This piece by Douglas Murray was written in May, after the leak of the draft decision on Roe v. Wade from the U.S. Supreme Court. I read it then and thought it excellent – just re-read it now and feel the same way.
Today is the 82nd anniversary of de Gaulle’s Appel du 18 Juin. Click on what I wrote last year about this day, if you are so inclined. And speaking of France, I was saddened to hear that Jean-Louis Trintignant died. I just loved Un Homme et Une Femme – a Euro-chick flick, before the term “chick flick” came to be – and not just for its theme song.
The iconic last scene, below.
So I’ve been a teensy bit active on my Substack, folks. A piece up about The Godfather films and an introductory couple of paragraphs from me.
So, not many links. A small barrel. An “ette.” But a few I like and think you will like. First, some fine writing and reporting in the New York Times about…bachelorette parties. I particularly admire that the writer avoids a sneering tone – it would be so easy, given the topic.
Preserved dinosaur leg found in North Dakota. Really! Wowza. Sort of creepy to see it, and makes you feel for the little guy.
Apparently, koala bears have fingerprints that are indistinguishable from ours! Yikes! Koalas can start framing us for eucalyptus theft.
Being the age that I am, I cannot help but be excited about the new Top Gun movie – here is an important piece about Top Gun, China and Hollywood.
And just a great photograph: when Bardot met Picasso, 1956. What an image (from Life magazine archives); what an iconic pair.
I do not have sufficient words for Her Majesty, so I will leave it to those who do. On the occasion of her Silver Jubilee, Philip Larkin wrote this verse, which I think says it all and remains true of her:
In times when nothing stood
But worsened or grew strange
There was one constant good
She did not change
And Ted Hughes – who, I have learned, was a great monarchist – wrote this, also lovely:
A nation’s a soul
A soul is a wheel
With a crown for a hub
To keep it whole
For this extraordinary celebration, Britain’s current Poet Laureate, Simon Armitage, has written the following (please check here for his beautiful tribute to Prince Philip).
And how can I omit, as we talk all things Jubilee, this precious moment? Her Majesty is a good sport. (I love how the marmalade sandwiches are unwrapped.)
I feel sorry for this kid, sentenced to jail for life, as I feel sorry for his victim. And no, not making a moral equivalence between an invading force and a civilian victim of that force – I just feel pain for both of the men in this story, and for both of their families. It should be Putin up there on trial. And you know that this young man’s mother has no clue what is happening to him – she likely only gets to hear a highly-edited version of events. A tragedy all around.
“Hey, do you know, ‘Begin the Beguine’?”
The modern story of Gobekli Tepe begins in 1994, when a Kurdish shepherd followed his flock over the lonely, infertile hillsides, passing a single mulberry tree, which the locals regarded as ‘sacred’. The bells hanging on his sheep tinkled in the stillness. Then he spotted something. Crouching down, he brushed away the dust, and exposed a large, oblong stone. The man looked left and right: there were similar stone outcrops, peeping from the sands.
Calling his dog to heel, the shepherd informed someone of his finds when he got back to the village. Maybe the stones were important. He was not wrong. The solitary Kurdish man, on that summer’s day in 1994, had made an irreversibly profound discovery – which would eventually lead to the penis pillars of Karahan Tepe, and an archaeological anomaly which challenges, time and again, everything we know of human prehistory.
And no, “penis pillars” is not a typo. But overlook all the jokes you can make – men’s obsessions were ever thus – and read the story. Readers of my site know I used to live in Turkey. I have not been back since my time there, but have often thought how great it would be to visit Istanbul again, now that I am no longer the messy, messed-up young woman I was and have grown into a messy, middle-aged woman. If I am so lucky as to return, I will add Gobekli Tepe to my itinerary.
It is VE Day and, as such, I would be remiss in not promoting my book here. My mother features prominently in the book, so I guess it is fitting to promote it this Mother’s Day, too. (She would be all in favour of trying to push sales, but I must admit, I find it rather cringe, as the kids say.) I would also like to share this song, so get out your Kleenex. I can’t listen to it without thinking of mum – both my parents, actually.
Since I am always late to the party, I finally decided to open a Substack. Not sure how often I will publish there. For now, I transferred all the essays, etc., I had on Medium and transferred them over. Therefore, if you want to read something from my Medium account that I’ve linked to in a previous post here (such as my essay for Holocaust Remembrance Day or my robin story) you will have to see them on my Substack, as I have closed down my Medium page(s).