and notwithstanding his being of too undiplomatic a disposition for the high office he held until recently, or, moreover, his exhibitions of egregious buffoonery, he is nevertheless emphatically right about the dangers entailed by recent assaults on freedom of speech, be it ever so offensive. It is, of course, possible to argue one’s case “sans toucher aux personnes”, but to choke the human voice is the worst of all follies. The poisoning is effected incrementally, as are doses of arsenic, a metaphor I’ve borrowed from Victor Klemperer’s Lingua Tertii Imperii, a compelling examination of the artificial denaturing of language during the Third Reich. Klemperer demonstrates this to have been a process of which the young were scarcely aware until its toxicity had already taken effect, hence the appropriateness of the metaphor “Arsendosen”. If there is a difference, it is that the current insanity was foreseeable as early as 1985, at least by me, because I remember expressing my apprehensions when teaching in Strasbourg. LJ
We need a campaign for free speech to take on the professionally offended
— Read on www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2018/11/04/need-new-campaign-free-speech-take-professionally-offended/
The competition is in the mirror. Gratitude for the opportunity of being alive is proper to our condition. Envy is nothing new, indeed it is an error as old as the world, though it is true that people are now seeking the wrong axis through self-scrutiny and in social media, nor is the answer generally to be found in the vapourings of the lifestyle articles of the Guardian. The confessions of the first paragraph are ugly revelations, better dissembled, since they are of limited objective interest. Seek wisdom, not status. Study for the joy of discovery, learn a few languages, take some exercise and don’t look for rewards. Delight in the success of others and help them to achieve it; often, their progress will bring burdens of responsibility you would prefer not to shoulder anyway. That is their affair. The author of this article, who feels she is doing something important, could have learnt the rudimentary grammar of a language in the time it took to write this commentary on our times. Envy has always been the enemy; my father, who possessed little that he hadn’t forged by his own effort, by-passed it altogether by taking pleasure in birdsong, gardening and playing the flute. The implicit message of this article is that the author has been aspiring to be her own axis; this is a cardinal error, known as that of the “moi désaxé”, or the misplaced axis of the self. If there is no longer a being external to us in whom to invest our faith, there is still the business of studying the accumulated knowledge of our forebears in science and in the arts, an endeavour that will free us from solipsism. This is an endless cure for envy. LJ
Social media has created a world in which everyone seems ecstatic – apart from us. Is there any way for people to curb their resentment?
— Read on www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/oct/09/age-envy-be-happy-everyone-else-perfect-social-media
“Stop au politiquement correct ! Quand les dérives américaines menacent la France” : http://www.lefigaro.fr/vox/monde/2018/10/12/31002-20181012ARTFIG00003-stop-au-politiquement-correct-quand-les-derives-americaines-menacent-la-france.php
Damning, if true. Social media will have a lot to answer for in due course, I fear. They clearly assist populism, by their very nature, whether this be that of the right or of the left, the latter being of greater immediate concern in the UK. People should stay at home and read Dickens, in particular Barnaby Rudge, in which the development of the Gordon Riots from a mere innocuous folly to acts of widespread arson in contempt of the rule of law are eloquently demonstrated to be imputable to the necessarily headless nature of the mob. Therefore, beware all mobs. Social media, notwithstanding benevolent intentions and doomed regulatory initiatives, engender mob behaviour. This may start in mere intellectual vacuity, through the false association of democratic freedom with the claim that self-expression, be it ever so ugly, ignoble or base, is legitimised, but what is held in store has the character of an enduring menace. LJ
The United Nations has accused Facebook of playing a “determining role” in stirring up hatred against the Rohingya Muslim minority in Burma.
— Read on www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/03/13/un-says-facebook-fuelled-rohingya-ethnic-cleansing/
The driver of “the most un-roadworthy car” was also steering with a pair of pliers, police say.
— Read on www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-norfolk-44819316
Actualités FAITS DIVERS: FAIT DIVERS – Les médias marocains ont simplement évoqué un simple et banal “incident”. Mais d’après nos informations, un récent vol de la compagnie Royal Air Maroc entre Casablanca et Paris s’est pourtant transformé en affaire d’Etat. La faute à un passager furieux de ne pas pouvoir satisfaire ses besoins naturels. Au point de pousser la France à faire décoller en urgence 2 avions de chasse.
— Read on www.lci.fr/faits-divers/info-tf1-lci-quand-un-voyageur-presse-d-aller-aux-wc-declenche-un-branle-bas-de-combat-au-sommet-de-l-etat-2093071.html-20180713-%5B%5D-52e350e5a127e941451fa8c8b0f82805@1-20180713070932&_ope=eyJndWlkIjoiNTJlMzUwZTVhMTI3ZTk0MTQ1MWZhOGM4YjBmODI4MDUifQ==
Sound reasoning, though some nuances are omitted, doubtless owing to the need for brevity. Christopher Hitchens deserves a hearing on related matters.
An essential key to a better understanding of the sixteenth century mind and a long overdue pleasure.