The Fleming Foundation Cultural Commentary

7

Wednesday’s Child: An Unwritten Letter

Last week a sympathetic soul had written to me from London, urging me to pitch a book, or at the very least a proposal for one, to a publisher in his circle of acquaintance.  I was grateful for the attention and did not want to be uncivil, so I muttered some generalities of a philosophical sort by way of reply and left it at that.  In hindsight, however, it occurs to me that my response could have run along the following lines. Me, pitch?  No, my dear fellow, let them pitch. Because the question is not – and I’m now...

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...

5

Wednesday’s Child: Poking Right Through

Last November (“An Awl in Sackcloth”), and again in January (“More Awls in Sackcloth”), I regaled the reader with tales of intellectual misadventure suggested by the preposterous figure of Russia’s omnipotent culture tsar, Vladimir Medinsky.  I cannot resist adding an orchestral coda, a dramatic postscript, a final malediction. The denouement of the tragic farce takes us to a town called Belgorod, a place we may be excused for knowing little about because it is a provincial hellhole just this side of the Russian border with Ukraine. The town, however, boasts an “institution of higher learning,”  Belgorod State University, which in...

3

Don Meets Vlad (Free to Everyone Signed UP)

  It’s too bad President Trump didn’t say of the G20 Summit in Hamburg, “Putin admitted to me he interfered in our election by working with the Democratic National Committee to torpedo Bernie Sanders’ campaign and nominate the party’s worst possible candidate, Hillary.” But that might have been a joke too far even for Trump. As it was, Trump asked Putin about the supposed interference, and Putin denied it. This is part of Trump’s Deflection Strategy, which has included blaming President Obama for not taking action last year against the Russian interference. As Fleming Foundation readers know, last December I...

3

Roger McGrath: Out of the Past:  California: as it used to be

Tom: You have confessed more than once that you have seen Out of the Past five times.  When it came out on VHS tape, I immediately bought a copy.  It was not only my favorite of the film noir genre, it was one of my favorite movies, period.  I like to be careful about using the word brilliant, but that’s exactly what the movie is.  I don’t know much about Jacques Tourneur but his direction was brilliant.  He brought the very best out of each actor.  Bob Mitchum was the best he ever was at being Bob Mitchum.  In a...

4

Season 1, Christianity and Classical Culture, Episode 14: Georgics

By

In this episode of Christianity and Classical Culture, Dr. Fleming discusses the Georgics of Vergil: how and why Virgil uses a paean for agriculture and the rural life to teach deeper lessons about life, death, and responsibilities. In the final 20 minutes of the show there is a bit of disturbance with Dr. Fleming’s audio. We apologize to listeners in advance. Original Air Date: July 4, 2017 Show Run Time: 58 minutes Show Guest(s): Dr. Thomas Fleming Show Host(s): Stephen Heiner This Podcast is available for Gold subscribers and higher.   Christianity and Classical Culture℗ is a Production of the Fleming Foundation....

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.,...

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...