Monthly Archive: January 2016

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Rome, In the Age of Muslim Terrorism 16, Part 5

After a bit more than a week, we are beginning to feel ourselves comfortable, if not exactly at home on the Viale Glorioso.  The neighborhood was already somewhat familiar but from the perspective, first, of the Piazza dell Scala (not far from Santa Maria in Trastevere), where we had the tinies and, as we thought, worst apartment in Trastevere, second, from walking down from the Gianicolo.  My favorite goat-paths often  landed me at San Cosimato, where they have the open market a few blocks from our apartment. Our little two-bedroom apartment is not far from the Scalea del Tamburino—several flights...

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Wednesday’s Child: National Characterlessness

  It is by now evident, indeed rather a platitude, that globalism, with all its associated political and social tendencies, is destroying national character, but recently I found myself wondering whether there remains anything to destroy.  If, in the twenty-first century, an individual’s character , as I have had occasion to remark on numerous occasions, harbors more exceptions than rules – and occasions, as it were, more dilemmas than lemmas–what of the national character?  Can it be that the French are no longer duplicitous lechers and the British upper lip has long lost its stiffness? It is fanciful, yet not...

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Rome, AMT 16, Part 4

On Monday, we got up at a decent hour and had the simplest of breakfasts.  I needed to work in the morning, but in the afternoon, after a very light lunch, we planned to walk to the Capitoline Museum—about two kilometers if all the shortcuts were taken—and spend a few hours there before returning. Walking up the Vico Jugario, however, we began to see ominous signs—yellow tape blocking off the parking spaces—and, when we turned up the winding Via di Monte Tarpeio, the entrances to the pathway up to the Capitol were also taped off.  Since the gates were left...

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Rome, AMT 16, Part 3

I’ll try to write more on Naples and weave it into my Rome diary, but to avoid getting too far behind, let us return to Rome, which we did in a geographical sense last Thursday, 20 January 2016. The train ride was uneventful, and we wisely avoided all the taxi-hustlers who greet you as you come out of Termini station and took a regular white Rome taxi.  It was still 20 euros to our apartment in Trastevere, though we have paid more on occasion. The driver was a wit.  He started in on politics.  “Are you following the elections,” he...

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Properties of Blood, I:.3: The Disappearing Individual, Part D

Before going on with the argument, let us take our bearing and sum up.  The question on the table in this chapter is whether or not human beings, as moral actors, are primarily individuals–in this or any age.  Enlightened liberalism seems to tell us either that we are individuals by nature or that we ought to be.  And yet, as was pointed out at the beginning of the chapter, the more we harp on individualism, the more we appear to be herd animals.  In earlier books, I surveyed some of the anthropological literature, which shows pretty clearly that, in so-called...

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Ransom Notes, III

Pastor Brent MacGuire writes in with two questions:   When the enclitic “-ne” is added to a word to make an interrogative, does the stressed syllable, per the law of the penult, get pushed back or does it remain as it did before?  “ah MAHT nay” or “AH maht nay”?  Same question for the enclitic “que.” If you try to check this on the internet, as I did (being away from my library), you will find a good deal of  false information.  In fact, the general rule is that when enclitic particles are added to a word, the word accent has...

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Naples AMT 16

I had only been to Naples perhaps twice, once on my own for a day in order to see the Museo Archeologico, and then for New Years with most of the family 7-8 years ago.  Apart from the Museum and the pizza, I cannot say that I much liked the city for all the usual reasons: It was dirty, there were too many beggars, and the whole place seemed sinking in crime, corruption, and sycophancy. This time, I decided, I should give the city one more chance.  I picked a hotel in the Centro Storico, the Albergo Palazzo Decumani.  The...

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Rome AMT 16 Part 2

Rome AMT 16 Part 2 What do I say about Rome, after a brief visit of three and a half days, that has not been said before by everyone including myself?  What could be more tedious than one of those breathless travel pieces written by visitors to famous places who have faithfully followed their master Rick Steves or The Blue Guide?  If only the gushers would adopt the blank-screen strategy I have recommended, and look at Rome with the fresh eyes of a Martian visitor!  But no, they have to say something significant, which means, in the end, they get...

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Wednesday’s Child: The Pursuit of Convenience

  The story may be apocryphal, but a friend told me the other day that the inventor, for lack of a better word, of the cylindrical paper sachet by means of which coffee bars where cappuccinos cost $5 dispense granulated sugar–thus distinguishing themselves from ordinary coffee bars, where the said sachets are in the more traditional shape of rectangles–took his own life. The man killed himself because he had grown disillusioned, not with mankind generally, but with the small portion of it that was using his invention; apparently, he had envisioned coffee or tea drinkers breaking the sachets in half...

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Properties of Blood, I.3: The Disappearing Individual, Part C

The Individual Disappearing in the Rearview Mirror To understand the apparent failure of moderns to attain to full humanity, we have to acquire a context for comparison.  Here, we are fortunate in being able to turn to our highest literary and intellectual traditions.  Friendship is an important element in Shakespeare and Dante; indeed, in Dante’s Commedia the poet is assisted through Hell and Purgatory by a series of friends, Vergil in particular, who have been sent by a lady in Heaven who is afraid that her friend stands in peril of damnation.  When challenged by Cato at the entrance to...