Hamilton: Art Fails as Politics

Tuesday, January 17, AD 2017


The United States have already felt the evils of incorporating a large number of foreigners into their national mass; by promoting in different classes different predilections in favor of particular foreign nations, and antipathies against others, it has served very much to divide the community and to distract our councils. It has been often likely to compromise the interests of our own country in favor of another. The permanent effect of such a policy will be, that in times of great public danger there will be always a numerous body of men, of whom there may be just grounds of distrust; the suspicion alone will weaken the strength of the nation, but their force may be actually employed in assisting an invader.

Alexander Hamilton, “Examination of Jefferson’s Message to Congress of December 7, 1801” (1802)





I have rather liked the musical Hamilton, although I have understood that it bore only an accidental relationship to the history it purported to represent.  However, at Reason Nicholas Pell has a scathing review of Hamilton, and he makes some good points:



Some are irritated about the people who aren’t white playing white people, but I’m not. The whole production plays so fast and loose with the truth that it’s hard to pick any particular piece to criticize, there’s a reality correlation approximating that of the Weekly World News. At the top of the list, though, has to be casting Alexander Hamilton as some sort of proto-multicultural progressive. That’s either stupidity or mendacity, take your pick. Hamilton was, if anything, the most aristocratic of the Founding Fathers, the closest thing to a Colonial Tory. You know that electoral college you’ve been gnashing your teeth over for the last couple months? Guess whose idea that was?

Continue reading...

6 Responses to Hamilton: Art Fails as Politics

  • More (as if more were needed) proof that everything written or broadcast by a liberal is essentially untrue.

  • I hope nobody went to Hamilton to learn the history. But then, that’s my hope with most productions – which isn’t bad. As long as we know better, even the most twisted versions of history can be enjoyable. Just don’t get our info about the history from them.

  • Every author has an agenda, whether he realizes or not. Make sure that the author’s agenda is scrutinized by the audience. Life is too short to be seduced and succumb to nonsense. An example: author Ian Fleming, (James Bond) believed that all law was the “crystalization of man’s prejudice” I guess Ian Fleming did not believe that murderers ought to be punished and a person’s killing is OK…not

  • ” Life is too short to … succumb to nonsense” Amen

  • Though the author at Reason made a few fair points, he overshot the mark. His subjective dislike in the music is fine – I’m generally no fan of rap myself – but he comes off sounding as a crank. His politics aside, Miranda is artistically gifted, and the deeper you dive into the lyrics the more impressive his artistry becomes.

    I’ve gotten past most of the historical liberties, though “the Election of 1800” can be more difficult to overlook.

    The greater issue is Miranda doesn’t actually understand Hamilton’s political thought. As I wrote on my blog, Hamilton’s writing on immigration don’t sound all that dissimilar to Mark Krikorian’s. Meanwhile, one of the antagonists of the musical is Jefferson. For example, the old timey music that accompanies Jefferson – another subtle sign of Miranda’s artistic genius – is meant to signify Jefferson as being the one with outdated, old-fashioned ideas, yet it is Jefferson’s politics that line up more with Miranda’s than Hamilton.

    The final nail in the coffin is Miranda promising to play the part of Hamilton in the Chicago showing of the musical for Oscar Lopez Rivera. As i wrote on Facebook, I don’t think the man who was set to shoot rabble rousers during the Whiskey Rebellion would appreciate being the centerpiece of an exhibition meant to honor a convicted terrorist.

  • The only difference between acting and bigotry, is the expensive sets and the exorbitant pay of the actors.
    Timothy R.

November 1, 1941: Moonrise Over Hernandez, New Mexico

Tuesday, November 1, AD 2016



One of the most celebrated photographs in American photography, Moonrise Over Hernandez, New Mexico is widely considered to be photographer Ansel Adams’ masterpiece.  The image changed considerably as the years passed as Adams tinkered with it in his darkroom.

In 1943 Adams gave a fairly prosaic account of the taking of the photograph:

It was made after sundown, there was a twilight glow on the distant peaks and clouds. The average light values of the foreground were placed on the “U” of the Weston Master meter; apparently the values of the moon and distant peaks did not lie higher than th…A” of the meter … Some may consider this photograph a “tour de force” but I think of it as a rather normal photograph of a typical New Mexican landscape. Twilight photography is unfortunately neglected; what may be drab and uninteresting by daylight may assume a magnifihalflightity in the halflight between sunset and dark.

Continue reading...

One Response to November 1, 1941: Moonrise Over Hernandez, New Mexico

  • I have a small reproduction framed over my home office desk: I always find it inspiring.
    For those who haven’t had the awesome blessing of living for some time in the American Southwest, there is a surreal clarity and beauty of winter light and horizons, night or day in Arizona and New Mexico. There is also an expansiveness I never noted elsewhere. Winter in the desert is wordlessly beautiful, and Christmas must be experienced ar least once.

    Ansel Adams definitely caught it and froze it in time. Where I live now is beautiful, but the American Southwest’s magical natural beauty, its serenity, austerity, and stark simplicity, sky, clouds, moon, sun, have to be seen to be known and experienced.

    Just please don’t go visiting there like the German tourists, in later May until after mid-October. Those Georgia O’Keefes of the bleached white bones are a reminder of something real. The summer desert is a cruel master.

But Is It Art?

Wednesday, September 10, AD 2014

When the flush of a newborn sun fell first on Eden’s green and gold,  
Our father Adam sat under the Tree and scratched with a stick in the mold;  
And the first rude sketch that the world had seen was joy to his mighty heart,  
Till the Devil whispered behind the leaves: “It’s pretty, but is it Art?”  
Wherefore he called to his wife and fled to fashion his work anew—
The first of his race who cared a fig for the first, most dread review;  
And he left his lore to the use of his sons—and that was a glorious gain  
When the Devil chuckled: “Is it Art?” in the ear of the branded Cain.  
They builded a tower to shiver the sky and wrench the stars apart,  
Till the Devil grunted behind the bricks: “It’s striking, but is it Art?”
The stone was dropped by the quarry-side, and the idle derrick swung,  
While each man talked of the aims of art, and each in an alien tongue.  
They fought and they talked in the north and the south, they talked and they fought in the west,
Till the waters rose on the jabbering land, and the poor Red Clay had rest—  
Had rest till the dank blank-canvas dawn when the dove was preened to start, 
And the Devil bubbled below the keel: “It’s human, but is it Art?”  
The tale is old as the Eden Tree—as new as the new-cut tooth—  
For each man knows ere his lip-thatch grows he is master of Art and Truth;  
And each man hears as the twilight nears, to the beat of his dying heart,  
The Devil drum on the darkened pane: “You did it, but was it Art?” 
We have learned to whittle the Eden Tree to the shape of a surplice-peg,  
We have learned to bottle our parents twain in the yolk of an addled egg,  
We know that the tail must wag the dog, as the horse is drawn by the cart;  
But the Devil whoops, as he whooped of old: “It’s clever, but is it Art?”  
When the flicker of London’s sun falls faint on the club-room’s green and gold, 
The sons of Adam sit them down and scratch with their pens in the mold—  
They scratch with their pens in the mold of their graves, and the ink and the anguish start  
When the Devil mutters behind the leaves: “It’s pretty, but is it art?”  
Now, if we could win to the Eden Tree where the four great rivers flow,  
And the wreath of Eve is red on the turf as she left it long ago,
And if we could come when the sentry slept, and softly scurry through,  
By the favor of God we might know as much—as our father Adam knew.

Rudyard Kipling

Continue reading...

9 Responses to But Is It Art?

  • Pingback: Pope Francis Names Americans to Key Sex Abuse Panel - BP
  • OK – not my favorite – but the Babel reference was great.

  • I don’t know if it’s art but it’s Kipling so what’s not to like?

  • I love how he exposed his students with the phony Pollock “painting”.

  • “Pingback: Pope Francis Names Americans to Key Sex Abuse Panel – BP ”
    It is important to understand that when the person consents to sin and crime, even before the act, that person excommunicates himself from God, from the Catholic Church and from his people. The criminal is self-ostracized, no exceptions even with inclusive language.

  • The spirit of the times expects us to like ersatz art and worse, ersatz statesmen.

  • I just watched the video. Well done. It’s an interesting subject to me. I personally believe that truth, goodness, and beauty all have an objective element to them. You can talk about a subjective aspect of them to some degree – truth and opinion, goodness and values, beauty and taste. I know very few people who believe in the idea of objective beauty. It’s a somewhat unpopular idea even among staunch traditionalists.

    One part of me thinks that the notion of objective beauty is a battle for another time. A society can function without that notion, albeit in an ugly way. When we’ve lost the notion of objective truth, well, that’s a much bigger battle. On the other hand, if we help people to allow themselves to admit that there is good and bad art, maybe that will prod them toward a greater acceptance of objectivity.

    One thing I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is consistency. I didn’t think that most people bothered with consistency in their personal philosophies – it requires more introspection than I though most people engaged in. But seeing the way that gay marriage and marijuana legalization have swept through the country lately makes me think that people actually think things through. I would have expected that the weight of old morality would have kept us from changing these laws, but it appears I was wrong.

  • “But seeing the way that gay marriage and marijuana legalization have swept through the country lately makes me think that people actually think things through.”

    Actually I rather think the reverse. I think many people today get their ideas from popular entertainment which actually explains a lot. Of course one must also recall that in regard to gay marriage it is largely judge imposed in most parts of the country, which supports my belief that a break down of moral reasoning, even an inability to do so except in the simplest of clichés, (I have a right to my own body, marriage equality, if I can have my beer he can have his joint), afflicts society as a whole and not just among those who never read a book.

  • I hope you’re right. Your thinking has fewer unpleasant implications, and it doesn’t require the assumption of intellectual consistency. There’s no way to untangle the ratios of cultural versus philosophical libertinism on the law.

Abortion as Attempted Art

Thursday, July 3, AD 2014

How Long Does An Abortion Last


An astounding piece by Lisa Davis at the resolutely pro-abort New York Times.  A young artist becomes pregnant and decides to film her abortion.  Her plans suddenly begin to unravel due to a cab driver and his reaction to the news that she is on her way to have an abortion:



I stuffed my Ricoh Hi8 video camera in my backpack, and I went alone.

The driver was Middle Eastern, from some hot and weather-less country, but he did a fair job of steering into the skids. He kept asking me why I was going out in such weather.

“I have to go to the doctor,” I kept telling him.

“Why? You don’t look sick.”

“I have to have a procedure.”

“What? What procedure?”

Finally, I told him. Why not? I was proud and un-conflicted. I was exercising my right. I was making a video.

He pulled over to the side of the road, right there on the Brooklyn Bridge — not only illegal but dangerous. “Please don’t kill the baby,” he said. “Please don’t kill the baby.”

“What are you doing?”

“Don’t kill the baby.” He wouldn’t move the car, though horns blared all around us.

“Keep driving! I have an appointment!” I shook his headrest. This was not part of the script.

“Please don’t kill the baby,” he said again, turning around to face me. He had beautiful big brown eyes — almost black. “I will take care of you and the baby. I work two jobs.”

Heartbreakingly she has her abortion:

The first thing I thought when I awoke from the anesthesia was that I’d never be pregnant again, that I had just squandered my only chance at motherhood. I was sobbing — I had arisen from the depths of the medication this way — as they rolled me into the recovery room where the other women were lying, almost all of them with a friend or partner or relative to brush their hair back or offer them ice chips. I could not stop crying, big heaves and gulps of it. The nurse came over at first to soothe me and then to quiet me.

“You’re upsetting the other girls,” she said.

“It hurts.”

She sent the doctor over. “Sometimes we have to massage the womb,” he said, inserting his hand inside me and pressing. This did not stop the crying, but eventually it stopped the pain.

Or, at least, it stopped the physical pain. The begging cabdriver and the woman on her ninth abortion and the shocking suction in my womb: It was too traumatic for me to make art of. Or maybe it was just that I wasn’t a good enough artist to transform that level of trauma into something that others could learn from and use. I had been taught that a woman’s right to choose was the most important thing to fight for, but I hadn’t known what a brutal choice it was.

I took a car service home, too, where my brother and his girlfriend met me and we ordered in. “We would have gone with you,” they said, “if you’d asked.”

“I was going to make a video,” I said. Reacting to the way my hands still shook, they tended to me as if I’d just walked miles in that blizzard. I knew then I’d never be a filmmaker.

About motherhood, though, I was wrong. Fifteen years later, happily coupled with a wonderful man, I gave birth to my first daughter; I now have two. I don’t wish I had a 20-year-old. I didn’t want that baby, with that man. Abortion rights, yes, I’ll always support them, but even all these years later, I wish the motto wasn’t “Never again,” but “Avoid this if there’s any way you possibly can, even if it’s legal, because it’s awful.”

I wish that someone had alerted me to the harshness of the experience, acknowledged the layers of regret that built and fell away as the months and years passed. I want my daughters to have the option of safe and legal abortion, of course. I just don’t want them to have to use it.

Continue reading...

12 Responses to Abortion as Attempted Art

  • Excellent post. Confused even now…woman. We can only go back to God in Jonah 4:11 as He notes that confusion is rampant: ” And shall not I spare Ninive, that great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons that know not how to distinguish between their right hand and their left, and many beasts?”
    He has time. Perhaps He saves many in their latter days after much more trouble.

  • Despite her regrets, she strikes me as a selfish idiot. I’m not so sure she learned anything. Ms. Davis killed an innocent life because she didn’t want it. Even after how terrible she says she feels, I sense little to no regard for the life she and the quack “doctor” snuffed out. It’s all about her.

    I was briefly engaged to a woman who admitted to me that she had an abortion before I met her. It constantly tormented her. She could not forgive herself, evn after having confessed to the sin multiple times. Abortion leaves three victims – the baby who never had a chance at life, the mother who makes a terrible decision and the father – often times who has no input at all and never has any legal standing.

    Abortion is evil. Abortion is murder – the absolute worst, the murder of a baby. Abortion is the ultimate act of selfishness. Abortion supporters – including so called Catholic politicians in this country and others – will completely deserve the judgment that is coming to them in the next world.

    I’m going to make a generalization. Single young women today and for the previous two decades – tend to be selfish and spoiled. My 16 year old niece is spoiled rotten. They want their birth control for free. Men are all idiots. Rethuglians only want to suppress them. The “glass ceiling” keeps them down. Too many believe this garbage.

    If I became supreme dictator, I would use every abortion clinic as target practice for the Abrams tank.

  • @Penguins Fan Abortion is horrible. But is it necessary to call a sinner you don’t even know an idiot on a Catholic blog? Not trying to offend you at all and I agree with what you’re saying. We have to remember she was around 20 when she made the choice; the fact this still haunts her indicates a level of guilt that cannot be ignored.

  • “I didn’t want that baby, with that man.” Punishing the child for the crimes, sins and ugliness of the parent, either one of them, is unconstitutional, like executing an innocent person to punish a capital one murderer, denying that sovereign person, newly conceived, due process of law.

  • RodneyHood, the woman feels sorrow but still supports “a right” to an abortion. Her sorrow comes across as self pity to me and shows no remorse for the life she took.

    You can differ with me about the term I used. People like this woman elected Barack Obama. Twice. I have no nicer term for them.

  • Fair enough.

  • Lisa Davis is like all the other liberals: self-absorbed about how terrible the consequences of her decision makes her feel. It’s all about me – me -me. Selfish, self-absorbed. No regrets for the murdered baby, and yes, she had her baby murdered. She has regret at how she feels, but it is not enough to bring her to repentance. It never is for a liberal. The people of Nineveh were nowhere near as self-absorbed. So God spared them. Will He spare people like this? Like us?

  • “Avoid this if there’s any way you possibly can. . .”
    Yes, there IS a way to avoid this. If you don’t want a baby 9 months from today, don’t have sex today. Pretty sure that would never occur to her. The even bigger problem, as I see it, is that it does not occur to many Christians either.

  • Paul W Primavera,
    Paul says he was the chief of sinners in I Tim.1 yet obtained mercy because he acted in unbelief and that in him Christ “might show forth all patience”. So he was the worst or Christ could not have shown forth all patience until Christ found someone else. But Christ already showed forth all patience with the worst person…Paul. Worst because inter alia he knew the scriptures inside out and sinned afterwards…” from those to whom much is given, much will be required”…and ” the mighty will be mightily judged”. So Paul was worse than all the “liberals” you can imagine. He was supposed to be destroyed by God according to 1 Cor.3:17 ” But if any man violate the temple of God, him shall God destroy. For the temple of God is holy, which you are.”
    I am having trouble praying for ISIL terrorists due to I Cor.3:17 but I Tim.1:13-16 seems to say to pray anyway since Paul was worse than them given his background in the Word.
    In short, do not let anger against liberals convince you they were worse than Paul …because that means that Christ did not show forth all patience yet…and I Timothy says Christ did that in Paul’s case for all time. The devil wants us to believe that Christ showed forth limited patience. No…Christ showed forth all patience in Paul’s case and I Tim.1 is there for that purpose. The Ninevites were to be destroyed in forty days. They also then like Paul were in mortal sin not anything less.

  • The true “war on women”. Create a pill that will allow them to be sexually promiscuous, telling them that this is the way to equality. When they grasp their equality and their chosen method of birth control fails no worries, just back it up with an abortion and leave the woman more broken than when she first grasped that fruit.

  • A very moving as well as true narrative, but as said by many-only half of the full narrative

  • I wonder how her daughters feel when they read this story about their sibling and their mother.

John Trumbull and Bunker Hill

Tuesday, February 25, AD 2014

“These fellows say we won’t fight! By Heaven, I hope I shall die up to my knees in blood!”

Major General Joseph Warren to his men prior to the battle of Bunker’s Hill


A lecture by John Walsh, emeritus director of the J. Paul Getty Museum, on John Trumbull’s painting on the battle of Bunker Hill and its historical accuracy, or lack thereof.  The painting has always been a favorite in my household, as it depicts my ancestor Major Andrew McClary of the New Hampshire militia.

Bunker Hill

Trumbull had witnessed the battle through field glasses, he was serving with the American army, although not with the portion fighting on Breed’s hill.  The painting shows the death of General Warren, and is entitled The Death of General Warren at the Battle of Bunker’s Hill, June 17, 1775,  the painting having been commissioned by Warren’s family.  Trumbull squeezes into the painting almost everyone famous who fought in the battle, both Americans and British.  Major Andrew McClary is shown raising his musket to brain a British soldier attempting to bayonet the dying Warren, a warlike action quite in character for him, and one which warms the cockles of my heart.  My wife has noted over the years how much I resemble Major Andrew and it is intriguing how his facial features have been passed down through the generations of my family.

The scene depicted is not historical, but rather a tribute to General Warren by having his death the center of the action.  To us it seems a very romantic version of the grim reality, but Abigail Adams, who heard the battle from her farm and saw the aftermath of the wounded and dead American soldiers, found it so realistic when she saw it that she shivered with the memories of the fight it aroused in her.  To most of us moderns war is simple butchery and unless it is shown as such, we are almost offended.  To the men and women of Abigail Adams’ generation, at least the Patriots, they would have been offended by a painting that only remembered the death and carnage, they needed few reminders of that, but that ignored the heroism and sacrifice that ultimately prevailed against the odds and established a new nation.

Continue reading...

One Response to John Trumbull and Bunker Hill

  • “My wife has noted over the years how much I resemble Major Andrew and it is intriguing how his facial features have been passed down through the generations of my family.”
    Most heartily agree. I thought the same thing when I saw the painting, even before I read the above words, having seen your face and that of your son, Larry, in earlier posts, the McClareys resemble their ancestors in courage and patriotism.

Where Are The Artists?

Monday, October 15, AD 2012

Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of folks lamenting how modern art (especially Modern Art) doesn’t have anything to compare to, oh, the great cathedrals of Europe—according to some, doesn’t even have a decently sized mural.  Usually comes with a lot of talk of how soul-killing Walmart and their sort are, but not always.

Continue reading...

8 Responses to Where Are The Artists?

  • The Church and wealthy Catholic royalty and nobles sponsored the best of the art that lasts. Today’s Catholics give proportionally less to the Church than their ancestors did in earlier tougher times. The sense of beauty and art is lost and that is why the urine Christ and elephant dung ( or whatever that was) is defended as “free speech.”

  • …Did you bother to read the post?

  • Which medium?
    Personally the canvas of old, oil paints and the several layers of paint to bring the canvas to life is my favorite. Today computer generated works pale in comparison. It’s okay…like wine everyone has their taste, mine is not in twitching ears, or fur to skin.

    Are they, the creators artist? Yes. What level of talent goes into their work? Extremely high level no doubt. As far as not looking right…?

    Well..who is to say. Let us agree on this; P— Christ, or any type of blasphemy portrayed as art is an insult TO THE ARTIST. Why? Because true art is inspiration from the Divine Artist, and anything elese is just plain SCHLOCK.

    Please stop insulting the true artist.
    By the way foxfier the work above is not schlocky. Not my glass of Merlot but definitely not bad.

  • My mom has a similar view about music–says that if someone can make truly good music, there must be some good in them.
    She also mentions that it can take a lot of digging to reach some folks’ good….

    I can’t stand most of the old “icon” style art, especially where it shows people. But some kinds of stylizing look nice to me– Kinkaid, for example, or the animation above. Computer images that try to look photo-realistic hit the same “I don’t like this” button as the icons; they’re close enough to hit the uncanny valley to trigger my “aaaaaah!!!!” reflex.

  • That said…. I really wish I could afford something like this.

    I seem to remember about seven years back Mr. Jones shared a picture of a commission that was a dark stein of beer, a crusty loaf torn in two and what looked like a slice from a round of cheese that was American-cheddar golden in color; wish I could find it, amazing.

  • Suburban Banshee has a typically interesting post with some old art in it.

  • Updating to include something a facebook friend shared. It seems to be a digital painting of Pop Eye, if he were real.

  • Timothy Jones.
    That is beautiful, the still life.
    Thanks for sharing Foxfier.
    …pop-eye….strange image.
    Take care.

The Devil is in the Details

Saturday, November 5, AD 2011


Giotto, morning star of the Renaissance, was noted for his  wit and humor as well as his skill as a painter.  Evidence of that is now coming to light, almost seven centuries after his death:

Art restorers have discovered the figure of a devil hidden in the clouds of one of the most famous frescos by Giotto in the Basilica of St Francis in Assisi, church officials said on Saturday.

The devil was hidden in the details of clouds at the top of fresco number 20 in the cycle of the scenes in the life and death of St Francis painted by Giotto in the 13th century.

The discovery was made by Italian art historian Chiara Frugone. It shows a profile of a figure with a hooked nose, a sly smile, and dark horns hidden among the clouds in the panel of the scene depicting the death of St Francis.

Continue reading...

2 Responses to The Devil is in the Details

  • I still can’t see it. I’m getting old.

  • I personally do Not think that this image was placed within the clouds by the Artist upon Purpose! My reasoning is due to a similar image that appeared within the clouds of one of my paintings titled “The Last Prayer For Mankind” By: Tammi Vaughan. This image was pointed out to me from a Gallery Owner and I did not paint it intentionally among othr images that “Just Appeared such as Christ”. I know that these are messages and do not take for granted that they were placed within the artwork on purpose! Tammi vaughan dot com Christian Art “The Last Prayer For Mankind”.