Category: Feature

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Wednesday’s Child: Letter from London

“Now, when our enemies hear the F-35 engines, when they’re roaring overhead, their souls will tremble and they will know the day of reckoning has arrived.” Now that I am in London, I see it all rather more clearly. In Palermo in September, such things tend to get veiled in sea mist, and the fragrance of roasting peppers wafting upward from the apartment below does little for the sharpness of the geopolitical picture. From this perspective, the morbid irony of an American president elected on a ticket of isolationism who speaks in the idiom of Kim Jong-un, or perhaps of...

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Wednesday’s Child: A Metaphorical Addiction

Last week a reader complimented my parody of “preternaturally American” English, a patois favored not only by gum-chewing schoolgirls and their future husbands, but also by demagogues of every persuasion, notably Russian propagandists broadcasting to the West.  A key element of its sentence structure is the word “like,” at times roughly equivalent to the traditional locution “that is to say,” but most often an interjection signaling approximation, relation, or equivalence. It occurs to me that the almost universal acceptance of this word in its neologistic role has a significance that runs deeper than mere misuse of language.  It is to...

17

Cultural Genocide: I swear I’m not making this stuff up!

Jim Easton asked me yesterday when the UN is going to be summoned to punish Americans engaging in cultural genocide by vandalizing and tearing down historical monuments and engaging in an endless damnatio memoriae.  Every week, it seems, we witness a new reductio ad absurdum.  The recent winners are the not the  Jews of the Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center who went to tear down the statue of the “anti-Semitic” Peter Stuyvesant in New York,  and recommends “replacing all traces of his name with that of Asher  Levy, one of the first Jewish settlers in New Amsterdam.”  No, as hilarious as their proposal is,...

5

Simple Simon’s Political Lexicon: Conservative, Part I

As preface to discussing Conservative, I begin with a few more words on Liberal (which I have inserted into the previous article.) The term “Liberal” is simple in conception but obscured by confusion and deliberate misrepresentation.  After all, it comes from liber, the Latin word for “free” and was used to translate the Greek eleutheros, which had secondary senses that range from humane to noble to generous.  We still speak of “the liberal arts” and of people who are liberal in making gifts or doing favors.  It is quite proper to speak of non-political liberalism as a peculiarly western form...

14

The Counter-Revolution–Back to Square One (Conclusion)

Then what are we to do with the Great Books of the revolutionary tradition?  They are to a great extent a poisoned chalice which is fatal to those who drink from it.  There is a sense in which the system of American education is taking care of at least some of the problem.  Apart from Great Books colleges and Western Civ courses, no one actually reads Montaigne or Voltaire.  They are simply dead white males that only a conservative fuddy-duddy would read. But suppose we confine the question only to people we care about, our children and students.  Do we...

2

Wednesday’s Child: A Fair Name

In Italy, a sagra is a local fair, festival, or fête, usually – oh, but let us be truthful, invariably – dedicated to food, and sometimes accompanied by a historical pageant, a sporting event, a marionette show, or some other spectacle that may aid digestion. There is a Frog Festival at Casteldilago near Arrone, an Onion Festival at Cannara, a Stuffed Eggplant Festival in Savona, a Lattarino Festival on Lake Bolsena, in homage to a local fish by that name and now in its forty-second year, a Frico Festival in Friuli, involving an italianized cheese-and-potato rösti, and an almost infinite...

5

The War of Gods and Demons: Chesterton, Part II

Chesterton was certainly not alone in treating the Romans fairly, but he is among the few who saw the conflict in the proper civilizational terms, as a conflict between decent paganism that prepared the world for the Incarnation and the filthy sort of paganism that instead of adoring the Christ child would have joined Herod in seeking to kill him.  Chesterton begins his essay “The War of  Gods and Demons,” a chapter in The Everlasting Man, with a deep reflection on the failure of so much academic history on Rome: Merely political histories of Rome may be right enough in...

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I HATE TRUMP, 2:  08-19-17, 9:00 AM CDT

I have always hated Trump, even when he was a star on reality TV.  Even before.  To me, The Art of the Deal is really The Art of the Steal.   That is what all businessmen are, fundamentally, especially big businessmen:  thieves.  One of my professors (Harvard Law, 1987!) told the class that someone—I guess it was JFK—once said that property is theft.  He was so right!  I absolutely hate the rich.  A little guy like me, worth only a couple hundred million, can’t get justice in this country.  Look at poor Bernie Sanders’ wife, the way she is being...

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I HATE TRUMP: 08-18-17, 9:00 AM CDT

This is a President?  Instead of issuing  high-minded moral diatribes against racism, when some minor incident develops in  Kankakee or Charlottesville, this big-haired moron wastes his time on forcing North Korea to back down.  Then, as was noted on NPR so correctly, even his religious advisors–men who are supposed to be of high moral character–refuse to resign in protest. What planet do these so-called Christians live on? Why doesn’t this moron admit the truth?  The South is evil, except for the African Americans and Mexicans who live there.  American Slavery was the worst moral evil in the history of the human race, worse...

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Wednesday’s Child: A Portrait of the President as a Young Man

As a young jobbing journalist in London I used to do a lot of book reviewing for The Times, then still the pre-eminent paper in Britain.  They paid me £1 a word, which meant that even at the rate of two or three pieces a month body and soul could be kept together, with a bob or two left over for cigarettes and booze.  Last week I was trawling through old photocopies of some of my clippings and found one that made me giggle, dated April 8, 1989 and entitled “Diary of a Nobody.”  I’m quite sure that Rupert Murdoch,...