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. Stephen Chaplin says:

    My, my . . . what ails our good Doctor?! Why does he not appreciate that part of the beauty of our language is its receptivity to new words? “Woke” doesn’t mean anything? It is a pejorative with its own intrinsic sarcasm. Doctor, you defined it yourself! I love the term “woke!” It spits from my mouth —almost on its own— many times a day. And leftovers. I love leftovers (though I will no longer use the term “doggie bag.” Your point on that term is well taken). Try this with leftover pizza: reheat it in a cast iron skillet. You will enjoy a delightfully crispy crust.

    For what troubles you, doctor, might I prescribe a lovely nurse?

  2. Thomas Fleming says:

    Neologisms are needed when something has been invented, like the computer, or discovered, like America. Otherwise they are too often the productions of those least qualified to leave their paw prints on the language. In this case–as in so many political neologisms–to adopt an enemy’s language is to play his game for him, which is basically what conservatives do almost always–one of the reasons why the invariably lose.

  3. Raymond Olson says:

    The blame for doggy bags must be laid upon the American conception of dining. For Americans, dining, especially dining out, is and, it is felt, should be an occasion for monstrous gluttony (that the rest of the world has followed the American example is sickeningly and hilariously illustrated by the Mr. Creosote episode of Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life). Taste, beauty, and even nourishment count for nothing in American dining. Only eating on the industrial scale is essential to American dining.

    American restaurants absolutely should not be let off the hook for conforming to American dining by heaping plates with what, at this scale, is just fodder, not food. When I’ve dined in Italy and France, serving sizes are much smaller, conformed to fit actual human capacities and, hence, conduce to savoring one’s food rather than just, to use an idiom I learned as an adolescent, slamming chow.

  4. Thomas Fleming says:

    We are in complete agreement on this, Ray.

  5. Michael Strenk says:

    Quite right Mr. Olson. In my experience eating among more civilized Europeans and people of European extraction the meal is the the thing that everyone gathered together is doing that afternoon or evening. It is something to be enjoyed together at a reasonable pace, not something to get down, as much as possible as quickly as possible and then on to whatever it is that people prefer to do (belly up in front of the ball game as often as not). In a good restaurant one can always order a little more. Dr. Fleming mentions salt and I couldn’t agree more. More than once though we have had the experience of a previously excellent restaurant deciding to go “low sodium” without a warning, to please infantile geriatric patrons, who often are the largest category of customer with money enough to eat out. Talk about savage indignation, one then gets the choice of eating the same bland muck as the uber-philistines (who were probably far more cultured) or spice a meal myself which I’ve just payed a professional to do for me. When asked, “How would you like that done” I always defer to the chef.

  6. Michael Strenk says:

    I like the new feature.

  7. Thomas Fleming says:

    To all who are slightly interested in this new feature: Please consider sending in questions. Feel free to indicate whether or not you wish to be identified “on the air.” You may use this space to post a question. If you wish to remain anonymous and don’t have my email address, you may simply send a note by way of: https://fleming.foundation/contact/

  8. Michael Strenk says:

    Could you give us a good working definition of what qualities, or lack thereof, defines a barbarian in the context of your “Saving the Remnant” podcasts? There is a seemingly wide gap in cultural achievements between, say, the Goths and the Persians, but they appear to both be included in this category. Would the Jews, from the Roman perspective, have been considered barbarians?

  9. Michael Strenk says:

    I missed the part about sending questions to the contact link. I have since done so. I guess this nixes anonymity, but if one hides one’s ignorance one will always remain so.

  10. Jacob Johnson says:

    In one of the podcasts, a while back, there was brief mention of the idea of any art form which attempts to make a direct appeal to the emotions, like fear or what ever else, being inherently degrading. I think this may have been in the context of Beethoven or Wagner. I would be very interested in this argument being expounded as I’ve wondered quite a lot about what constitutes the borderlines of this sort of lurid condition.