The installation of public water fountains was the work of prohibitionists. Many men claimed they frequented bars because they were thirsty, thus water foundations were installed everywhere in public so their drunkenness was without excuse. This all took place one hundred years ago.

One hundred years later, public water fountains have all been closed and it is now widely known reported that the lockdown and quarantine have lead to a sharp rise in binge drinking.

Of course, people are responsible for what they do, and I am not entirely convinced there is really a connection to see here. This all has more to do with the zeitgeist than with human psychology.

Suicide In Germany

“The individual’s decision to end their own life, based on how they personally define quality of life and a meaningful existence eludes any evaluation on the basis of general values, religious dogmas, societal norms for dealing with life and death, or consideration of objective rationality.”

-The highest court in Germany rules on an individual’s right to suicide, as quoted in Wesley J Smith’s recent summary for First Things

What Pleasure Thou Canst Give Me

Mark Kozalek Sings Christmas Carols is a real piece of work. The former Red House Painters and Sun Kil Moon singer performs a bunch of hymns and a handful of pop tunes, but the hymns carry it away. While Kozalek is not a Christian, he seems to have chosen the oldest possible carol texts to sing. There are a few light-hearted moments on the record, but Kozalek avoids being cute or clever on the hymns. There are no new twists on old favorites here. Just a man and his guitar thoughtfully, respectfully rendering old tunes.

The lyrics he chose for “O Christmas Tree” are gorgeous, a theological meditation on evergreen trees.

It Is My Fault

Over the last twenty years, it has become fashionable for young men to blame all the problems of the world on “the church,” by which I mean saying things like “Poverty and racism wouldn’t be a problem if the church would just be the church” with an authoritative, I-know-what-the-word-“liturgy”-means kind of tone.

My latest for CiRCE is about blaming the church, why it’s a terrible idea, and why it is better to blame yourself instead.