Category: Free Content


Governor Northam and His Critics

I posted this brief comment on Facebook: I have read some “conservatives” on FB calling for support or sympathy for Gov. Northam. This is almost as pathetic as the conservatives who are denouncing him for racism. Red Phillips strikes the right balance–Northam is not worthy either of defense or offense. Since when does an advocate of infanticide deserve sympathy or support from normal human beings? Of course no one in his right mind would join the pile-on (and isn’t it interesting how few conservatives these days are in their right minds!), but imagine Pol Pot or Mao were attacked for...


1453: The Fall of New Rome


Watch our most ambitious video. A conservative calendar has more days printed in black than in red letters.  Fortunately, the days of tragedy and loss are remembered as much for the heroism of those who defended the right–Lee at Gettysburg, Leonidas at Thermopylae, the Scots at Culloden.  No day in our history shines more brilliantly in black than the fall of Constantinople in 1453. If you enjoyed this and want to see more, please subscribe at the Gold Level.  If you are already a Gold subscriber, please consider moving up to Charter, and if you are already in that elite...


The Other Handel by David Wihowski, Part One 

George Frideric Handel; say the name and Messiah immediately comes to mind–it is as if Messiah were synonymous with its composer; and there is hardly a city large enough to have a community chorus that does not perform Messiah in some shape or form annually during the Christmas “season.”  But Handel was approximately as prolific in total output as his contemporary JS Bach. Messiah is perhaps Handel’s single greatest composition, but he wrote many other fine, worthy works.


Is the Pope Catholic?

Once upon a time, the Yankees “always” won the American League pennant.  Halfway through the season, if someone foolishly asked if the Yankees were going to do it again, some wise guy would answer the foolish question by asking another, “Is the Pope Italian?”  In later years, during the unending pontificate of John Paul II, the Yankees were no longer dominating the American League, and, if anyone asked some foolish question such as, “You think Sammy Sosa is taking steroids?,”  the responding question was, “Is the Pope Catholic?”  Today, I wonder how the wise guy would respond to a question...


The Life of an Autodidact, Conclusion

Every significant literary or intellectual movement is really a little community of friends, who encourage each others’ talents and correct each others’ faults until they are thinking thoughts and writing poems they might otherwise never have attempted.  I think of the influence of Belloc on Chesterton or, better still, of the Fugitive poets whose most creative period were their years at Vanderbilt and in the few following years before the group was shattered by ambition, mistrust, and the influence of more important friends out in the Great World. The absence of such a community of colleagues and disciples is the...


Poem of the Week: A Sonnet of Keats

Happy is England! I could be content
To see no other verdure than its own;
To feel no other breezes than are blown
Through its tall woods with high romances blent:
Yet do I sometimes feel a languishment
For skies Italian, and an inward groan


The Life of an Autodidact, Part One of Two

This is a revised version of a piece first published in 2014. Once upon a time I decided to learn Japanese.  I had none of the usual practical reasons: no business interests that would take me to Japan nor even an academic project comparing Noh plays with Attic tragedy.  I knew next to nothing of Japan, though as a child my imagination had been stirred by the Mikado, and later, when a college friend persuaded me to read the Tale of Genjii, my mind was haunted by images of beautiful men and women spending languorous evenings composing allusive verses to...


McGrath and Fleming, Part II

Tom, I, too, am stunned by the decline of literacy among the literate classes, which is far more disappointing to me than the general decline.  Kids growing up today don’t have the people in the profession–whether the media, academe, or writers–we had to learn from.  After a discussion about writing essays and grammar in one of my classes back in the 90s a couple of older students came up to me.  They were both women who had come back to school to earn teaching credentials and master’s degrees after rearing families.  They had grown up when English was properly taught...


Wednesday’s Child: Capram et circenses

For Christmas dinner we had ordered a roast baby goat, and consequently the teenage daughter of one of our invited guests regretted on the grounds that she is “a Vegan.”  When the animal, just shy of sixteen pounds in weight, arrived from the local fornaio, resplendent in a cloud of rosemary and a jubilation of potatoes, I must confess I felt a trifle abashed at the spectacle and glad that the girl would not be coming.  The serving platter took up the entire dinner table, with cutlery, plates and wine glasses huddling around its edges like poor relations, and the...


A Dialogue on the Decay of English, by Roger McGrath and Thomas Fleming

I received this message from Prof. McGrath in response to my columns on learning foreign languages. Tom: For what it’s worth, I took French in high school and Latin in college.  I think Latin teaches one a surprising amount about the English language or perhaps reminds one of all those things that we were supposed to learn in the 7th and 8th grade–when English teachers emphasized parts of speech, diagramming sentences, tense, mood, et al. During my years playing professor I noticed a slow but steady decline in the writing skills of the average student.  By my final days of teaching...