Leviathan, Inc.: Robert Nisbet & the Modern Nation-State ~ The Imaginative Conservative

By the end of his formal academic career, in the late 1970s, Nisbet considered this chance encounter with The Servile State in 1936 to be one of the most significant turning points in his professional life. Indeed, he counted The Servile State one of the five most important books he had read in his life, ranking it alongside Tocqueville’s Democracy in America; James Fitzjames Stephen’s Liberty, Equality, Fraternity; Frank Teggarts’s Processes of History; and Joseph Schumpeter’s Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy. “Suffice it here to say that never again, after reading Belloc’s work, did I imagine that there could be genuine individual freedom apart from individual ownership of property.”[3] Equally important, Nisbet noted, it forced him to realize that the liberals of the twentieth-century had profoundly corrupted the vision of their nineteenth-century ancestors. Additionally, at least in the mind of Nisbet, The Servile State, along with Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, Thomas More’s Utopia, Smith’s Wealth of Nations, William Graham Sumner’s The Forgotten Man, and Albert Jay Nock’s Our Enemy The State as one of the most important anti-government books of the modern West.[4]
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2019/05/leviathan-inc-robert-nisbet-modern-nation-state-bradley-birzer.html

Are dictionaries dead?

I have many dictionaries. The languages I have taught, Spanish and English, are the languages I have with the most dictionaries. I use online dictionaries also but I rely on my shelf of carefully collected books and dictionaries. I have German, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, French, Scottish Gaelic, Breton-French, Irish, German-Spanish, Latin-Spanish, Latin-English and Spanish-Greek dictionaries. On the Spanish side I have a Diccionario de Dudas which analyzes the difficulties of the English idiom from the Spanish side. It is remarkably cogent with very few errors. It’s chief drawback it that it tends to focus on BRITISH English rather than American English but that doesn’t bother me. I have a number of Spanish dictionaries Collins Spanish-English (great grammar notes), Oxford (magnificent treatment of phrasal verbs) and American Heritage (great synonyms and explanation of multiple meanings) The AHA, my prefered dictionary, uses a simple phonic system instead of the IPA. The IPA is very precise but useless to help English learners spell and pronounce English. I prefer the Merriam-Webster or American Heritage phonic system for the purpose of teaching. Even I sometimes use the AHA dictionary primarily for copying the phonetic letters. But I learn much more by studying real dictionaries because the words are explained in detail and are surrounded alphabetically by related words (sometimes false cognates).

Of course, I have the venerable RAE (dictionary of the Spanish Royal Academy), and the Larousse dictionary with its encyclopaedia like features. I have the Larousse in Portuguese also. I read Portuguese and occasionally read articles from Brazil or correspond with people from Brazil. I also watch films with Portuguese subtitles. I used to be reasonable fluent in Portuguese but as hardly ever use it the only thing I have retained is a good reading ability. When speaking Portuguese today I inevitably lapse into Spanish.

Another favorite dictionary is BEYOND THE DICTIONARY IN SPANISH by A. Bryson Gerrard. This dictionary consists of short essays on words and phrases and the author clearly explains nuances and multiple meanings as well as the limitations of certain Spanish words. Every teacher of English or Spanish knows there are cognates that English and Spanish (indeed most Romance languages) share. And every teacher knows there are FALSE COGNATES; words that look alike but have completely different meaning. Famous examples are éxito,  suceso embarazada ,agonía etc.

Spanish English
éxito  success[1]
suceso Event or incident  or a [2]happening
embaraz-ada literally “heavily burdened with child”; pregnant NOT embarrassed [3]
agonía Means dying breath or death throes [4]
extravag-ante Partially FALSE; Wandering away from the normal or eccentric especially in clothes[5]
feria Fair of course is in market but NEVER “just”[6]

[1] Not exit which is “salida

[2] éxito  is, of course, success not exit.

[3] Preñada does mean pregnant but is used ONLY for animals or if used for humans it is humorous or insulting. Very insulting.

[4] Dolor horrible is probably agony or a prolonged agony would be “martirio” (martyrdom)

[5] Extravagant in the sense of money is us “derrochador”  (big spender) or “pródigo” (prodigal)

[6] Feria in slang means (fare or money)  ‘feriar” means to change a large sum into small change as for the bus.

But the really difficult words are idioms or are the cognates that are PARTIALLY FALSE. Of course, it is complicated by the use of “americanismos” or “Spanglish”. I have no problem, per se with “americanismos’ or “Spanglish” . I do have a problem with illiteracy; that is substituting English words so much that one is unable to read standard Spanish. Slang words add humor and zest but they should be used as some extra spice. They should not be the whole “enchilada.”

I will never forget the time when a student came back to California after an extended time in Mexico on her family ranch. She said, ” ¿Me mistió , míster?” At first I did not understand her as this is not properly Spanish but after a moment I realized she was asking “Did you miss me, Sir?” That’s “Spanglish”. It never ceases to get a few laughs when I recount this true story which proves that slang is great for humor or local color.

Similarly, in my private life, I love to use Scottish dialect for our “hame” dialect. The Glaswegian/Oban language my father spoke as a child was a Scots/Gaelic hybrid. An example would be “Yon’s a paltry lassie” (not meaning trashy but overly skinny) or “yon’s a fey mon” (meaning he is taking so many chances he is going to roll snake eyes -that is to say he is doomed). My father often remarked that his father (Auld Pop) upon seeing JFK in an open car waving in a motorcade in New York City said (in 1960), “yon’s a fey mon.” My father said, “What do you mean, Pop?” He said, win or lose he was an easy target for an assassin. When November 22, 1963 came around my father remembered that expression. Of course, Auld Pop (his father) had seen many a commanding officer and comrade laid low by German snipers at 2nd Ypres. Of course, having a knowledge of Scottish dialect is mostly important to enjoy poems of Burns and Scottish songs but otherwise has a very limited utility.

But normally I would never use Scottish dialect outside of my clan circle or except when corresponding with Scottish friends because I am aware that this argot is impenetrable to most English-speakers and especially almost all English learner. I have only met one Spaniard in my entire life who was fluent in Scots and he had been educated in Glasgow. He found the Scots pronunciation easier than English so he stuck to it. He sounded like a well educated Glaswegian who had lived in Edinburgh. I am a firm believe in language control and in having command of STANDARD ENGLISH or STANDARD SPANISH. But I am well aware “non-standard English” etc. exist and have their uses. I like online dictionaries, I like electronic dictionaries on my NOOK but I love and rely on and study my real dictionaries and my real books. If I really want to study an article or book I get the real Mccoy. Virtual books do not make as strong an impression on my mind and memory.


John deCrèvecœur SAID:
the most famous and important question in American history: “What then is the American, this new man?” The authentic American leaves behind him “all his ancient prejudices and manners, receives new ones from the new mode of life he has embraced, the new government he obeys, and the new rank he holds.” The American “entertains new ideas, and forms new opinions.” Crèvecœur was enthusiastic about this new man whose “labors and posterity will one day cause great changes in the world.”


America’s Urban Nightmare: Gotham City ~ The Imaginative Conservative

To create a unique atmosphere for his Gotham City, Timm’s team drew all of Gotham on black paper. Traditionally, animators use white, allowing for light to flourish somewhat naturally. That Mr. Timm and company tried, for the first time, black paper was revolutionary in terms of technology and art, but also quite successful. Even the cleanest corners of Gotham possess a brooding darkness, perfect for the entrance of a Dark Knight.“There was an architectural visionary named Hugh Ferris, who did these elaborate, futuristic cityscape architectural renderings,” Mr. Timm explains. “They were just gorgeous—these massive deco buildings rendered very moodily. That was one of our prime influences on the look of Batman: The Animated Series.“[9] One of the most innovative things the Batman: The Animated Series did, in its first feature animated movie, The Mask of the Phantasm, was an opening, computer generated at the very beginning of the use of CGI in any film, of a camera slowly making its way in reverse through the Gotham skyline as the magisterial music of the tragically unsung but brilliant composer Shirley Walker plays.[10] Walker’s soundtrack employs music from the late classical to early romantic period while incorporating faux medieval chant. As bizarre as this combination sounds, it works beautifully, especially as the camera crosses the Gotham City skyline.[11] Nothing in the comics or the movies made, before or after, has done so much to demonstrate the sheer and inhumane scope and scale of Gotham.
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2019/05/americas-urban-nightmare-gotham-city-bradley-birzer.html

The Dynamic Duo: The Controversy Over Batman’s Creators ~ The Imaginative Conservative

While there is no excuse for Kane having lied in his 1965 open letter or for having fudged the truth in his 1989 autobiography, there is some defense of his using his name exclusively when dealing with Batman in publications. Sadly, such a muddled state of recognizing who created who and what was a central feature of the earliest comic superheroes. In a world of pseudonyms, artistic entrepreneurship, and personal studios, one person might well serve as the public name for three or four others. And, one person might even write under a variety of names, thus keeping interest in his work intense rather than overwhelming. Writers trying to make a career in New York City were legion because of the intense competition in the pulps as well as in the slicks (magazines), while good artists were relatively rare. New York, of course, housed innumerable fine artists and an equally uncountable number of commercial artists, but comics demanded artists who not only understood the limits and physics of the human (and extra-human) form, but who could produce a huge quantity of art with relatively acceptable and consistent quality. The same was even more true of editors, who more often than not served as vital figures in the creation and maintenance of publications. During the 1930s, strong editors made, thwarted, and broke writing careers. When Superman appeared, pulp editors were in a strong position, writers in a weak one, and artists in a new and precarious one.[23] While in a relatively good position to capitalize on the new super-hero comics market, pulp publishers, editors, and writers still had to create and then navigate the new market, one that demanded consistency.
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2019/04/dynamic-duo-controversy-over-batmans-creators-bradley-birzer.html

Father Aidan Nichols Signs Open Letter Charging Pope Francis With Heresy

The present Open letter to the bishops of the Catholic Church goes a stage further in claiming that Pope Francis is guilty of the crime of heresy. This crime is committed when a Catholic knowingly and persistently denies something which he knows that the Church teaches to be revealed by God. Taken together, the words and actions of Pope Francis amount to a comprehensive rejection of Catholic teaching on marriage and sexual activity, on the moral law, and on grace and the forgiveness of sins. 
— Read on www.ncregister.com/blog/edward-pentin/father-aidan-nichols-signs-open-letter-charging-pope-francis-with-heresy