Month: June 2014

Kremlinology: A Quick Primer

It is rare that an interviewer, rather than his subject, should be responsible for the most insightful remarks of a discussion. But that’s what happened in this old interview between journalist David Samuels and the shadowy strategist Edward Luttwak, published in Tablet on September 6, 2011. Samuels and Luttwak discuss, among other things, U.S. foreign policy and Russia. At one point, Samuels prefaces a question with the following, which I urge you to commit to memory: (more…)

Learn French With Random Sentences, Part I

Reading, analyzing, and memorizing random sentences is, at least in my humble opinion, one of the best ways to learn a language. And since news publications contain the most frequently used words and expressions, it is usually a good idea to take one’s random sentences from there. (more…)

Freedom Without Virtue

Please have a look at this insightful article in The National Interest, written by John Allen Gay, about the cultural values that are essential to a free society. Entitled “The Crumbling Cultural Foundations of American Democracy,” the article clarifies what many people have already noticed or at least felt on some gut level: that the “delicate balances” of culture and virtue needed to create and sustain democracy are eroding in the United States. (more…)

On Twitter Tough Guys

A few brief remarks about that strange electronic swamp known as Twitter, in which I admittedly participate. Two questions cross my mind whenever I use this form of “social” media:

1) Are people as nasty and contentious to others in real life as they are on Twitter?

2) If not, what is it about Twitter that makes them so nasty? (more…)