The Fleming Foundation Cultural Commentary

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Russia Hoax Finally Dying

Events are confirming what I wrote on this site six months ago, that there’s no way the Russians could have rigged our election because it’s just too complex. It would involve not just putting up anti-Hillary, pro-Trump stuff on social media, but knowing what to put up, and when to do it. Elections are more about intuition than anything else. Trump intuited he would win if he campaigned for working-class voters in October in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Hillary’s bad tuition sent her to Silicon Valley to collect bucks from the digital oligarchs. The latest developments: This past week, former...

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Wednesday’s Child: Letter from Malaga

Well, from Marbella, actually, but it occurred to me that having a posh name in the title would look like I was putting on airs and that the name of Spain’s great tourist hub – Malaga Costa del Sol Airport, whence 17 million oafs, badly hungover and savagely sunburnt, return every year to the satanic mills of Great Britain – might better suit the persona I cultivate and reveal here. Yet cavernous is the abyss of snobbery.  While I was dousing myself with pink champagne on the lawn of a friend’s villa, a madam I used to know in London...

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Religio Philologi: Social Justice

  In March 2010, I put online an earlier version of this piece: In all the political debates over nationalized welfare and health care, both anti-Christian socialists and Catholics frequently the term “social justice” in their arguments for  guaranteed incomes, social welfare, and socialized medicine.  In fact, the expression “social justice” is frequently heard from the lips of Catholic traditionalists (including distributists), Marxists, and Greens.  Are they talking about the same principle or different principles?  Does the expression have any usable meaning?  Before going on to sketch out some basic principles of a Christian’s duties  to his fellows, we might begin by examining...

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When Will Trump Strike Back?

Granted, the presidency is one tough job. Even eight years isn’t long enough to master it. The job includes the ability to launch 7,000 nuclear weapons and wield the world’s largest conventional military. Then there’s the economy, which if it crashes mean you’re not going to be re-elected. It also includes the ability to use presidential powers to achieve policy and personal ends. As Bill Clinton once put it in typical fashion while in the White House, “I reward my friends and (expletive) my enemies.” Trump is a proud man. And one of the more entertaining parts of last year’s...

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Rome, the Long Way Round, Part II

Part II The several days we spent at Ulivello vibrate in the memory like an hallucination.  Our friend Navrozov has written a beautiful piece about his visit to Ulivello.  The reality was a bit grittier and decayed than he described it—less the odor of jasmine than of hay and manure—but no less magical.  The food was almost a revelation:  pasta, of course, but followed by farm-raised pork, roasted with apples and served with potatoes deep-fried in olive oil. Ulivello had been a sort of farm, worked by share-croppers, and when the Italian government ended share-cropping, the former croppers stayed on...

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  Wednesday’s Child: The Rubber Burka

The burkini, in case the gentle reader doubts that I know how to use Wikipedia, is a “modesty swimsuit for women,” covering the whole body like a diving suit, with only the wearer’s face, hands, and feet exposed to the omniscient eye of Allah – one of whose Quranic epithets, incidentally, is “Al-Musawwir,” meaning shaper or designer.  The burkini was trademarked in 2007 by a Muslim lady called Aheda Zanetti, but I note that a garment of exactly the same description made a public appearance over fifty years ago – in the television series The Avengers, worn by Diana Rigg...

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Question of the Day

The Media have taken to describing Illinois as a “Banana Republic”?  So today’s question is: How is Illinois not a Banana Republic?  I await  your answers. My first answer is: Because Banana Republics have beaches and warm winters… And, Banana Republics have distinctive cuisines and excellent coffee not sold by greedy Communists who think the sky is falling…

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Religio Philologi: The Lame and the Blind

Long long ago in another galaxy, I wrote a series of pieces looking at the plain meaning of various passages in the New Testament, not as anyone pretending to be a theologian or Biblical scholar, but as a simple philologist seeking the kind of understanding of a Greek text he might get by studying Demosthenes or Sophocles.  I am going to try and dig them up and refurbish them, if I can find them.  I am afraid I wrote some of them for another website that has by now undoubtedly 86ed them, as they say in commercial  kitchens. I tend...

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Going to Rome, the long way around.

The first time we went to Rome, we took the slow train from Pisa, where we, with the two older children, had spent a week, first at a beach hotel in Tirrenia and then at the always crumbling, always in the process of being restored Royal Victoria Hotel on the Lungarno Paccinotti.  We had been intending to visit Italy for several years, but bringing up four children on a modest income put it beyond our reach.  A ticket, back then, cost us $1200, so three tickets (Alitalia charged half price for children!) was $3600, roughly $6,750 in 2017 dollars.  Throw...

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Season 1, Surely, You Must Be Joking Dr. Fleming?, Episode 4: Rational Judgement

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In this episode of Surely, You Must Be Joking Dr. Fleming?, we pose the question to Dr. Fleming: “Are people incapable of rational judgement?” Interwoven in the discussion are the protests in Portland, Kathy Griffin, “settled science,” the left/right paradigm, the alt right, along with appearances, via quotes, of course, by E.E. Cummings and Max Beerhbohm. Original Air Date: June 16, 2017 Show Run Time: 47 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...