Friday, February 21, 2020

On Bad Writing

Clearly the enduring winter has put me in the mood to complain. Here, I shall take a moment to explain to my readers the definition (in both theory and practice) of bad writing. However, to do so, it follows that one must likewise have a sense for good writing and even practice the thing. This raises a more immediate question: am I a good writer or will this entire missive be unintentionally ironic as a bad writer complains about bad writing?

On My Distaste for Contemporary Cinema

Sunset Boulevard is one of the best films ever made.


Inasmuch as writing about cinema on a literature blog may be questionable, let me at the very least say that my distaste for contemporary cinema applies in equal measure to contemporary literature. Note also that "contemporary" is not "modern", ergo this is not meant to condemn modernism as such, but rather to quite literally argue the reasons why I cannot stomach much of what popular culture generates nowadays.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Profiles in Cowardice

A perverse correlation exists between the extent to which the Pole speaks and acts in favor of independence and the extent to which he actually enjoys the thing. This correlation is akin to the psychological perversity of resentiment as defined by the philosophy of Nietzsche.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Prus's Doll: Barabus & Bonapartism

Bolesław Prus' Doll makes an immediately good impression upon the sensible reader. To see Poles preoccupied by business while war and politics are secondary concerns is immediately gratifying, although one wonders where Prus's vision is not an even more romantic flight of fancy than that of his chief romantic protagonist, Ignacy Rzecki.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

In Their Worst Forms


Poland, as a government over local sovereigns, might not improperly be taken notice of. Nor could any proof more striking be given of the calamities flowing from such institutions. Equally unfit for self-government and self-defense, it had long been at the mercy of its powerful neighbors
-Federalist 19

Friday, January 24, 2020

Rhetoric and Political Education

Rhetoric is the essence of political life. It is not merely, as a surface reading of Plato's Gorgias implies, a ruse on the part of sophists in contradistinction to the authenticity of philosophers, for Socrates must be the better rhetorician if he is to defeat Gorgias.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Hegel & The Rejection of History

If forced to consolidate the principle teaching of Hegel's philosophy, it would perhaps be appropriate to sum the thing up thus: those who do not wish to repeat history must reject it.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

The Straussian Pathos & the Rule of Gentlemen

One tends to forget that Strauss's preference for the rule of liberal gentlemen was not an ideal standard, but rather a practical compromise in light of how unlikely it is to ever expect the rule of philosophers.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Visions of Mary in Flemish Painting

Insofar as I can lay some claim, with perhaps a measure of justification, to being well oriented in the world of literature, I cannot even call myself a rank amateur in the world of art. This is largely due to a deficient education in art history combined with a persistent fascination since childhood with American comic books and Japanese anime. Ergo, I am the Captain Haddock of the art world. 

Friday, January 10, 2020

A History of use and abuse

What is history for? I have noted the alarming tendency in the decades following the end of the Cold War, to use history rather than learn from it. This tendency begs the question of the telos of history as such.