Sunday, September 20th, 2020
I considered Jonah Goldberg overrated until now. On the US DoE calling out Princeton’s woke bullshit, he nailed it:
Princeton: Take our confessions of systematic institutional racism seriously but not literally.
Friday, September 18th, 2020
“Recognizing that the Arab and Jewish peoples are descendant of a common ancestor…” — Let us savor the text of the Treaty of Peace between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. Blessed are the peacemakers…
Sunday, September 13th, 2020
This piece in The Federalist articulates how the American Left is projecting its own insurrectionism, nicely comparing their rhetoric to Southerners’ threats in the 1860 election should Lincoln win.
As author John Daniel Davidson writes, what they say “tells us less about what is likely to happen in the real world and more about the mendacious worldview, toxic prejudices, and treasonous imaginings of the elites themselves.”
Friday, September 4th, 2020
With “Beyond the Face of Race: Emo-Cognitive Exporations of White Neurosis and Racial Cray-Cray” co-authored by Robin DiAngelo of White Fragility, I’m reminded of the totally nutty 1991 book The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing (5 stars with 1,109 ratings on Amazon!).
That said, this paper reads altogether more sanely than that earlier work, though its self-described parables are pretty darn vicious; perhaps it’s telling that they’re explicitly not by DiAngelo but instead credited solely to co-author Cheryl E. Matias.
Thursday, August 20th, 2020
The iPhone matters more than anything … it is the foundation of modern life.
Ben Johnson, “Apple, Epic, and the App Store”
Sunday, August 16th, 2020
“A juggernaut of creativity, innovation and high-tech:” US national security advisor Robert O’Brien provides Hugh Hewitt with inside baseball on the American angle of the magnificent Israel-UAE Abraham Accords.
Saturday, August 15th, 2020
Commentary Magazine‘s Abe Greenwald speaks to the current revolutionary moment:
Because the United States is fundamentally good, most Americans may, in time, become circumspect about tearing it all down.
“From left field, a world-changing moment executed by the executive branch…” The Commentary Magazine podcasters speak to the historic Israel-UAE deal.
Thursday, August 13th, 2020
It’s been a while since I’ve found use for the New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman. But this latest one is like the Friedman of yore, before degenerating into partisanship and pandering: he warns the United States that a polity such as Lebanon where everything is political cannot hold (never mind that the politicality of everything is a philosophical touchstone of the side to which he panders).
Wednesday, August 12th, 2020
Seven ceramic sculptures by Japanese artist Jun Kaneko have been set in Frank Lloyd Wright’s Darwin Martin House in Buffalo, NY.
Monday, August 10th, 2020
Thursday, August 6th, 2020
The Daily Mail has 8:38 minutes of police bodycam footage of the George Floyd arrest.
Given what this American Spectator article contains — the transcript of the exchange between George Floyd and the arresting policemen before he was even on the ground and the toxicology report stating George Floyd’s death was in all likelihood due to an overdose — the shit gonna hit the fan whether the courts find police innocent or guilty.
Friday, July 31st, 2020
The Smithsonian posts a nice little piece on Frank Lloyd Wright’s Laurent House, designed for the wheelchair-bound client who clearly adored his wonderful home, which is now thankfully a museum.
Saturday, July 25th, 2020
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at the Nixon Library to a new posture regarding China.
If we bend the knee now, our children’s children may be at the mercy of the Chinese Communist Party … securing our freedoms from [the CCP] is the mission of our time.
Friday, July 24th, 2020
If we stopped testing now we’d have very few cases — or any.
US President Donald J Trump
Wednesday, July 22nd, 2020
In their respective theatres of the Middle East, Europe and Eurasia, the prime strategic directive for liberal bulwarks Israel, Britain and the United States is to block aspiring authoritarian hegemons.
Monday, July 20th, 2020
For those who care to be reminded, Edward Feser writes in The American Mind a straight-shooting review of Plato’s political thought.
The first thing to keep in mind in order to understand Plato’s analysis of democracy is that he is not primarily concerned with procedural matters, such as the way in which people are elected or policies decided upon. What he cares about, again, is the character type that predominates in a society.
Sunday, July 19th, 2020
Victor Davis Hanson’s tone has finally changed to righteous anger:
An individual of unknown appearance may kind of, sort of, be shattering our bedroom window and could be pondering a felonious infraction. So could you send out a community facilitator to inquire?
Friday, July 17th, 2020
From The Atlantic to Silicon Valley — is the tide turning? Paul Graham coins “Orthodox Privilege”.
Thursday, July 16th, 2020
Thank you, The Atlantic, for daring to publish John McWhorter’s eminently sensible review of Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility. My faith is somewhat renewed.
McWhorter holds back more than on the freewheeling The Glenn Show, where he calls it “one of the worst books ever written”.
Wednesday, July 15th, 2020
“There is no linguistic justice without racial justice,” as quoted in The Linguistic Society of America’s open letter to call to remove Steven Pinker.
What a fakakta — China must be licking its chops as we stand around pissing on each other’s piss.
Sunday, July 12th, 2020
A work-in-progress web rendering of Moby Dick by Jason Pamental, with Rockwell Kent’s woodblock illustrations. Glorious!
Sunday, July 5th, 2020
We are the nation that gave rise to the Wright Brothers, the Tuskegee Airmen, Harriet Tubman, Clara Barton, Jesse Owens, General George Patton, the great Louie Armstrong, Alan Shepard, Elvis Presley, and Mohammad Ali.
Yet the media called the speech “dark and divisive”.
Monday, June 15th, 2020
Capping off a triumvirate of essays I’ve come across in the past few days that elucidate the current moment is Ross Douthat on the successor ideology.
David Goldman produces a fact-filled yet overarchingly-theoried analysis of the mid-pandemic race-themed disturbances. Like for Palestinians, he argues it’s about humiliation. Goldman is sympathetic but not sycophantic, analytic but not caustic.
Sunday, June 14th, 2020
This is the most cogent, bracing clarification of the non-Covid aspects of our current moment that I’ve yet to encounter.
Saturday, June 6th, 2020
“The Problem of White Efficacy” by Rebekah Frumkin in Guernica. Totally mental.
Thursday, June 4th, 2020
Rejecting “false equivalency between rule of law and rule by law”, the USA has published its Strategic Approach to the People’s Republic of China.
Wednesday, June 3rd, 2020
“Opposing an aspiring Eurasian hegemon is the American prime strategic directive.” Donnelly’s back!
Monday, May 18th, 2020
Sunday, May 17th, 2020
The Making of Prince of Persia
Video game maker Jordan Mechner wrote a rich diary of his life in the mid-1980s. This book covers the creation his second hit game, Prince of Persia, so we gain access of unique immediacy to the heroic tale of producing a universe-dent-making hit.
I wanted this book, which I discovered via Tyler Cowen’s most recent What I’ve been reading, as inspiration during a small lull in morale as I work on a digital product of my own.
Thirty years on there is some poignancy in that this early period of Mencher’s life was the peak: after graduating Yale, already dreamily successful, he shuttles between San Francisco and Hollywood creating video games and pushing screenplays, a digital Orson Welles (in his later game The Last Express, Mechner combines these passions, relying on cinema to produce an impressive commercial failure).
That said, perhaps it is no failure at all that one can point to the creative peak of a life — Mechner’s arguably was working within the memory constraints of the Apple II to create a foe, Shadow Man, based on the hero character. Here I’m reminded of Ken Kocienda’s not dissimilar Eureka moment when up against a constraint, that of using a dictionary to help create the iPhone keyboard.
Perhaps it would have been a better book if he had fleshed out the journal with an italicized retrospective written now, but count me a late-arrival Jordan Mechner fan. And don’t get the Kindle edition lacking the illustrations; I think I’m gonna need to buy the actual book.
Saturday, April 25th, 2020
The biggest balagan ever, the USA’s flailing then failing pandemic response:
By the time the virus broke on American shores, the problem was not that the United States didn’t have a single plan for an international pandemic. The problem was it had dozens of plans, totaling thousands of pages, issued by different agencies and by different administrations, apparently with little thought to how they would be combined or who would implement them.
Sunday, April 19th, 2020
Sunday, April 12th, 2020
In “The Unbearable Rightness of Trump”, the redoubtable Andrew Klavan recounts his erstwhile amusement watching the video mash-up of Trump saying “China”, only to realize later that the then presidential candidate was correct in his focus.
Klavan’s anecdote rings home precisely for me; I too was so amused that I showed the video to my son for laughs. When it matters most, and behind the weird performant exterior, Donald Trump’s vision pierces through the fog to the essence of a situation. That is why he is President.
Wednesday, April 8th, 2020
In 2006, Schwarzenegger as Governor of California built up a pandemic stockpile in the wake of avian flu that Jerry Brown subsequently sold off for pennies on the dollar. The initial cost was $200m, the amount saved annually by eliminating the program $6m. Which shows the issue of unpreparedness is totally bipartisan and systemic; indeed it is civiliizational.
Tuesday, March 31st, 2020
Sunday, March 29th, 2020
Wednesday, March 25th, 2020
So some combination of a strong state, some kind of small-c conservative social renewal, and some sort of futurism offers some kind of alchemy…
Saturday, March 21st, 2020
Tuesday, March 10th, 2020
Benjamin Schwarz decries the University of Chicago’s English Department for toeing the woke line, despite the Chicago Principles (it’s great to see my alma mater’s font again, and saying such things).
Sunday, March 1st, 2020
Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of an Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader
Brent Schlener and Rick Tetzell
Although the simple thesis gets repeated interminably, nonetheless it’s a nice one: that Steve Jobs’s greatness stems muchly from his constant becoming, constant learning, constant trying to overcome himself (hence the title, which can be read as descriptive).
It’s great to be in his company, which you feel you are, as one of the authors was himself repeatedly so for decades.
One thing new to me was Pixar’s role in maturing Jobs; we don’t often read about who and what shaped the shaper.
Thursday, January 9th, 2020
“The Soleimani Killing: An Initial Assessment” [PDF], a study by Hillel Frisch, Eytan Gilboa, Gershon Hacohen, Doron Itzchakov, and Alexander Joffe at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University.
Friday, January 3rd, 2020
From “you can’t do anything” to “a severe revenge”: Khamenei fumes regarding “that guy” Trump as US kills Iran’s Al-Quds Force leader Soleimani in a missile attack at Baghdad Airport.
Saturday, December 14th, 2019
“Rising Inequality and the Changing Structure of Political Conflict” — the inaugural James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Lecture in Economic Inequality at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics by Thomas Piketty (March 30th, 2018).
Tuesday, December 3rd, 2019
VDH provides a bit of actual strategy for the USA on the China, Iran, and North Korea fronts:
The most dangerous moments … are predictable. They follow when one side, arrogant from previously being exempt from any consequences for its aggression, believes it’s starting to lose a conflict that it prompted and cannot afford to lose.
Wednesday, November 27th, 2019
Quite the overview: “The Real Class War” by Julius Krein, editor of American Affairs.
The real class war is between the 0.1 percent and (at most) the 10 percent—or, more precisely, between elites primarily dependent on capital gains and those primarily dependent on profes sional labor.
Friday, November 22nd, 2019
The Smithsonian Magazine excerpts Paul Hendrickson’s Plagued by Fire: The Dreams and Furies of Frank Lloyd Wright. Among the gems:
- “…[Wright’s] 72-year career as an architect and egotist…”
- “…[Wright buildings] come magically out of the American ground looking for the light…”
- “…[Wright,] the old shaman…”
- “…There are certain moments, standing in [Wright homes], if the light is falling right, when it will begin to seem as if Whitman is singing to Emerson, or vice versa…”
Will the author spoil it for me though? Among the crisps are tonal annoyances such as beginning sentences with “Heck,”…
Sunday, October 20th, 2019
Dr Alex Joffe notes that while the West’s working classes are still relatively sensible, “in Western social and information environments saturated with virtue-signaling, [grafting BDS onto contemporary concerns and movements is] having some success with members of the image-conscious, predominantly white middle class.