Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Poisoning the Annual Chesterton Society Conference

First, the letter from Dale Ahlquist at the American Chesterton Society that just came out:

St. Thomas Security has taken over our conference. This is what we have to deal with this year:

1. Alcohol can only be served and consumed in the lobby of OShaugnessy Education Center. Glasses cannot be taken into the auditorium or outside.

2. The wine and beer has to be served by St. Thomas food service staff, for which we will be charged a fee.

3. The alcohol has to be served with food. Not just cheese and crackers. The food has to be ordered through Food Service. We can’t bring our own. They may make an exception for the wheel of Stilton cheese.

4. We have to serve other drinks as well. The other drinks have to be ordered through Food Service.

5. We can serve wine and beer only during the following hours during the conference: 7-10 Thursday, 1-4, Friday, and 1-4, Saturday

6. We can have an outdoor “afterglow” in Foley Plaza on Thurs, Fri., and Sat nights from 10:30 to Midnight. Again we have to have a food service staff member act as bartender with the last drink served not later than 11:45 pm. The plaza will be fenced off with one entrance and exit and everyone there has to wear a conference badge. We have to pay for the fence, too.

7. There will be a security officer present at all our events.

8. We had to get a special license to serve wine with the banquet on Saturday night.

The costs of these extra requirements will do a good job of eating up the costs saved by having Catholic Studies co-sponsor the event. So we’re back to the conference being a money-loser.

I think we’re done with St. Thomas, and I think the conference is changed forever.

This is frustrating. First, you know the person that has imposed these restrictions is a self-righteous little jackass that is probably chanting “liability." Second, the self-righteous little ass probably has very little, if any, exposure to the Annual Chesterton Conference and doesn’t know how this will kill the Conference. Third, you couldn’t explain it to the self-righteous little ass because all these changes affect the “intangibles”–the spirit, the little things, the unnoticed things, the “air”–and if you can’t show such a person in black-and-white how changes will screw things up, he won’t believe you. Most frustrating.

Some Chestertonians are fighting back. An enjoyable email from one of them:

Dearly Beloved Mailing List 1, and Bcc’s:

Please find below a forwarded copy of a sad and distressing email I received tonight from Dale, the reigning Czar of the American Chesterton Society. For those of you who are unaware, the American Chesterton Society has held its annual Conference at the University of St Thomas in St Paul, Minnesota, since June of 1997 (previously it had been hosted for nearly two decades in Milwaukee). Until last year, our Conference was a joyful, personalist, self-directed meeting of minds and hearts regarding all things Chesterton (and, therefore, Catholic and godly), but it appears that those pathetic, treasonous, squash-every-life-like-a-bug, Left-wing, sour, ruthless, joyless, little nimrod-minded, Obama-voting imps of the Fifth Pillar (hereafter referred to only as they) cannot stand the sounds of resounding laughter, singing and conversant chatter that are the ordinary hallmarks of a good, traditional Catholic party; they cannot tolerate the warm, sweet scent of cigar smoke wafting though the trees and, by GOD, they must not let us alone to, as responsible adults are sometimes wont to do on festal days, be allowed to imbibe anything stronger than Coca-Cola without wage-sucking chaperones and security. After all, they must tell themselves in the wee hours of the cold dark nights in the Caves [faculty housing], we evil Chestertonians might get a little loose in the head and begin planning the sacking and overthrow of all that is good and Marxist in a modern-day liberal “Catholic” house of education; we might even gang up as an unruly mob in the first night, storm the Caves, and run all the sad little tenured heretics off the premises with our pen-knives and holy-water-guns and (gasp!!!) raise the standard of the Papal household in the Quad before the dawn breaks! Eek-gads!

Here’s the deal: I didn’t spend all freaking year babying thirty gallons of prize merlot along just so I can turn around and have it measured out by the thimbleful, like so much poison, by some snot-nosed little Liberal-hack-without-a-clue because ol’ Archbishop Flynn has refused to grow a spine and let one of the most historic hallowed halls in American Catholic academics be turned into a den of Green Peace-worshiping, law-mongering, joy-sqwashing Commies. Sounds harsh? Too bad. It’s the bare truth.

We need help. Please!!! Send this communique to everyone you know–especially the media. St Thomas will invite every anti-Catholic, anti-Life, anti-Reason moron and hack to our campus to spread Modernist filth and lying propaganda, but we orthodox, faithful Chestertonians (with 10 solid years of peaceful, non-confrontational, trouble-free, self-directed, responsible assemblies under our proverbial belt–and not one single DUI) can’t be trusted to meet without Big Brother monitoring our every move??? O, puleeze…..

We need you to protest.

We need donations to find a new Conference home.

We need dynamite in the Church, as Peter Maurin put it–and you all are the fuse!

Please email Fr. Dennis Dease (DJDEASE@stthomas.edu) and tell him that this is a sophmoric, vengeful move on the part of the University of St Thomas. And if you are giving money to these idiots, please stop!

That’s all. Up until now, this has been the best three day party on the planet. Now, like everything else, the Libs are trying to destroy it. We alone can stop them.

In His Grace, miki

25 comments:

Joe said...

This is very sad, but maybe it is a Chestertonian opportunity. It could be time to start The Flying Conf.

Tzard said...

Or at least the flying inn....
(I'm serious)

Plausible deniability, I say. Who says the American Chesterton Society has to be involved? Freedom is for individuals. As well as freedom of action.

Trubador said...

Maybe next year the ACS can have the conference at a REAL Catholic college named after St. Thomas Aquinas! Nice weather, too.

http://www.thomasaquinas.edu/

Just a suggestion... and in no way influenced by the fact that it's located only 30 miles from where I live. *cough*cough*

Anonymous said...

This reminds me of my college days. Once when some friends and I went to see the movie Arthur for about the sixth time, I sneaked a couple of Foster's trash cans in under my coat.

I popped one - "ps-s-sht!" - and one patron turned around, chuckling at my audacity. Other than that, it was a completely successful case of clandestine tippling.

Trubador said...

Susan: "A real woman could stop you from drinking."
Arthur: "It'd have to be a real BIG woman."

*sigh* The classics...

Alan Capasso said...

How bout Franciscan University of Steubenville
Not because that one close to me it is also very Catholic and many a Chesterton freak teaches there.

Joe said...

How about Texas A&M? Not because it is 2 miles from my house, but because it has a huge Catholic student body (maybe the largest in the US?). And though G.K. Chesterton eventually converted to the Roman Catholic faith, not all Chestertonians have yet done so. Texas A&M also has many Protestants, Unitarians, and Vegetarians (though most of the student body heartily enjoys beef); so it may be a more comfortable common ground for all GKC fans.

But back to the Catholic student body: George Weigel said "The other thing that I have become very aware of in recent years ... is the vitality of Catholic chaplaincies on non-Catholic campuses, three of the most extraordinary of which are at Columbia in New York, at Princeton – a chaplaincy which has just produced two out of Princeton’s three Rhodes scholars this year – and out of all places, Texas A&M. One-quarter of the student body of Texas A&M is Catholic. The Texas A&M Catholic chaplaincy has produced more priests and nuns than Notre Dame in the last 20 years. It’s an absolutely astonishing business, and it has to do with this vibrant Catholic chaplaincy. So when we’re talking about Catholic higher education, we’re not just talking about Georgetown and Catholic U. and whatnot. We’re talking about a Catholic leavening in the broader world of American higher learning, including the elite world of American higher learning."

Emphasis is mine, though I'm sure George was very excited as he said the bolded words.

Mike Roesch said...

I've wondered why the conference doesn't make an attempt to travel a bit. Maybe not every year, but at least occasionally make a trip outside of Minnesota, now that there is a very national membership. I'm not too keen on the expenses associated with flying, but if it had been within a five- or six-hour drive where I could car pool at some point within the past few years, I definitely would have tried to make it.

Tzard said...

I did some personal investigating (I have no inside knowlege of this particular situation) - I couldn't see any problem with federal, state, or local laws. It seems it was truly the college itself or it's representatives.

They have a policy (a 'policy' is what one does when one doesn't not want to be burdened by thinking or taking personal responsibility) - and in our case they seemed to interpret it quite harshly.

And what's wrong with their policy? Firt off, it's geared towards college binge parties - but they apply it to even all adult gatherings such as alumni or faculty events. Secondly, it talks much about 'rights' and 'responsibility' - then goes on to eliminate personal responsibility and free will.

Lastly, the stated justification is not liability (though that's probably another undercurrrent) - it's "health". To us Chestertonians, we can see the evil in the cult of health. Remember "... If there is one thing worse than the modern weakening of major morals, it is the modern strengthening of minor morals."

If you find a new place, keep it close to a major airport, please. Colleges may not be the best location because of such bureaucracies. Catholic Colleges *can* be worse, forgetting what the Christianity really is. You'd often find more true christian freedom in state colleges.

Perhaps a convention center or a seminary or monestary somewhere.
Got any breweries with facilities? I know wineries here in California often do.

m said...

Man. I was bummed about not being able to attend the conference when I first heard the conference. After reading this post and some of the replies, I'm REALLY bummed I can't go (I should have know that fellow Chester-heads would share my sense of humor). Count me in for next year :)

Miki said...

For the record, I am the one who wrote the "enjoyable email"....

I went and had a visit with Dale today--we're going to be auctioning off the wine I've made that we can't serve at the Conference during the Banquet to raise money for the next Conference (which, sorry, Trubador, will probably not be held anywhere we actually want it....)and a new possible site of an ACS retreat center.

And here's my official declaration (spread it around, far and wide...):

I am also pledging that for anyone who donates $300.00 to the Chesterton Society for the purpose of finding a new, permanent home, I will make a case of Merlot as a gift to them. For anyone who donates a thousand dollars to the Chesterton Society, I will make just for them three cases of their very own Merlot.

Since I pay for the wine supplies out of pocket, and I'm not ashamed to beg, I'll accept donations, too.

...And, no, I don't make it in the bathtub, or in garbage cans....

Se y'all next Thursday!

Miki of the Purple Toes

http://angrynunnohabit.blogspot.com/

Miki said...

"I've wondered why the conference doesn't make an attempt to travel a bit. Maybe not every year, but at least occasionally make a trip outside of Minnesota, now that there is a very national membership."

1. Because Minnesota is the actual headquarters of the American Chesterton Society--and where most of the board members reside

2. Minnesota is also the home of the Chesterton Academy--most of the kids involved with this are Minnesota residents

3. The Twin Cities is the most easily publicly-accessible, centrally located place in the United States making it equally accessible from almost anywhere in the country.

...And I guarantee you, with some of our traditions (like beer and wine), travelling is *not* an option. You try driving a carload of homemade wine or beer with no preservatives to central California and back in the middle of a hot summer and see what happens....

In His Grace, miki

Joe said...

...And I guarantee you, with some of our traditions (like beer and wine), travelling is *not* an option. You try driving a carload of homemade wine or beer with no preservatives to central California and back in the middle of a hot summer and see what happens....

Miki -- What's the shipping cost on a case of Merlot to Texas?

Mike Roesch said...

1. Because Minnesota is the actual headquarters of the American Chesterton Society--and where most of the board members reside

2. Minnesota is also the home of the Chesterton Academy--most of the kids involved with this are Minnesota residents


Well, the Chesterton Academy hasn't even opened yet, right? Points 1 and 2 seem to share the same premise: the people who run the show live in the Twin Cities, so that's where the conference is. That's a good argument for keeping it there, as I'm sure a lot of work must go into it every year. But it's kind of self-fulfilling: is the conference in Minnesota because the bulk of the people at the conference are Minnesotans, or are most of the people there Minnesotans because the conference is in Minnesota? It seems to me that if the conference were in Chicago or St. Louis or Washington, you could with relative ease find another crop of Chestertonians to step up and help. Maybe I'm overestimating the membership of the ACS, but it seems to me like there are a lot of us throughout the country.

3. The Twin Cities is the most easily publicly-accessible, centrally located place in the United States making it equally accessible from almost anywhere in the country.

I don't really see how this is the case (though I've never been there). Milwaukee, Chicago, and Kansas City are the only major cities even remotely within driving distance. Having it in the middle of the country isn't all that helpful when you have to fly to get there anyway. I'm not saying that the conference should move every year, but just occasionally having it in a different city, even just within the Midwest to make it easier on the board, would make it more accessible to different people.

Miki said...

I haven't got the foggiest, but I can find out if you'd like....just email me at "pointlessshrew" at that gmail thingy...

By the by, regarding reasons why the Conference doesn't travel--I thought of a fourth reason earlier this evening:

4. One of our long-standing traditions is to offer a wide range of books for sale: the ACS has it's own "table" that offers new copies of Chesterton and Chesterton related tomes by the veritable truckload.

Loome's Theological Booksellers from Stillwater (truly the very best antiquarian Catholic bookseller on the planet) has been with us from the beginning offering older and antiquarian copies of the same, as does Notting Hill Booksellers from St. Paul. We also have two core Chesterton Society members, Mark Favorite and Gregg A-Really-Intricate-Polish-Name-I-Can't-Spell-To-Save-My-Life,
who are independent booksellers who have tables and, lately (the past two years), we've had a couple of other established booksellers join in on the fun.

When you come to an ACS Conference, it's pretty well expected (as in inevitable) that you're gonna donate lots of money you'd otherwise spend on trifles to bring GK to the big wide world, buy more books than you could ever possibly read in a single year--even flat on your back, eat more cheese than you ever have in any three day period of your life, breathe more cigar smoke than any cardio-pulmonologist would call "safe" and laugh more heartily than you ever could have imagined at a literary conference. This couldn't be done if we had to haul truckloads of books all over the US every year....or every other year....

We've already broken with tradition for this summer regarding the wine, beer and Stilton Cheese, isn't that heart-breaking enough? (sigh)

In His Grace, miki

Miki said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Miki said...

Previous post stating "I haven't got the foggiest" regards postage to Texas--my apologies....

As for this:

"Well, the Chesterton Academy hasn't even opened yet, right? Points 1 and 2 seem to share the same premise: the people who run the show live in the Twin Cities, so that's where the conference is. That's a good argument for keeping it there, as I'm sure a lot of work must go into it every year. But it's kind of self-fulfilling: is the conference in Minnesota because the bulk of the people at the conference are Minnesotans, or are most of the people there Minnesotans because the conference is in Minnesota?"

1. Yes, Chesterton Academy is open and active and we do have students--they just finished their first academic year. I have been told that there are more students intent on enrolling for this next year, if they haven't already--and, no, they aren't all from Minnesota.

2. The work that goes into staging the Conference every year starts the day after the Sunday following the Conference's end. This is an ongoing thing and is taken on by a very small group of people, starting most substantially with Dale and Laura.

3. We have people who come to the ACS Conference, quite literally, from all over the world, so I'm not buying the appeal to other Mid-Western Cities being easier to get to. Whilst it is very true that the Twin Cities Chesterton Society is quite large and holds monthly meetings at the University Club that generally follow the same flow of the Conference--and that many of these are the same people who help put the annual Conference together--it is also equally true that we have members from other large GKC Societies that show up from all over the States without any trouble, and many of them drive.

For instance, we have a family that comes regularly by RV from southern California because their homeschooled son is one of our number, as well as a group of guys who carpool from Massechussetts (both about the same distance, relatively speaking) so, yes, it is done.

Last year our dorm rooms were sold out, I personally shuttled people back and forth to hotels, the overflow camped out with each other, and our opening night was standing room only in the Brady Education Center auditorium--more than half the people who came last year were people I'd never seen before and most of these whom I met said that they were from other states so, again, no, the Conference is not "mainly" Minnesotans. Which remins me, most of the priests we have show up from other states, too.

And, for the record, I live in rural north-western Wisconsin--when I go to the Conference, I generally camp out in my car because it's just too far and exhausting to drive back and forth. My friend Judith drives from wherever she's working (sometimes as far as Texas) and does the same. Neither of us have money to burn, but we plan for this all year because it's what we love--the Conference, I mean.

When Dale was thrust into the "benevolent Czar" seat by the Milwaukee Chestertonians back in the mid-90s, he was not really given alot of resources to work with, and still hasn't got them. The ACS is a family affair, literally. All of the Ahlquist kids have grown up working to make this Conference happen or have attended by default in some way or other--from gestation onwards. All of the core ACS members expend their own personal time and financial resources (sometimes to their own detriment) to make the Conference a sweet, enjoyable, welcoming, beneficial experience for all who attend, regardless of where they arrive from. To say that it should be, or could be, moved to other areas of the country assumes that there is the financing to do so, that there is a staff to handle such an undertaking, and that it wouldn't destroy some more of the inherent culture that is the American Chesterton Society.

Come and see before you try to change what is! You won't be disappointed!

In His Grace, miki

Miki Tracy said...

It's Official: The American Chesterton Society Conference is Forever Changed

"...this will be the last time we hold the conference at St. Thomas. It’s very unfortunate...." ~Dale Ahlquist, President, American Chesterton Society to St Thomas officials

Since June of 1997, the American Chesterton Society has held their annual Conference--which celebrates British journalist and Catholic convert Gilbert Keith Chesterton, his writings (covering just about everything under the sun and more), and a wide variety of other authors, artists, thinkers, ideals and ideas about every conceivable facet of Christian cult, cultivation, and culture, past, present and future--at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. No more. This next week will see the end of this tradition with the intolerable imposition of new restrictions on the Chestertonians by St. Thomas' Campus Security's event coordinator, Bill Carter, et al.

The question has been asked, "Aren't the new restrictions being imposed for the good of all parties?"

We think not.

At issue are the the following longstanding Chesterton Society Conference traditions and the problems that have developed only during the past week:

1. Frank Petta, one of the American Chesterton Society's founding members and long-time leading force in bringing GKC to popular American consciousness, began the tradition of serving home-crafted Merlot wine at Society events during the past thrity years. Several years ago Frank, and his wife Ann, passed this legacy of making the wine on to another member who continues the task, primarily at their own expense, out of love for the Conference and its attendees.

The home-crafted Merlot, as well as homecrafted beer made by another long-time Society member, have been served as a "tasting" (which we have always obtained legal permits from the city for at Conference expense) without any complaint or restrictions from Campus Public Safety...until now. As a result, there will be no spirits of any kind served during the Conference this year outside of the Banquet, Saturday night, at the close of the Conference.

2. Refreshments of any kind, especially the obligatory Stilton cheese wheel that has been specially ordered from England each and every year by Society members at their own expense, may not be served unless they are ordered through, prepared, and handled by St. Thomas Food Service personnel only. As the fees for such services will be exhorbitant and beyond the scope of current resources, and our traditional fare may not be offered, refreshments will not be served outside of standard refectory meals during this year's Conference.

3. Each night following the day's Conference events, an "afterglow" is normally held in which old friends get together for a cigar and a nightcap whilst they get re-acquainted and discuss anything and everything that comes to mind before retiring for the night, if they actually retire at all. Now, St. Thomas Public Safety wishes the afterglow to be fenced off (with a rented fence) and supervised by Security personnel--all at the expense of the American Chesterton Society. They also require that this activity close just after midnight and that any alchoholic beverages be served no later that 11:45 p.m. by Food Service personnel--again, at the Society's expense.

4. St. Thomas Security officers must be present at all Conference events to make certain that none of the Chestertonians get any brilliant ideas about insurrections or revolutionary conniving....at the expense of the Society.

Now, there have been some who have opined that this is just normal administrative stuff, but no. The American Chesterton Society has a long, established history of well-mannered, responsible, peaceful gatherings at the University of St Thomas and these restrictions have never been even so much as suggested until this past week. The real issue here is one of revenge--and who gets to mete it out against whom.

This past year, the Department of Catholic Studies at St Thomas came on board to sponsor the American Chesterton Society Conference and provide financial grants that would, finally, make the Conference a profitable venture and allow the Society the funding it needs to offer G.K. Chesterton's message of sanity and common sense to an even wider audience of readers and thinkers, young and old. As many people are sadly aware, the University of St. Thomas has recently changed tack and taken a course far afield from traditional Catholic academics and culture, even going so far as changing its bylaws this past winter to avoid having to be obedient to the current Archbishop of this archdiocese. Evidentally, the choice of the Department of Catholic Studies to sponsor ACS does not square with the novel direction the University is headed, and the faculty of this department has weathered substantial grief as a result.

The current tenor of the University is one which is openly hostile to common morals and even common sense (and most commonly by its own Social-Fascist leaning faculty members and leadership). And this writer was recently told by one such tenured academic that the American Chesterton Society is "a bunch of extereme Fundamentalists" and that such mindsets are not welcome in the hallowed halls of the University.

Fine.

If by "extreme Fundamentalism" you mean observance of and obedience to all that which is right and good and true, then we are most definitely as you accuse us.

If by "not welcome" you mean that sanity and reason have no place in the first American Catholic University ever established by a sitting bishop then, by all means, we will gladly take our leave and let you alone to pad your walls so that objective truth may not resound, to paint over the tall, wide windows with soot so that the light of reason dare not penetrate, and to lock all the doors against reality so that even GOD Himself may not enter into your strictured little prison populated by myopic humanist philosophers of doom.

We think it unfair, of course--not for ourselves, but for all of those who will be forever deprived of experiencing the beautiful, idyllic grounds where John Ireland planted his historic vision for the nurturing of Catholic intellect and ideals as we have. But greener, more fertile pastures abound for us, to be certain.

We think it sad--not for our own loss, but for those who will never know the same joy that we have had, coming together under the trees by the great River and spending a weekend worshipping together before historic altars which have witnessed so many priests sent out into service all over GOD's Blue Jewel. Yet there are other altars where Christ awaits our company, let there be no doubt.

We think it a poverty--not because the Conference will cease to exist....because it won't. We think it a poverty because the fresh Catholic minds you have been dutifully charged with molding and nurturing into full flower for the service of our Majesty's Kingdom Church and Society will be deprived of our great company and influence and they will have to come and find us in some other distant field or simply go without. But they will find us, sooner or later, when they tire of your rants and realise that you can offer nothing more.

You think you have broken us? Think not. This is just a small hiccup. We have an international membership. We have national recognition and respect. We have Mother Angelica and a cloud of persistent nuns continuously storming the gates of Heaven on our behalf. And we are possessed of more importance to this world, to this society at large, than you give us credit for or can even imagine. And long after your sniveling little theories have whithered away, and the petty campaigns you have championed have dried to dust and nothingness with you in your sad, collapsed little anonymous graves, obliterated by countless centuries of muck and untended briars, the message of Gilbert Keith Chesterton will resound through the earth like a mighty thunder, and shimmer on every horizon like the stars at dawn. Why? Because unlike you, G.K. taught us how to be like the angels--take yourself lightly, be obedient and follow the Master, and you will fly straight up to GOD Himself, and He will let you glorify Him before all men, in all times.

Unlike you, we do take ourselves lightly, we Chestertonians, and we find joy where ever it may be found. And where we find it, that's where the party is...singing and poetry and clarihews and beer and wine and sweet cherry smoke curling up into the tree canopies, all in copious supply...and laughter. Lots of laughter. Like Heaven.

...Too bad you're going to miss it. So be it.

[If you want to link to this, it's on my blog at the address below. If you'd like to make a donation, please go to www.chesterton.org]

In His Grace, miki

Tzard said...

Ack! Wow.

Speaking of a Californian, the appropriate thing for us on the left coast is to have our own conference (any local volunteers? See me at the Conference). Texans I'm sure can create their own Texas conference - bigger than the ACS one I'm sure (in the Texan tradition). And we'll all be better for it.

What remains - WWGD? (What would Gilbert do?) - he'd continue on. I can't speak of the diappointment of the long-time members at the interruption of their traditions. Let's all find other ways to continue them. (Both big ways such as new venue and little ways... little subversive ways....).

Those who called us "extreme fundamentalists" (as Miki indicated) obviously never read Chesterton. And they got it wrong, we're revolutionaries.

"To the orthodox there must always be a case for revolution; for in the hearts of men God has been put under the feet of Satan. In the upper world hell once rebelled against heaven. But in this world heaven is rebelling against hell. For the orthodox there can always be a revolution; for a revolution is a restoration. ", G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy "The Eternal Revolution"

Miki said...

Most awesome quote, Tzard!!! I added it as a post-script to my blog posting, and I hope you don't mind the secondary plagarism. Thank you--I hadn't thought how perfect that chapter fits with this current topic....

Whilst I am wholeheartedly in favour of regional Societies staging their own conferences (many do hold monthly meetings and have occasional guest speakers), I think that trying to replicate the ACS Conference is a losing proposition.

First of all, what people underestimate (believe me, many have tried this before and been sorely disappointed) is the amount of preparation, work and currency (real and figurative)involved.

Secondly, in case you've never noticed this before, Dale is the Pied Piper of Grown Children--he alone can get others to do the things they do in the name of G.K. Regardless, until you've tried to pay the speaking fees for some of the guests we have at the Conference, staging other large gatherings of this magnitude in other locales is simply wishful thinking.

I'm not trying to discourage you all, I'm only suggesting that you may want to rethink trying to fix what isn't broken to begin with, or out do what can't possibly be out done.

But if you do try and get one together, I wish you luck.

In His Grace, miki

Liz said...

I've never made it to the annual conference. It's partly the distance (I live in Vermont and I flying is usually out of the range of my budget). What I have made it two twice now (and hopefully many times to come in spite of rising gas prices) is the Rochester Chesterton Society's conference. Dale has been there both times as has Joseph Pearce. There was no homemade wine or beer and no Stilton cheese (Lou, you might consider that for next year!), but it was a wonderful conference (even if it was only one day!). I too wish that the conference could move around a bit. Sometimes here in the northeast we feel pretty discriminated against. After all there are plenty of conferences in California, Ohio, etc. We quite literally have to travel 5-6 hours at a minimum for any conference I've ever seen since I've become Catholic. I've done it, gone to Defending the Faith three times and the Rochester conference twice, but it hasn't been easy or cheap. But if Dale moved the annual conference to Rochester next year I'd be a whole lot more likely to attend. Actually I'd hoped to get to Minnesota this year, but I have a w family wedding to attend that will preclude that. SIGH... It's the tapes again for me.

How sad, however, that the Chestertonians are now being persecuted in this manner. It does make one think of The Flying Inn. G.K. would not be pleased, but I'll bet he wouldn't be surprised either.

Miki said...

"How sad, however, that the Chestertonians are now being persecuted in this manner. It does make one think of The Flying Inn. G.K. would not be pleased, but I'll bet he wouldn't be surprised either."

Not to worry. It's not sad, Liz. Not really. Annoying? Yes. Pathetic? Most definitely. But sad? Nah....

In all honesty, I think Gilbert would be highly amused by the whole thing. After all, Liberals are always talking about how they are so noble and openminded and incredibly tolerant of diverse views. Now they've, once again, shown their true plumage. Isn't it amazing that the minute anyone begins a discourse that includes ideals of objective truth and reason, tolerance flies right out the window and the so-called "'liberal' thinkers" are trying to forcibly shove a sock down your throat.....

This current turn of events is not so much sad as it is overdue. I am actually thinking that one of the reasons we've lasted as long as we have at St Thomas is because "they" never expected us to get so large, or to have such tremendous influence. But last year we raised the roof and saw a conversion right before our eyes--and I don't think that any of it was what those imbecilic myopic twits had ever thought they'd actually see. That Catholic Studies got involved was just the last straw for them. How dare we even think of promoting Catholic ideals at a Catholic university??? The audacity....

We'll find a new Conference home, but I know it's going to be in the Minnesota/Wisconsin area--it's not discrimination, Liz, it's logic. You won't expect other conferences to undertake such massive expense to move around so as to accomodate absolutely everyone; it just can't be done. And even at a relatively close distance, many of us save all year to go to this one. But it's always well worth it.

In His Grace, miki

Joe said...

Whilst I am wholeheartedly in favour of regional Societies staging their own conferences (many do hold monthly meetings and have occasional guest speakers), I think that trying to replicate the ACS Conference is a losing proposition.

I agree that replicating the ACS conference is not worthwhile. We need many regional conferences with their own personalities: Local speakers & attendees, local wine & beer, local cheese & beef. Just another application of Distributism / Small is Beautiful.

We need many people, like Dale Ahlquist, across the continent heating things up.

corners 'n edges said...

How about somewhere in Canada? .. Lethbridge, Alberta (just above Montana) .. where the American greenback is worth 30-40% of the Canadian "Loonie" or "Toonie"? Yer in windy, open cattle country. Ya kin wear white, black, brown Cowboy stetsons. You can
make that photo of Cowboy G.K. and his side-kicks come ALIVE! Just a ridiculous phantasy, eh! Cowboy Bob from Airdrie, Alberta (just up from Calgary, of Stampede fame).

corners 'n edges said...
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