cultural analysis 17-4

The Center for Literate Values ~ Defending the Western tradition of responsible individualism, disciplined freedom, tasteful creativity, common sense, and faith in a supreme moral being.


A Common-Sense Journal of Literary and Cultural Analysis

17.4 (Fall 2017)

A Quarterly Publication of the Center for Literate Values

1515-5436 (c)

All contents of this journal are copyrighted by The Center for Literate Values of Tyler, Texas (2016), and may not be cited at length or reproduced without The Center’s express permission.

View the previous edition of Praesidium.


John R. Harris, Ph.D.

University of Texas, Tyler


Thomas F. Bertonneau, Ph.D.

SUNY Oswego


Helen R. Andretta, Ph.D.

York College-CUNY


Michael H. Lythgoe

Lt. Col. USAF (Retd.)



Contents of This Issue

            Literacy vs. Post-Modernity

Why the Center for Literate Values Has Failed: A Very Personal View     John R. Harris

Reviewing why the Center for Literate Values failed elicits from its founder not so much nostalgia over times past as as regret over his own ineptitude; but even more than any one person’s ineptitude, this failure indicts our time’s downward-trending cultural vectors.

Dark Futures and Cyberpunk: Subgenres of Critique of Current-Day Society     Mark Wegierski

From science-fiction classics of the Fifties to “cyberpunk” games of the present century, the emerging picture in our pop-culture of a dystopic future conceals implies a veiled but deep mistrust of the progressive vision.

            The Literary Heritage

Examining the Historical Defence of Christendom as the Conceptual Template for the Defence of “Westernesse” in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings     Mark Wegierski

In this final edition of Praesidium, it is exquisitely fitting that one of our contributors should revisit J.R.R. Tolkien’s brilliantly imaginative defense of Europe’s pre-Renaissance traditions, and especially of Christendom.

            The E-World vs. Free Speech

Repost, Retweet Culture        Wesley Ross Harris

Whether or not the First Amendment escapes a haircut will prove largely irrelevant if “retweet culture” conditions us to file like cattle down narrow chutes of intellectual activity.

            Faith vs. Cultural Meltdown

Linear Time and Real Time: Time to Consider the Difference        John R. Harris

The human mind is hard-wired to arrange events in linear time; but the ultimate truth may be otherwise, and a morally responsible spirituality will require at some point that we entertain other possibilities.

              Fiction & Poetry

Pseudo-Artificial Intelligence     Ivor Davies

In his final burlesque of our chaotic academic scene, Davies shows a beleaguered instructor on a futuristic campus using “pseudo-artificial” intelligence as his “get out of jail” card.

Alternative Idiots: A Politically Radioactive Fable     Peter Singleton

What makes an animal fable “politically radioactive”? Nothing, if you’re not paying attention to current events.

Eventually, It All Gets Used      John R. Harris

A farewell poem to the Center’s ambitious project and, indeed, to youth and its naiveté, this poem nevertheless offers one overarching hope about our lives: though our preparation doesn’t go the way we’d planned, “eventually, it all gets used.”