Essays in Idleness


Month: July, 2017

What goes up

It has come to my attention that David Warren has died. Indeed, he has been dead for seven years, according to the forwarded information. I refer to David Ronald de Mey Warren, the Australian inventor of the Black Box, who is sometimes wantonly confused with me. I missed all the obituaries, published in late July, […]

The medical advisor

If you want to die at home, my advice would be, don’t go to a hospital. Perhaps this will strike gentle reader as a remark overweighted on the side of the obvious; but there is some method in some of my madness. So I will begin with a careful qualification: my advice holds for Canada, […]

Indopakladesh at seventy

Lahore, the city of my early childhood — my romantic city of Kipling’s Kim, and of the Emperor Jahangir (“Seizer of the World”); of Anarkali his courtesan, her tomb, and of the Anarkali Bazaar; of The Mall and long-demolished Nedous; of the zoo, and Saint Lawrence gardens, where the bats flew out at dusk; of […]

An anti-whateverist expostulation

There are, as the old saying goes, two kinds of people in this world: those who divide the world into two kinds of people, and those who do not. Let us call the first group binarists, and the second, multists, or as I prefer to call them, “whateverists.” I belong consciously to the former group, […]

Mock chicken

Years had passed, since I had seen “mock chicken” offered in a grocery cooler, in any form, let alone the tight-wrapped thin-sliced “baloney” packaging of my childhood. (See here.) But there it was in the No Thrills supermarket, and I seized a package, noting with pleasure that the price was half that of other “luncheon […]

On the D-word

My Chief Texas Correspondent supplies this morning’s reading, which he found at City Journal (here). Very well put, by this Magnetic gentleman. I was getting at the same point in the style of my Saturday effusion (“An argument against arguing”) and will be returning to it. As ever, after posting that piece, I sat back […]

An argument against arguing

Ah, gentle reader, what a wonderful summer we are having up here in the Canadas. It is overcast for seeming weeks at a time, and rains six days in seven. This prevents the heat from accumulating in my elevated, west-facing apartment. It pleases me — verily, I am chuffed — that the Weather Fairies would […]


The delight I take in the prints and paintings of Georges Rouault, is either too hard to explain, or too easy. Currently I wake each morning to Christ and the Apostles. Not the painting itself, which I understand belongs to some collector in the Distrito Federal of Mexico; mine is a large detail from the cloth […]

The dispossessed

Time makes refugees of us all, and orphans. It was the discovery that animated Marcel Proust, and many others — “You can’t go home again” — and is the motive force, I believe, behind most novels and many long poems. The writer has become a stranger in a strange land. At length he may discover […]

On science

The first thing to know about Science is, that it doesn’t exist. By this I don’t mean that it doesn’t exist in the way unicorns do not exist; rather, it doesn’t exist in a more fundamental way. For any child can know what a unicorn looks like, or can know once the thing is drawn for […]

A thought for Bastille Day

Several correspondents have recently asked me to supply them with reactionary “talking points.” (Have I not been doing so?) They take me at my own estimation, as a “reactionary” — then ask what “policies” go with that. They think maybe we should start a Reactionary Party, and contest the next election. I think, how weak. […]

An aside on acting

It is an old saw among actors, that those who star in films are not actors. The point is easily proved. An actor performs on a stage before an audience. The audience varies from night to night. So, in the course of nature, must the performance of the actor. If, for instance, the audience throw […]

That Brague again

I don’t know about you, gentle reader, but I would rather read this exquisite essay by Rémi Brague (here, over at First Things), than anything I could write today. Indeed, I would surrender my bus seat to Brague almost any day. I think I flagged him before in an Idlepost, for his essay on the […]