Essays in Idleness


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 […]

Drawing to conclusions

“This is the day of the Valour of Ignorance. It has been pathetic during the making of this book to discover how the mighty are put down and the mediocre are exalted in our midst. Ignorance is rampant; incompetence glorified. Every one has a message, few have knowledge. Doubtless with time all will be well, […]

Culture of fear

My heading is, as too often, inspired by a morning squint through the news. The phrase came up a couple of times; I had seen it before. I gather Trumpf’s gauleiters have been trying to isolate the leakers of (often fake) state secrets, from deep within the vast Washington bureaucracy. This, preparatory to firing and […]

False humility

From my Thing column this morning (here) I excised, for want of space, and because it would distract from my main argument, a little divagation into “false humility.” It is among the contemporary forms of “virtue signalling” that most annoy me. Women do it more than men, but effeminate men also do it, and I […]