Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Creative Destruction

General Electric Co. will drop out of the Dow Jones Industrial Average next week, a milestone in the decline of a firm that once ranked among the mightiest of blue-chips and was a pillar of the U.S. economy.


Hear, hear …

… Undernews: Why journalism isn't a profession. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

As late as the 1950s more than half of all reporters lacked a college degree.
And Clarence Darrow never graduated from law school. He just got around one day to passing the bar exam. I have a degree, though it is not in journalism. I don't think many activities are improved by being reduced to a syllabus.

Bob and Frank …

… Dylanizing the Great American Songbook - Los Angeles Review of Books. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Though the singer just turned 77 (born May 24, 1941), his recent efforts to echo the sounds of his parents’ radio — the sonic world his voice helped overturn — showcase some of his most distinguished singing and punctuate his catalog in a way nobody would have thought necessary.
His parents' radio? Dylan is just a few months older than I am. We both grew up listening to Frank and Perry and Nat — and lots more. And — surprise, surprise — we really liked them.

Something to think on …

It's not those who write the laws that have the greatest impact on society. It's those who write the songs.
— Blaise Pascal, born on this date in 1623


… Diversity in publishing is under attack. I hear the sound of knuckles dragging | Hanif Kureishi | Opinion | The Guardian.

When I was invited to join Faber, in 1984, the fiction editor was Robert McCrum. He was excitable then, and so was I. I couldn’t wait to be on his list of writers, since he was publishing Kazuo IshiguroMilan KunderaJosef ŠkvoreckýPeter Carey, Mario Vargas Llosa, Caryl Phillips, Paul Auster, Lorrie Moore, Danilo KišMarilynne Robinson and Vikram Seth. Not long before, Rushdie had won the Booker prize for Midnight’s Children and that masterpiece, with its echoes of Günter Grass and Gabriel García Márquez, suddenly seemed like a great opportunity. The world was coming in. What had been a narrow and sterile place was opening up. These books were successful; readers discovered that they wanted them. Today something similar can happen to Penguin.

McCrum, of course, is one of those white Oxbridge men. The list of authors in this paragraph rather undercuts the thesis of the piece, since it provides evidence that a lot of diversification has been under way for quite some time — though it would appear that the authors were chosen not for ethnic reasons, but for the quality of their work. Kureishi, I gather, would prefer that an author's ethnicity be given pride of place.

The British creativity I grew up with – in pop, fashion, poetry, the visual arts and the novel – has almost always come from outside the mainstream: from clubs, gay subcultures, the working class and from the street. Many of the instigators may have been white, but they were not from the middle class – a class that lacks, in my experience, the imagination, fearlessness and talent to be truly subversive.
Why art that is subversive is better than art that is not  escapes me. As for the suggestion elsewhere that Lionel Shriver may not realize that "greatness can come from anywhere," I can assure our sanctimonious author that  she is well aware of that.

Fascinating ...

Some 16 years ago, The Boston Globe published an article about a jobless man who haunted Marsh Plaza, at the center of Boston University. The picture showed a curious figure in a long overcoat, hunched beneath a black fedora near the central sculpture. He spent his days talking with pigeons to whom he had given names: Checkers and Wingtip and Speckles. The article could have been just another human-interest story about our society’s failing commitment to mental health, except that the man crouched in conversation with the birds was John Kidd, once celebrated as the greatest James Joyce scholar alive.


Monday, June 18, 2018

Listen in …

… The Biblio File hosted by Nigel Beale: Jonas Hassen Khemiri on writing, memory, death, speed and language.

Tomorrow night …


P O E T R Y   I N   C O M M O N



                                POETRY + MUSIC

DICK LOURIE, Poet, Saxophonist

BOBBY ZANKEL, Saxophonist

SEKAI ‘afua ZANKEL, Poet



Tuesday, June 19, 2018, 7 P/M.

(Please note the address, there are
  other Green Line Café locations.)


     This Event Is Free

Bobby Zankel

Writing in the Boston Phoenix, ASCAP Deems Taylor, award winning author Norman Weinstein
declared that ”Bobby Zankel deserves any Talent Deserving Wider Recognition Award that the
jazz press might offer”. In reviewing the CD “Emerging from the Earth, ”Jazz Times wrote, “He’s
headed to the status of a prime jazz innovator “. But who is Bobby Zankel and where has he

The Brooklyn born composer/alto saxophonist first began attracting national attention
around 1971, while a student at the University of Wisconsin as a member of the legendary jazz
master, MacArthur Fellow Cecil Taylor’s “Unit Core Ensemble”. Zankel was combining his
performing and research with Taylor with saxophone studies with the renown Fred Hemke and
working with master drummer George Brown’s quartet that featured organist Melvin Rhyne. His
“underground” reputation grew on the New York “Loft Scene” (73-75), where he performed with
the likes of Sunny Murray, William Parker, and Ray Anderson. He continued his apprenticeship
with Taylor working in his large group which at times included Jimmy Lyons , Hannibal, David S.
Ware, and Andrew Cyrille. In 1975, Zankel moved to Philadelphia to raise his family and to
expand his artistic vision without heed to commercialism or the trends of the times.
Since arriving in Philadelphia his performances as a sideman have ranged widely from the
Hank Mobley Quintet ,Sunny Murray Group, Jymie Merritt’s Forerunners, the Dells, NRBQ,
Odean Pope’s Saxophone Choir, Tyrone Brown’s Group, and Mogauwane Mahoele (who he
toured South Africa with). He has continued into the 21st century to work in different ensembles
lead by Cecil Taylor in Europe and New York. Zankel has recorded as a sideman with Fred Ho,
Odean Pope,Tyrone Brown and his string ensemble,, and Ruth Naomi Floyd(alongside with
Gary Thomas, Terri Lynn Carrington, and James Wideman....).

Zankel’s ten years of intensive study of tonality with the legendary master teacher, Dennis
Sandole (students include John Coltrane, Pat Martino, and James Moody among others) have
been a big part in his development into one of the most brilliant and original composers of our
time. Zankel’s compositions are characterized by a stunning blend of rhythmic layers, a highly
personal complex chromatic harmonic language, and a hauntingly beautiful melodic lyricism His
alto playing has been called “a unique amalgam of the rhythm and intricacy of bebop, with the
soul and drive of hardbop, and the spirituality, creativity and intensity of the avant garde.”
Zankel’s tenure in Philadelphia has been marked by a series of acclaimed collaborations with
choreographers, visual artists, writers, He has received commissions from Network for New
Music, Relache , Meet the Composer, the Kimmel Center, Jazz Bridge , and 2 Pew supported
dance projects . In 1995 he was awarded the prestigious PEW FELLOWSHIP. In 2001 he
organized Warriors of the Wonderful Sound Inc an organization dedicated to promoting new jazz
and the big band with the same name. The Warrior big band has developed a world wide
reputations for its collaborations with Muhal Richard Abams, Steve Coleman, Rudresh
Mahaanthaapa, Dave Liebman Don Byron, Oliver Lake, Steve Lehman, and Marty Ehrlich.The
seven CDs he has recorded as a leader have received outstanding reviews and featured such
magnificent musicians as Johnny Coles, Odean Pope, Uri Caine, Ralph Peterrson Jr., Marilyn
Crispell, Dave Burrell, John Blake, Sumi Tonooka, and William Parker

Sekai’afua Zankel, (s’az) 

Actor, writer and poet,
a Buddhist, born on the first day of spring, Sekai was destined to be an artist-activist, a
force for good. She began acting at Philadelphia’s Freedom Theater in 1972, mentored by
the late John E Allen Jr. Sekai started writing and performing poetry and what she calls, a
human revolution for the stage using music and dance. One reviewer called her an
“Extraordinary performance poet,” Sekai defines “Performance Poetry“ as poetry that is
“visceral and active”.

Her first book “Behind These Eyes /Optical Poems” was published in Philadelphia in 2007.
Sekai won the Frank Moore Poetry Prize 2008. She received a Leeway Foundation Art and
Change Grant in 2010 to present her poetry play, “Miss Pearl’s Spirit: In the Mysteries of
Mirrors" presented at the Hawthorne Cultural Center and the CEC. She performed as poet
and writer, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, in “A Brighter Coming Day” for Harper’s 100th
anniversary celebration at Moonstone Arts Center and several other presentations and
performances at, The African American Historical Museum and Mother Bethel AME
Church. In addition, Sekai has performed in Winston- Salem North Carolina at The Black
Theatre Festival Poetry Slam where she won as second place winner. She was a visiting poet
at Virginia State University Poet Artist program. Her poems have been published In the
CAP literary magazine, “Poetry Ink” Anthologies, and in “Apiary”, 7 Power Issue. Sekai
lives with her husband, musician Bobby Zankel in University City.

Leonard Gontarek

Leonard Gontarek is the author of six books of poems, including, Take Your Hand
Out of My Pocket, Shiva (2016), and He Looked Beyond My Faults and Saw My 
Needs (2013), both published by Hanging Loose Press. His poems have appeared 
in American Poetry Review, Poet Lore, Verse, Blackbird, The Awl, Spinning Jenny,
Verse Daily, Exquisite Corpse, The Best American Poetry, among others. 

He has presented 1000 poetry readings, political readings, and events in the
Philadelphia area, featuring Patti Smith, Pink, Nas and Busta Rhymes, among others.
Since 2006 he has conducted 1000 poetry workshops in venues including,
The Moonstone Arts Center, Musehouse, The Kelly Writers House,
University City Arts League, Free Library of Philadelphia, Philadelphia
Arts in Education Partnership, and a weekly Saturday workshop from his
home in West Philadelphia. He has been Mad Poet-in-Residence since 2008.

He coordinates Poetry In Common, Peace/Works, Philly Poetry Day,
The Philadelphia Poetry Festival, and hosts The Green Line 
Reading & Interview Series. Gontarek has received Poetry fellowships from the
Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the Philadelphia Writers Conference Community Service Award, and was a Literary Death Match Champion. His poem, 37 Photos 
From The Bridge, was a Poetry winner for the Big Bridges MotionPoems project 
and the basis for the award-winning film by Lori Ersolmaz sponsored by the 
Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis: http://movingpoems.com/poet/leonard-gontarek/
He is Poetry Consultant for the Whitman at 200: Art And Democracy project.

Dick Lourie

Dick Lourie’s poems have been published widely for 50 years. Denise Levertov wrote that his poetry “ . . . has never failed to give me a keen sense of his integrity and individuality. [H]is voice . . . speaks with a unique nd convincing eloquence.”
Since 1997, as both poet and blues saxophone player, he has been visiting the Mississippi Delta city of Clarksdale. His most recent collection, If the Delta Was the Sea, explores the city’s blues music, history, and diversity of cultures. National Book Award winner Ha Jin calls it “a rich and spacious book” and “a genuine delight.” Poet Martín Espada notes the work’s “irony, humor, and honest insight.  . . . [Lourie] fully understands the burdens and blessings of history, and knows that there is much to celebrate in the spirit of the survivors.” In an accompanying CD, he transforms the spoken word into conversations between the poet, his sax, and a blues band .
As a musician, he performed for fifteen years with internationally known bluesman Big Jack Johnson, who observed that “his sax playing adds a complete and satisfying taste to the band . . . ”
A veteran of small press publishing, he is a co-founder and still co-editor of Hanging Loose Press—with over 200 titles to its credit, mostly individual collections of poems—and Hanging Loose magazine, now celebrating, with issue #109, fifty-one years of continuous publication.

Sound advice …

 Stop Trying to Sell the Humanities - The Chronicle of Higher Education. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Justification is always a mug’s game, for it involves a surrender to some measure or criterion external to the humanities. The person or persons who ask us as academic humanists to justify what we do is asking us to justify what we do in his terms, not ours. Once we pick up that challenge, we have lost the game, because we are playing on the other guy’s court, where all the advantage and all of the relevant arguments and standards of evidence are his. The justification of the humanities is not only an impossible task but an unworthy one, because to engage in it is to acknowledge, if only implicitly, that the humanities cannot stand on their own and do not on their own have an independent value. Of course the assertion of an independent value and the refusal to attach that value to any external good bring us back to the public-relations question: How are we going to sell this? The answer is. again, that we can’t.
In The Theory of Education in the United States, written in the 1930s, Albert Jay Nock had already noted that colleges and universities were being changed from educational institutions to training schools. Education, he noted, has to do with the formation of character, not with the making of a living. He also noted that you can train just about anybody to do something. 

A dog's love

A dog loves a person the way people love each other only while in the grip of new love: with intense, unwavering focus, attentive to every move the beloved makes, unaware of imperfections, desiring little more than to be close, to be entwined, to touch and touch and touch. 

Interesting …

Yup, I gotta confess, that now-famous picture of a U.S. marshal in Miami pointing an automatic weapon toward Donato Dalrymple and ordering him in the name of the U.S. government to turn over Elian Gonzalez warmed my heart. They should put that picture up in every visa line in every U.S. consulate around the world, with a caption that reads: ''America is a country where the rule of law rules. This picture illustrates what happens to those who defy the rule of law and how far our government and people will go to preserve it. Come all ye who understand that.''
— Thomas Friedman, writing in the New York Times, April 25, 2000 
I wonder if he still feels that way.

Hmm …

… Why you’ll love having Gen Zers in the workplace.
When I entered the job market, employees were expected to adapt to the workplace. Employers in those days were certainly not looking to adapt the workplace to the preferences and predilections of the newly hired. It’s called a job. You’re hired to do something. That’s why you get paid. Learning to adapt can actually prove quite useful. So can learning something besides what you already think you know.

Unsettled science …

… One of Psychology's Most Famous Experiments Was Deeply Flawed.

Accepting an offer …

… Poem of the week: Poem for Professor Frye by Nausheen Eusuf | Books | The Guardian. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Here is my review of Not Elegy, But Eros.

Something to think on …

Public toilets have a duty to be accessible, poetry does not.
— Geoffrey Hill, born on this date in 1932

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Happy Father's Day!

Cartoons from The New Yorker

The poet and her garden …

 Jane Kenyon’s Peonies | Commonweal Magazine. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Kenyon emphasizes her love for her peonies here, but the imagery also intensifies their poignant brevity. Their loss becomes the loss of a loved one. As night descends in the poem, we are reminded of the brevity of all of this world’s beauties and loves. As Kenyon put it in another of her newspaper columns, “We are in fact like the grass that flourishes and withers, just as the psalmist says. Gardening teaches this lesson over and over, but some of us are slow to learn. We can only acknowledge the mystery, and go on planting burgundy lilies.”

Trio …

… Weekend Poetry: Three Poems. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Provocateur …

… Essayist Richard Rodriguez on Latinx: ‘the problem is in the liberation’. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

“I don’t even think Latinos can justify affirmative action on the basis of race discrimination, because we’re not race,” Rodriguez said. “So, giving affirmative action to a white Latina from Miami and not giving it to a white Appalachian kid from Kentucky is ludicrous to me.”


...Jordan Peterson and Conservatism’s Rebirth
In short, modern political discourse is noteworthy for the gaping hollow where there ought to be conservatives—institutions and public figures with something important to teach about political order and how to build it up for everyone’s benefit. Into this opening Mr. Peterson has ventured.

Something to think on …

Normal science does not aim at novelties of fact or theory and, when successful, finds none.
— Thomas Kuhn, born on this date in 1922

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Hmm …

… Love Anecdote by Joyce Carol Oates | Poetry Magazine. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Tracking the decline …

 ‘New York Times’ Gets Rid of Copy Editors; Mistakes Ensue – Lingua Franca - Blogs - The Chronicle of Higher Education. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Thinking out loud …

… Freeman Dyson: "I kept quiet for 30 years, maybe it’s time to speak." (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The real mystery is what is going on in the head of a six-month-old baby that enables the baby to make sense of all the things that are going on around it. So if we can somehow study the brains of babies in real detail, we might get a feeling for how consciousness begins. But of course, we are very far away from being able to do that.

Read all about it …

… A hit in the making | About Last Night.

“The Royal Family of Broadway” is based on the 1927 backstage comedy in which George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber spoofed the eccentricities of Ethel, John and Lionel Barrymore, who once were America’s first theatrical family but are now mostly remembered only by golden-age movie buffs….

Taking a look around …

… Tracy K. Smith's 'Wade in the Water' Grapples With America - The Atlantic. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

… Smith captures the triumph and burden of forgiveness so embedded in black spirituals. As both speaker and writer, in this and a majority of the poems in the collection, Smith reflects on how her art form can and should unify people.  

Exotica …

 Deep Water: 'Butterfly Farm' by Richard Foerster - Portland Press Herald. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Pure spirit …

… Zealotry of Guerin: Angel, Sonnet #409.

Encore …

The Galloping Gourmet made cooking fun on TV long before Food Network. Now he’s back. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Unusual residence …

… In Shades Magazine › House On The Edge Of Town.

How dumb are these people no. 2

Theranos Inc. founder Elizabeth Holmes, who reigned briefly as the world’s youngest female self-made billionaire over her promise to revolutionize blood testing, was criminally charged with defrauding investors along with the company’s former president

How dumb are these people no. 1

The National Institutes of Health on Friday canceled a mammoth study of moderate drinking after determining that officials had irrevocably compromised the research by soliciting over $60 million from beer and liquor companies to underwrite the effort.

Something to think on …

The learned ignore the evidence of their senses to preserve the coherence of the ideas of their imagination.
— Adam Smith, born on this date in 1723

Friday, June 15, 2018

A lesson in grace …

… Timothy Murphy may be the most prolific lyric poet in English ever – and he’s dying. | The Book Haven. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

And yes:
Put in a warm word with the Holy Ghost.

June Poetry at North of Oxford …

… Waiting for the Big Blue Bus on Grand and Ninth by Martina Reisz Newberry.

… Crows at Dawn by Robert Milby.

 Voices by Linda Stevenson.

… endpaper epigrams (graffiti from a cultural nervous breakdown) by Sean Howard.

Writing and walking …

… A Ramble About Books About Walking - Los Angeles Review of Books. Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
You might not consider thinking or walking to be in any sense doing nothing, although it’s possible to understand why others might. Speaking personally, however, there’s certainly no denying that walking is a treatment (if by no means a cure) for angst.

When it rains …

 Strict Diet by James Crews : American Life in Poetry. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Addressing a disaster …

… The artistic responses to Grenfell Tower | Terri Apter. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Hmm …

… Saul Kripke’s chains of communication | Footnotes to Plato. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

“Christopher Columbus” undoubtedly denotes a fifteenth-century Genoese explorer; but most English speakers don’t have any description in mind; or at any rate none that uniquely specifies any fifteenth-century Genoese explorer. “The first European to visit America” probably specifies some tenth-century Viking. “A fifteenth-century Italian explorer” doesn’t specify anyone. 
True of most people, perhaps, but not true of someone who has read Samuel Eliot Morison's Admiral of the Ocean Sea. Words have greater meaning for those who have greater knowledge.

Writer as human being …

… Learning to Love the Stories of Andre Dubus | The New Yorker. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Something to think on …

Not gifted with genius but honestly holding his experiences deep in his heart, he kept his simplicity and humanity.
— Kobayashi Issa, born on this date in 1763

English v. English

For English speakers in an alien English-speaking country, she writes: “A complex calculation has to be made weighing up the relative advantages of being understood, fitting in, and avoiding mockery versus the definite costs of losing one’s linguistic identity and saying things that sound plainly ridiculous to you.”
The Prodigal Tongue, by Lynne Murphy, NYT book review 


[H]igh heels, they essentially weren’t first created for women--they were created for male warriors to lock into a saddle. It was not an idea that came about to beautify the female body. It did emerge later, still for males, with Louis XIV, who was famous for wearing these big heels because he was not a very tall man. And it was like a symbol of power. Then it became kind of a competition of nobles.

Thursday, June 14, 2018


… Consideration: Sub specie aeternitatis: J.F. Powers, 1917-1999. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

For another thing Powers was a Roman Catholic whose principal topic — in both of his novels and a majority of his stories — was the Catholic priesthood. Educated by Anglicans, I arrived in adult life with a full set of anti-Catholic prejudices: dark-robed Jesuits plotting against the Crown, Bloody Mary and Foxe's Martyrs, the Borgia Popes and pig-headed James the Second, celibate priests denying birth control to the overpopulated Third World. Reading and traveling mellowed all this, of course, yet still I can tolerate Catholic writers at book length only if they leave their dogma at the door. Like many other Englishmen I regard Graham Greene as a brilliant narrative talent yoked to an irritating ideology and Brideshead Revisited as a regrettable lapse on the part of our finest mid-century novelist. (And I relish Orwell's slap at Waugh: "As good a writer as it is possible to be while holding untenable opinions".)
Proddy dog. (Just joking.)

Blogging note …

I am already out and about, but hope to be back home in a couple of hours, at which time I will resume blogging.

Crime, punishment, and justice …

… Arthur Conan Doyle, True Detective | The New Republic. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Something to think on …

Prescription for writer’s block: fear of poverty.
— Peter Mayle, born on this date in 1939


… David Douglas Duncan, 102, Who Photographed the Reality of War, Dies - The New York Times. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Retro chic...

Wednesday, June 13, 2018


 From cultural appropriation to clean eating: Lionel Shriver's most controversial quotes.

That's our Lionel. God bless her.

Happy birthday, Fernando …

 Nigeness: An Unlikely Debut.
Pessoa's novels are wonderful. Here's a piece  wrote about his poem.

Wonderful …

(Hat tip, Paul Davis.)

Anniversary …

… Bloomsday Tribute to James Joyce, Greatest Mind-Scientist Ever - Scientific American Blog Network. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Joyce brings the psychological hypotheses of James and Freud to life. He dunks us in streams of thought that swirl, eddy, cascade and collide with the objective reality of Dublin in 1904. Joyce’s major characters—Stephen Dedalus, a young, intellectually pretentious teacher and would-be writer (modeled after Joyce himself); Leopold Bloom, a gregarious Jewish ad salesman; Molly Bloom, his songstress spouse—are individuals rooted in a particular time and place. And yet these fictional humans feel universal.

Place of memory...

Cry of the heart …

… There's a Place for Us Part II: More on Revoice & Gay Christian Homemaking. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… when people (or ducks) try to tell you how to order your desires, they always try to get you to keep the expression of desire the same, but change the object. This is the “become straight” option, if “option” is the word I want. There is another way for desire to become ordered: same object, different expression. People who long for same-sex love and intimacy should maybe be encouraged to learn how to do that, since it is good, and holy, and beautiful. In spite of our consumerist, erotically-obsessed, and fragmented (but I repeat myself) culture; in spite of original sin; in spite of all our rationalizations and all the bad advice, I’ve seen gay people form deep same-sex friendships. (This is one of the many ways in which gay people are just like straight people! It’s almost as if “gay vs. straight” is a social construct, and only one way of arranging and understanding a complex array of longings.) Some of these friendships are with other gay people. Some aren’t. All of them, from what I can tell, have brought the participants closer to their Lord.

Professional writer …

 Stephen King: Master of Almost All the Genres Except "Literary" | Literary Hub. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

 The things of his I have read were quite good.

Monknik …

 The Clever Concrete Poetry of a Benedictine Monk. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Poetry roundup …

… Old wounds by William Logan | The New Criterion. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Q&A …

… Philosophers, meet the plagiarism police. His name is Michael Dougherty. – Retraction Watch. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

My first plagiarism discovery occurred in 2009: I was doing some research for a book I was writing on medieval moral dilemma theory, and I came across an article that provided a stunning experience of textual déjà vu. Via Facebook, I contacted the primary victim of the plagiarism (who had left academia and was serving as an MP in the Finnish government) and with his publisher we jointly requested a retraction on the basis of plagiarism. My first venture in correcting the scholarly record in philosophy for plagiarism resulted in a retraction. I was contacted by other colleagues, and we eventually sent retraction requests for more than 40 articles and book chapters by the same author of record (who thereby earned a brief appearance on the Retraction WatchLeader Board). So, my first foray in correcting the scholarly record for plagiarism went surprisingly well, but not all subsequent cases have gone so smoothly.

Something to think on …

I have looked into most philosophical systems and I have seen that none will work without God.
— James Clerk Maxwell, born on this date in 1831

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Catherine Nixey - Redux

Regarding The Darkening Age...

A far more generous review, I think, than what's warranted: certainly more positive than the piece I posted on the blog a few months ago.

Faith and Mary Poppins …

… How Teilhard de Chardin’s hidden response to Vatican censure finally came to light | America Magazine.

Blogging note …

I have to be at The Inquirer today and must leave shortly. So I won't be blogging again until later.

Lost and found …

… The Strange Case of the Missing Joyce Scholar - The New York Times. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Lisen in …

… The Biblio File hosted by Nigel Beale: Jonathan Galassi on FSG and Book Publishing.

Grief …

… Two bourbons past the funeral | The New Criterion. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Something to think on …

Pass through knowledge to arrive at simplicity.
— Trevanian, born on this date in 1931

When to trust the experts?

Monday, June 11, 2018

Listen in …

… Episode 273 – Alberto Manguel – The Virtual Memories Show.

“I don’t know how people survive in the world without reading.”

Faith and a toothache …

… Informal Inquiries : This World is not Conclusion.

Hmm …

 Bill Clinton: Norms of ‘What You Can Do to Someone Against Their Will’ Have Changed.

I was under the impression it is always wrong to do something to someone against their will.

When TV was worth watching …

… Replay: Ingrid Bergman performs Jean Cocteau | About Last Night.

Francis Poulenc's opera version is also outstanding:

Tracking the decline …

… When diversity means uniformity | The Spectator. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… diversity, both the word and the concept, has crimped. It serves a strict, narrow agenda that has little or nothing to do with the productive dynamism of living and working alongside people with widely different upbringings and beliefs. Only particular and, if you will, privilegedbackgrounds count. Which is why Apple’s African-American diversity tsar, Denise Young Smith, got hammered last October after submitting, ‘There can be 12 white, blue-eyed, blond men in a room and they’re going to be diverse too because they’re going to bring a different life experience and life perspective to the conversation.’ She hadn’t bowed to the newly shackled definition of the word, which has now been effectively removed from the language as a general-purpose noun.
The essence of a thing, classically defined, is that which makes it what it is. But what makes this particular thing what it is in particular is precisely what it does not have in common with anything else. This is true of persons as well as things. Diversity is the norm of being.

Anniversary …

 Informal Inquiries : The sound of water being poured in 1935.

The revel now is ended …

… Forgotten Poems #44: "After the Ball," by Nora Perry.

This is quite a haunting poem.

A winning combo …

 Rare and Common Sense by Theodore Dalrymple | Articles | First Things. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Great writers and artists should take part in politics only as a defence against politics.


In that last quotation lies the explanation of how a man as fundamentally indifferent or even hostile to politics as Leys should not only have written so much about it, but have written so well about it. Only a man for whom politics is a regrettable distraction from what is most important in life has the detachment to be so clear-sighted.
What Leys says about the opening sentence of Anthony Burgess’s Earthly Powers is correct, but I think the novel justifies it. He should have read it.

Something to think on …

As fascinated as I was by words on paper, it was matched by my fascination with words in people's mouths. The spoken word. And that is the world of theatre.
— Athol Fugard, born on this date in 1932