The Fleming Foundation Cultural Commentary

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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...

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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...

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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....

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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.,...

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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...

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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...

11

Russia Hoax Finally Dying

Events are confirming what I wrote on this site six months ago, that there’s no way the Russians could have rigged our election because it’s just too complex. It would involve not just putting up anti-Hillary, pro-Trump stuff on social media, but knowing what to put up, and when to do it. Elections are more about intuition than anything else. Trump intuited he would win if he campaigned for working-class voters in October in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Hillary’s bad tuition sent her to Silicon Valley to collect bucks from the digital oligarchs. The latest developments: This past week, former...

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Wednesday’s Child: Letter from Malaga

Well, from Marbella, actually, but it occurred to me that having a posh name in the title would look like I was putting on airs and that the name of Spain’s great tourist hub – Malaga Costa del Sol Airport, whence 17 million oafs, badly hungover and savagely sunburnt, return every year to the satanic mills of Great Britain – might better suit the persona I cultivate and reveal here. Yet cavernous is the abyss of snobbery.  While I was dousing myself with pink champagne on the lawn of a friend’s villa, a madam I used to know in London...

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Religio Philologi: Social Justice

  In March 2010, I put online an earlier version of this piece: In all the political debates over nationalized welfare and health care, both anti-Christian socialists and Catholics frequently the term “social justice” in their arguments for  guaranteed incomes, social welfare, and socialized medicine.  In fact, the expression “social justice” is frequently heard from the lips of Catholic traditionalists (including distributists), Marxists, and Greens.  Are they talking about the same principle or different principles?  Does the expression have any usable meaning?  Before going on to sketch out some basic principles of a Christian’s duties  to his fellows, we might begin by examining...