In the April 8th podcast of Radio Derb (look, I told
you I am way behind with email) I passed comment
on the story about "a Dominican monk wearing the traditional white habit of his order" showing up on the campus of University of Indiana at Bloomington, Indiana. He was mistaken for a Klansman, leading to the usual shrieking, swooning, and bolting of doors.
First off, Brother Jude was not strictly speaking a monk at all, as a listener gently explained.
Dominicans are friars, not monks; the difference being that a monk is tied to a single house or monastery (monastic deriving from mono and stasis, staying in one place), while a friar is free, like our Dominican Klansman with his Marian whip, to wander about ministering to the faithful/less. Sadly, friar is simply derived from frater/frère, so there’s no nice etymological parallel with that for monastic, but such is life.
And then, from a different listener, some inside data on Bloomington.
Derb:To begin with, Indiana U is not all bad. Why just 10 years ago, a course on History of Math was given there out of Unknown Quantity and Prime Obsession . . .Bloomington is a quaint college town. It houses a university which is unusual in today's college scene in that it is focused on the humanities. Training in about 100 languages is offered there. There is a really top ranking music school and a lovely art museum.The bulk of the students appreciate most of this not at all. Teaching is a bit of a Potemkin exercise. The faculty have this bargain with the students. Each group does not bother the other too much . . .However, is there any chance that IU students might be confronted with Klansmembers? Strangely, the answer is yes.You're correct that the Klan is highly unfashionable these days; but it persists a bit in places with which it historically has a strong connection. One such place is Martinsville, Indiana, a small town halfway between Bloomington and Indianapolis.If the national total of Klansmen is, as you say, 87, at least two or three are in Martinsville. Every now and then, Klansmen come from Martinsville to distribute literature in Bloomington. This happened at least once when I was there.Was the Klansman a danger? Well, what happened was that he was set upon by protestors in the town square and nearly beaten up. But he did exist.If the great dangers to IU students don't come from Klansman do they come from, as you describe them, local ghettos?Bloomington is very white, a stronghold of Midwestern nice. Perhaps the greatest danger comes from the students themselves. Google "Lauren Spierer." Strangely, the Wikipedia page on the subject suggests recent investigations have focused on Martinsville, so who knows?
Thank you, Sir. After last night's splendid primary result
, I am determined to think the best of Indiana, and of the Midwest in general. Midwesterners may be too darn nice, but plainly there's a reservoir of political good sense out there among the amber waves of grain.