A Taxonomy of Taunting

To hear Milo talk about it, it is better than sex.
“Taunting,” Milo says, “is the way men bond.” It is also the way that they establish hierarchy. Do you doubt me? Try joining Milo’s Telegram chat, and see how long you last before the boys make it clear who is who in the game.
There are those who come in and demand to be made admins. There are those who think that the way to impress Milo is to insult me, his “mom.” There are those who play it safe and attack only each other. And there are the women, who play an entirely different game.
A few of the women know how to play the boys’ game, but most women play as women for the attention of the men. The men humor them—or white knight for them—but the real game is getting Milo’s attention. Which is when the real fun begins.
Not everyone survives it. I have been trying to figure out why.
Just today, yet another of the men who had previously attracted Milo’s attention (B.T.=Before Telegram) posted a riposte to Milo’s share of a meme about his…

Abbot Milo’s School for Thots

Every so often a message goes out on Milo’s Telegram channel, inviting newcomers to join his private chat.

The most recent message promised justice:
Judge Milo. The people are real. The cases are real. The rulings are final. Previous invitations have included offers of refreshments:
Milo’s Sweet Teas. Our family of high-quality teas are made with natural ingredients. The only thing that makes Milo’s [tea] even more delicious is enjoying it with food! political action:
Committee for the Re-election of the Faggot. Open to all God-fearing fag devotees.  educational programs:
Scented Flaps. Welcome, freshmen! In Body Positivity 101, you’ll learn how being a corpulent ham planet is cool and healthy, and how the stench of putrefying flesh and moldy leftovers is just nature’s own seductive fragrance. Ask Prof. Yiannopoulos for his office hours.  and prayers for penance:
Il Vaticano. Deus meus, ex toto corde paenitet me omnium meorum peccatorum, eaque detestor, quia peccando, non solum poenas…


Would you like to learn to pray like a medieval Christian—but couldn’t afford the luxury hardcover edition? Wait no longer! Mary and the Art of Prayer: The Hours of the Virgin in Medieval Christian Life and Thought is now available in paperback as well as in hardcover and eTextbook editions. You can purchase on Amazon or directly through Columbia University Press. For a taste of the sweetness, read chapter 2 here!
Reviews This volume is a stunning accomplishment―beautifully written, scholarly, and inspiring. Using medieval sources, it gives a detailed presentation of how the man or woman of the late Middle Ages may have read a book of hours. The resonances and allusions of each word and image are teased out so that the modern reader is able to engage the ancient devotion from, as it were, the inside. Both secular scholars and theologians will find their work enriched by reading Mary and the Art of Prayer. It leads the reader into the world of late medieval religious practice and sets a…

Why Mary is Not a Goddess, and Other Pressing Questions about Milo and Me

John Lobell and I talked about what I teach, what Christianity has to do with Western civilization, how prayer works, whether Mary is a goddess, and how I came to be friends with Milo. Listen at Visionaries!

For a complete list of my videos, radio, and podcast appearances, see Bear On Air.

The Imitation of MILO

A special treat from the archives for All Saints’ Day! Who wants to be a saint?

What would you give to be a better person?
I am sure you are all busy today working on your New Year’s resolutions, promising to make something of your life beyond watching cat videos on Buzzfeed and knitting pussy hats for your girlfriends. Kidding! No, I’m not. I’m sure you are!
Maybe you are even promising yourself to follow MILO’s advice for how to get a girlfriend
Focus on making yourself irresistible. Which means work out, become successful, be funny, look good, have the world at your fingertips…. You need to focus on making yourself the best possible version of yourself that you could be…. Strive for nothing but your own colossal success, and you will find people just desperate to be around you, of both genders.
Cue SJW outrage. You can see some of it even on MILO’s own YouTube channel. 
“Fall in love with yourself, then find someone like you” — what more could we expect from Milo but the courtship advi…

Wonder Woman, Star Wars, and Jesus: The Reality of “Myth”

Another classic from the archive! 
This article was originally published for Christmas, but the argument works for all Christian festivals, including All Hallows’ Eve. 
What would it be like to find yourself inside a fairy-story? Would you wear the costume of a saint?

I have 1000 words to convince you to celebrate Christmas—or, as one of MILO’s Facebook fans put it, “The Jesus Myth.” Right.
I could try to convince you that Christmas is a fully Christian celebration, having nothing to do with supposed appropriations of pagan festivals, but that presumes that you care about celebrating Christmas as Christian in the first place. What I need to do is convince you that the myth matters as a myth.
This is not a comfortable thought for many modern Christians, used as we are to the accusation that we worship a fairy-tale sky god. If you are a Protestant, you can blame Rudolf Bultmann (d. 1976), the great German Biblical scholar famous for attempting to “de-mythologize” the New Testament. If you ar…

The Resurrection Mantra

“Jesus, with you I will die and rise again.” Australian publicist and author John Moran joined me on my podcast to talk about how this simple mantra can change your life. John explains how he came to this mantra from his own experience advising government programs in Australia on mental health. We talk about how the West has lost its sense of prayerfulness in the past 50 years and what this has done to the culture.

Listen at Fencing Bear at Prayer!

Buy John’s book: The Resurrection Mantra: Build Hope and Resilience into Your Life
With the Resurrection Mantra John Moran has resurrected, and made easily accessible and understandable for everyone, one of the great spiritual traditions handed down to us by early Christians. This is the use of a set phrase, in times of quiet and meditation, to anchor our understanding of profound and essential life truths. In this case it is the most profound truth of all, the death-to-new life rhythm of life—demonstrated so emphatically in Jesus Christ’s…

Masks of Meaning

I gave a short talk the other day to the undergraduate majors in our department. It was one of seven “lightning” presentations that I and my departmental colleagues gave to demonstrate the variety of approaches and topics that the students might encounter in history as a discipline.

One of us talked about the minting and iconography of medieval German coins. Another talked about the significance of the Underwriters Laboratory and its logo. Another spoke on the history of the British Empire and how there was no such thing as the “American revolution” (he said it three times!). Another described her discovery of tango music in the records of the former Soviet Union. Another told the story of Germany’s museums. Another showed us early 20th-century images of speech. 
I talked about masks—and what they teach us about virtue. At least, that is what I wanted to talk about. But what I mainly wanted to do was show pictures of Milo.  
Particularly this one. 

Published, you might notice, in the …

MILO, Tolkien, and Why Dan Brown is Rich

Another classic from the archives!

Dan Brown is rich because, like MILO, he understands symbolism.

Just look at the hero of his thrillers, Robert Langdon, Professor of Religious Symbology, Harvard University. Nobody in the modern academy is a professor of religious symbology
Jordan B. Peterson, Professor of Psychology at the University of Toronto, might come close with his Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief. But even he calls himself a scientist, not a symbologist, almost as if it were too embarrassing to admit belief in the power of symbols and signs.
It would be easy to blame Jacques Derrida and the other postmodernists, but the embarrassment had set in long before Of Grammatologybecame required reading in what used to be called literature courses. J.R.R. Tolkien complained about it throughout his career.
Think about it. What kind of stories are rich in symbolism? Myths. Fairy stories. Stories for children. Like Pinocchio. Or The Lord of the Rings
“An overgrown fairy-story, a…