Category Archives: English

NEW: Remembering H. L. Mencken

America, Argument, Democracy, English, Journalism, Literature, The Zeitgeist

NEW: The excerpt is from my “Remembering H. L. Mencken,” at Chronicles magazine.

H.L. Mencken (1880-1956) may no longer seem relevant, but that is not his fault. Mencken was a well-read  bon vivant with a taste for Teutonic philosophy and a fidelity to what he understood as truth. He was also a brilliant satirist, a longtime writer for the Baltimore Sun, and editor
of The American Mercury. His facility with the English idiom  and grasp of intellectual history are unsurpassed. How can an aristocratic individualist like Mencken appeal to an age which makes idols out of equality and “democracy”?

He can’t and shouldn’t.

Henry Louis Mencken was a contrarian polemicist and consummate critic, who wrote prolifically and prodigiously from 1899 until 1948. It is inconceivable that he would appeal to our bumper crops of humorless, dour social justice warriors. He couldn’t possibly resonate with those who are afraid to question received opinion, left and right, who cannot conjugate a verb correctly, use tenses, prepositions, and adjectives grammatically and creatively, or appreciate a clever turn of phrase.

How can Mencken, author of The American Language (1919), be relevant in an America that regards the rules of syntax as passé, politicizes and neuters pronouns, and employs “editors” who think nothing of letting mangled phrases and lumpen jargon spill onto the page like
gravy over a tablecloth? …

… READ ON. Remembering H. L. Mencken” is at Chronicles magazine, now edited by the greatest living paleoconservative thinker, my friend Paul Gottfried.

https://tinyurl.com/tlopcon

 

Why Is Glenn Greenwald In Brazil, In The First Place? Don’t Ask The Washington Examiner

Critique, English, Homeland Security, Intelligence, Journalism, Media

Truly ghastly writing from Washington Examiner editorial staff, most of them still in short-pants, is nothing new.

This appallingly written, dog’s breakfast of a column,The arrest of Glenn Greenwald reminds us what actual press persecution looks like,” repeatedly states the obvious: American journalists know not what it is to work under duress, bereft of freedom of the press.

Conversely, Glenn Greenwald, an American journalist based in Brazil, does.

But the worst infraction of journalism committed by the writer is the man’s lack of intellectual curiosity and shallow knowledge about the object of his justified defense, Glenn Greenwald.

In trying to make a point about the freedoms the American press enjoys, as opposed to the lack thereof in Brazil, the author, a “deputy contributors editor and commentary writer,” appears to be blissfully ignorant of the fact that, after helping Edward Snowden expose the U.S. National Security Agency, “the world’s largest surveillance organization,” Mr. Greenwald came under the scrutiny of the U.S. government, and is likely “a target of U.S. surveillance.”

It is still unclear whether Greenwald may return to the U.S. without risking arrest in the homeland.

How’s that for irony? This journalistic void renders ridiculous the outrage evinced by the writer (of “The arrest of Glenn Greenwald reminds us what actual press persecution looks like”) against Brazil’s authoritarian president, considering that Greenwald might be arrested on return to the U.S.

Via the Committee to Protect Journalists:

Glenn Greenwald would like to go home to the United States, at least for a visit. But the Guardian journalist and blogger is afraid to do so. He still has material and unpublished stories from his contacts with fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden that he believes U.S. authorities would love to get their hands on. The nine-hour detention and interrogation of Greenwald’s Brazilian partner David Miranda by British security services at London’s Heathrow airport in August has only compounded his fears.
“I have been told by pretty much everybody I have asked, including lawyers for the Guardian, my personal lawyer, lawyers I trust, political people who are well connected that it would be very ill-advised for me to travel back to the United States right now because the chances that I would be arrested are something more than trivial,” Greenwald told CPJ in Rio de Janeiro.

To the Daily Beast, Greenwald said this:

“I’ve had lots of prominent [American] political and media figures calling for my arrest and prosecution and strongly suggesting, if not outright stating, that what I am doing is criminal.”

****

Other than from the title of the column, “The arrest of Glenn Greenwald reminds us what actual press persecution looks like,” and the embedded hyperlinks meant to be followed by the reader—the latter is none the wiser about the fate that befell poor Mr. Greenwald.

The rules of writing are that you tell readers in your lede paragraph about the thing upon which you’ve based your column. “The Five Ws” of journalism are:

What happened?
Who did that?
When did it take place?
Where did it take place?
Why did that happen?

Then there are what I call the “really-really” qualifications.

Greenwald is said to be “coming from a far-left perspective.” What a deeply silly statement. It’s like writing, “very-very left wing.” Who does that?

Bad journos who are subconsciously trying to set themselves in a camp other than the “far-left” do that.

Bad journos who are trying to emphasize their fair-mindedness do that.

Greenwald is a fair-minded liberal. That’s it. He is certainly not a far-left journalist.

There’s more white noise, but I’m tired of documenting shit.

 

* Glenn Greenwald courtesy REUTERS/Sergio Moraes

UPDATED (12/4): BBC Education Editor Botches English In Misleading Article About Estonian Education

Education, English, EU, Kids, Multiculturalism

Here is a botched sentence that caps a BBC News article on the superiority of Estonian education. (Or, is it the superiority of Estonian kids?)

“In a system that values its teachers highly, [a shortage of teachers] is the biggest risk to maintaining the remarkable progress its made.”

Should be “… it’s made.” Or, “it has made.”

In case the  writer who penned  the piece corrects it, here is a screen pic of what Branwen Jeffreys, BBC education editor, originally wrote:

(“Levelling up” pupils: what an ugly, if understandable, expression. Oh for well-written news in the Queen’s English.

Estonia, originally a Nordic nation, is still a sparsely populated European country. Of the 1,324,820 people who inhabit the country, 907,628 are Estonians, 328,299 are Russian, and 23,665 are Ukrainian. You’d think the ill-educated individual who wrote this reductionist article would have considered more than one factor (teaching methods) in deducing the secret to the smarts shown by Estonian kids.

Put it this way, I doubt that the latest Wacky Progressive Teaching Method explains Estonian achievement on international tests.

UPDATED (12/4): “Slip-shot”! WTF!

 

NEW COLUMN Updated (1/21): Dissident Deplorables Refuse To Be Dittoheads

Critique, Donald Trump, Elections, English, Family, Journalism, Media, Political Correctness

NEW COLUMN is “Dissident Deplorables Refuse To Be Dittoheads.”

In its attenuated form, the column appeared on Townhall.com. If you prefer lukewarm, milquetoast, bland fare (as much as this writer can do those), adapted for conservative tastes, then stick with this version: “Dissident Deplorables Deserve Decent Coverage.”

Otherwise, read the piece in full on The Unz Review.  Or, look-away, FAST (as did others. Yes, the piece was spiked elsewhere).  The more I read Mencken, the more I know this: If he were alive today, Unz Review woudl be the only place that would dare publish him.

Excerpt:

The happening featured beefcake Donald Trump Jr. and bimbo Kimberly Guilfoyle.

The couple was on stage at UCLA to promote the president’s son’s “book,” when they were jeered by dissident Deplorables for shutting down the Question-and-Answer segment.

“Book” here is in quotations to denote “so-called,” because the staple, ghost-written political pablum, penned by ambitious political flotsam, relates to literacy as H. L. Mencken relates to conformity—not at all.

Predictably, Guilfoyle opted out of the conversational give-and-take demanded by her man’s hecklers, and went straight for the groin:

“I bet you engage in online dating, because you’re impressing no one here to get a date in person.”

Why “predictably”? Well, a supple mind may not be one of Guilfoyle’s assets.

Kimberley’s cerebral alacrity was seldom showcased when seated in Fox News’ legs chair. During one of her last televised appearances on “The Five,” a Fox News daytime show, Guilfoyle protested that, “the U.S. has already reduced its [toxic] ‘admissions’ enough.”

I give you Guilfoyle, verbatim, in her own words: “So, we can keep doing what we’re doing. We can keep reducing our admissions. …”

To Make English Great Again, you reduce emissions, not “admissions.”

For a while, it even seemed that Trump, looking for curve appeal in a press secretary, was going for Guilfoyle. She certainly thought so and said as much, implying, at the time, that she herself is “a great communicator … with deep knowledge.”

And no; I do not digress. This all goes to the Guilfoyle’s knee-jerk, flirty, aim-for-the-groin reaction to her hombre’s hecklers.

Tellingly, the taunting of Donald Jr. by dissident Deplorables was covered very differently by the American Daily Beast and the British Guardian.

Descriptions of political positions and personalities were prefaced by the Daily Beast with “edifying” editorializing. The hecklers the Beast described as “fringe-right.” Their alleged instigator and inspiration was said to be “a white nationalist.” Perfectly legitimate demands from this disgruntled audience for a “Q&A” and for “America First,” the Daily Beast deemed tantamount to a right-wing insurrection or civil war.

Discrediting dissent is all in a day’s work for the American press.

What do you know? The hecklers at Trump Jr.’s book-flogging were also known, to the Daily Beast at least, as “Holocaust deniers.” As far as this reader can tell, the group taunting the empty suits on stage for refusing to answer questions had said not a word about the Holocaust. Nor had the disrupters been interviewed by the Daily Beast about their views on the Holocaust.

More to the point: Why is participation in our democracy predicated on one’s views on the Holocaust? What the hell does an individual’s opinion about that topic have to do with his right to solicit answers from members of Donald Trump’s politically active dynasty? I say this as a Jew whose family tree was truncated by the industrial-scale mass murder of millions of Jews that was the Holocaust. …

… READS THE REST.  NEW COLUMN is “Dissident Deplorables Refuse To Be Dittoheads.” Or, “Dissident Deplorables Deserve Decent Coverage,” if you can’t take the heat. 

UPDATE (11/21): 

On WND: “Is political participation predicated on views about the Holocaust?” “Discrediting dissent is all in a day’s work for the American press,” says this Jew, whose family tree was truncated by the industrial-scale mass murder that was the Holocaust. MORE …