The Fleming Foundation Cultural Commentary

1

On the Wings of a Snow White Dove–Killing Time in Rome

This was one of the last pieces published in a magazine I used to write for.   You know how it is when you have over an hour to kill downtown in a major city?  How time seems to slow to a stop?  Fortunately, the Roman houses beneath the Palazzo Valentini, which we were waiting to visit, are a stone’s throw from the column of Trajan.  On that warm and sunny day in February, we took over an empty bench facing the imperial fora and soaked in the sun we should not be seeing, when we returned, for months.  Before...

0

Rome and Back

I am frequently asked questions about travel, and now that we have announced our Fall convivial program in Italy, I expect to be inundated by requests for information, to which I shall cheerfully and gratefully respond.  Nondimeno, I think it will be helpful if I put together some anticipatory observations. Passport Before you do anything, you should check your passport and determine that your passport is valid beyond several months of your return date.  You may, of course, check out various travel websites as well as the US State Department, and you will find as many answers as there are...

3

The Myth of the Culture War

More from “Overture to the Suicide of the West” The older advocates of multi-culturalism used to say that they were, like Jesse Jackson, arguing simply for the inclusion of non-Western cultures into the curriculum of an increasingly diversified student population.  Like Bill Clinton, the multi-culturalists believe that the real America only began to come into existence with the liberation of women, blacks, and children.  America may have been founded by straight white European Christian males, but with the emancipation of women, the granting of civil rights to African Americans, and the incorporation of large numbers of Asians and Latin American...

8

Wednesday’s Child: Letter from Tuscany

  I am hardly revealing a secret when I say that, despite the century-long attempt at imposing federalism on Italy – with law, education, and mass communications among the means at the central government’s disposal – this, thankfully, remains a uniquely fragmented European country.  Time and again the visitor is reminded that it is regional autonomy, de facto if not de jure, that makes this so tolerable a place to live or even, provided one speaks some Italian, to visit, to swim, to suntan, and to eat.  An American may well reflect that his own United States, had history played...

0

Ben Jonson’s Classical Restraint (Free to all subscribers)

Classical Restraint Despite his violent temper and conversion (for a time) to the old religion, Jonson was a well-balanced mind with a fondness for the order and beauty of classical literature. In his comedies, he made use of the classical theory of humors in order to promote his own ideas of the balanced temperament, and in his later poems, especially those collected in The Forrest and in The Underwood, the wild young swordsman has transformed himself into an advocate of reason and moderation, both in literature and in morals.  Jonson had tried both the abusive satires of the 90’s, a...

11

Hey Hey, HO HO, Cultural Conservatives Have Got to Go

This is the revised second part of my opening lecture at the 2017 Summer Symposium To understand the West’s cultural suicide, we might  begin by looking at an historical event, not from ancient Greece or 18th century France or even from the legendary 1960’s, which are now regarded as ancient history.  Let us start, instead, with with an episode in the culture war that has become a legend.  The year is 1987, just 30 years ago, and the place is Stanford University.  There stands “the Rev.”Jesse Jackson leading a group of 500 Stanford students, chanting “Hey Hey Ho Ho.  Western...

11

WHY? (FREE)

“The task of the civilized intelligence is perpetual salvage.” Why has Western man lost his nerve and his sense?  That is really the only important question of the day.  Everything else  that is happening in the world is merely a by-product of forces occupying the space made by the shrinking of the West. Or I should say “HOW  has  Western man lost his nerve and his sense?”   The Why is always in the deep mystery of God’s time.  The only way we can approach it is in describing the How.  We might then hope to understand a little or...

12

Get On the Wrong Side of History (Available to All Subscribers)

This is the first part of my opening shot at the 2017 Summer Symposium. Everyone I know or wish to know is on the wrong side of history.  This is hardly much of a distinction., since,  according to the people who own and operate the United States as a corporate  monopoly, half the country is in the same boat. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu says the Confederacy was on the wrong side of history; The members of Black Lives Matter say white people are on the wrong side of history; Barak Obama has declared just about anyone who disagrees with...

0

Wednesday’s Child: Surreal Sports

I have in my library a dictionary of Russian criminal and jailhouse slang, an evolved argot that retains the syntax and grammar of conventional speech, but replaces many verbs and most of the nouns with occult formations based on a number of European languages and dialects, from Lithuanian to Yiddish.  When one flips through this dictionary, one is struck by the fact that a good quarter of the nouns, even if their primary significance is to do with the business of thieving or fencing, have the derogatory meaning of “passive homosexual.” This, of reflection, is hardly surprising.  The environment of...

5

How to “Get” Trump

  Most people, especially left-wingers and neocons, still don’t “get” President Trump. Yet the clues are right before our eyes, if you just look. Numerous books and articles describe who he is, and how he operates. A big problem for left-wingers, neocons and others is that they expect politicians to be a certain way, even though they know Trump never has held elective office. They expect him to be like one of the Bushes, or the Clintons, or Obama, or even Reagan or Jimmy Carter. They expect him to be someone who “plays the game” of politics. And they expect...