Essays in Idleness


Month: April, 2017

Chronicles of distraction

Anti-blogging has been light, these last few days as, notwithstanding my dislike of business, I have been busy. As ever, it has been in a neglected cause. I consider a birthday the equivalent to a New Year, and thus the approach to my own as a time to clear decks. Rather a lot of unfinished tasks to […]

A public danger

We learn, from an article in Atlantic magazine, that the idiots have published 129,864,880 old-fashioned printed books. And this was as of August 2010; there must be more by now. By “the idiots” I of course refer to humankind, and express the view of all the other animals, who inwardly laugh at our madness, though not […]

Reductio ad mysterium

Beware the salesmen who say, “It’s the soap in Duz that does it.” The statement is plausible, and therefore suspicious. The word itself may be noun in Azeri, verb in Luxembourgish, a numeral in Mauritian Creole; I am referring to the North American cleaning product, vaguely remembered from earliest childhood, more precisely recalled through the […]

Among the new Infidels

After a fortnight of reading the words “First Class” in my Saint Andrew’s Missal each day — violet fading through black into white — we come to Low Sunday, and thus back to a life that is “normal,” if anything in the Easter season can be so. The contemporary Catholic, insofar as he is observant […]

Insolence towards the Zeitgeist

The one form of rebellion I support — by crabbed age or youth — is rebellion against the Big Lie. Hence my passing delight in gratuitous political incorrectitude. It is an act of resistance, which could have unpleasant consequences; but this was always so. Alternatively, smile. The age is as a neighbour’s pet, which one […]

Sex & the single Dogan

One is nailed in modern journalism by the staccato of fact, fact, fact. Many of these facts are untrue, of course, and others have the same effect as hollow dumdum bullets — expanding on contact with flesh. It is a war out there, between adversaries named Fact and Truth. I am reminded of this every […]

On writing Idleposts

Everyone knows that everything George does, ends badly. (From charity, I conceal his real name.) We might not know how badly, were he not always whining about his fate. I raised a laugh at a public drinking table, by referring to him as, “a lucky man.” That might mean many things, but in this case […]

On seeking shelter

[I propose to fall silent for the rest of Holy Week, to Easter Tuesday or so; except a piece I owe to Catholic Thing for Maundy Thursday. So here is my opportunity to wish gentle reader a blesséd and serene celebration. In the words of this morning’s Introit: “Nos autem gloriari oportet in cruce Domini […]


Today is the hundredth anniversary of the day after the four divisions of the Canadian Corps launched their assault up Vimy Ridge, and stormed to the top, as part of the Battle of Arras in the Great War. This was a task the British and French armies had failed to accomplish. In the national mythology, […]

Yesterday’s news

That was very post-modern, on the part of Trumpf. I call such operations, “experimental bombing.” Choose a bad country in no position to retaliate (Serbia, Taliban Afghanistan, Libya, …) that has got itself unpleasantly into the news, and wing in a few dozen Tomahawks. Though I must say aeroplane strikes are more photogenic. Then see what […]

War & peace

A century has now passed since President Wilson disowned President Washington’s advice to his successors — to stay out of European conflicts — and war was declared by the United States on Germany. A moral preener, Wilson justified himself by declaring an even more extravagant mission to go with it: “The world must be made safe […]

Demography & destiny chronicles

The world in 2060 will be different from the world today. How it will be different we don’t know yet; but what self-respecting demographer will let it stand at that? For some reason I cannot fully explain to God, I’ve been glancing through the latest prognostications from Messrs Pew Research. They do “global” better than […]

Custody of the emotions

There are a lot of hotheads in this world. Take me, for example. Often I find myself on the horns of a false dilemma. My gut tells me one thing, my brain another. Or rather, they are in rough agreement to start. But then they go different ways. The brain might for instance say, “There […]