Friday, September 22, 2017

Bilbo and Frodo's Birthday (Observed)

Tolkien made September 22, the day on which the first copies were purchased and read, Bilbo's and Frodo's birthdays, and the American Tolkien Association has designated as "Tolkien Week" the week in which September 22 falls. --The 1938 Hobbit Project

How the date of Bilbo's (and Frodo's) birthday corresponds with our calendar is a matter of debate. Appendix D of The Lord of the Rings says that our New Year's Day (January 1) corresponds "more or less" to the Shire's "January 9", and in standard years our September 14 and the Shire's "September 22" both fall 256 days after that date. However, Appendix D also says that the Shire calendar's "Midyear's Day" is "intended to correspond as nearly as possible to the summer solstice." In the Shire calendar, "September" (Halimath) 22 is 83 days after Midyear's Day. If we take the summer solstice to be our June 21, then Bilbo's and Frodo's birthday must be 83 days later, which is our September 12. --Footnote from Tolkien Gateway

Image of the Clown That Was

Next moment the clown tripped up and fell flat, with magnificent artifice, and at once fresh emotions began to stir. Love had endured its little hour, and stern ambition now asserted itself. Oh, to be a splendid fellow like this, self-contained, ready of speech, agile beyond conception, braving the forces of society, his hand against everyone, yet always getting the best of it! What freshness of humour, what courtesy to dames, what triumphant ability to discomfit rivals, frock-coated and moustached though they might be! And what a grand, self-confident straddle of the legs! Who could desire a finer career than to go through life thus gorgeously equipped! Success was his key-note, adroitness his panoply, and the mellow music of laughter his instant reward.--Dream Days, Kenneth Grahame

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Friday, September 15, 2017

Profligate Heirs

IF the modern man is indeed the heir of all the ages, he is often the kind of heir who tells the family solicitor to sell the whole damned estate, lock, stock, and barrel, and give him a little ready money to throw away at the races or the nightclubs. He is certainly not the kind of heir who ever visits his estate: and, if he really owns all the historic lands of ancient and modern history, he is a very absentee landlord.

He does not really go down the mines on the historic property, whether they are the Caves of the Cave-Men or the Catacombs of the Christians, but is content with a very hasty and often misleading report from a very superficial and sometimes dishonest mining expert. He allows any wild theories, like wild thickets of thorn and briar, to grow all over the garden and even the graveyard. He will always believe modern testimony in a text-book against contemporary testimony on a tombstone. He sells the family portraits with much more than the carelessness of Charles Surface, and seldom knows enough about the family even to save a favourite uncle from the wreck. For the adjective ‘fast’, which was a condemnation when applied to profligates, has become a compliment when applied to progressives.

I know there are any number of men in the modern world to whom all this does not in the least apply; but the point is that, even where it is obviously applicable, it is not thought particularly culpable. Nevertheless, there are some of us who do hold that the metaphor of inheritance from human history is a true metaphor, and that any man who is cut off from the past, and content with the future, is a man most unjustly disinherited; and all the more unjustly if he is happy in his lot, and is not permitted even to know what he has lost. And I, for one, believe that the mind of man is at its largest, and especially at its broadest, when it feels the brotherhood of humanity linking it up with remote and primitive and even barbaric things.

G. K. Chesterton, "On Man: Heir To All The Ages."

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Only Comparatively Comparative

Comparative religion is very comparative indeed. That is, it is so much a matter of degree and distance and difference that it is only comparatively successful when it tries to compare. When we come to look at it closely we find it comparing things that are really quite incomparable. We are accustomed to see a table or catalogue of the world's great religions in parallel columns, until we fancy they are really parallel. We are accustomed to see the names of the great religious founders all in a row: Christ; Mahomet; Buddha; Confucius.

But in truth this is only a trick; another of these optical illusions by which any objects may be put into a particular relation by shifting to a particular point of sight. Those religions and religious founders, or rather those whom we choose to lump together as religions and religious founders, do not really show any common character. The illusion is partly produced by Islam coming immediately after Christianity in the list; as Islam did come after Christianity and was largely an imitation of Christianity. But the other eastern religions, or what we call religions, not only do not resemble the Church but do not resemble each other. When we come to Confucianism at the end of the list, we come to something in a totally different world of thought. To compare the Christian and Confucian religions is like comparing a theist with an English squire or asking whether a man is a believer in immortality or a hundred-per-cent American. Confucianism may be a civilization but it is not a religion.

In truth the Church is too unique to prove herself unique. For most popular and easy proof is by parallel and here there is no parallel. It is not easy, therefore, to expose the fallacy by which a false classification is created to swamp a unique thing when it really is a unique thing.

--G. K. Chesterton, "The Everlasting Man."

Squeak Toy Sunday

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Friday, September 8, 2017