Ritorno, I

Tuesday, April 19. 10:15

The trip begins on an auspicious note.  Yesterday a Trump-appointed Federal judge in Florida struck down the Biden administration's imprudent and unlawful extension of the mask mandate in airports, airplanes, etc.  It will be interesting to see if the Van Galder bus, which takes us to O'Hare, will be unmasked.

It has been over two years since we were able to leave the United States.  Testerday, out of the blue, I began to recall scenes from the Croatian film Wrist-Cutters (made in English for a lousy $1 million!).  The premise is that some poor shnook commits suicide and finds himself in Hell or Purgatory, which resembles nothing so much as a gloomier drearier more down-market version of his life.  Everything seems crumby, even the lightning, and he and some other suicidal pals, whom he meets, end up taking a road trip across the blighted United States.  Finally, in despair, our hero says he can't take this lousy world any more, but, when a friend suggests he kill himself, our hero responds: "What, and end up in some place worse than this?"

America under lockdown, probably America forever.  Remember the attempt at optimism at the end of Huxley's Antic Hay.  They are watching a doctor on a treadmill or exercise bike, trying to escape his misery--his hopeless love for Myra Viveash.  Some cheerful soul utters a platitude about tomorrow being better than today.  Myra responds that tomorrow will be even worse.

Why, you ask, am I so cheerful?  Going to Italy during this dark moment of the failing American Empire is like leaving Illinois in January and going to Charleston.  Everyday I check the Rockford weather and chuckle.

Our friend Mark Beesley is traveling with us.  Yesterday, as I helped him through some of the tedious paperwork, he confessed that he had been feeling listless and unfocussed, tired much of the time.  He wondered if it was the result of his COVID booster or perhaps the anesthesia  used in a recent knee operation.  I thought, but did not say, that we have finally succumbed to Jimmy Carter's malaise.  Reading newspapers or news websites could convince even a person as cheerful as I am that we are living in a world of Zombies, ghouls, and shape-and-sex-changing mutants.

I woke up singing with the birds at 6:00 AM.  Yes, it's cruel, but in roughly 30 hours, after 9 hours of misery on a direct flight, we'll be back in Rome.

It is hard to tell how the Italians are responding to the collapse of the COVID project.  Northern Italy was hit harder than most places in the civilized world, and the Italian government has been slow to respond to the amelioration.  In looking up reviews of some favorite bars and restaurants, I come across complaints from young Italians who condemn a place for not enforcing the mask restrictions or checking the Green Pass (or American equivalent, a CDC vaccination certificate).  It gives me hope that the native anarchism of the Italian soul has not been entirely compromised by socialist governments.


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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

3 Responses

  1. Michael Strenk says:

    I was ruminating on a similar topic last night, after having watched most of Graham Phillips interview of the British ex-mercenary, now Russian prisoner, Aiden Aslin. No doubt the stupid boy ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9t_KDGqOmE ) has been through a lot, but he seems more than a bit thick and has now, at the ripe old age of 28, zombie-walked himself into two serious conflicts, neither of which were any of his business. But that seems to be the state of a great many of us these days, acting without real consideration, following the current thing without question. Just look at this home page for the official website of his home county of Nottinghamshire. Notice the Ukrainian banner splashed across the bottom quarter. These poor, uneducated young people, badly parented if at all and subjected to endless steams of propaganda wander the churchless world (the church is there, but intentionally hidden from view) looking for some, any, sort of meaning to their lives, making them easy prey for psychopathic groomers. Their once bustling industrial cities are dead zones, the few jobs left have gone to third world immigrants. The heart cries out for the sheer waste of it all. Thick as he may be, he might have had a constructive life in agriculture or industry, living in a solid community of his own people if only…?

  2. Michael Strenk says:

    Sorry. Enjoy Italy!

  3. Michael Strenk says:

    Forgot the link: https://www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/