I think the field will be a complete shambles. It’s already imploding from the inside, but in five years most of the distinguished people will be gone. Political schism will continue to tear the profession apart, probably getting even worse. Intellectually things are not going in a good direction. Maybe other countries will assert themselves, […]
I happened to watch Richard Lester’s film about the Beatles. Oh what a time that was! All of John, Paul, George, and Ringo came across beautifully. What struck me was the way the interludes of the Beatles singing songs seemed like oases in a tawdry world: so pure, so innocent, so full of life. Nothing […]
I just want to say that my friend and editor Bob Silvers was a unique individual: iron integrity, playful irreverent humor, scrupulous, fearless, fair. I will miss my phone calls with him, which were always charming and delightful, as well as professional and painstaking. We must do our best to keep up the standards he […]
George Soros is an old friend of mine and I have visited CEU at his invitation. I can state categorically that statements made about him to the effect that he runs a covert international “empire” are completely false. He does, however, oppose totalitarian governments.
As centers of free thought and expression, American universities are clearly doomed. Forces from the left and right are conspiring to destroy academic values (i.e. civilization). Universities are already nothing like they were twenty years ago, or even ten years ago. But don’t worry: university administrators will flourish as the ship slowly sinks! What do […]
I notice that the phrase, in its current meaning, appears on page 168 of Bend Sinister, published in 1947: “it is better for a man to have belonged to a politically incorrect organization than not to have belonged to any organization at all”. I wonder if this is its first occurrence.
My cat likes to catch lizards and bring them into the living room to frolic with. I try to remove them before he kills them. Today I found a writhing detached tail, the rest of the lizard being elsewhere. I felt a rush of disgust at the sight of the still-animated tail. This struck me […]
I’ve been reading Nabokov’s early novel Bend Sinister, about political tyranny. I would call it a “crowd-displeaser”: brilliantly written, of course, but deeply depressing about politics and people. It seems to capture our current moment of mediocre pallid (or orange) men with obscene amounts of power and bad personalities. The figure of the ruler Paduk (nickname […]
Her new book Unwanted Advances makes for an interesting read.
Yesterday when I was playing tennis with my friend Eddie a large reptile wandered onto the court–a lizard about three feet long, splendid green belly, striped tail, spikes on its back, quite a specimen. After a while it made as if to leave, but it was too heavy to climb back up the wind covers […]