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Re: Tricky Pronunciation Thread Meets High Culture Thread


Blogger Kevin Orlin Johnson, Ph.D., grumbles that I did not include his
name, or a link to his TRULY BODACIOUS BLOG, when I
posted the Duke of Wellington’s Peninsular-campaign letter from an e-mail he
(Kevin, not the Duke) sent me.

There is actually an ISSUE here that I have kept meaning to raise. I often
post interesting titbits or follow-ups from reader e-mails, and I think
other Corner denizens do too. The question is: do you include the reader’s
name, or not? Some readers would much rather you NOT include their names;
some are desperate to see their names in pixels. I suppose the gentlemanly
thing would be an exchange of e-mails with the reader to find out his
preference… but who has the time? By the time he got back to me, the
original would be lost in the great e-mail ocean, and I’d have forgotten
what it was all about. So I default to the safe option, and leave out the
name. (A reader who wanted his name left out but sees it, is going to be
much angrier than a reader who wanted the publicity shot but didn’t get it.)

Could I therefore float the following suggestion to Corner readers? If you
e-mail us with anything you think might be Corner-worthy, please indicate in
some unmistakable way whether or not you would like your name included. We
could have some sort of standard code: PIN for “please include name,” DIN
you include name I’ll get fired, my wife will divorce me, my parents will
strike me out of their wills, my dog will admit himself to the animal
shelter, and my friends will cut me dead in the street,” and so on.

Re: Derb’s Waterloo


Simply because I can’t imagine there will be another opening anytime soon, I must get something off my chest: I think Stratego is one of the greatest board games ever invented. Obviously, it doesn’t rank in the top tier with such timeless classics as chess, Monopoly and Scrabble (and please, let us not have a long discussion of chess — a game I love but despise reading about). But Stratego definitely deserves high placement in the second tier. It is certainly better than Life and I would argue it is even be better than Risk, since Risk is too dependent on dice.




I think the appointment is one more confirmation that the internal critique of the Times in the aftermath of the Blair fiasco diverges from the external critique. The liberalism will at best be toned down and made less crusading. I still find the paper’s line-up of columnists scandalous. I know that the paper generally has a Catholic slot on that page, and also know that it is inconceivable that the paper would pick a writer who agreed with her church’s teaching on abortion. But in this vast land, couldn’t the Times find one mainstream conservative op-ed columnist to be a regular? (I’m not sure William Safire would even bother to characterize himself that way.)

Web Briefing: August 31, 2014

A Is For Ashcroft


Jonah, see National Journal’s last turn at grading the Cabinet…if you can track it down. They gave Ashcroft an A for his performance in the war on terrorism.


Re: Tricky Pronunciation Thread Meets High-Culture Thread


A kind reader has sent me the text given to people auditioning as announcers
on the classical radio station WFMT:

The WFMT announcer’s lot is not a happy one. In addition to uttering the
sibilant, mellifluous cadences of such cacophonous sounds as Hans
Schmidt-Isserstedt, Carl Schuricht, Nicanor Zabaleta, Hans Knappertsbusch
and the Hammerklavier Sonata, he must thread his vocal way through the
complications of L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, the Concertgebouw
Orchestra of Amsterdam, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and other
complicated nomenclature.

However, it must by no means be assumed that the ability to pronounce
L’Orchestre de la Societé des Concerts du Conservatoire de Paris with
fluidity and verve outweighs an ease, naturalness and friendliness of
delivery when at the omnipresent microphone. For example, when delivering a
diatribe concerning Claudia Muzio, Beniamino Gigli, Hetty Plumacher,
Giacinto Prandelli, Hilde Rössel-Majdan and Lina Pagliughi, five out of six
is good enough if the sixth one is mispronounced plausibly. Jessica
Dragonette and Margaret Truman are taken for granted.

Poets, although not such a constant annoyance as polysyllabically named
singers, creep in now and then. Of course Dylan Thomas and W.B. Yeats are no
great worry. Composers occur almost incessantly, and they range all the way
from Albeniz, Alfven and Auric through Wolf-Ferrari and Zeisl.

Let us reiterate that a warm, simple tone of voice is desirable, even when
introducing the Bach Cantata “Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis,” or Monteverdi’s
opera “L’Incoronazione di Poppea.”

Such then, is the warp and woof of an announcer’s existence “in diesen
heil’gen Hallen.



More proof the Jenin massacre wasn’t a massacre. (Reg Req’d) From the Jerusalem Post:

In a study to be released next month by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and provided exclusively to The Jerusalem Post, Palestinian sources confirm that at least 34 Palestinian armed terrorists were killed fighting in the battle for the Jenin Refugee Camp.

The total number of Palestinian causalities in the battle was 52, a sharp contrast from the claims of Palestinian propaganda professionals who have openly stated that thousands had died.

Re: Nyt Vs. Ashcroft


Ramesh – I agree that the Nagourney piece was almost a caricature of Times-myopia. But I would also add two more points. First, as you’ve written yourself regarding the Patriot Act, virtually everything the Democrats say about Ashcroft’s policies is partly, largely or entirely untrue. There is very little substance to the “lost liberties” rhetoric, but the press has simply swallowed the meme whole. In fact, I’m amazed the Democrats have the chutzpah to denounce Bush for not doing enough to make America safer — John Kerry has started asking “Are you more secure than you were 3 years ago?” — when at the same time they denounce the one cabinet official who’s done more than anyone, with the possible exclusion of Rumsfeld, to thwart terrorist attacks on the United States. Relatedly, Ashcroft has been by far the most effective cabinet official in terms of working with foreign law enforcement and intelligence agencies, but we never read about that.

Second, Ashcroft’s SOB status may not hurt Bush with as many Democrats as Democratic strategists and the Times think. Many swing voters may in fact like the idea that Bush has a pitbull running law enforcement. Better to be too aggressive than not aggressive enough on such issues. So long as Bush can carve out the image as the compassionate conservative (I still hate that label) who has to keep his top cop on a tight leash, it’s not at all clear to me that Ashcroft isn’t a an asset with lots of Americans, not just the conservative base.

Derb Meets His Waterloo


Bah! The little devil snuck down my left flank and took my flag with a mere
Major, while all my forces were concentrated for an attack up my right–too
concentrated to actually move. A Major! And this was after my spy had
assassinated his Marshal!!

Lee Bockhorn


Stanley Kurtz praised his article on the Standard’s website. I thought he got a number of things right. I think he got my own work wrong.

Bockhorn calls my article in the latest issue of NR “defeatist” on gay marriage (and I assume that’s how Maggie Gallagher viewed it as well). That is not an unreasonable characterization, I suppose: I do offer reasons for thinking that resisting gay marriage will be extremely difficult. Bockhorn does not dispute these reasons, and indeed seems to agree with them. He proceeds to write as though I were calling for social conservatives to surrender. This is not true. I didn’t call for anything.

My article was a neutral, descriptive account of the politics of gay marriage. A social conservative who reads it may decide to quit the fight against gay marriage as hopeless. Or he may decide to throw himself into the fight because gay marriage is closer to happening than he had previously realized. If he chooses this second course, he will be going into the fight with open eyes. (There is, of course, a third option: He may decide my analysis is incorrect.)

It is a little rich, in any case, for a Weekly Standard writer to be complaining that conservatives are not doing enough to fight gay marriage. Did anyone at the Standard, either in print or on the web, make the constitutional case for upholding sodomy laws before the Lawrence case was decided? Did anyone at the Standard, either in print or on the web, criticize the constitutional reasoning of the Supreme Court once it was decided? Has the Standard run anything on the decision’s implications for gay marriage other than Bockhorn’s article? I believe that the answer to all of these questions is no. Bockhorn challenges conservatives to support the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment. The Standard has mentioned that proposal once, in an article in Oct. 2002, and never endorsed it editorially. If folks at the Standard want conservatives to engage on the issue of gay marriage, they could always try doing so themselves.

We Support U


This is a great slide show in support of the men and women in uniform. It runs a little long, but it’s hard to avoid a lump in your throat if you watch it. I predict it will be sent around the web a lot in the next few weeks.

The Nyt Vs. John Ashcroft


Over the weekend, Adam Nagourney had an article in the New York Times about the Ashcroft-bashing that has become a staple of Democratic presidential candidates’ oratory. To read the article, you would think that John Ashcroft is the most loathed man in America. That is, in fact, how Nagourney ends the piece. “‘I think he might be the most loathed man in America,’ said Janos Marton, 20, a Dartmouth student who pressed Mr. Edwards on the subject of Mr. Ashcroft’s civil liberties record at a town hall meeting the other night. ‘The way he is undermining civil liberties is disgraceful.’”

We also learn that Ashcroft is “an unpopular figure.” A “Republican strategist” is quoted anonymously to the effect that Ashcroft is a political liability for the president: “None of those Democrats can beat George Bush, but John Ashcroft can.” (That’s a nice line, almost Grover Norquist-like in its quotability.)

Nagourney continues, “But a senior political adviser to Mr. Bush argued that no matter how unpopular Mr. Ashcroft might be, he would not hurt the president.”

Enough already. It’s quite clear that Ashcroft is unpopular with Democrats (and libertarians). But–and I know this will come as a shock to the Times–many, many Americans are not Democrats. Last month, Harris Interactive found that 54 percent of respondents rated Ashcroft’s job performance positively, only 32 percent negatively. Gray Davis would kill for those numbers. Ashcroft is more popular than Hillary Clinton (barely), Al Gore, Ted Kennedy, Joe Lieberman, or John Kerry.

Amway Relation Correction


Something French That’s Good


In honor of Bastille Day, who doesn’t love this fine gentleman…?

Bill Keller, a Really Liberal Feller


For anyone who has any doubt that new NYTimes boss Bill Keller is a passionate liberal, do chek out the Timeswatch link K-Lo posted earlier, and see these quotes from his recent columns.

The Howard Kurtzes of the world should be asking: Was this a tactical mistake by the Times, to pass over Keller last time, but give him a column to display all his opinions with the sharpest partisan invective, so that when he finally takes over the top job, everyone questions his capacity for fairness?

Clarence Page’s Vietnamization


My colleague Geoff Dickens relates a “highlight” from the Chris Matthews show this weekend:

Matthews: “Clarence, what struck me, a couple of events this week. Horrible events. We graduate seven police over there, Iraqi police, guys all dressed up in their uniforms ready to go out and work and keep the streets safe, shot right, blown up right there in the middle of their graduation ceremony. A G.I. goes into a university campus to get a Coke somewhere, shot like this. [Points finger to his head] Just melts into the crowd. What is your make, what is your take on this?”

Page: “And the, and the week before that, another G.I. shot while buying a DVD. Well, it sounds like deja vu all over again, but I don’t want to…”

Matthews: “Where, from where?”

Page: “Well, Vietnam. You know it’s, you don’t know where the front is. It’s a police action and that means you’re constantly under fire. The big problem here is that, that we’ve made American uniforms the target now for the antipathy of various factions. As long as we are perceived as being very, essentially alone, although it is something of a coalition. But we’re not really working with a number of other countries or with Arab countries there as well. Then, then we’re gonna be the targets, bearing the burden of, of most of this struggle and it’s hard.”



That’s enough of this aimless blogging. Serious matters await. My son has
just challenged me to a game of Stratego, and we Derbs do not refuse a

Iron Duke’s Best Letter


A reader has trumped my Iron Duke letter with the following, which may be
not only Wellington’s best, but one of the best letters ever written.
Commandants of military academies please note: if you are not teaching this
to the cadets, you darn well should be.

Allied Headquarters, 1812


Whilst marching to Portugal to a position which commands the approach to
Madrid and the French forces, my officers have been diligently complying
with your requests which have been sent by H.M. ship from London to Lisbon
and then by dispatch rider to our headquarters.

We have enumerated our saddles, bridles, tents and tent poles, and all
manner of sundry items for which His Majesty’s Government holds me
accountable. I have dispatched reports on the character, wit, and spleen of
every officer. Each item and every farthing has been accounted for, with two
regrettable exceptions for which I beg your indulgence.

Unfortunately the sum of one shilling and ninepence remains unaccounted for
in one infantry battalion’s petty cash and there has been a hideous
confusion as to the number of jars of raspberry jam issued to one cavalry
regiment during a sandstorm in western Spain. This reprehensive carelessness
may be related to the pressure of circumstance since we are at war with
France, a fact which maycome as a bit of a surprise to you gentlemen in

This brings me to my present purpose, which is to request elucidation of my
instructions from His Majesty’s Government, so that I may better understand
why I am dragging an army over these barren plains. I construe that perforce
it must be one of two alternative duties, as given below. I shall pursue
either one with the best of my ability, but I cannot do both.

1. To train an army of uniformed British clerks in Spain for the benefit of
the accountant and copy boys in London or, perchance,

2. To see to it that the forces of Napoleon are driven out of Spain.

Your most obedient servant,




Re: Philistines Phooey


Having wandered into this zone, I may as well answer the 3 or 4 NRODT
readers who e-mailed to ask me what my favorite opera aria is. This is one
of those questions I’d answer differently at a different time, or in a
different mood: but the other day I heard a recording of the young
Pavarotti singing “A te o cara” from Bellini’s opera I puritani, and
haven’t been able to get it out of my head since. I know, bel canto isn’t
everybody’s cup of cappuchino, but it does it for me. Warning: This aria
contains a sensational high note–put away your glassware somewhere safely
out of range. A lot of singers shy at that note–I saw Gregory Kunde, a
fine Bellinian, do just that at a Carnegie Hall concert performance 5-6 yrs
ago. Others attack it but are defeated: Justin Lavender (imagine going
through life with a name like that!) on the otherwise wonderful
Nightingale CD set, for example–though Edita Gruberova’s “Son vergin
vezzosa” is more than sufficient compensation. Pavarotti makes it sound
effortless. Say what you like, he is a truly great singer.

Re: Defending The French


Jonah, I wrote an NRO piece earlier
this year defending what I found defensible about the French. In honor of
Bastille Day, here it is again. I woke up this
morning and gave a Quatorze Juillet thought to John Zmirak, known to
many NYC conservatives, who once got into the New York Times for organizing
a requiem mass on Bastille Day for the executed King of France.


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