The Fleming Foundation Cultural Commentary

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...

7

Season 1, Surely, You Must Be Joking Dr. Fleming?, Episode 4: Rational Judgement

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In this episode of Surely, You Must Be Joking Dr. Fleming?, we pose the question to Dr. Fleming: “Are people incapable of rational judgement?” Interwoven in the discussion are the protests in Portland, Kathy Griffin, “settled science,” the left/right paradigm, the alt right, along with appearances, via quotes, of course, by E.E. Cummings and Max Beerhbohm. Original Air Date: June 16, 2017 Show Run Time: 47 minutes Show Guest(s): Dr. Thomas Fleming Show Host(s): Stephen Heiner This Podcast is available for Silver subscribers and higher.   Surely, You Must Be Joking Dr. Fleming?℗ is a Production of the Fleming Foundation. Copyright...

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Wednesday’s Child: Modern Educayshun

Thirteen million Britons have voted for Jeremy Corbyn, a delusional pacifist and nostalgic socialist.  The news that Kensington, for the first time in London’s history, is now a Labour borough is counterintuitive, rather like learning that the president of the United States is black, a member of Skull and Bones, cannot distinguish between Iran and Iraq, thinks Latin is the language of Latin America, uses Twitter, and cannot spell the word “counsel.”  If leaders of today’s totalitarian states, such as Russia or North Korea, are best described with recourse to the SketchCop Facette facial recognition software used by international police...

35

Bernie Lets his Mask Slip

Bernie Sanders’ anti-Christian hissie fit the other day is overheating the Christian chattiverse.  Sanders unloaded on Russell Vought the load of Christ-hating venom he had accumulated in a liftetime devoted to attacking  all things normal, decent, and well-groomed, describing his faith as “insulting,” “hateful,” and indefensible.” Christians are drawing the obvious conclusion that for Sanders and his ilk—and, remember, their name is Legion—any form of orthodox Christian faith is a cause for exclusion from federal office.  First it will be cabinet posts, then federal judgeships, then college scholarships. Unfortunately, too few Christians seem to understand that Sanders is only making explicit...

10

Why I’m a Global Warming Skeptic

Now the alarmists call it “climate change,” which can mean anything from California enjoying even better weather than it already does to a meteor slamming into Los Angeles and extinguishing all life on earth (small “e,” please). But they really mean “global warming,” the phrase used to scare us until the late 2000s, when it became clear it wasn’t happening. I’ve been a skeptic – or denier, as the alarmists say – all along. I remember the 1970s global cooling scare. A 1975 Newsweek article warned of “The Cooling World”: “There are ominous signs that the earth’s weather patterns have...

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BREAKING  NEWS: FLEMING FOUNDATION RETURNS TO ITALY

  10: AM CDT In the palatial headquarters of The Fleming Foundation, Founder and President Thomas Fleming, surrounded by popping flashbulbs and rolling movie cameras, made an official announcement that brought joy to the literally dozens of friends and readers who follow the work of the Foundation. (They actually number in the hundreds, but dozens sounds more poetic.) I am happy to report that we have struck an agreement with the beautiful Grand Hotel del Gianicolo to arrange TFF’s first convivial meeting in Italy: A one week meeting in Rome to explore “the grandeur that was Rome,” specifically, the height...

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Ben Jonson: His Masterpiece, Volpone

Though Jonson seems proudest of his tragedies on classical themes–Sejanjus and Catiline–neither was a hit.  In fact Sejanus, which invited comparisons between the degenerate courtiers of Elizabeth and those of Tiberius–aroused hostility against the poet.  Jonson was also one of a number of Elizabethan writers–Marston and Donne–who excoriated the evils of their time without necessarily correcting any of their own personal vices.  As he grew older, however, Jonson’s satires increasingly took on the gentle ironic tone of Horace instead of the Juvenalian savagery affected by his rivals.  It is significant that the 1590’s were the great years for English satire,...

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Wednesday’s Child: Europe’s B******s

It is true that the word “bastard” was not equally offensive in every period of history, as we know that William the Conqueror is called “William the Bastard” in some contemporary official screeds, but after Shakespeare, in King Lear, fashioned the underlying notion into the definitive metaphor of vice, the word was pretty much spoken for. The term’s origin, in the age of homosexual marriage and gender dysphoria, may seem rather innocuous, since etymologically it does not mean anything more shameful than “here today, gone tomorrow,” an approach to conduct regarded as perfectly legitimate at least since the great moral...

2

What Conservatism?

“I remember the days of long ago.” Psalm 143:5 If you haven’t chuckled at it yet, check out George Will’s attempt to resuscitate Bill Buckley. I’ve always been a conservative and started out long ago a great admirer of both men, later disillusioned. Buckley’s old National Review I discovered in the library of Franklin Junior High School around 1967, when I was 12. Will wrote for it then, but later moved to write a column for the Washington Post. His column was especially valuable in Stars & Stripes when I was a Russian Linguist with the U.S. Army in West...