"Your Weekly Reason to Love Mondays" Edition
Obligatory shilling. I have a piece about British graveyards in the forthcoming issue of The Mallard, which you can pre-order here.
I wrote for my paying Substack subscribers about attempts to separate the concept of “whiteness” from white people, and about the varied cultural history of my hometown.
A blind Ali. This profile of the mysterious online gossip hound Yashar Ali, who has allegedly been exploiting the naive generosity of various wealthy, middle-aged liberal women, is morbidly fascinating:
Walsh says she got the sense that Griffin wanted Ali to leave but was too intimidated to force the issue. “I completely believed that she was uncomfortable and maybe even afraid, and I sympathized with her,” says Walsh. After listening to Griffin’s story and seeing her evident anxiety, Walsh told her host, “Kathy, you got yourself a grifter. You have to get him out of here.”
Ali, if this profile is fair, reminds me of Truman Capote. Ageing beauties trusted the mild-mannered, unassuming gay man in his spectacles, and poured out all the secrets that he then exploited in his work. Men, they learned, could use them for something other than the obvious.
An insane theory, but… Over at Arc Digital, the great Oliver Traldi writes about how “woke” leftists (and, to be fair, it isn't a practice exclusive to woke leftists) insist on linguistic elasticity or linguistic precision according to whether it suits them:
Unless the woke theory of language is simply that linguistic changes are valid if and only if they aid woke political projects—an insane theory, but not far off from what I sometimes see advocated—they need to explain more.
COVID blues. Bleak times for England as the government prepares to delay the ending of COVID-19 related restrictions. Bleak times for me as well, as it means that Poland is unlikely to make the “Green List”, enabling uninhibited travel. I had thought that when I come to England this summer I could do a lot of merry trips to London, and Exeter, and Salisbury, and Cambridge. Now it looks like if I visit England I will spend most of my time in quarantine, touring my father's house.
Ah well. A lot of other people have a lot worse to deal with. But I worry that the government has slid into a jumpiness from which there is no escape. If the vaccines work then any spike cannot be comparable to those which came before it. If they do not work then, well - what can we do? Just keep on closing things? (When, mind you, the efficacy of such measures is at least debatable.)
I'm a dumbass. You don't want me making the rules. Plus, an expat my opinion should count for less than people in Britain. But I still fear that the suspension of liberty and enterprise is being regarded as too small a thing.
Five top places to visit in Poland. Let’s look ahead to better times. It goes without saying that everyone should visit Poland. But where should they go? Here are my recommendations.
Gdańsk. A beautiful city, with a rich heritage, and it is also a short train ride to the sea. I recommend going up the tower of St. Mary's Church, though be careful on the narrow, steep staircase, where I almost brained myself, with farcical consequences, walking up with all our luggage.
Kraków. The cultural capital. You can do anything there, from visiting the grand cathedral, the resting place of kings, to scaring yourself legless in Lost Souls Alley.
Toruń. I think this place is underappreciated. It has one of the nicest city centres I have ever visited.
Wisła. I'm recommending the mountains more than the town, as nice as it is. Polish mountains hum with history.
Tarnowskie Góry. This also goes without saying.
GB News. Good luck to Britain's new right-leaning TV channel. I think a problem it will face is a lot of people who talk about free speech and liberal bias find that once they have free speech, and have escaped liberal bias, they do not have much else to say. Finding something new to talk about will be its biggest challenge - but it is a fun one.
A surreal late illustration of his contradictory relation to the West came during a 2009 visit to the U.N. General Assembly in New York, when Gaddafi paid a hefty fee to pitch his Bedouin tent on a suburban estate. The man who rented him the land was Donald Trump.
Whose duty of what care? Abigail Shrier reports on the erosion of parental rights in the US:
In a state that grants minors aged 13 and up control over their mental health treatment—in a society that increasingly defines “abuse” as any of a variety of limits a parent might place on the gender or sexual exploration of a minor—it is easy enough for a troubled teen to decide that parents are “bad for my mental health.”
Of course, there's no denying that parents can abuse their responsibilities. But so can mental health professionals. I'm not sure right-wing attempts to co-opt the work of theorists like Foucault aren't trying to be too clever by half but I can see where they are coming from.
The strangest sport. Patrick Kidd reviews a book of cricket's characters:
Then there is Nancy Doyle, the “small yet volcanic” head cook at Lord’s, who ticked off the cerebral Mike Brearley when he asked if she could serve something less stodgy than steak and kidney pudding. “You worry about the fucking cricket,” she told one of England’s finest captains, “and I’ll worry about the fucking food.”
Have a lovely week,