- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: The Crossroad Publishing Company (June 1, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0824524403
- ISBN-13: 978-0824524401
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 7.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 16 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #698,273 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Coincidentally Hardcover – June 1, 2007
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The first essay has some thoughtful quotes. One quote is, "Great people change the course of history while demagogues change the facts of history. George Orwell was the master of such demonstration. One comment that Fr. Rutler made the comment, there are boring people who themselves are bored with their dull lives. The facination with technology has created a generation of zombies. Or was Einstein noted," Our technology will make us a nation of idiots." Father Rupert contrasted "artificial intelligence" with actual knowledge and wisdom. Father Rupert commented that he liked good humor and that self deprication can help with bona fide righteousness. Without humor, people become holier-than-thou do-gooders affected with false self righteousness. A.J. Nock remarked that some folks who think they are pious are merely bilious. Or, as the late US Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendal Holmes wrote, "Some people are so good that they are good nothing." Behaviorism (psycho babble) has attacked moral accountability and elimination of concepts such as good vs. evil. Public school curriculum has replaced genuine learning with boring nonsense.
Fr, Rutler then explained that joy should be a part of life. He had an amusing remark that American Indians had to teach do-gooder Puritans how to party. The mixture of Spanish, Portuguese, and other Europeans had to eventually co-exist in order to have law-and-order and "peace and quiet." To hate those who are different means people cannot learn from others and benefit from those who are "different."
Fr. Rutler also mocked the notion that physical organs are paramount in intellectual achievement. Translations of texts and even the Bible have contributed to this notion. As Fr. Rutler wrote, he would try to understand original meanings and to avoid translators. The most terse and intelligent understanding is usually the best. Had Hitler delivered the Gettysburg Address, his speech would have been longer but not nearly as good as President Lincoln's speech.
Fr. Rutler gave homage to women. He remakred that woman of considerable different backgrounds often had children who acheived notable contributions. Now, people do not care who the mothers were. Yet, "nutjobs"want to cause divisions among those who are "different" to the point of openly distorting honest knowledge. Those "do-gooder" Christians who hate Jewish people forget that Christ's Mother was a devout Jewish woman.
Along with distorting knowledge, education bureaucrats have tried to distort language. The Oakland Board of Education tried to introduce "eubonics" (whatever that means) to replace intelligent English. Fr. Rutler could have cited other examples of distorted written expression He could have cited the Ancient Greek History Thucydides (.460-c.400 BC) and Orwell's condemnation of language distortions.
In re distortion of history and language, Fr. Rutler had "fun" undermining Louis Farrakhan's speech via the Million Man march in 1995. As an aside, Farrakhan's harangues against Jewish people are amusing. What readers should know is that Farrakhan's physicians were Jewish, and he went to Jewish hospitals. Fr. Rupert undermined Farrakhans's historical falsehoods which were not hard to refute.
Along with bad language and false history, literature has become debased. "Free verse" and triviality has replaced serious literature. This reflects the thoughtlessness of many Americans and media gurus who praise nonsense and stupidity. This reviewer does not know of any solution. Sadly this may be the future for US social and cultural legacy. Such idiocy is reflected in the number of "official" conferences whereby illogical statements and no acomplishments are the norm. Often the conferences are "Much ado about nothing." Fr. Rupert wrote the same depressing account about great music compositions contrasted to the noise that passes for music now. Phony sensitivity has replaced serious concerns. Given all the serious problems, politicians now want to forbid their supposedly free citizens. from smoking.
Fr. Rutler had a respect for honest history. His one comment dealt with chiivlary which Fr. Rupert argued is now dead. Fr. Rupert cited Edmund Burke's (1729-1797) REFLECTIONS ON THE REVOLUTION IN FRANCE. Burke mentioned that during an age of chivilary 10,000 swords would have been unleased if the French Queen were threatened. Such lofty ideas were replaced by sophistes, economists, and calculators. Given the current violent disrespect for women, Burke would be shocked beyond his great written expression.What was serious political discourse has been replaced childish gibberish and meaningless platitudes. Senseless political discourse has replaced serious political debate.
Fr. Rutler could not have written about history without including military history. As terrible as war is, wars have contributed to medical advances.The Ancient Egyptionas leanred to use senna for healing from the Hyksos. Koch developed anti-septics for wounds. Clara Barton (1821-1912) and Florence Nightengale (1820-1910) enhanced the nursing profession when they and their nurses risked their lives saving the lives of the wounded. Being Catholic, Fr. Rupert should have mentioned that many of the brave nurses were Catholic nuns
Fr. Rutler's essay re "The Arts and Sciences" destroyed the false belief that Catholics oppose science. Fr. Rupert metnion Pierre Duhem, Louis Pasteur, and other devout Catholics have contributed so much to scientific achievements since early Catholic History. The arts,including literature, philosophy, theology, and history are now falsified or ignored when the arts have tuaght us what is meant by being human and thinking about ultimate quetions.
Fr. Rutler wrote a "fun" book which requires careful reading. Mixed with the humorous anecdotes are valuable lessons and a "gold mine" of history. Those who are well read in history can still learn much and examine or re-examine historical sources and little known books.
James E. Egolf
I don't have Father Rutler's intellect (who does?) and no doubt I'm being obtuse, but the coincidence of, for example, "...all the published poems of Emily Dickinson can be sung to the tune of 'The Yellow Rose of Texas' is obscure to the point of invisibility. An intriguing little oddity, to be sure, but with what does it coincide? Another example: "As Washington Irving...told the tale of a headless horseman in 'The Legend of Sleepy Hollow', it is apposite that Sir Paulus Irving...was captured in 1777 at Saratoga, where Benedict Arnold was wounded on October 7 in a leg, the knee of which had previously been shot at Quebec". It is? Or what about Father's reference to a Madame Recamier, who "had a sofa named after her and died on the same day and month in 1849 as the day and month in 1920 when the Chicago entrepreneur Alphonse 'Al' Capone shot James 'Big Jim' Colosimo". Huh? Or "...as the Senate was ratifying the United Nations Charter on July 28, 1945, a B-25 crashed in to the 79th floor of the Empire State Building". You don't say. Or "Helen Keller closed her vacant eyes in death on the centenary of President [Andrew] Johnson's acquittal". Most extraordinary.
Father's book comprises such, er, coincidences, which strike me as being singularly lacking in coincidence. Don't get me wrong: I rather liked "Coincidentally", finding it delightfully quirky and old-style eccentric, as well as chock-full of interesting information and anecdotes. And, as far as I can determine, Father Rutler (of whom I'm a great fan) tends to be factually correct (though I think that Christian Herter had been President Kennedy's Treasury Secretary, not Secretary of State). Still, in the deathless words of Bugs Bunny, "Don't think it hasn't been a little slice of heaven...because it hasn't". Well, that's putting it too strongly -- the reading experience was anything but purgatorial, let alone hellish.
I close by noting that Father's first name is George and one of my names (albeit not my first) is also George. Coincidence? Moreover, the mind positively boggles when one thinks how one George wrote a book and another George reviewed that very same book. And don't even get me started on the fact that Father's first and last names each have six letters!