Will the Rolling English Drunkard Decide Brexit?

rolling road
He’s not registered to vote. He’s not even a real person. But on June 23, the deciding vote on “Brexit”—the referendum on whether Britain will remain within or exit the EC—may well be cast by an anonymous chap known only as the Rolling English Drunkard.

Continue reading Will the Rolling English Drunkard Decide Brexit?

The Man No One Would Be

1024px-Zone_urbaine_(VICHY,FR03)Consider the dramatic fate of François Darlan. He was Vichy’s likely successor to the reviled Marshal Pétain, and heir to France’s naval tradition owing to the death of a great-grandfather at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Whence Darlan’s loathing of the British. Continue reading The Man No One Would Be

The Dog Is Well

Sonja_thumb I haven’t heard Sonja Vesterholt’s actual voice in some years, but it came back with immediacy when I read her prose on a flight from Copenhagen to Baltimore last week. Learning more about your friends is unsettling, and satisfying. In the 1980s in Denmark, I’d heard some of her stories from the earlier days in the Soviet Union. Now comes the book, Hunden er rask (“The Dog is Well,” Gyldendal, 2011.) Continue reading The Dog Is Well

Did Romney Channel FDR in Warsaw?

When I read the text of Mitt Romney’s speech in Warsaw on Tuesday, there were two sentences that stirred a vague memory in the back of my speechwriter’s brain. “In the 1980s,” said Mr. Romney, “when other nations doubted that political tyranny could ever be faced down or overcome, the answer was, ‘Look to Poland.’ And today, as some wonder about the way forward out of economic recession and fiscal crisis, the answer once again is ‘Look to Poland.’” Continue reading Did Romney Channel FDR in Warsaw?

Tired of Chest-Thumping Patriotism

From the July Fourth season through the fall election, the American people will be hearing nothing but uber-patriotic rhetoric coming from their politicians and national leaders.

They will be telling us how America is a great nation and how Americans are a good people, and they will be lathering praise on us as hard-working, self-sacrificing, charitable, fair and just.

I don’t know about you, but all of this cheerleading and backslapping rhetoric strikes me as a bit ingratiating and self-serving. Flattery is not patriotism. Continue reading Tired of Chest-Thumping Patriotism