Donald Kagan is engaging in one last argument. For his "farewell lecture" here at Yale on Thursday afternoon, the 80-year-old scholar of ancient Greece—whose four-volume history of the Peloponnesian War inspired comparisons to Edward Gibbon's Roman history—uncorked a biting critique of American higher education.
Last night at the Kennedy Center concert hall, Oscar-winning director Martin Scorsese delivered the 2013 National Endowment for the Humanities Jefferson Lecture. He spoke of the importance of preserving film and lamented the studios' fixation with box office grosses. The end of celluloid saddened him, but he reminded us that there were exciting new developments in film technology we shouldn't overlook. But mostly Scorsese focused on protecting the old movies—90 percent of silent films are now gone. It's an important subject, don't get me wrong, but couldn't he have talked about Goodfellas or Casino a little bit? I mean, c'mon!
Someone living in Barack Obama’s America, circa 2013, says these words to you: “I’m so behind.” In previous epochs—say, the Age of Lewinsky, or of disco—this might mean any number of things. A person might have failed to collate the year’s receipts for his accountant. Another might not have completed the longitudinal analysis necessary for her dissertation. A third might not have cleaned out the attic.
No longer. In Barack Obama’s America, those words refer to only one thing: the inability to keep up-to-date with a serialized television program.
In his ongoing zeal to remake American society according to the playbook of those who reside in the faculty lounges of the nation's most liberal colleges, President Obama now wants to engage women in combat with no apparent thought of the wider societal effects of such a decision. It therefore falls upon Republicans -- senators, congressmen, and governors alike -- to do the thinking that Obama is eschewing, and to make the case to the citizenry why this is such a terrible idea not only for America's military preparedness but for American civilization as a whole.
Perhaps the finest book ever written on the natural complementarity of the sexes and on marriage as the core building block of civil society was written by a Swiss who was then living in France. (The book is Emile, and the author is Jean-Jacques Rousseau.) So when
Ken Myers grew up in a conservative Christian household in Beltsville, Maryland, during the 1960s. When he was in tenth grade, two important things happened to him.
His high school music teacher introduced him to the music of Bach, taking eight months to teach Myers and the rest of the boys’ choir how to sing the motet Jesu, meine Freude. And he fell upon a copy of the Saturday Review.