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Showing posts from December 8, 2002
Dope The Pilate problem James Fitzjames Stephen was a Victorian bravo of the purest water. When Gertrude Himmelfarb gets all fluttery about Victorian masculinity, she is undoubtedly envisioning a man of Stephen's type. In his entry in the 1911 Encyclopedia Brittanica, he is described as �massive, downright, indefatigable and sincere even to unnecessary frankness.� In other words, a sort of Mr. Rochester sprung from Jane Eyre�s tale. Stephen was a member of the Apostles, the Cambridge group, in the 1840s � well before it became the conglomeration of aestheticism and the higher buggery under Keynes and Strachey � where he met Henry Maine, the legal historian; Stephen, having no taste for curateships, went into law himself; in his practical life, he eventually devoted himself to grafting principles of English common law into the workings of the British Raj in India. The Mills, of course, father and son, were the redeeming intellectual ornaments of the East Indian Compa
Dope LI has been battling the flu this week. Hence, the noticeable lack of activity in this space. Some of you probably concluded it was the curse of Coleridge -- wrestling with that writer's anfractuosities has done in many a better man than LI. But no -- we were on top of the Coleridge problem until we felt that tickle in the throat, and that slight, heady rise in the body temperature, portents and symbols of the pathogen in the blood. We're going to try to put up some feeble thing or other in this space today, however. Coleridge, who deserves all our health, will have to be swept into that veritable out-box of promises, all the projects LI has mentioned and failed to carry out.
Remora Bush insatiable appetite for CEOs was apparently not sated by Paul O'Neill's unspotted record of ineptitude. There were times we rather liked O'Neill -- for instance, his idea that financial gamblers who invest in high risk emerging markets should (gasp!) take their risks. But on the whole, the man was as out of the loop as any Treasury secretary since the late Andrew Mellon . So now we have John Snow, chairman of CSX, whose arrival has been greeted by the cautious hossanahs of various Democrat honchos. This is, of course, a bad sign -- to be followed by the rote label, moderate Republican, and such business. Here is Forbes, trumpeting the integrity of the man : "Snow has been serving as co-chairman of a Conference Board blue-ribbon commission on corporate governance. In its first report last September, the panel called for widespread reforms in the way executive compensation is determined. In a news release accompanying the report's issuance, Sn
Remora The Patriot game Lately there has been a lot of, to LI�s mind, rather unseemly genuflecting to the American flag on the part of a group in the left press that apparently entertains the fear that honorable goals, such as economic justice and anti-belligerence, are being undermined by a googley eyed gang of flag burners. We have little patient with the thesis that America is the Great Satan; on the other hand, when lefists get chummy with the tropes of jingoism, we look for the exits. Dissent recently published an essay by Michael Kazin, an editor, entitled �A Patriotic Left.� This is an excellent example of the neo-Popular Front in the age of Bush. Kazin has a good time sporting in progressive cant. You know the variety: You call for some moderate objective in the most bloodcurdling ultra rhetoric. After the writer is finished, you are supposed to count the silverware in the silverware drawer, to see if any of it has been expropriated by the masses. Since the rhetorical