The Corner

Impromptus

Waxing Lyrical

Mike Love, one of the original Beach Boys, in Lima, Peru, 2005 (Pilar Olivares / Reuters)

Today, I have an Impromptus column, which begins with John Kelly, the late presidential chief of staff. (I don’t say that General Kelly has shuffled off this mortal coil, I mean that he is no longer chief of staff.) Trump presidential press secretaries have said very different things about him. In the course of this column — which is briefish — I touch on some grave issues, Syria being the gravest of all. There are also lighter matters — including a new milestone for Tiger Woods (a weighty issue in golf, to be sure).

Here on the Corner, I wanted to draw attention to an item on the light side. It involves group participation.

The latest episode of my Music for a While is here. In it, I play some Beach Boys — yes, some Beach Boys, and “Good Vibrations,” in particular (sung by the King’s Singers). How did this come about? I tweeted, “Quite possibly, my favorite lyric from any pop song is ‘I don’t know where, but she sends me there.’ It is borderline nonsensical — but so wonderful.” Roger Kimball — the great Roger Kimball, the editor of The New Criterion — replied, “Borderline, maybe, but the right side of the border! Wasn’t it Wallace Stevens who said that poetry resists the intelligence almost successfully?”

Yes. Stevens begins a poem — “Man Carrying Thing” — as follows: “The poem must resist the intelligence / Almost successfully.”

My friend Rahul chimed in with a lyric of his own — I mean, a lyric he thought of: “Praise the grammar police, set me up with your niece.” That comes from “Transport Is Arranged,” a Pavement song.

Do you have a favorite lyric? One that is a little nonsensical — or a lot so — but wonderful or memorable nonetheless? Lemme know — jnordlinger@nationalreview.com.

Please do. And if you’d like to receive Impromptus by e-mail — links to new columns — let me know that, too.

Most Popular

Immigration

Did the DACA Ruling Bury Constitutionalism?

In reacting to President Trump's recent executive orders, Jim Geraghty asks “Do Americans Even Care If There's a Constitution?" He reluctantly suggests that the answer is “no.” This didn't happen all at once -- Woodrow Wilson was probably the first notable to explicitly express the progressive ... Read More
Immigration

Did the DACA Ruling Bury Constitutionalism?

In reacting to President Trump's recent executive orders, Jim Geraghty asks “Do Americans Even Care If There's a Constitution?" He reluctantly suggests that the answer is “no.” This didn't happen all at once -- Woodrow Wilson was probably the first notable to explicitly express the progressive ... Read More
U.S.

Bloc Heads

Welcome to The Tuesday, a cheery little weekly newsletter about the existential despair Irving Kristol indicated when he noted that Western civilization is collapsing “but it’ll take a long time, and, meanwhile, it’s still possible to live well.” The Bloc Party Right-leaning writers hawking books about ... Read More
U.S.

Bloc Heads

Welcome to The Tuesday, a cheery little weekly newsletter about the existential despair Irving Kristol indicated when he noted that Western civilization is collapsing “but it’ll take a long time, and, meanwhile, it’s still possible to live well.” The Bloc Party Right-leaning writers hawking books about ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Trouble with the Curve

Unherd -- a British website featuring independent thinkers on the left and right – has a good interview with Anders Tegnell, the epidemiologist who has led the pandemic response in Sweden. Sweden is one of the few western democracies that did not impose a strict de jure lockdown to deal with COVID-19, though as ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Trouble with the Curve

Unherd -- a British website featuring independent thinkers on the left and right – has a good interview with Anders Tegnell, the epidemiologist who has led the pandemic response in Sweden. Sweden is one of the few western democracies that did not impose a strict de jure lockdown to deal with COVID-19, though as ... Read More