Restoring the middle class

America taught Hitler that need blurred into desire, and that desire arose from comparison. . . . Families observed other families: around the corner, but also, thanks to modern media, around the world. . . . “Through modern technology and the communication it enables,” wrote Hitler, “international relations between peoples have become so effortless and… Continue reading Restoring the middle class

Trompement: Making the grade

[This] is a criticism of the tendency to burden institutions, especially educational institutions, with the impossible task of selecting the best. This should never be made their task. This tendency transforms our educational system into a racecourse, and turns a course of studies into a hurdle-race. Instead of encouraging the student to devote himself to… Continue reading Trompement: Making the grade

When I speak

Sometimes I remember, amazed and laughing, that I’ve never met or spoken with Dale. He has, I know, been speaking with me all along.

Riposte 4

One day [Montessori] was watching a child of about five years composing the numbers 1 – 100 with the number frame. . . . To Montessori it seemed a dreadfully slow and long-drawn-out business. So, thinking she could help the child to arrive more quickly at her goal — which she took to be the… Continue reading Riposte 4

Riposte 2

“The characteristic of a man when he is awake is never that he is calculating and sensible. Today  we are so afraid of poverty that we never dream of doing anything that might involve us in being poor.” – Oswald Chambers (from Shade of His Hand) “As we talked, [South African businessman Andile Ngcaba’s sixteen-year-old son,… Continue reading Riposte 2


Many a deep glance, and often with unspeakable precision, has [Teufelsdrockh] cast into mysterious Nature, and the still more mysterious Life of Man. . . . Often after some such feat, he will play truant for long pages, and go dawdling and dreaming, and mumbling and meandering the merest commonplaces, as if he were asleep… Continue reading Riposte

A car beam

When I grow up, I want to write like this: A car beam — like something sprayed out of a hose — lights up the room he is in, and he pauses once again in mid-step, seeing that same woman’s eyes on him, a man moving on top of her, his fingers in her blonde… Continue reading A car beam

It sounds so modern

From “Samuel Johnson on Pope,” which appeared on The Lives of the English Poets (1779-1781): Poetry was not the sole praise of either; for both excelled likewise in prose. The style of Dryden is capricious and varied; that of Pope is cautious and uniform. Dryden observes the motions of his own mind; Pope constrains his… Continue reading It sounds so modern