The Fleming Foundation Cultural Commentary

8

 Democratic Discourse

I am not one of those who spends time reading or writing “tweets.”  Life is too short and I am already the victim of too many forms of communication.  However, a friend sent me a “tweet” that arrested my attention as illustrative of the sad state of our “democracy.” The tweeter, upset by President Trump’s apparent  (and ill-advised)  use  of the word “covfefe,” tells the world: “Trump now claims his ‘covfefe’ tweet contained no typos.  This is sociopathy.  He must be impeached ASAP.” Note that this statement is not opinion or argument. It is an imperious demand for a transfer...

10

The Authoritarian Personality Today

IV  It’s 2017, and the Rechstaffens have moved from the crazy Bay Area to the crazier Portland, where Fritz IV (J.J.) is doing well as head of an immigrants’ rights organization and Democratic Party activist.  He had worked hard for Bernie, but, when his candidate lost, he cheerfully rolled up his sleeves to work for the first woman that would be elected President of the Free World, the human race, and the entire universe.   He makes no bones about his loathing of all things Trump, and that is the one subject on which he and his former son, Fritz...

17

I Wake Up Screaming–The Nightmare that is Kathy Griffin

Kathy Griffin, one of nature’s more repellant mistakes, is now complaining that she has been bullied by the Trumps.  Preposterous, no?  Even Trump-haters with a normal brain—my friend and colleague, Navrozov for example—would have to concede that  it is in unquestionably poor taste to get a laugh by portraying anyone, much less the head of state, as the victim of decapitation. What kind of people are these, you may ask:  We know what kind of people they are—degraded specimens of postmodern ex-humanity who could not care less what effect their little pranks might have on the families of their victims...

2

Al Franken His Own Punchline on Alleged Russian Collusion (Free to Registered Subscribers)

Comedian Al Franken is back in the headlines with accusations the Russians colluded with Donald Trump to make sure the Democrats nominated the worst candidate in their party’s history so she would lose. Or something like that. Reported Bloomberg, “U.S. Sen. Al Franken said ‘everything points to’ collusion between President Donald Trump’s campaign and the Russians. The Minnesota Democrat did not cite any evidence….” Franken said, “My feeling is that there was some cooperation between the Trump campaign and the Russians. They just haven’t been acting like people who have nothing to hide.” Once again, check out my Fleming Foundation post...

1

Wednesday’s Child: Letter from Paris

I first visited the Shostakovich Center–Association Internationale Dimitri Chostakovitch, if you go by the name on the doorbell–last October, and wrote about it in this space. A friend, now dead, used to live across the road in the Rue des Saints-Pères. The street, which marks the border between the 6th and 7th  Paris arrondissements, dates back to the sixteenth century, with all the glories of intervening ages sucked up by it as by a sponge of sedimentary calcite. The Center is in a small courtyard, its stones overgrown with ivy and moss, and of an afternoon one can sit on...

8

The Authoritarian Personality–GENX

Part III We are some time after the beginning of the new millennium.  Americans are fighting “for their freedom” in two wars and liberating their own homosexual citizens who labored under civil disabilities.   Fritz Rechstaffen III, who (like President Bush) once did a stint in the National Guard, is an enthusiastic supporter of the President’s war on terror.  His son Fritz IV, known as JJ after his two middle names Justin and Joshuah, is not so sure. He is a bit tired of his father’s patriotic rants over the dinner table.   He doesn’t want to waste time going...

3

Ben Jonson–and Catholic Fanatics and Mad Psychotherapists

Part II Jonson wrote some fine poetry and well-crafted plays, but I think he may have missed his calling, which was to be a scholar.  Unfortunately, he did not finish Westminster and never attended university, though both Oxford and Cambridge were later to award him degrees.  Instead, he learned the art of a bricklayer, a trade he practiced before running away to enlist as a soldier and afterwards, again, when his literary career was stalled.  Jonson had a pugnacious disposition and must have enjoyed war.  Fighting in the low countries in 1591, by his own account, he ostentatiously took the...

2

Season 1, Christianity and Classical Culture, Episode 13: The Pagan Prophet

By

In this episode of Christianity and Classical Culture, Dr. Fleming discusses Virgil and why he is the pagan that Dante chose to lead him in the Divine Comedy. Dr. Fleming goes on to discuss Dante and, in part, the Divine Comedy and why it is a trilogy worth reading. He ends by discussing Virgil’s mysterious reference to a child who will save the world. Prophecy or coincidence? We report, you decide. Episode note: We apologize for some background noise that occurred during recording. Original Air Date: May 30, 2017 Show Run Time: 58 minutes Show Guest(s): Dr. Thomas Fleming Show Host(s): Stephen...

10

The Authoritarian Personality–The Next Generations

Sometime in the 1960’s a young German-American named Fritz Rechtschaffen is having a beer with his father, a prosperous owner of several appliance stores and a staunch Republican.  Pretending to take an interest in the boring old businessman, Fritz junior asks: “So, dad.  So like what did you do during the war?” Fritz senior, bringing the glass to his lips, pauses with the glass in midair and looks uncharacteristically pensive.  After a  half minute of embarrassing silence, the father takes a swallow of beer. “You know, son.  We spent the war years back in Germany.  It would have been hard...

0

Ben Jonson, Part I

This is a revised and improved version of a talk I gave at a Summer School on Elizabethan/Jacobean England.     In the north aisle of the nave of Westminster Abbey there is a tomb of a man buried vertically with the inscription, “O Rare Ben Johnson.” [sic]  The inscription was made at the request of a casual visitor who happened to be walking by. The misspelling is believed to be the work of those who replaced the original at some point.  The unusual positioning is explained by an anecdote.  Jonson was being chaffed, so the story goes, by the...