The Long Slide

(By Tucker Carlson) (2021) An anthology of magazine pieces by Carlson, author of the fairly recent Ship of Fools, serves not so much as exhibits for an argument against the decline of journalism; rather, as the author points out in an introduction, they are historical markers from times when political differences were perhaps more nuanced, less toxic and bellicose than our present discontent.  Or, to put it another way, it is “a collection of nostalgic writings that underscore America’s long slide from innocence to orthodoxy.”  (We’re not so sure about innocence, but still). From abortion issues to cancel culture, from…

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Moot

“Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What it Doesn’t, and Why it Matters” By Steven E. Koonin (2021) “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” This book posits facts, hypotheses, and urging which we are not qualified to judge.  It is also full of graphs that gave us acute conjunctivitis.  So what we will do here is attempt a summary of what Mr. Koonin is saying, much of which he says very well, and attempt to explain our reaction to the work, located somewhere on the spectrum between skepticism and a resigned…

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Ship of Fools

(By Tucker Carlson) (2018) The brilliant TV pundit Carlson (one of the few Americans in the public square who understand irony) is perhaps better on screen than in print. Still, this is an amusing, engaging, stimulating and un-footnoted overview of America’s political and corporate elites, and how they, like the Emperor with no clothes, disport their naked ambition with a staggering immunity from introspection. Carlson is a rock-solid conservative, and has plenty to say about American liberal idiocy and childishness, but that doesn’t mean he can’t or won’t train a metaphorical AR-15 on the Republican Party as well. In fact,…

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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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