Saturday, April 29, 2017

The Decline and Fall of Late Antiquity Studies

In September of 2015 the Los Angeles Review of Books published an online essay by noted Byzantinist Anthony Kaldellis entitled "Late Antiquity Dissolves." Here are three excerpts to whet your late antiquarian appetite:
1. "there is an imperative to turn the sources toward the study of social and cultural history, specifically to reconstruct the ideological value systems that underpinned groups and communities. Texts, their contents, and their authors are treated as instrumental or exemplary in such broader social processes .... So Prokopios has to be pressed into service as an exponent of imperial ideology; or, if he is allowed to speak against Justinian, he has to be made into the spokesman for a senatorial opposition (whose existence has yet to be proven) or imperial ideology 'in general.'"
2. "Difference, like identity, was but a discursive construct, an artifact produced by texts that ostensibly postulate essences, but we should not be fooled by them, for what they really offer are 'negotiations' among ideological options floating in the common soup of the late antique mentality .... The field also exhibits a Christian bias in the way it reconstructs the generic mentality of late antiquity, treating pagans often as a troublesome inconvenience."
3. "Religious hatred that reached the level of bloodshed is frequently analyzed under the irenic guises of identity construction and discursive negotiation, as if we were dealing with merely textual communities cultivating positive role models along parallel tracks that rarely intersected. But euphemism and discursive amelioration will never fully occlude the fact that the later Roman Empire was the site of tremendous and unparalleled religious conflict, which was accompanied by what seems to be an intensification of state violence too."
Check out the full article here:

Wednesday, April 26, 2017


Sofi Marinova is amazing:


Time of the Gypsies

Sunday, January 15, 2017

EZ PZ Black eyed peas and pintos

1 can pinto beans
1 can black-eyed peas
1 can diced tomatoes

1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/3 - 1/2 teaspoon oregano

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

"Most" Muslims "dislike" Isis. Let's do the math.

When polled, how many Muslims freely acknowledge that they approve of Isis?

4% of Indonesians have a favorable opinion of Isis. That's 250M x 0.04 = 10 million Isis supporters.

8% of Turks have a favorable opinion of Isis. That's 75M x 0.08 = 6 million Isis supporters.

11% of Malaysians have a favorable opinion of Isis. That's 30M x 0.11 = 3 million Isis supporters.

9% of Pakistanis have a favorable opinion of Isis. That's 182M x 0.09 = 16 million Isis supporters.

So, the "good news" is that in just four Muslim majority countries there are 35 million supporters of Isis.

Source (link to to Pew Research website):
In nations with significant Muslim populations, much disdain for ISIS

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

"in the space of emptiness everything has a space to play and affect each other"

"everything is hanging on and functioning by virtue of mere conditioning - and that's all we have, mere conditioning, and not the slightest tinge of any intrinsicality"

"how come there is the difference between projecting a snake on a rope and a snake on a snake?"

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Meet The New Pope

It is always the high point of any papal visit to any nation: the canonization of one of that nation's own indigenous "saints". And these "saints" are always the same everywhere: they were fanatical jihadists dedicated to the forced conversion and/or extirpation of all Jews, Heathens, Heretics, Atheists, and anyone else deemed to be enemies of the One True Faith.

There are, perhaps, here and there, genuine exceptions to this rule. But these are, necessarily, quite exceptional. The man whose name Pope Voldemort II now obscenely bears is arguably one of them.

But neither the New Pope nor the evil wretch Junipero Serra are in any way deviations from the usual assortment of highly successful con-artists (like the Pope) and  murderously accomplished thugs (like Serra) who have always done and will always do the Dark Lord's bidding in the name of the Great Commission.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

"furthest from him is best"

[From Book 1]:

Is this the Region, this the Soil, the Clime,
Said then the lost Arch-Angel, this the seat
That we must change for Heav'n, this mournful gloom
For that celestial light? Be it so, since he [ 245 ]
Who now is Sovran can dispose and bid
What shall be right: fardest from him is best
Whom reason hath equald, force hath made supream
Above his equals. Farewel happy Fields
Where Joy for ever dwells: Hail horrours, hail [ 250 ]
Infernal world, and thou profoundest Hell
Receive thy new Possessor: One who brings
A mind not to be chang'd by Place or Time.
The mind is its own place, and in it self
Can make a Heav'n of Hell, a Hell of Heav'n. [ 255 ]
What matter where, if I be still the same,
And what I should be, all but less then he
Whom Thunder hath made greater? Here at least
We shall be free; th' Almighty hath not built
Here for his envy, will not drive us hence: [ 260 ]
Here we may reign secure, and in my choyce
To reign is worth ambition though in Hell:
Better to reign in Hell, then serve in Heav'n.
But wherefore let we then our faithful friends,
Th' associates and copartners of our loss [ 265 ]
Lye thus astonisht on th' oblivious Pool,
And call them not to share with us their part
In this unhappy Mansion, or once more
With rallied Arms to try what may be yet
Regaind in Heav'n, or what more lost in Hell? [ 270 ]

[From Book 5]:

That we were formd then saist thou? and the work
Of secondarie hands, by task transferd
From Father to his Son? strange point and new! [ 855 ]
Doctrin which we would know whence learnt: who saw
When this creation was? rememberst thou
Thy making, while the Maker gave thee being?
We know no time when we were not as now;
Know none before us, self-begot, self-rais'd [ 860 ]
By our own quick'ning power, when fatal course
Had circl'd his full Orbe, the birth mature
Of this our native Heav'n, Our puissance is our own, our own right hand
Shall teach us highest deeds, by proof to try [ 865 ]
Who is our equal: then thou shalt behold
Whether by supplication we intend
Address, and to begirt th' Almighty Throne
Beseeching or besieging. This report,
These tidings carrie to th' anointed King; [ 870 ]
And fly, ere evil intercept thy flight.

[From Milton's Paradise Lost - full text here: ]

Monday, September 14, 2015

Max Beauvoir: "I don't believe there is any significant Christian-Vodou syncretism or Christian inclusions in the Vodou religion."

In 2007 while a student at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Elaine Panter (now a legal consultant at the World Bank) published an essay on "Religion and Politics in Haiti", in which she wrote "The two official religions in Haiti are Catholicism, and Vodou. Due to the phenomenon of syncretism, Haitians are said to be 80% Roman Catholic, 20% Protestant and 100% Vodou."

However, in an accompanying footnote we read the following:

"Not all scholars agree on the existence of such syncretism. As stated by Max G. Beauvoir: 'No, contrarily to what even good scholars have stated, I don't believe there is any significant Christian-Vodou syncretism or Christian inclusions in the Vodou religion. To the best of my knowledge, I have not found any incorporation of Christian materials in Vodou. Jesus Christ in not a Lwa or Expression of God, meaning an important figure of the 401 divinities of Vodou. I have never seen or heard of someone who had ever been possessed by Jesus Christ, possession being an important characteristic of the religion. Neither has any one been possessed by the father, the son, or the Holy Ghost, meaning by one of the major figures of the Christian faith.'"

Source: Haiti: Understanding Conflict 2007, published by Johns Hopkins University School for Advanced International Studies, edited by Dr. I. William Zartman. Link to pdf: