Microsoft’s Ebook Apocalypse Shows the Dark Side of DRM | WIRED

Microsoft made the announcement in April that it would shutter the Microsoft Store’s books section for good. The company had made its foray into ebooks in 2017, as part of a Windows 10 Creators Update that sought to round out the software available to its Surface line. Relegated to Microsoft’s Edge browser, the digital bookstore never took off. As of April 2, it halted all ebook sales. And starting as soon as this week, it’s going to remove all purchased books from the libraries of those who bought them.

Other companies have pulled a similar trick in smaller doses. Amazon, overcome by a fit of irony in 2009, memorably vanished copies of George Orwell’s 1984 from Kindles. The year before that, Walmart shut down its own ill-fated MP3 store, at first suggesting burn their purchases onto CDs to salvage them before offering a download solution. But this is not a tactical strike. There is no backup plan. This is The Langoliers. And because of digital rights management—the mechanism by which platforms retain control over the digital goods they sell—you have no recourse. Microsoft will refund customers in full for what they paid, plus an extra $25 if they made annotations or mark-ups. But that provides only the coldest comfort.
— Read on

Cicero’s Republic: The Duty to Make Whole That Which Is Broken ~ The Imaginative Conservative

Whatever his exact reasons for adopting a more Stoical approach to life, Cicero unwittingly (but perhaps gracefully?) prepared Rome for Christianity in ways that other pagans and paganisms could never have allowed or done. That generation of Stoics, including Virgil and Seneca, expected, amazingly enough, the human incarnation of the God of gods. It is little wonder, then, that so many of the early Church fathers—such as Jerome, Augustine, and Ambrose—considered Cicero to be a pagan Christian, more related to Christ and his teachings than not. Most certainly, his martyrdom on December 7, 43 BC, did not hurt his cause among Christians, either.
— Read on

Critical Moments: Tolkien’s Mythology, 1914-1937

As some of you might now, I’m in the middle of completing a book manuscript on the history of the Inklings for ISI Books. Here’s my partial list of critical moments in the creation of Tolkien’s larger mythology, from its earliest hints to the publication of The Hobbit.

“Bidding of the Minstrel” (poem)             Winter 1914[1]

“Tinfang Warble” (Poem)                          1914[2]

On Francis Thompson (paper)                 1914[3]

“Earendil” (poem)                                       September 1914[4]

“Kalevala; or Land of Heroes” (paper)     November 22, 1914[5]

“The Story of Kullervo,” (story)                late 1914

“Qenya Lexicon” (dictionary)                    1915[6]

On the Kalevala (paper)                              February 1915[7]

“Man in the Moon” (poem)                        March 1915[8]

“Sea Chant of an Elder Day” (poem)       March 1915[9]

“Cottage of Lost Play” (Poem)                   April 27-28, 1915[10]

“Shores of Faery” (poem)                          July 1915[11]

“The Happy Mariners” (poem)                  July 1915[12]

“A Song of Aryador” (poem)                     September 12, 1915

“Kortirion Among the Trees” (Poem)      November 21-28, 1915[13]

“Over Old Hills and Far Away” (Poem) December 1915-February 1916[14]

“Habbanan Beneath the Stars” (Poem)   December 1915 or June 1916[15]

Prelude, Inward, Sorrowful (poems)       March 16-18, 1916[16]

“The Fall of Gondolin” (story)                  1916-1917[17]

“Tale of Tinuviel” (story)                            1917[18]

“Cottage of Lost Play” (story)                    February 12, 1917[19]

The Music of the Ainur (story)                  Between November 1918 and Spring 1920[20]

“Turin Turambar & the Dragon” (story) 1919[21]

“The Fall of Gondolin” (story aloud)       Spring 1920[22]

“Lay of the Children of H” (poem)           1920-1925[23]

“The City of the Gods” (poem)                 1923[24]

Question if Beren a man or elf                 1925-1926[25]

“Lay of Leithian (poem)                             1925-September 1931[26]

“The Silmarillion” (story)                           1926[27]

“Silmarillion/Sketch” (story)                     1926[28]

“Intro to Elder Edda” (paper)                   November 17, 1926[29]

“Mythopoeia” (poem)                                  September 1931-November 1935[30]

The Hobbit (novel)                                      Late 1928-1936[31]

“The Quenta” (story)                                   1930[32]

“Earliest Annals of Valinor”                      1930[33]

“Annals of Beleriand”                                 1930[34]

Second version of Silmarillion                 1930-1937[35]

“New Lay of Volunga” (poem)                   early 1930s[36]

“New Lay of Gudrún” (poem)                   early 1930s[37]

“A Secret Vice” (paper)                              1931[38]

“Fall of Arthur” (poem)                              1931-1934[39]

“Beowulf: Monsters and Critics” (paper) November 25, 1936[40]

“The Lost Road” (story)                             1936-37[41]

“The Fall of Númenor” (story)                  1936-37[42]

Draft of Silmarillion to Allen/Unwin      November 1937[43]

“On Fairy Stories” (paper)                         March 8, 1939[44]


[1] CJRT, HOME 2, 269.

[2] CJRT, HOME 1, 107.

[3]Garth, Tolkien at Exeter, 30.

[4] CJRT, HOME 2, 267; Garth has it on November 27, 1914; see Garth, Tolkien at Exeter, 41.

[5] Flieger, ed., The Story of Kullervo, 63, 91.

[6] Parma Eldalamberon 12 (1998).

[7] Garth, Tolkien at Exeter, 42.

[8] CJRT, HOME 1, 202.

[9] Garth, Tolkien at Exeter, 42.

[10] CJRT, HOME 1, 27.

[11] CJRT, HOME 2, 271.

[12] CJRT, HOME 2, 273.

[13] CJRT, HOME 1, 25.

[14] CJRT, HOME 1, 108.

[15] CJRT, HOME 1, 91.

[16] CJRT, HOME 2, 295.

[17] CJRT, HOME 2, 146; and CJRT, The Children of Húrin, 9.

[18] CJRT, HOME 2, 3.

[19] Edith writes out story for JRRT, HOME 1, 13.

[20] CJRT, HOME 1, 45

[21] CJRT, The Children of Húrin, 9.

[22] To the Exeter College Essay Club, in CJRT, HOME 2, 199.

[23] CJRT, HOME 3, 1.

[24] CJRT, HOME 1, 136

[25] CJRT, HOME 2, 52.

[26] CJRT, HOME 3, 1.

[27] CJRT, HOME 2, 300.

[28] CJRT, HOME 4, 11.

[29] CJRT, The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún, 16.

[30] CJRT, Tree and Leaf, 7.

[31] “The Hobbit,” in Scull and Hammond, JRRT Companion and Guide, Reader’s Guide 1, 509-522.

[32] CJRT, HOME 4, 76.

[33] CJRT, HOME 4, 1.

[34] CJRT, HOME 4, 1.

[35] CJRT, HOME 5, 107.

[36] CJRT, The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún, 5.

[37] CJRT, The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún, 5.

[38] Given for Johnson Society, Pembroke College.  See Fimi and Higgins, eds, A Secret Vice, xii.

[39] CJRT, Fall of Arthur, 10-11.

[40] CJRT, The Monsters and the Critics, 1; and Drout, ed., Beowulf and the Critics.

[41] CJRT, HOME 5, 8-9.

[42] CJRT, HOME 5, 7-9.

[43] CJRT, HOME 5, 107

[44] CJRT, The Monsters and the Critics, 3.

ICv2: Brands Live. Brands Die.

Daily coverage of the pop culture products industry, including toys (action figures, models and statues), anime (anime, manga, and Japanese imports), games (collectible card and roleplaying games or ccgs and rpgs), comics (comics and graphic novels), and movie and TV (licensed) merchandise. We feature business news, and in-depth analysis for retailers, publishers, manufacturers, distributors. Trade properties we cover include Star Wars, Star Trek, X-Men, Gundam Wing, Dragonball Z, Pokemon, Akira, Lone Wolf and Cub, Magic the Gathering, Dungeons and Dragons, Mage Knight, Superman, Spider-man, JLA, Batman, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, J.R.R. Tolkien, Sailor Moon, Sandman, Harry Potter. Genres we cover include fantasy, science fiction, horror.
— Read on

The Influence of Irving Babbitt’s Humanism ~ The Imaginative Conservative

Most diabolically, it had become—quite truly—a false religion. Founded by the former Baptist and Unitarian minister, Charles Francis Potter’s humanism went public at the very beginning of the fall of 1929 when he delivered a homily to 244 New Yorkers, having turned away well over 400 to meet the fire code. “Just as Protestantism was an offshoot of Roman Catholicism, and Liberalism, as represented by Unitarianism and Universalism, was born of Protestantism, so also Humanism has come forth from Unitarianism.”[1] Blatantly taking the name of his new faith from Babbitt and More (whom he thought would be allies in his new religion) he asked his congregants to give up their primitive “deity obsession.”[2] Only from man, Potter claimed, could one find true dignity. “Out of the heart of man have arisen all his noble impulses and aspirations.”[3] Babbitt and More, horrified, condemned the new movement, and the scare almost certainly moved More toward Anglican orthodoxy. Potter, however, with the aid of the effete John Dewey and bizarre Harry Elmer Barnes, founded the American Humanist Association and issued the Humanist Manifesto in 1933. To be sure, the word “humanism” has never recovered.
— Read on

Were washington, lincoln and churchill hateful and morally objectionable white SUPREMACISTS?

One could easily denounce George Washington for ‘retrograde’ White Supremacist views. But Washington’s views on race changed and advanced over his lifetime. Similarly, Lincoln lived and had a political life in a world in which “Universal Suffrage” meant “White Male” universal suffrage only. Lincoln explored many policies and points of view but the truth is throughout his life, like Washington Lincoln’s views evolved yet were always based on the natural rights doctrine of equality found in the Declaration. In 1859 Lincoln wrote “the principles of Jefferson are the definitions of a free society. And yet they are denied, and evaded with no small show of success. One dashingly calls them “glittering generalities; another bluntly calls them “self-evident lies” and still other insidiously argue that they apply only to “superior races.” Lincoln rejected White Supremacy and said, “those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves, and under a just God can not long retain it.” Lincoln said, “I have only to say let us discard all this quibbling about this man and the other man and that race and the other race being inferior, and therefor must be placed in an inferior position, discarding our standard that we have left us. Let us discard all these things, and unite as one people throughout the land until we shall once more stand up declaring that all men are created equal.” Robert Sherwood in his Pulitzer Prize winning drama Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1938) pushed Jefferson’s and Lincoln’s abstract truth a bit more when he had Lincoln say should we read the Declaration as “all men are created equal, except negros, foreigners, catholics and Jews.” Lincoln did not in fact refer to the Jews at that time but who could doubt that Lincoln would have defended the Jewish people? I have studied Churchill’s life and writings for over 50 years Never at any time did Churchill express admiration for dictatorship, arbitrary government, or extreme authoritarianism. Quite the contrary. Washington and Lincoln lived in slave owning societies and yet progressed beyond the simple prejudices of their time. Churchill was a Victorian aristocrat by birth and education and yet the reason he is so interesting and compelling character is that he progressed beyond the Social Darwinism and Laissez Fair capitalism of his time to embrace a more liberal, pragmatic social policy and a more liberal attitude towards Woman’s suffrage. We should make a grave error if we slip into presentism and an obsession with politically correct nomenclature. Churchill, must be judged by the entirety of his life, his works and his writings not by quibbles or his use of old-fashioned terms -it seems to us- like “Civilization” or “Christian Civilization” rather than “Judeo-Christian Civilization”. Churchill was, without a doubt as Andrew Roberts has demonstrated, the greatest defender of liberty, natural rights, rule of law, due process of modern times. It is not too much to say Churchill was the savior not only of his nation but the cause of national independence and freedom all over the world, Churchill, more than any other individual put Fascism, anti-Semitism and the racial supremacy of the Nazis to the sword leaving that doctrine defeated and destroyed and completely discredited. All honor to Sir Winston Churchill, Lincoln and Washington.

HYPHENATED americans and other realities

 How many times have I heard this nationalist comment “You should consider yourself an American first and foremost. Get rid of the hyphen!! ” And of course, if we speak another language besides English in public, sometimes we are told “to shut up and talk American!” , to which I reply, “excuse me, Sir, the language I speak to my wife and sister-in-law, in private conversation, is none of your business. What language would you expect I would speak to a guest in the USA from a Spanish-speaking country?” Of course, one cannot tell by the color of the skin or eyes the native language of a person. Spanish-speaking persons can be of any race and any religion. I daresay the same can be said of English-speakers as well. Very soon -if it is not a reality already- there will be more English-speakers of English as a second language than native English speakers.

If a hyphen has some significance it should be used. I don’t consider myself a Mexican-American for the simple reason I have no Mexican ancestry though I certainly am a hispanophile. But if my son-in-law considers himself a Mexican or Mexican-American that’s fine with me. He is a US citizen. I also consider myself an Anglophile but have never considered myself an Anglo-American though I would be proud if I had any English ancestors. English is a acquired language for us only becoming predominate in my family post the mid 20th century. I can never remember a time when I did not hear different languages in our home being spoken or sung. Both my father and mother were multilingual A hyphen is certainly more attractive than the ugly “Latinx” que no es ni chica ni limonada. If you honor your mother and father what is more natural than honoring their homeland? The hyphen, of course, could be temporary. It might last only one or two generations. People change their idea of nationality or religious faith over time through education, assimilation, and intermarriage. I am quite sure that if parts of my family emigrated to , let’s say, Australia, that they would, after a time consider themselves Australians. What would be more normal?

I could never hate the homelands of my parents, my wife, my in-laws and I am a citizen of the United States. My grandchildren are all Mexican-American. But we have an identity beyond that of our political nationality and the English tongue. We have my family traditions and our faith traditions. I decide what party I want to vote for and I decide what hyphens I put by my name. If I want to say that I am, above all, an Earthling, that is my choice. Could I not be a Mormon-American? Or Jewish-American? Or Catholic-American? Of course, I could. In each case the hyphen could be very meaningful.

I don’t expect my children and grandchildren to have much to do with the culture and language of their great-grandparents none of whom were native English-speakers. I only hope my children and grandchildren -all of whom are native Spanish-speakers by the way- are free, stay true to their faith tradition, work hard and stay economically secure.

Our family line is crossed with Old Mexico but also Spain, Panama, Canada, France and Chile. So what does that make us? We have been called Spanish Munros and Irish Munros by people in our own family because it says a truth about our cosmopolitan family. We are all Americans by choice because we love living in a free and stable land. I don’t tell my children how they should identify themselves.

What they feel is a natural feeling brought about by la convivencia and love. I grew up loving and identifying with the Scottish Highlands but no one ever told me to do so -quite the contrary. My parents encouraged us all to assimilate and become as American as possible. My grandfather always said, “Scotland? What a country? It is a good country to be FROM.” He had zero interest in EVER returning and he did not. He was an American by choice but by culture and accent remained Scottish-American his entire life. So rapid and total “americanization” is not always possible. We love baseball but also love football (soccer). We remained outside the American mainstream to some extent and live on the fringe of the English-speaking world. This can be seen in the music we like and in the cuisine we share (strongly Spanish/Italian and French). Neither I, nor my son nor my daughter nor my sister married a “normal” monolingual English-speaker. We retain ties, close ties, to communities of Non-English speakers. So in that sense our cosmopolitanism has made us amphibious.

Everyday of my life I hear and speak other languages other than English. I would calculate that 90% of phone conversations in our household are held in Spanish. Our children feel at home in English as well as Spanish but always have spoken Spanish to my wife and family. I myself have spent many months of my life -consecutive weeks and months almost an entire year-when I have never spoken or heard a single word of English though I recall I corresponded in English and of course read books and newspapers in English (even though most of the books and newspapers I read were not in English). I studied Portuguese in Portugal and Spanish literature in Spain. But the Casa Del Libro in Madrid had the complete Penguin library in English. So I read many English books (chiefly classics) when I lived in Spain. They were numerous, widely available and relatively inexpensive. Books in other languages were rare and expensive. So I read less in those languages. I have many bilingual books. I have always been fascinated by translations. Consider the Italian adage “traduttore, traditore”: a literal translation is “translator, traitor”. The pun is almost lost in English, though the meaning persists. (A similar solution can be given, however, in Hungarian, by saying a fordítás: ferdítés, which roughly translates as “translation is distortion”.) My father felt that poetry to be appreciated should be read in the original as much as possible. Chinese and Hebrew were a little too much for him but he read Greek, Latin, German, Italian, French, Spanish, Russian, Scots and Gaelic quite fluently. He had an immense French library and that was perhaps his best Romance language. But he studied and appreciated art songs and operas in the original tongue whenever possible. I have surpassed him in Portuguese and Spanish but not in German, Greek or Russian. But I am young yet (still learning).

Some what are we? Our roots make our family, in my opinion, Americanísma. Spanish is, in my opinion, an All-American language. It existed and thrived in America before English and will continue to thrive and survive and coexist with English. English is not Mohican or Apache or Irish and neither is Spanish. World languages, the languages of Empire will endure. They were made to endure.

It is good, wise and useful to speak the national languages of North America, which include French, Spanish and English. But that is a choice people make. People can choose to study computers and engineering or they can choose to do what is easy and that is to be monolingual. It seems a strange choice to me. I love languages. In fact, this summer I am studying another one. I correspond, regularly in three or four languages. People enjoy using their mother tongue and respond very positively.

We have chosen to prepare ourselves to coexist as Good Neighbors in a multicultural, multilingual world.

That’s a reality that is not going away. English is powerful, the language of the banks and the long-range guns but we are not going to live in a monolingual English-only world. It is not wise. It is not good business and it is not good diplomacy.

I have always known that English was not the best, nor the only nor the oldest language in the world. But I love and respect English. But I admit I have always had a soft spot for other languages as well and they are mine, too. When we married all they hymns were in Latin so all sides of the family could understand and appreciate them. We sang songs in English and translated them to Spanish. We sang songs in Spanish and translated them to English. We sang some of our own macaronic original songs.

Yes, we have always valued English as the lingua franca of the Commonwealth, and the USA. At one time the sine qua non for business and culture was to speak Latin, Greek or French. Those are former languages of Empire and still are highly influential as culture languages. But it is delightful, useful and fun to speak the languages of other communities.

This will be the hallmark of a new generation of Latin/Spanish Munros and Mendozas. Will they be Hispanic-Americans Mexican-Americans? Perhaps.

Anything but “Latinx” , a horrible expression. People say that is the new growth of a language but this Esperanto-like invention is, more likely la mortaja (the death shroud) of a language. Creating a patois may be a political choice but it is not a healthy linguistic choice. Made-up words and language are not natural.

But whatever my grandchildren and children decide will be their choice. I respect that. I pray they make good choices and happy choices. And I hope sincerely they will be proud of their ancient heritage and recognize that they are part of a great international melting pot -the United States of America. Yes, the melting pot bubbles on. That is a certainly we all need to accustom ourselves to if we haven’t already.

Book Review: ‘Mr. Straight Arrow’ Illuminates Writings of John Hersey | National Review

Ironically, one of Hersey’s talents lay in his ability to focus on people. In The Algiers Motel Incident, he focused on the victims of police brutality. In The Wall, he told the story of resisters in the Warsaw ghetto. In Hiroshima, Hersey wrote about six people, what they were doing when the atomic bomb fell, and how they were affected by the destruction it sowed.

As Treglown shows, Hersey was a “war poet as much as a journalist.” Although he did not write poems per se, reading Hersey, one sees how he transferred his musical ability and feel for rhythm to the sound of words.

Hersey’s understanding of the power of imagery shines through his opus — especially in Hiroshima. Treglown says the book showcases Hersey’s “startling intimacy with the people he writes about” and his innate sensitivity for language. Even the title of the first section, “A Noiseless Flash,” suggests Hersey’s appreciation for the image.
— Read on