Reviews and News:
In search of young blood: “In 77 A.D., Pliny the Elder observed that epileptic spectators were like ‘wild beasts’ upon the arena…rushing ‘to quaff the warm, breathing, blood from a man himself.’ They put their lips onto a gladiator’s wounds, hoping to suck a cure straight from his veins.”
Is the traditional Western a thing of the past? “Plots of westerns revolve around moral issues. Not the moral issues that occupy people in cities. Men and women are judged by a different moral standard out west, and the west often serves as a place for people who have made ‘mistakes’ in civilization to make themselves anew. Questions of personal morality are sublimated to much larger questions. These ethical questions arise because of survival. What is a good person willing to do to survive and to protect those who are weaker than he is? These are life-and-death questions, not rhetorical ones. In fact, it’s the man who speaks too much who is less trustworthy than the man who is defined by his deeds. I was curious about whether westerns were a thing of the past, or whether they offer anything to the reader in 2017. Can a book published in 2017 hold onto its view of the west in a time when we recognize how horrifically the Native American was treated? Is there space for women characters as something more than an object of protection? What about the environmental damage that we know was wrought by the slaughter of the American Buffalo, hunting practices that drove the animal to the brink of extinction?” (HT: Carly Rollyson)
Will Italy’s Phlegraean Fields erupt soon?
“The transgender movement is at war with the English language. With a new set of style guidelines, the Associated Press has joined the trenches—on the transgender side…In a series of tweets on Tuesday explaining the changes first promulgated earlier this year, the AP’s editors contended that ‘gender refers to a person’s social identity, while sex refers to biological characteristics’ and admonished writers to ‘avoid references to being born a boy or girl.’ The venerable news agency also endorsed the language- and prose-disfiguring use of ‘they/them’ as a singular pronoun. It even left open the door to more exotic made-up pronouns such as ‘ze’ and ‘zir.’ Tuesday also saw the AP introduce a new rule: Instead of the expressions ‘sex change’ or ‘transition,’ writers are to use ‘gender confirmation.’ This was a deep kowtow to the transgender movement, which believes that physicians don’t alter anything essential or fundamental when they perform a sex-change operation: Caitlyn Jenner was always Caitlyn Jenner. The operation merely confirmed this ontological fact.”
The New York Times hires a gender editor.
Czeslaw Milosz and “ketman”: “As Milosz warned the practitioners of metaphysical ketman: ‘Their defence against total degradation is … [to] swindle the devil who thinks he is swindling them. But the devil knows what they think and is satisfied.’ Sometimes, outward compliance is all the tyrant needs.”
Essay of the Day:
In The Irish Times, David Gluckman explains how he invented Baileys in 1973:
“My dinner-party party piece for many years was to say, ‘Well, actually, I invented Baileys. You know, Baileys Irish Cream. I did that back in 1973.’
“If one of the unfortunate listening group is a woman – and this is based on actual past experience – she is likely to respond something like this: ‘Oh-my-God. Baileys. My mother absolutely adores it. Did you hear that, Jocasta? This man invented Baileys. It’s unreal. I don’t believe it. He must be terribly rich. Baileys Cream. Wow!’
“And it’s not as if these rather posh people really adore Baileys. Or even hold it in the same esteem as, say, an obscure Islay single malt or a fine white burgundy from Meursault. Not a bit of it. They might have respected it years ago but most people of legal drinking age regard Baileys as a bit naff. To my mind, they’d be very wrong.
“On December 3rd, 2007, Diageo announced the sale of the billionth bottle of Baileys since it was first introduced in 1973. That’s a thousand million bottles. And they will have sold at least a further 250 million bottles in the decade since then bringing the total up to something in the area of 1,250,000,000. If we assume that every bottle of Baileys delivered eight generous servings that suggests that over 12 billion glasses of Baileys have been poured since it all began.
“The initial thought behind Baileys Irish Cream took about 30 seconds. In another 45 minutes the idea was formed. Baileys was like that for me. A decade of experience kicked in and delivered a great idea. It wasn’t as instant as it seemed. This is the story of its creation.”
Photos: Ruhr district
Poem: Robert West, “A Portrait”
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This post originally appeared on Weekly Standard