Tuesday, April 18, 2006

April Miscellany

via A Conservative Blog for Peace come two noteworthy stories:

Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin famously remarked that he had been to heaven, and did not see God. A new interview suggests these words were not even spoken by him but rather were invented by Soviet propagandists. Gagarin himself, it is claimed, was in fact a man of faith.

Katolik Shinja notes that the New York Times has cited Hillaire Belloc as a prescient thinker who anticipated the current explosion of the one-man press:
There are whole paragraphs in Belloc's essay where, if you substitute "blogs" for "the Free Press," you will be struck by the parallels. He notes that the journals of the free press seldom pay their way and that they often suffer from the impediment of "imperfect information," simply because it is not in the politicians' interests to speak to them. They tend to preach to the converted. And they are limited by the founder's vision. "It is difficult," Belloc writes, "to see how any of the papers I have named would long survive a loss of their present editorship."

Belloc's point is not to expose the limitations of bloggers — excuse me, the Free Press. It is to show how, imperfect as they are, they can contribute enormously to our ability to learn what's going on. Anyone who spends much time reading political blogs will hear a familiar note — in far greater prose — among Belloc's certainties. He writes, in short, as a blogger of his own time.

I have an unread hard-copy of Belloc's essay on the Free Press. It is prefaced by a paranoiac introduction from a man who ranted about government cover-ups on 9/11. Perhaps that is why it has remained unread. Its publisher, IHS Press, was itself exposed for its fringe connections a few months back. Belloc in particular attracts the most unsavory of people, perhaps because he held a few most unsavory opinions himself. Sad to say, a sizable portion of his present-day admirers scare off those who are otherwise attracted to this most lively writer. At least his reputation did not scare off the easily-spooked employees of the New York Times.

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