The Fleming Foundation Cultural Commentary

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From Under the Rubble 3: Hijab Rules!

Hijab Rules By Thomas Fleming In an 8-1 decision that surprised no one, the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a Muslim woman’s right to wear a head-scarf in defiance of an employer’s dress code.  Abercrombie and Fitch—a maker of overpriced preppy status clothing—had implemented a dress code that required sales staff to dress in in the style of A&F’s product line.  Among the prohibited items was any form of head-covering.  A Muslim  woman took the job without informing the company either of her religion or her intention to wear a head scarf.  A&F’s lawyers took the line that...

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The Autodidact: Homer 2

Man in his Place Where to begin?  If we were liberals, we would have to begin with the individual or with the Greek concept of the individual, and then we would show how the individual interfaced with the state, which either invaded or protected his rights.  Alas for the liberals, the state has not been invented yet, and the Greeks hardly even have the concept of the individual.  Our heroes do have names, of course, which implies that they could tell each other apart—and some of them seem self-willed to the point of egomaniacal.  But in addition to a regular...

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The Autodidact I: Homer Part 1

The Autodidact Returns I:  Homer 1 I thought of calling this series “The Autodidact Rides Again,” but I would need to know how to insert the famous ride from the overture to William Tell, and the old familiar radio voice that invited listeners to  “Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear….”   In fact, in these first installments we are going back a bit farther than those days when the masked rider of the plains stung the gun out of a villain’s hand by shooting his gun barrel.  Recent changes in my career delayed the plan I...

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Reading for the Movies

Revisions 1:  Reading for the movies: A. I. Bezzerides by Ray Olson It’s my habit, ever since reviewing movies in the Sixties for the Minnesota Daily, campus paper of the University of Minnesota, to read the book a movie’s based on before I see the movie.  Not always, but whenever the book’s or its author’s reputation piques my interest, I give it a try. A. I. Bezzerides is well-known as the writer of a handful of very good films noir. The screenplay of Kiss Me Deadly is his, based on one of Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer mysteries and, says James...

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From Under the Rubble 3: Same Sex Sex No News

  From Under the Rubble 3:  Same Sex Sex No News Thomas Fleming The gibbering classes were alternately elated and depressed by two “news” on same-sex marriage.  They were thrilled when Irish voters lived down to expectations by voting overwhelmingly to legitimate the love that used to be said that it did not dare speak its name but now shouts it from the rooftops, but they were depressed when it turned out that a “scientific” study on changing attitudes toward same-sex marriage was, according to its principle author, bogus.  These two stories are all the proof you need that a...

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The Best Revenge 2: Going Greek

Sometimes I slip, almost by accident, into some other universe, such as the Byzantine Empire in the Tenth Century or Stuart England or Paris before World War I.  I am not quite sure how it happens.  Sometimes, it is because I have started reading a book or it might happen that I hear a piece of music.  Once, in the short drive from my office (when I had an office) to my house, I was asking myself whether or not I should do a program in Scotland.  My schedule was busy, but to plan such a program ten or twelve...

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From Under The Rubble 2: No News is Good News

HilaryClintonHilaryClintonHilaryClintonHilaryClintonHilaryClintonHilary ClintonHilaryClintonHilary Had enough?   I know I have.  Not a day goes by that Ms Clinton’s critics and defenders do not make her candidacy front page news.  Let me say it here for the first time—and, believe me, I am going to say it many times in the coming months:  News is a waste of time.  It it is simply gossip about strangers that distracts us from the duties of everyday life.  News commentators are like the bored English housewives and secretarial spinsters who spend their days tittle-tattling about the Royals.  Turn them off and fix breakfast for the...

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The Best Revenge 1

19 May:  Spiritual Advice Four dinner parties in a row is three too many.  Two of them were to celebrate a visit from an old friend, whom I serve as “spiritual advisor.”  The does not mean that I provide counseling aimed at edifying his soul.  My advice has strictly to do with spirits of the sort they bottle in Tennessee and her neighbor to the north.  I am not a whiskey snob or even a wine connoisseur.  I have connoisseurs of every kind.  You know the sort—people who take wine appreciation classes and torture the poor waiter or wine steward...

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From Under the Rubble

Under the Rubble I: Cryin’ Time Again in Boston Thomas Fleming The trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been as weepy as a Roy Orbison song. The killer seemed to be crying when his aunt testified to what a good little boy he had been. A cousin told the jury that Dzhokhar had cried watching The Lion King with his father. Prosecution witnesses were full of tears and sorrow—unaffected and justified—for the victims of the Boston Marathon terrorist attack, but Sister Helen Prejean claims he told her that no one should have to suffer as his victims did. The only issue...

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The Measure of All Things

Remember when a “Conservative” was someone opposed to change? “Any change, at any time, for any reason is to be deplored,” as The Duke of Cambridge (Victoria’s uncle) once declared. Back in the 1950’s, the word got restricted to the meaning “anti-communist/capitalists who believed in a strong defense and a free economy, and it was embodied in the unlikely person of Barry Goldwater. By the election of 1980, Conservatives had taken the initiative and were now the bold innovators in economic and foreign policy. Most conservatives were delighted with the change of image—from Tory squire to progressive, from curmudgeon to...