Thursday night: the dangers of Patreon intellectuals, how the wellness industry has spread into private education, the feel-good flattery of bloggers whose ad revenue depends on telling everyone, “Society demands too much of people like you,” and more.

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In Loco Parentis

My lecture Thursday night, “Intellectual Honesty in an Age of Flattery,” will gloss an increasingly troublesome conception of the classical Christian classroom as “a safe space where none of my son’s ideas about god, politics, and video games are ever challenged.”

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What The Wellness Industry Has Done To Us

Tom: How did you sleep last night?

Harry: Eh, not so great.

Tom: Did it take you a long time to fall asleep?

Harry: No.

Tom: Did you wake up often in the night?

Harry: No, it wasn’t that either.

Tom: Did you wake up early and have a hard time falling back to sleep?

Harry: No.

Tom: Were you plagued by bad dreams?

Harry: No.

Tom: Then what went wrong?

Harry: I mean, I slept for eight solid hours but it just wasn’t a transformative, restorative night of sleep that makes you wake up feeling whole, healthy, unified, energized, dynamic, and full of confidence.

Tom: I’ve never had a-

Harry: Honestly, the solution might be some organic cotton pajamas I saw on Instagram the other day. And a more guilt-free skin care routine.

The Best Film of 2020

For the record, there are two great filmmakers working today who happen to be Christians: Whit Stillman and John Patrick Shanley.

Shanley’s Wild Mountain Thyme was both weird and conventional, traditional and Shakespearean, and included a number of scenes so thematically rich, I was already looking forward to my third or fourth viewing. It has my vote for the best film of 2020.

More On Senior Thesis

“No thesis statement should be approved which merely calls for the government to make a new law or spend more money. Assuming the audience of a senior thesis is the high school student body, the only thesis statements that should be approved are those which an audience of high school students can personally, immediately respond to. Likewise, arguing that high schoolers should vote for political candidates in the future who will throw money at a certain cause should likewise be banned. Unfortunately, American politics now centers around the idea that other people should pay for things that I want and allowing students to make such arguments in front of their peers only perpetuates this problem.”

-from “Stopping a Mediocre Senior Thesis Before It Starts,” my latest for CiRCE

The Writing Life

“Very few high school writing teachers are writers. Non-writers who teach writing are generally more optimistic (and more vocal) about the prospect of ‘making good writers’ out of high school students, which is why many parents believe their sons and daughters can become better writers while maintaining debilitating screen addictions, writing very little, and almost never reading good books for pleasure. The sort of writing instruction given by non-writers is not necessarily bad, but it is not the same sort of instruction a writer would give, which is far more glum and obtuse.

-from “Reflections on Publishing 500 Articles In This Column,” my latest for CiRCE.