Category Archives: English

UPDATE II: Reject Collective Guilting By The Bigoted Ta Nehisi Coates

English, History, Individualism Vs. Collectivism, Intellectualism, Intelligence, Race, Racism

Ta Nehisi Coates is no intellectual; he says ‘aks’ instead of ‘ask’ and is utterly incoherent, putting forth—in a lengthy interview with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes (who is manifestly bright)—turgid, sweeping, logically flawed argument.

If we must segregate intellectuals, then Thomas Sowell is a thinker, as is Walter E. Williams. But not this man. Alas, Coates’ fortunes are not merit-based. Yes, how does the adulation Coates receives square with his accusations, made into a career calling, of our racism, yours and mine?

Hayes attempted diplomatically, 6:30 minutes in, to refute Coates’ put down of all whites who voted Trump, but Hayes backed down from being intellectually forceful. Besides, Coats was unable to respond to the host. Simply couldn’t.

I’ve not yet READ “The First White President: The foundation of Donald Trump’s presidency is the negation of Barack Obama’s legacy.” However, the thesis seems a little dumb, for a negation of Obama is not necessarily racial, given that such an overwhelming number of whites had voted for 44. A vote for Obama, moreover, on the part of blacks was most certainly racial. But that’s OK.

As to “America’s founding sins,” as Coats calls slavery. I was not party to that, so I reject his collective guilt. We all should.

UPDATE I: On Gab, someone point out that, “African-American vernacular is a legitimate dialect of English, no different than southern or Australian or any other dialect. That doesn’t make it inferior.”

REPLY: This cultivated African-American dialect was, I believe, absent in the 1950s through the 1960s and even the 70s. It’s a racial, not regional, dialect, adopted, it would seem, artificially for political ends.

UPDATE II: DON on Gab: Having not been alive in those decades I can’t personally refute that (ridiculous, I mean come on) claim, but have a listen to this 1956 interview with a Black American and tell me it doesn’t sound quite a bit like blacks today: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvEE9zdHpcY

REPLY
: The most educated of blacks once sounded like educated Americans, not like the exotic exhibits you make them out to be. Do yo think people should strive to speak great English, the language of the founders & of the founding docs? Or bastardize the language to pidgin english? Leftists are with you.

UPDATE (8/27): Rod Dreher’s Dreadful Writing At The American Conservative

Conservatism, English, Literature, States' Rights

How many first-person references can you count in this Rod Dreher bit of tedium? “I think.” “I believe.” “I’m not.” “Call me sentimental.” “My grandmother …”

Opinion differs about how often to use the first person pronoun in various genres of writing. But its overuse in opinion writing is a cardinal sin.

You may abuse “I” when the passive-form alternative is too clumsy. Or, when the writer has earned the right to, because of his relevance to the story. (There is no good reason for Dreher to insert himself in practically every other sentence here.)

To get a sense of how bad someone’s writing is count the number of times he deploys the Imperial “I” on the page. Dreher is very bad indeed. He is like a dripping tap. Half of this diarrhetic post could have been cut.

A good editor would have removed superfluous phrases like, “It’s strange, actually.” There are many like it: the aforementioned “call me sentimental” and “It seems to me.”

The American Conservative’s attitude to editing is decidedly un-conservative.

There are some redeeming observations in “Duty, Dishonor, & The South,” but they’re lost in the wishy-washy meandering narrative of a poor writer.

UPDATE (8/27): Noonan is bad (always has been), but not as awful as Dreher. She’s effective in her messy emotionalism. He’s not.

Meir Shalev: Easily One Of The Greatest Novelists

English, Israel, Literature, Pop-Culture

I’ve been reading two classic novels by Meir Shalev in Hebrew, in the hope of reviving my extant but waning Hebrew reading skills.

The one completed some time ago was Roman Rusi (“A Russian Novel,” translated), which was changed to The Blue Mountain. A lot hangs on the translation, naturally, but having read “Roman Rusi” (aka “The Blue Mountain“) both in English and Hebrew, I can say Hillel Halkin’s translation of that book was superb.

Shalev, for the richness of his descriptions and the depth of the depictions and characters (down to the animals), is up there with the greatest writers. Nabokov of the Israelis? Maybe, but Shalev doesn’t have Nabokov’s prurient preoccupied with decadence.

Even finer than “The Blue Mountain” is “As A Few Days,” which is currently tearing at my heart. Read it (and my non-fiction books, of course). It also goes by the title “Four Meals” or “The Loves of Judith.”

 

The Declaration Of Independence Has Been Mocked Out Of Meaning

America, Britain, English, History, Liberty, Multiculturalism

The Declaration Of Independence Has Been Mocked Out Of Meaning” is the current column, now on Townhall.com. It toasts The Declaration, Thomas Jefferson and the Anglo-Saxon tradition, from which Jefferson drew.

An excerpt:

For most Americans, Independence Day means firecrackers and cookouts. The Declaration of Independence—whose proclamation, on July 4, 1776, we celebrate—doesn’t feature in the celebration. Contemporary Americans are less likely to read it now that it’s easily available on the Internet, than when it relied on horseback riders for its distribution.

It is fair to say that the Declaration of Independence has been mocked out of meaning.

Back in 1776, gallopers carried the Declaration through the country. Printer John Dunlap had worked “through the night” to set the full text on “a handsome folio sheet,” recounts historian David Hackett Fischer in Liberty And Freedom. And the president of the Continental Congress, John Hancock, urged that the “people be universally informed.” (They were!)

Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration, called it “an expression of the American Mind.” An examination of Jefferson’s constitutional thought makes plain that he would no longer consider the collective mentality of contemporary Americans and their leaders (Rep. Ron Paul excepted) “American” in any meaningful way. For the Jeffersonian mind was that of an avowed Whig—an American Whig whose roots were in the English, Whig political philosophy of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Come to think of it, Jefferson would not recognize England as the home of the Whigs in whose writings colonial Americans were steeped—John Locke, Algernon Sidney, Paul Rapin, Thomas Gordon and others.

The essence of this “pattern of ideas and attitudes,” almost completely lost today, explains David N. Mayer in The Constitutional Thought of Thomas Jefferson, was a view of government as an inherent threat to liberty and the necessity for eternal vigilance. …

… READ THE REST. The complete column is “The Declaration Of Independence Has Been Mocked Out Of Meaning,” now on Townhall.com.