The Pub Curmudgeon on the Rolling English Road

origin of the poem, which I hadn't known, etc: ...It isn’t widely realised, though, that the poem actually comes from a strange novel by Chesterton entitled The Flying Inn which was published in 1914 and is described by Charles Moore in the linked article, which oddly fails to name it in its title. As he says, “The novel is mostly quite silly, and occasionally objectionable.”The theme of the book, which in a way is prophetic but at the same time very wide of the mark, is a takeover of Engla … [Read more...]

“In the Hour of Chaos”: I review Charles Johnson’s short stories

at AmCon: Somebody–I hope a commenter will remind me who it was–has suggested that the Left typically thinks in terms of an opposition between oppression and liberation, whereas the right typically thinks in terms of an opposition between civilization and barbarism. I would reframe the latter opposition as order vs. chaos; if we do that, it’s obvious that both oppositions are unrelentingly relevant, yet few thinkers or artists are able to hold both conflicts before our eyes at once.I just fi … [Read more...]

“Dance of Creation”: I Review the Fantastic Ballets Russes Exhibit

at the National Gallery: ...It’s ambitious, and it mostly works. Even the walk over to the exhibit feels like a part of the show: In the cool, white, high-ceilinged landing of the gallery, you walk past George Segal’s 1971 plaster sculpture The Dancers, in which a ring of four calm and focused women practice their moves. From this image of peace and clarity you suddenly enter the dark, exotic, lush world of the Ballets Russes exhibit: a world of inspiration and ecstasy. The walls are close, the … [Read more...]

Nun Is the Loneliest Number: “Black Narcissus”

Last week I saw 1947's Powell & Pressburger convent fever dream Black Narcissus. It's set in the high, windswept mountain peaks of India (with requisite "half devil and half child" native caricatures, so just know that going in--I really liked the blunt old lady though), where an iron-spined young Anglican nun played by Deborah Kerr tries to run a convent in a former house of concubines. It's stunning to look at, of course, and I am not kidding about the "fever" aspect of this dream: It … [Read more...]

As we prepare for back-to-school season

I'm reminded of this old piece I wrote, "The Survivor's-Guilt Guide to College." … [Read more...]


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