The Fleming Foundation Cultural Commentary

15

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

The Sense of Honor I could not love thee, dear, so much, Loved I not honor more. Richard Lovelace’s poem “To Lucasta” used to be one of those poems that everyone had to commit to memory, and these last two lines constituted the most oft-quoted reference to the principle of honor in English literature.  Lovelace was a young man of good family, whose loyalty to his king and church first sent him to war, later put him in prison, and ultimately plunged him into poverty.  He had left Oxford with an M.A. and was about to serve under Lord Goring...

6

Diary of a Jerk-Hunter, I: Gold Medal Jerks

My title is a little misleading.  It’s not as if anyone has to go in search of Jerks.  They are like mosquitoes in a tidal marsh:  They are inescapable. But, like mosquitoes, some species of Jerk are merely annoying, while others carry diseases far more dangerous to society than malaria or zika. Some years ago, I embarked on a project to which I gave the obvious title, Jerks.  My agent thought it was a brilliant idea and loved the initial pieces.  I dutifully spent a good deal of time writing up the outline, prospectus, etc., but nothing I prepared succeeded...

7

Urbs Aeterna in Carolina

Summary:  The Bad News is that a bad break has made it impossible to conduct a Greek program in October, but the Good News is that we are doing a little program in Charleston in the Winter.   The Bad News July 10th was a long day, sweltering in my Summer office, otherwise known as the porch.  Too much to do for the Summer Seminar, with far too little time left.  Most of my five lectures were more or less done, though I was embarrassed to realize, several days later, that I had neglected to finish one of them.  No...

0

Trump’s Strategy for Victory

  We’ve all come to know Donald Trump, or some version of him: real estate baron, reality TV star, target of biased leftist media, husband of three wives and father of four children, victor over 16 Republican rivals in the “bum of the week” primaries and supposedly guaranteed loser to the first female Supreme Leader come this Nov. 8. The odds are against him: The media assault is as relentless from neo“conservative” pundits eager to slaughter thousands more U.S. troops and millions more foreigners, in uniform and out. The country’s changing demographics increased those likely to vote against him while...

20

Wednesday’s Child: 2+2

  I was scrolling through news headlines the other day, marvelling lazily at the lengths to which journalists will go to draw attention to their and other people’s philistine twaddle, when a story title caught my eye.  “Syrian women liberated from ISIS are burning their burqas,” it went. “What does that tell us?”  Naturally, I didn’t read on.  I knew the answer to the journalist’s rhetorical question long before she was born. When Stalin died in 1953, Russia’s entire population–statistically speaking, for there are a few notable exceptions on record went into a paroxysm of genuine, profound and unrehearsed grief,...

1

Boethius Book Club, Episode 8: C.S. Lewis The Abolition of Man

By

This month’s selection is The Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis. Many, if not most, of you have undoubtedly read this prophetic book. Lewis realized that modern culture was saturated with a virulent form of nominalism that reduced all human knowledge to pseudo-objective social sciences and human wisdom to subjective judgment. His answer was to refamiliarize ourselves with a form of natural law teaching that reached across cultures. The Abolition of Man remains provocative to this day, particularly Lewis’s insight that the subjectivism taught by bad literature textbooks flows inexorably into the contempt for human nature that made genetic engineering...

0

The Art of Ugliness, Part II

This is the Conclusion of a piece I first published in 1980 in The Southern Partisan Quarterly Review (please note acronym). Trying to sort out this business of ugliness, I asked an artist friend in McClellanville, why the whole world was getting so ugly.  “Ugly is cheap,” he said.  “Beauty costs,” just the sort of practical remark I have come to expect from a painter.  The new shopping malls and fastfood shops in Chapel Hill are convincing evidence for the proposition.  Located out in no-man’s land or swamps, where acreage is cheap,  these stores and restaurants are built according to...

22

POB I.6:  In Defense of Honor, Part A

Charles Lee was a trained soldier.  The son of a British officer, he had served in North America and Portugal during the Seven Years War, and, later, he had gone to Poland  as aide-de-camp to the Polish King.  A strong Whig, he bought an estate in Virginia, where he sympathized strongly with the defense of American rights.  When the Revolution broke out, Lee, as the senior professional officer in the colonies, naturally expected to be made commander-in-chief of the American forces.  When the position went to George Washington, Lee was naturally unhappy.  When, at the Battle of Monmouth, Lee failed to...

0

Writing and Reading Verse, Part III

A few weeks ago, the Brownlows and some other friends were having lunch with us.  The conversation was lively, inclusive, and hit upon many diverse themes, but, when the conversation turned to versification, I could sense an opiate pall falling upon the table—“as though of hemlock I had drunk”—and in the last column on this subject I fear I have ridden my own hobby-horse, the intricate relations between verse and music—over the hills and far away. Let us return to the main topic, which is learning how to write competent verse, partly as a means to learning how to read...

0

Planning vs. Reality

As they say, man proposes, God disposes. Some time back I announced what our podcast schedule would be for the remainder of 2016, only for it to be disrupted by some family health issues that Dr. Fleming had to attend to (which are still ongoing), and then the arrival of many of you in Rockford for our Boethius Seminar. As a result, we are spending the rest of August uploading the remainder of our stock of Boethius Book Club audios to continue to provide content to those paying members who so faithfully support our work. We will return to our...