Category: Fleming

16

Take a Load off Annie

Not long ago, I poked fun at Ann Coulter as a professionally dumb blond who acted out like an adolescent.  The response on this website and on Facebook was mixed.  Many who read the piece thought it sound overall but found it a bit unfair to Ms Coulter. After reading Ann’s tweets attacking Delta Airlines, ridiculing its employees, and and insulting chance passengers whose legs are not up to Ann’s standards (“dachshund legs”) all for being deprived of a $30  upgrade to economy plus,   I want to take this opportunity to say I am sorry for ever doubting that she is the model of wisdom...

4

Do Androids Sleep With Electric Sheep?

One of the best developments of the first six months of America Under Trump is the growing discontent with the media.  Why anyone has ever paid any attention to the New York Times or Washington Post or Fox or CNN is something I have never been able to figure out.  The editors are poorly educated liars, and the reporters, columnists and commentators cannot even manage to tell their lies in standard English There is only one reason to pay any attention to the news, and that is to find out what bizarre forms of snake oil the ruling class is forcing...

2

Ben Jonson, Disgruntled Dramatist

Volpone was followed by an equal triumph, The Alchemist.  This play is once again a comedy about a scam-artist from the Elizabethan underworld.  The Alchemist reflects Jonson’s general contempt for superstition and irrationality, though, as he later confessed (to Drummond of Hawthornden), he once took part in a similar magic scam: “He had once cousened a lady, with whom he had made an appointment to meet an old astrologer in the suburbs, which she keeped and it was himself disguised in a Longe Gowne and a white beard.” Jonson’s method is to take stock plot devices from Roman comedy, e.g.,...

10

Where the Heart is: Properties of Blood, II.1

In his contribution to I’ll Take My Stand, Andrew Lytle told Southerners to detach themselves from mass-produced culture and return to their own traditions:  “Throw out the radio and take down the fiddle from the wall.”  In Protestant countries, the reading of Scriptures and family prayers, until fairly recently, were a normal part of family life.  Robert Burns, in his poem “Cotters’ Saturday Night,” paints a picture of a poor  family in Calvinist Scotland gathered round to read Bible: They, round the ingle, form a circle wide; The sire turns o’er, wi patriarchal grace, The big ha’-Bible, ance his father’s...

3

Chesterton

Dear Friends and Readers: I have been asked to speak at the 36th annual The American Chesterton Conference being held in Colorado Springs, Colorado, July 27-29. https://www.chesterton.org/36th-annual-chesterton-conference/ The title of this year’s conference is “The Tyranny of the Learned,” and I’ll be speaking on Chesterton as an amateur ancient historian who often got the details wrong but had a deeper insight than many scholars who have devoted their lives to the study of ancient history. Other speakers include Dale Ahlquist, founder and president of the American Chesterton Society, my former colleague Christopher Check, who is now president of Catholic Answers, Joseph...

11

Religio Philologi: Social Justice

  In March 2010, I put online an earlier version of this piece: In all the political debates over nationalized welfare and health care, both anti-Christian socialists and Catholics frequently the term “social justice” in their arguments for  guaranteed incomes, social welfare, and socialized medicine.  In fact, the expression “social justice” is frequently heard from the lips of Catholic traditionalists (including distributists), Marxists, and Greens.  Are they talking about the same principle or different principles?  Does the expression have any usable meaning?  Before going on to sketch out some basic principles of a Christian’s duties  to his fellows, we might begin by examining...

0

Rome, the Long Way Round, Part II

Part II The several days we spent at Ulivello vibrate in the memory like an hallucination.  Our friend Navrozov has written a beautiful piece about his visit to Ulivello.  The reality was a bit grittier and decayed than he described it—less the odor of jasmine than of hay and manure—but no less magical.  The food was almost a revelation:  pasta, of course, but followed by farm-raised pork, roasted with apples and served with potatoes deep-fried in olive oil. Ulivello had been a sort of farm, worked by share-croppers, and when the Italian government ended share-cropping, the former croppers stayed on...

14

Question of the Day

The Media have taken to describing Illinois as a “Banana Republic”?  So today’s question is: How is Illinois not a Banana Republic?  I await  your answers. My first answer is: Because Banana Republics have beaches and warm winters… And, Banana Republics have distinctive cuisines and excellent coffee not sold by greedy Communists who think the sky is falling…

18

Religio Philologi: The Lame and the Blind

Long long ago in another galaxy, I wrote a series of pieces looking at the plain meaning of various passages in the New Testament, not as anyone pretending to be a theologian or Biblical scholar, but as a simple philologist seeking the kind of understanding of a Greek text he might get by studying Demosthenes or Sophocles.  I am going to try and dig them up and refurbish them, if I can find them.  I am afraid I wrote some of them for another website that has by now undoubtedly 86ed them, as they say in commercial  kitchens. I tend...

1

Going to Rome, the long way around.

The first time we went to Rome, we took the slow train from Pisa, where we, with the two older children, had spent a week, first at a beach hotel in Tirrenia and then at the always crumbling, always in the process of being restored Royal Victoria Hotel on the Lungarno Paccinotti.  We had been intending to visit Italy for several years, but bringing up four children on a modest income put it beyond our reach.  A ticket, back then, cost us $1200, so three tickets (Alitalia charged half price for children!) was $3600, roughly $6,750 in 2017 dollars.  Throw...