The Fleming Foundation Cultural Commentary


Born Out of Due Time by Ched P. Rayson, The Think Tank Murders: Chapter Five

The chairman treats Ross as a saint but, from what I hear, he is a very domineering type, loves to fire people and seems to get a kick out of humiliating subordinates.  He’s been a CEO of several major corporations and served as assistant secretary at State under Reagan—I think he was in charge of some agency supposed to improve labor relations in Latin America.  Yes, the usual reward for a party hack—a make-work job in a pointless agency. 



In the past twelve months the national news has introduced us all to some remarkably loathsome people wielding considerable power from very high places.  How does this come about? A complete list of these creatures would be long and unwieldy, but a short list, on the lines of the FBI’s Most Wanted, and treated as character studies, allows us to reach some conclusions, the most important one being that we are dealing here with is entrenched mediocrity—intellectual, moral, and spiritual.      John Brennan, former head of the CIA under Obama, is an Irishman, born in New Jersey, 1955, whose...


Death of a “Diva”

Morgana King died in March.  Born in the province of Catania (Sicily), she moved to New York with her family at an early age and, with a clear if wispy voice, she enjoyed a fine career as a singer of popular music with a strong jazz orientation.  Her recording of the Kern/Wodehouse standard “Bill” is a classic performance.  Those who do not have an ear for popular music may recall her as Mamma Corleone. Since “de mortuis nihil nisi bonum,” should be the rule for normal human beings (which excludes politicians, journalists, and academics), I’ll say nothing about the late...


The Wall at the World’s End

Donald Trump has still not been able to build his wall to keep America safe from Central American kitchen workers who got to the bathroom and don’t wash their hands before returning to work.  But if neighboring aliens are still pouring in to the USSA, news has come of a formidable deterrent to the other kind of alien–things from outer space. The New Horizons spacecraft, cruising somewhere in the neighborhood of Pluto, has detected what could be a hydrogen wall.  Score a big one for Donald! We all know how fond the Democrats are of aliens, but not everyone is...


Poems of the Week

Spanish is the lovin’ tongue,
Soft as music, light as spray.
‘Twas a girl I learnt it from,
Livin’ down Sonora way.


Herodotus Book I, concluded

Herodotus devoted much of the first book to the Persians, their conquest of Lydia, and their subjugation of the Greek cities on the coast of Asia Minor and the offshore islands.  He spends a great deal of time on the Ionian Revolt, provoked by Persian expansion, because it is both the predecessor and a major cause of the first Persian War with the mainland Greek cities.  The early Greeks, who were not unified either in dialect or ethnicity, were divided into distinct ethnic and dialect groups:  The Ionians, who were predominant in Asia Minor, the Aegean islands, the great island...


Born Out of Due Time, The Think Tank Murders, by Ched P. Rayson, Chapter Four

My plan was to find a way of combating the hate images that Americans are subjected to by schooling and the media.  During the French Revolution, ordinary people—tailors and shopkeepers—turned into wild beasts, torturing, raping, murdering people they had never met, simply because the revolutionaries had succeeded in demonizing the aristocrats.  That is more or less where we are today.


Wednesday’s Child: Wheat from the Chaff

In summertime one eschews politics.  The blazing sun doesn’t tolerate reflection; one is already plenty hot under the collar; and the wiles of politicians are as nothing when at last you plunge into the emerald sea.  Still, out of the corner of your eye you note things from that other, autumnal world, promising yourself to think about them at greater length once the days get shorter.