I have been meaning to say something about the death of Robin Williams, and though I’m quite late in commenting on this tragedy, I simply can’t let the event pass over the horizon without some reflection.
There are two stages, in our social-media driven age, to every death. The first is the Rumor. You hear it. You see the articles. Someone’s dead. No. It can’t be. What’s the source? Maybe it’s not true: the morbid machinations of some blogger. When you’re in that first stage, you still have hope. It’s a hoax, you tell yourself. So-and-so can’t be dead. They were just in that movie! I just saw them! Better check the New York Times. Until you get to the second stage, the Confirmation, the person isn’t really dead. No, they’re not dead till The Gray Lady says so. (more…)
Over at The Weekly Standard, I have written a review of Lawrence James’s brilliant new biography of Winston Churchill, bluntly entitled Churchill and Empire: A Portrait of an Imperialist. The book examines Churchill’s relationship with the British Empire—a passion that drove his fierce patriotism and tenacity in the face of global threats. But as the sun finally set on the Empire, so it set on Churchill. (more…)
In my experience, the harshest critic of a woman’s appearance is most likely to be another woman. Men are much less fussy and superficial than they are assumed to be.
Most political debate is an elaborate status game, the goal being to make yourself appear Supremely Good and your opponent Supremely Bad.
As everyday life becomes more celebrity-like—constant immersion in social media being the most obvious similarity, with all the attendant status anxiety that accompanies it—people will begin to act more and more like actual celebrities. This includes increased substance abuse, superficiality, sexual insanity, and mental-health problems. (more…)
Hampered by a packed work schedule and personal issues, I have not been able to post this past week. This upsets me: there is much to say on many topics. Posting will resume within the next week, however, and I hope to write about such diverse things as Robin Williams, Israel, the rule of law, the First World War, and other bits of rumination. Please stay tuned.