The Fleming Foundation Cultural Commentary

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...

13

Wednesday’s Child: Hitler on the Roof

It may be that the name of Astrid Lindgren is utterly unfamiliar to the gentle reader.  In this possibility, perhaps more than in anything else, he differs from the inhabitant of Russia, whether in its Soviet or in its present totalitarian incarnation.  For every Russian of whatever age now living has read and can quote from Karlsson-on-the-Roof– a cross between Le Petit Prince and Mary Poppins–with the consequence that Lindgren is more famous in Russia than Marx, Lenin, or for that matter St. John the Evangelist. Born in 1907 in Sweden, Lindgren was a writer of children’s books.  Globally, I...

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

Russia Hoax Finally Dying

Events are confirming what I wrote on this site six months ago, that there’s no way the Russians could have rigged our election because it’s just too complex. It would involve not just putting up anti-Hillary, pro-Trump stuff on social media, but knowing what to put up, and when to do it. Elections are more about intuition than anything else. Trump intuited he would win if he campaigned for working-class voters in October in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Hillary’s bad tuition sent her to Silicon Valley to collect bucks from the digital oligarchs. The latest developments: This past week, former...

1

Wednesday’s Child: Letter from Malaga

Well, from Marbella, actually, but it occurred to me that having a posh name in the title would look like I was putting on airs and that the name of Spain’s great tourist hub – Malaga Costa del Sol Airport, whence 17 million oafs, badly hungover and savagely sunburnt, return every year to the satanic mills of Great Britain – might better suit the persona I cultivate and reveal here. Yet cavernous is the abyss of snobbery.  While I was dousing myself with pink champagne on the lawn of a friend’s villa, a madam I used to know in London...

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...

4

When Will Trump Strike Back?

Granted, the presidency is one tough job. Even eight years isn’t long enough to master it. The job includes the ability to launch 7,000 nuclear weapons and wield the world’s largest conventional military. Then there’s the economy, which if it crashes mean you’re not going to be re-elected. It also includes the ability to use presidential powers to achieve policy and personal ends. As Bill Clinton once put it in typical fashion while in the White House, “I reward my friends and (expletive) my enemies.” Trump is a proud man. And one of the more entertaining parts of last year’s...

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

  Wednesday’s Child: The Rubber Burka

The burkini, in case the gentle reader doubts that I know how to use Wikipedia, is a “modesty swimsuit for women,” covering the whole body like a diving suit, with only the wearer’s face, hands, and feet exposed to the omniscient eye of Allah – one of whose Quranic epithets, incidentally, is “Al-Musawwir,” meaning shaper or designer.  The burkini was trademarked in 2007 by a Muslim lady called Aheda Zanetti, but I note that a garment of exactly the same description made a public appearance over fifty years ago – in the television series The Avengers, worn by Diana Rigg...

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…