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Dress of Thought, Necktie & New SSPX

True Easter Wishes

Dear TIA,

Very rich and happy (joy is freedom from mortal sin) Easter to you, Dr. Horvat and Mr. Guimaraes.

Daily (really) I am grateful for your years of work and mind-changing and soul-saving effect it has had on me, Miss H.+, and endless others.

How you make it through the day with all the work you do is a wonder and meditation for me.

     Thank you,



Language Is the Dress of Thought

Dear Sir/Madam,

I'm a teacher in linguistics at Peking University, Beijing, China.

I'm writing to you because I noticed in a post dated February 1, 2003, written by Dr. Marian T. Horvat that “Language is the dress of thought” is the famous statement of Samuel Johnson, who was only translating the words of the Roman Quintilian in your web site. I'm wondering if it is possible for Dr. Horvat to specify the source of this statement, including the context in which Johnson made it and that in Quintilian's case.

Many thanks!

     Best regards,

     W.J., China

Dr. Horvat responds:

Dear Mr. W.J.,

Here is some background information you requested on the phrase “Language is the dress of thoughts:”

In his Chapter “On Embellishments of Style” in his famous Institutio Oratoria, Quintilian speaks extensively on language as clothing. Words for him form “the graceful dress of our thoughts.” (Apud Chloe Wigston Smith, Women, Work and Clothes in the Eighteenth-Century Novel, p. 24)

In the 18th century, Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield, adopted the phrase in a collection of letters published in 1774, Letters to His Son on the Art of Becoming a Man of the World and a Gentleman, a widely read etiquette manual: “Words, which are the dress of thoughts, deserve surely more care than clothes, which are only the dress of the person.”

Another English author to use the phrase that is often wrongly attributed to him, was Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), who said this in his work The Life of Cowley, published in three volumes between 1779 and 1781, that is, after the work by Earl Stanhope:

“Language is the dress of thought; and as the noblest men or most graceful action would be degraded and obscured by a garb appropriated to the gross employments of rustics or mechanics, so the most heroic sentiments will lose their efficacy, and the most splendid ideas drop their magnificence, if they are conveyed by words used commonly upon low and trivial occasions, debased by vulgar mouths, and contaminated by inelegant applications.”

I hope this is of help to you.


     Marian T. Horvat, Ph.D.


On the Demise of the Necktie

Dear TIA,

Your organization's website continues to be a wonderful resource on truth in the Catholic world and I am most grateful for your work.

I find the series on neckties to be quite interesting and wanted to share my experiences to give a sense of practical experiences. The article dealing with weddings and neckties caught my interest in part from the photographs. I particularly like TIA's approach of making points with photographs. The pictures show ties prevalent up to the mid-1990's and thereafter wedding attire is entirely sans neckties.

The wedding party shown in the picture from 1994 shows men wearing ties but women immodestly attired in gowns that don't even cover the shoulders. I recall the 1990's as a crossover period with wedding attire. This seemed to come from the late 1970's and 1980's when women's attire became increasingly loose and sloppy or the opposite, becoming too revealing. The excuse for this was “fashion” and women have always been slaves to fashion with clothing and beauty the same way that men are slaves to the fashions of the intellect (see how far the Jesuits have fallen as an example) probably from Original Sin.

I recall seeing women in the 1980's dressed in dressy tops that amounted to glorified tee shirts, dress heels, sport jackets and curiously matching it all with grey, athletic sweat pants while the man's fashion of suit and tie had not changed any. Women's fashions got worse but men's didn't change. This resulting mismatch not only looked odd, it was occasional fodder for satire magazines such as National Lampoon. The Lampoon once ran a cartoon in the early 1980's showing a woman dressed in a jumpsuit with the front open exposing part of her breasts down to her navel with a man dressed in a suit but no tie attempting to gain seating at a posh restaurant but the maitre'd barred their entry, saying to the man, “Excuse me, sir, but a tie is required.” This comical lampoon said it all. Women could dress however they wanted but men could not. The notion that women will dress better if men set the example is utter foolery in my world. Women have told me that fashion and female peer pressure influences what they wear and these same women particularly refuse to accept any comment or influence from men when it comes to fashion.

Long gone are the days - they died in the 1970's - when women thought about pleasing men with their looks and their dress. This is particularly true with today's horribly vulgar women's fashions. I've mentioned St. John C's admonition and they either laugh it off as ancient nonsense and that times have changed, or say it's the man's fault if he falls into sin from it, and besides, what's sin anymore.

Men, honestly, and me included, got tired of being overly dressed especially on hot days at weddings when our full tuxedo dress was rather uncomfortable but women got to bare their skin and we got tired of looking “overdressed” for the occasion while the women got a fashion pass. Moreover, the nature of dress for a wedding seems to have deteriorated with everything else, including the entire nature of marriage in the minds of youth who see marriage as an unnecessary thing so, if they do marry, it's nothing more than a self-centered booze party usually on the beach or some other “romantic” and casual setting and divorce is handy if it doesn't work out.

Today, I wear a necktie most often even though at the average restaurant I am the only one wearing one, and my wife typically is the only woman in a skirt. 99% of the women, including the servers, are in athletic yoga-like pants with men in shorts or sweatpants or other forms of athletic attire. The result is me feeling very out of place, but I carry on. Sadly, I've asked around and nobody is influenced by my wearing a necktie either to the positive or to the negative. There is no reaction other than, “you do your thing and I do mine.” I do it because I want to preserve the traditions and please God and for no other reason anymore. This world has apparently fallen into such a state of narcissism and pride that nobody is influenced by anything other than what appeals to their selfish desires.

By the way, I find it funny that men-children these days are wearing athletic shorts even though it's sub-freezing outside and the women they are with are wearing skin-tight leggings in ugly, outrageous patterns and most leggings offer little to no leg insulation so the notion of it “being too cold to wear a skirt” is hogwash. These women don't want to dress like women, period. They hate the skirt the same way that men hate the necktie. I find it interesting that women started wearing athletic wear as semi-formal fashion in the 1980's and now athletic wear is the norm for everything for both sexes -- he's in basketball shorts and she's in yoga pants or yoga pant-inspired leggings, many of which are like removable tattoos or body art.

This seems to be a new and ugly form of paganism and self-worship. It's clear that these “relationships” are inverted -- he's the child and she's the boss. Women aren't women anymore and men have long since stopped appreciating women for what they truly are so all that is left is the lust factor which is reflected in women's clothing -- the former woman wanting to look pretty and attractive for a man is now replaced with a self-centered showing off of their bodies for lustful attraction. These absurd clothing fashions match the prevailing attitude of our culture.

If there is indeed a dedicated war on the necktie then it's a large effort started by a few influential individuals at the top with those below acting as useful idiots who are cluelessly doing their bidding which is the case with most revolutions. I cannot help but wonder if America is the Titanic after hitting the iceberg. We're so far gone that the ship has to sink before things can become right again.



The New SSPX


Dear TIA,

I am passing on to you this e-mail I received.

It says it all and does not need explanation. The accord of the SSPX with Rome is becoming a reality by the way of facts, not by a signed document…

     In Christ Jesus,


Dear Friends-

Back in April, we published this article on Cardinal Muller's promulgation of new "pastoral guidelines" which will now govern and subject SSPX marriages to the diocesan authorities: check it here.

Some of you said, "Sean has it all wrong; he is misreading; bad as the SSPX is getting, surely they will not consent to step aside while doubtfully ordained priests accept the matrimonial consents of their own faithful!"

I told you then that those guidelines supposed that this will be the norm whenever possible, even if, for diplomatic reasons (i.e., prevent scandal among the faithful), Rome and the SSPX proceed like Cranmer: slowly, incrementally, ad experimentum in the more liberal locales (and in the conservative ones, the District Superiors simply go over the head of the local pastors to obtain the permissions/delegations of the local bishops to prevent the opposition of the pastors, as is the case in France).

Well, today Fr. Girouard spilled the beans: Currently in Canada, SSPX faithful are being married by conciliar priests, decked out in their effeminate vestments in front of the Lutheran tables at Novus Ordo parishes, while the SSPX priest stands aside, waiting his turn to say his indult Mass after the marriage has been completed.

A picture is worth a thousand words - check it here.

Is the time approaching when we who still attend SSPX chapels will be forced by necessity to attend sedevacantist chapels in order to protect ourselves from the liberalism and modernism of the rallied SSPX, despite our aversion for sedevacantism?

Now you understand why SP has added a "Formless Darkness" page to its blog.

     Semper Idem,

     Sean Johnson


Blason de Charlemagne
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Posted April 3, 2018

The opinions expressed in this section - What People Are Commenting - do not necessarily express those of TIA

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