Category: Fleming

4

In the Name of Obama

In an earlier piece of internet graffiti, I subjected the name Trump to a somewhat whimsical analysis in which I stuck in this obiter dictum:  “Like so many good old American names, Trump’s grandfather’s name was actually Drumpf—a really significant piece of evidence for leftists who found nothing odd in a name like Barack Obama.” Now that Trump is being attacked for refusing to deny that Mr. Obama is a Muslim, it is time to look more closely  at the President’s name.  Trump’s problem flared up when a questioner in Rochester asked him one of those leading questions most politicians...

0

Properties of Blood, Chapter I part E

This text is being made available at no cost for a limited period of time. Early Greek poets had never tired of celebrating men of wealth and power or of complaining about their own failures and poverty.  Traditional Greek culture taught that shame (aidos) and honor (time) were important moral values that had to be respected.  A sense of shame included having a regard for social conventions and showing respect to parents, elders, and social superiors, while honor (the Greek word τίμη literally implies price or value) was the respect to which you were entitled, by your family, social status,...

5

On Second Thought: The Right to Be Disgusting

  The United States government has decided at long last to use the term “sexual rights” when discussing global development and human rights.  However, this is a less radical move than it might appear.  According to a statement made by Richard Erdman, “deputy ambassador to the UN,”sexual rights are not human rights, and they are not enshrined in human rights law.”  At first sight, then, this change in language is only a meaningless gesture, an accommodation to the leftist rhetoric of the administration. On second thought, however, this little change does signal a shift with long-term consequences.  It was not...

2

Sophocles’ Oedipus, Part I

About a decade after the Antigone Sophocles took up the story of Antigone’s doomed father Oedipus.  The basic story would have been familiar to his readers and to anyone who had gone to see Antigone, but Sophocles also takes a broad perspective on the entire House of Cadmus the Phoenician, their sins and their sufferings. Cadmus, you will recall, was the Phoenician who introduced the Greeks to writing and is among the founders of Thebes.  Most of the children and grandchildren of Cadmus came to grief, generally through presumption.  Laius, Oedipus’ father, had married Jocasta, who was the daughter of...

0

Properties of Blood, Chapter I part D

This text is being made available at no cost for a limited time.  Soon, readers will have the opportunity to become subscribers. How are we to take these and other terrifying pronouncements?  St. Augustine quite properly regarded the Sermon on the Mount as a the loftiest compendium of Christian ethics, and, while he certainly recognized the difficulties to be encountered in living up to such a standard, he thought it was necessary for us to do our best.  Thomas Aquinas, in different ways, sought to distinguish the more practical from the more impossible strands in the Sermon, Thomas, by distinguishing...

14

Fleming Family Wounds

Up late this morning (7:30) after being up late last night, I was washing the rest of the dinner dishes—the kitchen looked as if we had fed an army—and making coffee, when I made the mistake of turning on NPR.  The local station was playing one of their guest-commentators, a self-declared writer who was droning on about the tedium of going to dinner at a friend’s house, where the whole point was to show off their house and their hospitality and force the guests to make charming chitchat. What selfish b-stards, these people are, who invite friends into their homes!  I...

3

Annals of Trebizond III

The fortunate reign of Andronikos I was followed by succession problems that would become more serious in later days, but the long reign of Manuel I was prosperous, as Trebizond became a key player in Black Sea shipping.  His brother George, who succeeded him, fell victim to the plotting of foolish nobles who did not appear to appreciate what a dangerous world they lived in.  His younger also brother faced civil war.  During this period, the Byzantine Empire was restored by the Palaiologos clan, who would have had little regard for potential rivals in Trebizond.  Family quarrels and noble conspiracies...

7

Welcome to Legoland

The crisis created by Islamic migrants is one more proof of the failure of conservative movements.  For several decades, I have watched the antics of various anti-immigration groups in the US, all of them reading from the same liberal prayerbook:  Illegal immigration must be curtailed, because it costs money.  How are they going to say no to all these middle class Muslims? The left, while condemning FAIR and co. as bigots, was happy to join battle on purely material grounds.  For every “conservative” study detailing the cost of educating, feeding, nurturing, and jailing illegal immigrants,  leftist groups would church out studies purporting...

2

Properties of Blood I, Part C

Like most peoples everywhere, ancient Jews respected power and success.  In looking back at their own history, they admired the exploits of Joshua, Gideon, and Samson, violent men who would not have been out of place in the American West.  King David and his son Solomon were among their greatest heroes.  David was a man of war who smote his enemies and built a powerful (albeit minuscule) kingdom; Solomon was proverbial for his wealth and women as well as for his wisdom and power. For more recent heroes, Jews could turn for inspiration to the Maccabees, who had led a...

18

The Indignity of Labor

“Why do they call it “Labor Day,” when it is a day when no one is supposed to work?” That question is probably asked several million times every year about this time. The simple answer is that this is just one more boondoggle put over on a gullible public by two sets of conmen—Big Labor and the Congress of USA—back in the early 1880’s.  In theory, the day is set aside to honor the achievements of laboring men and their corrupt unions.  Since labor unions, almost from the beginning, have been interested only in salaries and benefits and not in...