Category: Feature


Χρίστος Ανέστη

This great Easter hymn was composed by Venantius Fortunatus, an Italian who lived roughly from 530 to  600 or some time thereafter. Born in Venezia, near Treviso, he was educated in the then still-civilized Ravenna some time after Justinian’s reconquest of Italy.  He made his way to the Frankish court in Metz, where he established himself as court poet.  


The Inconvenience of Truth

In its original Latin use, inconvenient, meaning not accordant or unsuitable, was—as far as I know—innocent of sinister implication; but in the six hundred years since its importation into English via French, it has tended to take on the coloring of a euphemism.  Although the Oxford Dictionary shows no awareness of the fact, in the days of Elizabeth I, if her Lord Treasurer William Cecil began to think that someone’s presence or behavior was inconvenient, then it was probably time for that person to start thinking seriously about putting his property in trust, and planning a trip overseas. In contemporary...


Jeremiah’s Job

What should be the posture of a solitary reactionary, who disagrees with every progressive policy promoted by both parties—or at least promoted by the one and resisted feebly by the other?  I shall not presume to give advice, but I would invite our attention to an ancient parallel case:  The people of Judah in the time of Jeremiah


Truthers, Birthers, and Russhers

The left breaks out into these fits, it seems to me, when they have been temporarily frustrated in that long march toward moral anarchy and political tyranny that my late friend Sam Francis called anarcho-tyranny.  Not to worry, as they say.  They can be as sure of their victory as Jeremiah was sure of the Babylonian triumph over the faithless people of Judah.


The Language of Lying

North American English is now the dominant form of the language, and as one can tell by reading British newspapers or listening to British speakers, under American influence American English is edging out other, local varieties of English, bringing with it American habits of speech and the habits of mind that go with them as it does so.  This is not necessarily a welcome development. As anyone who moves to America from England immediately notices, besides the obvious differences in sound, one peculiar, noticeable feature of North American English is a constant tendency towards euphemism, suggesting that Americans, however big-hearted...


In Search of the Different Drummer (a postscript)

As a college freshman, I made friends with a high school senior who was permitted to live in our dormitory.  I never learned how Gary, a Catholic high school student from Chicago, ended up in a college dorm in Charleston.  Perhaps I should have asked. Whenever someone did make the mistake of asking Gary what he was doing in Charleston, he invariably answered: “I’m just waiting for a streetcar.” And, if the questioner persisted with the inevitable protest, “But there aren’t any streetcars in Charleston,” Gary responded: “That must be why it’s taking so long.” That is where many of...