Andrei Navrozov

Andrei Navrozov

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Wednesday’s Child:Why Sir Roger is Not a Conservative

News of Sir Roger Scruton’s dismissal has not been overlooked by our eagle-eyed commander-in-chief, though in and of itself the British government’s decision to drop the controversialist – indeed, like the position he was occupying – is not worth the ministerial paper it’s written on.  Scruton was there to “advise” architects on how to build buildings that look like something other than the monstrous carbuncle on the face of a beloved friend of Prince’s Charles’ memorable phrase, and yet it is quite clear that this role, more than anything that has actually been built since he took it up, was...

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Wednesday’s Child:Looking the Part

Last week, geneticists from the University of Wisconsin announced the results of their research, ongoing since 1957, into the perceptions of “facial beauty.”  The conclusion, as is the usual case with most studies of this kind, will surprise nobody, as what these scientists have determined is that “there is not a master gene that determines a person’s attractiveness, and instead it is most likely associated with a large number of genetic components with weak effects.” The news, vapid as it was, caught my attention on Sunday afternoon, after I’d been to church, the day being the Feast of the Annunciation...

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Wednesday’s Child:At the Circus

I’ve spent the whole of last week at the circus.  No, I don’t mean Westminster or Capitol Hill, I mean literally, with a bunch of clowns. Generally speaking, they don’t make clowns these days like they used to.  A few of them have actually gone into politics.  In Italy, what is now the largest political party was founded by one, and I note that another one, in Ukraine, is slated to be the next president. They call themselves comics to lend themselves respectability, but what they really are is tragic clowns.  They play on the popular perception, famously a dramatic...

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Wednesday’s Child: Let 20,000 Tattoos Bloom

I am often at a loss when challenged on my conclusion that diversity, in the world we inhabit today, is a synonym of conformity.  My opponents in the argument make me feel like a conspiracy theorist, someone who has some truths to impart but needs a better broom to sweep them back from under the carpet and into the light of day. It’s not that he doesn’t have the facts, it’s that the facts are too many. What I want, I have often thought, is an illustration, a “meme” as is now fashionable to say, something with the simplicity of...

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Wednesday’s Child: Not So Loverly

“I have never been so keyed up!”  I think I won’t be very far from the truth if I say that what most Americans know of Royal Ascot is Audrey Hepburn’s rendition of this line in My Fair Lady, in 1964 the most expensive film ever made.  Remember?  “Ev’ry duke and earl and peer is here, ev’ryone who should be here is here,” she gavottes, At the gate are all the horses Waiting for the cue to fly away. What a gripping, absolutely ripping Moment at the Ascot op’ning day! When I lived in England, I never missed a day...

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Wednesday’s Child: A Spaghetti Tragedy

Young Nietzsche declared that tragedy was born from the spirit of music, but this proposition – as in the case of most nineteenth-century paradox mongers – may also be safely read in reverse.  Surely one can argue that music was born from the spirit of tragedy?  In fact, in an essay written a year earlier than The Birth of Tragedy, this is just what Nietzsche himself seems to have argued.  Anyway, my wife, who is a musician, agrees, which is why she told Mario’s father that what the boy needed was to be better acquainted with the idea of tragedy....

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Wednesday’s Child: What People Know

We had snow in Palermo for the first time in fifty years, and the young barman in a truck stop where I go for coffee whenever Signor Baldo, my provider of choice, is indisposed, finally spoke to me of something other than the weather. “You’re Russian,” he said, because that’s what I’d told him the day before. Then, in a confidential tone, as though imparting some lifesaving news, he continued:  “In Russia, you beat Hitler.”  I often wonder about what the average man knows.  Reading Russian viewer comments on YouTube the other evening, after watching some stupid police drama, I...

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Wednesday’s Child: The Last Elephant

What’s next, a thoughtful reader was asking in reply to my musings last week, a ban on cotton?  Well, since toilet paper had been put forward the week before last as a candidate for the ban, I suppose cotton is not that far afield, but I would argue that books is something we need to look at more urgently.  And not just new books, either.  The burning of libraries, private as well as public, would surely send a powerful signal to paper producers all over the world to stop despoiling our natural habitat, at the same time providing vegan workshops...

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Wednesday’s Child: The Smoking Gun

“If you want to become an optimist and really understand life,” thought Chekhov, “stop believing the things that are said or written about it and just try seeing it for yourself.”  As I’m down with the ‘flu, and all I’m seeing at the moment are the wooden posts and canopy of my Chinese opium bed, it’s a little difficult to understand just how optimism has wormed its way into that sentence. In the morning my near and dear crowd around the bed like bearded worthies in Rembrandt’s anatomy lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp, reproaching me for past crimes against health...