The Fleming Foundation Cultural Commentary


Trog 6

Most of us Americans, by the time we reach a certain age, have grown used to living in our own houses with our own families and under our own rules.  Travel upsets all our  arrangements, and in hotels we are subjected to other people’s arguments and, what is worse, to other people’s children.  Here in Agrigento, we have our own little house, which is really just two apartments that make up one building.  But, for all the privacy we have, we are still on other people’s property. The other people are used to strangers, since they operate a very nice...


Wednesday’s Child: On National Pride

A columnist, but really just about anybody in the talking heads corner who voices opinions with the regularity of a grandfather clock, must be a fool if he doesn’t harbor a measure of remorse.  Opinion in general has something of a sleight of hand about it, in that it presupposes the choosing of subjects on which one believes one has something to say and the leaving out of other subjects, with the result that one appears more confident of one’s view of the world than one really is. Well, I thought that since we’re all on holiday, for today’s peroration...


Imperialism From the Cradle to the Grave, Conclusion

In the bad old days of previous centuries and millennia,  conquering nations trashed the civilizations they occupied for diverse reasons.  (I am not now speaking of looting, which can sometimes be a back-handed token of esteem.) Some savages and barbarians just like breaking things.  Since they cannot create, they can at least destroy.  Sometimes it is to teach a lesson.  “You think you Jews can play power-politics by making an alliance with the Egyptians?  Watch this!”  Sometimes, the point is to destroy symbols and traditions to which the conquerors object on moral grounds:  Cortez was a ruthless man, but the...


How to Learn–and Not to Learn–a Foreign Language, Part II. Defining Goals

Many people, embarking upon a serious study of a living foreign language, dream of acquiring fluency.  While this is probably an impossible dream for most of us, so are a virtuous life, athletic prowess, and saintliness.  The difficulty should be no deterrent to the determined, though we must always keep in mind the very remote chance that we could ever succeed. What do I mean by fluency?  My second Greek teacher, Walton Morris, had a rigorous definition.  In the 1950’s he had worked in Army intelligence along the French-German border, gathering information on Communist activities.  One day, he would pose...


God Rest You Merry: Carols, Hymns, Dances and Ditties of ChristmasBy David Wihowski

Then why should men on earth be so sad, Since our Redeemer made us glad, When from our sin he set us free, All for to gain our liberty? ~ from the “Sussex Carol These four lines capture the essence of Christmas celebration. Those puritanical Christians (or even non- Christians) who would squelch the celebration, miss the point: “our Redeemer made us glad!” In a previous posting (“Not Christmas Yet”) I may have seemed a little Scrooge-y, but I believe that “For everything there is a season, and a time for every a purpose under heaven.” And that means that...


How–and How Not To—-to Learn a Foreign Language:  Preface

In the land of the fast buck, the Flim Flam man is a king who never goes broke underestimating his fellow-citizens.  Where lesser men are horrified by the sufferings of humanity, the great man  unflinchingly faces disasters—famine,  plague, drought, or shortage of memory sticks—as an opportunity to increase his fortune.  And, where there is no actual shortage or serious problem, it is a small matter to create the illusion that fathers en masse are molesting their daughters, millions of children are being snatched by strangers, or synagogues are under siege by an upsurge of Nazi anti-Semitism.  To remedy these tragic...


Trog 5: Excelsior!

Ancient Akrágas was built on top of a steep hill overlooking the sea.  In its century of prosperity from the late 6th to the early 5th century, when it was mercilessly destroyed by the Carthaginians, the city spread down to a ridge that slid steeply to the sea.  It was on that lofty brow that Theron, the lord of Akrgas, began constructing temples even before he teamed up with Gelon, the lord of Syracuse, to defeat the Carthaginians, who had invaded the island from the North.   I am using the term “lord,” because the Greek term, tyrannos, is almost...


Imperialism from the Cradle to the Grave, Part One of Two

Speaking in the broadest generalities, a  healthy and thriving religious civilization does not have to reassure itself by burning temples and overthrowing altars.   The atrocious vandalisms and massacres perpetrated by bands of Isis thugs in the name of Islam tells us something about Islam, and the same can be said for Christian sects whose members have broken stained glass windows and destroyed images of Christ, his Mother, and the saints.  They have  moral and spiritual screw lose, not just individually but collectively.


The End of Conservative Magazines

A few years back, from the safe perch of the Bushido  in the waters of the Ionian Sea, Taki goaded me–suffering from an almost lethal hangover– to gloat over the Weekly Standard’s collapse.  They were rescued for a time, but finally an entirely pointless exercise in ignorance and duplicity is coming to an end. National Review doesn’t actually need to quite printing since no one of any intelligence or discernment has picked it up for 20 years.  The  American Spectator was, at best, a college rag that poked fun in the right directions until its editor–a stage Irishman–was afflicted with...