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Thomas Fleming

Thomas Fleming is president of the Fleming Foundation. He is the author of six books, including The Morality of Everyday Life and The Politics of Human Nature, as well as many articles and columns for newspapers, magazines,and learned journals. He holds a Ph.D. in Classics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and a B.A. in Greek from the College of Charleston. He served as editor of Chronicles: a Magazine of American Culture from 1984 to 2015 and president of The Rockford Institute from 1997-2014. In a previous life he taught classics at several colleges and served as a school headmaster in South Carolina

10 Responses

  1. Ken Rosenberger says:

    I agree with you about Gregory Peck. Most dictionaries include his picture along with the word “wooden.” I suppose I have a soft spot for the scene in the otherwise forgettable “Man in the Grey Flannel Suit” in which he romances a pretty young Italian woman with “Ramblin’ Wreck From Georgia Tech,” although, to my knowledge,” my Alma Mater has never boasted about it. I once voted for the erstwhile TV actor Robert Dornan against stodgy old liberal Peck’s son Carey, effectively ending the young man’s political career. Hard to believe that until 1983, prior to redistricting, the People’s Republic of Santa Monica was represented in Congress by “B-1 Bob.”

  2. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    I could never forgive the performance in To Kill A Mockingbird or Gentleman’s Agreement. He should have been a columnist for the Washington Post. By the way, a pretty good performance as that type is William Holden’s role in Born Yesterday with Judy Holliday. I know I shouldn’r like her for several reasons, but her performance of “The Party’s Over” in Bells are Ringing brings me to the point of tears, and I can never forget how she remained on good terms with the impossible Alec Wilder. Any friend of Wilder is a friend of mine, and that includes Frank Sinatra, whom I should otherwise detest for so many reasons.

  3. Ken Rosenberger says:

    I confess that I adored Judy Holliday for a time in my youth. I saw The Solid Gold Cadillac on the afternoon movie and was hooked. Born Yesterday, of course, is great, and it’s the Holliday film most often mentioned. I also liked It Should Happen To You. A media satire Evelyn Waugh might have written. This the film that introduced the concept of someone being famous for being famous. Also Jack Lemmon’s first movie. Holliday supposedly had an IQ of 172, and was a—cliche warning—voracious reader. The story of her handing her falsies to lecherous Columbia mogul is a good one. “Here you go. You’ve been after these all evening.”

  4. Ken Rosenberger says:

    PS: The Columbia mogul was Harry Cohn, sort of ur-Weinstein.

  5. Steven Lakoff says:

    I had a history teacher in 8th grade who went out of his way to downplay Goering’s military record and directed our attention to his weight problem instead. Goering became a bit of a bizarre character which I discovered was probably the partial result of wounds to the groin area he sustained in the Putsch and partly from of his abuse of heroin as a painkiller for years afterwards. He was said to have worn makeup and dresses. He gave some controversial orders as head of the Luftwaffe, most outstanding to me was his order for German pilots to ram the American bombers, Kamikaze style. Harsh, but not completely out of line with the military tradition he came from but it didn’t make him popular with his subordinates.

  6. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    I don’t think one would have wanted to spend an evening with Goering, whose faults and eccentricities, real as probably were, have been distorted through an ideological lens. He had a strong character that should have been sapped by the heroin he had been taking. In prison, the allies were happy to keep the man hopped up, but, amazingly, he detoxed himself. Not long ago, there was a book on how Goering talked an American officer into slipping the pills with which he committed suicide. Romulus Linney has a play, which I have not seen or read, on Goering’s last days. It won great praise at a drama festival where it was premiered.

  7. Vince Cornell says:

    I can’t say anything in favor of Gregory Peck’s personal character, but I enjoyed “The Million Pound Note.” I also liked “Roman Holiday” and, I admit, “The Big Country” (although a great deal of that is due to the musical score). I know I saw Tequila Mocking Bird way back in my youth (I think they actually showed it to us in our middle school in Alabama), but I didn’t care for it didn’t leave much of an impression on my mind.

  8. Raymond Olson says:

    Vince–It’s hard not to like The Big Country, despite Peck–that score is magnificent! My older brother and I cherished Chuck Connors–The Rifleman–as the slimy, mean, ornery, lyin’, cheatin’, bullyin’, cowardly son of Burl Ives, whom Burl just has to shoot in the end. “What’s Connors doing the Father Knows Best in the Saddle for? What a waste!” was our verdict.

    I once, decades ago, did a census of the stars I’d seen most often, and Gregory Peck, much to my mortification, was top o’ th’ heap. I’ve softened toward him since then, and when his singular gift for stolidity is employed ironically–see Yellow Sky, The Paradine Case, Twelve O’Clock High, The Gunfighter, and Behold a Pale Horse–he can be very good. After Behold a Pale Horse, he never got another good assignment, and Behold was a pet project shared with director Fred Zinnemann (whose best film I think it is) that star and director co-produced; it’s based on a novel by Emeric Pressburger, director Michael Powell’s longtime collaborator (A Canterbury Tale, I Know Where I’m Going, The Red Shoes, etc.).

  9. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    I never could endure 30 seconds of Aaron Copeland, and the tacky theme music is just warmed over Copeland. Should make any music-lover’s skin crawl. It’s playing this very minute on my computer. Ray, I’d even prefer John Cage–this stuff is raising my blood sugar level to dangerous heights.

  10. Raymond Olson says:

    Copland needs no defense by me, a musical illiterate. I’m surprised. though, that you think his music is sugary. He suffers from being played too much, especially on the radio, which has the bad habit of airing the same handful of dance suites and set pieces (the Lincoln Portrait and Fanfare for the Common Man really are unconscionable) far more than the once-a-week-at-most they may warrant. But then, classical stations accord the same treatment to Bizet, Grieg, and even Bach. Whenever I hear Appalachian Spring yet again, I console myself (after rushing to turn it off) by recalling that it could be worse: it could be Leonard Bernstein.