The Fleming Foundation Cultural Commentary

11

Trump: The Lesser Evil

  Hillary Clinton’s take on a large percentage of the American people is drawing fire: “You could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right, The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic—you name it,” and added, “some of those folks—they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.” The other half of Trump supporters are simply stupid and depressed, and people in Hillaryland should pity them. Let’s do some quick and very rough math.  In round numbers, the country has about 280 million people, about three fourths of whom—or 210 million—are old enough to vote. ...

3

Tripe Advisor

The generosity of a friend, like a magic carpet, took me to Rome over the weekend, and I am glad to report that the best restaurant in the world is still there and still serves the best tripe.  Outside Italy, mastery over tripe is a useless yardstick of a chef’s eminence, since hardly anybody makes it, while a cook in England would probably get arrested if he dared to put the dish on the menu, containing as it does organic agents even more devastating to the human condition than gluten or traces of nuts.  On our blessed peninsula, however, tripe...

1

Jerks 1: Land of the Free, Home of the Jerk, Part A: Taxonomy

“We want the world and we want it now.”  [Jim “the Jerk” Morrison, the prize ass of American pop music.] Let’s get  something straight.  I’m a jerk.  I’m obnoxious… And I don’t care because I’m FILTHY RICH.  I’m the guy you see driving down the street in a Ferrari with the top down, and you think to yourself, “What an ass!”  And you know what?  You’re right.  But so what?  Do you really think I value your opinion.  I’m a rich jerk, so I couldn’t care less. The “Rich Jerk,” whoever he is, is operating the familiar scam popularized by...

8

Bullying and Baloney

Bullying is the latest great social craze in the American media. They always have some social pathology with which they terrorize the suckers who watch the news or read websites.  Back in the 1980’s and 90’s they beat the drum for teenage pregnancy and father-daughter incest.  They had to drop the former, after a few dissidents were cruel enough to point out that the term “father” turned out to include the mother’s second husband, live-in boyfriend, and any stranger in the night she happened to entertain. The increase in teenage pregnancies was real enough, but, since the cause was the sexual...

2

Properties of Blood I.6: In Defense of Honor, Part D

On a more basic level, shame can be an intense feeling of embarrassment and inferiority.  Romance languages express this feeling by using derivatives from the Latin verecundia:  vergogna (Italian), verguenza (Spanish), vergogne (French).  This sense of shame is an expansive category as Julio Caro Baroja points out in his historical account of Spanish honor. “Verecundia shows itself not only as chastity and modesty, as the blush which lewd speech or actions bring to the face, but also as respect for parents and elders, which prevents one from doing certain things in their presence, and as humility, reserve, and respect for...

1

Reckoning With Reality

Reality has a way of biting you in the posterior. Americans are finding that out the hard way. They’re going to find it out even more if voters put Hillary Clinton back in the White House. She basically has reassembled President George W. Bush’s Neocon Brain Trust. The Atlantic magazine keeps a tally of Republicans who are backing her, including these Neocons: Richard Armitage, Michael Hayden, John Negroponte, Paul Wolfowitz, Max Boot and Robert Kagan. Add that to the “neo-Liberal” interventionist Democrats she has gathered, and you have a powder keg of interventionist insanity. Kagan is married to Victoria Nuland,...

7

The Chickens Come Home To Roost

These are not really  trick questions: Question 1) What is dumber than a dumb jock? A sports fan—or sports writer—who lionizes postmodern athaletes [sic!] who are paid to slough off every quality that turns hominid apes into human beings.  Note: I am not talking about genuine athletes, who still exist–though there are not many “Olympians” among them–but sports stars, who are as insubstantial in human terms as any other media celebrity.  Televised football games are aimed at the husbands of soap opera fans, and our sports heroes are cut from the same cardboard and tinsel as Ryan Seacrest and Angelina Jolie. This past...

2

Boethius Book Club, Episode 9: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

By

This month’s selection is The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. Often misunderstood as a horror novel, Stevenson’s strange tale is a brilliant and prophetic exploration of modern man and his lust for the primitive. The 20th century has played out Stevenson’s allegory in movement after movement—from the rage for going back to nature to the so-called paleo diet. We have become as morally repulsive and lust-obsessed as the alter-ego Dr. Jekyll called into being. Recorded: June 23, 2016 Original Air Date: September 3, 2016 Show Run Time: 1 hour 17 minutes Show Guest(s): Dr....

4

Aristotle’s Politics Book V

There is little point in setting up a good regime (or, for that matter, a tyranny), if it can be easily overthrown in a revolution.  Modern political commentators speak glibly of a “right to revolution,”  as if they were speaking of public rudeness or freedom of association.  Revolution is  no joking matter, and it is hard to think of many that have done much, if any, good.  In 21st century USA, however, thugs are free to take to the streets, block access to businesses and services, destroy property, threaten lives–all in the name of political change–and, if by some remote chance...

2

Wednesday’s Child: The Bloodthirsty Artist

Everybody knows, however vaguely, that just before World War I, during his years in Vienna, Adolf Hitler made his living as a painter.  In Mein Kampf he recalled his hopes of attaining at least national renown, holding the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts responsible for eventually dashing them by denying him admission.  It is likewise remembered that the Viennese cafes where the epoch’s leading artists habitually gathered were frequented by the future dictator with a view to what today would be called networking.  In 1937, pictures by some of those artists were famously held up to ridicule in the Exhibition...