Friday, May 07, 2021
Thursday, May 06, 2021
From the medium’s beginnings, starting in 1839, photographers sought to have their work recognized as art. Indeed, the modern history of photography has been written as a kind of pilgrim’s tale, a major plotline of which is a progressive discovery of the medium’s unique artistic nature following a series of unsatisfying imitative encounters with the arts of painting and drawing.
Wednesday, May 05, 2021
American Scholars will "challenge the ideologies that are being purveyed" in mainstream schools, including critical race theory, postmodernism and socialism, he said. It wants to prepare students for the "political outlook" they are likely to face in college.
… Chinese leaders “have not been forthcoming through this process,” and that U.S. analysis “is not based on an assumption that what they say is true.”
McCulloch’s son William told the Guardian that his father was “over the moon” at the sales. “He has been writing poetry for years, and sent it to different places, but always got rejected,” he said.
Tuesday, May 04, 2021
… After [Andrew] Sullivan left , he quickly attracted some 60,000 subscribers to his new newsletter on the independent online platform Substack; he more than doubled the income he was earning at the magazine, he said. One media critic described Sullivan’s success as “gut curdling” to other journalists. Substack reportedly recruited Yglesias, offering him a hefty advance to join after news of his clashes within Vox emerged. Among the other popular features on Substack are Mounk’s free-speech newsletter Persuasion, which aims “to persuade, rather than to mock or troll, those who disagree with us” and gained about 25,000 subscribers just weeks after it debuted in April 2020; and former reporter Matt Taibbi’s widely read media criticism, published under the rubric TK News.
More than merely spotlighting the failed predictions, this collection shows that the makers of failed apocalyptic predictions often are individuals holding respected positions in government and science. While such predictions have been and continue to be enthusiastically reported by a media eager for sensational headlines, the failures are typically not revisited.
Monday, May 03, 2021
April would not be April without its characteristic tinge of melancholy. All of those cherry, plum, and pear petals drifting down beneath a blue sky, carpeting the green grass and the sidewalks. It's wonderful how April and October share a similar bittersweet wistfulness and wistful bittersweetness, isn't it? Every six months, year after year, the falling of petals and the falling of leaves. Trying to tell us something
It will surprise no one that I am not a fan of wokeness.
… In Praise of a Brazen Poet: On the Essays of Kay Ryan, Outsider. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
“Something nonsensical in the heart of poetry is the very reason why one can’t call poetry ‘useful’,” she explains at one point, and then adds, a little later, “This is why Auden and others can say with such confidence that poetry makes nothing happen. That’s the relief of it. And the reason why nothing can substitute for it.” We don’t expect critics to assert such truths anymore, let alone with such confidence. We expect them to “problematize,” to qualify. Ryan’s own confidence, then, is thrillingly anachronistic: obstinate, sure, but warming, too, as if a cast-iron stove were squatting in the middle of that valley.
Sunday, May 02, 2021
Saturday, May 01, 2021
Then it happened. Upon exiting the car in downtown Washington, I had one of those Charlton Heston end-of-civilization epiphanies. Here in the cool spring air were people who actually wore these things outdoors, as a matter of habit. “You maniacs!” I shouted more or less to myself, trying to remember when it had first been established beyond any reasonable doubt that there was no meaningful risk of outdoor transmission of the virus. I stumbled along in a daze past double maskers, a species I assumed were bred only in captivity, and a child wrapped in some kind of translucent garbage bag. Rain began to fall.
Friday, April 30, 2021
The Stasi became a highly effective secret police organization. Within East Germany it sought to infiltrate every institution of society and every aspect of daily life, including even intimate personal and familial relationships. It accomplished this goal both through its official apparatus and through a vast network of informants and unofficial collaborators (inoffizielle Mitarbeiter), who spied on and denounced colleagues, friends, neighbours, and even family members.
Localize. Decentralize. Break down the overly large into a smaller and more human scale. I mourn the death of the minors but perhaps it presages the death of the majors, or at least the rebirth of baseball in organized forms that respect the local, the idiosyncratic, the unregimented.
My guess is that Hunter meant for the Denhams’ plight to symbolize the condition of England after World War II, when unrelieved gray austerity was a way of daily life. But when I saw “A Picture of Autumn” in the theater, I was no less struck by the way in which it portrays the difficulties of sons and daughters whose aged parents can no longer care for themselves. That both interpretations are equally valid is a sign of the play’s thematic richness, and the fact that so much of it is so funny is a tribute to the author’s dramaturgical skill. Mr. Kaikkonen’s cast gets its laughs without stretching for them, and the production, as always with the Mint, is designed and mounted with consummate skill.
I'll take anybody to get rid of Krasner.
Thursday, April 29, 2021
Wednesday, April 28, 2021
Believe or not, doing the things that must when some passes and you are one those responsible for putting things in or order. Thank God my brilliant friend Katherine Miller was there to help. I could not conceivably have done it without her help. So: I will blog again tomorrow.
Tuesday, April 27, 2021
I think the problem facing this country today is how timorous, credulous, and servile so many of our citizens have become.
Monday, April 26, 2021
My friend, the composer Harold Boatrite, passed away this morning. I share power of attorney for him with our friend Katherine Miller. So we will be involved in the funeral arrangements. We were friends for 50 years and I just spoke with him last night. So I'm pretty bummed out and really not interested in blogging just now. Here is a piece of his:
Sunday, April 25, 2021
Waspish, contrarian and mean spirited but never banal: Auberon was one of a kind. He was the son of the celebrated novelist Evelyn Waugh. Auberon came from a long line of writers and eccentrics. His forekind would be traced to 17th century North Britain. Waugh actually has a meaning: it means something like valiant. Thence they transmigrated to northern England wherein their surname was pronounced ‘woof.’ The Waugh’s were a most gifted race. They produced physicians, palmary writers and even a religious maniac who argued that the evidence for evolution was planted by Beelzebub to fool those of little faith
… outside of the Twitter bubble and large city centers where mask virtue-signaling reigns supreme, no sane person has been wearing a mask outdoors for months. The science doesn’t support it. As Slate noted in its late-to-the-party piece, the chances of catching COVID during a brief moment passing someone else on the sidewalk are lower than getting struck by lightning.
The American Humanist Association, in withdrawing its award to Professor Dawkins for his work, did not in the least revise their estimate of its worth, but rather condemned him for obliquely expressing an opinion contrary to a moral orthodoxy at least as doubtful as any religious orthodoxy. Its closedmindedness is worthy of any totalitarian regime.
I, too, am no big fan of Dawkins, but I certainly he should be allowed to say what he wants.
Saturday, April 24, 2021
Yes, we have realpolitik in place. Maybe we should call it realscientik. Neil Ferguson, and his ilk, pressed the emergency red button. It is a button they have been itching to press for years, decades. It is the ‘Here is the infection that is going to kill us all’ button. That infection may turn up at some point. COVID19 isn’t it. The button should never have been pressed.
The true believers in what the government tells will of course disagree. But I have never bee a true believer in what the government tells me. And the truth wil come out sooner or later. I think I have a pretty good idea what it will be.
There is little in the way of biographical detail to help scholars looking for Shakepeare’s religious beliefs. Instead, they have generally relied on explicit references to familiar religious language or character types – the Catholic priest in “Romeo and Juliet,” for instance – in speculating about Shakespeare’s faith. Some have suggested that clues and codes in his play suggest the playwright was a closeted Catholic. But to me it is more in what he doesn’t say, or where he finds new ways of saying something old, that Shakespeare is theologically at his most interesting.
Friday, April 23, 2021
Thursday, April 22, 2021
Let me be clear: this city’s demise wasn’t just violent protests and burning buildings, or crime skyrocketing and businesses fleeing. It was also political indoctrination, hypocritical leadership, and the suppression of oppositional thought.
Spiritual, numinous, mystical, Gnostic — whatever you wish to call it — what it comes down to is God-is-in-me. The self as part of the Creator. The Creator as equal to his creation; creation as a substantive element of its maker. Magic and miracle: incarnation. Fusion; anti-distinction. The whirlwind power of imagining.
Well, Dawkins has no philosophical that I have ever been able to discern. Copleston's history is outstanding. There ought to be something by Gabriel Marcel. And I would have included William Luijpen's Existential Phenomenology.
Wednesday, April 21, 2021
When the CIA or related security state agencies tell American journalists to believe something, we obey unquestioningly, and as a result, whatever assertions are spread by these agencies, no matter how bereft of evidence or shielded by accountability-free anonymity, they instantly transform, in our government-worshipping worldview, into a proven fact — gospel — never to be questioned but only affirmed and then repeated and spread as far and wide as possible.
He could be funny, as in his remembrance of a poetry reading given by William Empson and interrupted by the poet’s wife: “After the second poem, as I remember, Mrs. Empson called out: ‘William, you’re very boring.’ He let that pass. But after the next poem she called out more formally: ‘William, you are very boring.’ Empson stopped, looked at the audience, and said: ‘My wife tells me I am very boring.’”
But what exactly do these terms mean?
The girls who went to Lusher have been talking with each other for decades and living with their pain, trying to make sense of what happened while sometimes contending with the great fear of speaking out, trying to understand how they could have been so easily manipulated. They were still starstruck with Bailey in college. And Bailey would stay in touch and meet them and betray their trust by being wantonly flirtatious. Some of the former students allege that they went up to the hotel room with him. Some allege that this was consensual. Some have carried their secrets for far too long and some have had rough lives afterward. Until now, their stories have been largely contained by the many beautiful lakes that surround the Big Easy.
Tuesday, April 20, 2021
ADVOCATING PROGRESSIVE VALUES AND EQUALITY FOR HUMANISTS, ATHEISTS, AND FREETHINKERS.
Well, that says it all, doesn’t it? Why don’t they try clear and correct thinking, rather than fashionable notions. I’d call them bird brains, but that would be an insult to birds. Pathetic. If I were Dawkins, I’d tell them to take their award and and shove it. Maybe it will dawn on him what kind of intellectual lowlifes he’s been encouraging.
The Skidmore College English professor who delivered the passing grade explained her rationale. "Charlie's test answers weren't technically correct, but they spoke to a deeper truth: everything is racist. At Skidmore College, creating leftist radicals who can find racism everywhere and help us burn down Western Civilization is much more important than educating people. For that reason, we decided to give her a passing grade!"
That $40 a week Twain got was the equivalent in today’s money of $1,276.
Only after the rot becomes too evident to deny will there be widespread recognition of the problem. But by then it is usually too late. Perhaps the most puzzling aspect of collapsing civilizations is they rarely see the crash coming. Things keep “getting better” until the smash, which reveals itself briefly in what has been termed the “Ceauscescu moment”, the instant when artificial stupidity is replaced by blinding clarity.
… I am not amused by what appears in the newspapers (or in their modern electronic successors). Hence, I am content to leave news out of my life entirely. "Where, to me, is the loss/Of the scenes they saw -- of the sounds they heard." (Mary Coleridge, "No Newspapers.") Of course, in this day and age snippets inevitably seep through -- insidious, noisome. Our life is now akin to being forever stranded in an airport departure lounge, forced to listen to the ever-present cable news presenters dissembling from an unasked-for television screen hovering in the air somewhere above us. Ah, welladay!
Monday, April 19, 2021
I have had things to deal with today, and I still do. A dear for whom have power of attorney has just been taken the hospital from the assisted living facility where he resides. I am awaiting word as to whether I should go to the hospital. Obviously, blogging just now takes a back seat.
… the experience of translating Bacchae, on commission, for the stage changed my whole approach to the translation of plays. Whereas readers of a text can stop to learn about arcane subjects in footnotes and endnotes, theatergoers cannot. In both the Bacchae translation and the Aristophanes translations I tried to gloss as much as I could, unobtrusively, in the text. Thus “Bromios,” a cult title of Dionysus, is translated as its meaning, “The Roarer” or “The Roaring God.”
… At the, we make fun of the Left more than we make fun of the Right. I can understand Bee’s comments, along with the desire to poke fun at the opposition more than anyone or anything else. Yet at the same time, my favorite pieces to write are the ones that punch our audience square in the face, that call out the hypocrisy of the Right, that make fun of inconsistent living among Christians and our failure to live up to what we preach. I love satire that loves its target most of all.
Sunday, April 18, 2021
What would the prophet Isaiah say about the latest chaos around Minneapolis?
Enter, like a shining knight, John Sutherland, who was taught by Jones as an undergraduate, became a good friend and drinking partner, and rightly believes she has been hard done by. “In crucial ways Monica made me,” he says, and his book pays generous tribute to the woman who kick-started his prolific academic career. As the first scholar to see Jones’s letters to Larkin (all 54 boxes of them in the Bodleian Library), he has also learned things about her he didn’t know, some of them hard to take.
Saturday, April 17, 2021
These are not exactly reviews. They are – as any regular reader of Theodore Dalrymple would expect – brief but eloquent essays on just about any topic the film in question suggests. He touches on (among other things) how undramatic landscapes make for better paintings than mountain vistas, how medical mortality rates are affected by the Christmas holidays, how good fortune may test our character more than ill fortune, and how subjects apparently “irrelevant” to children’s lives may be the most important part of their education.
What’s so disappointing (and indeed outright nasty) is the way that Bailey has traded in his compassion for casual misogyny and a complete lack of fairness in relation to Maggie Martinson. Much as it pains me to say, Bailey’s Roth assignment turns out to be his Faustian bargain.
Friday, April 16, 2021
“Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run, but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant.”
Thursday, April 15, 2021
“I would rather somebody come out and say exactly what they’re thinking, because then, if they’re being an a**hole or a s***head I can call ’em an a**hole or a s***head,” he said. “Their language is the only way I can get a reflection of what’s going on in their brain and their personality. I want a person to tell me the truth.”
Wednesday, April 14, 2021
From Aristotle through Horace, Tacitus, and Quintilian, on to Edgar Allan Poe, Walter Raleigh, and Arthur Quiller-Couch, up to Strunk and White’s Elements of Style in our own day, there has been no shortage of manuals on oratory and writing. The most useful, I have found, is F. L. Lucas’s Style, partly because it does not pretend to instruct, but in even greater part because of the wide-ranging literary intelligence of its author, whose own style, lucid, learned, authoritative, rarely fails to persuade. One has to admire the sangfroid of an author who, at the close of a splendid book on the subject of style, writes: “We may question, indeed, whether style has ever been much improved by books on style.”