This weekend marks the 102nd anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. There is so much ignorance about it, so much unwarranted hostility and duplicity. Therefore I was delighted to find this piece from two years ago – outstanding historical research and interpretation.
One of the things Significant Other and I like to listen to when we drive somewhere is the Diary of Samuel Pepys, read by Kenneth Branagh. It’s captivating, edifying, vivid, funny and sad. Pepys wrote a lot about his meals – mostly mutton, it seems, and tankards of liquor – and so I found this discovery of one of his silver plates quite fascinating. Coincidentally, Jeff Jacoby wrote a column just last week about anti-Semitism, and opened it by quoting Pepys’s observations on his 1663 visit to a London synagogue.
It is the feast of St. Michael, and in honour, I give you Raphael’s 1504 St. Michael, also known as “Little St. Michael” (to distinguish it from another St. Michael painted by Raphael years later). I love this. Slay those demons, friends!
On the 18th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, I cannot think of a better film from which to show a scene than the Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, and I’m hard-pressed to think of a more appropriate scene than this one. Extraordinary film, and rarely shown, even on TCM. Interestingly, they aired it today (and yes, we taped it).
Today is the 80th anniversary of the start of the Second World War. On my other site, I posted a bit about Vera Lynn and my mother’s love of two of her songs of the era. Please take a look, and if you are interested in knowing more about the song itself, check out Mark Steyn’s column here.
And it truly was one. I was living in Paris at the time, and was still young and foolish enough to think there was something redeemable about communism. Shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall I travelled through Eastern Europe and began to see how terribly misguided I had been. I also began to see how lucky we all were that the revolution had unfolded peacefully.
Some think that the momentous change that began in 1989 was inevitable. They would do well to remember that in June of the same year, China’s elderly rulers had deployed tanks to crush (literally) the peaceful freedom movement in Tiananmen Square. And there were plenty of communist leaders urging a “Chinese solution” for the demonstrations of 1989. In fact, at the Soviet command post just south of Berlin (which had served as command center for the German Army during World War II, and which had been seized from Hitler decades earlier), Red Army marshals were awaiting orders to march in and save the empire by whatever means necessary.
No one can know what would have happened if more conservative forces within the Kremlin had prevailed. Most likely, there would have been widespread disorder and violence across much of the region, which would have put the West under substantial pressure to intervene. Open war would have been a distinct possibility. After all, large empires throughout history have generally gone out with a bang. If anything, the Soviet experience was an exception.
Read the rest of this analysis from Carl Bildt, Sweden’s former Foreign Minister and Prime Minister.
This piece by Andrew Sullivan reminds me why I used to – between 2000 and 2006/7 or thereabouts – read his blog every single day. I was trying to find a “money quote” (as we old bloggers used to call it) to feature, but the whole thing is excellent.
I’ll give you this much, about the current wokesters…
To watch this version of the left capture all of higher education and the mainstream media, to see the increasing fury and ambition of its proponents, could make a reactionary of nearly anyone who’s not onboard with this radical project.
…but I’ll caution you to read the entire column (link above).
A powerful poem, written in 1939, about the plight of European Jews.
Say this city has ten million souls,
Some are living in mansions, some are living in holes:
Yet there’s no place for us, my dear, yet there’s no place for us.
Once we had a country and we thought it fair,
Look in the atlas and you’ll find it there:
We cannot go there now, my dear, we cannot go there now.
In the village churchyard there grows an old yew,
Every spring it blossoms anew:
Old passports can’t do that, my dear, old passports can’t do that.
The consul banged the table and said,
“If you’ve got no passport you’re officially dead”:
But we are still alive, my dear, but we are still alive.
Went to a committee; they offered me a chair;
Asked me politely to return next year:
But where shall we go to-day, my dear, but where shall we go to-day?
Came to a public meeting; the speaker got up and said;
“If we let them in, they will steal our daily bread”:
He was talking of you and me, my dear, he was talking of you and me.
Thought I heard the thunder rumbling in the sky;
It was Hitler over Europe, saying, “They must die”:
O we were in his mind, my dear, O we were in his mind.
Saw a poodle in a jacket fastened with a pin,
Saw a door opened and a cat let in:
But they weren’t German Jews, my dear, but they weren’t German Jews.
Went down the harbour and stood upon the quay,
Saw the fish swimming as if they were free:
Only ten feet away, my dear, only ten feet away.
Walked through a wood, saw the birds in the trees;
They had no politicians and sang at their ease:
They weren’t the human race, my dear, they weren’t the human race.
Dreamed I saw a building with a thousand floors,
A thousand windows and a thousand doors:
Not one of them was ours, my dear, not one of them was ours.
Stood on a great plain in the falling snow;
Ten thousand soldiers marched to and fro:
Looking for you and me, my dear, looking for you and me.
If you are interested in Italy, design, history and cars – or any of the above – you will find this article worth your time.
He was born on this day, one hundred years ago.