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Showing posts from June 22, 2014

Joyce as the master

There’s an anecdote in Ellman’s biography of James Joyce that I really love: “… one day he dined with Vanderpyl and another writer, Edmond Jaloux, at a restaurant in the rue St. Honore. As they drank champagne and Fendant de Sion, Jaloux, who happened to be carrying a copy of Flaubert's Trois Contes, began to praise the faultlessness of its style and language. Joyce, in spite of his own admiration for Flaubert, bristled, 'Pas si bien que ga. II commence avec une faute.' And taking the book he showed them that in the first sentence of'Un Cceur simple,' 'Pendant un demi-siecle, les bourgeoises de Pont-l'Eveque envierent d Mme Aubain sa servante Felicite,' envierent should be enviaient, since the action is continued rather than completed. Then he thumbed through the book, evidently with a number of mistakes in mind, and came to the last sentence of the final story, 'Herodias,' 'Comme elle etait tres lourde, Us la portaient altemativem

for strict constructionism

In the sixties, during a brief and singular moment in Supreme court history when the court leaned left rather than right, the right massively adopted the idea of strict constructionism. As the court has veered to the far right again - its usual place - the furor has abated.  Myself, I am with the original right position: the supreme court should go back to what it was originally intended to be, a court, not a forum for deciding whether legislation or executive action is constitutional. I believe that might be a good idea, a forum for deciding whether legislation is constitutional or not, and perhaps there should be an independent office to vet legislation, as there is in France. But the Supreme court is certainly not it.  We are far adrift from what Alexander Hamilton wrote in the federalist 78: "Whoever attentively considers the different departments of power must perceive, that, in a government in which they are separ ated from each other, the judiciary, from the nature of it