The second-worst poet in English


He was the second-worst poet in the English language, not far behind William McGonagall. Born in 1862, he seems to have commenced author, as the saying goes, in his middle fifties, thereafter suffering, or perhaps enjoying, severe graphomania, the compulsion never to leave off writing. Until then he had led a wandering life, abandoning his native London for Australia as a teenager, studying for the church at Sydney University, and working variously as a minister, gold miner, and sheep farmer in many far-flung places. But he settled eventually in Bournemouth and evidently decided that Bournemouth was best.

The boarding houses met with in this splendid seaside town

Are mainly very excellent, deserving their renown.

The residents form usually congenial society,

Although among so many you meet types in great variety.

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Anthony Daniels — The New Criterion

How civilizations fall


Today’s needull looks at radical feminism’s role in the supposed decline of civilization. Controversial read.

What does seem to be clear, from the record so far, is that women do not have this capacity to innovate. They bring great talents to developing what Thomas Kuhn called “normal science,” but they have no record of creating the “paradigm shifts” that lead in new directions. It may be, of course, that as the feminists sometimes claim, this is because they were never encouraged to engage in these activities. But to need encouragement, to depend on models to follow, is precisely not to have a capacity to innovate. It has been men who have invented things and found challenges in nature, such as climbing high mountains or sailing alone around the world. And once men have done it, women will also do it. These remain highly notable enterprises, well beyond the reach of all but a few men, but they also exemplify the fact that innovation remains largely the specialization of white males. Women can do marvellous things with a house, but they do need the house to be there in the first place.

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Kenneth Minogue — The New Criterion

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Fidel Castro, 1926–2016


The Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed his sorrow at the death of the “larger than life leader.” In the United Kingdom, the British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn concurred, describing Castro as a “massive figure in the history of the whole planet” and praising his “heroism” and work for “social justice.” Then there was the aspiring totalitarian Jean-Claude Juncker, head of the European Union, who tweeted: “With the death of #FidelCastro, the world has lost a man who was a hero for many.” The New York Times weighed in with an intermittently sycophantic expostulation. Castro wielded power “like a tyrant,” the paper acknowledged, but he was also “the fiery apostle of revolution,” a “towering international figure,” who “bedeviled eleven American presidents.” Admiration swamped criticism.

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The New Criterion

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