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June 2013

The Last Lewis

Probably. If you like the series at all, you should see this one. It's one of the better ones. It's called "Intellligent Design," and one of the characters is an advocate of that theory. Nothing much is made of that in the story, so it seems an odd thing to throw in, but the phrase itself has some relevance. 

From Today's Gospel

And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem, and sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Eli'jah did? But he turned, and rebuked them[, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them].

  --Luke 9:51-56

(The bracketed portion is not in the reading, apparently because it's not in the earliest manuscripts. But it's relevant.)

Bach: Cello Suite #5, Sarabande

Weekend Music

I think I've listened with at least some degree of attention to about half of the cello suites, and have to admit that I haven't warmed up to them on the whole, although some individual movements caught my ear. Last Sunday I listened to the fifth suite, and the sarabande really grabbed me. It was the Rostropovich recording, and after I'd heard the suite I read the liner notes to see if Rostropovich had anything to say about that suite in particular. He did, and moreover particularly emphasized his love for the sarabande. I suppose it's silly, but that pleased me.


Why #5? Because the suites are arranged to fit on two CDs (I assume), three on each disk, and #5 is the last one on the disk, and I wanted to play only a single suite, and that was the easiest way to do it. I think part of my lack of response to the suites is that I generally put on one of these CDs and let it play all the way through. I'm sorry, but seventy minutes of solo cello is too much.

As the night the day...

JEFFREY BROWN: I want to pick up first on what the president was just saying about this issue of couples married in one state moving to a state where perhaps that's not recognized.

How big a deal, first, is this patchwork system that we have?

WINNIE STACHELBERG: Well, the patchwork system is a very big deal, which is why we are eager to have marriage equality in all 50 states, because the patchwork just doesn't work for a married couple.

What exists right now is in the 13 states and the District of Columbia where are you legally married, you are legally married for the purposes of state benefits, and now, with DOMA's demise, federal benefits, the tricky issue comes up if you have a legal marriage in Massachusetts, one of those states, and then you move to Alabama. You're still married, and the question now remains, do you get federal benefits living in Alabama?

From PBS. It's a group conversation, and the traditionalist position is represented briefly and inadequately by Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo).The consensus of the others is "you people are going to be despised just as racists are despised."

But it's not the same thing, and millions of people know it's not the same thing, and no words and no laws can make it be the same thing.

So, how long is it going to be until this rule is enforced on all fifty states? Two years? Five? Probably not more than ten. I think I hear threads snapping in the fabric of society.

The Party is Victorious

So says Elizabeth Scalia, and she seems to mean The Party in the sense that it's used in one-party states. It's as good a term as any to refer to the whole amorphous yet clearly identifiable entity that includes the Obama administration, the Democratic Party, the majority of journalists and news outlets, most of academia, and most of the entertainment industry. And of course the rank and file, from the provincial liberals and college students who see themselves as following a different drummer, to the low-information voters who follow moral fashion without thinking too much about it.

The interesting thing about Scalia's lament is that it was not written about yesterday's Supreme Court decision; though published on the same day, it was written the day before. The momentum of affairs has been clear for some time. The decision was not unexpected, but it seems to be serving to clarify and crystallize perceptions about the real state of things. It may, when seen from the future, appear as a significant marker, a point where the state shifted definitively from ostensible neutrality to hostility toward religion, especially toward Christianity.

This is not overt--a key passage in the ruling says only that

...the principal purpose and the necessary effect of this law are to demean those persons who are in a lawful same-sex marriage.

But the court doesn't acknowledge the existence of arguments against same-sex marriage on the merits, instead reducing opposition to, in effect, simple meanness. This is, as we all know, exactly the line of the SSM movement, and the fact that it has been adopted by the Supreme Court means serious problems for Christians. Obviously, one source of this " demean"  is the Christian religion, and, just as obviously, the only reasonable posture of government toward people engaged in meanness is to keep a watchful eye on them and restrain them when they get out of hand. In effect, the biggest legal gun in the American arsenal is now pointing straight at Christians who adhere to the idea that the word "marriage" applies to something that happens between men and women, an idea that was universal in the human race until just the other day, historically speaking.

In any case, the hope that there can be any but sporadic and rear-guard harassment of this juggernaut in the political realm seems slim indeed. The Party is victorious; mere language, inherently unstable and disputable, was never going to be enough to restrain it once those in power felt themselves emancipated from the principles and assumptions that underlay the words. The opposition is weak, confused, fragmented, a little guilty in its dissent from what everyone else sees as a noble consensus, and hopelessly, hopelessly, hopelessly unfashionable. And the press has mostly suspended its watchdog role where the Democratic party is concerned, openly working on its behalf: repeating its propaganda, hiding or explaining away its misdeeds, and attacking its enemies.

Naturally there is some over-reaction and some misinformed panic on the anti-SSM side. The decision doesn't force everyone, as I heard someone say, to accept homosexual marriages, much less require that Christian clergy perform them. But it does set wheels in motion: large, heavy wheels not likely to be slowed or turned. It makes an unstable situation, in which a couple married in New York is not married in Texas, even more so, because now they will be sort-of-married in Texas--married insofar as they reside in the United States, but not married insofar as they reside in the state of Texas. Already this morning those who favor the ruling, from the president on down, complained that it doesn't go far enough, precisely because it does not require all states to consider same-sex marriages valid, and that they will immediately press the question further. Lawsuits will be brought, cases will make their way to the Supreme Court, and Anthony Kennedy or someone of like mind will pronounce the state of affairs to be contrary to the constitution. 

The phrase keeps running through my mind: this will not end well.

Notes On the Never-Ending Tour

That's what they call Dylan's relentless touring. It's been going on for 25 years now, and a couple of publications take notice: The Atlantic and The Wall Street Journal. I didn't realize it had been such a conscious artistic choice for him.

I've seen three of these 2,500 shows: Pensacola ca. 1992, Lafayette ca. 1998, New Orleans ca. 2003. The first was not so good, the second was great--it was the tour with Paul Simon, and Simon's half of the concert was wonderful--and the third was very good. He puts together some great bands, and my only complaint about both the shows and his recordings is that he keeps them on such a tight leash. I'd really like to hear more in the way of guitar solos and such.

Shulamith Firestone, RIP

When my wife and I got married she owned a copy of Shulamith Firestone's The Dialectic of Sex, not to mention several other feminist works of the time, which in retrospect should perhaps have worried me a little. But in the early '70s most college girls with any sort of intellectual inclination read things like that, and at any rate any case the worry would have proved unfounded. The book is gone now, dumped in one of our periodic purges of books that we're pretty sure we never want to read again, or perhaps have accepted we will, after all, never read.

I did leaf through it once, though, and found at the end a truly bizarre vision of the future. It included a list of the stages through which humanity must pass on the way to perfect freedom and equality. As I recall, the elimination of legal and social gender differences was only the beginning; it progressed (if that's the word) through elimination of the family and all consciousness of family relationships, ending with a sort of techno-feminist-communist society in which babies are produced in artificial wombs and childbearing itself, as the foundation of all the oppression to which women have been subject throughout the ages, no longer exists.

Here's a passage quoted on her Wikipedia page which seems to be the summation of the vision:

So that just as to assure elimination of economic classes requires the revolt of the underclass (the proletariat) and, in a temporary dictatorship, their seizure of the means of production, so to assure the elimination of sexual classes requires the revolt of the underclass (women) and the seizure of control of reproduction: not only the full restoration to women of ownership of their own bodies, but also their (temporary) seizure of control of human fertility - the new population biology as well as all the social institutions of child-bearing and child-rearing. And just as the end goal of socialist revolution was not only the elimination of the economic class privilege but of the economic class distinction itself, so the end goal of feminist revolution must be, unlike that of the first feminist movement, not just the elimination of male privilege but of the sex distinction itself: genital differences between human beings would no longer matter culturally. (A reversion to an unobstructed pansexuality Freud's 'polymorphous perversity' - would probably supersede hetero/homo/bi-sexuality.) The reproduction of the species by one sex for the benefit of both would be replaced by (at least the option of) artificial reproduction: children would born to both sexes equally, or independently of either, however one chooses to look at it; the dependence of the child on the mother (and vice versa) would give way to a greatly shortened dependence on a small group of others in general, and any remaining inferiority to adults in physical strength would be compensated for culturally. The division of labour would be ended by the elimination of labour altogether (through cybernetics). The tyranny of the biological family would be broken.

I remember thinking "This person is completely deranged." And I think any reasonable person would agree. But there are probably a considerable number who would say, as they often say of communism, that it's a good idea although it would be hard to put into practice. 

 "What do conservatives want to conserve?" is a perennial question, and a good one. Not asked as often, at least in my experience, is its counterpart: to what goal are progressives progressing? I wonder how many would see Firestone's vision as a desirable utopia. Not so very many, I would guess. But those who would are probably in academia or government or journalism, and wield an influence out of proportion to their numbers. A good many more would probably go at least halfway to Firestone's goal, and agree with her basic view of relations between the sexes. No doubt the book remains useful for stoking rage in young women.

I have been thinking about the book and the woman who wrote it because I recently ran across this retrospective in The New Yorker. She didn't do well after Dialectic. After participating in the frenzy of theorizing and agitating that was feminism in the early 1970s, she turned her back on the movement, withdrew and became isolated, suffering bouts of madness and often living in poverty. Although she came out of that for a time in the 1990s (with the assistance and friendship of a woman named Lourdes), she withdrew again, and when she died alone in her apartment last year, a week went by before anyone noticed. 

Of course one who has looked at the book is not surprised, or ought not to be, to hear that her mind broke down at times: her rage was against the very nature of reality, as she herself said:

Feminists have to question, not just all of Western culture, but the organization of culture itself, and further, even the very organization of nature.

The very organization of nature. To rage against that is to see, in a distorted way, the fundamental human problem; to believe you can fix it is, eventually, to despair. She was to feminism as Nietzsche was to atheism: someone who was willing to see the implications all the way to the end. There is something admirable in her demand for purity, although it was a kind of purity not only impossible to attain but not even desirable to a healthy spirit.  

It is obvious to anyone, if Faludi's account is correct, that a troubled family life had a lot to do with Firestone's anger and her problems (not to mention the sick atmosphere of politicized personal quarrels--or should that be personalized political quarrels?--so frequently present in the feminist movement). And to a Catholic eye it's also obvious that a very misguided religious impulse was at work. Another profile, this one at The Atlantic, ends with this observation: "in her fervor she at times resembled a martyr or a saint." She did a lot of damage, to herself and others, but God would have seen the resemblance, too. 


(from a book she published in 1998, Airless Spaces)

Our time is notable for its number of officially educated people who don't know that they don't know what they don't know.

ZZ Top: Jesus Just Left Chicago

Weekend Music

Because I heard it a few days ago and still have it in my head, and maybe also because it's summer: simple food, simply cooked with natural ingredients and a bit of flair, tasty and satisfying.


I could play most of that (with a fair amount of work). It's almost surprising that ZZ Top's straightforward formula has remained popular, while remaining constant, for so long. The original recording of the song was already pretty old by pop music standards--seven years--when the above concert took place, and it varies only slightly from the recording. Here's how they did it thirty years later: 


Irreverent? I guess, but

You don't have to worry
Because takin care of business is his name

Kids These Days

From Donald Kagan's farewell speech upon his retirement from Yale:

Whatever the formal religious attachments of our students may be, I find that a firm belief in the traditional values and the ability to understand and the willingness to defend them are rare. Still rarer is an informed understanding of the traditions and institutions of our western civilization and of our country and an appreciation of their special qualities and values. The admirable, even the uniquely good elements are taken for granted as if they were universally available, had always existed, and required no special effort to preserve. All shortcomings, however, are quickly noticed and harshly condemned. Our society is judged not against the experience of human societies in other times and places, but against the Kingdom of Heaven. There is great danger in this, because our society, no less than others now and in the past, requires the allegiance and devotion of its members if it is to defend itself and make progress toward a better life.

Traditional beliefs, however, are not replaced by a different set of values resting on different traditions. Instead, I find a kind of cultural void, an ignorance of the past, a sense of rootlessness and aimlessness, as though not only the students but also the world was born yesterday, a feeling that they are attached to the society in which they live only incidentally and accidentally. Having little or no sense of the human experience through the ages, of what has been tried, of what has succeeded and what has failed, of what is the price of cherishing some values as opposed to others, or of how values relate to one another, they leap from acting as though anything is possible, without cost, to despairing that nothing is possible. They are inclined to see other people’s values as mere prejudices, one no better than another, while viewing their own as entirely valid, for they see themselves as autonomous entities entitled to be free from interference by society and from obligation to it.

The whole thing is very much worth reading, and you can find it here. But this section in particular struck me, especially those last two sentences. And it isn't just the young people: the syndrome is widespread among my generation. They see themselves as judging their own society from outside as if they had no part in it, and, more significantly, as if it had no part in them--as if they had come into being already transcending their own culture, and rather contemptuous of it. Of gratitude for their heritage and what it has given them, there is little or no trace. It is difficult to see how a society can survive if this attitude is sufficiently widespread, and it is most widespread among the elite.


TWA 800: Skepticism Revived

Well, this story came as a bit of a shock. It's been 17 years now since flight TWA 800 mysteriously exploded shortly after taking off from JFK Airport. When I saw the headline it took me a moment to remember what it referred to.

At the time of the event I was a member of an email list that focused on the scandals of the Clinton administration. (The Web, remember, was far from what it is now.) There was a certain amount...ok, a good deal...of loony fringe stuff on the list. But among the participants there was also a number of people who were clear-headed and analytical and knowledgeable in various fields (or at least claimed to be--of course I had no way of verifying it, but they seemed generally credible and non-nutty). And they were skeptical from the beginning about the official story on TWA 800. They didn't believe that the fuel tank could have exploded as claimed, and more importantly they thought the post-explosion behavior of the plane was wildly inconsistent with that theory. I had, again, no way of knowing if their objections on various technical grounds were justified. But they didn't seem like cranks, and it made me wonder about the official story. And now experts who participated in the investigation are emerging to say the initial report was false.

Anyone who is skeptical of the official story of an event like this runs the risk of being accused of being a "conspiracy theorist." But there is a huge difference between skepticism and theorizing. You can doubt one story without proposing another. If I walk out one morning and find my car missing, and when I report the apparent theft to the police they tell me that Harvey the rabbit was seen heading north on U.S. 98 in my car at 4am, I don't have to have an alternative explanation in order to be doubtful of that one.

One does of course naturally an explanation. If the official TWA 800 story is false, what did happen? Terrorism is an obvious possibility, but wouldn't terrorists have claimed responsibility? There wouldn't be much point in engaging in an act of terror and keeping silent while it was explained away as an accident. Some terrible military accident, maybe? I don't have any ideas. But the credentials of the doubters in this case are pretty hard to dismiss.

Conservatism, Sorted

Here's something else I've revisited in the process of selecting Sunday Night Journals for inclusion in a book: a series of posts from 2006-7 called "The Liberal Conservative," in which I lay out at some length my notion of a meaningful conservatism. It covers a lot of the ground we've visited here in recent discussions about the state of contemporary conservatism. Reading over it now, I don't see a great deal that I would change. One thing that strikes me is that we are noticeably further down the road toward the condition noted in the first piece: "The irony of liberalism the philosophy is that it leads to the death of liberal institutions." Is that necessarily true of liberalism the philosophy? I'm not 100% sure of that, but the experiment currently being conducted in the laboratories of the West show that it is in fact doing so.

There are five installments: 1, 1a, 2, 3, 4.

Inspector Lewis: Series VI

I just watched the first of a new Inspector Lewis series on PBS. Lewis, as you may know, was Chief Inspector Morse's sergeant in the old series based on the Colin Dexter novels. That much-loved series having ended some years ago, and John Thaw, the actor who played Morse, having died, the milieu has been recreated with Lewis, as played by Kevin Whatley, now holding the rank of inspector. 

The new episode, Down Among the Fearful, is quite good: well plotted, well acted, and engaging some series questions about belief and skepticism. I don't think it dealt with those questions all that well, but it was interesting, at least. Lewis's sergeant, Hathaway, is supposed to be a former seminarian--presumably Anglican, but it isn't clear--and is made to be at least a question-raiser for the religious view, although I have not seen any evidence that he has any very coherent belief. Still, like I said, interesting. 

I believe these will be available online at some point. And you might be able to catch the broadcast sometime in the next day or two, as they usually run them two or three times, often in the wee hours. Right now there are a few episodes from last season, and a preview of this season, available here

A Musical Tribute to the NSA and Friends

Weekend Music

I'm a bit late with this, because I had to work late yesterday and most of the day today. 

Rockwell: "Somebody's Watching Me"


"The NSA Slow Jam"


And lest the atmosphere of the first two seem more light-hearted than warranted--Rupert Hine: "The Outsider" (no video)


Thanks to Robert W, who sent me the first two yesterday and the third about thirty years ago.

We’ve got congressional oversight and judicial oversight. And if people can’t trust not only the executive branch but also don’t trust Congress and don’t trust federal judges to make sure that we’re abiding by the Constitution, due process and rule of law, then we’re going to have some problems here.

--Barack Obama

Error Has No Rights, continued

Some direct quotes from that James Hitchcock piece in Touchstone that I mentioned a couple of weeks ago:

...liberalism is now not merely a political philosophy compatible with many kinds of religion but has itself become a religion. is expedient for liberals that their movement not be seen as a religion, since it thereby escapes the accusations of dogmatism and intolerance that are routinely made against conventional religions.

...Liberal ideology ultimately rests on an act of faith. It can never be discredited by historical events, because the believer simply knows it to be right. Liberal ideas are considered self-evidently true, and, in their present ascendancy, liberals prefer merely to assert those ideas rather than discuss them. did most Catholics and Protestants in earlier times, the religion of liberalism considers itself the one true faith that has the obligation (and the power) to impose its beliefs.

When conservative believers demand their rights as citizens, they fail to realize that, as far as the religion of liberalism is concerned, "error has no rights." The religion of liberalism holds that the media and the educational system should enshrine liberal beliefs and discredit conservative ones, that government should enforce liberal programs by law, and that it is an open question how far heretics should even enjoy freedom of expression.

There are plenty of liberals who are not as dogmatic as this, but in the nature of things they're weaker and less energetic than the vanguard, which is now most aggressively and effectively represented by the homosexual rights movement and its very successful drive to characterize anything less than enthusiasm for homosexuality as bigotry. And bigotry--or whatever can be labelled as such--is one of the things that liberalism in general is willing to suppress.

Jesse Canterbury: Vertigo


Let me state right off that the artist is my son, and that I probably would never have heard this music otherwise.  There is so much recorded music available today that no one can even keep up with the titles, much less listen to more than a very tiny fraction of it. If you don't have something to bring it to your attention, such as the daily eMusic list of new releases which I often glance at, you may have no idea of the rate at which new music is released: an average day on eMusic sees anywhere from a few dozen to several hundred releases.

Moreover, this is a type of music which is not necessarily a big interest of mine. But I can honestly say that I've come to really love the album, and I think I would have done so without the familial connection, in the unlikely event it would have come my way otherwise.

Having said that, I must make some attempt to say what kind of music it is. It has roots in the field of free improvisation, which is sometimes linked to jazz and sometimes to contemporary classical music, but it doesn't really fit in either of those boxes. The description from Jesse's web site is as good as any: 

An all-acoustic ensemble playing a strikingly original mix of chamber music, improvisation, and tune-oriented melodic material...

It's a quartet of unusual composition: clarinet/bass clarinet, guitar, cello, and trombone. As readily as with either jazz or classical, I would connect some of it (not all) with ambient music. But ambient is typically more static than this, more interested in establishing a mood, or a "space," as the guy on Music from the Hearts of Space likes to say, and typically, as the name suggests, doesn't necessarily expect your close attention. And it isn't free improv, either, or only partially: these pieces rest on a composed foundation, with improvisation happening over that. So it isn't completely unstructured or lacking in recognizable music elements, like much free improv, or like modern composed music which sounds unstructured to the non-musician whether or not it actually is (cf. Schonberg vs. Cage). It's a combination of very accessible and very "out" sounds, which is a combination I've always liked. 

It's a very poetic album, as suggested by the cover and the titles: "Earth Beneath," "Open Door," "Long Walk." The full track list implies a progression, almost a narrative, from the chthonic "Earth Beneath," rising, encountering, looking about, reflecting, subsiding again to the chthonic with the closing "Descent." Overall the mood is quiet, even somber, though not necessarily peaceful, with a sense of deep mystery. There's an underlying restlessness and a sense of unanswered questioning. Some parts may strike the average listener as chaotic and perhaps cacophonic, others are downright pretty. 

My favorite tracks are the longer ones, which allow considerable variety in the contributions of the four members while sustaining a mood. The only one I'm not especially enthusiastic about is the solo percussive guitar piece, "Acrophobia," which might be appropriate, since I come pretty close to suffering from acrophobia (fear of heights) myself.

You can hear samples and purchase the album at CD Baby. Unfortunately I don't have a YouTube or other full-length track for you, but the samples are representative. I wouldn't have called the collection Vertigo, which of course is a quite unpleasant sensation. The CD Baby blurb describes it as "completely familiar and totally disorienting at the same time," which also is not necessarily attractive: personally I don't want to be totally disoriented, and don't find the music to be so. Nor do I find it "completely familiar." How about "contemplative and unsettling at the same time"?

I'm pretty familiar with the musical tastes of everyone who participates in discussions about music here, and I don't think this lies in anyone's usual line. So I recommend it, but with a note of caution: it's pretty unconventional. But then it isn't any less approachable than a great deal of contemporary classical music, either. 

 I might mention, too, that I think there is some pretty virtuosic playing here, especially from Jesse himself on clarinet and bass clarinet. If I'm not mistaken, there are parts of "Inside Out" (which sounds to me like the song of some great solemn bird) in which a single clarinet is sounding two simultaneous tones.

Jeeves on Nietzsche

And I have it from her ladyship's own maid, who happened to overhear a conversation between her ladyship and one of the gentlemen staying here--Mr. Maxwell, who is employed in an editorial capacity by one of the reviews--that it was her intention to start you almost immediately upon Nietzsche. You would not enjoy Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound.

--Wodehouse, Carry On, Jeeves


Anna Katharine Green: The Leavenworth Case

It's pretty funny, since I'm the one who works in technology, that my wife is more interested in the new hand-held electronic toys than I am. Having procured for herself a bargain-priced iPad (from a relative who no longer wanted it), she passed her Kindle along to me. I don't like reading on it anywhere near as much as I like reading a book--there's really no competition--but its portability is awfully handy sometimes, and I often take it with me when there's a chance that I'll be stuck somewhere with nothing to do.

Most of the books on it were put there by my wife when she was using it. And that's how I came to read this novel, both book and author having been previously unknown to me. Anna Katharine Green (Wikipedia article) was an early practitioner of the detective novel, and The Leavenworth Case was her first.  Since it predates the first Sherlock Holmes novel by roughly ten years (1878 vs. 1887), that certainly makes it a very early instance, although I gather from the Wikipedia article not the first.


After the first five pages or so, I wasn't sure I wanted to continue. But then I became interested in it purely as a period piece, and then after a couple of chapters became interested, period, and wanted to find out what happened. I can see why Green has been mostly forgotten, while Doyle is as famous as ever, if not more so. Neither Green's detective nor her story is as memorable as Holmes and most of the Holmes stories. The style is melodramatic to say the least:

Turning my head, I followed the guiding of that uplifted hand, now frozen into its place by a new emotion: the emotion of being interrupted in the midst of a direful and pregnant revelation, and saw—but, no, here description fails me! Eleanore Leavenworth must be painted by other hands than mine. I could sit half the day and dilate upon the subtle grace, the pale magnificence, the perfection of form and feature which make Mary Leavenworth the wonder of all who behold her; but Eleanore—I could as soon paint the beatings of my own heart. Beguiling, terrible, grand, pathetic, that face of faces flashed upon my gaze, and instantly the moonlight loveliness of her cousin faded from my memory, and I saw only Eleanore....

But it's still worth reading, partly in itself and partly, as I first felt, as a period piece. In the latter capacity it's an interesting view of wealthy New York Anglo-Protestant society at its highest point of cultural dominance and prestige, between roughly the Civil War and the First World War. The narrator, for instance, the Leavenworth's family lawyer, is much concerned with his status and prerogatives as a gentleman, perhaps even more so than a contemporary Englishman would have been. But there's a subtle criticism there, because the detective is not a gentleman, in that strict social sense.

Green also created the first "girl detective," giving her the very interesting name of Violet Strange, and there is one of these books on the Kindle, too, which I will sample sooner or later.

Film As Art

I've been going through the Sunday Night Journal pieces, picking the ones to be included in a book, and have just read this one, which is relevant to the conversation we've been having about where in the popular-to-high-art spectrum great movies lie. It's a review of The Third Man, which despite the intentions expressed in the review I have not seen since.

An Hour in CrazyWorld

Smartphones, of course, are not the only crazy-making technology we have to contend with. One day last week I ate lunch at a sports bar of which one whole two-story wall was filled with TV screens, two huge and eight very large. That's a total of ten video screens, which were playing a total of eight different programs or channels (the eight very large screens were in groups of four, and each group showed the same four things).

The picture doesn't really get the idea across, because I couldn't fit the entire ten screens into the frame of the camera. You can really only see six of the ten here.

The sad thing is that I found myself thinking it might actually be fun to watch a football game there, at least if they put the same game on all the screens.