Much More Than Scenery

April 9, 2021 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, Non-Fiction, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

Landscapes of South Australia by Alex Frayne (2020) The Varnished Culture has hitherto grudgingly conceded photography as an art; this sumptuous volume has fully convinced us. Over 200 pages of beautiful photographic plates, in brilliant, vibrant tints or tasteful, crisp black-and-white, this is a book for a bedside table, not a coffee table. If one is fortunate to live in South Australia, it fires the imagination and galvanizes the traveller to breathe the immense and often desolate beauty of the State, especially in these days of border-hopping restrictions; for those of us who regard camping as akin to a root…

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Prison Journal

(Volume I: The Cardinal Makes His Appeal) (by George Cardinal Pell) (2020) The story is notorious, and you don’t require the gift of faith or have to hold a brief for the real victim to find it shocking. Pell was the leading Catholic figure in Australia, of a conservative bent, and detested by many Australians, who considered him a monster. The reasons for this seem to be that he was the leading Catholic figure in Australia, and of a conservative bent. His conviction for historical sex crimes saw a ‘pile-on’ of a magnitude only comparable with the demonisation of Lindy…

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Love You Long Time: The Earl of Louisiana

“The Earl of Louisiana” by A. J. Liebling (1961) Liebling’s witty and nostalgic book shows us something of the old time politics and how it seems fresher and more vibrant than the sterile and shrill shenanigans of today. True, he had to travel to Louisiana (where the citizenry don’t expect corruption, they demand it) and he had a ringside seat to the Long legacy (the famous ‘Kingfish,’ Huey Long, Governor from 1928 to 1932 and a U.S. Senator until his death by gunfire in 1935, had been followed by younger brother Earl, Governor from 1939 to 1940, 1948 to 1952,…

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The Belt and Road to Serfdom

(“The Road to Serfdom” by Friedrich Hayek) (1944) [and why it matters now] “While the last resort of a competitive economy is the bailiff, the ultimate sanction of a planned economy is the hangman.”# The Argument In 1933, the year Hitler came to power in Germany, there was a view that the fascists’ National Socialism model (as the joke went, neither nationalist nor socialist) constituted the lees of the empty vessel of capitalism, and that socialism and centrally planned economies represented the vibrant new vintage for the future. That year, Hayek, a Newby at the London School of Economics, wrote…

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Wagner’s Parsifal

(The Music of Redemption) by Roger Scruton (2020) Some Brief Words From the Wise on Holy Communion “…it belongs to that class of myths which have been dramatised in ritual, or, to put it otherwise, which have been performed as magical ceremonies for the sake of producing those natural effects which they describe in figurative language. A myth is never so graphic and precise in its details as when it is, so to speak, the book of the words which are spoken and acted by the performers of the sacred rite.”* “It would indeed be impossible to devise a mystery…

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