Midsommar is an overly long, ultimately incoherent American horror film set in Sweden. It is the fruit of cross-cultural collaboration. Ari Aster, the film’s director, is a Jew from New York City who was born in 1986 and grew up fascinated with horror movies. Aster felt the film was personally cathartic because it allowed him to combine fascination with the horror genre with the experience of breaking up with his girlfriend, which felt “apocalyptic, like the world is ending.” So, from Aster’s perspective, Midsommar is “a perverse wish fulfillment fantasy,” in which sex leads to horror. Aster is, however, quick to add: “Nobody in the movie is a surrogate for my ex-girlfriend. It’s not like this is what I want to do to my ex, but there is a feeling of you want to set fire to that part of yourself and that part of your life and move on clean because it’s so painful.”
In keeping with the so-called “Christchurch Call to Action” which flowed from a meeting of government officials and internet giants on May 15, 2019 in Paris, Facebook issued an internal document entitled “Hate Agent Policy Review,” which, according to Breitbart, which received a copy from a source inside Facebook, “outlines a series of ‘signals’ that Facebook uses to determine if someone ought to be categorized as a ‘hate agent’ and banned from the platform.”
The big issue at Sister’s shamba is the construction of the fish farm. The water is there during the rainy season. All that is necessary to produce fish is building three terraced retention ponds at the back of the property which slopes gradually and then abruptly into a ravine which is dry during most of the year. The technology is already there. The first step is the removal of the eucalyptus trees on the slope. The second step is the digging out of the terraces and the construction of the walls that will retain the water in the ponds. This can be done with the mud from the slope and the wood from the eucalyptus trees. In one of the houses we visited, the husband had just closed up a doorway, exposing the construction of the wall, which was made of woven branches which provided the latticework that supported the mud. He was letting the mud dry before he applied the final coat.
Virtually every memory that Sister Jean has of her childhood is suffused with an awareness of her family’s grinding poverty. Sister Jean was born in 1982 in a village called Lirembe in the western part of Kenya near Kakamega, the county seat, the second of seven children and her parents’ first female child. She was raised in a mud hut with a thatched roof. When insects ate away at the timbers that supported the roof in another house on the compound, her father built the current permanent house on their homestead. Her father worked for the Eveready Battery Company and then for the Pioneer Insurance company, but neither job paid him a wage that allowed him to provide for his family. When I ask Sister what her first memory was, she replies, “we were really poor. I remember times when we lacked food.”
Venezuela was a fairly industrialized country in many areas of production, with a very powerful oil company which had refineries, advanced research, investments in foreign lands. We had a very good network of roads and excellent hydroelectric plants with a production sufficient for the country and able to provide electricity to Colombia and Brazil. In addition, Venezuela had a very decent agriculture as well as advanced business skills, good universities, good and free public health and educational systems, a republican government with free elections, and in 1998 we were in our way to getting rid of the external debt. What happened, then? Why has the country suddenly collapsed?
In terms of recent political history, 2016 was an exciting year. Donald Trump’s ascendance to the presidency was on everyone’s mind, and a surge of populism gripped the country like a fever. The Left had positioned what they believed was their most powerful, unsinkable candidate ever: Hillary Clinton. Yet, day by day, a cultural war against political correctness was gaining ground. On an hourly basis, it seemed, more and more people on the cultural and political Right were becoming less afraid of accusations and ostracism. For years, it seemed as if the country were being ruled by a brow-beating species of cultural Marxism. However, the time had finally come when people would collectively rise against Leftist oppression.
The Volkswartbund no longer had any supporters in the government since Wuermeling stepped down from his cabinet post as result of the Spiegel affair. When the 82-year-old Cardinal Frings retired from his position as archbishop of Cologne in February 1969 because of old age, the Volkswartbund lost its most influential clerical supporter. The Volkswartbund had even become an object of ridicule in the Cologne chancery office and became less and less successful. It was now only a matter of time before the Church abandoned it.
Heisenberg admired America’s technical and industrial ability, yet, “even given their huge superiority in terms of scientists, technicians, and materials, America couldn’t produce the bomb before the war with Germany had ended.” The Germans, on the other hand, “decided that the German armaments potential was insufficient anyway, and that the war would probably be over before the weapon could play a role in its outcome, so let’s not get involved in its production.”
Bavaria is a land of lakes and mountains. The Koenigsee is a good example of what I mean. There is a beach here and there, but for the most part the mountainsides plunge directly into the lake. Steep banks mean deep waters, and the Koenigsee is no exception to the rule. The lake is almost as deep as the mountains next to it are high. The water is so clear—the boats near the shoreline seem to be floating on air—that you think you could see all the way to the bottom, but the bottom of the lake is a long way down—623 feet, to be exact—which makes it three times as deep as Lake Erie, one half the depth of Lake Superior, and 300 feet short of Lake Michigan at its deepest. The drama of the Koenigsee comes from its contrast with its surroundings because although it is almost as deep as Lake Michigan, it covers only two square miles, as opposed to the 31,000 square miles which Lake Michigan covers.
As a thought experiment, try to imagine what might have happened if Paul had begun his speech before the Areopagus by saying, “In the beginning there was Logos,” the sentence which begins the Gospel of St. John. Both John and Paul were involved in trying to make the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ comprehensible to the Greco-Roman world. In order to do that, both men had to explain not only what Jesus did but who he was. Paul prepared the way for the reception of John’s concept of the Logos into the world of Christian thought in his Epistle to the Hebrews when he described Christ as the “eternal High-priest after the order of Melchizedek.” A priest is by definition a human being. An “eternal High priest” is something else, but exactly what is not clear. In order to make Christ’s identity clear, John took the concept of “logos,” which had been in existence for 500 years and reworked it in light of what he knew about Jesus Christ to provide the vocabulary which brought “one of the great cycles in human history” to a close1 and a new era into being based on an enhanced understanding of what went before. Paul criticized the vanity of the silversmiths and their apologists, but John took the gold and silver out of Greece. The word “logos” was in every sense of that notoriously polyvalent word the transition which did not abolish what went before but rather raised it to a new previously unattainable level.