Gleanings and observations.8:51 AM, Nov 13, 2015 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
From Hong Kong to Harvard, erasing history has become a necessity. In the Chinese territory, it is the authorities in Beijing who want to eliminate any memory of the past; in Harvard Square, it is the Law School students.
Nov 23, 2015, Vol. 21, No. 11 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
Roxanne Gay, the author of the essay collection Bad Feminist, was the recent winner of PEN Center USA’s Freedom to Write award, given to writers who have “demonstrated exceptional courage in the defense of free expression.” Gay was an unusual choice because the award usually goes to people who genuinely have been persecuted for their writing—such as dissidents and assassinated journalists.
The ironies of Obama’s drone warfare.Nov 23, 2015, Vol. 21, No. 11 • By GABRIEL SCHOENFELD
In Objective Troy the New York Times national security correspondent Scott Shane tells two intertwined stories. One recounts the life path of Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born imam killed in a CIA drone strike in Yemen in 2011. The second recounts Barack Obama’s troubled love affair with the drone as an instrument of war, which is part of a larger story about the president’s tortured attitude toward the use of American power in the world.
Cornell 1969, Yale 2015 (for Walter Berns)Nov 23, 2015, Vol. 21, No. 11 • By PRISCILLA M. JENSEN
Walter! Thou shouldst be living at this hour—
Thy country needs thee. She is a mess
Of snits and umbrage, clamors for redress.
Thought is abandoned, reason overthrown,
The puppy-huggers make each slight their own
and fl aunt ersatz stigmata. We are selfish men
(and women and transgender, et cet’ra, close paren)
and there is no health in us. So how can we again
restore those manners, freedoms, virtues, power?
These puritan bacchantes howling down the tower
Think they’re the first ones, cannot see how small
A scandal, a newspaper, an 'utterly riveting piece of entertainment.'Nov 23, 2015, Vol. 21, No. 11 • By JOHN PODHORETZ
I went to see Spotlight out of a sense of dreary duty. The movie is being touted as an Oscar possibility and has received rapturous reviews, neither of which is any guarantee of quality or enjoyment. Quite the opposite, in fact: Last year’s Oscar winner, Birdman, was similarly praised; I found it annoyingly pretentious and overdone. In addition, I’ve found the past work of its director and cowriter, Tom McCarthy, unsatisfying.
A coterie of officers and British supremacy at sea.
Nov 23, 2015, Vol. 21, No. 11 • By JOSEPH F. CALLO
The Fleet Street journalist Tom Pocock was among the best recorders of Lord Nelson’s heroic status.
Valiant yet vulnerable, Nelson has fascinated for two centuries. He continues to be the subject of books, paintings, plays. . . . He can seem a contemporary and it requires no great leap of the imagination to think of him being interviewed on television.
Joseph Epstein evaluates his teaching.Nov 23, 2015, Vol. 21, No. 11 • By JOSEPH EPSTEIN
I taught at a university for 30 years, from 1973 until 2002. The timing of my departure was exquisite. I left before smartphones became endemic and political correctness, with triggering and microaggressions and the rest, kicked in. The courses I taught—in Henry James, Joseph Conrad, Willa Cather, and in something called Advanced Prose Composition—were all electives, and so my sampling of students may have been less than comprehensive, but I liked the kids who wandered into my classes. Twenty-five or so among them have become and remain my friends.
An enigmatic tale of the prehistoric East.
Nov 23, 2015, Vol. 21, No. 11 • By DOMINIC GREEN
Sleepless and sweaty in the “great heats” of July 1840, Ralph Waldo Emerson reached for something sublime and sensual: “There was nothing for me but to read the Vedas, the bible of the tropics.” The problem was that the “grand ethics” of Vedic mythology, and the “unfathomable power” of Vedic cosmology, were traduced by a fetish for sacrificial rites. A modern seeker had to sift “primeval inspiration” from “endless ceremonial nonsense.”
Nov 23, 2015, Vol. 21, No. 11 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
For decades, the American university system has been creeping towards both moral and intellectual bankruptcy. But the events last week at Yale and the University of Missouri suggest we are reaching a tipping point, and that campus culture is transitioning from painfully idiotic to wantonly destructive. Even at the height of the Vietnam war protests, administrators endeavored, with varying degrees of success, to keep the inmates from running the asylum.
The artistic implications of Alexander’s raptime band. Nov 23, 2015, Vol. 21, No. 11 • By ADAM KEIPER and CAITRIN KEIPER
‘How does a bastard, orphan, son of a whore and a Scotsman, dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot in the Caribbean by providence, impoverished, in squalor, grow up to be a hero and a scholar?” That is the first in a set of questions that Hamilton, this season’s Broadway blockbuster, asks about individual excellence, American exceptionalism, and democratic memory.
Book Review: Conservative Heroes: Fourteen Leaders Who Shaped America, from Jefferson to Reagan, by Garland S. Tucker III2:00 PM, Nov 12, 2015 • By GERALD J. RUSSELLO
In 1990’s classic The Matrix, the lead character realizes that the world he thought he knew was false, and that the truth about his society was being hidden by a hostile power. Many conservatives have a similarly Matrix-like moment in their intellectual development, that moment when they realize that much of what they had been taught to believe by progressive elite
What explains Bob Dylan's commercial endorsements?12:31 PM, Nov 12, 2015 • By DAVID BAHR
As much as one loves Bob Dylan, it is always best to resist the temptation to write about him. He is a slippery fish, who is routinely put-off by the industrial-level attempts to access his soul through the interpretation of his lyrics.
11:11 AM, Nov 12, 2015 • By VICTORINO MATUS
The recent E. coli outbreak that shut down 43 locations of the Chipotle chain in Washington state and Oregon reminds us of the downsides of organic. For in the push to rid our food of, among other things, preservatives, we tend to forget that the whole point of these additives was to, well, preserve. You feel great that your green onions are locally sourced, pesticide-free, and cultivated by growers paid a living wage, but are they washed as thoroughly as the tomatoes are at the neighboring farm or at (gasp!) a nonorganic facility?
9:04 AM, Nov 12, 2015 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
The Germans are angry with the Greeks for retiring at age 50 and counting on Germans to keep working until they are 65 so as to have enough cash to lend to Greece. The French are angry with the Germans for demanding such harsh and humiliating terms from the Greeks in return for a few billion more euros. The Greeks are angry with the Germans for once again in effect telling them how to levy taxes and to organize their economy.
5:37 PM, Nov 11, 2015 • By MICHAEL WARREN
The president of Purdue University has sent a campus-wide email reminding students and faculty of the school's commitment to its "shared values" of being a "welcoming, inclusive, and discrimination-free community" while also remaining "steadfast in preserving academic freedom and individual liberty."
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