Tuesday, January 20

G.K. Chesterton Blog Redeux

I've mentioned this before, but it is so much fun it really warrants a redeux:

What if G.K. Chesterton had a blog? Actually, he did, and her name was Frances--but that is another story altogether. What I really mean is, what if the great journalist, wit, historian, theologian, and broadcaster were alive today? Would he embrace the new technologies and the opportunities they afford to reach a new and wider audience? Would he have a blogspot site in the blogosphere? I have to think so.

Chesterton certainly took advantage of radio in its pioneer days--becoming one of the most popular broadcasters at the BBC (I have in my library archives a digitized version of three broadcast snippets and they are wonderful). No doubt, he would have made quite a good natured fuss over the complexity of the hardware and the software--can't you just see him cajoling Dorothy Collins to hurry up and get his PowerBook upgraded to with an Airport Extreme-enabled OS X so that he could crank out his daily quota of blurbs, vignettes, quips, stories, verses, and columns whilst hunkered down in his favorite haunt, the fabled Cheshire Cheese on Fleet Street? Really. He would have done it, I am convinced, one way or another.

Of course, he never lived to see the day of TV much less laptops, wi-fis, and bluetooth mobiles and PDAs. But now, we have a chance to see what he might have done if he had indeed lived to post to the web. Some wise soul has begun a delightful blog comprised of daily epigrams from the great man's great works. You gotta love it.

In a somewhat similar vein--albeit, significantly more low-tech--Michael Perry has created a wonderful new edition of Chesterton Day-by-Day. Published by Inking Books in Seattle in both hardback and paperback, the book is perfect for all those who need a daily dose of GKC but may not get to the blog for one reason or another. And the American Chesterton Society has produced a wonderful new edition of the great man's epic poem Lepanto. Edited by Dale Ahlquist with excellent historical and literary notes, this is a real treat no Chestertonian will want to do without.

Haiti's Bicentennial

More than forty people have died in Haiti over the last three months during violent street protests against government corruption and tyranny. It’s hardly the sort of thing you might expect during the big build-up to the nation’s bicentennial celebrations. But, then again, this is Haiti we’re talking about.

A century ago, during the centennial celebrations for Haiti’s independence, the nation’s president scolded his people saying that he was “tired of our stupidities” and decried “a century of slavery of negro by negro.” He pled with them to amend their sordid habits so that perhaps a century hence their descendents might actually have something to celebrate at the bicentennial in 2004.

That century has now come and gone. The bicentennial has arrived. But the “stupidities” and “slavery” continue unabated.

Haiti is the poorest country in the Americas with more than eighty percent of its people in thrall to the most abject impoverishment. AIDS, malnutrition, and infant mortality are rampant. The Marxist government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide is among the most corrupt and inefficient on the face of the earth. Even many missionary organizations quietly bemoan the fact that the country has become a "relief and development money pit" and that efforts to bring Gospel hope there have become mired in a malignant culture of graft and perversity.

No wonder that the people are hardly in the mood for self-congratulatory bicentennial parties. Just yesterday police have fired tear gas at thousands of protestors who have taken to the streets in the capital Port-au-Prince.

As opposition leader Marc Habilieu asserted following the clash, “For two hundred years we have paraded our shame before the rest of the world. It is time for a dramatic change. It is time for something other than the same old political slogans and promises. It is time for a dose of reality.”

Strikes a familiar chord, doesn’t it? It certainly does for most Haitians.

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