Tag Archives: society

How Are Posh Men Educated?

…The vanities of posh men… centre on an ancient system that trains a narrow caste of people to run our affairs…. Ever questing to penetrate British lingo, I wobble over “public” versus “private” education in the kingdom’s parlance. In my … Continue reading

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The Wrath of Divines

Like cartooning, the act of translation has proven dangerous at times. For his role in putting Christian scriptures into English, John Wycliffe’s long-dead bones were dug up, burnt, and chucked into the river by order of churchmen. … The act … Continue reading

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Native ‘Son’

A chance juxtaposition of readings* has suggested to me the perennial nature of America’s brutish policing streak. In 1941, Richard Wright’s manuscript novel “The Man Who Lived Underground” is rejected by publishers who are made queasy over scenes of violence: … Continue reading

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‘Cry of Pain’

Housman’s “To an Athlete Dying Young” ruefully ironizes over a lad clever enough to “slip betimes away / From fields where glory does not stay.” Novelists, though, get more mileage out of superannuated jocks — Updike’s Rabbit Angstrom, Malamud’s Roy … Continue reading

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‘Inter faeces et urinam nascimur’

“Between feces and urine we are born,” said Augustine in the 4th century. The bishop of Hippo’s take on parturition was that our mothers effectively defecate us from their feculent crannies. Doctrine on sex and love handed down by dour … Continue reading

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Be Paint

… [Clement] Greenberg’s organizing idea was surprisingly simple: modern painting, having ceased to be illustrative, ought to be decorative. Once all the old jobs of painting—portraying the bank president, showing off the manor house, imagining the big battle—had been turned … Continue reading

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But Also Thank the Devil

The worst way to defeat a social or cultural ill is to declare war on it. The U.S. declares war on problems it can’t or won’t solve. The worst way to foster a social or cultural good is to declare … Continue reading

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Story Power

There is one form of power that has fascinated me ever since I was a girl… the power of storytelling. In this May, 2019 essay, novelist Elena Ferrante writes that the “Decameron” by Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375) made a great impression … Continue reading

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Prey for Miracles

… What we saw in Texas is… a doom loop of climate polarization, where climate crises lead, paradoxically, to a politics that’s more desperate for fossil fuels, more dismissive of international or even interstate cooperation. Cooperation is humanity’s superpower, and … Continue reading

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A Whiff of Wittgenstein

“For a healthy politics to flourish it needs reference points outside itself — reference points of truth and a conception of the common good… When everything becomes political, that is the end of politics.” Making everything politics “totally distorts your … Continue reading

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