The Fleming Foundation Cultural Commentary

8

Blackboard Jungles

I hate to sound like a bonehead movement conservative, but….I find it hard to believe anything I see in the news, which in my case consists mostly of the headlines of The Daily Mail.  I don’t mean I think the writers and editors are lying.  I just find it hard to believe that anyone could make the stupid comments that inspire the headlines, that a writer would find them worth repeating, that an editor who did not work for his middle school newsletter would print them, and, finally, that anyone would take the trouble to click on the headline and...

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Orestes, Part II

Orestes puts his case to Menelaus.  His uncle owes Agamemnon for all he did in launching an expedition to regain Menelaus’ wife.  After all, Orestes is not asking Menelaus to kill his own daughter to fulfill his duty—a look back at Agamemnon’s sacrifice of his daughter Iphigenia and forward to Orestes’ plot to kidnap Hermione. In what should be a clinching argument for a normal Greek, Orestes points out that if he and Electra die, so does the line of Agamemnon.  Menelaus (682 ff) agrees—up to a point—that kinsmen should endure each others’ misfortunes/evils, but only if the god gives...

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Disagreements: From Under the Rubble, Episode 20

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Dr. Fleming and Rex Scott have their Disagreements From Under the Rubble. Original Air Date: February 15, 2018 Show Run Time: 33 minutes Show Guest(s): Dr. Thomas Fleming Show Host(s): Rex Scott From Under the Rubble episodes are available to Gold subscribers and higher.   From Under the Rubble℗ is a Production of the Fleming Foundation. Copyright 2018. All Rights are Reserved.

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Wednesday’s Child: Fishingate

I used to mistrust Boris Nemtsov, suspecting him of being a sanctioned opposition figurehead, until he was publicly executed on Putin’s orders. It’s quite amazing what martyrdom does for a man’s reputation.  After the Nemtsov assassination I switched my mistrust to Alexei Navalny, who, gallingly, persisted in living as though to show that he cared nothing for my opinion of him.  Yet a recent investigation published by Navalny’s foundation (FBK, or “Fight Against Corruption”) is so delightfully boisterous – so adventurous in delving into subjects no ordinary politician would touch with a bargepole – it has persuaded me that I...

5

Euripides’ Orestes

The Orestes, performed in 408, is one of Euripides’ last surviving plays–the poet died only two years later.  It was very popular in the Hellenistic and Byzantine eras, much cited and taught in schools.   It is a vivid melodrama (in the modern not the ancient sense), but it is also a profound and difficult meditation on the meaning of friendship. One caveat before I make a few remarks on the play.  Though Euripides was, in the following centuries, the most popular writer of tragedies, I have always rated him distinctly third compared with his predecessors, Aeschylus and Sophocles.  I...

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Wednesday’s Child: American Nightmare

A Russian painter friend of mine, who had followed our family into exile in the United States yet never went back on his contention that English articles are a petit bourgeois nuisance, used to joke that the American Dream is “finding Rembrandt in garbage can.”  Although the major actors in the nightmare I record here are about as American as Confucius, and the dream object in question a Da Vinci rather than a Rembrandt, in the past few days my friend’s quip ran through my mind more than once. Let me begin from afar.  It is a rule of life...

5

Chesterton the Prophet

This little piece was commissioned by the capitalist magazine American Enterprise, but the editors prudently wanted to eliminate any contemporary references that might encourage readers to apply Chesterton’s reasoning to US policies of imperial aggression.  The small-minded writer imprudently withdrew the piece, which was, I believe,  later published in several places.  If you have not already read it, I hope it will give some pleasure. The Napoleon of Notting Hill by G.K. Chesterton In the twentieth century you could not see the ground for clever men….And all these clever men were at work giving accounts of what would happen in...

29

Welcome to the World of Stephen King

Stephen King, on learning of a train crash in which Republican members of Congress were shaken up and the driver of a garbage truck was killed, tweeted: “A trainload of Republicans on their way to a pricey retreat hit a garbage truck,” King noted Thursday. “My friend Russ calls that karma.” King was immediately attacked and he later apologized for his indiscretion. If we wish to be kind, we might recall that King was a suicidal alcoholic who drank mouthwash, when he could not get real booze, and ink when he could not get mouthwash. If we probed deeper, we...

2

How the Right Can Win, Conclusion

Trump’s presidency is a rare opportunity for the Right, and it would be madness not to take full advantage of it. This is a once in a lifetime chance to implement Rightist policies. No matter what criticisms you may have of Trump, Hillary would have been far worse. We dodged a bullet with her. She would have passed amnesty, and appointed liberal Supreme Court justices who would tear the Constitution to shreds, and the first and second amendments would become meaningless. This was a fluke election, and we were very lucky Trump ran for president. If he hadn’t, Ted Cruz...

1

Divided America

Once upon a time, Americans occasionally united. Here are some election percentages of presidential victors: FDR 1932, 57.4%; FDR 1936, 60.8%; IKE 1952, 55.2%; IKE 1956, 57.4%; LBJ 1964, 61.1%, the most of any candidate not named George Washington; Nixon 1972, 60.7%; Reagan 1984, 58.8%. Average: 58.8% Moreover, if you look at the issues in 1960, JFK and RN held substantially the same views, differing only in nuance, style and ability to rig state elections (detailed by Roger Stone in “Nixon’s Secrets” and Robert Caro, with all the facts on how LBJ ripped off Texas for himself and JFK, in...