Reality Check – Clear, Liberating Truth


I’ve been busy, so I missed this, almost a week ago, at the increasingly valuable Crisis.

Here are a couple extracts to tease you into reading the whole thing.  (Hint: There are quotes from Plutarch, Seneca and St. John Chrysostom!)

What To Do About Honey Baby Dolly?

In 7th grade, I started acting up. My father died suddenly near the end of 6th grade and when he was gone, my behavior changed. One fine day in 7th grade, Mr. Mac, my language arts teacher, whose first name was Harry, came into my social studies class to convey something to our teacher, Mrs. Gooding. When he entered the classroom, for reasons I still don’t understand, I blurted out, “How’s it hangin’, Harry?” Mr. Mac conveyed his message to Mrs. Gooding, then flicked his finger at me and said, “You.” I immediately panicked. The most serious disciplinary action I’d received during my grade school years was being sentenced to sitting on my hands during story time in Kindergarten (I couldn’t resist the girls’ pony tails). We turned a corner into an outdoor corridor. Suddenly, Mr. Mac stopped, grabbed me by the collar and shoved me against the warm brick wall. His face was ruddy and grave as he pushed it a half-inch from mine. “You will never disrespect me like that again.” He half-breathed, half-growled the words. I nodded my head frantically in agreement and he released me.

In high school, I had a hard-nosed, ex-marine priest as an English teacher. Fr. Lukan, still sporting a buzz cut, as gray as the ashes piled in the ashtray on his desk, explained to us bewildered freshmen that he expected all graded essays returned to him. “The reason for this,” Fr. Lukan explained, “is so that when mommy and daddy come complaining to me because Honey Baby Dolly got a bad grade on his report card, I can show them your work and tell ’em, ‘Honey Baby Dolly got a bad grade because Honey Baby Dolly can’t write worth a damn.’” The truth was clear, and liberating.

At my first job out of college, I worked at a small business owned by the father of a classmate. This man came from Arkansas and, though a devout Catholic, was as hard as the Ozarks. Every day, without exception, he wore a plain button-down long-sleeve shirt (tan or gray), the kind you find at Goodwill, sleeves rolled up carelessly, jeans held up with a brown belt clasped with a big silver buckle adorned with chunks of ivory and turquoise. He wore the same boots every day. He chewed constantly on toothpicks and his idea of a great “supper” (lunch) was Furr’s all-you-can-eat cafeteria. He constantly grumbled that the federal government should issue belts to Americans with their names on the back, “so they know who they’re screwin’.” I once suggested an improvement or two to my work area, such as a vent for AC. It got pretty warm in the cramped space in the back of the building where my workbench was, especially during the sultry summers in Dallas. My boss looked me straight in the eye with an unblinking, manly certitude and said in his deep, sonorous voice, thickly imbued with a southern drawl, “You know where to find sympathy don’tcha? In the dictionary, between sh*t and syphilis.”

I was reminded of these episodes from my youth when I heard about universities offering psychological support to students suffering anxiety after the election results last November. […]


The Snowflake Reich is on the march.   Resist and Defeat!

¡Hagan lío!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in ¡Hagan lío!, Be The Maquis, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Semper Paratus, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. The Egyptian says:

    haven’t read it yet, but laughing already, good lord it sounds familiar,

  2. graytown says:

    Ahh- the good old days.
    Mr. Jay turned into an excellent writer.
    Fr. Lukan would be proud.

  3. bibi1003 says:

    I wish teachers were allowed to teach that way today. Kids would be so much better off.

    I had a college professor who was really tough. I was quiet, sensitive and lived in a self-made cocoon, probably a defense mechanism from growing up with an emotionally abusive father. Don’t call me a snowflake yet, ok?

    I wanted out of the class, but my father told me not to run away when things were tough. I’m so grateful for that good piece of advice from him.

    I stayed in the class and learned so much from that professor. He gave it to us straight and he taught us to THINK. Thirty years later, he is the only professor I remember.

  4. Grumpy Beggar says:

    “You know where to find sympathy don’tcha? In the dictionary, between sh*t and syphilis.”


    Thanks for including the badly needed smile(s) Padre.

  5. The Egyptian says:

    I was a bit of a brat at the authors age, boy does that opening sound familiar, We seriously need more MALE teachers, not some wispy feminized men but MEN. I was scared shitless of my high school ind arts teacher, a mountain of a man but one hell of an instructor. and thanks to the FFA advisor I learned how to speak in public and comport myself. Those were the days

    Pat Buchanan wrote of the decline of Europe many years ago, man did he say it in spades, especially in Italy, the average child is the only child of only children, spoiled to death by four grandparents, with no uncles, aunts or cousins. A totally self centered person, the true definition of ME. The US may become close if we don’t watch it. BTW I’m one of six kids raised on a Midwestern Ohio dairy farm, dad’s size 10 had a tremendous influence, ” you eat at my table”, strangely I never remember feeling that we shouldn’t have to help, it was just expected and I loved to out do my dad, took pride in it and so did he, I now own the farm, milk cows and my 18 yr old son is taking over, (I only had a size nine but it still worked) he can outwork me and I am proud of him. He is the youngest of 4 still living, his younger brother died in a farm accident at the age of 3, (God I miss him), I ask for his prayers daily

  6. Aegidius says:

    If you want your son to become tough so that he is going to make it, don’t call him Bill or George etc. Call him Sue!

  7. edm says:

    Teachers cannot be like that anymore. No real discipline allowed. They cannot even reprimand in a loud voice. It’s considered disrespectful to the student. I even know of a gym teacher who was “called to the office” because the principal thought the way he blew the whistle was too harsh for the kiddies.

  8. AnnTherese says:

    Parents are the problem, especially at Catholic schools– because they think they’re paying for their kids “A’s.” I once had a parent, whose kid did nothing the entire semester, get in my face and shout: “My kid isn’t going to be kept out of the college of his choice because his GPA was brought down by a religion class!” Another time two kids’ parents came in to overturn the 0’s their kids got on a 10-pt assignment, for cheating. I had the papers right in front of me, and the parents refused to look at them, insisting their kids would never cheat. They complained loudly enough to my principal, and I was forced to change the grades.

    Teachers aren’t respected by kids, and not supported by parents or administrators. And now we have a Secretary of Education who is completely incompetent. [I doubt you have psychic powers to read the future. So, how about giving us a break from this sort of thing.]

    No wonder we have a teacher shortage. I definitely think homeschooling is the way to go.

    But as for Mr. Mac, he was wrong. Physical violence only teaches physical violence.

    [No, it doesn’t.]

  9. stephen c says:

    If Mr Jay republishes this well-written essay somewhere – “Marine vet priest” is always better than “ex-Marine priest” or “former Marine priest”, unless of course one is a Marine vet oneself, or an American veteran (but definitely not a foreigner, not even a Canadian or ANZAC, even if detailed to a Marine unit) who served in a unit, large or small, with Marines: in which case you can say whatever you want (having earned the right). (And if you are lucky enough to be one of the people I am describing, you probably won’t want to say ex or former in the same breath as Marine, I feel certain….) As for me, I am fairly sure I have not once said ‘ex-Marine’ or ‘former Marine’ in the last 27 years (since 1990, when I first served in a joint unit – Marines, Navy, AF, Army, Coast Guard – we worked together well, as I remember…although the guys from my branch of the Service did, actually, work a little bit harder, but I have heard that was not always the case) – except, of course, to provide the sort of commentary I am providing here.

  10. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    “The Snowflake Reich is on the march.”
    “Teachers cannot be like that anymore.”
    Ensconced after the long march through the institutions.
    What is to be done?
    Can any number of years of White House plus Congressional majorities winkle out the winkling out that need be?
    (Real, not rhetorical questions, nor asked in desperation.)

  11. graytown says:

    Our new Secretary of Education promotes school choice.
    Thank you Jesus !

  12. AveMariaGratiaPlena says:

    Love it!!!

  13. Imrahil says:

    Dear AnnTherese,

    whether or not physical violence only teaches physical violence doesn’t have a Connection to what Mr Mac did as described above. That wasn’t physically violent. He didn’t slap. He didn’t give the paws (i. e. smacked the outstreched fingers with the teacher’s cane, for those who don’t know that punishment). He didn’t paddle the student’s backward parts, neither with pants on nor with pants off.

    All he did is telling him off out of somewhat small a distance. That isn’t physical. Not at all.

    Dear edm,

    while I’m not so sure about small children (where, however, I do know that the teacher has to speak loudly just to overtone them), for older children a very quiet reprimand tends to be harsher than a shoutedly loud one. (See, e. g., how Alan Rickman does Prof. Snape in the Harry Potter movies.)

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