too little from the future as a result.’ The second reason is that ‘by looking to the past, we can reinvigorate our relationship with the natural world’.”

The Daylight Moon.” Director Don Featherstone recently posted his documentary about the poet Les Murray to YouTube. Murray grew up on a dairy farm in Australia and returned to the farm after finding success as a poet. (Recommended by Steven Knepper.)

Local Culture
Local Culture
Local Culture
Local Culture


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