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.
Friday, April 30, 2021
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.”
Tuesday, April 13, 2021
The existing scientific evidences challenge the safety and efficacy of wearing facemask as preventive intervention for COVID-19. The data suggest that both medical and non-medical facemasks are ineffective to block human-to-human transmission of viral and infectious disease such SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19, supporting against the usage of facemasks. Wearing facemasks has been demonstrated to have substantial adverse physiological and psychological effects. These include hypoxia, hypercapnia, shortness of breath, increased acidity and toxicity, activation of fear and stress response, rise in stress hormones, immunosuppression, fatigue, headaches, decline in cognitive performance, predisposition for viral and infectious illnesses, chronic stress, anxiety and depression. Long-term consequences of wearing facemask can cause health deterioration, developing and progression of chronic diseases and premature death. Governments, policy makers and health organizations should utilize prosper and scientific evidence-based approach with respect to wearing facemasks, when the latter is considered as preventive intervention for public health.
There was Alfred Hitchcock the lower–middle-class lad from the East End of London who from earliest days was obsessed by the shadow play of three-dimensional images on a two-dimensional screen, and then there was “Alfred Hitchcock,” a balding fat man in a double-breasted suit with a protruding lower lip and an instantly recognizable profile, who made a fortune in Hollywood by playing to, and playing upon, our deepest fears and phobias. Which was the real man, if there was one?
John Banvillle says in this piece that “It’s unlikely that he held on to his faith.” But a Jesuit priest, Mark Henninger, who got to know Hitchcock when the director was an old man recounted in a Wall Street Journal article some years ago that “Hitchcock had been away from the church for some time, and he answered the responses in Latin the old way. But the most remarkable sight was that after receiving communion, he silently cried, tears rolling down his huge cheeks.” He certainly had a Catholic funeral.
New research suggests that a long-forgotten playwright might be the source of some of Shakespeare’s most memorable works. As journalist Michael Blandingargues in North by Shakespeare: A Rogue Scholar’s Quest for the Truth Behind the Bard’s Work, Sir Thomas North, who was born nearly 30 years before the Bard, may have penned early versions of All’s Well That Ends Well, Othello, Richard II, A Winter’s Tale, Henry VIII and several other plays later adapted by the better-known dramatist.
Monday, April 12, 2021
Above all, she hated herself, and however much gin she swallowed, she could not die. In the lonely fifteen years which followed her lover’s death, she lasted and lasted.
Ultimately, for all his shrewd constructions, his enviable ear, it’s the quality of Fuller’s description that most recommends him. The book glitters with memorable phrase-making and seemingly effortless coinages, images at once surprising and inevitable, casting their light back and forth within the atmosphere of frail mortality and ebullient living: a grandfather clock is a “coffin for time,” parents in rain ponchos are “[u]pright as bears in holiday attire,” remembered fathers are “spruce acrobats” or “tender-hearted dandies.”
… In 1950, the publisher Charles Scribner sent galleys of my father’s first novel, From Here to Eternity, to Hemingway, hoping for an endorsement. What Scribner got back was a letter so vile, so cruel, so ugly, it is still hard for me to believe Hemingway wrote it. He compares my father’s writing to snot, he calls him a phony and a coward (a wounded combat veteran of Guadalcanal!), and Hemingway ends by saying he hopes my father kills himself.
Sunday, April 11, 2021
(Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
P&V seem to pride themselves on sticking close to the original. But the reason so many celebrated translators do not do so as diligently as they do is that languages differ in what means they use to convey concepts. This language conveys something with an adjective while that language needs a phrase for it. This language conveys something with a quiet resonance from a word while that language nails that something with an explicit suffix. This language expresses something which, rendered in that other language, sounds hopelessly affected or insincere and you have to work around it.
Saturday, April 10, 2021
While Trump was in office, it was all “kids in cages!” all the damn time. Now the kids in cages are back, but since it’s Biden, it’s not a bad thing anymore. In fact, it doesn’t seem to be a thing at all. Even Democrat politicians are publicly stating how bad and crowded things are, especially at the Donna facility in Texas. But Jen Psaki will have to “circle back” to that topic. Ted Cruz went down to see for himself (he is one of two senators from Texas, this is one of his areas of responsibility) and the Biden administration, excuse me, the Biden-HARRIS administration, sent some PR chick down to stand in front of Cruz’s phone as he was videoing the kids in cages. She tried to make it all his fault by repeating the intended-to-be-guilt-inducing mantra of “this isn’t a zoo, sir. Please have respect for the people.” All the while standing in front of literal cages with people laid out under space blankets looking like so many giant baked potatoes. Yep, lots of respect for their humanity there!
Apr 8, 2021
With all adults soon to be eligible to get a “free vaccine,” and large efficient distribution centers in many areas, what are you waiting for?
“Amazing” is the word that Dr. Monica Gandhi used in her 13-minute presentation on COVID-19 vaccines. Dr. Gandhi is a professor of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco and director of the UCSF Center for AIDS Research.
COVID rates and deaths are decreasing—good news. Is it because of the warp-speed vaccine rollout? More than 168 million doses have been given in the U.S., and 18 percent of Americans are considered ”fully vaccinated” as of Apr 7.
There are several potential reasons for falling rates of a respiratory disease: (1) springtime warmer temperatures and more sunlight; (2) Farr’s Law (epidemics rise and fall in roughly a bell-shaped curve); (3) herd immunity (a sufficient number of immune persons in the population likely to be exposed); (4) adoption of early effective treatment (mostly outside the U.S. and Western Europe).
The shape of the curves of COVID-19 deaths in Israel (55% vaccinated) and South Africa (0.3% vaccinated) is roughly the same, as the first graphic shows).
“Shocking” is the word others use for what they consider a mass experiment on the whole world without adequate consent, which would include the fact that long-term health consequences cannot yet be known.
There is a spike in the number of post-vaccination deaths reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) as the graphic and chart show. Since 2011, 2,749 deaths associated with ALL vaccines have been reported, and nearly 64% of them have occurred soon after a COVID-19 jab. The CDC, however, does not find a causal relationship. People die or have strokes every day.
The AstraZeneca vaccine has been paused, restarted, and then restricted to younger populations because of a rare type of clotting problem. The UK’s Yellow Card system shows that this problem has been associated far more frequently with the AstraZeneca vaccine than with the Pfizer product. All the COVID-19 vaccines are associated with reports of pulmonary emboli, brain bleeds, strokes, low platelets, other blood disorders, and many other adverse effects.
NONE of these are listed on the “Fact Sheets” distributed at the time of vaccination.
All these effects can occur with the COVID illness, so the argument is that the disease is worse than the vaccine. Therefore, people should protect themselves, and also altruistically protect others. Vaccines are supposed to do that, and Dr. Gandhi says that these do. The CDC, however, does not make this claim, stating that: “We’re still learning how vaccines will affect the spread of COVID-19.”
There are many unknowns. But in making their decisions, people might consider that deaths from COVID are declining, and reports of deaths after vaccination are increasing. One particularly interesting experience is deaths in Irish nursing homes before, during, and after the vaccination campaign (see graphic below).
Jane M. Orient, M.D.
Executive Director, Association of American Physicians and Surgeons