Category Archives: Literature

George Orwell’s “1984” And The “Must Topple” List

America, Communism, Free Speech, History, Left-Liberalism, Literature, States' Rights

FROM George Orwell’s “1984”: “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book has been rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street and building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And that process is continuing day-by-day and minute-by-minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.”

Must topple” is courtesy of the Observer-Reporter.

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.”

 

A Timely Christmas Gift

Christianity, Donald Trump, Ilana Mercer, Literature

The other day, a reader asked if  “The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed,” published June 29, had been “updated since the election.” The candid reply is “no. No need.” The first libertarian book of Trump is as valid and predictive as it was when it came out. And the price of both formats has been slashed. For a last minute Christmas gift, the Kindle edition is a mere $3.99; the paperback $10.99.

Historians Dr. Clyde Wilson, whose books I highly recommend, reviewed “The Trump Revolution” in Chronicles magazine, the flagship publication of principled paleoconservationism. “Sounding The Trump” is in the October 2016 issue of Chronicles (subscribe). A short excerpt:

In important ways, a revolutionary process has begun. So argues Ilana Mercer in the best extended analysis yet published of the Trump phenomenon: “Trump is getting an atrophied political system to oscillate” in “an oddly marvelous uprising.” For us revolutionaries there is still a long way to go, but we are entitled to a “modest hope” that “an utterly different political animal, Donald Trump, might actually do some good for the countrymen he genuinely seems to love.”  … It is not Trump who is transforming American politics, the author asserts; “it’s the people of America doing the transforming.” Trump is the first politician in a long, long time who has regarded America as a country rather than a “proposition” and has actually spoken to and for “the people.” Far from being “divisive,” his plain speaking has enthusiastically united large numbers of Americans. …

… “White Lives Matter Less” has been, in Mercer’s words, “the creedal pillar” of our public life. Without ungraciousness to any, Trump has shown that it is OK for white Americans to declare that they have had enough of “the pigment burden” that has been piled on their backs. This paleolibertarian author does not disguise her disgust at the fashionable statism, indistinguishable from the collectivist left and without a clue to what “free trade” really means, that passes for libertarianism today. …

… as Mercer points out with tough realism, … In this post-constitutional time, it may be that “the best liberty lovers can look to is action and counter-action, force and counterforce in the service of liberty.” A president hoping for reform will face 160,000 pages of federal laws and regulations and relentless sabotage by the Banksters, Bombers, Bureaucrats, and Busybodies who now govern us. He cannot be a moderate if he hopes to accomplish anything.

On “Mercer’s Menckenesque ability to coin memorable phrases describing the empowered fools of our time,” Professor Wilson’s asks: “Does any contemporary writer do it better?”

Finally, a reviewer with a sense of fun; someone with the good sense to have a hearty chuckle at this verbal swordplay:

Mercer on the media: “news nitworks,” the “War Street Journal,” “idiot’s lantern,” “unsharpened pencil,” “tele-tarts,” a “circle jerk of power brokers,” “one-trick donkeys,” “celebrated mediocrities,” “another banal bloviation,” the “cable commentariat as a cog in the corpulent D.C. fleshpot.”

Mercer on our rulers and would-be rulers: “parasites in waiting”; “nation-building at the point of the bayonet makes [Hillary] barking happy”; “Banana Republicans”; “dwarf-tossing” (William Kristol’s promotion of nonentities as Trump alternatives); the “quaint expectation that voters, not party operatives, would choose the nominee”; the “silent majority that dare not speak its name”; “what our crypto-leftist conservatives are ramming down our proverbial gullets are dogmas, not values”; the “master-servant relationship between Republicans and the Religious Right”; the “think tanks’ industry for the god of war”; “neoconservatives speaking like Tocqueville but acting like Robespierre”; “neoconservatives standing athwart every valid form of American conservatism yelling stop.”

What a review and what an honor!

And to all my readers: I’m honored to have had your support for all these years. Thank you!

Merry Christmas and a happy Hanukkah and New Year.

ilana