Avatar photo

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

4 Responses

  1. Frank Brownlow says:

    Thank you for “The Listeners.” A collection of De La Mare’s creepy stories, including one of my favorites, “All Hallows,” is available online. 23 April is Shakespeare’s birthday, too (we think).

  2. Ken Rosenberger says:

    Ah, Frampton, what marketing genius. Up until 1971, he was the second best known member of a band no one remembers called Humble Pie. He left the band, just as they were about to have their 15 minutes, and slogged along as a second-tier arena rocker, a career opening act, until 1976, when he was recorded at San Francisco’s Winterland Ballroom. From those tapes were fashioned Frampton Comes Alive. And here’s where the genius comes in. Around that time, you paid $4.99 for a newly-released single record album. A double album cost $8.99, enough to make you think twice before buying it. A double album better be good to justify the cost. Frampton’s label priced his double-live effort at $5.99, with a big Special Low Price! sticker on the cover. That special price coupled with mass curiosity generated by the breakthrough Top 10 hit Show Me The Way led to a critical mass in terms of album sales. I believe it was the largest selling album in history until Bill Clinton’s favorite make-out album Rumours, by Fleetwood Mac, was released the following year. Frampton had a penchant, I recall, for ending lines in song lyrics with the word “everyday.” He certainly does it noticeably in his two biggest hits.

    Rex, interesting that the Orbison sample you provided was actually a Traveling Wilburys song. No doubt chosen because of Dr Fleming’s admiration for the backup harmonies of Mr Robert Zimmerman.

    Great reading of The Listeners. I remember as a schoolboy not much interested in literature at the time, certainly not in poetry, reading that poem over and over, delighting at its chilling atmospheric. I hadn’t thought of it in years.

  3. Jacob Johnson says:

    I think we can lay the blame for the misuse of the word awesome at advertisements for junk food made for children. I remember an endless stream of commercials on cartoon programs which were rather formulaic. A mother would be vacuuming or something and then be hounded by a gaggle of whelps demanding tribute in the form of whatever was being presented. The mother would pay the Danegeld after which the children would claw at the box of whatever slop it was and declare “It’s awesome!” Cereal commercials almost universally featured the formula of the child eating a spoonful of X, and then instantly begin hallucinating intensely. A mascot of some sort and with the group of children undertake some sort of spastic activity and lots of noisemaking related apparently to the dopamine hit from consuming the product. It is with a great amount of shame I admit I know this.

  4. James D. says:

    Mr. Johnson,

    I think you are correct. Movies, tv shows, etc. also had the stereotypical slacker, hippie, surfer, etc., presumably from California, who would respond with one word outbursts, such as “awesome,” “gnarly,” or “bodacious.”