The Fleming Foundation Cultural Commentary


Movie of the Week: Frank Capra’s Rain or Shine (1930)

Rain or Shine (1930), directed by Frank Capra, starring Joe Cook, with Dave Chasen.  This zany classic is based on a Broadway show co-written by Maurice Marks and the character actor James Gleason.  Jo Swerling adapted it for the movies; the biggest change, apparently, being elimination of the musical numbers that the cheap producer did not wish to pay for.  (Capra went along, arguing that any film with the greatest comedian in the world had to be good.)  The film has more of a premise than a plot:  Smiley Johnson, experienced circus performer and manager, is trying to save the...


Wednesday’s Child: On Schadenfreude

If on my deathbed somebody were to ask me whether I was ever able to formulate a universal principle of human intercourse, I would say yes, and it is that the people any man dislikes, which includes his enemies, are always more numerous than those he likes, which includes his friends and usually, though not necessarily, his immediate family. Our dislikes are many and various, and it is enough to mention just a couple of common vices, such as envy and jealousy, to appreciate that the number of their objects is only limited by the range of our acquaintance.  Add...


Virginia: California on the Atlantic (FREE)

The NeverTrumpers over at National Review blame Ed Gillespie’s defeat for governor of Virginia on – this is a surprise! – Donald Trump: “If the American electorate continues to have a low opinion of the president, then Republicans should calculate that drag into their electoral expectations.” Actually, Gillespie, an establishment Bush Republican, only scored as well as he did, losing 54% to 45%, after closing his campaign with Trumpian themes. But even totally embracing Trump and campaigning like him likely would not have won it for Gillespie, as a year earlier Trump himself lost the state, 50% to 44%. The...


Judge Roy Moore: Is It Time to Go?

Judge Roy Moore is probably not going to be governor of Alabama.  The case against Moore is growing more serious with each passing day as more women come forward to charge him with indecent behavior and as people who knew him in Gadsden are backing their claims. That none of the claims is politically motivated is difficult to believe, and the justification that the accusers are Republicans who voted for Trump proves little.  Many Trump voters are not especially conservative and few, probably, would approve Judge Moore’s conflation of Scriptures and the American Constitution.  HL Mencken might have held his...


We’re a Lot Smarter Than We Used to Be.. (FREE)

“We’re a lot smarter than we used to be.”   I almost wish I had heard what led up to this extraordinary declaration on NPR’s Morning Edition, but I was too busy making breakfast.  Perhaps it had something to with Global Warming or lead in the water or the cholera plague brought into Haiti by the UN’s humanitarian mission.   Almost wish.  Perhaps the poor geek only meant our increased knowledge in certain technical areas enables us to screw things up more royally than in previous generations.  But it is far more likely that he seriously meant that the wisdom...


Weinstein, Spacey, We’ve Seen It All Before: Surely, You Must Be Joking Dr. Fleming?, Episode 7


In this episode of Surely, You Must Be Joking Dr. Fleming?, we discuss Dr. Fleming’s response to the accusations of sexual misconduct of Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, et al. He thinks it’s not much of a story at all. Original Air Date: November 13, 2017 Show Run Time: 41 minutes Show Guest(s): Dr. Thomas Fleming Show Host(s): Stephen Heiner This Podcast is available for Silver subscribers and higher.   Surely, You Must Be Joking Dr. Fleming?℗ is a Production of the Fleming Foundation. Copyright 2017. All Rights are Reserved.


Simple Simon on Traditionalism, Conclusion

II From any point of view that could reasonably be described as “conservative,” respect for Tradition is incumbent on people who are not hell-bent on destroying the social order.  But, it is not just self-described conservatives and Tories who understand the importance of Tradition.  Old Whigs like Burke took their stand on what they regarded as traditional liberties, and later in the 19th century even Whig Liberals were hardly advocates of revolution.  In his political novels, Trollope lambasts Disraeli and the Tories for subverting the British constitution, and Tradition has never been better defended than by Sir Henry Sumner Maine...



As Dr. Fleming has noted to you already, there have been some technological mishaps that prevented episode recording while he was in Italy.  We are back to recording this week and will get caught up, but we also wanted you to know about a benefit that is available to Charter Members for free and a la carte to those of other membership levels: transcripts. If you look at the drop down menu for podcasts on the main page you will see “Transcripts.”  Click there to find some selected transcripts to various episodes.  Charter Members receive one new transcript per month...


A Belated Letter of (if not exactly from) Italy

Dear Fellow Travelers and Readers: We finally returned from Europe Monday afternoon.  The flight was uneventful and, mirabile dictu, so was our entry into the United States.  They finally have the ID processing machines in working order so all the zeks can get through the system with less trouble.  As I looked at the line, I wondered if Purgatory entailed as much rigmarole and waiting. We spent three days in Holland, in a village outside of Amsterdam, visiting our friends Michael and Koosje Guravage.  Michael, as some of you may recall, has traveled several times with us and is now...


Wednesday’s Child: Salem Alaikum

The Salem witch trials of the 1690’s have entered school textbooks as an episode of mass hysteria, an instance of the sort of fundamentalist extremism that today we associate with militant Islam.  The very fact that this episode – culminating as it did in a modest score of hangings – so stands out in the landscape of history as to have become a byword for vengeful ignorance only underscores the abiding tolerance of European civilization and its North American dilation. This does not mean, however, that the civilization in question was ever free from the herd instinct, which in the...