Monthly Archives: April 2009

Chores: a really bitter fight

I’m all for discussing how men get away with avoiding chores they SAY they want to take on as part of an even split. I’m guilty of it. And it’s no small crime. But let’s leave the portrayal of men as baby-starving monsters, shall we, Mary Beard? Another thesis:  Women at all-women clubs are as likely to get as sexist in their discussion of the uselessness of men as a stereotypical clubman of 1910 will be as he discusses women’s brains over his port and cheese.


Latin poetry is English poetry

Statistically, Rimbaud was a Latin poet during his lifetime — Graham Robb pointed this out in his TLS review of the new Pleiade Rimbaud. Pierre Assouline mentions that from Latin Rimbaud got his trick of piling words one on top of another, conventional word order be damned. (“More firmly bland than to children apples’ firm pulp” in Beckett’s translation of Le Bateau Ivre.) It’s not just the likes of Horace that the loss of Latin makes obscure, it’s most European writers up until 1900. Some of Samuel Johnson’s best poems were in Latin and unless you speak the language you can’t read some 150 poems of a titan of English literature in their original language. See also, Milton. Thomas Gray wrote some 30% of his poems in Latin. Shakespeare, with his “small Latin,” is the exception as usual. Still his Latin, small for his age, was larger than the Latin most of us have in our age. A lack of Latin makes one deaf to a constantly sounding frequency in English literature, one equivalent in its importance to the woodwinds in an orchestra: we still have the tunes, but miss this beautiful tone.

Hot News Trends: Our real problems

The statistical take on humanity’s reaction to risks, including that of swine flu: the risks that kill people and the risks that upset people are completely different. If you know that a risk kills people, you have no idea whether it upsets them or not. If you know it upsets them, you have no idea whether it kills them or not.”(Via MR) -[]- WPP explains what its problems are: “branding and identity, healthcare and specialist communications were the hardest hit.” Advertisers are under-rated when it comes to speaking blather. Easily as nonsensical as bond traders.

Hot News Trends: Hack Your Prayer

The Bishop of Ireland suggests his flock tweet the odd prayer or two. This ISN’T a ridiculous idea. -[]- A letter in this week’s TLS: “Sir — reviewing Sara Maitland’s A Book of Silence, Bernice Martin wonders if Maitland smokes while praying. A priest once said in my hearing that it was not all right to smoke while praying, but it was fine to pray while smoking. He was quoting, I guess, and I’d love to know who it was. FRED SEDGWICK” -[]- “How God Changes Your Brain” is one of those titles that could cut both ways, both Hitchens-ward and Bishop-ward.

Hot News Trends: That’s a relief!

BP shareholders will still get their dividends. Now BP shareholdrs will be nervously hoping U.S. gasoline prices pick back up.-[]- U.K. workers don’t have to worry about being forced not to work more than 48 hours by a Brussels bureaucrat. Mandelson’s protected them once again.

Socialism loses some of its dirtiness

This looks a pretty big step in a new direction for the U.S.. But we should check in with these kids in ten years, to check this isn’t the usual college dalliance with exciting new things that seem too tiring when you’re thirty.

Rich people aren’t like us EVEN WITHOUT MONEY

Chris Lehmann devastatingly mocks the cloud of breath that New York magazine leaves on the condo windows and limousine windows of Manhattan, in its desperation to get close to the rich. But Gabriel Sherman’s piece effectively answers something I didn’t get about Fred Goodwin’s apparently principled stance in his refusal to give up his bonus. What was the principle he thought he was at stake? Sherman’s article lets us know what moral code the effectively amoral rich thought they were living by. Fascinating stuff.